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High-profile members of Scholars for 9/11 Truth get shouted down by Sean Hannity, are mostly ignored by mainstream news organizations and have their comments accompanied by the Twilight Zone theme on corporate-owned Air America. So Aaron Haley and Joe Dunlap have come up with a different way to get the word out: they knock on doors and pass out invitations to free movie screenings.
"It's important to reach out to all local people," says Dunlap. "We don't want to take the sledgehammer approach. We're not trying to send a message. We are trying not to be too political. We love to get questions."
Their next chance comes Aug. 5 when they host their second 9/11 Truth Summer Night Screening.
The venue: the courtyard of their Huntington Beach apartment complex.
"I'm hoping for fresh faces," Dunlap says. "I'm hoping some people show up who will challenge what they are watching. We're just asking people to stop and look at what all the data and video show."
Haley concedes that 9/11 is a taboo subject that's prone to divide people, but questions are being raised and the public deserves answers.
"It's hard for us to realize that this isn't getting out," Haley said.
In conversation, both frequently cite the work of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a group of about 300 faculty, students and scholars, that questions the official account of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The group has petitioned Congress for access to evidence that would allow them to study whether explosives were used to bring down the buildings.
The Aug. 5 screening in Huntington Beach will focus on the work of Steven E. Jones, a professor of physics at Brigham Young University, who balked when he was first asked to join Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Then he saw footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center's Building 7. A relatively squat 47 stories, Building 7 was as wide as it was tall. Though it was not hit by either of the two planes that hit the Twin Towers, Building 7 collapsed in 6.6 seconds—0.6 seconds quicker than Jones calculated it would take an object dropped from the roof of the building to hit the floor. Unless it was brought down by explosives, Jones maintains, the collapse of Building 7 violated fundamental laws of physics. Thanks to that video footage, Jones is now the co-chairman of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
But his group has come in for criticism because its member list includes far more professors from the humanities than the sciences, and no structural engineers or Mideast experts. Foes have painted the whole group with the loony brush because some (but not all) members have speculated that U.S. military planes participated in the 9/11 attacks or that a missile—not Flight 77—hit the Pentagon.
It was actually a French video, broadcast widely through the Internet, that brought into question whether a 757 commercial jetliner really struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, that led Haley and Dunlap to become amateur 9/11 Truth hounds. A 30-year-old salesman and part-time film editor, Haley befriended his 42-year-old neighbor Dunlap, who scores music for film and TV, after he noticed a John Kerry sticker on his car. Sharing politics, they'd chat about current events, which led to the Internet and the French video, which led to them collecting their own 9/11 footage.
Now they are on a mission to show it to others.
"This is in the infant stage now," Dunlap says. "This is better than anything you'll see at the local movie theater. All these mystery shows on television are popular right now. This is the hardest mystery to solve of them all.
"The mainstream media is about to acknowledge that it is the five-year anniversary of 9/11, but we know less now than we did on 9/11."
9/11 TRUTH SUMMER NIGHT SCREENING, 1208 HUNTINGTON ST., HUNTINGTON BEACH, (714) 553-1030. AUG. 5, 9-10 P.M. FREE.