From cover-up to shakedown, 9/11 continues to haunt Americans

The leading authors of the 9/11 Commission Report are pushing for more security measures, including a national ID card, but given the history of the investigation, should Americans ask more questions first?

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, former 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Deputy Chairman Lee Hamilton called for putting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) measures on the fast track, complaining that the department must answer to too many departments and subcommittees, thus cutting into its budgetary and time constraints.

"We were advised the other day that we should all feel pretty good about the (federal government's) accomplishments," said Hamilton. "The problem, of course, is that the attacks keep coming – over Detroit, in Times Square, at Fort Hood."

So now the very same individuals who failed to uncover so many glaring inconsistencies in their investigation of the 9/11 attacks are determined to introduce more liberty-threatening measures on an unsuspecting public.

The most provocative recommendation during the testimony was for the creation of a national ID card for every American citizen.

"The necessity of having an accurate identification is key to homeland security, I believe," Hamilton said. "I know there's objections to that on the left and on the right. Someday we'll get there. Other countries have it and we're going to have it for a lot of purposes, but certainly in controlling our borders.”

The argument was made that the United States needs “confidence in identification” or the system will fail.

Although the uproar over such a proposal will be tremendous, Kean reassured lawmakers that the public would accept anything “in the name of security.”

"The public is willing to accept anything in the name of security,” the former 9/11 Commission chairman said. “And they've accepted all sorts of inconvenience…The public is with us. And so what we need is the technological and governmental will to get these things done and get them done yesterday."

Kean also called on the president to reconstitute the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which has been dormant since 2007.

"We got massive capacity now to develop data on individuals, and we need somebody to ensure that the collection capabilities do not violate our privacy and the liberties we care about," he said.

Can we trust these guys?

So now the American people – the same individuals who will apparently “accept anything in the name of security” – are being asked to swallow yet another baited line of security measures to protect them from the evildoers. But perhaps it would be more prudent to ask more questions about our alleged guardians before we “accept anything in the name of security.”

In order to make such a decision, we should reconsider the past work of the 9/11 Commission, which has only served to fuel suspicions about that watershed moment that will dominate US foreign and domestic policy for many years to come.

But first, let’s consider some of the comments by other observers.

“The plain, sad reality…is that the 9/11 Commission Report, despite the vast quantity of labor behind it, is a cheat and a fraud,” wrote Benjamin DeMott in Harper’s Magazine. “It stands as a series of evasive maneuvers that infantilize the audience, transform candor into iniquity, and conceal realities that demand immediate inspection and confrontation.”

“When we first envisioned this commission, we did not envision it made up of ex-senators and ex-Navy secretaries and all of this other stuff,” commented Beverly Eckert of the Family Steering Group, which represents the families who lost loved ones in 9/11. “We thought it should be professors and writers, scholars and also people who are involved in the news, but not necessarily a part of it. These people [the commissioners] are all a part of it. In many ways the government is part of the problem.”

"Bush is scamming America," declared Senator Max Cleland, who resigned from the Commission due to his limited access to crucial documents.

"As each day goes by," Cleland was quoted in Salon as saying, "we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11 than it has ever admitted…They had a plan to go to war, and when 9/11 happened, that's what they did; they went to war."

Indeed, if the United States really had nothing to hide from an investigative panel, if everything was perfectly cut and dry, why was the Bush administration vehemently opposed to any sort of governmental commission to investigate our response to the worst attack ever on American soil? Bush only agreed to a commission investigation following intense lobbying by the Sept. 11th families.

Moreover, Bush initially approved a budget of just $3 million for the work of the investigative panel, which demands a staff of dozens to comb through thousands of documents. Only after months of heated opposition did he give into an additional $8 million in funding.

Now compare this miserliness when it comes to investigating the worst attack ever on American soil with two other well-known tragedies. The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster sparked immediate approval of $30 million for a commission within a week, while the investigation of Bill Clinton’s sexual importunities in the 1990s soaked up close to $40 million in public funds.

“The Kean Commission… was called to life only after Sept. 11th families lobbied stubbornly for 14 months,” wrote the 9/11 Truth Committee in a pamphlet that was given to participants of the 9/11 hearings on May 18-19, 2004. “The same families have now demanded the resignation of the Commission's executive director, Philip Zelikow, for his evident conflicts of interest.”

The 24-page booklet [available here] explains that “Although Zelikow frames the Commission's agenda, he was on the Bush 2000 transition team, worked closely with Condoleezza Rice under both Bushes, and co-authored a book with Rice in 1999. Why hasn't this story made the headlines?”

What about World Trade Center 7?

Certainly the most glaring failure of the 9/11 Commission Report was its absence of any mention of World Trade Center 7, the 47-story building that collapsed a full 8 hours after the WTC North and South Towers fell. For 9/11 “Truthers”, the free-fall collapse of WTC-7, which was never hit by a commercial jet, is the smoking gun that points to controlled demolition. It should also be mentioned that 9/11 marked the first time in history that steel-framed buildings collapsed due to fire.

It is perhaps worth noting that World Trade Center 7 housed US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) files relating to numerous Wall Street investigations, as well as other federal investigative files. The thousands of destroyed files, especially those classified as confidential, had no back-up copies. In addition to the SEC, the Secret Service had its largest field office, with more than 200 employees, in WTC 7 and lost investigative files. This fact alone – given the gravity of the loss – makes the 9/11 Commission Report’s silence on WTC 7 all the more disturbing.

Giuliani hauls away the 9/11 trash

Was the 9/11 Commission able to investigate the debris left over from history’s biggest crime scene, which is de rigueur for any investigation regardless of the size? No, because New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani immediately and inexplicably authorized the shipment of WTC rubble to China and India for recycling. Think about that: thousands of tons of incriminating evidence quietly whisked out of New York on river barges. That’s like a maid entering a hotel room right after a murder has been committed and vacuuming. The difference, however, is that most maids would have the sense not to do such a thing, whereas it seems out political leaders lack such basic scruples. Thus, Americans are probably buying Chinese-made products at their local Wal-Mart stores constructed out of damning evidence from 9/11. Thank you, Mayor Giuliani.

Kid-gloves treatment

And how do we explain the soft approach that the Bush administration received at the hands of the investigating committee?

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defense on 9/11, stated in his opening remarks to the 9/11 Commission that he, “Had no idea hijacked airliners would be used as weapons." His final statement on the topic while under oath was, "I plead ignorance.”

But could it really have escaped the Secretary of Defense’s attention – and more importantly, the attention of the 9/11 Commission – that on the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD was running war games involving hijacked airliners, while the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was running a drill that imagined an errant aircraft crashing into a government building – at the exact time that an identical scenario was unfolding in New York City?

The Commission also found it unnecessary to bring up the fact that on October 26, 2000, a mass emergency drill was being conducted in response to “an airliner being crashed into the Pentagon.”

“In the situation room, a model plane was set aflame within a scale model of the building, while emergency crews were dispatched to various places around the real building to test their response times,” wrote Michael Kane for the 9/11 Truth report. “A military website later published news of the exercise, with pictures. What did then-Defense Secretary William Cohen tell his successor, Rumsfeld, about this drill during the transition process from the Clinton to Bush administrations?”

Kane asks: how is it possible these two questions were “overlooked”?

Last man out, first man ignored

But perhaps the most startling omission from the 9/11 Commission is William Rodriguez, the main janitor of WTC for 20 years and the last man out of the WTC before its imminent collapse. Rodriguez, who is amazing for reasons that go beyond his incredible story, personally saved dozens of lives on 9/11.

Moreover, Rodriguez provides a first-hand account of the explosions he heard on the basement level before the commercial jet struck the top floor of the North Tower.

In the words of William Rodriguez, who is carrying his story around the world in order to provoke an independent investigation of 9/11:

“The events of 9/11… changed the lives of everybody in the new millennium. This event also changed my life forever. I came to work that day not expecting to be a witness of the horror, despair and desolation that was 9/11. On that horrible day I went floor by floor trying to help people, as I was one of the few people in the complex with a master key.

I helped evacuate many lives, and yet, though they say I am a hero, they, the government officials, the 9/11 Commission and the major media, have all ignored or edited my story: many explosions occurred that morning, explosions that were not related to the impact of the planes. As I learned later, my story did not fit the story the government told.

“My testimony was omitted from the final report,” Rodriguez said.

Now, if the 9/11 Commission is arrogant enough to ignore the experience of this true American hero, should we listen to the advice of the former commissioners, who want to further erode our liberties?

You be the judge. (5.20.2010, Robert Bridge, RT)

America the Beautiful

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