Australian trade union president claims 9/11 was a conspiracy
A senior member of the Australian trade union movement has come under fire after he claimed that the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 were part of an American conspiracy.
Kevin Bracken, who is the Victorian secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia and president of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, called in to talkback radio in Melbourne to say that "the official story doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny".
His call was prompted by an ongoing debate in the Australian parliament over the war in Afghanistan.
Mr Bracken told ABC Radio 774 that Australia should instead hold an inquiry into the events of 9/11, claiming that elements of the former Bush administration, US military and security services were involved in the attacks and that the motive was related to a large insurance policy that had been taken out on the Twin Towers.
"There are so many unanswered questions," he said.
"The fact is that aviation fuel doesn't get hot enough to melt steel and no high rise steel frame building before or after September 11 has ever collapsed due to fire.
"I stick to scientific facts. In my mind the buildings were imploded."
Mr Bracken has expressed similar views in the past. In 2006 he told The Australian newspaper that the attacks were only effective because the American government was in some way involved.
Jon Faine, the radio programme's host, was so surprised by the call that he initially asked if it was a hoax, before telling Mr Bracken that the views were "so absurd and so ridiculous".
Mr Bracken went on to suggest that the men debate on "what really happened on 9/11", but Mr Faine said it would be like "having a debate on whether the earth was flat and said that it was "a nutter theory".
His reaction was echoed by Julia Gillard, the prime minister, who said that Mr Bracken's statements were "obviously stupid and wrong".
The opposition has since called on Ms Gillard, whose party has close links to the unions, to take disciplinary action against Mr Bracken.
Union leaders have distanced themselves from the controversial remarks, saying that they reflect the opinions of Mr Bracken alone.