This week marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Every day brings us farther from the events of that September morning, but still there are some who believe they are getting closer. Closer to the truth, or something like it, closer to a story they believe has been hidden for a decade, closer to galvanizing the American people to reject the official account and consider a more insidious narrative. They're holding international hearings to mark the 10-year anniversary. They're running television advertisements. The truthers? They're not going anywhere.
The so-called 9/11 Truth Movement encompasses a wide spectrum, from those who question certain aspects of the generally accepted US government account, to those who believe government officials lied en masse to cover up their own incompetence, to those who firmly believe that what happened on September 11, 2001, was an inside job. "[E]lements within the US government must have been involved in facilitating or orchestrating the attacks — in other words . . . 9/11 was possibly a classic case of 'false-flag' or synthetic terrorism, such as corrupt states have often perpetrated on their own citizens," it says at 911truth.org, the primary Internet portal to the truther universe.
That universe has grown since the days just after 9/11; what started as a motley crew of online skeptics is now a worldwide network of doubters, some of whom cite their academic, scientific, and political credentials as reason to believe. (Still, though, the Internet serves as their gateway and gathering place.)
There are the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (perhaps the most authoritative association of truthers), the NYC Coalition for Accountability Now (an assemblage of more than 100 9/11 family members, survivors, and first responders calling for a new investigation), Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth . . . the list goes on.
And yes, there is a Maine 9/11 Truth organization. It's really just a website manned by one Stephen Shaw, a tall, silver-haired, lanky man from Brunswick. A professorial type, with a gentle handshake and speaking voice, who happens to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that "our country is being run by the perpetrators of 9/11 and eventually they want to run the world."
Shaw, 56, is originally from Maryland and moved to Maine 12 years ago to help take care of his ailing father. He's got a degree in biology, has worked in several jobs over the last decade, and is currently writing a book on "the science of social corruption entitled 9/11 and the Logic of Social Systems." He is unmarried and close with his siblings; while he and his sister have a tacit agreement not to discuss this topic, he acknowledges that it has become something of a yardstick in his general social life — is someone "big enough to take this issue seriously?" he asks himself about the people around him.
"I have a sobering perspective to share," Shaw wrote in a Brunswick Times Record opinion piece two years ago, on the eighth anniversary of the attacks. "I have discovered that to openly reexamine the events of 9/11 is to be introduced to the possibility that the darkest Machiavellian logic may be at work below the surface of this powerful nation of ours. To probe the facts of that day is to discover abundant evidence of a fraud of mind-boggling proportions: that a faction within our own government must have been central to the planning and execution of the attacks."