The Power of One

Local Woman Explains Conspiracy Views of 9/11


Pfeif sued Herald over the issue

By Alex Ritzenberg

Durango Herald

July 15, 2006

Judith Pfeif, known by many for her stance against The Durango Herald in a June small-claims court case, spoke of ulterior motives, high-level corruption and government conspiracy behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an interview this week.

The Durango woman sued the Herald for $7,500 to pay for what she says were efforts to expose inside-job theories about the cause of the Sept. 11 attacks. In June, 6th Judicial District Court Magistrate Douglas S. Walker ruled for the defendant, citing constitutional and case law upholding freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Pfeif has decided against an appeal but maintains that mainstream newspapers have shirked their responsibility to investigate and publish information alleging government complicity in the attacks.

“I’ve taken the initiative to provide information, and as a member of the United States of America, I would expect more balanced reporting,” she said Wednesday. “I feel like it’s a unilateral perception right now, and it’s brainwashing in our community.”

Pfeif was instrumental in organizing two protests in front of the Herald this past spring. For Wednesday’s interview, she brought a stack of newspaper clips, Web site printouts and theory-promoting DVDs – examples of the multitude of smaller, less mainstream media sources that she said espouse theories of federal foul play.

Pfeif said she strongly supports the ideas presented on the Web at www.whatreallyhappened.com/.

“There are too many unanswered questions,” she said. “Why were there puffs of smoke at every level of the (World Trade Center) building? Why did they ship the ruins of the building off to another site?”

Pfeif has been researching Sept. 11 behind-the-scenes theories since 2004. Before the court hearing, Pfeif gathered 193 signatures from La Plata County citizens in support of the inside-job theory.

Bruce Coley, a Durango resident who attended the June trial to support Pfeif, says he has come across 50 to 75 people in the city who have expressed doubts about “the official story.” Coley said he approached Richard Ballantine, publisher of the Herald and a defendant in the June lawsuit, during the trial.

“I told Richard that Pfeif is not alone in this – there are thousands of people who believe this. I have a business, and you kind of get the feeling that (Pfeif and I) are not alone. The official story doesn’t hold water when you look at the evidence,” he said.

Coley said the strongest piece of evidence is the mysterious collapse of Building 7 of the World Trade Center.

He said he is disappointed in the lack of mainstream media coverage. “You have to dig on the Internet to find this out. That’s what’s disappointing. If newspapers would take that responsibility on and have a lead role, they could expose people to it and let them decide for themselves,” he said.

Ballantine said mainstream media does not give the issue the attention Pfeif and Coley ask for because nearly every event could be potentially interpreted as a conspiracy. After so many false alarms, he said, the media is skeptical.

“After all, the media is occasionally accused of orchestrating conspiracies when in fact journalists are too busy to have time,” Ballantine said. “But that apparently thousands of people follow some or all of the 9/11 conspiracy theories to some degree, spending time and money pointing out discrepancies and sharing imaginative explanations, supporting the most persuasive, is a story.”