Cover-up and Propaganda: The 9/11 Commission Finishes Its Dirty Work
By Larry Chin
Global Research, June 27, 2004
27 June 2004
The 9/11 Independent Commission is an orchestrated coverup, controlled by the Bush White House and Bush Justice Department, headed by Bush-appointed directors, and run by legendary Washington fixers and veteran war criminals with direct ties to the most likely 9/11 planners, operatives and beneficiaries. This fact has been amplified, as the Commission has begun to wrap up its final report , burying the truth about 9/11, under new piles of spin, distortion, theater, unsupported allegations, warmed-over Bush administration lies, and lurid new fabrications.
The highlights from the most recent releases speak loudly of the Commission’s political agenda: engineer a limited hangout that absolves the Bush administration for 9/11, concealing key complicity evidence. At the same time, the Commissioners selectively criticize Bush for Iraq-related policy, while laying political groundwork for an “improved” and more aggressive “war on terrorism”, and new US/UN operations in the oil-rich Middle East.
As journalist Joyce Lynn succinctly points out in her expose of the “9/11 Coverup Commission” :
The Commission’s report due July 28 will render rationales to expand the security state at home and abroad and promulgate huge spending for the “war on terrorism.”
The Commissioners have ties with the very parties they are investigating including the CIA, banking and financial interests, and Bush administration officials.
The Commission’s report will echo the “who would have ever thought” and bungling federal intelligence agencies that independent journalists and researchers dispelled long ago.
The Bush administration has written the plot line and these 10 “independent” Commissioners are merely reading the script.
A stage-managed damage control organ from day one
Like the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 , the insulting charade conducted in 2002, the 9/11 Commission is not an “investigation”, and never has been one. Indeed, the full name of the group—the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon America— is a dead giveaway. The phrase assumes that 9/11 was a “terrorist attack upon” the United States, carried out by “Al-Qaeda terrorists” originating outside of the United States. In other words, case closed.
The Commission was formed only after public pressure, notably by outraged 9/11 victims’ families, forced the White House to undertake some measure of public damage control. Opportunistically, the Bush White House dictated the conditions under which the Commission would operate. In addition to being granted numerous protections, Bush himself would appoint the Commission’s director, as well as dictate and approve its mandate. Another condition was that the Commission had to be comprised by “prominent citizens”—political elites and Washington insiders.
Ultimately, the mandate was limited strictly to “how to prevent future breakdowns”—cementing into place the assumption of unintended “breakdown”. In other words, its strict mission was to echo and reinforce the original White House lie that 9/11 was an act of “outside terrorism” (“Al-Qaeda”), that the “failure to stop it” was the result of “intelligence failures”, “incompetence”, “breakdowns”, “lack of preparedness”, “inexplicable communications problems”, and other excuses.
Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton proclaimed, “The focus of the commission will be on the future. We’re not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission’s responsibility.” Criminal responsibility and complicity were never part of the mandate—assuring that no one would be brought to justice.
The Commission went on to dutifully handicap itself further, by agreeing to numerous conditions and “compromises” with the White House. Six out of ten of the Commissioners had to agree on any request for a subpoena. Requests for documents from the executive branch had to be channeled through the Bush Justice Department. The White House requested, and received, the right to review Commission material so that it could assert executive privilege. Kean cut a deal preventing Bush from testifying. He cut yet another deal allowing the White House to edit intelligence briefs before the Commissioners could see them, while also limiting access to the pre-edited briefs to a minority of Commissioners. Senator Max Cleland, who resigned from the Commission over this issue, put it simply: “That decision compromised the mission of the 9/11 Commission, period.”
In its own Staff Statement No. 16 , the Commission concedes that its own work has been slipshod, at best [my emphasis underlined-LC]:
“Much of the account reflects assertions reportedly made by various 9/11 conspirators and captured Al-Qaeda members while under interrogation. We have sought to corroborate this material as much as possible. Some of this material has been inconsistent. We have had to make judgment calls based on the weight and credibility of the evidence. Our information on statements attributed to such individuals comes from written reporting; we have had no direct access to any of them.”
The Commission’s processes—corrupted as they clearly are—have been largely insulated from public involvement and participation. Outraged 9/11 victims’ families and researchers have demanded greater access and accountability, to no avail.
Wolves guarding the hen house
The entire Commission is rife with conflicts of interest . Bush originally appointed the malignant Henry Kissinger to head the Commission. After this crude ploy failed, Bush chose an equally unsavory, but lesser-known fixer, Thomas Kean, to be its chairman. This was followed by the appointment of long-time Bush administration national security insider (and Condoleeza Rice colleague) Philip Zelikow as the Commission’s executive director, upon the recommendation of legendary Republican fixer, Slade Gorton.
Kissinger and Kean are directly connected to the current and previous Bush-Reagan regimes. Both are directly connected to long-time multinational oil interests in Central Asia that benefited from the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan and the planned trans-Afghan oil pipeline—the first objective of the 9/11 War.
Zelikow was a senior staffer on the National Security Council under the first President Bush. He also worked for the Bush transition team, and the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Bureau.
Other Commissioners are also legendary political fixers, who have been well-placed at all major US scandals in recent decades:
Lee Hamilton featured prominently as an Iran-Contra fixer . As House chairman of the committee investigating Iran-Contra, Hamilton believed that it was “better to keep the public in the dark” than investigate “another Watergate”. He casually accepted the word of senior Reagan-Bush officials, including George H.W. Bush himself, who claimed that they were “out of the loop”.
According to Dan Hopsicker , author of “Barry and the Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History”, Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste “has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics.” Ben-Veniste was the attorney for CIA narco-trafficker Barry Seal.
Former Senator Slade Gorton served on the notorious Senate Intelligence Committee for over a decade. Throughout his career, over scores of “hearings”, the hawkish Gorton consistently ran interference for Iran-Contra-smeared Republicans, such as Robert Gates.
Also on the Commission is former Senator Bob Kerrey, who has to this day refused to come clean on war crimes he committed during his stint in the CIA’s Phoenix Program .
Indeed, the 9/11 Commissioners themselves deserve to investigated and brought to justice.
In a case of bitter irony, the Commission interviewed two of its own members, Zelikow and Jamie Gorelick, in January 2004. Adding to the irony, Zelikow and Gorelick are the “gatekeepers”— the only two members of the Commission with full access to classified White House documents.
Michael C. Ruppert noted another blatant example of Commission malfeasance in a December 2003 edition of From The Wilderness :
“Thomas Kean, the Republican chair of the so-called Independent Commission investigating 9/11, chose on December 17th to advance a modified limited hangout saying that the attacks could have been prevented had it not been for incompetence and intelligence failures on the part of middle managers. The timing of that announcement, just four days after the “capture” of Saddam Hussein, was a weak attempt to bury unresolved questions about 9/11 in boosted Bush approval ratings.
The fact that Kean decided to make his announcement after having subpoenaed FAA records of Air Force and government actions on 9/11, but before receiving them; and after agreeing to the tepid compromise of reviewing partial extracts of George Bush’s pre-9/11 intelligence briefs, but before seeing them, is ample evidence of his political motive. Investigative bodies rarely pass public judgment before reviewing the evidence.”
On April 8, 2004, Condoleeza Rice perjured herself before the Commission , repeatedly insisting that the Bush administration had no advanced intelligence about Al-Qaeda, nor did it have specific warnings about 9/11. The Commissioners simply nodded. As noted by Ruppert:
“A crime was revealed when Democratic commission member Richard Ben Veniste said, “We agree”, as Rice asserted that there were no specific threats inside the United States before 9/11. The so-called independent commission has no intention of fulfilling its mandate. Ben Veniste’s use of the word “we” was the only time where any commissioner spoke for the entire panel and Ben Veniste is neither the chair nor the Vice Chair of the commission. What prompted him to speak for the entire panel? As FTW has said from the commission’s inception, everything that we have witnessed thus far has been stage-managed drama intended to convince the American people that substantive answers to 9-11 have been obtained as a result of a difficult process. This is an insulting load of bull.”