9/11 Families (Still) Deserve Justice
Update: The Nation is reporting that Disney’s Robert Iger is "deeply troubled" about the right-wing agenda of the "Path to 9/11." So, yank it, Bob. Yank it.
On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the National Press Club played host to no less than three press conferences about the work of the 9/11 Commission, with the Commission’s Democratic co-chair using one as the opportunity for his first public statements about ABC’s "Path to 9/11."
Hamilton and and his Republican co-chair Thomas Kean appeared at a press club luncheon to urge Congress and the administration to act on many of the Commission’s recommendations, which have to date not been implemented. With Kean’s credibility sullied due to his paid consultancy on the politicized and partisan ABC docudrama (part II will air tonight), Hamilton must be none too pleased about collateral damage done to the Commission’s reputation. He had this to say about the Disney/ABC’s project:
“I was not asked to participate in the ABC production … I didn’t even know about it … After there was a screening … which I did not attend, I got calls from several Democrats who objected very strongly to the way in which Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright and even President Clinton were portrayed.
As it was described to me then, I thought that the letter signed by Bruce Lindsey and Doug Band was accurate in their criticisms of ABC, that they portrayed Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright doing things that they did not in fact do.
Now ABC presents this, as I understand it – I didn’t see it last night either – as a docu-drama. I don’t like the ring of that. It is either a documentary or it is a drama and to fudge it causes me a great deal of concern, and suggests to me that news and entertainment are getting dangerously intertwined, and I do not think that is good for the country, because an event of this consequence is very hard to understand. To distort it, or not to present it factually in this kind of presentation does not serve the country well.”
Despite ABC’s 11th hour, secretive edits of "Path to 9/11," critics charged today that what aired last night was still full of inaccuracies and outright lies. President Clinton’s lawyer, Bruce Lindsey fired off letter number 2 to Disney’s Bob Iger today, with an attached fact sheet of the movie’s many deceits (I’ll put the fact sheet, in total, at the end of this post). And Richard Clarke had this to say on the ABC News web site today.
Ouch. Oh, ABC. You are just lovin’ that Youth With a Mission-The Film Institute-David Horowitz cabal now, huh? Should have listened to the public outcry and not been so damn concerned about making a buck. And don’t forget that it’s a matter of public record now, too, that while you may have aired your lengthy and awkward disclaimer about the movie being fictionalized and having composite characters here in the U.S., we know very well that you were still promoting it outside the U.S. as "the official true story."
But, enough about ABC’s Path to Shame. The other press conferences this morning were even more interesting than the Kean/Hamilton dog-and-pony show. I wonder how many reporters showed up to a press conference, sponsored by the McClendon Group. Info at the National Press Club site reads:
On the Fifth Anniversary of the Attacks and just three hours before the Kean-Hamilton luncheon address, the former top Air Force officer who won Florida’s 15th District Democratic primary with 54% of the vote on an explicit platform to expose the fraud of the Kean Commission Report, and top 9/11 researchers, authors and activists will present hard proof that the official narrative of the Kean-Hamilton Commission and Bush-Cheney Administration is a fraud of world historic proportions. Proposed legislation for a new and genuinely independent expert investigation, the first reality-based 9/11 feature film, and the International Grand Jury on the Crimes of 9/11 will be announced. Speakers will make brief presentations and take questions from the press:
Dr. Robert Bowman, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), one of the nation’s foremost authorities on national security, directed all ‘Star Wars’ programs under Presidents Ford and Carter, flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam, has a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech, and has chaired eight international conferences. Dr. Bowman is the recipient of the Eisenhower Medal, the George F. Kennan Peace Prize, and the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, among many others.
Jim Marrs, award-winning Texas journalist and author of the 9/11 expose Inside Job and just-released sequel The Terror Conspiracy, which includes “The Pentagon Attack Papers”, is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer.
He is the author of the New York Times Best Seller Crossfire, which was a basis for Oliver Stone’s film “JFK”, on which he served as a chief consultant. He is working on a movie script whose final scene will awaken audiences
to the fact that 9/11 attacks were a mass assassination.
Barbara Honegger, former White House Policy Analyst to President Reagan and Senior military affairs journalist is the author of The Pentagon Attack Papers that has transformed the understanding of what happened inside the Pentagon on 9/11. Ms. Honegger’s seminal contributions on the central importance of plane-into-tower and hijack-scenario counter-terror exercises and wargames being run by the military and intelligence communities that morning explain core ‘mysteries’ the 9/11 Commission acknowledged it hadn’t solved: How the date for the attacks was chosen, and why Mohammed Atta traveled to Portland, Maine.
Lynn Pentz, producer/creative director, breakthrough consultant, and grass-roots organizer, has been centrally involved in some of the largest transformation entertainment events of recent times, including Live Aid, Hands Across America, and the Bicentennial Celebration of the U.S. Constitution. Ms. Pentz is co-founder of 9/11 Truth Los Angeles, director of the film documentary “Connecting the Dots: Awakening to the Crimes of 9/11”, and convener of the Citizens Grand Jury on 9/11. A national speaker in the 9/11 Truth movement, Ms. Pentz will announce the upcoming International People’s Grand Jury on the Crimes of 9/11:
The Case to Indict.”
I’ve heard precious little about that, so thought it worthy of noting. But I am most moved by the press conference held at 11 am this morning, by the 9/11 Families and the producers of the documentary "9/11 Press for Truth." Producer Kyle Hence, of 9/11 Citizens Watch had this to say on the group’s web site this week, and the families today launched a campaign to demand a new non-partisan investigation–not bi-partisan–into what happened, because the Commission was unwilling or unable to answer "70% of the families’ questions regarding the events of 9/11."
Participants will highlight a growing body of evidence calling into question the credibility of the 9/11 Report and will demand a new investigation by a new Congress into the attacks of September 11th. Participants will also briefly comment on the speeches of Commissioners Kean and Hamilton following their remarks at the luncheon at directly following the event.
These families aren’t saying this for political effect, close to the midterm elections. They’ve been pressing for a new investigation ever since the 9/11 Commission Report was released. You can see an old press conference on C-Span.org:
9/11 CitizensWatch Press Conference of Commission Hearings
Kyle Hence & John Judge, co-founders of 9/11 CitizensWatch, hold a press conference to critique this week’s final hearing of the National September 11 Commission. Victims’ families, journalists and government employees are represented among the participants.
6/18/2004: WASHINGTON, DC: 1 hr.
I’m doing my best to get some video of the 9/11 Families press conference, but in the meantime, the entire film is still up at MediaChannel today. You can also see various clips on YouTube and Alternet. Culled from 7000 mainstream media reports and this exhaustive and well-sourced timeline, this movie leaves little doubt that, five years later, we still have no idea of what really happened.
With George Bush getting primetime coverage for whatever bogus claims he’ll make tonight, and Disney/ABC serving up its GOP Mouse-u-mentary, it sure would be nice to see some netroots support "9/11 Press for Truth." If enough people learn about this movie and the 9/11 Families’ campaign to bring the truth to light, we might actually learn some lessons from all the mistakes that were made.
For the record, here is the text of the fact sheet that Bruce Lindsey sent to ABC’s Bob Iger today.
“PATH TO 9/11” FABRICATIONS vs 9/11 COMMISSION FACTS In promotional advertisements, ABC has claimed that their “Path to 9/11” film (scheduled for broadcast
September 10 & 11) is “based on the 9/11 Commission Report.”
The following details scenes from “Path to 9/11” which were fabricated and cannot be substantiated by
the text of the 9/11 Commission Report.
“PATH TO 9/11” FABRICATIONS:The Clinton Administration was reluctant to kill bin Laden. Even when CIA operatives inAfghanistan had bin Laden cornered “National Security Adviser Sandy Berger” refused to authorizea strike and instead “passed the buck” to CIA Director Tenet to decide whether or not to act.(Broadcast Night 1)? No such episode ever occurred — nor did anything like it. There is nothing in the 9/11Commission Report to substantiate this scene or the theme.? Despite overwhelming evidence that no such exchange ever took place between Berger andTenet, ABC chose to revise the still inaccurate scene in order to retain the false innuendo thatBerger and the Clinton White House were reluctant to use force to get OBL. This is false.? President Clinton authorized the CIA to use lethal force and both he and National SecurityAdviser Berger were eager to get bin Laden. They looked to CIA Director Tenet for hisprofessional judgment and approved every request from him and the US military to go afterbin Laden and al Qaeda.? At no time did US forces on the ground in Afghanistan have bin Laden in their sights orcornered in his compound.? In August 1998, the one time the CIA believed they knew where bin Laden was or was going to be,President Clinton ordered 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at him in Afghanistan. The clearintent of the missile strike was to kill (not capture) bin Laden. Though bin Laden got away,
dozens of senior al Qaeda leaders were killed.
FACTS FROM THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT:“Policymakers in the Clinton administration, including the President and his national security advisor,told us that the President’s intent regarding covert action against Bin Ladin was clear: he wantedhim dead.” (9/11 Report, p. 133)“President-elect Bush … asked Tenet whether the CIA could kill Bin Laden …President Bush told usTenet said … that the CIA had all the authority it needed.” (9/11 Report, p. 198-199)“ … [Tenet told the 9/11 Commission] … that if … he needed more authority, he would have come backto either President Clinton or President Bush and asked for the additional authority.” (9/11 Report, p.508-509, footnote 158)2According to the 9/11 Report: “Berger reported to President Clinton … The new memorandum [ofnotification] would allow the killing of Bin Ladin … what was envisioned was … a shootout … BinLadin … probably would be killed. The [Clinton] administration’s position was that … killing aperson who posed an imminent threat to the United States would be an act of self-defense, not anassassination … President [Clinton] approved the document … Albright, Cohen, Shelton and Reno[were notified] … A copy of the final document … was given to Tenet.” (9/11 Report, p. 132)“By the fall of 1997, the [CIA’s] Bin Ladin unit had … a plan for … Afghan tribals to capture BinLadin … In early 1998, the cabinet-level Principals Committee [led by National Security AdviserBerger] apparently gave the concept its blessing. (9/11 Report, p.110-112)“[CIA Director] Tenet told us that given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, healone had decided to “turn off ” the [Tarnak Farms] operation … He said the plan was neverpresented to the White House for a decision. The CIA’s senior management clearly did not think the
plan would work.” (9/11 Report, p. 114)
FACTS FROM 9/11 COMMISSIONERS:9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer: “[Contrary to the miniseries’ portrayal] Osama bin Laden wasnever in somebody’s sights … on page 114 of our report we say George Tenet took responsibility forpulling the plug on that particular Tarnak Farms operation.” (CNN)9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey: "… totally factually inaccurate. They didn’t have somebody on the groundwith bin Laden in their sights.” (TPMCafe.com)Senior 9/11 commission staff member: “[the scene at Tarnak Farms] didn’t happen, and frankly it’s silly." (UPI)OTHER FACTS:Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen: “I never saw or heard Sandy Berger do anything of that nature[pass on an opportunity to get bin Laden].” (CNN)Former Clinton & Bush National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Richard A. Clarke: “It didn’t happen… There were no troops in Afghanistan about to snatch bin Laden. There were no C.I.A. personnel about tosnatch bin Laden. It’s utterly invented … It’s 180 degrees from what happened … deeply flawed.” (New YorkTimes)“The [Clinton] White House wanted action [in catching terrorists] … The fact is, President Clintonapproved every snatch that … CIA, Justice, or Defense proposed … [President Clinton’s] intent wasvery clear: Kill bin Laden.” (Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 145 & 204).______________3“PATH TO 9/11” FABRICATION:Using newsreel footage of President Clinton, the movie insinuates that President Clinton was toopreoccupied with the impeachment and the Lewinsky matter to focus on terrorism and the threat fromal Qaeda. (Broadcast Night 1)? There is nothing in the 9/11 Commission Report to support this theme.FACTS FROM THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT:“We believe that both President Clinton and President Bush were genuinely concerned about the dangerposed by al Qaeda.” (9/11 Report, p. 349)“By May 1998 … clearly, President Clinton’s concern about terrorism had steadily risen.” (9/11 Report,p. 102)“President Clinton was deeply concerned about bin Laden. He and his national security advisor, Samuel‘Sandy’ Berger, ensured they had a special daily pipeline of reports feeding them the latest updates onbin Laden’s reported location.” (9/11 Report, p. 174)“President Clinton spoke of terrorism in numerous public statements … he called terrorism ‘the enemyof our generation.’” (9/11 Report, p. 500)[Former Counterterrorism Czar and ABC consultant Richard A. Clarke: “… I feared that the timing ofthe President’s interrogation about the [Lewinsky] scandal … would get in the way of our hittingthe al Qaeda meeting. It did not. Clinton made clear that we were to give him our best nationalsecurity advice without regard to his personal problems. ‘Do you all recommend that we strike on the20th? Fine. Do not give me political advice or personal advice about the timing. That’s my problem.Let me worry about that.’ If we thought this was the best time to hit the Afghan camps, he would orderit and take the heat …” (Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 186]______________“PATH TO 9/11” FABRICATION:Over the objections of CIA Director, “Secretary of State Madeleine Albright” alerts the Pakistanis inadvance of a 1998 US missile strike against bin Laden at Khost, Afghanistan. Bin Laden gets awaybefore the missile strike. (Broadcast Night 1)? This scene is false and defamatory. Secretary Albright never provided the Pakistanis with anynotification of the intended missile strike whatsoever.? Secretary Albright fully and unconditionally supported the missile strike against Bin Laden andnever insisted upon an advance notification to the Pakistani military.? The Pentagon waited until the missiles were in the air before notifying the Pakistani military.4FACTS FROM THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT:“Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the JointChiefs [General Joseph Ralston] was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to assure himthe missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or anotherPakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.” (9/11 Report, p. 117)[Former Counterterrorism Czar and ABC consultant Richard A. Clarke has speculated that the PakistaniNavy observed US naval vessels offshore preparing to launch missiles on Afghanistan. (Richard A.Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 188).]“PATH TO 9/11” FABRICATION:After the bombing of the USS Cole “National Security Adviser Sandy Berger” appears to argueagainst a retaliatory missile strike for fear that with the election three weeks away the Republicanswill charge that military action by the Clinton Administration is part of a political strategy to help AlGore win. (Broadcast Night 2)? This scene is false. The timing of the national election never factored in national securityconsiderations in the aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole.? The only impediment to launching a retaliatory strike for the USS Cole attack was the lack of clearfindings on the part of the CIA and FBI of bin Laden’s role in the event. No such conclusion wasforthcoming before the end of the Clinton presidency.FACTS FROM THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT:“[President Clinton] said he was very frustrated that he could not get a definitive enough answer to dosomething about the Cole attack … The election and change of power was not the issue, PresidentClinton added … If [the CIA or FBI] had given him a definitive answer, he said, he would have …[taken] further action against both al Qaeda and the Taliban. But he did not think it would beresponsible for a president to launch an invasion of another country just based on a “preliminaryjudgment.” “Other advisers [including Secretary of Defense William Cohen and General HughShelton] have echoed this concern.” (9/11 Report, p. 193-195)“… Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin explained …it was not enough for theattack to smell, look, and taste like an al Qaeda operation. To make a case, the CIA needed not just aguess but a link to someone known to be an al Qaeda operative … the CIA’s December 21, 2000briefing slide reported that “so far the CIA had no definitive answer on [the] crucial question ofoutside direction of the attack – how and by whom.” (9/11 Report, p. 192 & 195)“… Berger … recalled that the intelligence agencies had strong suspicions, but had reached “noconclusion by the time we left office that it was al Qaeda … the United States did not have evidenceabout Bin Ladin’s personal involvement in the attacks until Nashiri and Khallad were captured in2002 and 2003.” (9/11 Report, p. 193)