It’s late spring 2009 in New York City and an unannounced unidentified U.S. government plane streaks across town. Recollecting the horrors of 9/11, the incident scares the he-be-gee-bees out of the citizenry. Some miles to the north, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D/NY), while attending an April 18th “Tour of the Battenkill” annual bicycle race in Cambridge, New York, responds to a question regarding efforts here in New York City to establish a new investigation of 9/11. Lending his qualified support to such an inquiry, he said that he was positively disposed toward a new investigation into the events of 9/11, though his support for such a probe would depend on the form it would take. “I think it’s not a bad idea,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to do it in a good way, but yes, I’d be for it.”
An associate of Schumer, New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also recommended a fresh look at the events of September 11, 2001. Commenting this past May 27th to a young reporter who himself had suffered the loss of a loved one during 9/11, the senator responded to the question of a new investigation by suggesting that “another review, or a fuller hearing” is warranted given the number of unanswered questions put forward by victims families since 9/11. “I think those questions should be answered,” she stated, going on to affirm that, “it’s important that every family member have every question answered.”
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are not the first to call for a new investigation into the crimes of 9/11. In case you haven’t noticed, the list is long and it’s growing. The list of notable adherents to this call includes former President Jimmy Carter. When asked if he’d support family members who want a new investigation into 9/11, he said, “yeah, I don’t have anything to do with it but I certainly would. It would be nice.” Former Senator Mike Gravel, who long ago brought the Pentagon Papers to the U.S. Congress, supports the call as well. As does his friend Daniel Ellsberg, the recipient of said document. Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee wants to see a new investigation, as does former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. He, and other members of Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth, (PL911truth.com) including Curt Weldon and Cynthia McKinney, are “calling for a new, independent investigation of 9/11 that takes account of evidence that has been documented by independent researchers but thus far ignored by governments and the mainstream media.”
On the international front, British MP Michael Meacher, Japanese MP Fujita Yukihisa, former Italian President Francesco Cossiga, and Andreas von Buelow, the former State Secretary of West Germany’s Ministry of Defense, have all expressed support for a new inquiry into the September 2001 attacks. So has British MP George Galloway, who noted that, “the failure of the Bush Administration to properly investigate, maybe for self-serving reasons, because it would have shown them to be monumentally incompetent, or something more sinister than that, is another argument that is beginning to be established.” He went on to say that because “there are lots of questions,” there is “definitely the need for more investigation.”
Prior to the last elections, noted author Gore Vidal stated that, “I think one advantage of having a Democratic House of Representatives after the coming election will be that we can have a new commission investigate 9/11 and the events leading up to our attacks on two innocent countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s about time that we begin to clean up our own house before we find that an international tribunal has summoned our leaders to The Hague in chains to put them on trial.”
Recently, when responding to calls for a federal torture commission to look into the criminal practices of the Bush junta, constitutional lawyer and professor Jonathan Turley offered some very disparaging remarks about the 9/11 Commission, saying: “God help us if the only thing we get out of this is a commission modeled on 9/11.” “That was a commission that was really made for Washington, a commission composed of political appointees of both parties that ran interference for those parties — a commission that insisted at the beginning it would not impose blame on individuals. So it’s the ideal Washington commission — a commission that would investigate without any repercussions.”
Even Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9/11 Commission–the body tasked with getting to the truth of what happened, which many now feel was set up only to concoct and rationalize the official story–suggested that his own commission was “set up to fail.” But it was not simply failure. In his 2008 book The Commission, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon describes in suffocating detail the extent to which the commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, so structured and manhandled the investigation that the choking off of the truth was a foregone conclusion. In addition, Shenon makes abundantly clear that the shielding of key Bush administration officials, along with the intimidation of willing witnesses, guaranteed the result of zero accountability. Many 9/11 family members were bitterly disappointed with what they had expected to be a legitimate investigation, left only with tormenting questions yet to be addressed.
Meanwhile, the glaring discrepancies between the 9/11 Commission’s official version of the events, on the one hand, and the body of extensive independent research by individuals with relevant scientific or professional expertise, on the other, has posed itself as a significant contradiction and moral challenge to dozens of religious leaders. Banding together, they’ve created a website ( RL911truth.org ) that, among other things, is calling for a “new, truly independent, investigation into the attacks of 9/11 immediately, because such an investigation is long overdue, being owed to the 9/11 families, the American people, and the peoples of the world–especially the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Hollywood has been far from silent on the matter of a new investigation of 9/11. Scores of actors, directors, performers and entertainers have publicly expressed their disavowal of the official story and are calling for a fresh look at the events of 9/11, including Martin and Charlie Sheen, Christine Ebersole, Michael Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Rosie O’Donnell, James Brolin, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., Daniel Sunjata, Ed Asner, Willie Nelson and Richard Linklater.
Lastly, as Ralph Nader has reminded us, let’s not forget that the Bush “government didn’t even want to have an inquiry” at all, and that the inquiry the 9/11 Commission did eventually carry out, with ground rules set up by its executive director Philip Zelikow, a Condi Rice confidant, insured that “they weren’t going to name names, or hold anybody responsible.” “So right from the get,” said Nader, the government sponsored investigation of 9/11 “was flawed” and consequently, “there needs to be another one, and the best place to have it is New York City.”
Well, apparently there are many who live and work here in New York City who think the same thing. In fact, 45,000 of them and counting! Going by the name of the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now, or NYC CAN ( www.nyccan.org ), the organization has gathered some 45,000 signatures towards a ballot initiative for the November 2009 election, which will allow the voters of NYC to sanction a new investigation of 9/11–an investigation with legal authority, subpoena power, an unlimited scope of inquiry, and the mandate to follow the facts wherever they may lead.
And despite the fact that NYC CAN is assiduously non-partisan and non-committal as to this or that version of events, seeking only a thorough, independent and genuine investigation of the crime, the surging, worldwide 9/11 truth movement has rallied behind NYC CAN as the most promising opportunity to establish a new investigation. Donations are pouring in. In a real sense, NYC CAN represents the 9/11 truth movement for accountability come home. Having spread its critical spirit and zeal for an honest rendering of this most heinous act, it has indeed come marching home–home to New York City, to the scene of the crime. It has come home in the form of a gathering storm and rising call for a new investigation of 9/11. Given the energy and support behind their efforts, moreover, it seems like they just might succeed–succeed in facilitating a true understanding of the single most influential political event of the century, succeed in putting the matter of an authentic investigation of 9/11 up to the voters of New York City, and in the process quite possibly open up the mother of all cans of worms.
How do we account for the success thus far of the NYC CAN campaign? First and foremost, it’s the growing involvement of victims’ families and survivors, some who serve on its Executive Council. They have given NYC CAN its moral weight and credibility. In equal part, its success is due to the massive national and international desire for an objective questioning of the official version of events that the lack of a real investigation has engendered. The “9/11 truth movement,” which emerged soon after the crimes of that day and has shown no signs of letting up, has effectively demonstrated its central claim that the official story of 9/11 is a fraud, a fraud that has unfortunately assumed the stature of a religious myth, based on a misguided “nationalist faith,” as Dr. David Ray Griffin, author of many analytical books on 9/11, has so ably pointed out. This “faith” in U.S. “exceptionalism,” an unrealistic belief that everything America does is good, has blinded many to the obvious flaws and self-evident contradictions in the official story of 9/11.
Nonetheless, the 9/11 truth movement has seen the light and is reflecting it from the rooftops–or at least from the Internet. Championed by websites such as patriotsquestion911.com, ae911truth.org, and 911blogger.com, it has grown more extensive, more insistent, more committed and — critically — more professionally based. No longer simply a discrete coterie of computer-based researchers and lone intellectuals, the movement now includes hundreds of architects, engineers, firefighters, scientists, lawyers, medical professionals, religious leaders, political leaders, professors in various fields, and former military and intelligence officers–all of whom are calling for a fresh inquiry.
Although it has been habitually ignored or trivialized by the corporate and even left-leaning media, the call for an authentic investigation of 9/11 nonetheless continues to grow, along with an insistence on accountability. And an insistence that there’s more to the reality behind 9/11 than evil Muslims hell bent on our destruction, sitting around master-minding terrorist plots which turn out to be the same old FBI provocateur inspired entrapments of manipulated malcontents, dutifully hyped by the panic stricken press, all recently made manifest in the case of the three supposed al-Qaeda enthusiasts devoted to blowing up Brooklyn synagogues, a scenario decisively deconstructed by Robert Dreyfus in the recent May 22nd issue of the Nation magazine. In short, those calling for a new investigation of 9/11 simply don’t believe the hype.
Let us recall that in the months after September 11, a handful of the victims’ families joined together to demand an independent investigation into the government’s failure to defend its citizens on that tragic morning, leading to the formation of the 9/11 Commission, which, despite the foot-dragging on the part of the Bush administration, was signed into existence on November 27, 2002, a story movingly told in 9/11 Press for Truth, a popular film recently aired for the first time on public TV (in Denver). This film shows that the Family Steering Committee, having thoroughly researched every aspect of the attacks, provided the Commission with 400 questions that they felt would need to be answered for the Commission to fulfill its mandate. After 18 months of proceedings and the release of the Commission’s Final Report on July 22, 2004, the Family Steering Committee determined that less than a third of its questions had been answered, leaving many, many questions still unanswered. In short, they didn’t get what they deserved. They still haven’t.
Following the release of the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004, a Zogby poll revealed that 66% of New Yorkers were in favor of another investigation to address the “still unanswered questions” of 9/11. NYC CAN, having tapped into that fertile audience, is hoping to deliver to the 9/11 families, survivors, ailing first responders, New Yorkers and to the world what they deserve, namely, a genuine, independent and truthful investigation of 9/11.
How can this be accomplished? According to NYC CAN, New York City voters have the power to legally mandate the formation of a new investigation with subpoena power by petitioning to place a referendum on the ballot in the November 2009 General Election. With the passage of this referendum, New York City will take the first giant step towards truth and justice in regard to the crimes of 9/11. As Ted Walter, NYC CAN’s young and able executive director, recently stated to me: “A majority of us in New York know we don’t know the whole truth about what happened on that day. A majority of us want a new investigation to answer the questions the 9/11 Commission wouldn’t. We’re talking hundreds of questions — simple, straight-forward questions the families never got answers to and we as Americans deserve answers. It’s time for the truth to come home.”
To conclude, it’s appropriate to close with a quote from NYC CAN Executive Council member Bob McIlvaine and his wife Helen. Their statement pretty much sums up what the NYC CAN campaign is all about:
“Dear Citizens of New York City, We lost our son Bobby on September 11, 2001. The death of a child is a pain like no other, compounded by the fact that this wonderful young man was murdered. When a crime as heinous as this takes place, it is assumed that justice will be served and the perpetrators will be discovered and punished. Much to our dismay, this has not taken place. Our only hope, at this juncture, is to support the NYC CAN Ballot Initiative, calling for an unbiased and non-political investigation of our son’s murder. We only want the truth.”
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