By BETH LAMONTAGNE HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
Keene resident Gerhard Bedding doesn't buy the government's version of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, so he's working on a statewide campaign calling for another investigation into the terrorist attacks.
Bedding and other members of the state's 9/11 Truth Alliance have started a petition drive to place an article on town meeting warrants that would call on New Hampshire's congressional delegation to push for a new independent investigation into "all the evidence and unanswered questions" related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Petitions have been successfully submitted in five towns -- Peterborough, Swanzey, Rindge, Nelson and Exeter -- and volunteers are trying to get the article on the ballot in 15 other towns by the Feb. 2 deadline.
"(An investigation) is needed in light of new evidence that has appeared in the last two years," said Bedding, pointing to a report published last year by international scientists claiming traces of explosives were found at the World Trade Center. "It is not being recognized, the number of highly responsible professionals asking for this."
The group spearheading the petition drive, Vote For Answers New Hampshire, is made up of local leaders and community members. Peterborough architect Peter Wells is listed as a supporter, as is Swanzey fire protection technician Robin Eno. A handful of local officials support the petition drive, including state Reps. Peter Allen, D-Harrisville; Charles Weed, D-Keene; and Barbara Hull Richardson, D-Richmond. Former state Reps. Peter Espiefs, Betty Hall, Paul Harrington and former Keene Mayor Michael Blastos support the cause as well.
The effort is being coordinated with the help of a similar petition drive by the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now. That group collected 80,000 signatures last year for a ballot referendum to establish a new 9/11 commission in New York City.
Blastos said Americans didn't get the whole story from the 9/11 Commission or the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which investigated the physical evidence from the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
"Truthfulness is the main thing. I don't think they were honest. I think it was a cover-up," said Blastos. "There's just too many unanswered questions. I think if America can raise its voice as one, somewhere along the line we might get some answers."
People like Blastos and Bedding are sometimes considered on the fringe for their views, but a Zogby poll conducted in August 2007 indicates about 30 percent of Americans are skeptics. Fifty percent of the 1,000 people polled said Congress should have further investigated President Bush and his staff's involvement; however, 57 percent said the 9/11 attacks have already been thoroughly investigated.
The official government version was recorded in the 9/11 Commission Report. After reviewing more than 2.5 million pages of documents and interviewing more than 1,200 people in 10 countries, it concluded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda orchestrated the attacks.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted the government's official investigation into the physical evidence, using dozens of scientists, engineers and computer analysts to study the technical aspects of the terrorist attacks. It found the World Trade Center collapse was caused by the impact of the planes and the excessive heat created by the burning jet fuel, not from explosives in a controlled demolition as many skeptics believe.
Although there are a number of 9/11 skeptics who believe the terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the American government, or at least allowed to happen, Bedding said this is not something Vote For Answers New Hampshire advocates. The group is not saying the government did it, Bedding said. It is saying there are too many unanswered questions.