A Farewell to Justice

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NEW ARTICLE
"9/11 and 11/22"

by Joan Mellen

from the "Key West Citizen" of September 2, 2005.

A Farewell to Justice

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A Farewell to Justice

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A Farewell to Justice

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9/11and 11/22 "9/11 and 11/22"

by Joan Mellen

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer's revelation that the Able Danger intelligence unit had reported to Philip Zelikow, the executive staff director of the 9/11 Commission, about identifications of Mohammed Atta and other future hijackers working as part of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States at least a year before 9/11, only for this vital information to be suppressed, invites a parallel with a presidential commission forty-two years ago this coming November.

As reported by the "New York Times" and other news organizations, not only was the information that an attack was being planned known, later Pentagon denials notwithstanding, but also Defense Department lawyers prevented the Able Danger unit from sharing this information with the F.B.I. A Navy captain named Scott Phillpott, according to the Associated Press, apparently also reported to the 9/11 Commission on these Able Danger findings, to no avail.

It may be that the immediate motive for the emergence of these astonishing facts involves lobbying for increasing funding for domestic military surveillance. Yet Colonel Shaffer has opened a window onto presidential commissions and their failure of responsibility to an informed citizenry. "Information has to get out, and I think we have to account for why some of these things weren't looked at as part of the overall report," Shaffer said on National Public Radio.

The incident suggests a parallel to the final days of the Warren Commission, which discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald had visited a Cuban exile and former law student named Sylvia Odio in Dallas in late September 1963. Just as the 9/11 Commission did not investigate the Able Danger information, despite Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer's offer to them of a full set of documents, so the Warren Commission conducted only the most cursory of inquiries into the Odio visit. As Mrs. Odio testified before the Warren Commission, she was told the next day by one of her visitors that Oswald had remarked, "President Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs, and some Cubans should have done that.... it is so easy to do it."

The Warren Commission lacked a context to evaluate this incident because it had not been informed of the C.I.A.'s attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, now a matter of public record, and a matter to be concealed, unlike today when a Pat Robertson can openly advocate the assassination of a foreign leader. Had the Odio incident been explored fully, some uncomfortable truths might have emerged, truths that could have modified the conclusions of the Warren Report, just as Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer's information, tested, might have altered the findings of the 9/11 Commission, and the biography of Mohammed Atta been more thoroughly researched.

Part 2


A version of this article appeared in the "Key West Citizen" of September 2, 2005.


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Publication date: November 16, 2005; $29.95 hardcover; 576 pages

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