New York representative Jamaal Bowman has expressed regret after it was revealed that he shared conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terror attacks on his blog during his time as a middle school principal.
“Well over a decade ago, as I was debating diving into a doctoral degree, I explored a wide range of books, films, and articles across a wide swath of the political spectrum and processed my thoughts in a personal blog that few people ever read,” the congressman told The Daily Beast.
At the time, Mr Bowman, then 35, was operating the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx. Until 2014, he had a personal blog at Relentless-Strongback.Blogspot.com, according to The Daily Beast, who accessed the blog via web archives as each post had been deleted as of February 2016.
A poem post from May 2011 bearing the title “Recapitulate” begins as a reflection on Y2K anxiety and the 2000 Florida recount, before addressing 9/11.
“2001/Planes used as missiles/Target: The Twin Towers,” it states. “Later in the day/Building 7/Also Collaspsed [sic]/Hmm.../Multiple explosions/Heard before/And during the collapse/Hmm…”
One debunked theory is that Building 7, a building in the area of the Twin Towers, went down because of a controlled demolition.
“Allegedly/Two other planes/The Pentagon/Pennsylvania/Hijacked by terrorist [sic]/Minimal damage done/Minimal debris found/Hmm…” one line says.
Seemingly in reference to Flight 93 and Flight 77, the first crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, while the second struck the Pentagon, leading to 125 deaths in the building.
“We blamed Osama/Went to war in Iraq/Captured Saddam/Killed him,” the poem states. “Bin Laden is Afghan/So we went to war there too.”
Osama Bin Laden came from a wealthy Saudi family and was never an Afghan citizen.
”â€‹â€‹Watch Loose Change/And Zeitgeist,” the poem states regarding two documentaries that pushed baseless conspiracy theories.
Mr Bowman told The Daily Beast regarding a line in that he gives a shoutout to a number of people who have pushed debunked theories: “I don’t believe anything that these cranks have said, and my life’s work has proven that. As a congressman, I’ve written a Congressional Resolution condemning a dangerous conspiracy theory, I’ve stood up to Maga extremists, and I’ve called out the endless bulls*** of the far-right.”
The congressman noted that he has since “learned how misinformation spreads”.
“I regret posting anything about any of these people. Anyone who looks at my work today knows where I stand,” he added.
Mr Bowman represents New York’s 15th Congressional District after having beaten former representative Elliot Engel, the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Mr Bowman has not been sharing the kinds of theories reflected in the poem since joining Congress, and has also been taking part in commemorating 9/11.
On the anniversary of the attacks last year, Mr Bowman wrote on X: “Today we remember the thousands of incredible lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. The fear, uncertainty, and trauma still live with us today. We must also acknowledge the intense Islamophobia and hatred that followed, commit to doing better, and learn from our mistakes.”