“Peace,War, and 9/11”: A Cinematic Portrait of Graeme MacQueen, a Warrior for Peace

It is one thing to read a review of this important and compelling film – a tour de force – and another to watch it.  The former fades into insignificance when one takes an hour-and-a-half to immerse oneself in its tragic yet revelatory story.  For in it we see and hear a dying man speak eloquently of how he accepted the role that life brought him – a 9/11 truthteller and peace apostle – and now, as he departs the stage, hopes this last effort will ease his exit and help fulfill his mission as a man of peace.

Because Graeme MacQueen was my close friend for the last ten years of his life, I found it very hard to watch this film since his death on April 25th is still raw and painful.  For more than three years he suffered greatly and yet found the strength to cooperate with his colleague Ted Walter in the making of this important film.  Walter’s direction admirably portrays MacQueen’s nobility by having Graeme narrate his life’s work interspersed with documentary footage that illuminates the truth about many issues, most notably the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attacks.  The result is a very powerful and important lesson in personal courage and historical truth.

From the opening scenes we see Graeme tell it bluntly and hopefully: that the official story of 9/11 is a fraud, and that because his life’s work has been to oppose war, he hopes he has fulfilled his “mission.”  Humble as he was, it is inspiring to hear him speak of his mission, which is another word for vocation or calling, a mystery beyond analysis.

A long-time professor of religious studies at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada where he was the Founding Director of the Center for Peace Studies and a Buddhist scholar, he was also a peace activist, who traveled to El Salvador and worked with peace groups to learn for himself the truth about other conflicts and help resolve them.  His writing and research were meticulously logical and evidence based to a fault, and it would be impossible to accuse him of ever reaching rash conclusions based on speculation.

While there are powerful documentaries that focus exclusively on facts and are narrated by omniscient and objective narrators, Peace, War, and 9/11, while also based on proven facts, is doubly powerful because it is told by a man whose personal story is a moving example of one who, from a young age, was inspired by a reverence for life and the embrace of non-violence, and whose vocation long preceded his scholarly and anti-war pursuits.

The documentary footage begins with a clip from President John Kennedy’s indispensable American University speech of June 10, 1963 where he appeals for an end to the Cold War, the abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of a Pax Americana, and the establishment of a genuine peace: “. . . the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living – the kind that enables men and women to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.”  This clip sets the stage for all that follows, for it is implied that this speech, among his other anti-war actions, led to JFK’s assassination by the CIA.  The film makes similar points about the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy.  The point is clear: Peacemaking is a dangerous activity, but it is necessary if we are to reverence life and live by conscience.

To listen to MacQueen give his analysis of war as a system, at times cold and others hot, not one event but a series of events – a tumor on human society as he describes it (echoing the tumors that are killing him) – is to receive a concise lesson on war and peace.  The film illustrates his words with powerful footage from Vietnam, the Tonkin Gulf, Pearl Harbor, the words of the warmaking class, etc. all leading to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

He explains how his suspicions about those events gradually grew until in 2005 he read an article by David Ray Griffin that startled him.  It was about the testimony of New York City firefighters who heard explosions in the Twin Towers. This prompted him to pursue what his scholarship had prepared him for: the careful pursuit of textual analysis in pursuit of evidence, and so he read the 12,000 pages of the World Trade Center task force report only to discover that 118 NY firefighters talked about explosions throughout the towers and 10 did not. The more he studied, the more he found additional eyewitness, such as police officers, to bring the number to 156.  Such eye witness testimony, reinforced by the first reports from television announcers kept adding up, as thermite was found in the dust of the towers.  The evidence for controlled demolition of the buildings kept increasing; he concludes that “the evidence is overwhelming.” His words are supported by confirmatory video from many of the people he mentions.  This video testimony makes this film so powerful.

From there he dissects the same day emergence of the official narrative which blamed Osama bin Laden for 9/11 without any evidence to support it.  It became the propaganda narrative of good versus evil.  Evidence for the alleged 19 hijackers was not produced, then or ever.  War was simply declared against the bad guys, who were declared guilty by fiat.

Finally, Graeme analyzes the anthrax letters that were sent in the weeks following September 11.  Only five people died but the effects were profound.  He leads the viewer through his important research as presented in The 2001 Anthrax Deception.  His book shows conclusively that the anthrax attacks were an inside job coming from a U.S. government lab, not an Al-Qaeda operation.  Nevertheless, this led to the Patriot Act, the invasion of Afghanistan, and in 2003 the invasion of Iraq, although all were based on lies.  And significantly, if the anthrax attacks were an inside job which he conclusively proves, so too were those of September 11th, as some of the alleged hijackers, particularly the leader Mohamed Atta, were involved in the anthrax deceptions.

He concludes by saying many people don’t get the deep state because they can’t imagine treachery of this kind and scope.  He accuses many traditional leftists of falling down on the job of showing how 9/11 was a propaganda coup based on “mendacity and deception.”  Many such leftists who have often been critics of U.S. domestic and foreign policy – and we are shown pictures of Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, Glen Greenwald, et al. – have also refused to even discuss the matter.  This Graeme says “is probably from fears of looking ridiculous and admitting you were wrong for years and years on a really important topic.”  Here I must disagree with my dear friend, for this seems to me false, for these same people could have examined the evidence as Graeme did when he jumped into his research starting in 2005.  They adamantly refused then and now and so have given cover for the justification of the endless U.S. wars on terror that are ongoing.  I do not believe this was because of “looking ridiculous.”  It is more insidious than that.

We see an interview with General Wesley Clarke who says he was shown a paper in the Pentagon in late September 2001 where he was informed that the U.S. was not going to just invade Afghanistan but Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finally Iran.  Graeme makes clear that any country that dares to resist the U.S. “and our Israeli companions” will be attacked and destroyed.  This is the war system at work.  It is, as he says, all about collective punishment; the warfare states will attack you and kill you in large numbers even if you individually have had nothing to do with any of this.  Systemic killing is at the heart of this state terrorism, as the Israeli massacres of Palestinians has long shown, even as I write.

To cap off his analysis, we are shown video of the collapse of Building 7 at the World Trade Center.  It was not hit by a plane and came down in free-fall speed at 5:20 P.M.  It was clearly taken down by controlled demolition and its fall was predicted by 60 firefighters in advance.  It was the final crime committed that day, one that it has taken many people years to discover, if they have.

“We haven’t tried very hard to abolish war,” Graeme says at the end.  It is “this mutually reinforcing tumor on societies” that many don’t understand because of its systemic nature and because they don’t take the time to read and study closely all the official narratives that explain it as unavoidable.  These are lies.  Yet just as 19th century crusaders for justice finally abolished slavery and started a gradual process to try to stop wars – to no avail – the fight goes on.  As JFK said at American University, “We all cherish our children’s future.  And we are all mortal.”

This deeply moving film will elucidate and edify those who care for the world’s children.  While one man’s story, it is universal.  Graeme MacQueen has departed this earth, but he has fulfilled his mission as a man of peace.  “You do your best,” he tells us.  What more can we ask of him, and ourselves as well.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

“Peace, War, and 9/11” can be viewed here and here.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.