one half years after 3,000 people were killed in the World Trade
Center in New York City, not only do most questions remained
unanswered about 9/11, they remain unasked.
President Bush aggressively lobbied Congress against a full-scale
investigation. When Bush reluctantly agreed to the creation of the
National Commission on Terrorists Attacks, he insisted it be limited
to representatives of the two major political parties, with each party
having a veto over what the Commission investigated.
Noticeably absent from the Commission are representatives of the
family members of the victims, whose only interest would be to
determine who was responsible for the murder of their loved ones.
Instead, the Commission members are entrenched members of the very
foreign policy establishment they are supposed to be investigating.
Family members have called for the resignation of Philip D Zelikow,
Executive Director of the Commission. In addition to co-authoring a
book on foreign policy with National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice, as a member of Bush's foreign policy transition team Zelikow
participated in the January 2001 meeting where counter-terrorism
advisor Richard Clarke briefed the president's national security team
on the al-Qaeda threat. Zelikow is thus leading an investigation of
his own response.
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean is partners with two of the Saudi
billionaires sued by 9/11 families for their roles in the attacks.
Khalid bin Mahfouz, who is Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, and
Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, are both key financial players allegedly
tied to al-Qaeda. Commissioner Fred Fielding is a former White House
counsel during Reagan's time, at the time of the Iran-Contra scandal.
Commissioner John Lehman was navy secretary under Reagan.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay recently called for the removal of
Commissioner Jamie S Gorelick, deputy Attorney General under Clinton,
after Ashcroft attacked her for authoring a memo reminding the Justice
Department to keep counterintelligence separate from criminal
investigations. DeLay however doesn't seem bothered that Gorelick is
also very close to current CIA director George Tenet and is a member
of the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel. The Commission members
are there for damage control, not to find the truth. It was appalling
to watch commission members like former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson
implement the White House playbook in attacking the credibility of
Even with the cursory job done so far by the 9/11 Commission, it is
evident that the Bush administration failed to take seriously the
threat posed by terrorism and then manipulated the tragedy of 9/11 to
pursue its pre-existing agenda to invade Iraq.
The US received explicit warnings shortly before 9/11 from the
governments of Russia, France, Israel, Germany and Israel. Russian
leader Putin said his warning was delivered "in the strongest possible
terms." Despite the claims of the Bush administration that no one ever
thought that terrorist would use hijacked planes as missiles, NORAD
conducted numerous training exercises under exactly that scenario.
But there are many other key questions that family members have
been pressing the Commission on, starting with the role of Saudi
Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi Arabian. The Saudi ruling
family has been a major source of funding for terrorists. Both the
Clinton and Bush administration impeded FBI investigations into Saudi
Arabia. No President has ever had such a close relation with a foreign
government as the Bushes have with Saudi Arabia. More than $1.4
billion in investments and contracts went from the House of Saud over
the past two decades to companies associated with the Bush family.
As John O'Neill, the FBI's former top bin Laden investigator, said
shortly before his death in the World Trade Center, "all the answers,
everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be
found in Saudi Arabia." O'Neill also said that America's failure to
stop bin Laden could be traced to one word - oil.
Some other key questions include:
1. What was the role of the Pakistani Intelligence Service with
the 9/11 hijackers? Why did Mahmood Ahmed, Director of Pakistan's
secret service, order $100,000 to be wired to lead hijacker Momahmed
2. What role did the CIA play in training and arming of
terrorists before 9/11, including bin Laden and other members of al
Qaida? What role did Pakistan and the US play in allowing the
Taliban to come to power? Bin Laden worked closely with the CIA when
the US during the Carter administration organized "freedom fighters"
in Afghanistan to go to war with the Soviet Union.
3. What negotiations took place between the US government and the
Taliban before 9/11 relating to the construction of a pipeline
4. What surveillance did the FBI and CIA have on the alleged
hijackers before 9/11? Several of the hijackers were apparently
closely monitored, particularly Mohammed Atta
5. What terrorist organizations and/or governments were
responsible for the 9/11 attacks? Saying that "bin Laden" did it is
like saying the "Mob" is responsible for organized crime. The NY
Times reported the CIA believed that the hijacking may primarily
been the idea of Atta, an Egyptian citizen. Other media reports
indicate some hijackers thought that their goal was to exchange
hijacked passengers for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a
cleric serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1993 bombing of
the World Trade Center.
6. Why did the FAA and NORAD fail to follow standard operating
procedures in responding to the hijacking of the four planes on
If America is ever to find the truth about 9/11, it needs a truly
independent commission, one which includes several relatives of those
killed on September 11, 2001. Rather than state lawmakers engaging in
name calling over "fighting terrorism", the Governor and legislators
should be demanding real answers as to why so many people were killed
at the World Trade Center.
Mark Dunlea's new novel, 'Madame President: The Unauthorized
Biography of the First Green Party President', provides an alternative
history to September 11.
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