In Colorado, peach season comes with a 9/11 conspiracy theory

My interest in all this, as I told him, is that it’s really unusual to see this kind of idea printed on a commercial product. Is it business suicide?

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

For the last five years, Palisade Produce — which is just one peach farm, not the Palisade Peaches we’re all eager to eat right now — has used its peach cartons to deliver a call for the supposed truth about 9/11.

That is how, coming up on the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York City, I ended up talking to David Cox.

Cox’s belief is that Sept. 11 was a controlled demolition by the people controlling the U.S. government in order to roll back civil liberties, and he says as much on his peach cartons, kind of like a truther version of Dr. Bronner’s whole-earth soap messaging.

I wholeheartedly disagree that it was an internal conspiracy, and I told him so. (Palisade Produce links out to its evidence on its website. Popular Mechanics has one of the web’s more thorough debunking pieces.)

My interest in all this, as I told him, is that it’s really unusual to see this kind of idea printed on a commercial product.

Is it business suicide?

Cox claims not, although he wasn’t really interested in talking about how people perceived his claims.

“I didn’t become fully convinced until about 2008. … I didn’t put it on the box until 2011,” he said. The reaction was “excellent.”

“People were very, very surprised — very, very shocked — and disturbed by what I’m insinuating. It’s not even an insinuation. It’s a factual assertion. They’re shocked, understandably, they’re concerned.”

He didn’t have any trouble getting the messages printed, he said. He demurred when I asked him about the specific reactions he’s had, saying that’s not helpful to talk about.

When I kept asking, he mocked me by repeating my questions in a goofy voice. Great.

My big question: Were there other fruit growers in on this?

Yes, Cox said. He had convinced some other farmers — all in the peach business — but he wouldn’t name names, and he wasn’t sure if they had started printing their beliefs too.

We didn’t end our conversation on the nicest note. Cox wants to talk about 9/11. I want to talk about Cox talking about 9/11.

“You don’t care, do you? Fuck it, I don’t care,” he said. And he added, sarcastically: “Just don’t put any facts in there.”

One of the more recent U.S. surveys on the topic, by Angus Reid, found that 15 percent of respondents believed the towers were a demolition job rather than a foreign attack. In 2006, a Zogby International poll sponsored by 911truth.org found a more common belief: They found that 42 percent of people thought the U.S. government was “covering up” something.

For a longer read on how and why people come to believe in the 9/11 conspiracy theories, I would suggest this series of profiles in the International Business Times.