As the publisher notes in the introduction "Truth Jihad is the first 9/11 Truth book that is not primarily tasked with proving 9/11 was an inside job." And a good job too. If it was, there is a chance that I would never have read it, and I certainly wouldn't have finished it in two sittings as I did. Such books can be way too much like homework. Having said that, such is Barrett's sense of humour, that even if he had attempted such a tome, it would be unlikely to emerge as a straightforward polemic. The book is divided up into two sections:
Part 1: The making of a Truth Jihadi
As a 9/11 truth activist myself, hearing how other activists got involved and the subsequent consequences for their family and personal lives is compulsive reading, if for no other reason that one can identify deeply with the narrative. So when Barrett says early on that: "I felt I would gladly sacrifice everything I had, everything I knew - even the lives of everyone I knew, the universe itself, the cosmos, EVERYTHING - in an all-out battle to see that the perpetrators of 9/11 did not get away with their crimes," I knew exactly what he meant.
The stories and anecdotes that follow are laugh out loud funny as well illuminating about the man and how he came to be one of the most famous `conspiracy theorists' in America. Take the time in Paris for example where he was asked to act as an Australian born Hollywood producer who had `found' an exciting young Parisian rock group for his next motion picture. It was an elaborate hoax, but that didn't stop them being feted by both of France's leading newsmagazines, its three leading newspapers, at least two of the five television networks, and all the rock n' roll radio shows. The moral? "French people have a deep-seated wish that a French pop music group could do what the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Sex Pistols, and other British groups have done: Make it big in America. Feed them the story that fulfils their wishes and they'll buy it hook, line and sinker. And once they've bitten, they'll never let go."
As an Irishman who was actually born and raised in County Kerry I also had to laugh at his folkloric `Ballad of an Irish Muslim' about his `struggle against the evil hops and barley:'
I was born in County Kerry with a Guinness in me hand
That thick white foam washed o'er me like the waves wash o'er the sand...
They offered me some Guinness and I drank up their supplies
When I told `em I was Muslim, why they couldn't believe their eyes
The said, "What sort of Muslim is this who drinks a dozen pints?"
I said "Ye should've seen me drink before I saw the light!"
Perhaps the most compelling part of the book was when he described his slow metamorphosis into a 9/11 truth activist. Dr. Barrett is largely responsible for the seminal lecture given by David Ray Griffin at the University of Wisconsin Madison in April 2005, an event that was to inspire my first 9/11 event `The New Pearl Harbour: Exploring Conflicting Interpretations of 9/11' in Cork the following November. After contacting dozens of student groups in order to get a room at the University for the event, he finally got one apolitical student group to co-sponsor. (In Cork, we did exactly the same but could find no co-sponsor - in the end the University here just banned the conference on the grounds that MI5 might try to assassinate one of our guests David Shayler! They were nothing if not original.) C-Span then called and the rest as the say is 9/11 truth history. (We got zero coverage in Ireland. Zero.)
What followed that amazing success was the most poignant part of the book. In deference to the effect that his activism was having on his wife and family, Barrett somewhat reluctantly retired from 9/11 truth activism, only to be invited to the DC Convergence conference in July. You can read the book to find out what happened next, but any 9/11 activist, and certainly this one, can relate to the feelings of torn loyalty here.
"To become a 9/11 activist, you have be smart enough to see through the cover-up, sound of heart enough to care, and brave enough to risk social opprobrium or worse. Those who aren't yet brilliant, brave and compassionate, like the scarecrow, tin man and lion at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, self select themselves out. Being in regular contact with such people was and remains a privilege."
Part 2: Selected Screeds
Part 2 is somewhat devoid of the intimacy and emotion of Part 1 and I suppose this is natural given that it includes letters, book reviews, op-eds, short polemics, media appearance transcripts and so on. Some of these I had read in the past couple of years. For purposes of this review I'd simply like to refer the reader to the two that had the most profound effect on me. The first of these is the `The 9/11 Truth Revolution' (P184) written in the wake of Charlie Sheens arrival as a truther, and analyses quite brilliantly the state of play at the time - "As conservative columnist Paul Craig Roberts writes, `the real story is what the people are saying about 9/11.' The second is "Apocalypse of Coercion: Why We Listen to What `They' Say About 9/11" (P170) which `uses Douglas Rushkoff's landmark book Coercion as a touchstone for understanding 9/11 as a psychological warfare operation.' To this day these two are the most memorable articles on 9/11 that I have ever read. Ohh, and I thought the piece on P140 was very interesting too.
Irish Scholars for 9/11 Truth