Newspaper logo  
 
 
Bookmark and Share
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

04.16 Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

04.13 Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.17 America Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters [graphs]

04.17 The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care

04.17 “Awesome in its evilness”: How to make GOP pay for its Medicaid nightmare

04.16 Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

04.16 Coal Returns to German Utilities Replacing Lost Nuclear

04.16 People of Color Are Disproportionately Hurt by Air Pollution [graphs]

04.15 He Tells the Clintons How to Lose a Little

04.15 Global Solar Power generation Increased by 1/3 In 2013 Alone (with Charts)

04.15 While You Were Watching 'Game of Thrones,' Neil deGrasse Tyson Shared His Solution to Global Warming

04.15 Turns Out, You Can Make Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Cities [video]

04.15 Surge in deaths of environmental activists over past decade, report finds

04.14 IPCC report: the scientists have done their bit, now it is up to us

04.14 IPCC climate report: a route map for civilisation's greatest journey

04.14 Entire marine food chain at risk from rising CO2 levels in water

04.14 IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

04.14 UN climate change report on how to cut emissions [1:50 video, report summary]

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

04.09 How to Secede From the Union, One Judicial Vacancy at a Time

04.08 The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You.

04.08 Paid-For Legislature Takes Teacher Tenure From Thousands In Kansas

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.18 G.O.P. Discovers Useful Voter Outreach Tool: Gun Sweepstakes

04.18 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States

04.17 How Rand Paul Bailed on His Bold Plan to Reform Big-Money Politics in Washington

04.17 Resegregation in the American South

04.17 U.S. States Revive Debtors’ Prisons

04.16 Study: American policy exclusively reflects desires of the rich; citizens' groups largely irrelevant

04.16 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan’s Taliban

04.16 Rick Perry Dismantled Texas' Public Integrity Unit. Now He's Facing a Grand Jury.

04.16 7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

04.15 Why Darrell Issa's New IRS Scandal Accusation Makes No Sense

04.15 Christopher Whalen: The death of mortgage lending

04.15 In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class

04.14 EPA's Power Plant Rules Top Target If Republicans Take Senate

04.14 Criminalizing People Who Live in Cars Is a New Low in the War on the Poor

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.18 Salvation Gets Cheap

04.18 Inequality and the Inevitable Collapse

04.18 Privatization is a Ramp for Corruption and Insouciance is a Ramp for War

04.17 Putin Bank Trail Runs From Communist Cash to Billionaires

04.17 What Happened to Canada?

04.15 The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing

04.15 Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: ‘I Vote for Democracy!’

04.15 Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality

04.14 Triumph of the Drill: How Big Oil Clings to Billions in Government Giveaways

04.13 Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is a bad deal

04.12 Franken’s Campaign Against Comcast Is No Joke

04.11 Biggest Credit Bubble in History Flashes Warning – ‘Seek Cover’

04.10 Dick Cheney, Rand Paul, and the Possibility of Malign Leaders

04.09 When Predatory Equity Hit the Big Apple

International

04.18 Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

04.17 US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides

04.16 On Eve of Pope’s visit to Israel, Radical Israeli Settlers attack Christian Village

04.16 'We Will Shoot Back': All Eyes on Russia as Ukraine Begins Offensive in East

04.15 Russia faces being 'frozen out' by west over Ukraine

04.14 Don't be nostalgic about Tony Blair. His effect on Britain and beyond was toxic

04.12 CIA and White House under pressure after Senate torture report leaks

04.11 Satellite images reveal Russian military buildup on Ukraine's border

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  A New 9/11 Investigation in New York City? The Voters Will Decide--If the Lawyers Let Them
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

A New 9/11 Investigation in New York City? The Voters Will Decide—If the Lawyers Let Them

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation on 10 September 2009

Truth was obviously censored and incomplete in the original 9/11 Commission's report. If anyone deserves the opportunity to press on for answers, it is the people of the City of New York. The next few weeks will tell whether they are at long last given that opportunity.

In the five years since the 9/11 Commission released its studious but timid report, Americans of all political stripes have advocated for a new investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since Obama seems intent upon putatively pardoning the Bush Administration for all of its crimes and misdemenors, such an investigation will clearly not take place at the federal level. But a New-York based organization has been pursuing a local effort—and on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the attacks, it has achieved what could be an important step toward its goal. The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), which describes itself as “a group comprising 9/11 family members, first responders, and survivors,” has gathered signatures to place a referendum for a new 9/11 investigation on the November ballot in New York City.

The Bloomberg administration fought the effort by claiming that only about 26,000 of the 52,000 signatures submitted by NYC CAN were valid, leaving the group some 4,000 short of the requirement for a ballot measure. After the New York courts appointed a “referee” to review the tossed-out petitions, NYC CAN scrambled to validate thousands of signatures, and submitted 28,000 more. And just yesterday, the group announced in a press release that “in a last minute decision, lawyers for the City of New York have conceded that [NYC CAN] indeed did submit over 30,000 valid signatures...The City’s concession...paves the way for lawyers for both sides to argue the legality of the petition.”

There are several more hurdles ahead: New York City has a long history of blocking citizen-generated ballot initiatives on the grounds of legal technicalities.  And all legal issues must be resolved by September 30 for the measure to make it onto the November ballot. But if the referendum were to be presented and passed, it would lead to the creation of what its authors describe as “a local, independent commission with subpoena power that would be tasked with comprehensively reinvestigating the attacks.”

Believing that such an investigation is necessary and vital doesn’t require a subscription to any particular conspiracy theory about the attacks. In my 2006 book The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11: What the 9/11 Commission Report Failed to Tell Us, I focused on straightforward, even obvious questions: Why was the airline industry, with its army of well-connected lobbyists, permitted to resist safety regulations that could have saved lives? How did our foreign policy, and “allies” like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, help pave the way for the attacks? Why did a politically driven, Iraq-obsessed administration ignore repeated warnings of the coming danger? Who was in charge as the attacks unfolded?

Rice at 9/11 hearingSome of these questions ought to practically answer themselves. Yet in its 664-page report, the 9/11 Commission managed not to answer them—in many cases, by the simple means of not asking them in the first place. The Commissioners themselves announced their limited intentions in the report’s opening pages, where they wrote: “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible accounting of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.” The contradiction inherent in these stated aims is obvious: without “blame,” there can be no true accountability, and without accountability, there is nothing to ensure that the “lessons” of 9/11 will be “learned.”

In a just-released book called Ground Truth, John Farmer, senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission and now dean of Rutgers Law School, declares that at an early stage in its investigation, the Commission

discovered that what had occurred that morning — that is, what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media, and the public about who knew what when — was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue....At some level of the government, at some point in time ... there was a decision not to tell the truth about what happened.

It should come as no surprise that the 9/11 Commission conceded to this decision and limited its investigations accordingly. As I wrote in the conclusion to my own book, when it comes to the September 11 attacks and the lies and obfuscations that followed:

It is not necessary to search for hidden conspiracies, because the conspiracy is right in front of us and all around us, and the conspirators are running the country. Those in power in government and business share a tacit agreement that the system must be preserved at all costs, and institutions such as the 9/11 Commission, by their very existence, sign on to this agreement. Political power must be preserved. Economic and business interests must be protected. Allies who serve us by providing the United States with valuable resources like oil or with strategic positions in the world balance of power must be guarded. These things must be done at all costs, even if it means leaving unanswered questions about a catastrophic attack on the level 9/11, and even if it means leaving the American people vulnerable to another such attack in the future....

Yet, realistic as we are about the intractable power of the “system,” the idea remains that this time, things should have been different. Something as enormous as the 9/11 attacks should demand accountability from those who allowed it to happen. On the morning of September 11, thousands of Americans went to work in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in police stations and firehouses. Hundreds more boarded planes and began their quotidian journeys. Surely even the most skeptical among them must on some level have assumed that their government would protect them from the kind of attack that took place that day. And surely even the most cynical among us must believe that a betrayal of such magnitude should carry consequences. Without consequences, there is no justice for the dead, and no safety for the living. Why has no one been held accountable? This is the last unanswered question about 9/11.

If anyone deserves the opportunity to press on for answers, it is the people of the City of New York. The next few weeks will tell whether they are at long last given that opportunity.


Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on September 11, 2009.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland