12 – The government’s own investigators accuse them of conspiracy

Tasked by congress to “prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11th attacks”, the 9/11 Commission faced numerous obstacles and a severe lack of cooperation from the Federal Aviation Agency, the White House, the FBI and NORAD throughout their investigation and ultimately did not believe their report represented the truth. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney resisted giving evidence, eventually agreeing only on the strict conditions that they would not be under oath, no sound recording or transcript would be made, and they would only testify together. At one stage the commission even considered pressing criminal charges against Pentagon officials because of the false statements they were giving. Commissioners also noted that they had not been allowed to interview officials without the presence of government colleagues, which in many cases, they said, amounted to intimidation of witnesses, and they were not allowed to personally interview terror suspects who gave testimonies under ‘extreme interrogation’, nor to hear the tapes of the interrogations, nor to speak with the interrogators. At least four of the people whose interrogation was key to the report report have claimed that they told interrogators information only as a way to stop being “tortured”, and one of the Commission’s main sources of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was not even allowed to read.

Although the commission was meant to be independent, it was presided over and tightly controlled by executive director Philip Zelikow (History Commons: see Jan-April 2003), who not only had close ties to the Bush administration, but is an expert in ‘public mythology’ and had written a book three years earlier about how a catastrophic terrorist event could change America. Zelikow outlined the report in detail before the commission had begun any investigation, dictating what they would and would not cover in the report.

One commissioner, Max Cleland, even resigned, saying “the White House has played cover-up”. Another, Bob Kerrey, admits 9/11 was “a thirty-year-old conspiracy. Co-chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton said that the commission was “set up to fail” and that not everything in the report was right, Timothy Roemer said they were frustrated by false statements, and John Farmer, a senior counsel to the commission, stated; “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened” and “There were interviews made at the FAA’s New York center the night of 9/11 and those tapes were destroyed. The CIA tapes of the interrogations were destroyed. The story of 9/11 itself, to put it mildly, was distorted and was completely different from the way things happened.”

Yet the US government condemns any questions or doubts as attempts to take the focus off the ‘real’ – unproven – ‘culprits’, and it appears President Obama has even developed a government security body devoted to distancing Washington from the attacks.

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