By Stephanie Barnes, January 2008.
Despite being cast in high-profile films and television shows such as The Devil Wears Prada, Rescue Me, and Law & Order, actor Daniel Sunjata’s presence has been relatively modest. With a Tony-award nomination in 2003 for his portrayal of a heterosexually challenged baseball player in Take Me Out under his belt, he also spares his time between theatre, television and playing the antagonist of the Bush administration by vocally expressing his advocacy for an independent investigation of 9/11.
While some actors teetering on the brink of A-list stardom sensibly ward off political talk, Sunjata proudly wears his conviction on his sleeve (and sometimes on a fashionable t-shirt). In this interview, he steers from the typical Hollywood fare and discusses his involvement with the 9/11 Truth Movement and why the American people should pay close attention to the moves of its government.
SM: What did you read or hear about that would make you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?
DS: The first time I heard about it was actually from my best friend who lives in Chicago. He said, “It looks like they blew those buildings up.” And I thought that was ridiculous at the time. But later, after hearing the analysis and opinions of so many credible experts and whistleblowers like Sibel Edmonds (former FBI translator) and William Christison (29-year CIA veteran), and doing years of my own research, it became apparent that our government, at the very least, was aware that the attacks were on the way and did nothing to stop it. And at the very worst, they were directly involved in planning them.
SM: Has it ever crossed your mind that your political views may be a hindrance to your career?
DS: It’s definitely possible when you consider the historical record of what happens when artists, academics, and political dissidents speak truth to power in fascist societies. But because I represent firefighters on television, specifically post 9/11 NYC firefighters, I’ve reached a point where I feel I have a responsibility to communicate what I know.
My involvement with the 9/11 Truth Movement came after I got the job on Rescue Me. The show preceded my interest in investigating 9/11, but I wanted to learn more about it because it’s also based on that event.
SM: Have you spoken to any of the firefighters who were at Ground Zero after the attacks?
DS: Yes, I have.
SM: What piqued your curiosity the most?
DS: There’s a physics professor by the name of Steven Jones from Brigham Young University who did some research focusing on pools of molten metal that were under towers one, two and seven. He wanted to know the specifics because the jet fuel from the planes could not burn hot enough to melt that amount of steel. Since there was no plane that hit tower seven, there was no jet fuel.
I spoke to some firefighters who were on the scene for weeks afterward looking for their brothers and survivors who said they had to replace their boots on a regular basis because they were melting. The fires were continuously burning underneath the rubble. This was weeks after the fact. A lot of them are asking the same questions, but they’re not stepping forward publicly because they’re afraid for their jobs. They talk about it amongst themselves. But if an entire body were to ask for a re-investigation of the 9/11 reports, I think that would help a lot. But I can understand why that won’t happen. It’s up to us to stand up for the firefighters, instead of the other way around.
SM: Do you think the truth about 9/11 has been revealed to its full extent and no one has decided to act upon this evidence or are there still missing pieces?
DS: There are scientists, intelligence professionals, architects, structural engineers, and government and military personal who are speaking out, and it’s astounding to me that our so-called free press has been totally silent on what obviously is front page news … the biggest story in our nation’s history in fact.
Seven senior republican appointees, highly decorated veterans including a top gun pilot, and more than six CIA whistleblowers and critics of the official version of events have officially called for a new and independent investigation with the power of subpoena; but it seems that the country is more concerned with whether The Patriots will go undefeated this season. I mean these are not crazed conspiracy theorists we’re talking about here. They are experts in their fields with immaculate track records and supreme pedigree whose doubts and concerns cannot be lightly dismissed. So why isn’t this front page news in every newspaper in America? It’s like the matrix or something. We’ve seemingly been mass hypnotized and sedated by television and prescription drugs. America needs to wake up before it’s too late.
SM: Have you discussed your views about 9/11 with Denis Leary, the creator of Rescue Me?
DS: I brought it up to Denis a while ago. And at the time, he didn’t agree. I’m not sure if he has taken a look at the evidence because when I first spoke to him, he hadn’t. But if you bring your politics into the workplace, sometimes you can lose your job. I don’t think Denis would fire me because of my political beliefs, but I don’t regularly bring up the issue at work with my bosses because I don’t how they’re going to react.
SM: What influenced your decision to become an actor/activist?
DS: I didn’t really discover my passion until I was in college. And unlike most people, I didn’t know which path I wanted to take. I decided to pursue a career in the arts because I wanted to – and forgive me for sounding cliché – make the world a better place [laughs]. To get people to talk and think about things. It doesn’t have to be something as political as the area of 9/11. The issue of 9/11 chose me more than I chose it because of a confluence of circumstances – the job on Rescue Me, my interest in 9/11 itself and a moral conscience to speak out.
The artists that I’m inspired by – not just in acting, but in the world of music – are those who stood up against injustice like Bob Marley, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. These are the kinds of men who expressed the ideals that have inspired me to at least try to be of service in the public eye and who used their celebrity to advocate for causes that were more important than themselves.