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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Review of "9/11: Press for Truth"

"9/11: Press for Truth", a new documentary co-produced by Rory O'Connor, premiers this week. You can watch the trailer, check for show times, or pre-order the DVD now.

The interesting thing about any 9/11 story is that you are bound to enflame heated partisan outrage on either side of the aisle in equal proportion to which part of the 9/11 timeline you see your sights on. A new "docudrama" by ABC has led to outrage from the left. Apparently, it spends three hours on massive failures of the Clinton administration the first night, but focuses on the hijackers and the plot itself the second night, not the equally massive failures of the Bush administration in 2001. Similarly, some will no doubt argue that "9/11: Press for Truth" is too critical of Bush, mainly because it focuses on the failures in 2001 that were his responsibility.

However, focusing on the political ramifications of this documentary really misses the larger point that it is trying to make. Rory sent me a copy to review, and I can tell you it is well worth watching, whoever you are. Unlike the "Path to 9/11" by ABC, this film is a documentary - not a docudrama - and backs up it's story with interviews and news clips. More than anything, its the story of 9/11 widows and their failed efforts to find someone - anyone - to get to the bottom of the failures that led to 9/11. They are determined to know their husbands did not die in vain. It follows them from the morning of 9/11, through the process of calling for an independent commision, and ultimately to loosing all faith in the same commission.

While they did not have time to cover Able Danger, which could fill a documentary in its own right, they do make several important points. The first is that the only people who seemed to care about investigating 9/11 were families of the victims. The mainstream press failed miserably, and this films shows how. The only reason the media covered their call for an independent investigation at all was because the press was determined to show every single ounce of their suffering. Emotion sells. The 9/11 families knew this, and resigned themselves to it. They stepped up to the podium, witness table, or television studio to make their voices heard. The least we can do is hear them out and answer their call for help. This movie does.

Some of the most powerful lines in the movie are from women who lost their husbands on 9/11. Those who became known as "The Jersey Girls" are featured prominently in the film. Here are some of their quotes:

Lorie Van Auken: "On 9/11, the media started out by doing it's job and somehow got waylaid and stopped doing its job. It began reporting soley on the administration and the governments activities."

Monica Gabrielle: "The one thing that I personally was hoping for was another Woodward and Bernstein with regard to 9/11. Someone, anyone that was willing to put their teeth into this."

Kristen Breitweiser: "If the public was better informed in the summer of 2001, lives would have been saved, maybe the attacks wouldn't have been prevented, but lives would have been saved. My husband was in Tower Two. If he knew that it was a terrorist attack, he wouldn't have stayed in the building."

Mindy Kleinberg: "The 9/11 terrorists were not just lucky once, they were lucky over and over again. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one can not still call it luck. If at some point we don't look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs properly, then how can we ever expect a terrorist to not get lucky again."

Veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern: "The whole mystique of intelligence is that you acquire this very valueable information covertly, but the truth be told about eighty percent - eight zero - of any of the information that one needs is available in open source materials."

Internet researcher Paul Thompson: "As I began researching I noticed this curious phenomenon, which is that there is a lot of information that comes out in the main stream press, but it comes out buried. As a casual observer of the news, I'd never noticed any of this stuff."


Even if you don't live in a city where the movie is airing, check out the trailer, review the timeline, and consider ordering the DVD or simply spreading the word. If we ever want the truth about Able Danger to come forward, we have to be prepared to hear the full truth, on both sides.