8 Years Later, Push To Put New 9/11 Probe On The Ballot

Source: thevillager.com

By Will Glovinsky

Supporters of a ballot initiative that would create a second, independent 9/11 investigative commission are awaiting the City Clerk’s certification of 52,000 signatures submitted on June 24 by the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now, or NYC CAN. The decision could bring the measure to the City Council for a vote and, if approved, the referendum would appear on this November’s ballot.

“This could be one of the most important ballot referendums ever put to city voters because of what happened, the nature of the event, the scale of it — and because so many questions were unanswered,” said Kyle Hence, a spokesperson for NYC CAN.

Before the initiative reaches voters, however, it still faces a series of hurdles, the certification decision being only the first. The City Clerk must certify that at least 30,000 signatures belong to registered New York City voters, although NYC CAN’s leaders are confidant that they can supply enough additional signatures if necessary. Another 15,000 signatures may also be needed to override a veto by City Council.

Seizing upon the comments by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, co-chairpersons of the original 9/11 Commission, that their investigation was “set up to fail,” NYC CAN argues that the original 9/11 Commission was a flawed investigation marred by reticent government agencies and inconsistent testimony. The group proposes a new subpoena-powered commission of mostly private citizens (the list in the petition does include former Senators Lincoln Chafee and Mike Gravel), which proponents say would pursue the remaining questions aggressively and independently.

The new commission would try to find answers for all of the questions initially posed by the Family Steering Committee, the group of victims’ family members that lobbied for the creation of the original 9/11 Commission. However, Ted Walters, executive director of NYC CAN, said that the terrorists’ funding and the military’s failure to intercept the hijacked jetliners were especially high priorities for a new investigation.

“We’re talking about a serious failure to comply with protocols,” he said, referring to the failure of military interceptors.

The new commission would also investigate the illnesses that have afflicted survivors, first responders and local residents and workers in the eight years since the attacks. On its Web site, NYC CAN says that first responders have been unable to draw benefits from the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company, which was set up by the government to underwrite medical costs for injured parties.

The Coalition for Accountability Now reflects an effort to unify and legitimize a broad spectrum of interests that have questioned the government’s ability to investigate itself. Working with an issue that has fostered a bevy of conspiracy theorists, NYC CAN takes pains to clarify on its Web site that its commission would be impartial and start with zero assumptions.

Walters did say that the new commission would follow a more aggressive investigative strategy than the first commission, which issued subpoenas for Pentagon and White House documents only after it encountered stiff resistance from government officials.

“The first step, on Day One, would be to draw up a list of everybody they want to interview, and issue the subpoenas at the beginning,” Walters said. He added that, in addition to mandating testimony from tight-lipped government officials, subpoenas would also provide a legal green light for people who want to share information but cannot without an explicit order to do so.

William Pepper, legal counsel for NYC CAN and a slated commissioner if the referendum is approved, said that despite the municipal mandate of the commission, its subpoena power would, in effect, range far beyond the city line.

“Subpoenas are honored by other districts,” said Pepper. “If a witness refuses to appear, the subpoena could be converted to another court. There may well be challenges, but I think legally they can be overcome.”

Walters explained that if the commission were to meet the same kind of resistance that the original investigation encountered, attention could be directed at the persons or agencies that were not forthcoming.

“There will be a dichotomy of those who want to testify and those who don’t,” he said.

Regarding the work of the original 9/11 Commission, Walters said that one of his major concerns was its refusal to hold any entity accountable for failing to fulfill its duty.

“There were structural failures,” he said, referring to the tangled bureaucracy that slowed the military’s immediate response to the attack, “but there were also individual failures.”

Although Walters insisted that the new commission would not be a witch hunt, he said he would be surprised if it did not ultimately hold anyone responsible. He noted that the petition’s language charges the commission to “seek indictments” where prudent, meaning the commission could work in tandem with prosecutors’ offices.

“Ultimately, what our justice system does with the findings of the commission is beyond our control,” Walters said. “Changes will be made through political pressure rather than legal obligation.”

The “set up to fail” comment by Kean and Hamilton is from their 2006 book, “Without Precedent,” which details the internal workings of the 9/11 Commission and criticizes the Federal Aviation Administration, the military command and House Republicans for obstructing the commission’s investigation.

Another 9/11 Commission member, Bob Kerrey, former Nebraska senator and current president of The New School, has also spoken out about the commission’s work, specifically the difficulty of discerning the truth from information obtained through terrorism suspects who were subjected to “enhanced interrogation.” Kerrey, who could not be reached for this article, was quoted in a March Newsweek essay saying that it might take “a permanent 9/11 commission” to answer remaining questions.

Set Up a Location to Sign the Petition...

Then post this information on the "comments" on the story.
Better yet, set up multiple locations.

I can't help with this in Texas.

If Not Me? Who? If Not Now? When?


This reads like an unbiased story. It's been so long since I've seen one I forgot what they sound like. It's encouraging.


right? I had the same reaction.

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

NY Post Covers NYC CAN

This story is a little older but I'll post it too just in case anyone missed it. It's more of a notice than the well-written Villager piece above! Here's the Post from July 14.


A statement...

Is being released today regarding the City Clerk's decision, and his opinion regarding the signatures, and the legality of the petition. That is what I have been told.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Judy Wood's Discredited DEW theory in the comments

July 30th, 2009 at 5:29 PM
For those interested in knowing what happened on 9/11, see Dr Judy Wood's forensic examination of the evidence...."

That was the start of the first comment.. I do not know who cb_brooklyn is working for but it sure isn't us.


Wouldnt be surprised if cbbrooklyn was Judy :P

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

cbbrooklyn posts everywhere

cbbrooklyn posts everywhere and at one point was thought to be Rick Siegel.

How do we define success?

– I cannot speak for anyone else, but I know that I did not endorse this initiative because I expected it to succeed. I’m going to be blunt here. Did anyone really expect that New York would allow an independent citizen’s commission – with subpoena power – to investigate the highest seats of power? Did anyone really expect to see Ed Asner questioning Dick Cheney under oath?

Hell – CONGRESS has not been able to enforce subpoenas issued to Bush administration officials.

So why did I endorse the initiative?

I endorsed this initiative because I already consider it a symbolic success. This initiative has succeeded in demonstrating that 70,000 New Yorkers, over 100 victim’s families & first responders, countless volunteers on the street, and supporters from all over this nation, still care about this issue – and will never stop organizing to demand answers.

In a sense, failure is success. We could, theoretically, turn this rejection into a tool for promoting dialogue – and challenging those who attempt to claim that 9/11 is a dead issue. This initiative demonstrates that, eight years after the fact, 9/11 not only remains a very relevant issue, but momentum is in fact building for answers.

There have always been those who seek to minimize the issue of 9/11. But, this initiative demonstrates, in concrete terms, that American citizens have NOT relinquished their constitutional rights and intellectual curiosity.

I would like to see this challenged in court – not because I envision a citizens commission investigating 9/11 – but because the symbolism is COMPELLING - and COULD BE A POWERFUL TOOL FOR RAISING AWARENESS FOR THIS ISSUE AND THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE FAMILIES.


Please do NOT enable our critics to label this as a failure.

Its not over until WE say so.

"We need to move beyond conspiracy theories and slogans - and return to our roots. 9/11 Truth is no less than a constitution battle to ensure our rights as citizens to demand full and honest answers from our appointed representatives in Washington." JA


9/11 Family Members, and Survivor File for Re-validation of Citizens’ Signatures with New York State Supreme Court, following rejection of NYC CAN petition by the City Clerk and Board of Elections

NYC CAN News Bulletin -- July 31, 2009 -- PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY

New York City– On Wednesday, several 9/11 victim family members and a survivor took the first step in challenging the City Clerk’s rejection of the NYC CAN petition for a new investigation in New York City. The group filed a Verified Petition/Order to Show Cause with the Supreme Court of the State of New York requesting a review of Board of Election documentation and a ‘special referee’ appointed to re-validate the over 52,000 signatures filed by NYC CAN on June 24th.

The NYC CAN petition was rejected by the City Clerk on Friday, July 24th, a week ago, certifying less than the minimum of 30,000 qualified signatures of electors. This benchmark, according to the Clerk’s office was not met. A ‘qualified elector’ is a registered New York City voter who was eligible to vote in the last election. According to the letter sent by the Clerk to the City Council, the NY Board of Elections validated 26,003 signatures and invalidated 24,664, leaving 1,333 that were not certified.

At a hearing scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, before a Supreme Court Justice, the plaintiffs, representing tens of thousands of concerned New Yorkers who support a new 9/11 investigation, will formally raise their request for an independent review of the Board of Elections findings. If granted by the presiding Justice, a re-validation of the petition signatures by an independent special referee will follow.

In addition to the requirement to reach the threshold of 30,000 qualified electors, the petition itself must comply with New York Municipal Home Rule Law and relevant Election Laws. The City Clerk maintains the Petition fell short in several areas but it should be emphasized that this is the legal opinion of the Corporation Counsel, the City of New York’s top lawyer, and will be challenged in court by lawyers for the five plaintiffs.

Legal advisers to the plaintiffs believe that the legal objections raised by the Corporation Counsel are specious and should be set aside, however considering the political implications and official opposition to the proposed Commission, obtaining approval for placing the referendum question on the ballet itself will be fraught with difficulty and challenge each step of the way.

The fact is historically in New York City ballot initiatives have not been successful. The last two were denied by the City Clerk. In both cases the petitioners filed a suit and ultimately lost and thus NYC CAN anticipated the response of the Clerk. And though the odds are stacked against us, we are committed to take the next steps available to us.

Regardless of the outcome, the court case will serve to amplify the demand for a new 9/11 investigation and with lessons learned, should serve to strengthen the ability of the people to petition their government for meaningful referendums in the future.

Please donate to support this historic court case now: Go to – http://nyccan.org/donate.php

NYC CAN is non-partisan organization comprised of 9/11 Families, First Responders, Survivors and proud, concerned citizens committed to bringing about an independent, impartial investigation into the events of September 11. For more info: http://www.nyccan.org

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?