UQ Wire: 911 Families Throw Down Gauntlet
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Families Throw Down Gauntlet, Condemn 9/11 Coverup
Sept. 11th Families Steering Committee demands Bush testify under oath -
Challenges White House to provide answers to 23 questions - Kean
Commission accused of accepting "whitewash"
By Nicholas Levis
TUESDAY, FEB. 17, 2004. NEW YORK CITY.
"Mr. Bush, who approved the flight of the bin Laden family out of the United States, when all commercial flights were grounded?"
That is one of 23 explosive questions that George W. Bush and his subordinates will have to face in public testimony, under oath and pain of perjury - that is, if the relatives of people killed in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 get their way.
"Why has no one in any level of our government been held ac-countable for the countless failures leading up to and on 9/11?"
For more than a year, the Family Steering Commitee - a group of thirteen "9/11 relatives" representing several other 9/11 family groups - has monitored the government's commission on Sept. 11, which is headed by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean. FSC member Mindy Kleinberg was among the first to testify when the Kean Commission began holding public proceedings. She alerted the panel to a number of disturbing and unanswered ques-tions and contradictions in the government's explanation of what happened on Sept. 11. Almost none of the issues raised by Klein-berg were ever again brought up in the Kean Commision's public hearings.
(For a transcript of Kleinberg's comments, see www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing1/witness_kleinberg.htm)
The Family Steering Committee issued their challenge to Bush on Monday, following reports last week that the Kean Commission had asked George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to testify. The White House says Bush is considering an appearance before the Kean Commission, but only in secret session. And if he does appear, it is unlikely Bush will face questions like those on the Family Steering Committee's list:
"Please explain why you remained at the Sarasota, Florida, Ele-mentary School for a press conference after you had finished lis-tening to the children read, when as a terrorist target, your pres-ence potentially jeopardized the lives of the children?"
(Mr. Bush, his staff and his Secret Service entourage were indeed in that school, as carried on live television, until 9:32 a.m. on Sept. 11, 45 minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and 27 minutes after the moment when Bush was informed of the sec-ond plane crash and told "America is under attack," at 9:05 a.m., an anomaly that the White House has never explained.)
In recent weeks, the family members have released a series of harshly-worded statements, blasting the Bush administration for stonewalling the investigation - and also condemning the Kean Commission for refusing to examine key evidence. These state-ments have been published at the FSC's website at www.911independentcommission.org.
In its public hearings the Kean Commission has indeed displayed reluctance to pursue controversial lines of inquiry. It is hard to imagine its members would ever ask if the U.S. government tried to cut a deal with Osama Bin Laden in advance of the attacks, as reported in the European press already in 2001.
But the families want an answer: "Did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with UBL, an agent of UBL, or al-Qaeda?" ("UBL" is government speak for Osama Bin Laden.)
Nor has the Kean Commission shown any inclination to follow the trail of the Cheney "energy policy meetings" in early 2001 and the Bush administration's oil-pipeline negotiations with the Taliban up to July 2001 - a touchy subject that might come up if the govern-ment ever had to answer this question: "During that same period, did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with any foreign government, its agents, or officials regarding UBL?"
And it is simply inconceivable that the Kean Commission would ever wonder out loud if anyone other than Al-Qaeda benefitted from the attacks. But the families are not afraid of the obvious: "Which individuals, governments, agencies, institutions, or groups may have benefited from the attacks of 9/11?"
Although the Kean Commission accepted a deal strictly limiting its access to the White House documents detailing advance warnings of a possible terror attack, Governor Kean last week felt confident enough to claim there was "no smoking gun" to indicate Bush had specific advance knowledge of the attacks - at least not in the "parts of the documents" Kean had been allowed to see.
The families don't buy that on faith or partial evidence. They want to know the real answer: "As Commander-in-Chief, from May 1, 2001 until September 11, 2001, did you receive any information from any intelligence agency official or agent that UBL was plan-ning to attack this nation on its own soil using airplanes as weap-ons, targeting New York City landmarks during the week of Sep-tember 11, 2001 or on the actual day of September 11, 2001?"
Meticulously researched, the FSC's questions to Bush reflect many of the same concerns that have caused millions of people world-wide to doubt everything about the official story of Sept. 11, 2001, and to call for a truly independent investigation with subpeona power, testimony under oath, and no self-imposed restrictions as to "allowable" lines of inquiry.
It is hard to dismiss these concerns as "conspiracy theory" when the U.S. government itself used the most outrageous conspiracy theory of all - the lie that Saddam backed the attacks - as one of its pretexts to invade Iraq. In that matter as well, the families want to see the government held accountable: "Do you continue to main-tain that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda?" they ask. "What proof do you have of any connection between al-Qaeda and the Hussein regime?"
These questions indicate that the families have come to under-stand that, as great as their grief and tragedy was, the stakes in the 9/11 disclosure issue are far greater, and involve more than justice for the victims and well-deserved closure for the families. 9/11 was used as a lever to shift the world. All Americans - and, given the global impact, the people of the whole world - need to learn the answers that the families now demand.•
- Family Steering Committee at 911independentcommission.org
- See also 9/11 Truth movement sites at septembereleventh.org and ny911truth.org
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