By Peter Phillips, Bonnie Faulkner, and Robin Lathan-Ponneck
Three Sonoma County activists joined hundreds of others in Washington DC for the July 22-24 9/11 Emergency Truth Convergence (see website). Bonnie Faulkner producer of Guns and Butter on KPFA, Robin Lathan- Ponneck, member of 9/11 Truth and board member of Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center, joined Peter Phillips with Project Censored for the three-day event that included congressional hearings, a press conference at the National Press Club, a rally in Lafayette Park, workshops at American University and a Strategy Summit. The Convergence was held on the anniversaries of two current icons of offi cial deceit: the first anniversary of the Kean/Zelikow 9/11 Commission Report and the third anniversary of the Downing Street Memo. Speakers from a wide variety of organizations and political perspectives gathered to address the official lies by the US Government and the complicity of the corporate media.
Member of Congress Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) hosted hearings (photo link) in the Cannon Office Building across the street for the Capital. The hearings held on July 22, were entitled, "The 9/11 Commission Report One Year Later: A Citizen's Response - Did the Commission get it right?" Over 25 cameras including C-span fi lmed the speakers. Moderator for the day was Verna Avery Brown, with Pacifica Radio. Lead-off testimony came from families of 9/11 victims. Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg maintain that major questions remain unanswered regarding the events of 9/11. Van Auken stated that the Bush administration delayed an investigation for over a year until family members had put extreme pressure on Congress for the 9/11 Commission to be formed. Yet over 70% of their questions were never addressed by the Commission. A parade of scholars, former CIA officials, 9/11 authors and researchers testifi ed to the theme of the day that the 9/11 Commission Report is incomplete and further research is needed.
Middle Eastern Scholar Nafeez Ahmed from London testified that the 9/11 hijackers were not Islamic extremists and they had repeatedly entered and reentered the US with blatantly fraudulent visas. Many of the hijackers had managed to receive high-level security clearances to train at US military installations. During the afternoon of July 22, a Press Conference was held at the National Press Club. David Ray Griffin author of The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Peter Phillips, Project Censored, Danny Schechter from Media Channel and Sunny Miller, Executive Director of Traprock Peace Center spoke to over 50 independent news reporters. Mainstream corporate media did not bother to attend.
Peter Phillips addressed the issue of the widespread psychological desire for the 9/11 tragedy to be over. He referenced the dark closets in our socio-cultural consciousness that make it so difficult to face the possibility that internal forces may have aided the 9/11 hijackers. Danny Schechter stated that, "the 9/11 Truth Movement has to do better to get its issues before the American people, a public that might agree with them if they were better able to articulate their concerns and the media was more willing to hear and present them." The DC Truth Convergence rally the next day - tagged the "Defeat Lethal Deceit Rally" - was staged in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. The rally brought together activists, authors, researchers, whistleblowers, and alternative media to expose and counter the government's lies and mainstream media complicity.
The rally began with David Ray Griffin, author of The New Pearl Harbor, who spoke about war, media corruption and 9/11 as a pretext for American global dominance. Griffin was followed by author Peter Dale Scott. Scott spoke to the need for a broad-based movement to counter US imperialism, its wars of aggression and the need for justice. Following was Sunny Miller of the Traprock Peace Center on the effects of military's use of depleted uranium, and Jenna Orkin on the environmental disaster in lower Manhattan following the events of September 11. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern addressed the Downing Street Memo and offi cial lies used as a pretext for war. Morgan Reynolds, former Chief Economist, Department of Labor, in George W. Bush's first term, gave a passionate condemnation of the administration as having orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.
The second half of the rally included Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key on the connections between the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11; Paul Robin Latham-Ponneck, Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center board member at DC rally. Thompson, author of The 9/11 Terror Timeline; Nafeez Ahmed, author of The War on Truth, on official penetration and manipulation of groups accused of terrorism globally; author Jim Marrs on official cover-ups of assassinations and 9/11; Webster Tarpley, author of 9/11 and Synthetic Terror, on official complicity in 9/11.
An impassioned speech by career US Air Force Officer and former Director of the Star Wars programs under Presidents Ford and Carter, Robert Bowman, concluded the rally. Bowman accused the Bush Administration of treason for its complicity in the attacks of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. (Edited audio of the rally is streamed at www.gunsandbutter.net.)
Robin Lathan-Ponneck described her motivation for attending the convergence. "I started helping out on the event several weeks before it happened and in the course of that learned the names and particulars of many of today's 9/11 whistleblowers, activist, experts and authors. This cause is about finding out the truth, exposing the lies and cover-ups, and hopefully bringing out the full story so Americans - millions versus thousands - can know what really happened on September 11. As a seasoned peace activist I am not surprised to find that my government has lied to me. I can entertain the idea that perhaps the Bush administration used this tragedy to forward its own agenda. But it's worse than I ever imagined. 9/11 Truth is not a group of x-file-like freaks who have dreamed up some paranoid conspiracy. These are educated, curious, truth and justice seekers, and they are trying to get the facts that are known out there." The Convergence ended on Sunday with workshops, planning, and strategy sessions at American University. Media activists from all over America met to share strategies on how to get the truth out. It became clear that various competing theories of how 9/11 occurred remain with two major camps - the government let it happen and the government made it happen.
There was significant agreement that key questions about 9/11 remain including: why extensive pre-warnings were ignored; why the US Airforce failed to respond; how Atta was funded by $100,000 by Pakistan's intelligence service; how stock options were preordered before the attack; why Building 7 fell; why Bush delayed in Florida; and why Israeli agents were living next to Atta in Florida. (Details on these questions are available at www.projectcensored.org/newsflash/unanswered_questions_911.html.)
(Our friend Robin Latham-Poneck)
Photo by Sharon Lockhart
Overall the convergence allowed an extremely diverse group of people with numerous political orientations to form alliances with each other. People networked, received affirmation, and heard speakers and workshop presenters. Many came home with new information, books and literature. The conversations over meals and after hours in the dorms were eye opening in a sad and heavy way. Robin Lathen-Ponneck stated, "The bad news is: it looks like an inside job. The good news is we can still go to our Capital and question our government."