by Ted Manna
American Reporter Correspondent
November 12, 2007
PUNCHES, CHARGES AND CHEERS AT A GIULIANI RALLY
DENVER, Nov. 11, 2007 -- The event at the Loveland Coffee Shop here was meant to be nothing more thasn a political sop to star-struck local contributors outside Denver who longed for the sight of America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. But an innocuous meet-and-greet that attracted an overflow crowd suddenly turned ugly when Giuliani supporters grew antagonistic and abusive towards a small group of demonstrators, punching one.
Pushing and shoving one of the hecklers off the chair he was using as a podium to engage Giulliani, and applauding while members of the group were escorted to the street, the stern-faced crowd loudly continued their attacks against the protesters' free speech all the way to the fringes of the parking lot outside the coffeehouse.
Drowning out the doubters with cheers of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" was not enough. Some of the crowd complained vocally and physically, punching Sander Hicks and yelling "Tase him" as he wasdragged out the doorway. Hicks was a candidate for the Green Party nomination for New York's U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Clinton and a art-punk rock singer in a band called White Collar Crime.
Most of the crowd couldn't hear Giuliani, the leading Republican presidential candidate, as he softly answered questions about his recommendation of disgraced former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerick as head of Homeland Security. Confrontational politics quickly brought out the vitriol in otherwise passive spectators, though.
Exuding the confidence of a frontrunner and former mayor of one of America's largest cities with a slew of accomplishments to his credit, the ex-mayor was unruffled. But questions remain as to who knew what, when, after the Twin Towers were attacked in 1992 and again on Sept. 11, 2001, both times on Giuliani's watch, and over why a 52-story adjoining office building called World Trade Center 7 pancaked onto the street seven hours after the second tower's collapse.
Those questions rile the Giuliani campaign, which has emphasized his real-life experience in the war on terrorists. Millions of Americans remember him marching through the ashes of Wall Street, shouting orders and shooing away photographers as he navigated through the city's greatest day of crisis.
But the demonstrators believe Giuliani may have had a role - whether of omission or comission they are uncertain - in the attacks on the towers. Many dismiss their claims out of hand, but some recall the poor decisions and intelligence errors that preceded Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and wonder if the same thing might have happened again.
Rob Weiland, one of the founders of a growing nationwide grassroots organization called Loose Change, charged that Giuliani and others are corrupt, and that some officials knew beforehand of the Sept. 11 attacks by Arab airplane hijackers on the World Trade Center.
On Saturday, he screamed at Giuliani that he was a "liar and a criminal." By Sunday afternoon, the rhetoric had cooled somewhat.
Weiland spoke to the American Reporter Sunday afternoon on Denver's 16th Street Mall. Dressed in a Vice President Dick Cheney Halloween mask and Darth Vader suit, while other members of the group demonstrated and held up signs, shouting slogans like "9/11 was an inside job" and "9/11 Truth Now!" at passing motorists and pedestrians along the city's reclaimed downtown core, the self-described "little guy" and Denver bicycle courier finally had a chance to tell his side of the burgeoning issue.
"I've looked at the facts, and the official government story is undoubtedly a lie. Most people come to that conclusion. All we're asking is that people research the facts for themselves and make their own decisions," Weiland said.
Convincing people that Giuliani was somehow responsible for 9/11 or was part of a conspiracy is a hard sell. Giuliani lost some very close friends on that day, as he led a group of officials away from the rumbling thunderclouds of concrete dust.
Much of the skeptics' doubts revolve around the collapse of one building.
"Giuliani told Peter Jennings on national tv that he had been heard saying that Building 7 would come down and moved his people out," Weiland claimed. "When asked about it [by an affiliate, We Are Change New York] he denied knowing that Building 7 even would come down." In Loveland, Giuliani again said the charges are not true. But engineering officials still wonder what caused the 80-story building's collapse.
The group didn't seem to tarnish Giuliani's charisma, and his admission that "I made a mistake" with Kerick drew applause. "There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there. They are wrong," he said. But the record does show that his error in judgment almost placed an apparently dishonest man with mob ties in the post that holds frontline responsibility for ensuring America's safety from terrorism.
Tim Bieligk, a Republican from Evergreen, Colo., was unstinting in his support for Giuliani, though.
"I believe America's Mayor is poised to fight the war on terror. I believe he has crisis management experience, and he is one of the most successful mayors in the history of this country. I believe Rudy Giuliani embodies American values, including the value of work, the value of family and we believe in those values here in Colorado."
Meanwhile, the demonstrators got front-page attention in the local editions of Saturday's Denver Post and also were seen and heard on Fox News and other channels here.
A forthcoming documentary by filmmaker Jonathan Elinoff, some four years in the making and featuring new footage of people Elinoff has interviewed all over the country, is also being released soon, the filmmaker said Sunday.
"We Are Change Colorado is attempting to make public the cover-up of September 11 and possiblycomplicit, treasonous public officials. We can prove with our presentations, videos and news articles that there is an active cover-up of the information pertaining to prior knowledge of the attacks," Elinoff said in a written statement to The American Reporter Sunday night.
"To date, some 28 credible persons are either under gag orders or are being silenced in their attempt to tell the public their stories. Many of the individuals are FBI agents, Wall street insiders, CIA counselors, eyewitnesses, respected journalists, former and current military and political officials, and numerous attorneys," he said.
"We are Change Colorado is confronting politicians to educate them about our research. In turn, they are asking questions that are fair, important and deserve answers. Our movement is not populated by people who claim to explain what happened, but rather raise very useful questions that were not answered by the 911 Commission, which our Website, WeAreChangeColorado.org is prepared to expose as a whitewash," his written statement said.
There are now chapters of Loose Change, which got its name from a 9/11 documentary of the same name by Aaron Russo, in a dozen or so major cities, and there are indications that their message is catching on with people in their mid-20's who might have been fighting for other obscure and controversial causes at conventions four and eight years ago. Umbrella groups such as Loose Change may accommodate people from just about every vein of political belief except the Nazis.
The demonstrators' skimpy literature is enthusiastic about films by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Aaron Russo, and followers of Russo and 9/11 filmmaker Alex Jones often cite the work of a figure almost as controversial as Scientology, Lyndon LaRouche, on their blogs and Websites. LaRouche has been on the left and right of the two parties for almost 70 years now.
Larouche, whose highly successful fundraising operation is headquartered in Washington and runs for President every four years, was jailed in the 1988 for federal tax fraud and paroled in 1994. His politically eclectic U.S. Labor Party and related groups are of the same mind with respect to 9/11, and the Larouche Youth Movement is associated with harangues much like those of the demonstrators.
Weiland, asked if his group was associated with LaRouche, hesitated before answering.
"I have never heard that name," he finally said. He seemed sincere.
Social activism is likely to confront the Democratic and Republican conventions in many ways next year. But behind the technology, under the subterfuges and beneath the masks, both parties are going to perceive a growing radicalism that within a generation has become far more sophisticated but remained just as angry and disenchanted with both parties - and the American Dream - as ever before. They will be harder than ever to recognize, to marginalize, and to ignore. Sometimes, despite themselves, they may be right.
Giuliani, stopped by one demonstrator who identified himself as Editor of the New York Megaphone, shook the man's hand and then couldn't get his own back. "Let go of my hand," Giuliani demanded twice, and shook himself loose.