Today’s Winnipeg Free Press carried a letter to the editor from Leslie Hughes, a journalist who was dropped as a Liberal candidate last week over an article she wrote in 2002 about the motivations behind the invasion of Afghanistan and some of the circumstances surrounding the 911 terrorist attacks in the US. This is what she had to say:
Six years ago, I wrote a column which examined evidence that the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan may have been motivated by the drive for oil and drug profits. As background, I reported that the intelligence agencies of Germany, Israel and Russia all warned the CIA that the attacks of Sept. 11 were coming, a fact also reported in the London Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post, and on Fox News. I noted that the U.S. disregarded the warnings, but Israeli businesses took them seriously, and (sensibly) vacated the Twin Towers.
The Canadian Jewish Congress seems to have assumed that I am one of those who subscribe to a bizarre conspiracy theory that the world’s Jews were responsible for 9-11, a ludicrous idea I have never supported. As a result of the Congress’s assumption, I have been slandered as an odious anti-Semite, a claim accepted by the prime minister, by the leader of the opposition, and the nation’s media. I have also been labelled an extremist nutbar who has promoted, rather than investigated, the possibility that 9-11 was an inside job. As a result, the voters of Kildonan-St. Paul have no Liberal candidate, and a narrower debate before electing their MP.
One hopes journalists will be asking two questions: 1) Who benefits from this hysteria? 2) Is it still possible for journalists to do the work of journalism, which is to “challenge the official story” in an atmosphere of fear and ridicule?