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Kook Congress

This ornery oriole's been crowin' loud and proud ("Denier's Conference," February 1) over the fallout from its revelation that Eric D. Williams, former director of this weekend's 9/11 Accountability Conference in Chandler, is a Grade-A Holocaust denier, with a book to prove it. Williams' The Puzzle of Auschwitz posits that Jews were not systematically murdered by the Nazis during World War II, and Auschwitz was just a forced labor camp, with no killer gas chambers.

Hey, who better to head up a kook congress that asserts 9/11 was an inside job, with controlled demolitions and drone planes instead of hijacked aircraft?

Initially, Williams told this incredulous ibis that he figured fellow 9/11 deniers would be open to his Shoah-shirking ideas. In anticipation of The Bird's column on him, Williams posted a free PDF file of The Puzzle of Auschwitz on his personal Web site.

But the reaction to Williams' tome was swift and negative. His co-organizer Kent "Cow Killer" Knudson, himself a convicted felon for shooting down some poor milk-maker that'd wandered onto his property, tried to distance himself from Williams. Knudson declared Williams was never in charge of the conference, though the conference's site, www.911accountability.org, had listed Williams as Conference Director and Webmaster. Williams also coordinated vendors, having checks made payable to him and sent to his Ohio address. He even owned the Web site itself.

Not long after The Bird's column hit, Williams demoted himself to "Vendor Coordinator." Then he took himself out completely, or appeared to do so. In a statement on his site www.whatreallyisthematrix.com, Williams painted himself as a martyr to free speech, claiming, "The only thing I am guilty of [is] Thought Crime." Williams also pulled the PDF of his book from his Web site and withdrew it from sale via the online vanity press Lulu.com.

The aforementioned 911accountability.org put up a note insisting that Williams was finito and that "The 911 Accountability Conference does not support Holocaust denial." All the same, attendees immediately began finding excuses not to show. First to go: local libertarian radio jock Charles Goyette of KFNX-AM 1100. Goyette said he'd never confirmed to begin with. Nonetheless, the conference had posted his picture and bio online as part of its list of "Confirmed Speakers."

The AZ ACLU's Alessandra Soler Meetze thought she'd be talking about post-9/11 civil liberties. She soon discovered Knudson had signed her up for some wack-assed "Citizens Grand Jury," and she bailed. After doing so, she confided to this chatty chickadee that e-mails to her from Knudson had been copied to Eric Williams, making this warbler wonder whether Williams might still be active behind the scenes.

Following the Goyette and Meetze departures, some of the 9/11 denial movement's chief crackpots took a powder. Dylan Avery, director of the screwy-but-seminal 9/11 flick Loose Change, pulled the plug on his participation, "due to the involvement of Eric D. Williams." Also, Alex Jones, one of the most maniacal of 9/11 moonbats, flaked. (Jones believes, for example, that the world's leaders engage in occult ceremonies at clandestine gatherings.) Perhaps Holocaust denial was too much even for someone as out-there as Jones, or maybe Jones had a hot date that weekend. His reasons were not specified.

Despite the defections and the efforts of conference organizers to disassociate themselves from Williams, the stigma of Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and general lunacy clings to this symposium. As has been reported in the The Bird's alter ego's blog, Feathered Bastard, one of the conspiracy nuts slated to be on hand is Kevin Barrett, a controversial sometime lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Wisconsin. Though Barrett proclaimed to this heron that he's not a Holocaust-denier, his off-color commentary on the Final Solution was cited by Dylan Avery as one reason he wasn't attending. In an e-mail published on the Web site www.oilempire.us, Barrett said he could not dismiss the propaganda of Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Ernst Zundel, the latter of whom's currently doing five years in a German clink for anti-Semitic agitating.

"Even if the 6-million-deliberately-murdered-for-purely-ethnic-reasons figure is correct — which it very well may be," writes Barrett in the e-mail, "I have grown agnostic on that after studying the Big Lies of Zionism, I would still have to characterize the Holocaust as it is taught in the U.S. as a hideously destructive myth."

The daffy don informed this skeptical swallow that for him, a "myth" is a sacred story its users "believe to be true." (You know, like the Tooth Fairy.) Barrett also assured The Bird that he was just jerking the chain of his e-mail's addressee, and that he accepts the Holocaust tale as told by historians. No, really!

Barrett's another example of a thread running through much of the 9/11 denial movement. See, just before The Bird broke the Williams story with the help of Pat Curley of ScrewLooseChange.blogspot.com, CNN's Paula Zahn devoted a whole segment of her show to anti-Semitism in the 9/11 conspiracy crowd, from the malicious rumor that Gotham Jews were warned before 9/11 to stay home to the allegation that agents of the Israeli Mossad organized the attacks. Additionally, anti-Semitic sources are often cited as authorities by 9/11 deniers — real creepazoids like conspiracy maven Eric Hufschmid, whose 9/11 site www.erichufschmid.net contends that "Zionists" pull the strings of white supremacist groups.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons