UQ Wire: Judge Opens 9/11 Whistleblower Hearing
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Public Pressure Forces Judge to Open 9/11 Whistleblower
Hearing -- A
Victory for Accountability and
News and Commentary by Kyle F. Hence -- April 27, 2004
Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds could soon become the thorniest of thorns in the side of the most secretive administration in American history. Whether she does or not depends on whether or not the American public will stand up and challenge the Department of Justiceís attempt to quash the truth, avoid accountability and bury the facts behind lies, double speak and the National Security trump card.
Edmonds, showing such courage in the face of such stacked decks, deserves to be supported in her growing campaign to see that her first amendment rights as an American citizen are honored and that someone is held accountable at the FBI and elsewhere for the gross negligence or worse she uncovered as an FBI translator in the months immediately following the 9/11 attacks. [For background, please see other stories on Edmonds posted on this site: www.911citizenswatch.org]
The first victory in this effort occurred yesterday when the U.S. District Court proceedings previously ësealadí (closed to the public and press) were forced open after members of the public and press confronted the court and then U.S. Marshals directly challenging the unjustified and undocumented order for official secrecy regarding the Edmonds case that morning. The hearing in the courtroom of Bush appointed Judge Reggie Walton was scheduled to be closed but in an apparent bow to vocal objections brought by a former CIA agent, a foreign print journalist, the author of this account and Edmondsí lawyer, the Judge elected to open the doors and allow public and press scrutiny of the proceedings.
Upon hearing the news, former Bush I official, Catherine Austin Fitts, who helped orchestrate a grass-roots lobbying campaign, with the 9/11 Visibility Project, in support of Sibel Edmonds, said that this was a case in which citizen and press demands for transparency won out over the strong arm of the Department of Justice and the Courtís effort to keep all hidden behind closed doors. "Itís a great victory. Donít underestimate your power," said Fitts.
Edmonds is the latest in a string of FBI whistleblowers, including Colleen Rowley and Robert Wright, who have come forward before and since 9/11 with damning evidence and allegations which taken together show a disturbing pattern of spiked and compromised investigations and investigative or intelligence assignments of the most junior or incompetent of agents to the most important of charges.
A suspicious public, as they pay increasing attention to the mountain of questions surrounding the official 9/11 investigation, and witness its official obstruction, have begun to understandably entertain the unsettling notion that rogue elements within the FBI or elsewhere within the government, sufficiently high in office, may have been complicit in the 9/11 plot; that it would either have been exposed and prevented had it not been for certain actions which many suggest add up to a damning pattern indeed. Others simply insist that the lack of transparency, the resulting lack of accountability and the rewarding of failure and gross incompetence is inimical to a healthy functioning democracy as it perpetuates a cancerous, life-endangering ëbusiness as usual.í
Either way a hard nosed investigation and much greater public attention to these issues is what is required to effectively challenge a dissembling ëofficial storyí and ferret out the truth. Currently, despite the spin, this is not what we are getting. In the absence of an uncompromising hardball official investigation it is incumbent upon those actively concerned to support and effect a Citizensí Truth Commission and pertinent to the story at hand, support the few brave souls willing to put their necks on the lines to tell the truth as they know itóthe 9/11 whistleblowers like Sibel Edmonds.
While no one source or single Whistleblower will reveal the whole story, Sibel Edmondsí case is quite instructive because it addresses the fundamental suggestions supported by a growing body of publicly acknowledged evidence that the government had quite specific forewarnings and detailed intelligence threats including the notion of planes being used as weapons and did so months in advance of 9/11; and yet did little or nothing.
In addition, Edmonds has exhibited unusual courage in calling a spade a spade when she directly accused Condoleezza Rice of lying regarding the extent of warnings. If she is fully supported we may see an important precedent and example set which could inspire others ëin the knowí to speak out. As they do, independent researchers and citizens investigators will be able to ëconnect the dotsí themselves and in time the whole story will emerge, truth will see the light of day and accountability and transparency will win out over obfuscation, secrecy and denials.
Given the extraordinary secrecy, and in the Edmonds case, the extremely rare application of State Secrets ëImmunityí we may never know be able to confirm her allegation that the FBI had specific threat intelligence as to rough timing, targets and method. But foreign press accounts [see www.cooperativeresearch.org] and indeed the public record as reflected in the Congressional Joint Inquiry report already demonstrate that the government knew far more than they initially acknowledged in their early deceptive comments regarding the extant of pre-attack intelligence and threat assessments.
Playing the National Security trump card may just be the governmentís attempt to protect the now unaccountable and avoid embarrassment. However, we do know enough to continue to press for full disclosure, continue to connect the dots on our own. Something the government is doing everything in its power in the Edmonds case to prevent.
In the end, despite pleading and arguments made by counsel Allan Gerson on behalf the 9/11 Families and their lawsuit, the U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton quashed the current deposition subpoena that would have had Edmonds testifying today [Tuesday, April 27th] before the lawyers for several thousand family members who has suing those they believe are behind terrorism. However, given the need for further review of the case, and perhaps the new public and press scrutiny, Judge Walton did set a date (June 14th) for another hearing and decision on whether to allow her deposition in some form. With this much advance time there is more than enough opportunity to rally a large public audience who would be willing to show Sibel Edmonds a very strong show of support and in the process help this disturbing information reach more Americans who deserve to know.
Andrew B. of the Independent was there….
Lawyers try to gag FBI worker over 9/11
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington -- 26 April 2004
The Bush administration will today seek to prevent a former FBI translator from providing evidence about 11 September intelligence failures to a group of relatives and survivors who have accused international banks and officials of aiding al-Qa'ida.
Sibel Edmonds was subpoenaed by a law firm representing more than 500 family members and survivors of the attacks to testify that she had seen information proving there was considerable evidence before September 2001 that al-Qa'ida was planning to strike the US with aircraft. The lawyers made their demand after reading comments Mrs Edmonds had made to The Independent.
But the US Justice Department is seeking to stop her from testifying, citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege".
Today in a federal court in Washington, senior government lawyers will try to gag Mrs Edmonds, claiming that disclosure of her evidence "would cause serious damage to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States".
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