By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
If you think chipping animals is what we have to do
Then we're not very far from chipping me and chipping you
If you still just don't get it, and you think there's no harm
Well, then, think of Nazis putting tattooed numbers on your arm
What about my privacy?
What about my right to life and liberty?
"None of the media will cover these songs because they're so truthful," says Riley. "But everyone's requesting them for their grassroots meetings."
Riley and vonKleist have the easy rapport of a couple who agree on almost everything. Much like staunch liberals or conservatives, they have supreme confidence in their beliefs, and they have little trouble laughing off dissenters.
Eleven years ago they were both divorcees with their own AM radio shows. Living in Waterbury, Connecticut, vonKleist fell in love with the dusky voice he heard discussing Gulf War syndrome in Houston, Texas.
"She was quoting from document after document after document basically blowing me away," vonKleist remembers. "I fell in love with her, and the cause, and that's why we ended up joining together and getting married."
The couple decided to move to Missouri after reading a book called Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places, which says that Versailles is excellently positioned in terms of its isolation and good water supply. Nowadays Riley, a former military nurse, focuses on veterans' issues, while vonKleist's passion is 9/11. 911 in Plane Site, the DVD that he produced, wrote and narrated, has sold around 50,000 copies, he says.
The feature film, made with a $10,000 budget, is slickly edited, with plenty of ominous music. In it, vonKleist sits before a wall of televisions, showing photos and video clips to bolster his belief that the hole in the Pentagon was too small to have been caused by a 757. The World Trade Center collapse, he speculates, may have been caused by missiles attached to the planes implying that the planes weren't passenger jets, and that the attack wasn't orchestrated by terrorists. (vonKleist says he's not a conspiracy theorist and therefore has no theory about who might have done it, or why.)
Along with Loose Change, a movie directed by upstate New York's Dylan Avery, 911 in Plane Sitehas emerged as one of the most popular 9/11 deconstructionist films. A Google search turns up nearly 100,000 mentions of the documentary, not to mention countless criticisms, including a rebuttal in the March issue of Popular Mechanics.
The success of the film has helped support vonKleist and Riley's radio show, which doesn't accept commercial advertising. In addition to selling the $20 DVDs, they also peddle books, health foods and herbal supplements everything from "Oil of Rosemary Memory Powder" to "Nuke Protect," capsules containing potassium iodide and selenium meant to protect against radiation.
They call their apothecary/anarchist bookstore The Power Mall and run it out of a converted barn a few steps away from their house. The operation employs six people, making it perhaps one of Versailles' biggest industries, at least since the local pencil factory closed down in December.
Their all-time best-selling product is Miracle 2 Soap, a liquid cleanser that can be used as an insect repellent, a bathroom scrub or for body rashes related to your Gulf War ailments. The Power Mall sells countless gallons of the green liquid every year, says Riley. It's the soap that bought their house.
The Tipping Point
William Rodriquez is a jet-setting conspiracy theorist. In June, this frequent guest on The Power Hour attended the International Islamic Fair, a products-and-networking bazaar held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He screened 911 in Plane Siteand other 9/11 films before a group of dignitaries that included former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
"They were like, 'Oh My God,'" recalls Rodriquez, a former World Trade Center janitor who says he was among the last survivors pulled from the wreckage. "The Malaysian mindset was changed forever about 9/11. I meet with prime ministers all the time. I met with the second man in power in [Venezuela's] Hugo Chavez government. I showed him In Plane Site, too."
After Kuala Lumpur, Rodriquez attended a 9/11 conference at a Los Angeles Sheraton. There, 1,200 people discussed who may have engineered the attacks (the U.S. government, or Big Oil) and why (as smokescreen to take our rights away, or for cash). Rodriquez says he spoke at length with actors Charlie Sheen and Esai Morales, who expressed interest in taking his life story to the big screen.
Sheen, star of the CBS series Two and a Half Men, made his support for the movement known in March, speaking on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show in Austin, Texas. "There was a feeling that it just didn't look like any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life," Sheen said on the show. "And then when the buildings came down later that day, I said to my brother, 'Call me insane, but did it sort of look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?'"
Media outlets normally dedicated to Brangelina were all over the story, and Sheen's comments represented a sort of tipping point for the movement. In May 911truth.org commissioned a Zogby poll asking 1,200 people if they thought the U.S. government and the 9-11 Commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11th attacks." Forty-eight percent disagreed, 42 percent agreed, and 10 percent were unsure. In reply to another poll question, 45 percent of respondents thought Congress or an international tribunal should reinvestigate the attacks.