March 31, 2004

Sweeping The Dust Of The Dead Under The Rug. There can be no doubt now. The 9/11 Commission is a sham. It is a pure political whitewash; it is obscene theater; and it is a disgrace to the memory of the nearly 3,000 people murdered on September 11, 2001 (and the tens of thousands they left behind).

"Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Ms. Rice will testify before the commission as early as next week. In exchange for her appearance, the panel agreed not to seek testimony from other White House aides at public hearings, although it can continue to question them in private. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney will not testify under oath. But they will submit to a joint, private interview with all 10 members of the commission, with what commission officials said was no predetermined time limit."

Regarding the Cheney-Bush meeting, there will be no audio, no video and no transcript. A staff person will be allowed to scribble notes. ... Why would the White House demand that Cheney and Bush testify as a team? TPM: "[T]his is simply another way to further dilute the Commission's ability to ask questions. If, say, the meeting lasts three hours, that's three hours to ask questions of both of them rather than three hours to ask questions of each -- as might be the case in separate meetings. ... Explanation number two would be that this is a fairly elementary -- and, one imagines, pretty effective -- way to keep the two of them from giving contradictory answers to the Commission's questions. It helps them keep their stories straight. ... The third explanation is that the White House does not trust the president to be alone with the Commission members for any great length of time without getting himself into trouble, either by contradicting what his staff says, or getting some key point wrong, or letting some key fact slip. And Cheney's there to make sure nothing goes wrong."

And this Commission has the gall to still call itself "independent."

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