Sunday, August 06, 2006

Search For 9/11 Veracity

Round-up of recent 9/11 related stories:

Excerpts from my article at Raw Story, 9/11 widows question 'veracity' of report:

Four widows instrumental in getting Congress to push President Bush to create the 9/11 Independent Commission are insisting that it "failed in its duties" on the heels of two recent news reports which allege that some commissioners knew they were being "deceived" by NORAD officials, and the widows are now questioning "the veracity of the entire Commission’s report," RAW STORY has found.


"The fact that the Commission did not see fit to tie up all loose ends in their final report or to hold those who came before them accountable for lying and/or making misleading statements puts into question the veracity of the entire Commission’s report," the widows write.


According to the widows' statement, "the failure to fully and properly investigate all areas, not follow all leads and not address the need for accountability, whether it be bureaucrats lying at a hearing or personnel with questionable performance of assigned duties, continues to leave this Nation and its citizens vulnerable and at risk."

On Friday the Associated Press reported that, in a new book, former Committee Chairmen Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton claim that they ended up going "too soft" on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the hearings, largely due to attacks in the press, and that "the 20-month investigation may have suffered for it."

The questioning of Giuliani was considered by Kean and Hamilton "a low point" in the commission's examination of witnesses during public hearings. "We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record," they wrote.

Commission members backed off, Kean and Hamilton said, after drawing criticism in newspaper editorials for sharp questioning of New York fire and police officials at earlier hearings. The editorials said the commission was insensitive to the officials' bravery on the day of the attacks.

"It proved difficult, if not impossible, to raise hard questions about 9/11 in New York without it being perceived as criticism of the individual police and firefighters or of Mayor Giuliani," Kean and Hamilton said.

"The morning of Mr. Giuliani’s testimony, The New York Post’s cover had the single word 'Insult' above a photograph of a firefighter kneeling at the World Trade Center site," notes Timothy Williams in Sunday's NY Times.

A spokesman for Giuliani calls the criticism "confounding" in Sunday's Times since "[a]t the end of both sessions, Hamilton and Kean said they were pleased and grateful for Rudy’s time and full cooperation."

That's a strange statement. The commissioners said they regret going "too soft" so pointing to their public statements thanking "America's Mayor" (who once blamed US troops in Iraq to protect President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, etc. from being blamed for not securing 380 tons of explosives reported missing shortly before the 2004 election) proves absolutely nothing.

No word on whether or not the commission chairmen also regret not questioning Bush and Cheney separately, but if they don't, they should, since, for one thing, it's still unclear whether or not the Vice President usurped the President's power on September 11, 2001.

Also, late Friday evening, The New York Times broke the not-exactly-unexpected news online that a soon-to-be-released watchdog agency report will "clear" Pentagon commanders of allegations that they deliberately deceived the 9/11 Independent Commission.

The Defense Department’s watchdog agency said Friday that it had no evidence that senior Pentagon commanders intentionally provided false testimony to the Sept. 11 commission about the military’s actions on the morning of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The agency, the Pentagon’s office of inspector general, said the Defense Department’s initial inaccurate accounts could be attributed largely to poor record-keeping.

The Pentagon initially suggested that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the military’s domestic air-defense operation, had reacted quickly to reports of the hijackings and had been prepared to intercept and possibly shoot down one of the hijacked planes.

The Sept. 11 commission, which uncovered the inconsistencies in the Pentagon’s account, made a formal request in July 2004 for the inspector general to investigate why senior military officials who testified to the commission had made so many inaccurate statements.

Finally, the LA Daily News has a review of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center written by Ed Rampell, the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People's Film History of the United States which claims that "political and financial pressures notwithstanding, WTC still has many progressive themes," though "more subtle than in Stone's past works," including the "ramifications of [America] being the sole superpower."


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