Note: It’s a shame that the Atlanta Journal and Constitution seems incapable of running factual coverage of important events for the people in the Atlanta area. Their coverage of our historic Capitol Hill 9-11 briefing, laden with commentary and innuendo, bore no resemblance to the content of the actual event. They refuse to retract that story–as I have requested them to do–or to even print this op ed signed by many of the panelists and me. Please share this op ed with your friends; post it widely as an example of the way serious issues are treated by the corporate media in Atlanta. CM
Atlanta Journal Constitution
55 Marietta Street, Ste. 1500
Atlanta, GA 30303
OP-ED TO THE EDITOR:
Your recent article ("McKinney reopens 9/11" July 23, 2005, by Bob Kemper) covering a day-long Congressional briefing on July 22 was totally misleading in claiming that it consisted of "conspiracy theories implicating president [Bush]." The actual title was ""The 9/11 Commission Report One Year Later: A Citizens’ Response Did They Get it Right?" and not a single panelist at the event, which included 9/11 family members, former intelligence and government workers, whistleblowers and academic experts, raised any allegations that the Bush administration arranged the 9/11 attacks.
The eight hours of testimony included a powerful statement from New Jersey 9/11 widow Lorie van Auken speaking for other family members about their questions that remain unanswered to date, and their frustration that no one has been held accountable at any level for what was not an "institutional failure" nor a "failure of imagination" in relation to the 9/11 attacks, but personal failures to heed multiple and explicit advance warnings of just such an event in the United States.
Your reporter has done the concerned family members and scholars present a disservice by his defamatory remarks which continue to hide from the American public the many unexplored facts and unanswered questions that mark our understanding of and response to 9/11. I hope the public and the citizens in my district in Georgia will take the opportunity to hear this new evidence through C-SPAN, Pacifica Radio, and my own website.
Certainly the dozens of panelists who spoke about post-9/11 violations of civil rights and liberties, the rise of secrecy and the hidden costs of covert operations and consolidation of intelligence, and the rise of the neoconservative view in foreign policy and a new "Pax Americana" and permanent warfare that ignore international law or the alternatives of restoring justice and peace cannot be called "conspiracy theorists" because they question the immediate response and flawed recommendations that now guide legislation and a new security paradigm.
Historians and researchers who discover glaring errors or omissions in the Commission’s report, or the lack of historical framework to their comprehension of the sources of terrorism can’t be called "contrarians" for unearthing facts that contradict faulty conclusions or assumptions in the official version of events.
This calls for another look at the government’s account of 9/11, which guides so much of what has happened since. Mistakes of fact, intentional or not, have changed and guided America into costly wars and increased insecurity at home. They need to be addressed and scrutinized, not dismissed and used to attack those who discover or raise them.
Your writer further implies that the issues I raised in 2002 regarding 9/11 and its aftermath "helped to spur my ouster from Congress" and that this event merely revisited the questions I raised then. To the contrary, my legitimate questions of 2002 have been taken up since by many others in Congress and the public. Many 9/11 victims’ families share these concerns as well. My re-election calls the question to such claims, since my credibility with the electorate in my district is intact.
In the end, public consideration of important new facts regarding all aspects of the 9/11 tragedy is my responsibility to my constituents, the victims of 9/11, and the oath I took to defend our Constitution.
The presenters listed below, who were at the July 22 briefing, join me in this response.
Rep. CYNTHIA McKINNEY
4th District, Georgia
Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D.
C. William Michaels, Esq.
Dr. John Nutter