Washington's Blog | Mar. 7, 2011
The two main players in releasing the Pentagon Papers were Daniel Ellsberg and United States Senator Mike Gravel.
Senator Gravel is the person who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. This act made the papers public record, so that they could not be censored by the government. He was the only member of Congress courageous enough to do so.
Both Ellsberg and Gravel - like many other high-level former officials in the government and intelligence services (including many well-known whistleblowers) - support a new 9/11 investigation. Ellsberg says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". (Here's some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.
And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).
Gravel is now backing a California ballot initiative for a new 9/11 investigation. The text of the initiative is below.
The initiative would actually help support the 9/11 Commission and fulfill the desire of the 9/11 Commissioners. Specifically, the Commission was severely underfunded:
- The government spent $175 million investigating the Challenger space shuttle disaster.
- It spent $152 million on the the Columbia disaster investigation.
- It spent $30 million investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
- But the government only authorized $15 million for the 9/11 Commission.
Moreover, many 9/11 Commissioners said they never completed the investigation:
The initiative would allow deeper questions to be asked about 9/11, allow the 9/11 debate to continue, investigate the remaining mysteries of 9/11, and help to get to the full story, as the 9/11 Commissioners themselves want. (The Commissioners haven't yet read the initiative).
The initiative is unusual because it would allow other state governments, and even local governments, within California or any other state, two different options to officially express support for the new commission’s investigation pursuant to the initiative’s terms. Under the first option, a state or local government could enter a joint powers agreement with the commission to join the investigation and to share resources with the commission. Under the second option, a state or local government could endorse the efforts of the commission, at no cost to the state or local government, merely by the governing body of that state or local government passing an official resolution expressly supporting the commission’s investigation.
The initiative is also unusual because it goes the extra mile to ensure that the investigation will not be compromised by political considerations like the 9/11 Commission and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission were. Specifically, it amends the state constitution to name Senator Gravel as the initial director and ensures that commissioners are appointed on the basis of their qualifications, and not political considerations. The initiative would name former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as the initial director if Gravel is unable to serve in that capacity.
This sounds very odd at first, but a lawyer formerly with California's Office of Legislative Counsel - who drafted the initiative on behalf of Senator Gravel - states that these provisions are legally sound, and that an initiative that amends the state constitution in this manner would require 807,615 signatures to be placed on the ballot, rather than 504,760 signatures (the amount normally required to put a statutory initiative on the ballot). He states that California’s Office of Legislative Counsel vetted the entire initiative and did not find its amendments to the state constitution legally problematic.
In other words, the constitutional amendment would not be as big a deal as it initially seems, as at the end of the day, it would only mean getting an additional three hundred thousand signatures in a state of 40 million.
Former U.S. Congressman Dan Hamburg from California - legendary for his role in helping to preserve the Headwaters Forest - supports the initiative. Hamburg is in a unique position to support the initiative, as he is now serving as a county supervisor for Mendocino County. With his unique background in the U.S. Congress and local government, Hamburg supports the fact that the initiative allows governments at the local and state level to support a full and complete investigation.
Lawyers for 9/11 Truth also supports the initiative in principle. That organization includes such well-known legal scholars as:
- Ferdinando Imposimato, Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy. Former Senior Investigative Judge, Italy. Presided over numerous terrorism-related cases
- Burns H. Weston, Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Founding Director and Senior Scholar, Center for Human Rights, The University of Iowa, Honorary Editor, Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law
- Andreas Von Bülow, former Assistant German Defense Minister (the number two German defense position), former Minister of Research and Technology, and a former member of the German Parliament
- Constance Fogal, former leader, Canadian Action Party
- J. Michael Springmann, former diplomat in the State Department's Foreign Service, with postings to Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in Washington, D.C. He was the head of the U.S. consular official in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is the published author of several articles on national security themes
Here is the draft initiative, with commentary:
(The following is the text of the California Initiative measure creating a new 9/11 investigative commission to be submitted directly to the voters at the general election in November 2012, with comments within ( ) for clarity. By law the title and summary of an initiative are required to be written by the Attorney General of California after the initiative is officially filed with the state government.)
(A suggested title)
The 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission Act
(A suggested summary)
This measure would establish within state government the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission in order to conduct a citizen-based, comprehensive, and truly independent investigation into events relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The measure would:
(1) Grant the commission all investigatory powers of the state, including the power of subpoena;
(2) Authorize the commission to enter into a joint powers agreement with any public entity within the United States and to exercise any investigatory power of any of the contracting powers in conducting the investigation;
(3) Amend the California Constitution to appoint former United States Senator Mike Gravel as the initial Director of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission, and in his absence Representative Cynthia McKinney, to ensure the political independence of the commission from government interference through the appointment process, and to provide the commission credibility with respect to the transparency of its operations;
(4) Appropriate an amount equal to $0.50 per resident of the state from the General Fund to the director to conduct and administrate the investigation;
(5) Specify conditions governing its future amendment; and
(6) Provide that if a provision of the measure is held invalid, that provision’s invalidity will not render the remainder of the measure invalid.
TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA
We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of California, residents of ____ County (or City and County), hereby propose amendments to the Constitution of California and the Code, and petition the Secretary of State to submit the same to the voters of California for their adoption or rejection at the next succeeding general election or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election or otherwise provided by law. (The “official summary date,” the date that the Attorney General sends the title and summary for the initiative measure to the proponent, is also the date that the Secretary of State will use to determine the calendar deadlines applicable to the measure. All requisite signatures must be received within 150 days of the official summary date. The requisite number of signatures and other qualifications for placement on the November 2, 2012 Presidential General Election ballot must be met at least 131 days before that election—May 24, 2012.) The proposed constitutional amendments read as follows:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the 9/11 Citizens
Investigation Commission Act.
(A declaration of facts that warrant the enactment of the initiative by the voters.)
SECTION 2. The people of the State of California find and declare all of the
(a) The events of September 11, 2001, have had a profound effect on the economic, social, and cultural well-being of Californians, and of all citizens of the United States.
(1) In the wake of that tragic day, the United States entered into the War on Terror, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Vast amounts of the blood and treasure of the American people have been spent fighting these ongoing wars. Over 5,800 American military personnel have lost their lives in the War on Terror, and over 40,000 have been wounded. In addition, innumerable innocent civilians have also lost their lives in the War on Terror. According to a September 2, 2010, report by the federal Congressional Research Service, the cumulative total for funds appropriated in the War on Terror was $1,121,000,000,000.
(2) Since September 11, 2001, the civil liberties of Californians and other Americans have been drastically curtailed, and fundamental rights guaranteed by the United States Bill of Rights have been under attack. Government actions under the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), enacted on October 26, 2001, have trampled civil liberties and fundamental rights by, among other things, purportedly authorizing increased espionage against innocent United States citizens, and the indefinite detention of certain prisoners without charge.
(3) Since September 11, 2001, the federal government has decimated essential liberties of its citizens in the name of temporary safety, and this way of thinking has reached an absurd extent, in that suspicionless, systematic assault on its citizens has become a policy of the federal government. In November 2010, the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, began implementing additional screening procedures for air travelers, including the use of invasive back-scatter X-ray scans that display nude images of the person scanned, and extensive patdowns that include the touching of the chest, genitals, and buttocks of the person inspected.
(b) Beyond these profound effects on the well-being of Californians and all United States citizens, there are other wide-ranging and substantial considerations that support the need for further investigation into the events of September 11, 2001:
(1) A false flag operation is one designed to deceive so that the operation appears as though it was carried out by another entity, rather than the actual operator, in order to foster a clandestine political effect. The history of the United States is littered with instances of the alleged use of false flag operations, especially as pretext for war or to forward a pro-war agenda. These instances include, among others, the invasion of Mexico in 1846, the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine on February 18, 1898, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, the second Gulf of Tonkin incident claimed to have occurred on August 4, 1964, and the purported existence of weapons of mass destruction as the rationale for the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.
(2) World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper that was part of the World Trade Center complex, collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on September 11, 2001, and proffered explanations for the building’s failure have been widely disputed. To date, over 1,400 architectural and engineering professionals, and over 10,000 other individuals, have signed a petition, addressed to Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America, demanding “a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11/01 – specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7.”
(3) In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the federal government established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, to prepare a full and complete account of, and to report on the circumstances surrounding, the attacks. However, the 9/11 Commission has been widely criticized for lacking sufficient political independence or legal authority to discharge its duties. In their book, which was co-written after the conclusion of the commission’s work, “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission,” the commission’s Chairman, Republican Thomas H. Kean, and its Vice Chairman, Democrat Lee H. Hamilton, asserted their belief that the commission had been designed to fail. The collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 was not addressed in the 9/11 Commission’s final report.
(c) The State of California is an appropriate government entity to initiate, and to provide the legal basis for, a citizens’ investigation into the events of September 11, 2001. Californians were among those who died in the attacks of that infamous day, and many more Californians have subsequently died fighting in the War on Terror, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Furthermore, alleged terrorist conspirators trained in California to carry out the events of September 11, 2001. Historically, California has been an economic and political leader among the states, and events relating to September 11, 2001, have drastically affected the economics and politics of both California and the country at large. For all these reasons, the initiation of a citizens’ investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, is an urgent matter of statewide concern.
(d) In order to ensure the political independence of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission from government interference through the appointment process, and to provide the commission credibility with respect to the transparency of its operations, former United States Senator Mike Gravel shall serve as the initial director of the commission and, if Senator Gravel is unable to serve as the initial director, former Member of the United States House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney shall serve in that capacity.
(e)We, the people of the State of California, in solidarity with all citizens of the United States, direct the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission, a new investigatory commission created by this act, to conduct a citizen-based, comprehensive, and truly independent investigation into events relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
(This section is the amendment to the Constitution.)
SECTION 3. Section 12 of Article II of the California Constitution is amended to
(a) No amendment to the Constitution, and no statute proposed to the electors by the Legislature or by initiative, that names any individual to hold any office, or names or identifies any private corporation to perform any function or to have any power or duty, may be submitted to the electors or have any effect.
(The underlined text is the addition of new text to the Constitution.)
(b) The prohibition set forth in subdivision (a) of this section shall not apply to the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission established pursuant to Chapter 9.6 (commencing with Section 8775) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, in order to ensure the commission’s independence and to prevent federal or state government interference in its investigation or proceedings to the maximum extent allowed under the Constitution of the United States and this Constitution.
SECTION 4. Section 1 of Article VII of the California Constitution is amended to read:
(a) The civil service includes every officer and employee of the State except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.
(b) In the civil service permanent appointment and promotion shall be made under a general system based on merit ascertained by competitive examination.
(c) This section shall not apply to an officer or employee of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission.
(The text below: Sections 5 to 8 comprise the new law added to the code by the initiative.)
SECTION 5. Section 6537 is added to the Government Code, to read:
6537. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, consistent with the United States Constitution, the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission, established pursuant to Section 8775, may enter into a joint powers agreement with any public entity within the United States, including, but not limited to, another state, a United States territory, a local government within this state, another state, or a United States territory, or an agency of the federal government, and the commission may exercise any investigatory power of any of the contracting powers to carry out the requirements of Chapter 9.6 (commencing with Section 8775) of Division 1 of Title 2.
SECTION 6. Chapter 9.6 (commencing with Section 8775) is added to Division 1
of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
Chapter 9.6. 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission
The 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission is hereby created in state government as an independent commission for the purpose of investigating events relating to September 11, 2001. It is the intent of the residents of the State that the commission not be subject to state executive or legislative branch control, and that the state not interfere with the investigation or proceedings of the commission. The federal government is likewise requested to not interfere with commission activities.
(a) The commission shall impartially and objectively investigate the
events of, leading up to, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, as those events relate to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the residents of California, those under the jurisdiction of a public entity that enters into the joint powers agreement authorized by Section 6537, or those under the jurisdiction of a public entity that endorses the investigation and proceedings of the commission pursuant to Section 8782.
(1) The investigation shall include, but not be limited to, the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, the attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, the crash of Flight 93 at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Global War on Terror.
(2) The investigation shall consider the content and findings of previous
investigations into the events of, leading up to, or the aftermath of September 11, 2001, including, but not limited to, any work product of the federal 9/11 Commission or the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
(3) The investigation shall consider perceived shortcomings or weaknesses in the report created by the federal 9/11 Commission, including, but not limited to, any scientific weaknesses or shortcomings.
(4) The investigation shall conclude within five years of the operative date of the act that added this chapter.
(b) Upon the conclusion of its investigation, the commission shall produce a report for issuance to the Governor, the members of the Senate Committee on Rules, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and to each public entity that enters into the joint powers agreement authorized by Section 6537 or endorses the investigation and proceedings of the commission pursuant to Section 8782. The report shall identify all of the following:
(1) Any indication of criminal activity warranting prosecution. If the criminal activity identified may constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity, the commission shall report that criminal activity and its apparent perpetrators, as identified in the report to the International Criminal Court.
(2) Any individual or corporation that profited unduly from the events investigated by the commission.
(3) Any other relevant malfeasance, and the apparent perpetrators, if any, of that malfeasance.
(a) In conducting its investigation, the commission shall have, and may exercise, all investigatory powers of the state, including, but not limited to, the power of subpoena. In addition, the commission may exercise any investigatory power that is lawfully granted to it pursuant to a joint powers agreement authorized by Section 6537, or is lawfully granted to it by a public entity that endorses the investigation and proceedings of the commission pursuant to Section 8782.
(b) The scope of the commission’s investigatory powers shall be interpreted broadly.
(c) Section 8101 shall not apply to any compact or agreement entered into by the commission.
(a) The commission shall be led by the Director of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission, who shall serve as the commission’s chief executive officer and be responsible for administrating the investigation and proceedings of the commission. Due to his unique credibility on issues of government transparency, former United States Senator Mike Gravel shall serve as the initial director of the commission. If Senator Gravel is unable to serve as the initial director, because of her unique credibility on issues of government transparency former Member of the United States House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney shall serve in that capacity. If the initial director or a subsequent director is removed from the commission pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 8780, the commission shall elect a new director as provided in that paragraph.
(b) The director shall serve as chairperson of the commission and govern the public proceedings of the commission.
(c) As the chief executive officer of the commission, the director shall have plenary power over, and be solely accountable for, the fiscal operations of the commission. The director shall allocate the commission’s funding to discharge its objectives in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
(a) The director may employ staff as the director determines necessary to discharge the duties of the commission.
(b) (1) Subject to the advice and consent of the commission, the director shall appoint a Special Investigator who shall be responsible for conducting the investigation and compiling the report. The Special Investigator shall report directly to the director, and shall follow up on the directives of, and report his or her findings to, the commission.
(2) The Special Investigator shall serve at the pleasure of the commission. The commission may remove the Special Investigator if a majority of the commission votes in favor of removal. If the commission removes the Special Investigator, the director shall appoint a replacement in the manner specified in paragraph (1).
(3) All other staff of the commission shall be at-will employees, and shall serve at the pleasure of the director.
(c) An employee of the commission shall be compensated for his or her employment, if at all, in a manner consistent with the compensation practices of the state with respect to the employees of state advisory bodies.
(d) Each employee of the commission shall execute the following oath or
affirmation of office as a condition of his or her service: “I, (name), hereby swear or affirm that I will, to the best of my ability, defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of California, and the principle of truth in governance in investigating the events of, leading up to, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.”
(a) The commission shall be made up of at least 15 members, including the director, who shall serve as chairperson of the commission. The director shall determine the number of members of the commission, subject to the condition that the total membership of the commission shall equal an odd number.
(b) (1) Members shall be persons having specific expertise or experience that will aid or assist in the efforts of the commission. To the maximum extent feasible, the members of the commission shall not be public officials.
(2) The director shall appoint members, from among candidates nominated by a resident of this state, or a resident of a public entity that enters into the joint powers agreement authorized by Section 6537 or endorses the investigation and proceedings of the commission pursuant to Section 8780.
(3) Members of the commission shall serve for as long as necessary to complete the investigation, but for no longer than five years from the operative date of the act that added this chapter.
(4) (A) Any member of the commission, including the director, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the commission, and a replacement member shall be appointed pursuant to this subdivision.
(B) If the commission votes to remove the director from the commission, it shall elect a member of the commission to subsequently serve as the director, and a replacement member shall be appointed pursuant to this subdivision.
(a) (1) A sum equal to the amount of 50 cents ($0.50) per resident of the state is hereby transferred from the General Fund to the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury, and is continuously appropriated to the director to be expended in accordance with this chapter. For purposes of this subdivision, the population of the state shall be determined in accordance with the 2010 United States Census.
(2) Moneys in the fund shall be expended solely for the purposes of the commission.
(b) (1) Any public entity that enters into the joint powers agreement authorized by Section 6537 shall contribute to funding the operations of the commission as specified, if at all, in the joint powers agreement.
(2) No contribution to the funding of the operations of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission shall be required of a public entity that endorses the investigation and proceedings of the commission pursuant to Section 8782.
(c) The commission may accept donations to fund its operations from any public
or private entity, in accordance with existing law. Any donation for the operations of the commission shall be deposited in the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Fund and shall be expended only in accordance with this chapter.
Consistent with the United States Constitution, a public entity within the United States, including, but not limited to, another state, a United States territory, or a local government within this state, another state, or a United States territory, may, as an alternative to entering into a joint powers agreement pursuant to Section 6537, endorse the investigation and proceedings of the 9/11 Citizens Investigation Commission by passing a resolution endorsing the efforts of the commission. Endorsement by a public agency in this manner shall authorize the commission, in its investigation, to take into account effects of the events of, leading up to, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, as they relate to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the residents under the jurisdiction of the endorsing public entity.
(a) The commission shall be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2) and the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1). In order to avoid a conflict of laws, if the commission enters into an agreement with an entity in another state, the commission shall be subject to only the public records and public meeting laws of this state. In accordance with Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the commission shall accommodate a reasonable disclosure request that is beyond the requirements of those laws, unless the commission provides a reasonable explanation for the denial of the particular disclosure request.
(b) As a first priority after its organization, the commission shall establish an Internet Web site. The commission shall regularly update its Internet Web site in order to promptly provide access to the public information required to be disclosed pursuant to subdivision (a), and to ensure that the information on the Internet Web site is as up to date as possible.
In order to ensure conformity and clarity, all members and staff of the commission shall be subject to the conflict-of-interest laws of this state.
Consistent with subdivision (c) of Section 10 of Article II of the California Constitution, Sections 5 and 6 of this act may be amended only by a subsequent measure submitted to a vote of the people at a statewide election, or by a statute approved by two-thirds of the membership of each house of the Legislature and signed by the Governor that furthers the purposes of the act.
If any provision of this act, or any part thereof, is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall not be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.