Ed Asner

I’m already against the next war

an interview by Joseph Roberts

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 15, 1929, Ed Asner became hugely successful as an actor playing lead roles in the immensely popular series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant. He won Emmy Awards for both shows. In the later years of the Lou Grant series, Asner became known for speaking out on numerous social and political topics, especially in opposition to the US involvement in Central America and animal rights. The show was cancelled in 1982. Some, including Asner, have speculated that the actor’s activism may have influenced the decision to end the series. Subsequently, Asner became a spokesperson for 911truth.org and he is also the star of the short-film hit Architects & Engineers – Solving the Mystery of WTC 7. Common Ground publisher Joseph Roberts spoke to Ed Asner about his passion for uncovering the truth about what really transpired on September 11, 2001.

Joseph Roberts: Ed, you’ve been in hundreds of movies and TV programs. You acted in a TV movie called Common Ground, which happens to be the name of our magazine. You were a character named Ira. The script was about a gay person coming out. Another film was Pope John XXIII. I hope you had fun playing this important Pope who actually worked closely with the Kennedys averting WWIII against the wishes of the hawks and the military people who lusted after a nuclear first strike against the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. You also acted in the film JFK in 1991.

Ed Asner: Yes, I was Guy Bannister. He was a brutal figure, an ex-FBI man, a drunk, who was down in, I think, New Orleans. He was one of the provocateurs designed to create bad images of Cuba.

JR: JFK was such a great movie.

EA: It was brilliant. I think Oliver Stone can never surpass the result.

JR: So what twigged you on to thinking that 911 was more than it appeared to be, more than the official line? Was there something that made you rethink it?

EA: It’s an interesting flashpoint you ask about and I can’t really say for sure what it was. It’s a history of provocation on the part of our military engagements, the immediacy of the information, the flaws in the official reporting at the time of what happened and immediate doubts expressed by observers. And it just grew and grew until I finally… I was still carrying a jones on the first Iraq war.

JR: From Bush Senior’s Operation Desert Storm?

EA: Yeah. The proof on Vietnam having been phonied up, long existing accusations on Pearl Harbour, which I deal with in my performance as Roosevelt. I even knew of great doubts as to the provocations that took place with Korea (1950). So much is unknown about Korea: the fact that Russia controlled all of Korea by the end of the war and that they then decided to let the US have S. Korea. Then the fiddling of the 38th parallel and drawing N. Korean forces across the border and then chasing them back creating the conflict as we know it. And every war we’ve had. Granada, another stupid venture.

So finally it all just built up such bile in me that I was a hard sell from the beginning on 9/11.

JR: The provocations for these wars tend to be emotional and they tend to hook people in. If only people could understand the process by which they get deceived into believing a lie that creates a delusion for which they then blame someone else who they turn into an enemy. The face of the enemy is then created and the war proceeds from that. The propaganda machine seems to be very good at conditioning people, softening them up, slipping these ideas into their brains so they will believe what the government or the people that run it want them to believe.

EA: Hello. We’re conditioned from the beginning. You go to the goddamn fairy tales that we’re raised with. The big bad wolf. I belong to Defenders of Wildlife, which is concentrated on introducing and protecting wolves in the lower 48. The wolf is the constant Nazi in the eyes of Americans. I suppose even the world. It gets a lot of bad raps, so that if you allow the existence of any wolf to occur, every rancher and sheepherder in the world will rise up and want to kill every wolf they see. It’s a constant battle and constant murder. And it’s a bad rap, but they’re not the villains.

The same applies to any diplomatic situation. We’re raised with fairy tales. Communism is “terrible.” Where did it get such a terrible indictment? Well, this is the land of capitalism. What else would you expect? We’ll build the case up no matter what. To a Jew, the Muslim is painted as the holy terror, no matter how many fine Muslims there are and how much difficulty the religion itself creates when rigorously following some of the laws of Sharia. We’re fed at the tit of all of these monsters and unfortunately all too often the monsters are paper tigers.

JR: My daughter has a t-shirt that says “I am already against the next war!”

EA: That’s lovely.

High Erres illustration by Geoff Olson
illustration by Geoff Olson

JR: When I started to really research 911, it brought a whole lot into question. What got to me is how was it possible those three strong steel buildings fell down in their own footprint so quickly, as if nothing was underneath them.
EA: At the rate of gravity.

JR: And that Building 7, the third building, was never touched by a plane, went boom and collapsed again into its perfect controlled demolition footprint. The official report on the collapse of the World Trade Center certainly did not do justice to the whole events of 911. So what does it take to get through to people when they’ve been given a lie that was accepted unquestioningly?

EA: We have the problem that I find constantly in trying to talk to people; I don’t try to talk to people anymore about the perfidy of 911. People, for the most part, react in one of two ways: They think I’m a wacko looking for ways to substantiate a conspiracy theory and that I spell trouble no matter what. It doesn’t matter how many scientific facts I may present to them, which are undeniable – such as falling at the rate of gravity, the fact that the third building was not hurt to any appreciable extent by the planes crashing into the other two buildings. It doesn’t matter. They don’t want to hear it because it is too radical, too unpatriotic.

That leads me to the people who believe in the myth of America and its cleanliness and holiness no matter how many other crimes you can cite in terms of its provoking wars. They just can’t admit that America would do that. The fact that it enslaved millions of black people and removed the rights of Indians. That gets in the way of the myth of America.

There’s probably a third factor that says “So what? I can’t do anything and if I’m identified, I could get into trouble.”

JR: What are your thoughts on Syria and Iran? They’re on the USA target list next.

EA: We seem to be patching things up with Iran pretty good. We’ve resisted the Israeli attempt to poison that well and Kerry is moving ahead, and I heartily approve those efforts.

JR: Recently, Obama actually acted in a way that was good for humanity by not being pushed around by the military lobby, which works through the various different members of the senate and house.

EA: Syria, I don’t have an answer. Russia and Iran are keeping the governments supplied and the US is keeping certain of the rebels supplied so I don’t know how that will end.

JR: Neither do I.

EA: The New York Times seems to be filled with pages of dying and dead children killed by the Syrian government so they’re still on the march of indicting Syria. That to me was the greatest triumph of the people in the US to finally wake up and embody that t-shirt you were talking about (“I am already against the next war!”). Due to public opinion, Obama and the government currently decided not to go to war over Syria. Where it will end, I don’t know.

JR: You are involved in the autism awareness movement.

EA: Yes, I don’t do it much but my son is the CEO of Autism Speaks in California. His two-year-old son is heavily autistic and his brother, my youngest son, is autistic and will be getting his degree in the spring. He’s a high-functioning autistic. So we’re involved as a family.

JR: In the long arc of history, what do you think 911 represents?

EA: I don’t see it as a long arc, other than the exposure of the truth. By the time the American people believe it was a put-up job, all the miscreants will be dead. Even if it gets written about then, which is highly doubtful because as I say Americans don’t want to read about the destruction of their myth, at the time it was used to hype George Bush’s administration, which was failing by that point, to create an easing into war. First against Afghanistan, then Iraq and other countries.

JR: I have studied Thomas Paine’s Common Sense 1776 and what happened then, when people in the American colonies rose up against the British Empire and their royalty. Now we’ve got this new royalty, the people that run the banks and control the economy and we need a different kind of revolution where we open our minds and hearts, connect with each other, find common ground and get our common sense back to make this a more peaceful and kind planet.

EA: Well, I certainly applaud your wishes. I fear a revolution is in order but I would be concerned that, given the make-up of America and what it tends to foster and believe in, it would first produce a fascist government. The fear of fascism in this country is quite high. No matter what the constitution says.

JR: Corporatism is another way to say fascism.

EA: I would liken it to Spain after Franco, after 50 to 60 years of dictatorship Spain then gets a socialist government, which is long overdue and passes needed reforms. But they’re in trouble now and what will Spain end up becoming? What is normal? I really don’t know. Is Britain normal? You’re a Canadian – you tell me about life in Britain.

JR: I think life in Britain has shrunk. My dad was from Wales. I went over there and noticed, from my perspective, that people have been sucked dry. The empire is thirsty and truthless. The psychopaths that want to run the world just don’t know when enough is enough. Sometimes, wealth becomes crystallized suffering on the backs of common people. I’d like to see a society that’s into sharing and doing things for the social good.

EA: A true communist society?

JR: I think a cooperative society. Cooperatives might be a third way out of the mess we’re in. Using credit unions instead of banks, supporting organization and businesses where decisions are made by the members… communal cooperative democracy. I hate to use the words of the enemy like ‘consumer,’ ‘moving forward’ or ‘homelessness’. For one, we’re human beings. Mother Earth is the home of every person born on this planet. They might not have a roof, i.e. ‘roof-less,’ but they’re a human being so Earth is their home. We need to use language that liberates rather than condemns us into believing their bullshit.

EA: Language is really important. I was baiting you when I said ‘communist.’

JR: Well, I’ve been around the block, started this magazine 32 years ago and have had the good fortune to learn as much I can from people like you and others. I’m looking forward to the upcoming reThink 911 tour in Canada this month. The keynote speaker is Richard Gage, president of Architect & Engineers for 911 Truth, an organization with over 2,000 professionals who demand a real commission of inquiry into 911. An inquiry that is open to all evidence, not just selective evidence and run in a transparent manner. The reThink 911 tour starts in BC and goes right across the country. It seems to be easier to get people to imagine rethinking 911 in Canada than in the States right now. But there’s going to be cross-pollination and there will be large audiences listening to this. 911 is the foundation of so much of what’s happening now and if the foundation is a rotten lie then the house isn’t going to stand.

EA: That’s for sure.

JR: 911 was an inside job and I’m hoping more and more people will come to understand the official report on 911 is incorrect and demand getting down to what is true. If Thomas Paine were alive today, he would want the truth on 911 to come out.

EA: What percentage of Canadians think that?

JR: I’d say it’s growing. I think it started small, but now it’s over 50%. We’re getting closer to a tipping point where people will demand a real inquiry. It is not about blaming or accusing any one for doing it, but rather the official report is bogus, and to honour those affected by 911 we all deserve a real investigation with subpoena powers. Neither by Henry Kissinger, nor his replacements who ran the official commission. Those with oil interests in Afghanistan or Iraq ought not to be chairing a real commission dedicated to uncovering the truth of how the building actually came down.

EA: I think we’ve gotten to the heart of the subject. Sometimes, you can talk or write too much. When we quote, we quote the simplest phrases, don’t we? Like your daughter’s t-shirt, “I am already against the next war,” God love her.

JR: Thank you so much, Ed.

EA: A pleasure talking to you.

The reThink911.ca “The Evidence Might Surprise You” cross-Canada tour starts on March 13 in Prince George, BC, and finishes in Halifax, NS, on March 31. For more info, visit the following websites: AE911truth.org and reThink911.ca

5 thoughts on “Ed Asner”

  1. I would like to state that there is a bit of an error in this story. JR stated that all of the buildings fell into their own footprints. That is not factual. The twin towers were “exploded”, and only 10% of the structures fell into their footprints: with the rest being hurled up to 600 yards away. The twin towers were blown up. Building 7 was imploded, and actually did land within its own foot print. There were different methods used to bring the structures down.

    I bring this up only to clarify that the twins were demolished in a different manner than 7.

  2. Why is this Rethink 911 tour going across Canada? What’s the point? As a Canadian, I don’t vote in the US, I don’t pay taxes there, I have no stake in or influence on the US government – I am outside their political system.

    Let Americans argue about their own conspiracies, their own issues, their own corruption and their own politics. We, for our part, have a country of our own with problems that are our concern. There isn’t one American in a hundred who knows about anything that happens, good or bad, in Canada – or even cares at all.

    If 911 really was a false-flag/inside job/grassy knoll deal, it has Fuck all to do with me as a Canadian. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not as if I don’t care what happened that day. But whether it was an internal conspiracy is NOT CONCERN, OR THE CONCERN OF ANY OTHER CANADIAN.

    • Not even for the families of the Canadians that died in those buildings? Maybe you should let their friends and families decide what is and is not important. And maybe you should take a look at how 911 actually did affect you good folks up-north. Think of your civil libs.

  3. Asner should ask Richard Gage* and his “experts” to demonstrate for him on video with audio how explosives or incendiaries secretly cut the 4.91″ flanges, 3.07″ webs, and 215 sq in cross sections of W14 X 730 columns like the 11 of 24 in WTC 7’s core, and the 4 corner columns in each tower’s core:



    If they ever HAD TO do it, this “debate” would be OVER.

    *Gage’s ONLY 9/11 “research”:

  4. Fantastic interview, guys! Very refreshing.

    “We’re conditioned from the beginning.” Absolutely correct.

    Many other fantastic words, too, including that “third factor”… the “so what?” belly-up beached-beluga thing. I see that often in my quest to stop the pyramid scheme called capitalism that the 18 year olds are forced-into with “join, or starve, or die, or else”. I’ve been fighting that felony extortion and force relgion into a competer’s church… for over 25 years now. The YAY AMERICA factor is SO tough to de-program.

    Both of you guys have impressed me. Keep up the excellent critical thinking and speaking.

    Best regards!
    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists) (anti-economy usage)
    Bessemer MI USA


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