UQ Wire: Bush Bribes Max Cleland To Shut Up?
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Bush Bribes Max Cleland To Shut Up?
- Action To Get A 9/11 Family Member On The Kean Commission -
Action Alert From Nicholas Levis
Fri., Nov. 28, 2003
Daschle's office and the media today!
800 numbers for Tom Daschle: (800) 839-5276 and/or (800) 648-3516 – more below!
Dear colleagues, associates and friends,
A month has passed since former Senator Max Cleland, member of the National Commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks (the Kean Commission), told the New York Times that the White House and President Bush's re-election campaign had reason to fear what the commission was uncovering in its investigation of intelligence and law enforcement "failures" before Sept. 11.
"As each day goes by," Cleland said, "we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted." (New York Times, Oct. 26, 2003 at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/26/national/26KEAN.html?pagewanted=print&position= )
In the meantime, the Kean Commission has accepted a deal to radically limit their access to the White House documents detailing just what high-level administration officials knew in advance of the attacks - the Presidential Daily Briefings or PDBs, including the one we know was entitled "BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN U.S." and that warned of imminent hijackings (Aug. 6, 2001).
The only two delegates of the Commission who will be allowed to see *pre-edited* versions of these documents both have obvious conflicts of interest: Philip Zelikow has advised the Bush administration and wrote a book with Condoleeza Rice last year; whereas Jamie Gorelick is a former high-level adviser to President Clinton, whose PDBs will also come under scrutiny. The other commissioners will know only what Zelikow and Gorelick report back to them, based on their notes, which the White House will also be allowed to "edit."
Cleland and commission member Tim Roemer, a former congressman, both objected to the deal. "A majority of the commission has agreed to a bad deal," Cleland said in a stunning interview, reproduced below, in which he invokes the sorry history of the Warren Commission. "It is a national scandal... the Warren Commission blew it. I'm not going to be part of that. I'm not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I'm not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I'm not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that..."
Cleland pulls no punches about the possible darker implications of the White House's secrecy fetish: "Let's chase this rabbit into the ground here. They had a plan to go to war and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war." (See below for more.)
Last week came the news that Bush suddenly appointed Cleland to the board of the Export-Import Bank, as a result of which "he will have to leave the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks." So far only The Washington Times has reported details of this story; the rest of the media have completely ignored it. (See http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20031123-091108-4750r.htm )
Just when the White House invokes a Nixonian "executive privilege" in the struggle to keep its secrets, how is it possible that Bush can simply act to remove the most outspoken member of the Kean Commission by means of a cushy appointment? What other inducements were applied to Cleland to get him to leave the Commission?
This is tantamount to a confession that Cleland is right - the White House has serious dirt to hide! And Cleland is hardly the first high-level representative to pose these questions. I shall cite just two examples: For asking, starting in March 2002, what the Bush administration may have known in advance of Sept. 11, Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was attacked from all sides and run out of Congress on a wave of millions in Republican campaign contributions.
Later that year, Senator Bob Graham headed the congressional joint investigation into Sept. 11. Despite its highly limited purview, the congressional investigation was still subjected to heavy executive censorship in its final report, including the deletion of an entire 28-page section that apparently details connections between Saudi Arabian elites and Qaeda (and possibly of the Bush family and Bin Laden family businesses). During his brief run for the presidency this year, Graham said the most important facts about 9/11 have yet to be revealed to the public.
Let us leave aside the rich and disturbing history of how the White House has otherwise obstructed the 9/11 investigations for more than two years, and return to the present:
Now, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is expected to nominate Cleland's replacement on the Kean Commission. Other than Cleland, every other member of the Commission has had previous close ties to the national security establishment, oil companies, airline companies, or all three. These are obvious vested interests! Given these vested interests, isn't it about time there was someone on the Commission who has an obvious vested interest not in maintaining secrecy, but in full disclosure?
Until now, the work of the Commission has been tracked by several groups including the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, a group appointed by relatives of people who died in the attacks. They have been among the most outspoken advocates of disclosure. Shouldn't a member of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee be appointed as Cleland's replacement?
Now is the time for all who support the principle of open government and disclosure, without which democracy is impossible, to make their voice heard. Forward this mail to everyone you can. Call or fax Daschle's office today to urge that he appoint a member of the Family Steering Committee as Cleland's replacement. (See below for information on contacting Daschle.) Write and fax your media contacts to cover this story.
Do it in your own words - and be insistent!
And what if this doesn't work? What if the only supposedly independent investigation into the events of Sept. 11 completes its descent into farce? Then the time will have come for citizens to take this into their own hands; if the government isn't going to let us know what it already knows about Sept. 11, then we the people have the right to sit in judgement on that government, and to establish our own citizens' truth commission.
ONE -- Contact info for Daschle's
TWO -- Cleland interview with Eric Boehlert
THREE -- Kyle Hence of 9/11 Citizens' Watch on the latest developments, including contact info for the National Commission
Contact info for Daschle's offices
PLEASE call ALL of Dascle's offices (4 calls, 1 to each) to make SURE he gets the message, AND also fax him and email him as well, see below.
DC - (202)
Aberdeen: (605) 225-8823
Rapid City: (605) 348-7551
Sioux Falls: (605) 334-9596
800 numbers for Tom Daschle--
(800) 839-5276 and/or (800) 648-3516
Fax: (202) 224-6603; or E-mail by visiting: http://daschle.senate.gov/webform.html
Selected quotes from Cleland in an interview with Eric Boehlert:
"A majority of the commission has agreed to a bad deal."
"It is a national scandal."
"I say that [The President's] decision compromised the mission of the 9/11 commission, pure and simple. Far from the commissioners being able to fulfill their obligation to the Congress and the American people, and far from getting access to all the documents we need, the president of the United States is cherry-picking what information is shown to that minority of commissioners. Now this is ridiculous. That's not full and open access.
"If you trust one commissioner you should trust them all. I don't understand it. You can say, 'I'm not going to show anything to anybody, and take me to court.' At least that's consistent. But it's not consistent at all to say we're going to parse out this information and we determine how many members of the commission get to see it."
"It's all about 9/11. This is not a political witch hunt. This is the most serious independent investigation since the Warren Commission. And after watching History Channel shows on the Warren Commission last night, the Warren Commission blew it. I'm not going to be part of that. I'm not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I'm not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I'm not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that. I'm not going to be part of that. This is serious."
"Let's chase this rabbit into the ground here. They had a plan to go to war and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war. They pulled off their task force in Afghanistan, their Predator assets, and shifted them over to the war in Iraq. They took their eye off the 9/11 ball and transferred it to the Iraq ball. And that's a very strategic question that ultimately has got to be answered. I'm focused on 9/11 and the administration is not focused on it. They don't want to share information, and they didn't agree with the commission in the first place."
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