The Freedom of Knowledge, The Power of Thought ©

Dave McGowan Newsletter #57

The 911 Conference in San Francisco

By Dave McGowan <>
April 5, 2004

The following corrections were recently sent in by Nicholas Levis:

You have a way of always being right. Congratulations.

"Next up is a lengthy missive from Nicholas Levis, webmaster of the 9-11 skeptics site Osama's Kidneys, and one of the organizers, along with Ruppert, of the San Francisco event."

I am not a "Ruppertian." Ruppert was not an organizer of the SF event, he was an invited guest, as were you before this silly argument. Too bad. You should have come and made your case. I did not organize anything for the event until I got to San Francisco a couple of days before to help. I helped because I want to see the 9/11 skeptics movement succeed. You should too. I had nothing to do with determining the line-up of speakers and I would have invited both you and Ruppert. I'm not interested in the assorted ego-battles. Finally, my missive is no more "lengthy" than the stuff you do. I write fast and often do overkill, like you.


I stand corrected on my claim that Ruppert was an organizer of the event. Apparently he was merely the star of the show (a fair characterization, I would think, given that he was awarded two prominent speaker posts at the three day affair). I fail to see, however, how this is a "silly argument." My purpose in challenging the 'Peak Oil' scare is to expose what appears to be a massive, well organized effort to hijack the 9-11 skeptics movement and refocus that movement's energy on promoting a big, and very dangerous, lie. I don't see anything silly about that.

As for Levis' claim that I was an invited guest to the San Francisco affair, I happen to have an interesting little story to tell about that.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have you ever wondered what people were saying about you behind your back? Of course you have, as have I. Recently - due to a, uhmm, security breach - I was able to listen in on what some people are saying about me.

This story begins in November 2003, or thereabouts. At that time, I received a formal invitation from Carol Brouillet (the webmaster of and the head of the organizing committee for the San Francisco event) to appear as a speaker at the 9-11 skeptics conference that was just held the weekend of March 26-28. Ms. Brouillet explained, at that time, that she had recently become familiar with my work at the urging of others.

I happily accepted the invitation, though I was a bit skeptical. I had only been invited to one previous September 11 conference, and I had subsequently managed, although I am not sure how, to get myself uninvited. So, after accepting this unexpected invitation, I waited for confirmation and further information about topic, time slot, etc. before getting too excited. When that confirmation did not arrive, I assumed that I had been uninvited once again, and I went merrily on my way.

I should probably mention here that when I accepted the invitation, I indicated that I could provide my own transportation and that I had a relative in the city that I could stay with. I should also mention that I have never asked for nor accepted any compensation for a public speaking engagement. Unlike certain other speakers on the bill, I am a cheap date.

I next heard from Ms. Brouillet in response to Newsletter #49, which was posted on January 30, 2004. I don't recall exactly what comments she made about the newsletter, but her e-mail ended with a suggestion that I might like to attend the San Francisco conference. So apparently by late January-early February, I had been demoted from main-stage speaker to audience member.

Then, six weeks later, on March 14, just one day after I posted the infamous Newsletter #52, I received this:

Dear Dave,

Kris Millegan just called me and either he or you sent me your latest newsletter and the peak oil challenge from Mike Ruppert. I am organizing the Int'l Inquiry into 9-11 and if you guys want to debate publicly this might be the place for it - although I wouldn't give you the main stage - just a room on the second floor which will hold 200 people. My focus is getting to the truth of 9-11, but I think a healthy debate about oil and alternative energy is a good thing, I'm not a technologist and really don't know where I stand on the issue, but I have a lot of respect for people who are on each side of the issue.

I just think the truth about 9-11 is the most important thing to break the big lie and wake people up - so don't want to waste too much time either way looking at peak oil - it's a piece of the puzzle - but just one amongst many.


So by mid-March, I had somehow become a sideshow act with Michael Ruppert. Despite the fact that it was purportedly a 9-11 conference that was being held, and despite the fact that I have done a fair amount of 9-11 research and had been invited to speak about that research, I was now being asked to debate the legitimacy of 'Peak Oil' in an out-of-the-way room. Strangely, Ms. Brouillet seemed by this time to have forgotten that she had been familiar with my work as a 9-11 researcher in November, and was apparently still reading my missives at the end of January.

Oddly enough, Ms. Brouillet's offer arrived in my in-box several hours before Mr. Ruppert's formal response to my debate counteroffer. In other words, I was offered a small public forum in San Francisco to debate Michael Ruppert on the topic of 'Peak Oil' six-and-a-half hours before I received the formal challenge from Michael Ruppert to debate him on the topic of 'Peak Oil' in a small public forum in San Francisco (before his panel of judges and with the debate limited to his artificially constructed question). Funny how things work sometimes, isn't it?

Since there was nothing to be gained by a 'debate' on Ruppert's terms, this story would have ended here, with my lack of a response to Ms. Brouillet's 'offer,' were it not for the fact that several other writers/researchers happened to write to me to weigh in on the 'Peak Oil' controversy, and a few of them inquired if I would be in San Francisco for the conference. I replied that I would not, since I had long ago canceled my plans to attend after being uninvited as a speaker.

In response to my reply, a researcher by the name of Jerry Russell, who was another member of the organizing committee, launched a one-man campaign to have me reinstated as a main-stage speaker. Mr. Russell, as it turns out, is not a big fan of Michael Ruppert's. In fact, he is the guy whose claim Ruppert denied at the same time that he issued his 'challenge' to me. On Russell's website, he provides an interesting account of the Ruppert-issued challenge that he responded to: (

Investigator Mike Ruppert of recently posted the following challenge to the 911 truth alliance mailing list:

I will give $1,000 cash money to anyone who can show me one oil field that is today producing oil from abiotic sources. Thomas Gold's 1980s nonsense discovery in the Gulf of Mexico is today a dry hole. He is laughed at by everyone in the industry, not the financiers, but the geologists (both private and from universities) and the actual drillers.


I will hold claimants to the same scientific standards of proof that FTW has used for three years. And, as part of that bet, I will demand that each claimant pay me $50 for my time when I prove them wrong. That's 20 to 1 odds. Just throwing a bs article at me won't qualify. You have to show me a hard scientific paper from a university or a producing well where it has been demonstrated that the oil is abiotic and that reserve are refilling ...

So put you money where your mouth is. Any takers?

Russell took up the challenge and assembled a packet of documentation pertaining to oil fields in a region of the former Soviet Union. He then sent the material to Ruppert, hoping to claim his $1,000 prize. Russell explains what happened next:

Ruppert's energy editor, Dale Pfeiffer, promptly posted my information to the EnergyResources Yahoo group, moderated by Tom Robertson. This was a breach of etiquette in terms of the policies of the 911truthalliance mailing list (moderated by Lori Price of CLG), and when I complained to the list about this, I received the following response from Mike Ruppert:

Listen, let's take the passive-aggressive gloves off here you asshole.

You have already lost the bet and I have more than enough information to prove you wrong. What I haven't done yet is write it up or finish reading the Russian piece thoroughly to see if I can learn something.

So here is how things apparently work in Mike Ruppert's world: a bellicose, arrogant challenge is issued, and then if anyone responds to that challenge, they get called an "asshole" and sent a bill for $50. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. But I guess Mr. Russell didn't think so.

Russell has also apparently butted heads with Ruppert and others over the issue of the so-called 'physical evidence' portion of the 9-11 skeptics case, which he and some others thought should have received more attention at the San Francisco conference. So Mr. Russell's campaign likely was motivated, in part, by a desire to 'stir the pot,' but he does appear to have been sincere in his efforts to get me added to the program. This is the message that he sent to Ms. Brouillet:


I've been thinking about your excuses re: David McGowan, and I'm not entirely satisfied [Editor's note: there was obviously some prior correspondence on this issue between Russell and Brouillet]. I can accept that anyone can make mistakes. But supposing that you had failed to receive Mike Ruppert's acceptance in the mail, or Barrie Zwicker's acceptance, or mine for that matter, would you have simply forgotten all about it?

If you have ever visited David McGowan's site, you would know that his research and commentary are second to none ... [several paragraphs of praise for my work have been omitted here because, although it is quite flattering, I am a little embarrassed to reprint it] ...

It is still possible to make amends, however. Carol, I insist that you should write to David, and beg his forgiveness, and invite him to come and join the speaker's list on Friday night. He will be the only one that evening to talk about 911 -- and especially the physical-evidence case, which Mike Ruppert has done so much to sweep under the rug.

And send me a copy, so I'll know you didn't forget.

If you won't do this, all I can say is that you have some sort of high incompetence level, coupled with inflexibility and a failure to appreciate what's good and important in our movement -- and you won't be able to count on my support in the future.

This was Carol Brouillet's response to Russell, sent exactly four days after she had e-mailed me the offer to 'debate' Ruppert:

I really don't know much about David McGowan - I'm not familiar with his work or his website - that could be one reason I forgot our earlier correspondence.

I wish I wasn't sick and overstressed - I can't find his email address and I don't see how I can squeeze him into the program - unless I simply bump off Ruppert if he could do the stand-down of the planes Friday night.

I don't like the way you are threatening me. I have been honest with you and try to do the best I can. But I am probably incompetent and shouldn't have tried to tackle anything as ambitious as this. I should have just stayed home and played with my kids and let the world go to hell.


And this, in its entirety (the ellipses are hers) is what she sent me later that same day:

Dear Dave,

My apologies. I just looked in my files and found our earlier conversations. I had created a special 9-11 contact file - and it disappeared in November and I just can't keep track of all the conversations that I have had. I basically invited all 9-11 webmasters to participate in the Inquiry. What I sent you in November was a proposal that has been radically changed - due to lack of support from the local 9-11 Truth Alliance... still I have tried to move forward, as best I could. I held a benefit/fundraiser in February in hopes of raising money for the Inquiry - which generated a lot of publicity and was a great event, but only generated $900 beyond costs (giving little to those who really did a lot of work and should have been paid more).. I was embarrassed to invite people who I couldn't offer a place to stay/travel expenses etc ...

Still, the Inquiry is the best I could do with limited time, money (some borrowed) and resources. I think the most important part will be what goes on amongst the participants on the 2nd floor - rather than the show/overview in the Herbst. It's an opportunity for serious researchers to try to put together the dots/and at the same time make enough noise that hopefully we will be able to break the issue into public consciousness. There are film crews coming from all over.

The program is so full that if one or two main speakers don't show up - no one will notice, but I don't think I can squeeze in another and Jerry is unreasonably demanding that I do - on I don't know what particular topic.

But I do hope you will decide to come and participate fully in the Inquiry - and debate Ruppert, if you want to on his "peak oil" pitch.

I am sick, overworked and stressed, and I continually make mistakes - I hope you will accept my apologies for screwing up yet, again. I might "retire" from activism if I survive the next 10 days.

Sincerely, Carol

This story would have ended here, yet again, were it not for the continued efforts of Jerry Russell, as well as the efforts of some of the rank-and-file, volunteer committee members. The following two e-mail missives soon found their way into the in-boxes of members of the organizing committee:


Dear 911 International Inquiry participant,
I'm concerned that the Friday Night program at the Herbst Auditorium is going to turn into a major fiasco. The lineup is: Joseph Calhoun, Mark Taylor, Mike Ruppert and Bruce Gagnon. I'm not saying they aren't good speakers, but of these four, the only one with any reputation or history in 911 research is Mike Ruppert -- and at his most recent event on March 13 with Cynthia McKinney, I've been told that Ruppert spent about 1 minute total on 911 issues. The rest was all "Peak Energy" and assorted what-not.

So the problem is, that the audience in San Francisco on Friday evening may not get much of an education about the specifics of what happened on September 11, 2001. And, if that's the case, they may not be interested enough to come back on Saturday and Sunday.

In order to address this problem, I suggest that we have the opportunity also to correct an unfortunate injustice. Last November, Carol Brouillet called David McGowan and invited him to speak to the Inquiry. David sent in his acceptance, and started making preparations to come and speak. However, Carol claims that she never received David's formal acceptance, and that she subsequently "forgot all about" the interaction. Furthermore, Carol argues that the program is now full, and she can't book a single additional speaker for the Herbst Auditorium.

Visitors to David McGowan's site know that his research and commentary are second to none. In a prescient column of 9/12/2001 [], McGowan set out the outlines of the vast majority of the 911 skeptic case. His work has since been elaborated on by others, some of whom might never have heard of him. But no one else can match Dave's incisive wit, nor his timeliness. Certainly his early work has never been contradicted in any significant fashion. If you're not familiar with McGowan, you are in for a real treat ...

I would welcome your thoughts on the Friday night program.

Best regards,
Jerry Russell

I’ll just add my voice to those desiring the inclusion of Dave McGowan in the 911 International Inquiry Program in San Francisco, and for two reasons. Of course though, I can’t even imagine all the work that Carol has put into preparing the program, but can easily imagine how last minute changes are not pleasant thoughts. Still though, I do hope the logistics can be adjusted and the audience advised that while he’s doesn’t appear in your program schedule, please welcome Dave McGowan, as the conference is important not just for the attendees in San Francisco, but for all those who will see the proceedings afterward on videotape, and Dave McGowan’s work on 9/11 and peak oil are unique enough that they should be included for both audiences.

On 9/11, I don’t think anyone could dispute Dave McGowan’s truly significant contributions. And if he speaks even half as witty as he writes and translates those written contributions into his talk, the audience will surely be educated on 9/11, and entertained as well.

With regard to peak oil, it’s clear that there are differing views among those in the 911 truth movement about it (with Ruppert and McGowan being articulate on opposite sides, see Ruppert at and McGowan’s last 4 newsletters at, but as the program stands now, it looks like only Mike Ruppert’s view on peak oil will be aired. In fact, Mike’s view on it, which again is certainly not shared by everyone in the 9/11 truth movement, could easily turn into an overall theme that people might take away with them from the conference, believing it’s the key thing that everyone in the 911 truth movement believes, although that is simply not the case.

Everyone knows that Mike Ruppert, appearing on the program both on Friday and Saturday believes that: “The truth is that the real story - the only story -- is Peak Oil and Gas, and that 9/11 was its first visible manifestation. I fight to expose Peak Oil in part by exposing 9/11 in a way that registers in the public consciousness. That is my obligation to my readers and - as I see it - to my fellow man.” (

[Editor's note: follow the above link to an article in which Ruppert employs some seriously dubious logic to justify his refusal to focus on what are, by his own admission, the most incriminating and irrefutable aspects of the 9-11 skeptics case. And don't miss this eye-opening, must-read posting:]


And looking at the program description, Mike Ruppert won’t be the only person discussing oil. On Friday afternoon, Gray Brechin will be discussing “the role of oil and other resources that have long driven international relations and covert operations”; on Friday evening: Bruce Gagnon, “rather than share the DIMINISHING resources (oil, water, etc.) . . . ”; and an excerpt from the Liberty Bound documentary, the website for which indicates the filmmaker “also delves into the accusations that the Bush Administration knew about the 9/11 attacks and their warlike agenda is actually centered on oil”; on Saturday afternoon, all previous mention of oil will culminate into the ‘peak’ oil theory. There will be an excerpt from a film entitled “The End of Suburbia-Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream; as well as two different speakers talking about it, Mike Ruppert and Richard Heinberg, author of War, Oil & the Fate of Industrial Societies.


It would be unfortunate indeed if the ‘peak oil’ theory was presented at this conference as an undisputed theory, when in fact, there are quite sharp disagreements as to its validity in the 911 truth movement, so that’s my second reason for hoping that Dave McGowan is given airtime and that he will also mention his views on it. San Francisco is not a ‘peak oil’ conference, it’s a 9/11 conference, although given that oil will be mentioned so frequently by so many of the speakers & films, together with 2 speakers and a film solely on the very importance of peak oil, a counterweight is necessary or the audience will be mislead.

Nicholas, your emailed question, what is more important, this debate or the family’s recent actions, is not to the point. Clearly, the Family Steering Committee’s recent actions will be heard at the conference, both in your own talk given the importance you place on it, and in Joyce Lynn’s talk on the Cover-Up Commission. The issue is rather whether a speaker, who has unique contributions to make, including an alternative 911 truth movement take on peak oil not otherwise represented at the conference, and who was apparently asked to participate and began preparing his remarks, should be included, and I do agree with you that “There ought to be room for all of us, ideally including both McGowan and Ruppert.”

The second mailing is particularly revealing in light of the fact that Ms. Brouillet, who assembled the line-up of speakers, had written to say: "I just think the truth about 9-11 is the most important thing to break the big lie and wake people up - so don't want to waste too much time either way looking at peak oil - it's a piece of the puzzle - but just one amongst many." Apparently what Brouillet really meant to say was that the conference organizers didn't want to spend too much time looking at opposing viewpoints, but they did have plenty of time for Team Ruppert to present its dubious version of reality.

You may have noticed that the second mailing contained a reference to a "Nicholas," who is, as it turns out, the very same Nicholas Levis featured in both the last newsletter and at the top of this one. This is what Levis sent out to the group:

Dear San Francisco Participants,

as I send this, I notice that my inbox is receiving several more messages in the discussion Jerry Russell initiated yesterday by e-mail. So far I have read only Russell's opener and the response by Sander Hicks, but what I have to say stands regardless:

What is more important? This debate we just started?

Or the fact that Sept. 11 families are demanding Philip Zelikow resign immediately as the executive director of the 9/11 Commission? In effect, the Families Steering Committee has altogether broken with the Kean Commission whitewash! This is important!

As we convene in San Francisco next week, the Kean Commission will have just held its most highly publicized meeting yet. The public's awareness of Sept. 11 and its oddities will be at an all-time high. Our chances of breaking through into public consciousness will be the greatest ever. If we get screwed by the media anyway, so be it. Que sera, sera. But let's not screw it up ourselves.

In the past I have promoted the work of both Mike Ruppert and Dave McGowan, both of whom I consider brilliant writers, whatever their flaws. (Last I looked, both were human beings and therefore flawed by definition.)

I'd love to see everyone on the San Francisco panels stick to the substantive issues and show a mature ability to discuss their disagreements openly and soberly - and leave aside nonsense questions of who has a trademark on the best approach, who is the real Supremo of 9/11 research, which approach is the "only true" way, who has done "the most" for the movement, or who most "deserves" to speak. This is not a child's sandbox! There ought to be room for all of us, ideally including both McGowan and Ruppert, without turning this into an ego contest.

At this stage, 9/11 skepticism is a well-developed strain of thought that can be adequately represented by any intelligent person who has done their homework. WE ALL NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT, IT IS A GOOD THING! It shows our success.

Different people have carried the ball at different times, and this is how it should be. Past contributions must be acknowledged, but it is ridiculous to pretend anyone is indispensable, or automatically superior by virtue of past actions.

I want to see newcomers get into the movement and be treated as equals. Newcomers are the life's blood of any movement. I am curious to hear what people who may not have spoken out on 9/11 until now have to say. I don't want them to justify why they didn't speak out earlier. That attitude will chase away the people who can and should be joining in and making their contributions, and who should be encouraged and welcomed! I want to see this movement grow so fast that it becomes irrelevant who the leaders are. We can all be leaders!

I am for a democratic discussion, but I object to Jerry Russell's approach, in which he raises the prospect that Friday will be a failure simply because the speaker's list is not what he would have chosen. Someone has to make that choice. As the host and organizer, it is up to Carol Brouillet, whom I trust based on HER past work. She has put together a line-up that represents all of the various strains of thought within our movement, including both the "disclosure" approach and the "physical evidence" approach. I no doubt would have put together a different line up, as would have Jerry Russell, but neither of us is in charge of this round. It's Carol's turn. She took the initiative, she's doing the back-breaking, and she needs our support.

If anyone is "indispensable," then it is those 9/11 families who have courageously provided the most important moral pressure for disclosure! Without them, we would have no issue in the public.

Let's realize how precious this moment is, and not screw it up with personal antagonisms.

We can and will unite around common actions and strategy in San Francisco, while also maintaining a lively and I hope constructive and civil debate about our disagreements. Let us be very careful about how we speak to each other, treat each other with respect, and avoid artificial splits. At the same time, while understanding the need for unity, we can also strive to weed out any bullshit and falsehood in our own case.

All it takes to make all of that work is for each of us to show less ego.

So before we get into divisive personal arguments, I urge you all to take a deep breath and read the following report, about the latest statement by the Family Steering Committee and about the success of the 9/11 Truth effort at the big antiwar demo in New York yesterday. Thank you.

All the best,
Nicholas Levis

It's nice to see how Mr. Levis promotes "the work of both Mike Ruppert and Dave McGowan" -- just so long, it would appear, as Ruppert and his minions are allowed to thoroughly dominate the conference, while the other guy is excluded entirely. But - what the hell? - let's all take a deep breath while Levis cynically invokes the 9-11 widows to divert our attention to an almost entirely irrelevant issue.

As for Levis' complaints about an "ego contest," there are a few things that need to be clarified here, such as that I am not the one who bills myself as "the Godfather of 9-11 research." [] And I am also not the one who has loudly claimed that my approach is the only one that yields results, while the approach of many other researchers is "worse than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" [] And I am not the one who describes myself on my website as "the point man in breaking major stories" about all manner of government malfeasance. [] So it would appear that, contrary to Levis' assertion, it is indeed "a child's sandbox." And the biggest child is being allowed to hoard all the sand.

As Levis' missive indicated, Sander Hicks, another member of the organizing committee, also weighed in on the brewing controversy (Hicks was the founder of Soft Skull Press):

Hi Jerry,
Thanks for your thoughts. I think it's important that we try to resolve this democratically, as a movement, before opening the conference in five days.

Here's my response, as someone who has done a little work helping get this conference together, and will be a volunteer, and a speaker, there.

If Carol did indeed invite Mr. McGowan, then I feel space should be made for him. I did look over his work, and it does indeed sound like high quality work.

But as you yourself say, its unfair to jump to accusations of fascism and eugenics, when Ruppert only talks about the need for "population control." Yes, Peak Oil is Ruppert's main topic these days, and I'm not completely certain about it myself. But it's worth listening to. Not too many others are saying this, and even some oil industry consultants to Bush and Blair agree with the theory.

Now, you're really on shaky ground when you accuse Ruppert of only making minor, insignificant contributions to 9/11.

[Hicks next presented a spirited defense of Ruppert's work, which he and Russell then debated at length in a few subsequent e-mails.]

Ruppert's only other "mainstream" critic has been David Corn, of The Nation. Corn's attacks on Ruppert have been personal and I have winced at them for their rancor. Corn also has State Department connections, and it seems pretty clear which side he's on. Hell, The Nation's publisher Victor Navasky recently stated that he believes Lee H. Oswald acted alone!!! Now who'se irresponsible?

So, I'm glad we're CCing Carol on this. I hope we can find a space for McGowan, somewhere. But don't believe everything you read and hear about Ruppert. You can tell a lot about a man by the character of his enemies.


If it is indeed true that you can tell a lot about a man by the character of his enemies, then what conclusions are we to draw from all the people in this sordid tale who have revealed much about their character, or lack thereof?

Mr. Hicks' response was a strange one. He claims that Ruppert only talked of "population control," and he even puts those words in quotes as though they represent Ruppert's actual words, when clearly that is not what Ruppert wrote at all. I am told that at the conference, Ruppert informed the audience that "population reduction by the most venal methods will be necessary, with the only choice being: do we want to do it nice or nasty?"

I can only repeat my earlier question: what will the criteria be?

If not with some type of eugenics program, then how will it be decided who lives and who dies? And who exactly are the "political, economic, spiritual and scientific leaders" that Mr. Ruppert suggests should get together to make those decisions? And what is the population level we are shooting for? What percentage of us will be targeted for elimination? These are all legitimate questions that Ruppert has not yet provided answers to.

Why do I get the sick feeling that we are speeding headlong into a future in which "Survivor" will feature contestants competing to be, quite literally, the last man standing? I had wondered where they were going to find contestants for reality shows when they finally took it to the next level, so to speak, by holding real 'execution ceremonies' on "The Mole." But now I realize that people will take a 1-in-16 shot at living through the show if that is their only hope of living at all ... but here, I suppose, I have digressed.

Hicks also claims that "not too many others" are discussing 'Peak Oil,' but the Los Angeles Times alone has ran two op/ed scare pieces in just the last month. On the other side of the country, the New York Times took up the issue on April 4. I have heard that Ruppert, in attempting to legitimize the 'Peak Oil' theory, literally piled a large stack of mainstream news reports and journal articles on the podium in San Francisco. And there is certainly no shortage of websites promoting the idea that we are running out of oil. So it hardly seems to be the case that no one else is disseminating 'Peak Oil' scare stories. As for the notion that "even some oil industry consultants to Bush and Blair agree with the theory," I would remind Mr. Hicks that a lot of consultants to Bush and Blair agreed last year with the theory that Iraq was stockpiling 'weapons of mass destruction,' but that didn't make the lie any less of a lie.

As for Hicks' bizarre detour onto the topic of Victor Navasky's views on Lee Harvey Oswald, I really haven't got a clue what possible relevance that has to the current controversy. Next to weigh in on that controversy was someone named "Pondo," who billed himself as "President, USA Exile Govt." Pondo's message, which took the form of an open letter to Michael Ruppert, was posted to the 911TruthAlliance RiseUp list:


But mainly I'm writing you now to suggest you be a Good Sport and graciously award your Friday slot at the 9/11 Inquiry to this chap McGowan, who'd been invited to speak, said yes, then fell through the cracks of an innocent glitch. You'll have lots of opportunity to oppose his views during your Saturday slot. Your own attitude towards 9/11 has changed so much in that past year that you're no longer more than slightly-to-moderately relevant to a 9/11 gathering. I was quite shocked to learn that you'd spent only "about one minute total on 9/11 issues" at that March 13 LA gathering. And when you do get into it, you rarely these days talk about how (e.g., stand-down of interceptor aircraft, controlled demolitions of WTC buildings #1, #2 and #7) it happened but instead only why (e.g., Peak Oil).

By giving up your Friday slot, you'll show all of us that you believe in egalitarian societies and also in equal time for folks with contrasting views within a controversy. Everybody will go: "Hey, wasn't that Big of Mike to give Dave his slot?" Besides, you'll make Carol's enormously strenuous job a lot easier.

Which reminds me: I wanna suggest--absolutely as gently as I can--that you admonish your From-The-Wilderness staff to start backing away from depicting you as a Living God, which was very much their tone in their March 13 report. Point out to them that they're not doing you a favor because LivingGod and LaughingStock may seem like polar opposites but in fact are adjacent points on a circle.

Pondo's irreverent posting drew a quick and vitriolic response from Mark Robinowitz, the webmaster of

To the list moderator:
I agree with the generally recognized consensus on this list that excessively snide remarks, insinuations that fellow activists are
paid agents and the like are grounds for removal from this list.

The term for this is "snitch jacket" - a false accusation that a hard working activist is actually an agent provocateur. It is a tried and tested COINTELPRO tactic, and is extremely toxic - and I would urge that it not be tolerated on this list at all (or at the Inquiry). This is VERY different from having serious differences of opinion with people.

In my view, the expulsion of the "Government of Pondo" from the list should include those who post his outrageously obnoxious writings to the list, which seem only designed to inflame.

It's been my experience in two decades of activism that when anyone starts to become successful in their efforts, there will always be people on the sidelines who are jealous of other people's work, and will seek to discredit or otherwise nullify their impact because THEY aren't the ones getting credit. It's a sad aspect of human nature, it seems.

As for Dave McGowan, he is a mixed bag -- some of his early writings on 9/11 were very good, but his recent diatribes are full of character assassination and not very useful in advancing the state of knowledge of anything. His recent writings on oil supplies are particularly unhelpful, and mixed with personal attacks that are not the type of productive dialogue that we can have this weekend if we don't get sidetracked with these sorts of things. Not all issues gain more understanding by having a "yes / no" argument - especially when the attackers resort to snotty personal attacks as a major form of intellectual argument.

Plus, McGowan's views are a bit strange, even for the 9/11 community -- he has a defense of Stalinism at Creating a non-existent controversy seems to be the modus operandi for disrupting the Inquiry.

Perhaps the fringe of the fringe can organize their own conference, with their own money and time, and see who, if anyone, wants to attend.

I had never heard of Mr. Robinowitz, so I decided to drop by his website for a visit. What I found there, to borrow a phrase, was a decidedly mixed bag. Prominently featured on the site, of course, was all the latest 'Peak Oil' news. But there was some quality commentary as well, including some by a guy by the name of Dave McGowan. On Mr. Robinowitz's home page, for example, is a direct link to my Newsletter #44. Elsewhere on the site, he has posted a lengthy excerpt from my Newsletter #43, with a link to the original posting. Both of those newsletters, strangely enough, were posted after Newsletter #38, which Mr. Robinowitz apparently found so troubling.

I guess my first question then for Mr. Robinowitz would be: If I am, as you claim, a Stalinist COINTELPRO operative who exists on the "fringe of the fringe," and if you are, nevertheless, promoting my work on your website, then what exactly does that make you?

Robinowitz was not the only one to respond to Pondo's missive. The big man himself, the man to whom it was addressed, the Godfather of 9-11 research, weighed in as well:

Has it occurred to anyone that the LA event on March 13th was not a 9/11 event but a Cynthia McKinney event? The object is to get her back into congress where she can be much more effective than outside of Congress. Getting a wide range of people to vote for and contribute to her involves a great deal more than just 9/11.

Anyone who thinks I have lost the fire in my belly should come to San Francisco and see for themselves.

Dave McGowan isn't getting a second of my time. He doesn't deserve it. and "President Pondo" should probably go back on his medication.

So apparently Ruppert has completely lost interest in any sort of a debate. And why bother? As Robinowitz observed, "Not all issues gain more understanding by having a 'yes / no' argument." There is obviously only one side to this particular story, and Ruppert already has it covered.

This final words here belong to Vic, who sent this missive out in defense of Pondo:

I agree that suggestions that people are paid agents with no evidence are going to cause more harm than good. On the other hand, no actual paid agent could be exposed if no one were allowed to present their case for such a situation, should they believe they have evidence. Thus, rather than simply putting a lid on everything that might upset people, maybe a list member who has strong suspicions or concerns about others should be allowed to have their say within limits.


Accusations that are ongoing and baseless, of course, need to come to a conclusion and be minimized. But I disagree that all accusations should be grounds for removal from the list. To imply that Pondo is a classic snitch jacket and jealous from the sidelines, to me, is incorrect. I see him as concerned, angry and frustrated. His manner of responding is his own.

To me, it looks like McGowen has given a lot of serious consideration to the topic he's currently debating, and a number of people are interested in his points. I'm personally not following all the details because I am focusing elsewhere and it takes up a huge amount of time. I'd rather go listen to one talk of Mike's and - if it were possible - listen to one talk of McGowen's, or a debate between them if Mike thought it were worth his time (although it sounds like he doesn't). I prefer debate to being a passive listener, and I understand that Mike might not want to debate people he feels have not made serious efforts at research. In our Social Justice Committee at the Berkeley Fellowship, we discourage having single speakers present their work to a passive audience without the allowance for dissent or alternative views. Often, debate is how people learn best about issues. I know for myself, as a researcher, when topics are in debate, it often advances the work, rather than stifles it - more time of course, but everyone benefits from the more reliable and valid data that often emerges. I generally don't take as a given that just because someone is who they are, that their work is 'it.' I like to see for myself, and to hear a variety of views.

I also would discourage people from calling others the 'fringe of the fringe.' Everyone on here is working on what is meaningful to them and none of us have all the answers. Some of us are organizers and some of us are researchers and some of us are handing our fliers, stapling signs on sticks, and sending emails. We are all contributing what we can.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is important to remember here, dear readers, that all of this - all the duplicity, all the vitriol, all the slander and libel, all the attempted character assassinations (not just in this newsletter, but in #53, #54, and #56 as well) - has come about because of just a single posting that I put up on my website some three weeks ago. And that posting was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a personal attack on anyone. It was simply a challenge to the notion that petroleum is a 'fossil fuel.'

I have already posed a series of questions for the 'Peak Oil' crowd, all of them pertaining to the deception employed to sell the concept: Why are we being deceived about the true origins of oil and gas? Why are we being deceived about who is really behind the notion of 'Peak Oil'? And why are we being deceived about the viability of various alternative energy sources?

To those questions I now need to add another, equally important, question: Why is such a concerted effort being made to silence and discredit anyone who challenges the 'Peak Oil' theory?

I will be patiently awaiting answers to those questions from the 'Peak Oil' Team. And I will be patiently awaiting my invitation to speak at the second part of the 9-11 conference, to be held in Toronto.

Dave McGowan

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