The Need for a Truly Independent 9/11 Investigation
Phillip H. Duran
03 Apr 2004 08:35 GMT
While the 9-11 Commission is applauding President Bush’s decision made under political pressure to allow his national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, to testify publicly and under oath, there is no guarantee that all of the basic facts about the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be uncovered. The Commission still suffers from certain weaknesses: its makeup and role, the Bush administration’s behavior, a weak and biased internal process, and the failure of the press. Only a truly independent investigation or an impeachment process will reveal the whole truth.
It was known from the beginning that the Commission is not a truly independent body. The survivors and families of those who died in the attacks called it a whitewash and an attempt to provide an official cover-up. The members were handpicked by the President, are under his control, and were given the limited role of focusing on how to avert another attack, not to conduct the full investigation that the victims’ families have been demanding. What could be more telling than the most recent revelation that the White House has withheld three quarters of nearly 11,000 pages of files that President Clinton was ready to offer the Commission and Press Secretary smugly saying, “We are providing the commission with access to all the information they need to do their job.” (NYTIMES.com, April 2, 2004)? An additional factor that hinders a full investigation and further indicates Mr. Bush’s intent not to disclose the whole truth is the compromise attached to the decision to allow Ms. Rice to testify: the Commission agreed not to request any more interviews from the Bush team.
Ms. Rice’s testimony and other efforts to discredit Richard Clarke may shift public opinion temporarily toward Bush, who is hoping for closure. Given that Ms. Rice is anticipating what the Commission wants to know, we can expect her to be fully prepared to make statements that do not damage the President, without committing perjury. Her strong opinions in response to questions may have a great influence on the public, and she is protected by the fact that, as Watergate veteran John Dean pointed out on tonight's NOW with Bill Moyers program, opinion is not perjurious.
Regardless of what the Commission concludes through testimony, the questions arising directly from the physical and technical facts relevant to the tragic events surrounding 9/11 still need to be pursued outside of the President’s control. The data are begging for an open investigation to be conducted by experts who will use their science and expertise honestly. Such an investigation is also necessary so that America can search itself in an honest attempt to restore its dignity. We will not reach closure until Nature’s laws and the physical data are consulted. I will address this important issue last.
The administration continues to lose credibility with its overt behavior. For example: It has stonewalled every official effort by the Commission to obtain information, using stalling tactics and even resisting the forming of the 9-11 Commission. The Iraq invasion was based on pretext presented to the American public and even Congress. We have heard several former members of the Bush team say that the President was obsessed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Those who have voiced disagreement with the President experienced some form of retaliation, such as Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife’s identity was leaked out and her career damaged and possibly destroyed. Former insiders have been subjected to character assassination for telling what they know. A shroud of secrecy has characterized the administration from the beginning. And we have a President who jokes about not finding the weapons of mass destruction and never admits making mistakes.
Karen Kwiatkowski, a high-ranking military officer who worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Programs, wrote soon after retiring in March 2004: “I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies. … I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president. … We are told that intelligence has failed America, and that President Bush is determined to get to the bottom of it. Yet not a single neoconservative appointee has lost his job.” (www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/03/10/osp/index_np.html)
The administration skillfully prepares and conditions the American public to accept what will eventually come out, even the pretexts. How many times were we forced to listen to the mantra of “weapons of mass destruction” and the threat of an imminent attack from Iraq? Other examples include a bloated defense budget, the cost of Iraq reconstruction and military deployment, the hidden costs of Medicare, and the future increase in Medicare premiums. Yet, when the facts are finally known, there is no public outrage, despite the horrendous cost of the thousands of military and civilian lives lost and maimed, including innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the terrible legacy that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with.
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout senior editor and lead writer, reported on March 17, 2004 that Condoleezza Rice has admitted that the massive file on al Qaeda and bin Laden left for her by outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger went completely unread until the attacks had taken place. He states: “What happened on August 6, 2001? It was on this day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. According to reports, the briefing stated bluntly that Osama bin Laden intended to attack America soon, and contained the word ‘hijacking.’ Bush responded to the warning by heading to Texas for a month-long vacation.”
Asking loyal members of the President’s team, whether or not under oath, to provide information that may damage the President is an inherent flaw of the internal process. As we have seen, it is only when someone leaves the team that he or she can speak openly, and it requires courage. One exception is former White House aide Karen Hughes, who has returned to assist Mr. Bush whose team has obviously gone into disarray, especially after Richard Clarke’s book and public appearances.
The mysteries of 9/11 must be pursued through honest and expert science, and politics must be set aside. All relevant events prior to, during, and after 9/11 need to be investigated. Witnesses of those events need to tell what they know. The victims’ families want answers and so does America if it is to survive as a nation that is now deeply divided. Instead of assuming a priori that an intelligence failure occurred, we must let the facts speak for themselves, and they may lead to other explanations.
Hopefully, the lawsuit against President Bush by Ellen Mariani, the wife of one of the victims, filed on 11/25/03, will begin to bring crucial questions into the open. Her open letter to the President is posted at www.ratical.com/ratville/CAH/EllenMariani.html, where the following questions are listed:
1. Why were 29 pages of the 9/11 committee report personally censored at your request?
2. Where are the "black boxes" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?
3. Where are the "voice recorders" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?
4. Why can't we gain access to the complete air traffic control records for Flight 11 and Flight 175?
5. Where are the airport surveillance tapes that show the passengers boarding the doomed flights?
6. When will complete passenger lists for all of the flights be released?
7. Why did your brother Jeb (the Governor of Florida) go to the offices of the Hoffman Aviation School and order that flight records and files be removed?
Eventually, the people of the United States must wake up to what is being done in their name and how other nations view the U.S. President and his administration. On March 10, 2004, the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan (ICTA), in The People vs. George Walker Bush (www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Afghanistan-Criminal-Tribunal10mar04.htm), declared Mr. Bush guilty for waging a war of aggression, the use of illegal weapons of warfare, crimes against humanity, the torture and killing of Taliban and other prisoners of war, the serious humanitarian situation resulting from the refugee exodus, the depleted uranium (DU) weapons used on the people of Afghanistan to exterminate the population, and exposing soldiers and other personnel of the United States, UK and other soldiers of coalition forces to radioactive contamination by the use of DU weapons.
The ICTA verdict contains researched and documented background information reported by investigative teams that visited Afghanistan and Iraq, who discovered the use of weapons of mass destruction by the United States in the form of depleted uranium, equivalent to 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. It had not occurred to me until reading the verdict that America was not attacked by another government. Al-Qaeda is a terrorist network but not a government. Yet, in response, the United States invaded another government. I encourage everyone to read this document.
A previous International War Crimes Tribunal (May 1991) brought a complaint against the current President’s father, George H. W. Bush, for war crimes against Iraq (www.deoxy.org/wc/warcrim2.htm) for violating the Charter of the United Nations, the Hague and Geneva Conventions, committing crimes against peace, war crimes, and violating the U.S. Constitution and numerous U.S. criminal statutes in ordering and directing the assault on Panama. (An excellent 90-minute video on the Panama invasion is The Panama Deception.)
The questions posed by the victims’ families are by no means exhaustive. David Ray Griffin, whose book, The New Pearl Harbor, was reviewed by Rosemary Radford Ruether in December 2003 ( http://911citizenswatch.org/print.php?sid=34), is in my opinion a resource that all Americans must read, and they should read it first. It is well organized into questions that arise directly from evidences. It is comprehensive yet concise and lucid. Griffin amalgamates evidences provided by several sources, writing neither as a politician nor a conspiracy theorist. Toward the end, he lists the numerous evidences and coincidences that were covered in previous chapters. In the foreword, Richard Falk suggests that the “most dogmatically blinded adherents of the Bush presidency” who read the book with a 30-percent open mind should be convinced by the book’s basic argument. I believe he’s right.
“Physical evidences” are events or situations known to have occurred which require a rational explanation compatible with physical laws, as well as the application of those laws to prove that an “official” explanation could not possibly be correct. The laws of physics cannot be invalidated through testimony; they can only be denied. Griffin points out several such cases. For example, if the Pentagon had followed standard procedures during the 9/11 attacks, U.S. aircraft would have been airborne in plenty of time to reach the commercial airliners. “Scrambling” aircraft into the air to intercept an airliner that is off course is automatic and does not require a presidential order; shooting it down does. The evidence indicates that not only were standard procedures not followed but also the failure to respond to the attacks could only have occurred if a stand down order had been given. While the evidence may not be conclusive without further investigation, it is certainly strong enough to ask why U.S. procedures failed and to demand an answer.
The media seem to be protecting the President. Griffin points out that the free press investigated and publicized the charges against President Nixon in the Watergate scandal, President Reagan in the Iran-Contra scandal, and President Clinton in the sex scandal, all of which were reported though they were inflammatory. Why has the media not kept the public informed about several relevant issues, including the possible inconsistencies between the official account and the relevant facts? Griffin states: “For example, the mass media have not educated the public about standard procedures for intercepting hijacked airliners.”
Perhaps only an angry electorate can force a truly independent investigation of all relevant events that occurred prior to, during, and following 9/11. It would be conducted by an independent prosecutor who will use experts, witnesses, and a group of investigators in a process that cannot be preempted by the authority of the President and his office. Or perhaps the acts already committed by the President will eventually be recognized as impeachable. According to John Dean (NOW with Bill Moyers), misleading a nation into war is such an offense.
At the end of the ICTA verdict, Professor Ms. Niloufer Bhagwat J., who rendered the judgment, writes: “I believe that ‘Truth’ is a weapon on the side of humanity. If truth is known tyranny and injustice will be defeated .The Tribunal has performed its judicial task. It is now for people to ensure the implementation of this verdict.”
What are we waiting for?