- A cruel sham is being perpetrated on the American public
and especially on the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. One
of the expectations of the public is that the Commission established to
investigate the attacks will find out what the government (in particular
intelligence agencies) knew prior to the attacks. However, both the restrictions
on the Commission and the composition of its members are designed to prevent
The Commission was established by the 2003 Intelligence Authorization Act
(H.R. 4628) to (1) conduct an investigation, (2) identify, review and evaluate
lessons learned, and (3) issue a report to the President and Congress containing
findings, conclusions and recommendations.
While the first part of Section 604 of the Act defining the Commission's
functions appears to give it a broad mandate of areas for investigation
(including intelligence agencies), a following provision limits its inquiry
into the 'intelligence community' to areas not covered by the 'Joint Inquiry'
of Congressional Intelligence Committees unless there is new information
not reviewed by the congressional investigation.
Commission members and staff will be required to have appropriate security
clearances before they are given access to classified information. This
probably means that any final report to the public will be 'sanitized'
of classified information, as is the report of the congressional 'Joint
Inquiry.' In other words, any meaningful information the Commission might
find (despite the restrictions on it) will not be made public. Committee
staff members are considered government employees and are subject to severe
penalties for leaking classified information.
Some public hearings may be held but obviously will not deal with classified
information. Each agency furnishing information to the Commission establishes
its own classifications. The Commission can issue subpoenas for information
or compelling testimony but only if at least six of the ten members approve
or both the chairman and vice chairman approve.
If a subpoena is ignored, a U.S. District Court can issue an order to comply
and if still ignored, cite the person or persons for contempt. Alternatively,
by majority vote the commission can issue a non-binding request to a U.S.
Attorney to bring the matter before a grand jury. U.S. Attorneys report
to the Attorney General, or a subordinate, in the Department of Justice.
The Commission is required to issue its final report eighteen months after
the authorizing legislation went into effect.
If the limited scope of the commission is not enough, the membership of
the commission virtually guarantees that nothing meaningful will emerge.
In this writers opinion there are three general categories of persons who
should have been excluded from the commission. The first is anyone who
is a member of an organization that advocates abdicating U.S. sovereignty
in favor of governance by a regional or world body. The premier organization
pushing that concept for the last eight decades is the Council on Foreign
Relations (CFR). Members of the CFR hold a significant number of high-level
A second category would be anyone who has had involvement with the 'intelligence
community.' This would include members of congress who have been on intelligence
committees as well as some private sector members of advisory boards. The
rationale is that those persons likely have either been co-opted or have
become inured to accepting assertions of intelligence agencies at face
The third criterion, which would mostly apply to government officials and
members of congress, is anyone who participated in a cover-up of illegal
activity related to organizations or groups involved in terrorism or the
related activities of drug distribution and money laundering.
- Thomas Kean
- Then let's begin with the chairman of the commission
Thomas Kean, former New Jersey Governor and President of Drew University.
When Kean was appointed to replace severely conflicted Henry Kissinger,
he asserted his only constituency was the students at Drew.
Well, it turns out that is not exactly true. Kean sits on the Board of
Directors of Amerada Hess, one of the world's leading independent oil and
gas companies. The company is coupled with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabia company
in a joint venture called Delta-Hess. Delta-Hess in turn is a partner in
Azerbaijan with a consortium developing Caspian Sea oil resources.
Delta Oil is owned by the two Saudi families of Khalid bin Mahfouz and
Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi. Both are alleged to be major financial backers
of Osama bin Laden and have been named in a lawsuit by families and survivors
of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bin Mahfouz is Osama's brother-in-law. His
sister married bin Laden.
Delta-Hess owns 20% of the Azerbaijan consortium. SOCOL, the state owned
Oil Company has 50% and Frontera owns the remaining 30%.
Frontera is headed by Bill White who was Deputy Secretary of Energy in
the first Clinton administration and the architect of Azerbaijans first
Caspian Sea offshore gas and oil consortium. Familiar names among its Board
of Directors and advisors include Lloyd Bentsen, former Senator and Treasury
Secretary and John Deutch, former Director of the CIA.
Kean also is co-chairman of Homeland Security Project, which had significant
input into the drafting of the Office of Homeland Security legislation.
The long-time member of the CFR also forgot to mention his role as general
partner in Quad Ventures LLC. Quad is a limited partnership operating in
the $815 billion education industry whose partners include; Citigroup,
J.P. Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch Community Development, Wells Fargo bank
and insurance giants Prudential Financial and Wachovia. Top officials in
most of those companies are also CFR members. Both Citigroup and Morgan
Chase are deeply involved in the Enron scandal. Citigroup received a slap
on the wrist when found to have laundered hundreds of millions of dollars
in drug money which some suspect helped fund terrorism.
- Commission vice chairman and former congressman Lee Hamilton
was appointed to replace former senate majority leader George Mitchell
(CFR), who like Kissinger declined to disclose potential conflicts of interest
and resigned. Hamilton, a CFR member since at least 1988, was chairman
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Select Intelligence
In 1987, House Speaker Jim Wright (who later resigned in disgrace) appointed
Hamilton to chair a committee investigating the Iran/Contra affair. When
a question was raised about CIA/Contra drug smuggling, the response was
release by Hamilton of a cursory review that concluded there was no truth
to the charges. The CIA recently released a report (that received almost
no publicity) admitting the drug connection.
- Considered one of the fifty most powerful women in the
country, CFR member Jamie Gorelick is currently vice-chair of the giant
mortgage lender and insurer Fannie Mae. From March 1994 until she joined
Fannie Mae in May 1997 she was Deputy Attorney General, the number two
spot in Janet Renos Department of Justice.
In May 1995, the Intelligence Community Law Enforcement Policy Board was
established to meet quarterly and discuss mutual concerns of the Attorney
General and Director of Central Intelligence. The board was co-chaired
by Gorelick and DCI George Tenet. Other members included all of the law
enforcement agencies, the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence
and Research and the Defense Department General Counsel.
This is the same time frame (spring of 1995) in which the Philippine government
apprised the FBI, CIA and State Department of Project Bojinka an Islamic
terrorist plot which included hijacking commercial airlines planes and
flying them into the Pentagon, World Trade Center towers and, several other
The BCCI scandal involved a number of powerful individuals. Clark Clifford
and Robert Altman were the top two officers in First American, the new
name given Financial General Bankshares when it was taken over by BCCI
(known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals International in the corridors
of Washington) with the help of the Jackson Stephens/Lippo Worthen Bank
and the Rose Law Firm.
First American is said to have been using the notorious PROMIS
When BCCI and First American were exposed, the legal defense team for Clifford
and Altman attracted a bevy of well-known names including Robert Fiske
(later the first 'independent counsel' investigating Whitewater and Vince
Foster's 'suicide'), Robert Bennett (later attorney for Bill Clinton),
and Jamie Gorelick.
In a somewhat related case in 1978, Financial General Bankshares sued BCCI,
two Jackson Stephens' companies (one was Systematics) and a number of individuals.
Two of the attorneys representing Systematics in the controversy over PROMIS
software were Webster Hubbell and Hillary Rodham.
In 1998, while at Fannie Mae, Gorelick served on Clintons Central Intelligence
National Security Advisory Panel as well as the President's Review of Intelligence.
- Ben-Veniste is a high-visibility Washington attorney
and Democrat power broker. He was Democrat counsel to the Senate Whitewater
investigation where he blocked inquiries about Webster Hubbell's hiring
by the Lippo group and others administered by Truman Arnold.
According to investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker, Ben-Veniste then
turned around and defended Arnold (the man he was supposed to be investigating)
before Ken Starr's Whitewater grand jury, for which he was roundly criticized.
Hopsicker also reveals that Arnold had furnished a $2 million airplane
to his friend Wally Hilliard for $1. Hilliard, Hopsicker says, owned the
Flight school in Venice, Florida where four of the Islamic terrorist pilots
were trained that flew the suicide missions on 9/11.
Another of Ben-Venistes clients was Barry Seal, the drug running CIA asset
of Iran/Contra and Mena, Arkansas notoriety. In fact, Hopsicker relates
Ben-Veniste told the Wall Street Journal, "I did my part by launching
him (Seal) into the arms of Vice President Bush who embraced him as an
- Fielding is another one who has been around the centers
of power for a while on the Republican side. In the Nixon administration
he was a deputy counsel working under John Dean. In the Watergate scandal
he helped his boss (Dean) handle Howard Hunt's safe full of documents.
They wore rubber gloves so as not to leave fingerprints. Fielding was not
one of the twenty or so Nixon associates (including John Dean) that went
to jail over their involvement.
Later Fielding served as White House Counsel to President Reagan. More
recently he was at least partly responsible for getting George W. Bush's
political mentor Karl Rove in hot water over failure to divest his stock
in Intel Corporation valued at over $100,000.
Fielding advised Rove, who was planning to divest all of his stock, to
hold onto it until a 'government certificate of divestiture' could be obtained.
The certificate would have allowed deferral of capital gains taxes on stock
While he still held the stock, Rove met with Intel executives and Vice
President Chaney at which a proposed merger with a Dutch company was discussed.
This was a breech of administration ethics rules.
Fielding served on the Bush transition team in early 2001. According to
Clay Johnson, Director of Presidential Personnel and Deputy Chief of Staff,
the Vice President asked Fred Fielding, who had been President Reagan's
counsel, to come in and he volunteered to--as soon as we had a Cabinet
Secretary-to-be, he would sit down with that person and they'd have a nice
little chat for an hour or two. And then Fred would tell us whether he
was confident that there were no clearance problems or not. If there was
something that he thought might be problematic, he would explore it further,
and maybe they had to go get some information, whatever. Johnson said the
process now takes sixty days.
- Jim Thompson
- Jim Thompson was the longest serving governor in Illinois
history completing four terms in office leaving in 1991. He is currently
chairman of the large Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn. While
he was governor, sensational charges were leveled against him and the law
firm by Chicago author and investigator Sherman Skolnick.
Skolnick claimed that the First National Bank of Chicago had loaned (Communist)
China billions of dollars to be repaid in gold. When China defaulted on
the gold payments, according to Skolnick, the CIA and bank arranged for
massive amounts of high purity heroin to be smuggled into the U.S. in lieu
of the gold payments. Skolnick alleged shipments came in through Joliet,
just south of Chicago, and were supervised by Thompson and the Winston
and Strawn law firm. As with most claims of CIA involvement in illegal
drugs, nothing came of the allegations.
Thompson got caught in the middle of a messy political battle between outgoing
Governor George Ryan and Attorney General Jim Ryan, both Republicans. Ryan
was running against Democrat Rod Blagojevich, the victor and incoming governor.
At the same time AG Ryan was suing Governor George Ryan over the pardoning
of death row inmates.
- George Ryan hired former governor Jim Thompson to defend
against the lawsuit.
Blagojevich had railed in his campaign against the 26 years of Republican
corruption and mismanagement. That included 12 of the years when Thompson
was governor. To the astonishment of practically everyone, Blagojevich
appointed Thompson to lead his transition team.
- John Lehman is an investment banker who has served in
a number of government positions including as Secretary of the Navy from
1981 to 1987 under President Reagan. His first government job was as special
counsel and senior staff member to Henry Kissinger on the National Security
Council in the Nixon administration.
Lehman currently serves on several boards of directors including those
of Ball Corporation, as chairman of OAO Technology Solutions, Inc. and
his own J.F. Lehman & Company. He is a former chairman of Sperry Marine
and investment banker with Paine Webber. Lehman served 25 years as a naval
aviator in the selected reserves.
- Slade Gorton is a former senator from the State of Washington.
After he lost his reelection bid in 2000, he joined the Seattle Law firm
of Preston, Gates & Ellis, which specializes in environmental issues.
If jury selection rules were being used, Gorton would probably be dismissed
from consideration for the commission for cause. Two days after the 9/11
attacks he told a public-television audience there was nothing government
intelligence officials could have done to thwart the attack, according
to the Seattle Times. The Times quotes Gorton as saying, I doubt we can
expect to get too much inside information no matter what we do.
Gorton served two years on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says that
experience and his personal friendship with Trent Lott were responsible
for his appointment by Lott.
- Tim Roemer is a moderate Democrat congressman (at least
compared to the Democrat leadership) who is retiring from Congress at the
end of this year. He was one of the prime movers in the House championing
creation of the Independent Commission. He is credited with bringing the
organization representing survivors and families of victims of the 9/11
attacks into the mix of support for the commission. Roemer is a member
of the House Intelligence Committee.
- Max Cleland is a one-term Senator from Georgia who lost
his reelection bid this year in a close contest. He is a triple amputee
from wounds received in Vietnam.
At the age of 28, Cleland was the youngest person and first Vietnam veteran
elected to the Georgia State Senate. In 1977, he became the youngest ever
head of the Veterans' Administration when appointed by President Jimmy
In 1982 Cleland became the youngest person elected as Georgia Secretary
of State. He resigned that position in 1996 to run for the seat being vacated
by retiring U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. He was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in
Barring (intentional) leaks, we will have to wait another 17 months to
see what the product of the commission will be. By that time the publics
attention will undoubtedly be focused on other things.
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