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rm's blog

Filmmaker puzzled by silence of those who saw terrorists up close

Film producer Robert Erickson, working on a documentary for the National Geographic Channel that focuses on the last 24 hours prior to the 9/11 attacks, has encountered roadblocks in trying to find interview subjects--specifically, those who reportedly encountered accused hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari in the Portland, Maine, area on the night and morning of September 10-11, 2001.

As reported in the Portland Press Herald on March 31:

Erickson said he’s also been unsuccessful in tracking down any of the passengers or the two pilots who flew with the terrorists from Portland to Boston on US Airways Flight 5930, a small commuter plane that carried about 10 passengers that morning.

....Similar roadblocks have stymied his efforts in Boston as well, he said.

Erickson said he has filed a request with the FBI through the federal Freedom of Information Act seeking the names of people who encountered the terrorists, such as the maid who cleaned their room at the Comfort Inn and the employees at Walmart, but has not received any response.

Another travesty: City interrupts wake to take back corpse of 9/11 first responder

The family of NYPD policeman George Wong--who recently passed away at age 48 from what was determined to be a 9/11-related illness--was set to pay their respects at a wake when, 10 minutes before the ceremony was to begin, workers from the Medical Examiner's office entered and took the body back.

Apparently, the NYC Department of Health wasn't happy with the conclusion of Wong's doctor re the cause of his death, and exerted pressure to have the Medical Examiner's office examine his remains some more. In the end, the death certificate was changed to identifiy the cause of death as 'pending.'

Oh, how I wish I were making this up:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/city_ghouls_grab_cop_corpse_KfCZcBzQ9f0jD2EjGERHLM

'The city's official policy remains that there is no conclusive link between exposure to Ground Zero toxins and "emerging illnesses, including cancer," said Health Department spokeswoman Susan Craig.

'...Only after any mention of 9/11 was scrubbed from his death certificate was the family allowed to collect the body yesterday -- at their own expense.'

Green Party appeals to Van Jones to leave Democrats, citing his 9/11 views as a reason

The Green Party of the United States has issued a statement calling on the the Obama administration's former 'green jobs' advisor to leave the Democrats and switch to the Greens. Included as point # 6 is the argument that, among Greens, Jones, 'need not apolgize for questioning the behavior of the Bush administration in connection with the 9/11 attacks.'

http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=248

Top Ten reasons why Van Jones should give up on Obama and the Democratic Party, come home to the Green Party

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders invited Van Jones, who stepped down recently as President Obama's advisor on Green Jobs, to abandon the Democratic Party and "come home to the Green Party."

The FBI informant and the Bronx bomb plot: Village Voice

The new issue of the 'Village Voice' (July 7) features an article by Graham Rayman on the recent Bronx bomb plot, focusing on what has been learned (in the weeks since the arrest of the 'Newburgh 4' in late May) regarding the role of the FBI's informant.

Full article is here:

http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-07-08/news/the-alarming-record-of-the-f-b-i-s-informant-in-the-bronx-bomb-plot/

Excerpt:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held press conferences at the synagogues to reassure New Yorkers about their safety. During Kelly's remarks, it was startling to hear the commissioner refer to al-Qaeda by name, if only to say that the four purported home-grown terrorists had no ties to Osama Bin Laden's organization.

As more details emerged, however, the less the four defendants sounded like men with the skills to plan a sophisticated terror plot. They were small-time crooks, felons with long criminal records whose previous activities revolved around smoking marijuana and playing video games. One defendant, Laguerre Payen, was arrested in a crack house surrounded by bottles of his own urine; his lawyer describes him as "mildly retarded."

White House official resigns over NYC flyover incident (AP story)

The Associated Press reports that a White House internal investigation has released the findings of an internal investigation into the recent incident involving a low-flying Air Force One over New York City; and that, in consequence of the 'embarassing incident,' Louis Caldera of the White House Military Office has submitted his resignation, effectively accepting the blame:

------------------------------------------
(Excerpts)

WASHINGTON – The White House official who authorized a $328,835 photo-op of Air Force One soaring above New York City resigned under fire Friday as the administration tried to move past the embarrassing incident that sent panicked workers rushing into the streets amid flashbacks of Sept. 11.

As former Army Secretary Louis Caldera took the fall for the flyover, the White House released the findings of an internal investigation that portrayed him as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded.

Blank birth certificates in NYC stolen; investigators fear terrorist connection

As reported in the New York Post for Saturday, 4/25:

On March 12, an employee of the Department of Health in New York City discovered that a stack of blank birth certificates, all bearing the agency's stamp (104 total), had been stolen from the department's offices, near City Hall. One city investigator says that such a theft--which hadn't occurred at the department over the preceding ten years--is, 'like hitting the Lotto for terrorists,' since forged birth certificates are a crucial first step towards forging other documents, and all such forgery constitutes 'one of the primary concerns of Homeland Security.'

Full article is here:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252009/news/regionalnews/birth_certificate_terror_alarm_166135.htm

Reporter may be contacted at larry.celona@nypost.com

'Freedom Tower' no more; PLUS 9/11 to be 'National Day of Service and Remembrance'

The local tabloids in New York were huffing and puffing on Friday over a decision by the Port Authority to call the eventual tower at the World Trade Center site simply '1 World Trade Center' rather than the 'Freedom Tower.' In relating reactions to the decision, the article in the NY Post made sure to quote Charles Burlingame's sister, Debra:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03272009/news/regionalnews/this_is_not_the_freedom_tower_161568.htm

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/03/26/2009-03-26_freedom_out_at_wtc_port_authority_says_t.html

And in other news, a funding bill for the Americorps national service program passed by the Senate has designated September 11 as a "National Day of Service and Remembrance":

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/03/27/2009-03-27_senate_oks_911_as_day_of_service.html

So let's all 'serve' on the anniversary with healthy servings of truth!

Beyond the September 12th mindset

What follows is from a letter which I sent in reply to a fundraising appeal from Eugene Bird, President of the Council for the National Interest Foundation (CNIF), which works to counter the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, mainly through lobbying and ad campaigns. More can be learned about them at http://www.cnifoundation.org. My intention was to argue the importance--the urgency, actually--of reflecting on what we really know about 9/11 before speaking of it as if we have been essentially told the truth. I would not want any of this to be construed as denigrating the organization or its work. -rm

Dear Mr. Bird,

In your recent fundraising letter, you quoted a McCain advisor as describing Senator Obama as, '...a perfect manifestation of a September 10th mindset,' adding that this remark, '...did not sit well with us here at CNIF,' since, 'After the attacks of September 11th, it became very apparent to everyone in the United States that Washington needed to know more about the Middle East in order to understand the root causes of terrorism.'

This statement implies a 'blowback' interpretation of 9/11--that is, one that essentially accepts the Bush administration's account in its identification of the culprits, though characterizing their motives differently (bad foreign policy 'blew back' to the U.S. by provoking Muslims to attack us). And this interpretation we might in turn describe as a manifestation of a 'September 12th mindset'--a mindset born of shock in the immediate aftermath of those events, when the American public was readiest to believe what they were told by people in authority.

Legislation Alert: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

Below is the text of the so-called Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
(H.R. 1955) recently passed by an overwhelming majority in the House and soon to be voted on by the
Senate (the House vote may be viewed at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll993.xml ). Only six House members voted against the bill--which should give us some idea of the 'improvements' we can expect should the Democrats succeed in retaking the executive branch next November.

In particular, note the reference to the Internet in item 3 under 'Findings.'

Questions: Would it be appropriate to characterize this measure as a 'thought crime bill'? Or are people who are truly violent the only ones likely to be affected by it? Might it best be viewed in the context of other recent measures? Such as the Defense Authorization Act passed in October 2006,
granting the President the authority--upon his own declaration of a public emergency--to station troops