While the rest of the civilized world was at home Sunday watching Marty Scorsese finally win an Oscar, I was hanging out with the conspiranuts at the Chandler 9/11 conference, and though I have only limited time because I'm on deadline this morning, I felt I should make a very brief report here. I'll follow up later, after I'm off deadline, with a more detailed account.
Holocaust denier Eric Williams was present and he did have a booth where he was selling his T-shirts, DVDs, and books -- all but his infamous The Puzzle of Auschwitz. I spoke to him, and he informed me that he was planning to re-release his Shoah-shirking tome due to popular demand. He also told me he'd made a nice bit of scratch at the conference, and I believe him because one guy was writing him a check for some merch as I approached. He seemed quite proud of the fact that conference keynote speaker Meria Heller had quoted him so glowingly during her Friday address.
I later learned from some disgruntled symposium participants that Williams had been invited up onstage by NY activist Janette MacKinlay during a "9/11 Unity" panel talk earlier in the day, which according to the schedule also included Kevin "the Holocaust's a myth, bubee" Barrett, conference leader Kent "Cow Killer" Knudson, and Steven "this is the only way I can make a name for myself" Jones. Williams even addressed the crowd briefly. So much for statements by Knudson that Williams was "out," and assurances on 911Accountability.org that Williams had "stepped down from involvement in the 9/11 Accountability Conference." According to Sham Rao (sp?), who called himself, "Kent's right hand man," Williams was allowed to have his booth and participate because of the work he'd done before being ousted as the Conference Director and Web master. Uh, so much for "accountability."
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Several attendees told me that Williams had become a divisive issue for the conference, and that a number of conference-goers were pissed he'd been allowed to be there. Volunteer organizer Pete Creelman, who is himself Jewish, seemed especially embarrassed by Williams getting up on stage for the Unity thing.
"That wasn't good," he admitted. "I would agree. I don't think he should've been invited up on the platform in view of all that's happened."
To sum up for the moment, not everyone present was a complete fruitcake. There were some relatively sane folks there such as Philly attorney Phil Berg and others. And one attendee from Boston, Mark McKertich, actually bought me a couple of beers at the Crown Plaza San Marcos bar! But otherwise, it was nutbar city, as some of these videos that were on sale at one vendor booth reveal. I didn't make the conference Saturday, but I'll have more from my Sunday visit later today or this evening.