The Real Deal
A Memorial Tribute to Gerard Holmgren
Hosted by: Jim Fetzer — June 4, 2010
Jim Fetzer: This is Jim Fetzer, your host on The Real Deal. Today I’m going to have a special multi-featured, multi-guest honorarium for Gerard Holmgren who was a quite brilliant Australian investigator of 9/11, among the first, if not the first to recognize that no planes may have been involved in the events of 9/11. My first guest today, I’m very pleased to welcome back to the show, is Morgan Reynolds, well known to this audience and a recent beneficiary of more than a quadruple bypass. I’m delighted he’s here with us. He just came from playing tennis today. Morgan, welcome to the show.
Morgan Reynolds: Thank you Jim. It’s great to be back and this is a wonderful occasion and I’m so glad you’ve done this, to have a radio interview show as a tribute to the work of Gerard Holmgren who passed away of cancer on May 2, a month ago, 2010. I have a few bio facts that your subsequent guests, especially Rosalee, may be able to fill out further but Gerard was born on November 11, 1958 so he was age 51. He died in Sydney, Australia. Now the way I found out was a childhood friend sent me an email on May 6. And I’d like to read that email if it’s all right.
Jim Fetzer: Certainly.
Morgan Reynolds: It gives us a great introduction to Gerard, the man. And the email is from Stuart West from Perth in Western Australia. And he writes: I am not a 9/11 truther or anything like that. I have been browsing some of Gerard’s, Gerard Holmgren, born Gerald Holmgren, associated stuff on 9/11 and came across your site which is nomoregames.net. I just thought you should know he passed away on Sunday morning, May 2, at 7:30 a.m. at Canterbury Hospital, Sydney, Australia. I was his friend since childhood and I was there in his last few days. He was diagnosed with inoperable cancer right out of the blue just a week before his death. Bad luck for a guy who never smoked a single cigarette, joint, or took any sort of drugs, except very minor alcohol consumption, in his life. I can see he gave you a hard time there on your 9/11 position (same damn position as his as far as I can make out). And his friends all knew he could put up a feisty argument especially if one had not thought through one’s argument all that well beforehand. But I thought you should also know that behind the debate and the argumentative exterior, he was really a lovely, gentle guy. He just loved a good debate. And he was usually rather well-read. And I commend you for putting both your and his side of your exchanges in that essay where you discuss your “estrangement” from each other, if I may put it that way. Well, anyway, his funeral was held today. That was May 6. If you have a Facebook account, you can look it up under Gerard Holmgren Rest in Peace. He was surrounded by friends, fellow musicians, (he was a damn fine blues and jazz guitarist) and students. I met some of these people. You see Gerard and I are originally from Western Australia, not Sydney which is in the east. And they are fine people, humble people, decent folks, caring folks, not at all puffed up or overly proud. The three days I spent in Sydney with Gerard before he passed away were a revelation. Well, I’ve been reading some of your material and I hope to read more having bookmarked your website. That photo of the plane going into the tower seamlessly is an eye-opener. So that is all for me. Maybe it is time for folks to calm down a bit and be a bit more forgiving of each other. I sense that attitude in your writing and that is why I took the time to send you this message and let you know about Gerard (Gerald). Best regards, Stuart West, Perth, Western Australia.
Now that’s a lovely email and a tribute to Gerard. Of course, it doesn’t get very far into the specifics of his intellectual contribution which is enormous. I mean Gerard would, I would argue, has got to be in anybody’s top three in 9/11 researchers. And although Rosalee may be able to correct me later, Thierry Meyssan in October, 2001, within a month had put out something on a website about, ‘hey, there’s no plane at the Pentagon.’ And then his book, in French, came out in March of 2002. Rosalee was the first American no-planer and probably the first on the World Trade Center hoax, the plane hoax. And then Gerard was very early in 2002 I think, and he had, of course, a few dozen at least analytical pieces on his website which he took down around 2006 in disgust but fortunately Rosalee had those backed up and they’re available on her website, The Web Fairy. So there’s my thumbnail sketch of some of the main points to bring out about Gerard Holmgren.
Jim Fetzer: Very nice, very nice, Morgan. What do you take to be among his most important arguments in relation to “no planes”?
Morgan Reynolds: Well, before I go there, let me point out that, as you pointed out, Gerard was a brilliant researcher, writer, student of the 9/11 event, and he was a brilliant teacher. You can see that, you know, as a guitar instructor or whatever he was going to teach, he was a man after own my heart in that: Keep it simple, stupid, right? And he could really write and argue extremely well and he was…he also had a sly sense of humor. That’s what allowed him to do those parodies, like one of his pieces, his well known pieces, and I don’t have the title list here, but it was basically about foolish conspiracy theories. And he put the official theory through that lens, you know, how stupid, crazy thing, can people believe this? You know a guy in a cave in Afghanistan on a dialysis machine and he went on and on and he had other pieces like that, that basically kind of the Road Runner, you know, how can you penetrate this thing and then on the other side fall into pieces. So it was the illogic…And he seemed, he was interested in the human aspect of 9/11. He was brilliant, for example, in taking apart eyewitness testimony in a very extended piece as well as the simple physics of “no planes” and how impossible the official story is to believe. And now later on the course, early on, I came into the party late, and I think that, I’m reading this into Gerard, but I think that bothered him because, you know, I had credentials. I was probably going to be a visible participant in this whole 9/11, but I came in with this article on June 9, 2005 that caught a lot of attention. And for a while we were very close, I would run things by him and he would give his advice and it was usually moderate and well to heed his advice. But later on there was a falling out and Gerard, you know, here’s another characteristic, not only was he brilliant and acerbic, he was a man of fierce determination and ‘I’m not going to back down,’ you know, the Tom, I won’t back down, that’s a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song, and that could be one of his theme songs. But another aspect of it, of his character, was purity, absolute purity. Whereas I’m less than absolute pure, in that my whole approach to this has been that truth is our weapon, but I’ve been pursuing justice. I want to see convictions of real live perps and I can’t do that alone. Whereas by the end when Gerard quit the 9/11 industry he seemed to be isolated and alone, in other words, he cut off relations with previous colleagues like Nico Haupt and Rosalee Grable. And that’s kind of similar to what Eric Hufschmid, I don’t think he has any friends in 9/11 research and propaganda either. So how can you win like that? You’ve got to have a little bit of a give. It’s like living in an academic department like you and I have and you’ve got to be a little more tolerant and not jump down everybody’s throat who isn’t following your, in fact, procedure, and allow that in the longer run you’re going to settle out and the truth is going to emerge very strongly.
Jim Fetzer: Well, I think those are very fine remarks, Morgan. Gerard seems to me to have been quite strong on explaining why they didn’t use planes. And I know this is a matter to which you’ve given substantial thought. It would be very useful I think for the audience to appreciate why it would be better if you were planning an event of this kind to not use actual physical aircraft but rather some form of video fakery.
Morgan Reynolds: Right. Yes, there are a lot of things that don’t allow the planes to be your best option. One of them is, it’s not going to have, if you use real planes, drive them, slam them into the towers assuming you could do it first of all, it’s not going to have the shock and awe effect you’re looking for because the plane is just going to be in pieces, okay. And it’s not going to set up the big disintegration and the jet fuel fire. It’s just going to be bouncing off the building in a ball of fire. And so that’s not the effect they were looking for. But then there are so many things that can go wrong. Of course, this way you don’t need a stand down order because you don’t, while you might have some radar inserts or blips to pretend that there are planes out there, if plane intercepts were scrambled, they’re not going to find anything. So that eliminates this whole two hours of non-defense by our fine, number one Air Force, the National Guard, etc. And then we have the problem of course of missing the buildings. John Lear is eloquent on that, but Gerard too. Killtown had an article about why they didn’t use planes that summed up a lot of this as well. But there are too many things that can go wrong and of course if a plane were to crash somewhere else, you know, real, real plane, they’d find, gee whiz, well, where is, not only were there no Arab names on the manifests but there aren’t any Arab hijackers either, and on and on. So the whole thing, it’s a mind-boggling thing. I go back to the Bush statement a couple months after 9/11 before the U.N. where he says let us not entertain outrageous conspiracy theories, you know, that takes the onus off the real perpetrators. Well, I agree. But this whole attack was so brilliant that, with the aid, with the very important aid of the complicit mainstream media, they made it hard for the pursuers like us to get very far because they did it in an incredible way. A lot of people can’t believe, and most 9/11 researchers fight this all the way, Gerard’s pioneering work, they don’t believe that there were no planes and therefore, no plane crashes. And yet the logic, as Gerard laid it out, is impeccable. Everything he did really, maybe aside from toward the end when he was angry at everybody, his articles for years were extremely powerful and highly resisted, to no good effect, in my opinion, the guy was powerful. Early on I thought, hey, this guy, let’s look across the valley and see where we’re headed, down the road years from now, and this guy is going to be recognized as a powerful pioneer researcher on 9/11.
Jim Fetzer: You know it’s very interesting, Morgan, that my first encounters with Gerard had to do with having founded Scholars in December of 2005 and invited Steve Jones to be my co-chair which was by the way at the recommendation of David Ray Griffin, I found almost immediately that Jones was being besieged by Holmgren. And I, not knowing Holmgren or the background here, went to the defense of Steve and I actually composed numerous rebuttals to Gerard in relation to his attacks on Steve where now I wonder if I had only known more about the context and the facts of the matter and so forth, I mightn’t have been more receptive to Gerard’s critique.
Morgan Reynolds: Yes, and I was looking at that yesterday or the day before where Gerard did this open letter to Professor Steven Jones when Jones first caught attention, I believe it was in September, what, of ‘05, was it?
Jim Fetzer: Yes.
Morgan Reynolds: And it was a very politely, cleverly drafted letter where Gerard said basically we don’t disagree on the demolition issue, that the buildings were imploded somehow or other. That’s a given and it wasn’t jet fuel. But he criticized, he brought up after some very polite, flattering statements, Jones got the plane model wrong, that were alleged to have flown into the Twin Towers which was, it was supposed to be officially a 767 but Jones called it a 757. And Jones claimed that he had gone out and inspected the undercarriage and he had this throw-away statement basically panning the “no plane” theory. And yet basically Gerard turned Jones’ statements, diffident statements about the right hypothesis with a more plausible hypothesis about the destruction of the World Trade Center, against Jones where Jones had prejudged mistakenly, in my view, the plane-no plane controversy. So right away, Gerard’s antenna were right about him, although by the end it seemed like Gerard had extended his antenna so that everybody virtually, Reynolds and Fetzer, of course he took a dislike to Fetzer right away, but it took a little longer for him to turn against the Web Fairy and Reynolds and Nico, etc. But by the end, of course, Gerard withdrew as I said in disgust.
Jim Fetzer: Well, it took, of course it took you, I don’t know, eighteen months to two years to get me to become open-minded about “no planes”, Morgan, so I mean Gerard must have had, here I was on the one hand defending Steve Jones from Gerard’s attacks, on the other I wasn’t being receptive to “no planes.” So it must have been a double whammy.
Morgan Reynolds: Well, yes, it’s interesting our history there, because you took a stand against me and brought up Zeno’s paradox or something, you didn’t have a real reason and I thought, geez, although I didn’t bring it to your attention, I would bemoan it to Dr. Judy Wood because we talked for years every day, and basically I said Jim’s not being scholarly. There’s no reason for him to take a position on this issue that has been investigated. So now you admit, yes, it took me a couple of years before you started looking at it and treating it seriously and then you changed your mind which is to your credit.
Jim Fetzer: Absolutely. Yes, and you were instrumental, Morgan, you were instrumental. If you hadn’t kept clubbing me over the head about taking look, you know, and getting serious about the evidence, who knows when I would have gotten to it because it just seemed to me on the face of it so implausible and yet today I realize, my God, knowing what I know now, it’s over…not merely plausible and overwhelmingly probable but I’d say demonstrable.
Morgan Reynolds: Yes. Here again we all have to wonder about each other’s motives but we do need Gerard’s close friend, Stuart West, how did he say, let’s be a bit more forgiving of each other. Calm down a bit. And that’s very, very true. Now Gerard, you can see in the clips where he’s playing guitar, he had a very calm, he had a calmness about it, you know, he’s playing Rockabilly but I would be just, if I could play guitar like he could, you know I would be in motion I guess and excited about it whereas he is very concentrated. And you can see there’s a certain seriousness or determination about him here again. He would be on the tennis court, a very competitive guy, right, and he, I think, given these characteristics, he just had a burnout. I’m just drawing a parallel between you and me and you just basically have to be in it, I would argue, for the long run and give people a break. You know, like even though you aren’t 100 percent convinced somebody is genuine, you know, be sympathetic and give them a break. And we need to have these kinds of friction reducers because, and not throw anybody out of the car on a moment’s kind of impurity or whatever. People have mistaken judgments and as long as they’re still people of goodwill they might come around. So, you know, leave the door open unless you’re really convinced they are mal-intended.
Jim Fetzer: I mean, Morgan, if it took me, you know, a year and a half or more to come around and become open-minded about the possibility, the mere possibility of no planes, I wonder where I stood in the eyes of some of you who saw it all so clearly.
Morgan Reynolds: Yes, yes, well, we have these experiences, you and I, in the scientific world, be it social sciences, physical science, and decades of seeing, hey, some people come around. Other people are dug into a mistaken position, well, they’re going to die. So you’re really not, while you may be debating them, it’s really for third parties to get it, right? You want to do your best job to show that your opponent’s position is incorrect and yours is right. And younger people often are more elastic and they’ll adopt your point of view. So you’re looking at the next generation. Now unfortunately, we have to be looking at 9/11 to some extent that way, that it’s getting the history right. And ultimately, you know hey, it may turn our way. You never know. You know something may break our way one day and you could actually pursue justice. But if not, and that’s more likely, no, but you still, you’ve got to get the truth right.
Jim Fetzer: Morgan, let me invite you to give a summing up of what you believe Gerard contributed to 9/11 research as a way of concluding our conversation.
Morgan Reynolds: Well, I would say that Gerard’s work on “no planes” is certainly right up there with the Web Fairy. And these pioneers I would put in my top three researchers along with Dr. Judy Wood. And by the way, Gerard didn’t have much use for Dr. Judy Wood. It takes us back to kind of the crazy disunity out there but I’m okay with it. But the point is, Gerard’s work is extremely powerful and I believe durable. And even though Gerard ultimately dissed the Web Fairy, the Web Fairy’s got Gerard’s work up on her website so great credit to her for that. And here again, concentrate on the long run and you can see how much good Gerard’s work, how good it was and all the good it has done and will do. In fact, I was thinking about this, Jim, it would be great if we could put all those articles together, maybe a little light editing, you might have to make a few decisions, but it would be great to have that as a book.
Jim Fetzer: Terrific idea, Morgan. Let you and I explore this. I want to thank you for coming on the show for the very first part of our memorial to Gerard Holmgren. This is Jim Fetzer, your host on The Real Deal expressing appreciation to my special guest this first segment, Morgan Reynolds. Morgan, thanks for being on the show.
Morgan Reynolds: Thank you for putting this together, Jim.
Jim Fetzer: Take care, my friend.