Conspiracies R Us

L.A.Weekly/October 19, 2001
By Steven Mikulan

The three dots on the hand-lettered sign were an invitation, courtesy of Lyndon LaRouche's newest presidential campaign, for us to consider the conspiratorial possibilities of September 11. These are heady times for paranoids, and if the last five weeks have been wrenching for the average person, they are days of wine and roses for conspiracy theorists. LaRouche, you will recall, is the demagogue from the Outer Limits who, over a long career, penned a pamphlet titled, "Kissinger, the Politics of Faggotry," claimed co-authorship of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars program, and accused the British monarchy of being behind both international drug trafficking and the Oklahoma City bombing.

One thing, in fact, that seems to unite conspiracy buffs on the left and the right is the reflexive assumption that the people most apparently responsible for the great crimes of the last half-century were actually patsies set up by powerful, wingéd forces operating inside history's control towers. No wonder that Montez, one of two LaRouche activists manning a literature-laden table in front of the Wilcox Avenue post office, doesn't believe that Osama bin Laden was behind September's terror attacks. Well, not "directly responsible" - the real culprits, he says, are "warfare networks located in New York, London and Israel." Terrorist acts, he explains, "are financed by countries that don't want world economic cooperation."

Montez and a fellow LaRouche supporter have been manning their table in the hot sun for a week, while a few blocks away another outfit operates its own September 11 spin in air-conditioned comfort. The Scientology-fronted Citizens Commission on Human Rights' professed role is to alert the citizenry to the dangers of psychiatry - its big picture windows in the old Yale Electronics store on Sunset Boulevard are dominated by posters depicting a man undergoing painful electric-shock treatment. Since the beginning of this month, CCHR has been trying to associate the September 11 attacks and their aftermath with evil shrinks.

While CCHR's press releases sound a reasonable tone by denouncing the over-prescribing of psychiatric drugs, they then move to uncertain ground by pointing out that Osama bin Laden's lieutenant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is an Egyptian psychiatrist and that African-embassy bomber Ali A. Mohamed is a psychologist. (Jane's Intelligence Review calls Al-Zawahiri a former pediatrician and nowhere in the growing mountains of reports about al Qaeda is Mohamed described as anything but a former U.S. Army sergeant who trained bin Laden's militia.) From there, CCHR makes the jump that Al-Zawahiri and Mohamed (who has been in prison since 1998) "are capable of using drugs and other mental techniques to create suicide bombers convinced of the glory of sacrifice and dying." In other words, the hijackers' meds made them do it, not Allah.

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