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[Back from the strange briefing in DC on the anniversary of the 9/11 cover-up commission's report, Mike Ruppert has filed this story. As the months and years elapse, the Big Lie continues to expand while rotting from within, and the truth remains unwelcome but indestructible. With this 07/22/05 event, Cynthia McKinney's heroism and the vigor of a few dedicated activists give us a glimpse into the workings of a desperate establishment. -JAH]
IT HAPPENED IN AMERICA
Personal Observations of the Congressional Briefing on the September 11th Attacks - July 22, 2005
"Sideways" - The Briefing
Michael C. Ruppert
© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.
Some of the testimony was a little hard for Mike Ruppert and Wayne Madsen to listen to. (photo: John Gannonemail@example.com)
July 29, 2005 1300 PST (FTW) - Asking what exactly happened in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building on July 22nd, and why it happened that way, raises a host of unanswered questions - as many as were brought into the room to be asked about the attacks of September 11th.
One year after the public release of the Kean Commission report, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) sponsored an all-day briefing for members of congress and their staffs on those attacks and the enduring and mounting criticism of the final report of the Kean Commission which had supposedly resolved it all. It was not, in the official sense, a congressional hearing. Hearings are called by various committees and subcommittees and they indicate that the subject matter is part of a committee agenda; that there will be follow up. Only one other House member (Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-MI) attended the briefing, and then only for about a half an hour. A few members sent staff to attend but that was it. Once a briefing is done, it's done. Information only.
9/11 is not, as some have reported, "reopened." Cynthia McKinney cannot, herself, reopen 9/11. Officially it is just as dead as it was before this briefing. Still she does what she can to reward 9/11 activists who helped her recapture her old seat last year and to remind anyone listening on the Hill that many Americans don't buy the official line and never will. She made a telling observation to me after the event. "I'm not supposed to be here. I wasn't supposed to come back but I did."
Paul Thompson, author of The Complete 9/11 Timeline testifies about newly discovered wargame exercises as Cynthia McKinney pays close attention. (photo: John Gannonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
I had not been aware of the event until about two weeks before it took place. Even then there was great confusion as to what was planned. It had been organized, according to McKinney, by Unanswered Questions co-founder John Judge, now a member of her Washington staff. Cynthia and I had been communicating about what she and I both thought was to be a much larger and more important event: a 9/11 briefing for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to be held in September. I had already been invited to present at the September event and wasn't fully aware of the July briefing until just before it took place. From what I had heard, July 22nd was to be small and inconsequential.
As McKinney explained it to me, the July 22nd briefing was to have little or no public attendance whereas the September event would already have large crowds attending the larger CBC annual convention. It was there that she hoped to have the most impact.
But 9/11 activists and researchers, some of whom I and many others have serious issues with, had also scheduled a public rally in DC on July 23rd and a press conference on July 22nd that coincided with the briefing. A large body of credible 9/11 researchers (cited repeatedly in Crossing the Rubicon) had serious issues with the public-event presenters.
Our issues had to do with quality and credibility of some 9/11 "research" as well as - in one or two cases - activist researchers who had affiliations (some admittedly attenuated) with supremacist groups, Holocaust denial groups and/or suspected disinformation activities. Long-time serious researchers, well familiar with "the poison pill" method of sabotaging good research, recognized a minefield when we saw one. We were not invited to the public events and we steered well clear of them. Some good researchers did attend the public functions and those of us who had been at this game of challenging government corruption could only hope that they emerged untarnished.
Mike Ruppert questions a panelist. (photo: John Gannonemail@example.com)
Of particular concern to many of us was the involvement in the public events of supporters of the DVD In Plane Site which has been thoroughly and publicly discredited as shoddy and misleading research that would weaken or destroy the credibility of anything presented with it. There were other problematic presenters but that is not the issue here and this is a battle I no longer engage in. My task is to preserve the integrity of Crossing The Rubicon and to help protect the really trustworthy 9/11 research. My book remains a tight legal case on 9/11 that could be taken to a prosecutor tomorrow, if there were a prosecutor anywhere who would take it, or a court that would try it.
The public events took on a life of their own and this had an impact on the scheduled briefing which was suddenly becoming what looked to be a major media event - quite possibly a three-ring circus. I was one of many who suspected it was being hijacked. By July 18th, after seeing that former CIA officer Robert Baer had been included as a presenter, I was truly alarmed. The presence of another former high-ranking CIA speaker, Mel Goodman, who is now a professor at the National War College, also gave me pause.
Through two books Baer had sown a great deal of disinformation about 9/11, Pakistan, the Saudis and especially the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. He had become the media's "go-to" guy for faux spin on events. Controlled and planted opposition. The wolf in sheep's clothing. Baer had done a pretty nasty hatchet job on David Ray Griffin (The New Pearl Harbor; The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions) in The Nation (something I have experienced) and the buzz was flying all over the net as to why McKinney would have invited Baer to the hearings and not Griffin. McKinney was losing support and the hearing hadn't even happened yet.
I had not been invited to present and since I had authored the second best selling book on the attacks after the Kean commission report, I thought this emerging format looked pretty strange. This had nothing to do with my previous (and current) belief that to expect any governmental action on the subject was a lost cause. This briefing was a matter of protecting the historical record, preserving it for history and for a possible "miraculous" window of opportunity should it appear sometime in the future.
Just as much as it was right for Americans to have addressed (for example) the issue of the POWs and MIAs who were abandoned in Southeast Asia even though there is no hope of getting that issue formally raised again (or the POWs returned), there will always be the perennial challenge of never endorsing or accepting the lie. Same with JFK, RFK, MLK, Iran-Contra and a half dozen other crimes and scandals.
Also not invited was Jim Hoffman, who has done probably the best analyses of how the buildings (especially WTC7) did or didn't collapse on 9/11.
I was concerned enough that on July 18th I sent McKinney an email. She was seeing problems as well and on the 19th she responded by asking both me and investigative journalist Wayne Madsen to come to the briefing and act as questioners. Madsen lives in DC. On the 21st, I boarded a plane from Los Angeles, armed only with my copy of Rubicon, some documentation intended to impeach the statements and credibility of Bob Baer, and a desire to act as a "bulls-t detector" during the hearings.
The third questioner that day was retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern has been a long-time critic of the Bush administration and, although he has not directly pointed to government complicity in the attacks, he has not (to my knowledge) shot that concept down either. I have no way of knowing when he was asked to participate but his presence as a questioner did lend some gravitas to the event.
Just before the hearing started I asked John Judge why Baer had been placed on the panel and he offered a plausible response: that in Washington, to get the right rooms and staff cooperation, it was necessary to "balance" the panels and present all sides. The fact that McKinney actually secured the room and House permission was quite an achievement in itself. There wasn't time to ask Judge any more questions. The opening gavel struck at nine and we didn't stop until well after 6 PM.
Bob Baer was to have been on the first panel but turned out to be a last minute no-show. Someone I knew advised me that this was because he had been told I was coming and that I was gunning for him. I have no way of verifying this but a great many people in Washington do recall my public encounter with CIA Director John Deutch at a Los Angeles town hall meeting in 1996. I did get some good licks in with Goodman however (see related story by Michael Kane).
McKinney did right. There was a lot of b.s. that was not spun out from a few of the panelists because Madsen and I were there and would have stomped all over it. Madsen and I will always watch Cynthia McKinney's back.
There were many things moving under the carpet that day. It's interesting to note the websites of 911citizenswatch (co-founded by John Judge and Kyle Hence) and unansweredquestions were hacked on July 21st. Their home pages showed a picture of a couple fornicating under blankets. All I had time to do was to pick up the phone and leave urgent messages before I left for the airport at 6:30 AM. The web sites were repaired by the time the briefing began.
|Cynthia reacts to standing ovation from the entire room (photo: Michael Kane)|
The room itself was full of as many as 15 cameras. C-SPAN apparently had at least two cameras there. Nothing has been aired. I recognized at least two local TV stations and what I suspect was one network camera recording every word. Nothing has been aired. Cynthia McKinney had her own videographer there. Pacifica Radio Network covered the proceedings from gavel to gavel and helped moderate the briefing. We were told it went out live across the network but I have yet to receive any reports of what kind of coverage Pacifica actually provided or where.
It's pretty clear to me that widespread coverage was planned and that my last-minute presence caused a lot of that to be scrapped. I am not "approved" for widespread coverage. I did not give an inch on my well-known positions and Wayne Madsen also did a great job of countering spin. I was actually able to plug a few of the great unheralded 9/11 researchers like Professor Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa during my questions.
David Ray Griffin was in the audience and I finally got to meet him. We only had time for about a three minute conversation as he rushed to the press conference and I rushed back for the next panel. I also finally got to meet former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds and we exchanged high-fives in the hallway.
There were two memorable moments for me that day.
The Jersey Girls (sans Kristen Breitweiser) are turning around on the 9/11 Report and have read Rubicon. I was amazed at how angry they're getting. They almost quoted my chapter on FBI Agent Dave Frasca. It's also apparent to me that these victimized women are in excruciating agony as the lights go on for them. They had trusted the Kean Commission because they were already devastated by the loss of their spouses. As it is for everyone who discovers the corruption of the American government and economy there are many layers of painful, raw, exposed nerves that get exposed as reality sets in.
The second memorable moment came after I had asked a question about congressional oversight responsibilities, civil liberties, and the Constitution which brought the audience to its feet in a show of support for Cynthia McKinney and the question itself. Rhetorically, I asked whether any nation that had so descended into lawlessness and totalitarianism had ever voluntarily reformed itself. From my experience only war and defeat or collapse had ever ended such regimes. Every panelist agreed that Septmeber 11th was the watershed event which had opened the door to repression, fear, and violations of the constitution and human rights from Guantanamo, to Iraq, to Iowa.
It was a large panel comprised of experts on domestic and foreign policy. The best answer to my question came from former 8-term Congresswoman from Ohio Mary Rose Oakar who is now the President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. She pointed out that the McCarthy era ended when a lone U.S. Senator, Margaret Chase Smith, stood up on the Senate floor and basically told McCarthy he was full of crap.
Just for a moment it made me feel good about America again. But it was a short moment as I realized we are much, much further down the road than we were with Joseph McCarthy. Peak Oil was not a screaming reality then and the US was not at the time embroiled in undeclared wars. The McCarthy era did not see drastic new legislation such as the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Bill or - most importantly - a US congress that had openly abdicated its constitutional prerogatives and obligations.
There were traps laid all over the place for more than one target on July 22nd. There was more than one agenda and many more than one contest. Most of the traps aimed at the real truth of 9/11 were successfully avoided. My cop instincts have never failed me and they didn't here. A few days after the event Cynthia McKinney emailed and said she was truly glad that I had come at the last minute.
I really cannot and must not get too specific but she and I are both very pessimistic, yet very clear, that Washington DC is now kind of a living "pod person." The lights are on but…
Truly, this briefing reminded me of what Rome must have been like when its rulers and elites first started to realize that it was in permanent and terminal decline. And if history holds true, many old alliances are breaking up and new ones are being formed quickly in the "middle management" ranks around Washington. What I also saw was a lot of "suits" moving into and out of the caucus room. There were many private huddles. People circulating. Furtive conversations. It seemed that with all of the looming scandals descending on the Bush administration, Plamegate, the rising discontent over the Iraqi war, and dissatisfaction over the economy, the career bureaucrats were looking for new protectors, but without much luck.
What those people heard in the Cannon house office building as the truth got fearlessly told to power that day must have unnerved them even more. That was Cynthia McKinney's greatest achievement on July 22nd. She rattled cages.
Fear, on almost every level, is the lingua franca in Washington. For others it seems, the mood is resignation. The U.S. Government is about as dysfunctional as a family of inbred meth addicts and I for one hold little hope for a miracle cure. That last thing I expect is for the government to behave sanely.
Probably in Rome, as the stench of decay and death became apparent, there were noble and decent Romans who held aloft high standards and principle, and urged a return to sanity. Some of Rome's finest thinkers appeared in those last days of Empire. But I'll bet they were also looking for someplace to take their families just so they could get out of the way when the end came.
As for me, I'll look forward to the CBC event in September. I might have another chance to get a few licks in for all of us and make sure that what we have documented about September 11th is not corrupted by opportunists, cointelpro swine, or profiteers.