Nov. 1, 2004 — -- More than three years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the skeptics are still out there, and despite a massive government investigation into the causes, threats and government response, in the final days before the presidential election, the doubters have been making more noise.
One organization, reopen911.org, has launched an ad campaign calling for a new investigation into what happened on Sept. 11, and another group, 911truth.org, is filing a formal complaint with the New York state attorney general, seeking a criminal investigation.
Conspiracy theories about the attacks began brewing while the ashes of the World Trade Center were still smoldering, and have grown into a booming cottage industry, with countless books, Web sites and videos devoted to the subject.
For some people, the questions about what happened have not been resolved, and the report released by the 9/11 Independent Commission did nothing to put them to rest. For some, it only caused more frustration.
Jimmy Walters, the man behind the campaign that has placed commercials showing the collapsing buildings at the World Trade Center and a computer-generated image of the plane that hit the Pentagon on television in New York, and full-page print ads in newspapers across the country, said he has a definite political aim.
"If George W. Bush is re-elected, I don't think we'll get anything done," he said.
And Walters, who is also the founder and president of the Walden Three Project, which promotes the development of sustainable cities and grew out of his attempt to write a science fiction novel in Hong Kong, said his feelings about what happened have gone from believing that the government bore responsibility for "an error of omission" to a belief that there had to be government involvement in the attacks on some level.
"We were terrorized and it wasn't 19 screw-ups with box cutters from Saudi Arabia," he said. "It had to be somebody bigger, better organized."
His conspiracy theory involves secret U.S. government operatives boarding the four hijacked planes, which he said were then secretly landed and replaced in the skies by remote-controlled drones that were then crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, all to create a pretext for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Walters commissioned a Zogby International poll in August to ask people in New York about their feelings regarding the Sept. 11 attacks and the investigation. He said the poll said 66 percent of New Yorkers want the investigation to be reopened.
That poll was a spark to others who also have held on to their doubts about who was responsible for the attacks.
David Kubiak, the executive director of 911truth.org, said that while members of the organization, which is based in New York and has chapters in two dozen cities across the country, may have their own beliefs about what happened, there is no agenda beyond getting more information involved in the move to have New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigate.
"Everybody's got a theory," he said. "As an organization, all we say is there are an extreme number of lines of inquiry to what they call probable cause that a crime has been committed. The feelings of members ranges from disgust to outrage that these questions haven't been addressed."
And he said that the timing of the filing of the complaint had nothing to do with the election Tuesday.
"It was kicked off after the Zogby poll came out and it's just a matter of logistics," he said. "It could have taken a week less or a week more. Whoever is elected, we want this to be on the front of the stove for the next term."
A spokesman for Spitzer's office said the complaint had been received and would be reviewed but refused to comment further.
The group also released what it calls the 9/11 Truth Statement, which it said is "a call for immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur."
The people who signed the statement, the group says, include presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former U.S. Ambassador and Chief of Mission to Iraq Edward Peck, as well as 49 family members of victims of the attacks.
Besides the poll, dissatisfaction with the 9/11 Independent Commission report spurred the group to release the Truth Statement and to seek a criminal investigation by Spitzer's office, Kubiak said.
The commission failed to answer the vast majority of the 383 questions the 9/11 Families Steering Committee submitted to it, and did not address 70 percent of them, Kubiak said.
The 9/11 Families Steering Committee was not involved in the actions of the 911truth.org, said Kristen Breitweiser, one of the members of the families' group.
"We have absolutely no affiliation with these people," she said.