What is the 9/11 Commission Campaign? What’s the basic idea?
The 9/11 Commission Campaign is a grassroots undertaking to create a powerful citizens’ investigation of 9/11. The campaign’s immediate goal is to obtain enough signatures to get our “citizen’s 9/11 commission” measure on ballots in the 2014 election cycle in the form of state initiatives. Currently, 24 states have initiative laws, and we will pursue our campaign in the most optimal states that permit citizens to enact such laws. After we are on the ballot in a given state, we will then conduct a spirited campaign to pass the initiative that we have filed. This citizen-initiated legislation—once passed in one or more states—will create a commission consisting of distinguished, universally respected citizens (along with a qualified staff and executive director) whose work will be funded by the law itself. The commission will be able to use subpoena powers and other grand jury powers to fully investigate: (1) the events and policies that led to 9/11, (2) the events of that day, (3) and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
What are your real intentions? What are the key objectives of your work?
In essence, our campaign is intended to focus the attention of the global 9/11 truth movement on an actionable goal, now that it has accumulated sufficient evidence to merit a new investigation. With that in mind, our intentions and objectives are to:
- circumvent the government by going directly to the people
- raise substantial funds to finance the initiative campaigns
- operate online to facilitate participation, fundraising, and transparency
- file measures in several states to make the initiative process a national issue
- run winning campaigns in each state in which we qualify
- seek out distinguished, qualified persons to serve on the commission
- create an official body untainted by partisan politics
- pursue the facts surrounding 9/11 regardless of where they lead
- hand down indictments to prosecutors who can bring perpetrators to justice
Why do we need a new 9/11 investigation? What’s wrong with the government’s investigation?
The tragedy of 9/11 and our government’s aggressive reaction to it has greatly altered the governance of our democracy and transformed our foreign and intelligence policies. The resulting “War on Terror” (a policy that has been substantially continued by President Obama but under a new name) has cost the nation trillions of dollars and led to significant loss of life, while having a negative effect on the moral standing of the United States in the world. Yet, we know relatively little about the events of 9/11, and much of the "official story" is in grave doubt.
There was a brief and inconclusive Congressional investigation of 9/11 in 2002. After this inadequate effort, it is a fact of history that the Bush administration and Congress had to be literally cajoled and shamed into action by a small group of “9/11 widows” and other 9/11 families to carry out a full investigation. Indeed, even in the face of one of the greatest tragedies to occur on American soil, it required citizen action to get a more thorough investigation in 2003. And, once again, citizen action is required to create a truly independent, rigorous, and fearless investigation today. There is an obvious pattern here!
The independence of the original 9/11 commission was deeply compromised by the appointment of a Bush partisan as the executive director and by the selection of Washington insiders to chair and sit on the commission. The commission’s work was insufficiently funded and lacked the time needed to thoroughly research the facts; further, its request for documentation and access to key officials was openly obstructed by the Bush administration. Its final report has been widely criticized for a vast array of obvious omissions and distortions. These are just a few:
• its failure to interview witnesses who heard explosions around the WTC complex
• its omission of the testimony of key witnesses taken in secret
• it’s failure to mention the apparent controlled demolition of Building 7
The entire premise of the government’s storyline has now been entirely called into question by the investigation of competent scientific authorities, leading to a crisis of legitimacy of the government itself.
Why take the initiative approach? Isn’t it expensive and cumbersome?
Mainstream polls have revealed that a majority of Americans doubt the government’s findings about 9/11. Yet, as stated, neither the president nor Congress have even acknowledged this disturbing reality, let alone taken steps to create a new investigation. In the current environment, we consider any action toward getting a new investigation in the legislative or executive branches of the federal government to be a political impossibility. In addition, several substantive efforts to bring the vast new body of evidence about 9/11 into federal courts or before federal prosecutors has bogged down or has been ignored; we now consider redress in the courts to be highly unlikely as well.
The citizen’s 9/11 truth movement has been highly effective at bringing new facts forward, thus putting the government’s story in grave doubt. However, after a decade of citizen education, the noble task of merely informing the American people about the mounting evidence (or even the possibility of a “false flag operation”) has proven itself to be insufficient to the gravity of the situation; the people simply do not have the ability to legally act upon this evidence at the federal level. And that is why we have turned to the state initiative process.
You mention the so-called “9/11 truth movement.” What is its role in your work?
In recent years, hundreds of architects, engineers, scientists, military officers, religious professionals, and actors and artists have organized themselves to seek the truth about 9/11. These civic volunteers, led by a number of prominent intellectuals and academics, have gone on to parse the events of that fateful day, offering scientific and rational arguments for why the government’s official account is inaccurate, incomplete, implausible, and in fact appears to constitute a flimsy conspiracy theory. Yet neither the Obama administration nor the Congress has responded to their repeated requests for a new investigation of 9/11, including a formal petition of over 1,500 architects and engineers that calls for Congressional involvement. The mainstream media avoids the issue, apparently taking its cue from government officialdom. Meanwhile, the 9/11 truth movement has gained millions of supporters through one of the most remarkable grassroots movements in American history. Our effort builds upon the movement’s breakthroughs and hard-won lessons. We believe these lessons point to a new approach to our common goals based on citizen power.
Those heroic and unselfish Americans contributing to ad hoc investigations and bringing forth new facts and evidence are often unfairly characterized as “conspiracy nuts.” In order to evade the conspiracy characterization, our campaigns rhetoric will focus mainly on the need for a new investigation. This strategy will be reinforced by the selection of distinguish persons to serve as commission members.
Who are the founders of your campaign? How and when did you get your start?
The concept of using the state initiative legislative process as an actionable goal for the 9/11 truth movement came from former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, who has devoted the last two decades to empowering citizens as lawmakers. As Senator Gravel states elsewhere in this website: “The cause of direct democracy has been my principal passion since my two terms in the Senate (1969–1981). I founded and served as president of the Democracy Foundation, Philadelphia II, and Direct Democracy, nonprofit corporations dedicated to the establishment of direct democracy in the United States through the enactment of a national initiative process what would, in essence, empower the American people themselves to be lawmakers. We have not achieved this goal yet, but the process of direct democracy still thrives at the state level. And that’s why, at a gathering of 9/11 truth advocates in New York City in September 2010, I suggested a new path to 9/11 truth and justice: that of using the initiative process in several states as a vehicle to enact a law creating a new 9/11 citizen’s commission that would investigate the intelligence failures prior to 9/11, the events of that day, and the aftermath that resulted in wars and the disfigurement of America’s cultural values. My suggestion was well received at the meeting in New York and subsequently in talks with 9/11 truth activists across California, the state most known for its initiatives. My idea was not original in that it followed upon a campaign for an initiative under New York City law propounded by truth advocates, one that had garnered more than 80,000 petition signatures, only to be thrown out by the New York State Supreme Court. Building on the New York experience, I approached the Office of California Legislative Counsel in October 2010 for assistance in drafting a prospective law that would create a new investigative commission. This initiative legislation has been completed satisfactorily with the state’s assistance, and now awaits our strategic decision as to whether or not to pursue a campaign in the state of California."
The other two founders of the campaign are Byron Belitsos and Ken Jenkins, both long-time participants in the 9/11 truth movement and highly experienced activists. They joined with Mike Gravel in early 2011 to form the original steering committee; since then George Ripley has been added as director of fundraising. Biographies of the founders are provided on this website at:
What is the legal form of the campaign? Are you a nonprofit organization or something else?
The campaign has been incorporated as a 501(c)4, which allows all income to the corporation to be non-taxable. A 501(c)3 nonprofit educational corporation status is also pending and will permit-tax deductible contributions.
In which states will you file initiatives calling for a new 9/11 commission?
The states that we are researching are as follows: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maine. There are other possible states, but a factor that will determine the size and number of states in which we will operate in will depend on the amount of funds we can raise. In addition, the process of choosing states depends on their statutes and constitutional provisions that govern the following key issues:
• their commission-appointment process
• rules concerning a ìjoint powers agreementî (see below)
• the number of signatures needed to get on their ballots
• rules governing the timing of submission of signatures
At the moment (Feb. 2012), because of the four above factors, we have a strong focus on Massachusetts, Colorado, and Oregon. We originally began with California, but have put that possibility on hold at the moment for a variety of reasons (see below).
Why a multi-state approach? Why not just begin with a major state like California?
California is the most expensive state in which to qualify and enact an initiative. In addition, for our purposes, we would have to file an amendment to the California constitution. This in turn would mean that we will need to secure considerably more petition signatures, amounting to over 800,000. By comparison, Oregon requires less than 100,000 and we will not be required to amend its constitution. Our reason for filing initiatives in several states at once is to give the campaign the color of a national initiative. This approach also creates a “wedge issue” during the congressional races in 2014, since our initiatives will also be on the same ballots presented to the people in those states in November, 2014.
Will each state have different language for its initiative? How will you coordinate the various initiatives in each state?
All of our state initiatives will employ the same language with slight technical differences. Only one commission is created with the various states participating through the use of a “joint powers agreement.” The special provisions of this agreement will also permit local governments to participate.
What exactly is the joint powers agreement? Why is it so important?
The initiative legislation that we will file, if passed, will permit other governmental jurisdictions to participate (in an ad hoc manner) in the investigations or other activities undertaken by the newly seated commission. They can do so by choosing to add their governmental powers to the powers vested in the citizen’s commission once the initiative law has gone into effect. This involvement can be accomplished at the state level by state legislative action or even by new state initiatives; in turn, local governments can pass ordinances that link them with the business of the commission.
In addition, regardless of whether non-initiative states (or local governments) elect to formally exercise the joint powers agreement, we also believe that these outside governmental jurisdictions may take it upon themselves, for example, to honor a subpoena request from the commission, at their discretion.
Finally, it is worth noting that states and localities can begin participating even now, by passing resolutions of support that are brought to them by activists who support our campaign. This is discussed in more detail at this section of our website:
Who will be on the commission? Who will chair it? What powers will it have?
The membership of the commission will be selected by the steering committee of the Citizens’ 9/11 Commission Campaign. The committee will select commissioners from among a list compiled internally as well as from outside nominations. Foreigners may also serve on the new commission.
The selection of the commission is the most difficult part of the proposed measure if we are to have a commission that is independent from state and federal governments. Normally the selection of commissioners would be made by the governors and the leadership of the legislatures in states where the initiative is enacted into law by the people. But this would obviously inject partisan politics into the selection process that would be self-defeating.
The chairman and other officers, particularly the prosecuting officer, will be selected by the commissioners themselves, who have the power to remove any officer or commissioner. As stated, the commission will be vested with the powers of a grand jury. The commission will conclude its work by turning over its findings to one or more state governments to prosecute individuals who are found to have committed criminal acts.
How do you know the federal government won’t block or sabotage your new commission?
We don’t know. In all likelihood it will try to some degree. The confrontation created will in itself be very informative to the people, who will rally to our side as they realize that these officials may be attempting to block the entire process. The entire effort will, as usual, depend on citizen involvement.