Excellent coverage from Paul McGeough in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald ties it all together
Originally blogged at The BRAD BLOG
From the Sydney Morning Herald's main man in New York, Paul McGeough, September 9, 2006: Right sets attack dogs on Jersey Girl widows
The angel-faced Kristen Breitweiser had it all. She hung out in the bars on the beaches of New Jersey. She did the law degree - but did not need to practise. She eloped and married on a tiny Caribbean beach.Do you know this story already? If not, here's some more of the background:
Americans warmed to Breitweiser and three other September 11, 2001, widows. They were dubbed "the Jersey Girls" as they campaigned for the US equivalent of a royal commission into the al-Qaeda attacks on Washington and New York.
There were shades of Thelma and Louise as they wore a path to the capital, finding the courage to stare down the President, George Bush; Vice-President, Dick Cheney; and [now] Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. They demanded an explanation of the failures that allowed their husbands to be incinerated in the World Trade Centre.
Ron Breitweiser's office was on the 94th floor of the World Trade Centre south tower. On the morning of September 11 he called just after the first strike, on the north tower. He assured his wife that he was safe, but she turned on the TV and within minutes she watched a huge fireball consume the top of the south tower.A proper public examination of what had gone wrong? That was going to be a problem, because in order to have a proper public examination you need to have some political support for the idea. High-level political support. And instead there was fierce opposition -- coming from the highest level. Breitweiser's book, "Wake-Up Call" describes
The weeks that followed were numbing. But as the process of compensation was explained to families, Breitweiser's untried legal training kicked in and she wondered: if the families signed away their right to legal action as part of any compensation settlement, how would there ever be a proper public examination of what had gone wrong?
She met the other three widows in the aftermath of the attacks and they bonded in phone calls that went into the early hours of the morning - when they could cry without distressing their children."
Cheney as "the principal attack dog" in opposing calls for an inquiry...and says he was
"a big fat stumbling block from day one … the puppeteer pulling strings in the background."But they persevered. How could they not have? Their lives had been torn apart, and they wanted to know why.
They wanted to know more about the CIA's role in flying members of the bin Laden family out of the US in the days after the attacks; why workers in the towers were ordered to stay at their desks after the strikes; they wanted to know how the attacks had been executed when US intelligence agencies seemed to know so much about the attackers.And they, along with many others, managed to raise enough hell -- and enough tough questions! -- to get an investigation started.
[T]hen they went head to head with the White House's first candidate as head of the investigation - the fabled Henry Kissinger.Do you already know this part of the story, too?
I knew some of it...
I remember when Henry Kissinger was selected to run the investigation. The New York Times saw the appointment more or less the same way as I did, but they had to be a lot more subtle about it:
From the New York Times of November 30, 2002:
The Kissinger commission
In naming Henry Kissinger to direct a comprehensive examination of the U.S. government's failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush has selected a consummate Washington insider. Kissinger obviously has a keen intellect and vast experience in national security matters. Unfortunately, his affinity for power and the commercial interests he has cultivated since leaving government may make him less than the staunchly independent figure that is needed for this critical post. Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed. [emphasis added]As for me, I was none too subtle. I was thinking: "Kissinger, Kissinger, Why does Kissinger's name keep popping up in this?"
I had been suspicious of Henry Kissinger since the morning of September 11th, when he appeared on TV along with scads of other current and former national security dweebs; They were all cool and composed, all saying the same thing.
I've since blogged (once!) about my personal reaction to that day; read if it you wish. My point here is just one of many that hit me hard before noon on a terrible Tuesday five years ago:
All these people, Kissinger and the others, were all saying the same thing, at the same time.
It was, as I imagine you remember very well, a time when the rest of America -- the rest of the world! -- was virtually incoherent. And to see all these guys looking cool as a cuke and riffing off slight variations on the same essential theme: That seemed very strange to me. It was almost as if they were reading from a script.
Strangely enough, the next day's Washington Post published an extended version of that script, under the byline: "Henry Kissinger".
Interestingly enough, Kissinger's piece opens with an observation that seems to support the sinking feeling I had been experiencing since the previous day:
An attack such as yesterday's requires systematic planning, a good organization, a lot of money and a base. You cannot improvise something like this, and you cannot plan it when you're constantly on the move.Couldn't have said it better myself, Henry. Check it out! Has Langley moved lately? MI6 or Mossad looking for new presimses? If you want to talk about superior planning and organization, tons of money and lots of safe houses, look no further.
But he goes in a different direction. He even mentions Pearl Harbor. How could you not?
This [...] is an attack on the territorial United States, which is a threat to our social way of life and to our existence as a free society. It therefore has to be dealt with in a different way -- with an attack on the system that produces it.I had been expecting to see Henry Kissinger on TV on September 11th, 2001. But I hadn't been expecting to see him until the evening news at the earliest.
the government should be charged with a systematic response that, one hopes, will end the way that the attack on Pearl Harbor ended -- with the destruction of the system that is responsible for it
until now we have been trying to do this as a police matter, and now it has to be done in a different way.
Of course there should be some act of retaliation, and I would certainly support it, but it cannot be the end of the process and should not even be the principal part of it. The principal part has to be to get the terrorist system on the run, and by the terrorist system I mean those parts of it that are organized on a global basis and can operate by synchronized means.
We do not yet know whether Osama bin Laden did this, although it appears to have the earmarks of a bin Laden-type operation. But any government that shelters groups capable of this kind of attack, whether or not they can be shown to have been involved in this attack, must pay an exorbitant price.
On September 10th, 2001, I watched a report (on a foreign TV network!) which talked about the murder of Salvador Allende and the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile. The coup, which happened September 11, 1973, was sponsored by Henry Kissinger, seemed to have been performed with as much horror as inhumanly possible, and sent Chile spinning into a black hole from which even now it has not recovered. The report was about Allende's son, who had spent his adult life gathering evidence about what had happened to his father -- and his country -- and was about to present that evidence in court, the following day. So I was expecting to see Henry Kissinger on the evening news on the evening of September 11, 2001, doing his old amoral globalist song-and-dance about how international diplomacy is different from everyday life and therefore the choices he had to make while in office were often choices between two evils.
As if normal everyday people never have to choose the lesser of two evils. As if leaving a democratically elected government in place in Chile would have been more "evil" than the murder and mayhem that followed. As if overthrowing every democratically elected government he could find was a lesser evil than some unspecified ... What? What would have been more evil than that?
What is Henry Kissinger afraid of? That we might see actual functional societies developing around us, societies in which they all manage to make a living despite -- because of -- governments that see their proper role as helping the poor while keeping a tight reign on the rich? Is that what Henry Kissinger thinks is more evil than destabilizing foreign countries in utterly horrifying ways, and getting millions and millions of people killed? Makes you wonder sometimes, doesn't it?
How did this man every get a Nobel Peace Prize? That's a tough one.
If he could do these things to foreign countries, what protects our country from the very same amoral globalist agenda? Hmmm ... another tough one.
How did this man get appointed to head the 9/11 Investigative Commission? Finally, an easy question!
Suppose you wanted to put a cap on an investigation: Who could you possibly choose who would be better equipped -- or more motivated -- to make sure nothing incriminating came to the surface?
In my mind, the selection of Henry Kissinger to head the "investigation" was absolute confirmation of my worst fears.
So you can imagine my surprise when, just two weeks later, Kissinger suddenly resigned!
Even Fox News had to report it. They led off their story this way:
From Fox News, December 13, 2002
Kissinger Steps Down From Sept. 11 Commission
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stepped down Friday from his post as chairman of the panel investigating intelligence failures prior to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, citing potential conflicts of interest.And that's about as much as I knew ... until I started digging.
Then I noticed that, the day before Kissinger resigned, there was already an indication of trouble:
Thursday December 12, 2002:
Kissinger Promises No Conflict With Panel
WASHINGTON (AP) - Henry Kissinger on Thursday promised relatives of Sept. 11 victims that his business interests would not conflict with his new role as chairman of a panel investigating the attacks, leaders of two relatives' groups said.So ... the White House tried to keep Kissinger in place, on the grounds that since they weren't paying for his services, it didn't really matter who else was paying him!
Stephen Push, a leader of Families of Sept. 11, said Kissinger outlined procedures he was considering for the commission's 10 members to disclose potential conflicts of interest. Push declined to provide details, but said it would not require Kissinger to release a list of his consulting firm's clients.
Kristen Breitweiser of September 11th Advocates described the procedures outlined by Kissinger as "a suggestion. If he is able to do the suggestion, I would be satisfied.''
Push said relatives still want Kissinger to abide by any legal requirements for disclosure. "We're not suggesting this as an alternative to following the law,'' he said.
Senate Democrats claim all commission members, including Kissinger, are required to submit financial disclosures that would reveal potential conflicts. That view was supported by a report issued last week by Congress' research arm, the Congressional Research Service.
But the White House claims Kissinger, as Bush's sole appointee, is not required to submit a report. It says federal law does not require presidential appointees to submit disclosures if they are not drawing salaries, as is the case with Kissinger.
But the idea made perfect sense to me -- from the White House point of view. Who better to keep the lid on a potential explosion than the "consummate Washington insider"?
It made sense to me from a different angle, as well. I recalled Bush's tortured syntax from Ground Zero, when he said "An act of war has been declared against the United States." And I wondered: "Is it an act of war, or just a crime? Or could it be a War Crime?" And then: "Who better to investigate the country's most famous war crime, than the King of War Crimes himself?"
So it all made perfect sense to me, from a number of viewpoints. But it didn't make Henry Kissinger reveal information his clients wanted secret.
And rightly so, I thought. After all, if you're a "consummate Washington insider", then you can get people what they want, and they will pay you for your assistance. But they won't want you divulging their names. Nor where they live. Nor what company or government or "other" organization they represent. All that information had bloody well better be kept in the strictest of confidence, otherwise the service is not worth all the bloody money it costs; and that number had bloody well better be kept secret, too.
You see, once you reach a certain level, once you're dealing with enough money -- and enough blood -- services such as those offered by Kissinger Associates are no longer considered criminal conspiracies involving high-level influence-peddling. They somehow transcend their basic nature and become part of "the way things are done in Washington".
But that doesn't mean Henry can talk about them in public.
The day after the Fox News report which I quoted earlier, there was something more substantial in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, from Dan Eggen of The Washington Post
December 14, 2002:
Kissinger resigns 9/11 post
WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger abruptly resigned yesterday as head of a new commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks, complaining in a bitter letter to President Bush that concerns about conflicts of interest could "significantly" delay the panel's work.So ... what really happened? What made Henry Kissinger decide to run away from "an opportunity to serve his country"?
The departure [...] ended two weeks of intense political infighting over whether Kissinger's controversial past and influential business contacts would sully the commission's eventual findings.
Kissinger wrote to Bush, "For over half a century, I have never refused to respond to the call from a president. Nor have I ever put my personal interests ahead of the country's interests."
The withdrawal came as a surprising and disappointing setback for the White House, where officials had been convinced that Kissinger's name would bring credibility to an enterprise they had once resisted.
But the appointment had also prompted a steady stream of objections, including some from relatives of victims in the Sept. 11 attacks who questioned Kissinger's reliability and urged him to fully disclose his client list.
Kissinger met with 11 members of victims' families groups Thursday, telling them he did not believe that he had any conflicts of interest and promising to provide the families personally with details. But, according to several of the meeting's participants, he indicated that he did not intend to release the information publicly.
Stephen Push, a leader of Families of Sept. 11th, yesterday said he found "very puzzling" Kissinger's stated reason for resigning. "He told us that he had no conflicts, yet he's apparently resigning from an opportunity to serve his country so his clients can remain anonymous," Push said. [emphasis added]
Paul McGeough spells it all out in Right sets attack dogs on Jersey Girl widows
[T]hen they went head to head with the White House's first candidate as head of the investigation - the fabled Henry Kissinger. The veteran Republican warrior and contemporary Washington lobbyist invited the Jersey Girls to his office for coffee, over which he was somewhat taken aback when they demanded to see his client list, to ensure that there was no conflict of interest.Notice! This is the same man who took the attacks of 9/11 in stride, who appeared on national television that very morning looking composed and confident -- at a time when nobody else in the whole country was taking anything in stride, and very few people were looking composed or confident about anything. And yet here he's reduced to pouring coffee all over himself, and struggling to stay seated on his own couch, all because he was asked a simple question -- one he probably was expecting!
Breitweiser writes: "Kissinger told us to trust him. We told him we couldn't … Kissinger seemed stunned … He didn't understand the fuss about his client list - they were all reputable people, he said.
"Kissinger seemed stricken and became unsteady. In reaching for his cup of coffee he bobbled, knocked the pot, spilled his own cup and nearly fell off the couch."
Well, maybe he wasn't expecting it, but as a consummate Washington insider, he should have been expecting it.
As a veteran "diplomat", he has surely had extensive practice in the art of maintaining his composure. That's the first thing they teach you: "Never let 'em see you sweat."
So what happened?
Consider this angle: here's an old man with a long history of dating young, attractive women; a man who was famously quoted as having said, "Power is an aphrodisiac".
But in December of 2002, he ran into a very attractive young woman who had no respect whatsoever for him or for his power, and all of a sudden life wasn't quite so sexy anymore!!
The horror! The horror! The coffee wouldn't even stay in the cup!!
It must have been a powerful, memorable moment for Kristen Breitweiser and the other 9/11 truth activists in the room with her that day.
But there have been many powerful, memorable moments for Kristen Breitweiser and her family and friends, some not so pleasant. A few of these are mentioned in Right sets attack dogs on Jersey Girl widows
The first police visit came about a month after the attacks - a wedding ring engraved with Ron Breitweiser's name and the date of their engagement had been recovered at ground zero. Like so many others, she could not accept the finality.After all this, being slandered by the nation's leading foul-mouthed purveyor of politically-charged fiction must not have come as a surprise. (I'll spare you the details. You can read all of Right sets attack dogs on Jersey Girl widows if you want to know more about it.)
In January last year, she and her seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, were making a new start, moving into an apartment in Manhattan when the friend who had acted as an intermediary with the authorities called again: "More of Ron's body parts [have been] recovered."
She writes: "It was Ron's right arm, from the shoulder on down, with his hand and fingers intact".
The shock prompted a conference call, during which the other three Jersey Girls stayed on the line as Breitweiser called the medical examiner. She explains: "[They] had lost his right arm in the freezer for three years."
It didn't pose much of a challenge, either. Obviously.
From Huffington Post, September 6, 2006:
Kristen Breitweiser's response to the lies published about her and her friends:
Dear Ann,Please read the whole letter!
But for the murder of our husbands on 9/11, we would not have gone to Washington to fight for an independent 9/11 investigation. Our involvement in national security would have begun and ended at the voting booth, like most citizens. But for the initial failure of our leaders and elected officials to create an independent 9/11 Commission to investigate the terrorist attacks, we would not have not been forced to publicly fight for it.
Ah, the Queen of Hate! How much more pathetic can she get? But she's still a powerful distraction sometimes. And it does a nearly frozen blogger's heart a power of good to see her brushed off so easily -- and with such panache!
End of tangent. Full Stop. Now, where were we?
Ah, yes: we were going to see a movie, "9/11: Press For Truth", based on Paul Thompson's Timeline and featuring personal stories; in this movie, five prominent members of the Family Steering Committee tell their stories for the first time.
I have been promised that it is going to be very good. This promise, by the way, comes from one of the people who has been working on it, a person whose work I know from elsewhere, and whose standards are very high indeed.
It's a volunteer gig for my friend, and an anonymous one, too, as I understand it. So I'm not naming any names and I'm not trying to generate any cash here. But I can assure you that you will not be disappointed if you click this next link: 9/11: Press For Truth
Please visit the website: 911pressfortruth.com, watch the trailer on their site, and look around a bit. Offer them some help, financial or otherwise, if you can. Buy a DVD. Tell all your friends about 9/11: Press For Truth and ask them to help, too.
UPDATE: You can read more about 9/11: Press For Truth from our friend Michael Collins, who has written a review for Scoop and an in-depth look at one very telling sequence (for us!).