<em>Guest Post by Katherine Tiedemann</em>: Could A Truth Commission Pull Us Back from “The Dark Side?”

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Katherine Tiedemann is a Program Associate with the New America Foundation’s Nuclear Strategy & Nonproliferation Initiative.
During Jane Mayer’s event Tuesday at New America promoting her penetrating new book, The Dark Side, a topic came up during the Q & A that I’d like to expand on–the possibility of establishing a truth commission for the Bush administration’s transgressions. The idea has been getting some play recently, both from Nick Kristof in the New York Times and scattered across some blogs (a funny parody here, another suggestion here), and alluded to by Scott Paul. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is generally held up as the model for such bodies, which don’t have formal judicial power but instead serve primarily as instruments for the discovery of past wrongdoings by governments.
So far, when each instance of misconduct has been revealed — from the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes and waterboarding to extraordinary renditions and habeas-corpus-free detention of prisoners at Guantanamo — individual solutions have been sought and some individual actors have been put forth to be held accountable. But this approach is piecemeal at best and does not get at the connective tissue and the systematization of abuses.
A truth commission, however, would provide a more holistic approach to the violations that have been committed or ordered by individuals and agencies within the government. A commission would serve as an opportunity to look back and expose where the administration started to go wrong in its decision-making process; allow those whose rights have been violated to be heard; and give Americans on the whole a chance to cleanse our national conscience–and our image abroad.
This really cannot be done by journalists alone. Jane Mayer commented that she has “subpoena envy” as a reporter and often has to beg for documents; a truth commission would bypass this poverty of access because it would have the power to subpoena relevant individuals and organizations for their testimonies and records.
And there is still much to be uncovered. Although Mayer’s new book and other writings provide important details about the different programs the Bush administration instituted in the panicky atmosphere in the aftermath of September 11, she herself is the first to admit that there is still much that is unknown. Of particular interest to Mayer is the role of physicians and psychiatrists in interrogation — she recounts instances in her book, and in this interview with Scott Horton of Harper’s, of doctors being present or at the ready during the euphemistically titled “harsh interrogations” and wonders, as I do, who these doctors are and should they be permitted the keep their licenses, having flagrantly broken the Hippocratic oath.
Not everyone agrees, of course. One prominent argument against establishing a truth commission for the Bush administration is, according to Mayer, the country’s lack of political will to prosecute officials who could claim they were defending Americans against an existential threat. But with Tuesday’s release of the first video from Guantanamo added to many previously disclosed examples of prisoner abuse, the time has long come to stop this abhorrent institutionalization of maltreatment of those in our custody. September 11 should not have given the government a carte blanche to warrantless wiretap, reinterpret the Constitution according to David Addington, and expand the powers of the presidency beyond Nixonian levels. Surely a truth commission would go at least part of the way toward righting the laundry list of wrongs that have been carried out in the name of national security over the last seven years.
– Katherine Tiedemann
Note: This piece has been reposted from The American Strategist.

Comments

31 comments on “<em>Guest Post by Katherine Tiedemann</em>: Could A Truth Commission Pull Us Back from “The Dark Side?”

  1. YY says:

    Canuck Stuck
    I agree Jane Mayer has been soft on culpability and reluctant to really say what she thinks. You might find her interview with Amy Goodman last week is a bit more revealing, and in that sense less puzzling.

    Reply

  2. Begonia Buzzkill says:

    the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee recommended that the UK not rely on any assurances made by the US that it does not use torture. The report also calls on the UK to fully investigate US interrogation tactics to ensure that no torture techniques are being used on US detainees.
    http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2008/07/uk-commons-report-casts-doubt-on-us.php
    Yet in America our pundits are claiming we are a nation that is too sensitive or petite and winsome to handle prosecution of crimes. Maybe someday our nation will be less afraid of justice for war crimes. They weren’t afraid of justice for BJ’s in the White House.
    Do you think we’ll ever be qualified to spread democracy by example of what democracy used to be prior to the Bush’s Cabal?
    All these last seven+ years we witnessed exploited manufactured loopholes in our democracy to kill people for other people’s money and natural resources. . .but we as a nation are of such doughy pant-loads that we can’t exploit democracy’s justice for war crimes?

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  3. Canuck Stuck in Muck says:

    Steve-
    I caught most of your interview of Jane Mayer last evening on C-
    Span. It was stellar, if not a little disconcerting. Ms. Mayer
    several times averred that she thought the country would be
    reluctant to prosecute the members of Bush’s administration
    who’ve broken existing laws (including those brought onto the
    books by the US participation in international conventions such
    as that on torture). Ms. Mayer suggested at least twice that she
    perceived no criminal intent in actions following 9/11. Your
    audience pulled Mayer back from the brink by pointing out the
    secrecy with which illegal decisions were taken, and the outright
    harassment that occurred when dissent from within was voiced.
    Several times Ms. Mayer professed no legal knowledge while
    voicing her nearly apologetic stance toward Bush and his
    cronies. Yet she showed no reluctance, whatsoever, to act as the
    nation’s psychologist when arguing that the villains were at the
    outset reacting to a real threat to the country, and only later
    slipped on the slippery slope of corruption. I applaud Ms.
    Mayer’s dedication to “journalism.” However, I think she’s
    wearing blinders when it comes to the motives and intentions of
    this nation’s leaders beginning on the 20th of January, 2001.
    Among other matters of record bypassed, her stance ignores
    the persistent efforts of the PNAC to promote a new hegemony
    in the Middle East, and which for more than a decade had
    advocated what became the post-9/11 Bush agenda. I suppose
    it takes more than a journalist, but less than a lawyer, to
    connect those dots. [Please excuse the snark]

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, it looks like the British government has come to some
    obvious conclusions now: UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband
    says that water-boarding “is torture”, according to the BBC last
    Saturday.
    “UK “MUST CHECK” US TORTURE DENIAL
    The British government should not rely on US assurances that it
    does not use torture, a report by MPs says.
    The foreign affairs select committee said the UK and US differ
    on their definitions of what constitutes torture and it urged the
    UK to check US claims.
    It recommended the government carry out an “exhaustive
    analysis of current US interrogation techniques.”
    The MPs also said the government should check claims that
    Britain is not used by the US for “rendition” flights.
    The committee highlighted the technique of “water-boarding”
    - a practice which simulates drowning.
    The US describes it as “a legal technique used in a specific set
    of circumstances” and President Bush has refused to ban it.
    However, the UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it is
    torture and “the UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture.”
    In its report, the committee said: “Given the clear differences in
    definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it
    does not use torture, and we recommend that the government
    does not rely on such assurances in the future.”
    The MPs also challenged the government to check more actively
    that Britain had not been used by the Americans for so called
    “rendition” flights – when detainees are taken to countries
    where bans on torture may not apply.
    The UK had repeatedly accepted assurances that it had not, but
    it was discovered earlier this year that two rendition planes
    refuelled on the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian
    Ocean.
    The MPs stressed the UK had a “legal and moral obligation” to
    ensure no more of these flights landed on British territory.
    A change in approach would have implications for the
    extradition of prisoners to the US, particularly in terror cases, as
    a United Nations convention bars the return of individuals to
    states where they are at risk of being tortured.
    Human rights groups have protested about water-boarding
    The MPs also urged the Foreign Office to investigate allegations
    that the UK “outsourced” interrogation of six terror suspects to
    Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, where they were tortured and
    interrogated by British intelligence officers.
    Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown told the committee:
    “We absolutely deny the charge that we have in any way
    outsourced torture to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as a way of
    extracting information, either for court use or for use in
    counter-terrorism.”
    Human rights campaign group Amnesty International UK said
    the report justified its call for an investigation into terror
    techniques and rendition.
    The group’s head of policy Jeremy Croft said: “While we have
    always stressed the need to combat terrorism, we share the
    committee’s concerns over the UK government and its current
    counter-terrorism policy.”
    He added: “In particular, the UK government needs to take
    allegations of torture at Guantanamo and other US detention
    centres altogether more seriously.
    The committee’s conclusions amount to saying we can no
    longer rely on assurances from a US administration that
    purports to uphold the civil and political standards of behaviour
    Andrew Tyrie MP
    “This must mean pressing harder for proper trial or safe release
    of Binyam Mohamed, Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha – three
    Guantanamo prisoners who are either formerly resident in the
    UK or with links to the UK.”
    Andrew Tyrie MP, the chairman of the all-party parliamentary
    group on extraordinary rendition, said the government must
    demand answers from the US.
    “The committee’s conclusions amount to saying that we can no
    longer rely on assurances from a US administration that
    purports to uphold the civil and political standards of behaviour,
    while in fact kidnapping people and taking them to places
    where they may be maltreated.
    “Only by practising what we preach will we be able to win back
    the support of Muslim communities at home and abroad and
    build the strongest coalition around the world against
    terrorism.”"
    Never too late… But it would perhaps had been more significant
    if they had said so a few years ago.

    Reply

  5. Mr.Murder says:

    “So what do you call a room where a man’s “genitals [are] slashed repeatedly with a doctor’s scalpel” and a woman is summoned in to photograph the wounds? Only something the DoD could dream up, that’s for certain, validating J.M. Coetzee’s story of the DoD torture photo archivist gone insane.”
    The above policy is certain to not inspire true believers to harm infidels like you, or your children…

    Reply

  6. rollingmyeyes says:

    We all know what Nixon did. So what? To really solve this problem for ourselves and our children it will take a yard arm. These criminals don’t care if you know what they are doing. They just do it. Remember how many have died because of their work.

    Reply

  7. Linda says:

    I’m not so sure that anything can or will be done. It will be interesting to see if Bush issues a bunch of preemptive pardons on the morning of 1/20/09—and if that is even possible to do prospectively. There could be charges in international courts that would keep the “guilty” from traveling outside US–and if there were, would US turn people over.
    The reason I think a Truth Commission might work and help is that there are a lot of anonymous sources for Mayer and others who might start coming forward and telling the truth. Remember that Wilkerson didn’t resign or get Powell to resign but went public much later. The principals and most guilty might never come forward–but as more and more people who witnessed various things do, we still would know a great deal more of the truth. My impression is that there must be a lot of people out there who have pieces of the story, were wrong in not resigning or going public, and who have consciences.
    So I still think it’s worth a try.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rove ignores a Congressional subpoena, and Conyers simply gives him more time to comply. And like the Rice contempt, the issue will simply dissappear into the next flagrant disrespect for the rule of law, which have become far too numerous to recall or list.
    The media ignores it.
    So what is a “Truth Commission” going to do? Serve contempt citations? Send armed marshalls over to arrest him?
    The idea is asinine, and just serves to underscore the cowardice of our mislabeled “representatives”, and just how elitist and out of touch these pieces of shit in Washington have become.
    I dare you, as a lowly peon citizen, try ignoring a subpoena if you want to test the “equal justice for all” lie.

    Reply

  9. DonS says:

    I opined on this on the Jane Mayer thread. Specifically, the South African example is an indication of why the model doesn’t fit the U.S. Americans don’t see themselves as evil, or capable of evil. We’re the “good guys”.
    Who would be on a truth commission if virtually all the power possessing beings that have, you know, the “stature”, are complicit in the crimes, if not by commission then, by god, by omission? And I mean every person of power in every walk of life who is not aligning him/herself, publicly with the truth, at this moment (not to mention the past eight years).
    And would a truth commission, if one were constituted, have the charter – and more tellingly the humility, honesty and guts – to expose the extent of crimes committed.
    Jane Mayer herself, comparing Bush to Nixon, said she didn’t think Bush has a criminal mentality. What the hell is that supposed to mean? The results of his “non criminal mentality” have wrecked as much criminal-like behavior and results as any handful of nasty dictators you can name.
    The crimes committed by this administration are too serious to be whitewashed by a bunch of blue ribbon white washers. Its not like many in the blogoshpere didn’t and haven’t gotten it for years. And still we’re treated like an embarrassing joke in the main stream. Fat chance a “truth commission” would tell the truth.

    Reply

  10. YY says:

    With a special prosecutor, real convictions and loss of careers of wrongdoers, Watergate resulted in some closure. Iran-Contra mostly served to benefit those with congressional immunity, who bragged about illegal arms shipments, to build new or revived careers. It would appear that the more recent Iran-Contra has taught the offenders that brazen law breaking does not matter if done in apparently misguided but sincere patriotic purpose, particularly if there is enough partisan political support.. In both instances, what actually transpired became clear enough and what mysteries that remain are not of consequence in understanding the nature of defective government.
    The violence to life and human rights violations related to this war on terror are so far beyond the kinds of law breaking of the previous two scandals that it is not just the truth of what happened that matters but culpability to crimes.
    A truth commission will serve only to further enlighten those who have not been paying attention. It would be a way of closure if those implicated are so many and responsibility so diverse that it would not serve justice to pursue individual prosecutions. Such is not the case here. There are identifiable perpetrators and there are clearly victims. It is not a case of collective guilt shared by society as a whole. 9-11, however traumatic, is no excuse for the vengeance and punishment meted out to those who had absolutely no part in that criminal terrorist act.
    There is also the issue of unfairness to those whose careers were cut short as a result of opposing the regime of torture. There are also soldiers who were convicted of abusing prisoners, while their superiors and the contractors who have done the same or worse are walking free. These imbalances of justice should not be left to fester.
    Legal and medical professionals should, at the very least, have the ability to continue in their professions reviewed, if not curtailed, for having participated in torture, Military and intelligence should be cleansed of those who were in reasonable position to recognize and not pursue unlawful orders . What should not occur is some kind of a blanket immunity or amnesty so as to move on. Moving on without recognizing criminal activity does not a civil society make. And moving on does not heal as the point can not be to forgive wanton cruelty simply because it is unpleasant. While actual penalties can be mitigated, matter should be pursued at least to the point of culpability.
    If for political reasons and for reasons of expediency the two executives (Bush and Cheney) can not be held to account (even by impeachment for unrelated abuse of power), it does not matter as the careers of these two are now history. But every other person that enabled this criminal enterprise run amok should be brought to justice, or history will repeat again too soon. Because the lesson from Iran-Contra is that the perpetrators never recognized they were wrong and were free and invigorated to come back to continue their political careers.

    Reply

  11. bob h says:

    Given that no Americans were tortured, it seems that a Truth Commission ever taking place is a fantasy.

    Reply

  12. Mr.Murder says:

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa applied to South Africans.
    That jurisdiction,inquiry of one’s own, is applied by precedent of South Africa torturing and jailing its own as precedent.
    So yes, let’s have one. Padilla is relevant there.
    It wouldn’t matter if one was done for torture of Arabs, Persians, people of this planet we imprisoned under the unpatriotic acts of Bushco. in this era.
    There would be no authority for its conclusions to be considered legitimate in the world community. It could aid discovery in other matters, but no, there’s no precedent there for it being the final arbiter, unless…
    We consider Nuremberg.
    Not without appearing before a judge, as Nuremberg would attest, will this have any shred of credibility, and that would be with world prosecutors driving the case. That trial of course had an understanding certain people would see to their end, or lengthy jail time. Who really expects the do nothing Congress to go with that in this age?
    Cheney alongside Herman Goering. His daughter was in State driving false info and blocking any finding not matching the WH narrative from Ambassadors abroad. Her husband was a big gun attorney in the same wing of State dealing with legal matters there, more like he was dealing with illegal matters there.
    Brint.It.On.

    Reply

  13. ... says:

    a truth commission might seem like what is needed when one has a mainstream media operating as a propaganda machine for the admin – which is exactly how it has been under the bush admin.. until that changes, a truth commission would be fighting a losing battle with little mainstream coverage.. i thought bush and cheney liked to present themselves as ‘freedom fighters’ and ‘truth tellers? everything they have said, done or postured over, has usually been directly opposite of what they outwardly convey … if folks need a truth commission to help them see thru these slimeballs, then i think they deserve what they get…
    bottom line? these freaks need to be impeached.. nancy pelosi can be dealt with afterwards, but at present she is as much a part of the problem.. the reps and dems at this point may as well be the same party as they are both supporting ongoing corruption politically.. the american political system is in disarray and the whole system is falling apart… we are in the middle of the act.. i suspect a continued erosion with obama in power.. dem controlled congress of late has shown how hopeless things are whether dems or reps are running things..
    a ‘truth’ commission is like trying to put a band aid on the severing of a major artery… sounds like something from ussr prior to it’s emancipation.. is the usa really their already??? it appears so..

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Joe Klein’s conscience Jul 18, 6:55PM – Link
    Carroll:
    It’s only one million
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Still…thinking about this…considering they did it over 6.5 years, that’s 12,820 names a month added to the list.
    No way they can investigate 12,000 people a month and decide they qualifty for the terrier watch list.
    Someone had a predetermined list of who they wanted put on there and did it without any real evidence.
    The DHS has barred dozens of intellectuals, as security risks, from Europe, Arab and non Arabs alike from entering the US.
    Utter bullshit.
    And you have to wonder about their selections if names like Kennedy and Jones show up on their list. What does that tell us?

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Posted by Joe Klein’s conscience Jul 18, 6:55PM – Link
    Carroll:
    It’s only one million
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    O.K…I must have misread it.
    Still…insane.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Subject: Send Karl Rove to Jail
    Date: Jul 18, 2008 8:10 AM
    This sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. We have a unique opportunity right now to send Karl Rove to jail, but only if we take immediate action.
    All we have to do is pressure the 40 members of the House Judiciary Committee, make them hold Rove in contempt and send him to jail. We’ve never had such a direct opportunity to hold Rove accountable. No, this is not enough punishment for his years and years of crimes, but it’s a huge start, and will send a very clear message to the entire Bush administration.
    We put together this video to explain the issues surrounding Rove’s failure to testify before Congress, and why Rove should be held in contempt and sent to jail. Check out Send Karl Rove to Jail, and sign our petition to ensure that the HJC holds Rove in contempt.
    Watch the video and sign the petition.
    Today at 1pm ET / 10am PT, the first episode of Meet the Bloggers will air live, and Karl Rove will be the big topic of discussion with bloggers Marcy Wheeler, Liliana Segura, Baratunde Thurston, and special guest Arianna Huffington. The video will be featured on the show, so sign the petition, forward it to friends, digg it and go to meetthebloggers.org to send in your own thoughts, and join the discussion at 1pm ET.
    If you can’t watch live, you can always see what was discussed on the show anytime you want at meetthebloggers.org.
    Yours,
    Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Team

    Reply

  17. David says:

    It might come down to a truth commission or nothing at all, and I prefer the former.

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  18. Mr.Murder says:

    Answer: No
    Blackwater springs Alsammarae from Iraqi prisons “the Chicago way” and the leading US contractor sets up new HQ in Illinois.
    The DNC moves there shortly after that.
    Never mind Katrina, or the NAACP meeting in New Orleans.
    Follow the Money.

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    Office topic, but important–Interesting how the corporate media is awash in news about the huge drop in oil prices, but fails to speculate about possible reasons. This is curious because financial editors compulsively assign reasons for any market movement, even if the reasons are nonsense–”the market was down because of profit taking.”
    So why is the media silent? Was it data showing higher inventories? Or was it the fact that Bush defused tensions with Iran by agreeing to open an office in Tehran and sending Burns to negotiate?
    It’s pretty obvious to me that much of the speculation in oil prices was in fact speculation about an attack on Iran. And, if so, we now know what that risk premium was.
    But here’s the question that needs to be asked: why is the corporate media afraid to speculate explicitly about the Iran war risk premium and talk about the price drop as it relates to reduced tensions with Iran? The answer, sadly enough, is that the media has become little more than an entrenched arm of the US government, and the Bush administration didn’t want your favorite newspaper/cable “news” show telling people that an attack on Iran would involve enormous pain at the pump initially and throughout the economy later.

    Reply

  20. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Katherine Tiedemann:
    I appreciate your coming here. I echo the other commenters here in asking what the point of a “Truth Commission” is. A lot of the bad actors now were part of Nixon’s Administration. He wasn’t impeached and look where that got us. Thanks to the blogs we know that crimes have been committed(Despite the media trying to dumb down torture). Lets describe the “Truth Commission” for what it is. It is a way for the rich and powerful to not have to pay for the crimes they have committed. Laws are only for the little guy, aren’t they?

    Reply

  21. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Carroll:
    It’s only one million. And it took a law passed to get Nelson Mandela off the damn list!! Hell, even Ted Kennedy(Don’t ask why he was flying commercial because I don’t know) has been stopped before because of the stupid list.

    Reply

  22. arthurdecco says:

    POA stated the facts clearly.
    Truth Commission? Ya gotta be kidding.
    …In Amerika?
    Arrest these criminals! Prosecute them! You know who they are. After they’ve been proven guilty in a COURT OF LAW, march them off to prison to the sounds of drum bands and choirs! There will be millions and millions of Americans dancing in the streets the day that happens. Hell! There will be Billions of Earthlings celebrating on that glorious day!
    And then watch very carefully for the next batch of psychopaths who will immediately start lining up and butting in line to do the very same thing.
    To do anything less is to admit you’ve lost America to the dark side. (No levity intended.)

    Reply

  23. Bill says:

    We need something like this badly. If we don’t provide a national airing of all of the Bush administration’s sins against the constitution and the world, if people aren’t held accountable, then we’ll just end up repeating these sins again in the future. Why? Because it will be perceived by a future administration that the Bush folks got away with it and therefore it can be done again with the same impunity.
    America needs to move on, but we can’t move on without acknowledging this national shadow which has only gotten longer and darker over the last seven years.
    dsdug8

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    BTW…..DHS now has 2 million names on it’s terrier watch list according to the latest report from the ACLU.
    T.W.O M.I.L.L.I.O.N ?
    Insane.

    Reply

  25. Ben Katcher says:

    Great post Katherine. Thanks for drawing attention to this important issue. While I would like for people inside the administration to be held accountable, I would be ok with simply finding out what went wrong so that we can prevent this from happening again. I don’t think it is politically feasible, but perhaps more likely than indictments.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Who is going to appoint a Truth Commission?
    Congress?
    The next president?
    Will it be like the 911 Commission? Which no one believes anyway?
    Listen, impeachment of Bush is nothing. Our problems are larger than Bush. All the fundamentals of our democratic system are corrupted. Would a Truth Commission cover everything that contributed to this?
    Would it cover the capitalist/war profiteers and their lobbies? The Israeli zionist agenda and their lobbies? Would it cover congress and their part in the lying, the catering to the special interest that wanted the Iraq war? Would it cover the press and media and their part in promoting the lies? Would it cover the agenda think tanks that congress calls on for policy? Would it cover the US agencies that are run by officials with their own ideology? Would it cover the Justice Department that refuses to carry out justice or our laws? Homeland Security, run by a death head whose obsession is to punish and discriminate against Arabs and Old Europe.?
    All of this didn’t just start under Bush, but it reached it’s peak under him.
    Where would you find members of a Truth Commission not compromised by, or part of all the above, and without an ideology or agenda of their own? No where among the current residents of government.
    Except for maybe one or two. I nominate this Senator and I say we go back and Start At The Beginning if we want any “Truth.”
    June 10, 2008 – 5:13PM
    Sen. Karen Johnson’s floor speech about 9/11
    Comments 116| Recommend 13
    Provided to the Tribune
    9/11 Floor Speech
    MR. PRESIDENT – POINT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE.
    INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS IN THE GALLERY … and then I WOULD LIKE TO REQUEST THAT MY REMARKS OF MORE THAN 200 WORDS BE ENTERED INTO THE JOURNAL.
    Members — I would like to introduce a very special guest who has been joined today by several of his closest friends. Up in the gallery, we have many of the members of the Phoenix 9/11 Truth group – people who are asking for a new, independent investigation of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In particular, I would like to introduce to you a VERY courageous man named Blair Gadsby. I’m going to ask the folks with Blair to help him to stand as I tell you a little about him. Blair is very weak because he has been fasting for more than two weeks to try to bring attention to the cause of 9/11 Truth. This is the 16th day that Blair has gone without food and spent his day outside the office of U.S. Senator John McCain pleading with the senator to take a look at new evidence in the 9/11 crimes. We have one man who is sacrificing his own personal needs and desires to stand boldly pleading for the world to take notice, to question, to research and not place their lives into the hands of media sound-bites, – to think for themselves, consciously and critically. Blair is an educator and to me this is what the great educators do. Thousands of people all over the country and actually around the world have been watching on the internet as this Hunger Strike progresses here in Phoenix. I want Blair to know that I am his biggest fan and that good people everywhere admire him for his courage and determine. Please give a warm welcome to Blair Gadsby and the Phoenix 9/11 Truth movement. (STOP)
    *************************************************************
    (FLOOR SPEECH) Last month, I started speaking publicly regarding my concerns about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, as well as Building 7. If you’ve watched the media coverage since I first began to speak out, you know how vicious and irrational it has been toward me. The media have worked hard to try to make it seem silly to even question the 9/11 Commission Report, even though some of its own authors have done so, including both of the Commission Co-Chairmen – Mr. Hamilton and Keane.
    Actually, the 9/11 Commission Report represents just one theory – the theory that fire and the damage from the airplane impacts brought down the three buildings. This theory explains none of the features of the destruction that we all witnessed that day and which we can still observe on hundreds of videos. It explains nothing about how in four out of four cases, no hijacking code was transmitted by the hijacked airliners, and in four of four cases, no fighter jets managed to get alongside any of the hijacked airliners. The military officers who lied to Congress about their failure to protect America would have been referred for prosecution by some of the 9/11 Commissioners, but those Commissioners were told that they did not have that authority. The events of that day were a heinous crime against our nation and our citizens, and the sense of justice that exists in each one of us demands to know what really happened and how all the perpetrators will be caught and punished. The speculation and theorizing won’t end until a thorough, transparent investigation, free of conflicts of interest, takes place.
    Among the many theories that you can find on the Internet is one that rises above all the rest. It is rock-solid, confirmed by hard evidence, and supported by hundreds of scholars, architects, engineers and other professionals who have the education, training, and expertise to know what they’re talking about. This is the theory that explosive demolitions brought down the Twin Towers and Building 7. I’ve placed a handout on each of your desks which has a photo of one of the towers as it begins to collapse. I’d like you to take a look at that photo, if you will. Notice in the picture that you see steel beams being flung outward from the building, and great huge clouds of dust that is actually pulverized concrete. A building that falls down, doesn’t pulverize itself into dust as it drops. Imagine dropping a chunk of concrete 30 feet or more. Is it going to fall apart into dust? No. Yet, the concrete in the towers was blasted into powder that covered all of Manhattan. You can see that powder already being formed long before that upper section has fallen more than a few floors. As you look at that photo, ask yourself, “Is this a picture of a building collapsing or is this a picture of a building exploding?” Does a building that collapses have the ability to fling its own steel beams sideways up to 600 feet? Does a building that is just starting to collapse blast its contents outwards in a massive cloud of dust? What do you see in that photo? I see an explosion. And so do millions of other people who are demanding a real investigation.
    More important than simply looking at a photo — engineers, architects, and scientists have evaluated the rubble at Ground Zero and other aspects of the buildings ,and they have found evidence of at least 15 different characteristics of explosion. These 15 characteristics are listed on the handout as well.
    Despite the media’s outragious attacks on my sanity, intelligence, and patriotism, the emails and phone calls to my office have been 95 percent supportive of my request for a new investigation. I’ve been amazed, really, to see just how overwhelmingly the public rejects the official reports, not only of the 9/11 Commission but also those by FEMA and NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology). I assumed that expressing skepticism about the official story of 9/11 would be a punishing issue for an elected official, but I’m finding that it’s quite the opposite. The public wants its leaders to stand up and be counted when it appears that something is wrong. “The truth will set you free.” Blair Gadsby and my guests today want the the truth about 9/11. The American PEOPLE want the truth about 9/11 – they want a new investigation, and so do I.
    I have provided each of you with a DVD entitled, “Improbable Collapse.” I’m hopeful that you will watch it with an open mind and that you’ll also study some of the wonderful, well-researched articles on the internet. I’ve included a list of the most credible websites with your handout.
    You don’t have to embrace every theory about 9/11. Indeed, there are some that should be soundly rejected. But if you believe, as these scientists, architects and engineers do, that the buildings were brought down by explosive demolition – then you must also agree that we need a new investigation. I have no preconceived notions about who did it and I am not pointing the finger of blame at anyone. But I do think that the worst attack on U.S. soil in American history deserves the best investigation possible, AND THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNTIL PEOPLE LIKE US BEGIN TO SPEAK OUT. The families of the nearly three thousand people who died on Sept. 11 – and the families of those who have been poisoned and died from the toxic residue that hung in the air for weeks afterward during the clean-up operation — deserve to know what killed their loved ones. If anyone else was involved in the planning and implementation of the attacks, then they need to be brought to justice. I ask you to study the material I have given you and then join me in the call for a new investigation.
    Thank you, Mr. President.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    And if you demand impeachment, the logical question is: how do
    you deal with the obstacles – i.e. Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller
    and others who were compromised by their knowledge of what
    was going on?

    Reply

  28. kcbill13 says:

    I wish to second the last paragraph from PissedOffAmerican. I think that says it all.
    I appreciate the suggestion, but it just does not go far enough. Bruce Fein is right. There is a solution, and it’s name is impeachment. So, as POA wrote:
    We need these damned cowards in Washington to stand up for the people and the rule of law.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Why would Bush, Cheney, and their cronies ever agree to tell the truth? Why not just keep lying, stiff it out as they have done as a matter of policy for the last 7 years? Do they even recognize the truth anymore, or are they, like Ashcroft, confused by what they thought they knew and what others told them?
    A real truth commission depends on real consequences for not coming forth and being open and honest. This gang of psycopaths is unlikely to say anything anything truthful unless all options are on the table for their prosecution.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whats a “Truth commission” goping to do? Tell us Bush lied?
    Look. Crimes have been committed. Thats irrefutable. Supposedly, this is a matter for the law. Remember that quaint concept? Has this nation fallen so far thatr we must appoint committees and commissions to determine that laws have been broken? Then what? Publically aired lamentations, pining for the days that our politicians were accountable to the people and the rule of law?
    We don’t need a “Truth Commission”. We need these damned cowards in Washington to stand up for the people and the rule of law. If we have sunken so low that we have to appoint commissions to expose a truth we’ve already realized, then this whole exercise is rather moot, because the Constitution truly is just a damned piece of paper.

    Reply

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