Thursday, September 29, 2005

The 9/11 Whitewash commission: extract from "9/11 Synthetic Terror" By Webster Griffin Tarpley

THE FAILURE OF THE KEAN-HAMILTON 9/11 COMMISSION

The utter failure of the Commission to Investigate Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, popularly known as the 9/11 commission or the Kean-Hamilton commission,
requires special attention. The Kean-Hamilton commission came into the world as an orphan. The Bush regime and the Washington oligarchy in general had never desired its creation. They had successfully fabricated and propagated the 9/11 myth, and they saw no need whatever for any further rummaging through the events of that catastrophic day.
The creation of the 9/11 commission was due largely to the agitational and lobbying efforts of the 9/11 Families Steering Committee, a body largely composed of New Jersey housewives, the widows of men who had died in the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The most active among these widows was the quartet known as the Jersey girls – Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie van Auken. Another group had as its spokesman Stephen Push. After months of trips to Washington to lobby Congress, Kristen Breitweiser was designated by the 9/11 victims’ families to testify in the first public hearing of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JICI) inquiry at the US Capitol. The four widows soon became embittered as they saw that members of Congress and their staffs were determined to avoid the questions that seemed most important to them. They were indignant that the Ashcroft Justice Department had prescribed that “minders” had to be present whenever the JICI interviewed officials from the intelligence agencies, a rather overt form of witness intimidation which was later continued in regard to the Kean-Hamilton Commission.
They also began to notice that the FBI continued to lie systematically, and in the process they became aware of some of the anomalies in the government story. Two of the accused hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, had been known to US intelligence agencies well before 9/11, and important facts about them had been languishing unused in federal files for 15 months. As the JICI discovered, these two persons had had extensive dealings with a longtime FBI counterterrorism informant based in California. The case was very suspicious. Since the JICI was mandated to cease its operations upon delivering its report at the end of 2003, the four widows and others began pressing for the board of inquiry which Torricelli had demanded, but which Bush had successfully blocked, during the months immediately after 9/11. This proposal was also stubbornly opposed by Bush, who wanted no further investigation at all.
In May 2002, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Daschle endorsed the idea of an independent investigating commission. There was a diehard group of partisan Republicans in the House who sought to block the probe as long as they could. They were leads by Tom Delay, who ranted that “a public commission investigating American intelligence in a time of war is ill-conceived and irresponsible.” (New York Times, May 21, 2002) This was of course what Bush and Cheney also thought. The House finally agreed to the bill for a commission on July 25, 2002. Rep. Tim Roemer was the bill’s sponsor, and it was not a coincidence that he was later named to the commission, since he was out of the House and needed a job. After the commission was finally voted up by the Senate in late November 2002, Bush sought to name enry Kissinger as the commission chairman. With that everyone in Washington knew that the fix was in: the new commission was intended by the establishment to carry forward the coverup, not to discover the truth about what had happened. Kissinger’s old adversary Daniel Schorr was one who said so bluntly, adding that the Bush administration was “desperately anxious” to avoid being pilloried for the obvious intelligence failures of that day. (NPR, November 30, 2002)
The bankruptcy of the 9/11 commission is expressed first of all in the conflicts of interests inherent in the pedigrees of the well-heeled insiders who composed it.
The blueblood former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, currently president of Drew University, was on the board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Council of Prince Philip’s and Prince Bernhard’s World Wildlife Fund. He has also been on the board of Amerada Hess Corporation, which has been engaged in a joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia. Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mafouz and al Amoudi families of Saudi Arabia, who have been charged at various times with helping to fund al Qaeda – as for example in the $1 trillion lawsuit brought by 9/11 victims’ heirs against Saudi Arabian interests. Kean has been insistently linked to Khalid bin Mafouz, one of Bin Laden’s relatives by marriage. He is on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This is the so-called Project Democracy, a bi-partisan organ of quasi-autonomous US government subversion of the rest of the world. The NED is in effect the privatized version of the Cold War CIA under Reagan’s Executive Order 12333. This was the mother, so to speak, of the Bush 41 – Poindexter – Oliver North double dealing that history has come to know as the Iran-contra affair. In a 1987 essay entitled “Project Democracy’s Program: The Fascist Corporate State,” I had occasio to observe:
"Even in an epoch full of big lies like the late 20 century, it is ironic that the financiers of the Trilateral Commission should have chosen the name “Project Democracy” to denote their organized effort to install a fascist, totalitarian regime in the United States and a fascist New Order around the world. …Project Democracy is fascist, designed to culminate in the imposition of fascist institutions on the United States, institutions that combine the distilled essence of the Nazi Behemoth and the Bolshevik Leviathan. Project Democracy is high treason, a conspiracy for the overthrow of the Constitution. An organization whose stock in trade is destabilization and putsch in so many countries around the world it can hardly be expected to halt its operations as it returns to the US border."
For Project Democracy, it can happen here, it will happen here.” (Tarpley 1987 40)
Lee Hamilton may be the all-time champion as regards the sheer number of
commissions he has served on. While working on the 9/11 commission, he moonlighted as president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a thinly veiled intelligence operation. Hamilton served as congressman from Indiana for 34 years, specializing in the House International Relations Committee, which he chaired.
He was also on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran – better known as the Iran- contra committee, which catapulted Oliver North to notoriety. At that time, Hamilton had commented that indictment or impeachment of Reagan or Bush would not have been “good for the country.” Instead, Hamilton supported the indictment of Reagan NSC director John Poindexter, North, and General Richard Secord, while assiduously protecting both Reagan and Vice President George Bush, the latter of whom had directed every phase of Iran-contra drug-running and gun-running (Tarpley 1992). All in all, Hamilton is 0 for 4 in finding serious malfeasance by top oligarchs in any of the investigating committees or commissions he has worked on.
John Lehman was Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987, during the Reagan-Bush administrations, working with Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci. His current role was that of Wall Street corporate raider in his capacity as chairman of J. F. Lehman & Company, a private equity investment firm specialized in leveraged buyouts. Lehman counts as a Kissinger clone; he got his start as special counsel and member of the senior staff in Kissinger’s Nixon-era National Security Council. He was one of the more accomplished practitioners of psychological warfare among the commissioners, as reflected in his expert baiting of the FDNY representatives during the commission’s last hearings in New York City. Thanks in part to this arrogant performance, the last commission session in New York almost turned into a riot against the 9/11 commission, and the commissioners were no doubt glad to get out of town that day.
Jamie S. Gorelick, a partner of Wilmer, Cutler, & Pickering, was also the vice-chair of Fannie Mae, a purveyor of mortgage-backed securities which was reportedly in deep financial trouble as a result of the Greenspan housing bubble. She had been deputy Attorney General during the Clinton years. Gorelick, who served on the CIA’s National Security Advisory Panel as well as on the President’s Review of Intelligence, counted as a personal creature of CIA Director George Tenet, to whom she displayed fawning deference whenever he appeared for testimony before the 9/11 commission. Her lines of questioning typically tried to deflect guilt and opprobrium away from Langley, and towards such favored scapegoat agencies as the FAA.
James R. “Big Jim” Thompson was a Republican wheelhorse from Illinois, where he had held on as governor from 1977-1991, an all-time record for that state. He was a member of the law firm of Winston & Straw, which finds its niche in defending corporations accused of wrongdoing – among them, Philip Morris, the target of numerous class action lawsuits by tobacco victims. Thompson’s caliber may be most easily gauged from examining his role in overseeing a “corporate kleptocracy” as a member of the audit committee of Hollinger Corporation, the British intelligence front which was mercilessly looted over many years by Lord Conrad Black and his rapacious consort, Barbara Amiel, a self-styled “fascist bitch.” According to a report prepared for Hollinger by former SEC chairman Richard C. Breeden, between 1997 and 2003, Black and his management cohorts steered 95.2% of Hollinger’s gross income into their personal accounts, depriving shareholders of about $400 million of company funds. Black and Amiel reportedly viewed Hollinger as a personal “piggybank.” This neocon power couple, who had played a key role in the Clinton impeachment via their control of the London Daily Telegraph, used the Hollinger corporate jet as their personal property, shuttling among Chicago,
Toronto, and vacation spots like Palm Springs and others. One 33-hour junket to Bora Bora alone cost Hollinger shareholders $533,000. Black billed the company $90,000 to refurbish his Rolls Royce, and another $8 million for memorabilia that once belonged to Franklin D. Roosevelt, about whom Black wrote a book. A birthday party organized by Black for Amiel at New York’s La Grenouille cost Hollinger $42,870. Black shoveled $5.4 million to neocon windbag Richard Perle, whom he described as a “trimmer and sharper” in private company emails. In the midst of this bacchanal sat Big Jim Thompson of the audit committee, flanked by former State Department operative Richard Burt.
Thompson came in for harsh criticism in the Breeden report for having done nothing to prevent Black’s picaresque looting of Hollinger, which was supposed to be preserved as an asset of the British intelligence community. If Big Jim Thompson could not see the kleptocracy raging around him, how could he be expected to come up with any meaningful facts about 9/11? (Washington Post, September 1, 2004)
Former Senator
Slade Gorton worked with the law firm of Preston, Gates & Ellis LLP.
He had represented Washington state in the Senate for 18 years, 1982-2000. He himself attributed his appointment to his close personal friendship with GOP Senate leader Trent Lott, who was soon forced to quit his leadership post because of his effusive praise for Dixiecrat segregationist Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Gorton can be considered the representative of the smoke-filled room of Republican senators who exert decisive influence in the GOP.
Former Indiana Democratic Congressman
Tim Roemer was a partner at Johnston and Associates, and a scholar at George Mason University in Virginia. He served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was part of the JICI coverup, and was one of the authors of the House bill which set up the 9/11 commission. Fred Fielding was a senior partner with the Wiley, Rein, & Fielding law firm. He had been Reagan’s lawyer between 1981 and 1986. He had been associate counsel between 1970 and 1972, and associate counsel between 1972 and 1974. His role as Nixon’s llawyer was such that, after a multi-year probe, investigative journalism students at the University of Illinois declared that Fielding had been the fabled Deep Throat who fed leads to Woodward and Bernstein about Watergate back in 1972-74. At that time Fielding had worked in John Dean’s office.
Former Senator
Max Cleland of Georgia was the one possible wild card among the
commissioners. He had been defeated in his re-election bid in 2002 by an underhanded Republican campaign of character assassination waged by the shameless Saxby Chambliss. Cleland had attempted to preserve union bargaining rights and job security for the employees of the new Department of Homeland Security, but had been wildly defamed by the GOP attack machine, including the juxtaposition of his picture with that of Bin Laden. Cleland, we recall, had left two legs and one arm on the battlefield in Vietnam. In the current scoundrel time in Washington, he quickly became persona non grata. Democratic Commissioner
Richard Ben-Veniste was a former federal prosecutor from New York City who gained prominence during the Watergate scandal against the Nixon White House in 1973-74, when he was chief lawyer for the Sam Ervin Senate Watergate Committee. Since then he had been a fixture on the Democratic side of various investigations. Currently a member of the law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe, and Maw, Ben-Veniste was previously with Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, one of the largest bankruptcy firms in the world, which was reportedly in the process of making some $200 million out of the bankruptcy proceedings of Enron, the company looted by Bush’s top backer of 2000, Ken “Kenny Boy” Lay. In the past, Ben-Veniste had represented the Iran-contra drug smuggler and pilot, Barry Seal.
Commission staff director
Philip Zelikow was the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller professor of History at the University of Virginia. He had previously served as the executive director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by Carter and Ford. Zelikow was one of the editors of The Kennedy Tapes, a collection marked by flawed editorial criteria and thus of dubious value to scholars. Zelikow was co-author with Condoleezza Rice of Germany Unified and Europe Transformed. As a partner with Rice in a book venture, Zelikow thus had a further crippling conflict of interest. He was also the director of the Aspen Strategy Group, a program of the utopian Aspen Institute. He is a Bushman, and was a part of the 2000-2001 Bush-Cheney transition team. Rice, for example, had been accused of covering up for a payment of some $100,000 sent to lead patsy Mohamed Atta by General Mahmoud Afmad of the Pakistani Interservices Intelligence in September 2001, almost certainly at the behest of the CIA. Zelikow was appointed by the Bush administration to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) on October 5, 2001; the PFIAB chair at that time was the lugubrious General Brent Scowcroft, formerly of Kissinger Associates. At several points in the investigation, Zelikow was forced to recuse himself, since he had been a part of the actions being probed.
In another case, he was interviewed by other representatives of the 9/11 commission in relation to his role in pre-9/11 intelligence. At this rate Zelikow could have simplified the investigation by interviewing himself.
The resident lawyer of the 9/11 commission was
David Marcus of the arch- establishment law firm of Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. One of the clients of this law
firm was Saudi Prince Mohammed al Faisal, who was named as one of the three most important financiers of 9/11 in the $1 trillion families’ lawsuit. (Michel Chossudovsky, “Who’s Who on the 9/11 ‘Independent’ Commission,” globalresearch.ca; Joyce Lynn,
“The 9/11 Cover-Up Commission,” www.communitycurrency.org/joycelynn.html)
Four out of the ten commissioners – Kean, Hamilton, Lehman, and Gorelick – were members of the elitist Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. (they were actually SIX, as I posted some time ago, NDR)
As if to document its lack of seriousness, the 9/11 commission was indifferent to a glaring case of perjury that occurred on the part of witnesses testifying under oath. In one session, former FBI Acting Director Thomas Pickard testified that Attorney General John Ashcroft had told him before 9/11 not to provide any more briefings on the terrorist threat, since he was not interested in hearing them. Ashcroft later directly denied that this was true. One of the two, most likely Ashcroft, was lying on a matter of considerable materiality. But the 9/11 commission never acted.
The 9/11 families had expected that at least one of their number would be named as a member of the new commission which they had bludgeoned a very unwilling Washington establishment into setting up. When the appointments came out, the commission was composed of hacks, wheelhorses, and professional insiders from the two political parties.
The most the families and their allies could manage was to get Mindy Kleinberg on the agenda for a hard-hitting presentation to one of the early public plenary sessions of the commission. The commissioners listened politely, thanked Ms. Kleinberg extensively,
and proceeded completely to ignore the letter and the spirit of her remarks. (New York Observer, September 14, 2003)
The 9/11 commission was never a fighting investigation, like the Church Committee and the Pike Committee back during the Ford administration. The Pike Committee, we must recall, once issued a richly deserved contempt of Congress citation against Henry Kissinger. The only time it looked like the Kean-Hamilton Commission might actually be going somewhere came towards the end of 2003, when Commissioner Max Cleland became indignant about the high-handed arrogance with which the Bush White House was insisting on conducting its coverup. The Commission, which was armed with subpoena power, had chosen to negotiate with Bush about its access to important White House documents, notably the presidential daily briefings about which certain details had come out through the earlier probes. Bush was offering to let two members of the commission see the a pre-censored selection of the sensitive documents in question, in a guarded room, without the possibility of taking notes. Cleland, for whom the defeat at the hands of Saxby Chambliss in the 2002 election still rankled, became indignant with the sort of righteous anger which is so seldom seen in today’s Washington. Calling the Bush proposal “disgusting,” and warning against dirty deals, Cleland forthrightly demanded that all the commissioners be able to see all the documents they wanted and take all the notes they thought necessary. (New York Times, October 26, 2003) If Bush chose to oppose this, then the commission would have to use its subpoena powers, and let the matter play out through the courts – incidentally inflicting maximum public relations damage on the always-surreptitious Bush. Just as it appeared that Cleland and perhaps one or two other commissioners were about to clash with Governor Kean and Congressman Hamilton, it was announced that Cleland would be departing the commission to accept a post on the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank.
According to the statute that set up the commission, these two jobs could not be held at the same time. The old warrior’s courage had failed him. Who knows what threats had been issued to secure this outcome?


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