Bill Bergman.'s blog

Shenon's "The Commission" -- some initial, skeptical impressions

I bought Philip Shenon's new book, "The Commission," today. Here are three reasons why I'm going to be reading it critically.

1) The subtitle. "The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation." Anytime a history book describes itself as "The History ..." of anything, instead of "A History ...," my antennae go up. History is frequently in the eye of, if not created by, the historian. Another person could write a similar book and have quite different conclusions and areas of emphasis. People saying they have "The History" claim a monopoly on the truth -- frequently as a matter of strategy.

2) The subtitle. "The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation." This time, its the word 'uncensored' that gets to me. More advertising? Was the project self-censored? Where and how could this have taken place? Another reason to read critically.

Why Were the Interrogation Tapes Destroyed?

Late last week, the story broke that tapes of interrogations of suspects in the crimes of 9/11 had been destroyed in 2005. The story is getting a lot of press, a welcome development.

Why were the tapes destroyed? CIA Director Michael Hayden has asserted that they were destroyed to protect the identity of interrogators. In a note to CIA employees, Hayden stated that "Beyond their lack of intelligence value -- as the interrogation sessions had already been exhaustively detailed in written channels -- and the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them, the tapes posed a security risk."

Perhaps this is more than a torture story? Perhaps the tapes indeed had intelligence value? One of the suspects in the tapes was Abu Zubaydah. Gerald Posner has provided an account of his interrogation, one that suggests senior Saudi and Pakistani prior knowlege of the 9/11 plot.

Granted, the torture angle is important, and the destruction of relevant evidence is a pressing matter in its own right.

Posner has recently written an update at Huffington Post, at

9/11 -- Attacks or Crimes?

The events of September 11, 2001 are frequently called "the September 11 attacks." They are much more commonly referred to as "attacks" than "crimes." For example, a Google on "attacks of 9/11" returns 10 times as many hits as a Google on "crimes of 9/11." But the use of the word "attacks" implies an external enemy, a foreign threat, a justification for military responses. The use of the word "attacks" jumps to a conclusion.

We have much more to learn, including whether crimes of negligence or more overt nature occured. How many people have been successfully prosecuted for 9/11? How many should be? Was Building 7 'attacked?' Phrases like "the 9/11 attacks" or "the attacks of September 11," should be replaced by the "crimes of 9/11."

Mariane Pearl Files Lawsuit

Mariane Pearl, wife of former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, filed a lawsuit today against a number of parties she claims were involved in Daniel Pearl's killing. Included were Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a Pakistani bank. Sheikh Omar had been reported to have wired funds to Mohamed Atta before 9/11.

See Reuters story at

More insider trading clues

Last week, Larry Silverstein pressed his case against two insurance companies who haven't paid up fully, according to Silverstein, for the WTC coverage.

Attached is the stock price each for of them -- Royal & SunAlliance, and Allianz -- in the weeks before 9/11.

Attention Chicagoans!

Attn: Chicagoans!

Free Screening

9/11: Press for Truth

September 13, 2006 

Portage Theatre, 4050 N. Milwaukee

Doors Open 6:45, Film Begins 7:30