The 9/11 Independent Commission is an orchestrated coverup, controlled by the Bush White House and Bush Justice Department, headed by Bush-appointed directors, and run by legendary Washington fixers and veteran war criminals with direct ties to the most likely 9/11 planners, operatives and beneficiaries. This fact has been amplified, as the Commission has begun to wrap up its final report, burying the truth about 9/11, under new piles of spin, distortion, theater, unsupported allegations, warmed-over Bush administration lies, and lurid new fabrications.
The highlights from the most recent releases speak loudly of the Commission’s political agenda: engineer a limited hangout that absolves the Bush administration for 9/11, concealing key complicity evidence. At the same time, the Commissioners selectively criticize Bush for Iraq-related policy, while laying political groundwork for an “improved” and more aggressive “war on terrorism”, and new US/UN operations in the oil-rich Middle East.
As journalist Joyce Lynn succinctly points out in her expose of the “9/11 Coverup Commission”:
- The Commission’s report due July 28 will render rationales to expand the security state at home and abroad and promulgate huge spending for the “war on terrorism.”
- The Commissioners have ties with the very parties they are investigating including the CIA, banking and financial interests, and Bush administration officials.
- The Commission’s report will echo the “who would have ever thought” and bungling federal intelligence agencies that independent journalists and researchers dispelled long ago.
- The Bush administration has written the plot line and these 10 “independent” Commissioners are merely reading the script.
A stage-managed damage control organ from day one
Like the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, the insulting charade conducted in 2002, the 9/11 Commission is not an “investigation”, and never has been one. Indeed, the full name of the group—the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon America— is a dead giveaway. The phrase assumes that 9/11 was a “terrorist attack upon” the United States, carried out by “Al-Qaeda terrorists” originating outside of the United States. In other words, case closed.
The Commission was formed only after public pressure, notably by outraged 9/11 victims’ families, forced the White House to undertake some measure of public damage control. Opportunistically, the Bush White House dictated the conditions under which the Commission would operate. In addition to being granted numerous protections, Bush himself would appoint the Commission’s director, as well as dictate and approve its mandate. Another condition was that the Commission had to be comprised by “prominent citizens”—political elites and Washington insiders.
Ultimately, the mandate was limited strictly to “how to prevent future breakdowns”—cementing into place the assumption of unintended “breakdown”. In other words, its strict mission was to echo and reinforce the original White House lie that 9/11 was an act of “outside terrorism” (“Al-Qaeda”), that the “failure to stop it” was the result of “intelligence failures”, “incompetence”, “breakdowns”, “lack of preparedness”, “inexplicable communications problems”, and other excuses.
Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton proclaimed, “The focus of the commission will be on the future. We’re not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission’s responsibility.” Criminal responsibility and complicity were never part of the mandate—assuring that no one would be brought to justice.
The Commission went on to dutifully handicap itself further, by agreeing to numerous conditions and “compromises” with the White House. Six out of ten of the Commissioners had to agree on any request for a subpoena. Requests for documents from the executive branch had to be channeled through the Bush Justice Department. The White House requested, and received, the right to review Commission material so that it could assert executive privilege. Kean cut a deal preventing Bush from testifying. He cut yet another deal allowing the White House to edit intelligence briefs before the Commissioners could see them, while also limiting access to the pre-edited briefs to a minority of Commissioners. Senator Max Cleland, who resigned from the Commission over this issue, put it simply: “That decision compromised the mission of the 9/11 Commission, period.”
In its own Staff Statement No. 16, the Commission concedes that its own work has been slipshod, at best [my emphasis underlined-LC]:
“Much of the account reflects assertions reportedly made by various 9/11 conspirators and captured Al-Qaeda members while under interrogation. We have sought to corroborate this material as much as possible. Some of this material has been inconsistent. We have had to make judgment calls based on the weight and credibility of the evidence. Our information on statements attributed to such individuals comes from written reporting; we have had no direct access to any of them.”
The Commission’s processes—corrupted as they clearly are—have been largely insulated from public involvement and participation. Outraged 9/11 victims’ families and researchers have demanded greater access and accountability, to no avail.
Wolves guarding the hen house
The entire Commission is rife with conflicts of interest. Bush originally appointed the malignant Henry Kissinger to head the Commission. After this crude ploy failed, Bush chose an equally unsavory, but lesser-known fixer, Thomas Kean, to be its chairman. This was followed by the appointment of long-time Bush administration national security insider (and Condoleeza Rice colleague) Philip Zelikow as the Commission’s executive director, upon the recommendation of legendary Republican fixer, Slade Gorton.
Kissinger and Kean are directly connected to the current and previous Bush-Reagan regimes. Both are directly connected to long-time multinational oil interests in Central Asia that benefited from the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan and the planned trans-Afghan oil pipeline—the first objective of the 9/11 War.
Zelikow was a senior staffer on the National Security Council under the first President Bush. He also worked for the Bush transition team, and the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Bureau.
Other Commissioners are also legendary political fixers, who have been well-placed at all major US scandals in recent decades:
- Lee Hamilton featured prominently as an Iran-Contra fixer. As House chairman of the committee investigating Iran-Contra, Hamilton believed that it was “better to keep the public in the dark” than investigate “another Watergate”. He casually accepted the word of senior Reagan-Bush officials, including George H.W. Bush himself, who claimed that they were “out of the loop”.
- According to Dan Hopsicker, author of “Barry and the Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History”, Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste “has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics.” Ben-Veniste was the attorney for CIA narco-trafficker Barry Seal.
- Former Senator Slade Gorton served on the notorious Senate Intelligence Committee for over a decade. Throughout his career, over scores of “hearings”, the hawkish Gorton consistently ran interference for Iran-Contra-smeared Republicans, such as Robert Gates.
- Also on the Commission is former Senator Bob Kerrey, who has to this day refused to come clean on war crimes he committed during his stint in the CIA’s Phoenix Program.
Indeed, the 9/11 Commissioners themselves deserve to investigated and brought to justice.
In a case of bitter irony, the Commission interviewed two of its own members, Zelikow and Jamie Gorelick, in January 2004. Adding to the irony, Zelikow and Gorelick are the “gatekeepers”— the only two members of the Commission with full access to classified White House documents.
Michael C. Ruppert noted another blatant example of Commission malfeasance in a December 2003 edition of From The Wilderness:
“Thomas Kean, the Republican chair of the so-called Independent Commission investigating 9/11, chose on December 17th to advance a modified limited hangout saying that the attacks could have been prevented had it not been for incompetence and intelligence failures on the part of middle managers. The timing of that announcement, just four days after the “capture” of Saddam Hussein, was a weak attempt to bury unresolved questions about 9/11 in boosted Bush approval ratings.
The fact that Kean decided to make his announcement after having subpoenaed FAA records of Air Force and government actions on 9/11, but before receiving them; and after agreeing to the tepid compromise of reviewing partial extracts of George Bush’s pre-9/11 intelligence briefs, but before seeing them, is ample evidence of his political motive. Investigative bodies rarely pass public judgment before reviewing the evidence.”
On April 8, 2004, Condoleeza Rice perjured herself before the Commission, repeatedly insisting that the Bush administration had no advanced intelligence about Al-Qaeda, nor did it have specific warnings about 9/11. The Commissioners simply nodded. As noted by Ruppert:
“A crime was revealed when Democratic commission member Richard Ben Veniste said, “We agree”, as Rice asserted that there were no specific threats inside the United States before 9/11. The so-called independent commission has no intention of fulfilling its mandate. Ben Veniste’s use of the word “we” was the only time where any commissioner spoke for the entire panel and Ben Veniste is neither the chair nor the Vice Chair of the commission. What prompted him to speak for the entire panel? As FTW has said from the commission’s inception, everything that we have witnessed thus far has been stage-managed drama intended to convince the American people that substantive answers to 9-11 have been obtained as a result of a difficult process. This is an insulting load of bull.”
Given its makeup, it is no surprise that the Commission has systematically ignored, disregarded, and distorted the vast array of evidence implicating Bush administration and other US officials, operatives and elites—prior to, during, and following 9/11. Entire databases of “smoking gun” evidence compiled at Center for Cooperative Research, Center for Research on Globalisation/Global Outlook, From The Wilderness and other sources have been willfully ignored. Damning evidence left untouched include:
- 9/11 insider trading
Suppressed Details of Insider Trading, Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness, October 9, 2001
Profits From Death: Insider Trading and 9/11 , Tom Flocco/Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness, December 6, 2001
- Physical evidence regarding the collapse of the World Trade Center WTC-7.Net and what really hit the Pentagon and other anomalies
- Whistleblower testimony regarding spiked investigations (Wright, Rowley, Edmonds, etc.)
- Specific and detailed intelligence warnings
- All issues related to Peak Oil:
The Background Is Oil, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, From the Wilderness, Dec. 18, 2001.
Meanwhile, the false and perjurous assertions of high Bush administration officials have been regurgitated. At the same time, the Commission has cherry-picked, distorted and spun material from the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the Department of Defense, NORAD and other agencies—and scapegoated low-level agents and operatives.
In the words of Michel Chossudovsky, “America’s leaders in Washington and Wall Street firmly believe in the righteousness of war and authoritarian forms of government as a means to ‘safeguarding democratic values’. 9/11 is the justification.” The 9/11 Commission has gone to great lengths to preserve this justification.
Its most recent “revelations” deepen the myths of “terrorism” and “Al-Qaeda”. While offering no credible proof, the Commission has echoed Bush rhetoric—”the war on terrorism”, “America under attack” by “the Enemy” and “outside threats”, etc.—that fully reinforces the original 9/11 pretext for “infinite” war, and all of its manifestations—from continued imperial oil conquests, to the Patriot Act, torture and pre-emptive/presumptive US terrorism.
It is no surprise that the Report omits the fact that Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic terror network, is the creation of the CIA, nourished and guided since the Carter administration, and have been continuously utilized as US military-intelligence assets ever since. These compartmentalized cells are guided by the CIA, and its foreign fronts, such as Pakistan’s ISI. “Terrorists” are controlled and manipulated for real or propagandistic purposes.
- Osamagate, Michel Chossudovsky, Center For Research on Globalisation, October 9, 2001
- Who Is Osama Bin Laden?, Michel Chossudovsky, Center For Research on Globalisation, October 9, 2001
- Role Played by Pakistan’s ISI in the Sept.11 attacks, Michel Chossudovsky, Center For Research on Globalisation, November 2, 2001
- Hanjour: An Unlikely Terrorist, Amy Goldstein, Lena Sun and George Lardner, Washington Post/Cape Cod Times, October 21, 2001
- Truth, Lies, and the Legend of 9/11, Chaim Kupferberg, Center For Research on Globalisation, October 21, 2003
- 9/11 and the Smoking Gun That Turned on its Tracker, Chaim Kupferberg, Center For Research on Globalisation, September 21, 2003
- Who Is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?, Michel Chossudovsky, Center For Research on Globalisation, June 11, 2004
The Commissioners have refused to address Al-Qaeda’s connection to Pakistan’s ISI, a virtual branch of the CIA, as well as the operational role of the ISI behind the 9/11 attacks, and its direct ties to Washington.
Analyzing the highlights of the most recent Statements, the Commission preserves, and improves upon, the original Bush White House version of 9/11, and its “war on terrorism” fabrication, absolving it of guilt for 9/11:
1. Al-Qaeda conspirators plotted and trained since 1999, and planned much larger attacks using up to 26 hijackers. In addition to the dubious sources (Bush administration statements, “classified information”, and third-hand accounts of CIA interrogations, etc.), these allegations are based on material that the Commission itself concedes is “inconsistent” and “difficult to corroborate”. None of it has been subjected to independent examination, cross-examination, and other minimal standards that would hold up in a legitimate court of law.
The most spectacular “revelations” in the Report are among the most questionable: testimony obtained from interrogations of alleged Al-Qaeda participants such as Khalid Sheik-Mohammed, whom the Commissioners consider the “mastermind” of the 9/11 plot.
The suspicious circumstances surrounding headline-grabbing arrests of “mastermind” KSM, involving Pakistan’s ISI (the CIA’s Central Asian “go-between”) serve to refocus attention on the CIA, the ISI and the relationship between the Bush administration and Al-Qaeda.
According to some reports, Khalid Shiekh-Mohammed was killed in 2002. Yet, the Commission is publishing accounts of this man’s interrogation as fact.
The highly dubious arrests, raids conducted by post-9/11 intelligence agencies, including KSM’s arrest, and more recent Nick Berg murder reek of an elaborate US intelligence ploy. “Terrorists” created and nurtured by the US, are set loose on behalf of Anglo-American policy, later to be accused of “terrorism” and then arrested—creating the appearance of law enforcement and “anti-terrorism”. Even if suspects were, in fact, captured and interrogated, how trustworthy are materials obtained from interrogations involving techniques “not subject to US rules of due process”, and carried out in CIA facilities in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib?
Commissioners allege that KSM’s 9/11 plot was inspired by Project Bojinka. However, the Report says nothing about the fact that Bojinka was foiled by Philippine authorities, immediately reported to US authorities in 1995, and undoubtedly known by the CIA and Bush administration officials (who continue to insist that they had no foreknowledge, and no idea that airplanes could be used as weapons).
2. “Chaos”, confusion, ineptitude, incompetence, and rampant, inexplicable communications problems thwarted air defenses and official response on 9/11. The emerging consensus: “the Bush administration knew, but could not act.” The Commission absurdly paints Bush officials as heroic and out-of-the-loop bunglers, guilty only of confusion, faulty cell phones, etc. Again, this scenario is directly refuted by existing evidence, including minute-by-minute timelines tracking various Bush officials on 9/11 (and here), and evidence showing deliberate and systematic contravention of standard air defense procedures, ordered the highest levels of the US government, not “Al-Qaeda”:
- Guilty for 9-11:Bush, Rumsfeld, Myers (Part One), Jared Israel, The Emperor’s New Clothes, November 12, 2001
- Guilty for 9-11:Bush, Rumsfeld, Myers (Part Two)
- Nothing Urgent, George Szamuely, New York Press, February 12, 2002
- 9/11 Stand Down, Mark Elsis, May 2003
- TRIPOD II and FEMA: Lack of air response on 9/11 explained, Michael C. Ruppert, From the Wilderness, June 5, 2004
3. The CIA, the FBI and other agencies were unprepared for a terrorist attack on 9/11. These incompetence allegations, built upon the repeated lies of high Bush officials, while implicating lower-level officials and employees, and embarrassing law enforcement and intelligence agencies. As discussed, these claims are directly contradicted by exhaustive evidence (prior intelligence warnings, spiked FBI investigations, etc.)
4. Al-Qaeda conspirators began flight training for 9/11 in 1999. Nothing in the Report addresses the multitude of anomalies, inconsistencies and open questions about the veracity of the hijacker training story, and the fact that the schools were US military and intelligence fronts and training facilities. Nor does the Commission explain how this relatively meager training allowed the so-called hijackers to pull off the 9/11 flight manuevers, in ways that even seasoned military pilots could not.
On four final points, the Commission turns the proceedings into a political “limited hangout”, containing hints about the emerging consensus on future US war policy. Having covered up the larger crimes, and the Bush administration’s guilt, the Commissioners lay groundwork for coming US operations—an enhanced and more “nuanced” “war on terrorism” conducted under the auspices of “multilateral international consensus”, perhaps led by the neoliberal faction and its president-select John Forbes Kerry.
Kerry himself has boasted that as president, he would lead “the most aggressive anti-terror war in history”. His foreign policy advisor, Rand Beers, was George W. Bush’s chief counter-terrorism advisor. Kerry not only fully supported all of Bush’s war policies up through the invasion of Iraq, but he has promised to do a slicker job. Kerry has also viciously attacked skeptics of the White House version of 9/11 as “conspiracy theorists”, and continued to trumpet the need to “keep America safe” from foreign terrorists.
As made clear in numerous policy statements and stump speeches, the only difference between a Kerry “war on terror” and the Bush version is in how it is sold, to the American people, and US allies; conducted according to “international consensus” and a bigger role for NATO allies and the UN.
The well-connected Kerry, whose own checkered career includes membership in the infamous Skull & Bones fraternity, played a major role in containing the investigations of Iran-Contra and CIA-Contra cocaine scandals. He is no savior.
With this in mind, note how the Commission pronounces the following:
5. There is no credible evidence that Iraq cooperated with Al-Qaeda on the 9/11 operation, and that Osama Bin Laden did not have a collaborative relationship with Saddam Hussein. The emerging line from Washington and Wall Street: criticize the scandalized Bush administration and the neocons for “Iraq overreach”, but leave the “war on terrorism”/9/11 pretext fully intact for the next administration.
6. There is no evidence that the senior official of the Saudi Arabian government funded Al-Qaeda. It appears to be a virtual certainty that Saudi Arabia (and its 25% of known world oil reserves), will ultimately be destabilized and occupied by the US. New purported Al-Qaeda terrorism, and a growing wave of “The Saudis did it” propaganda, suggests that preparations are underway. The Commission’s nod to the Saudi Royal family and Saudi compradors suggests that an outright Anglo-American invasion, in retaliation for 9/11, is not yet politically, economically or militarily feasible. An invasion will not occur until Iraq is pacified, and a variety of other petro-economic issues are sorted out.
7. Al-Qaeda has been funded through other networks. A nod to the Patriot Act: secret police operations against Islamic organizations with alleged ties to “terrorists” (Muslim charities, for example) will continue.
8. Al-Qaeda terrorists are harbored by Iran and Pakistan. The Commission simply echoes the consensus geostrategy. All nations along the Eurasian subcontinent, the “Grand Chessboard”, are potential targets for future US invasion and destabilizations, given their reserves of oil and gas, and critical geostrategic importance. Both Iran and Pakistan are being simultaneously contained and provoked.
Other Commission lies
“There is no convincing evidence that any government financially supported al-Qaeda before 9/11.”
“No persuasive evidence exists that al-Qaeda relied on the drug trade as an important source of revenue, or funded itself through trafficking from an Afghan state engaged in civil wars.”
Al-Qaeda was created by the CIA, funded by the United States and its allies, and continuously utilized as a military-intelligence asset since the Carter administration. This historical fact is exhaustively documented, from the proud boasts of Zbigniew Brzezinski (father of the Mujahadeen and a founding architect of the current war) to US Congressional records (and here). Following the Cold War terror operations against Russia, the United States and NATO recruited Al-Qaeda in the 1990s to fight in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia among the ranks of the US-backed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the National Liberation Army (NLA). Afghanistan’s Taliban regime was put into power with US support, and US/ISI-funded Al-Qaeda fighters. The US supported the Taliban through the summer of 2001.
It is also matter of record, confirmed by the bodies such as the CIA itself, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), and scores of journalists and researchers including Alfred McCoy, Peter Dale Scott and others, that the Mujahadeen armed and equipped with weapons financed by the Golden Crescent heroin trade. As CIA assets, the Mujahadeen controlled the Central Asian heroin trade.
The laundering of narco-dollars routinely funds covert operations and regional conflicts, as well as serving as an underpinning of world financial system itself.
Finally, the Commission attempts to sell this carefully-phrased whopper:
“No credible evidence exists that operatives received substantial funding from any person in the United States.”
Given the long, documented fact regarding Al-Qaeda—its creation by the CIA, its long use as a US/NATO military-intelligence asset, the military training received by the alleged hijackers, it is absurd for the Commission to deny that Al-Qaeda funding from the US.
Note the phrase, “any person in the United States”. This does not include foreign assets and go-betweens. Alleged lead hijacker, Mohammed Atta did receive funding from General Mahmoud Ahmad of Pakistan’s ISI (at least $100,000). Pakistan’s ISI functions as a foreign branch of the CIA. On the morning of 9/11, Ahmad met with various elites on Capitol Hill, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director George Tenet, Senator Bob Graham, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Bob Kyl, and Rep. Porter Goss.
No one in Washington, including the 9/11 Commissioners, has explained this.
One for the ages
The Bush administration is a criminal organization, run on secrecy, protected from exposure by “colleagues”, from the Supreme Court (which installed Bush in 2000, and has now ruled that the Bush White House does not have to reveal the specifics of its Energy Task Force) to the 9/11 Commissioners. The 9/11 Commission is an atrocity, and just one more insult to victims of 9/11, and all of post-9/11 humanity.
The Commission’s final report, due in late July 2004, will no doubt be immediately, vigorously and thoroughly rebutted, and demolished, point by point, by 9/11 researchers and watchdog organizations with command of the real evidence Authoritative sources, such as the many cited in this piece, and upcoming books, such as Michael C. Ruppert’s soon-to-be released book, “Across the Rubicon: America’s Descent into Fascism at the End of the Age of Oil” will explode the 9/11 lie, and lay waste to the entire charade.
Like its ancestors—the Warren Commission, spiked inquiries into the Kennedy and King assassinations, Iran-Contra, BCCI, Enron, and other government crimes—the 9/11 Independent Commission has served its function: deception.
Larry Chin is a Global Research Contributing Editor
The original source of this article is Global Research
- Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth
- Scholars for 9/11 Truth
- Scientists for 9/11 Truth
- Pilots for 9/11 Truth
- Firefighters for 9/11 Truth
- Watch David Ray Griffin presentation on 9/11 Report Omissions and Distortions
- 9/11: The New Pearl Harbor documentary by David Ray Griffin
- 9/11: Decade of Deception documentary
- 9/11 Trillions: Follow the Money
- JFK to 9/11: Everything is a Rich Man’s Trick
- Jim Fetzer’s The Real Deal Show: 9/11: Who Was Responsible & Why?
With US political leaders Democrat and Republican alike rushing to embrace the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and an eager media receiving the Commission’s 567-page report as the whole story, the history we can stand upon forevermore, everyone who cares about the fate of American democracy will want to know something about what those pages actually say.
The Commission’s account, by popular reckoning, has made an impression with its heft, its footnotes, its portrayal of the confusion of that sobering day, its detail, its narrative finesse. Yet under the magnifying glass of David Ray Griffin, eminent theologian and author of The New Pearl Harbor (a book that explores questions that reporters, eyewitnesses, and political observers have raised about the 9/11 attacks), the report appears much shabbier. In fact, there are holes in the places where detail ought to be thickest: Is it possible that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has given three different stories of what he was doing the morning of September 11, and that the Commission combines two of them and ignores eyewitness reports to the contrary? Is it possible that the man in charge of the military that day, Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers, saw the first tower hit on TV, and then went into a meeting, where he remained unaware of what was happening for the next 40 minutes? Is it possible, as the Commission reports, that the FAA did not inform military that the fourth airplane appeared to have been hijacked-contrary to both common sense and the word of FAA employees? Is it possible that the Report, upon which are based recommendations for overhauling the nation’s intelligence, fails to mention even in a footnote the most serious allegations made public by Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower and Time person of the year?
David Ray Griffin’s critique of the Kean-Zelikow report makes clear that our nation’s highest leaders have told tales that wear extremely thin when held up to the light of other eyewitness reports, research, and the dictates of common sense-and that the Commission charged with the task of investigating all of the facts surrounding 9/11 has succeeded in obscuring, rather than unearthing, the truth.
In 2004, David Ray Griffin published The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11. Translated into several languages, it helped spark a worldwide movement demanding “9/11 truth.” Even as it became increasingly outdated, it continued to be widely cited as the best introduction to the issues.
Griffin has now written The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, which provides a chapter-by-chapter updating of the information provided in that earlier book. It shows that the case against the official account constructed by independent researchers – who now include architects, engineers, physicists, pilots, politicians, and former military officers – is far stronger than it was in 2004, leaving no doubt that 9/11 was a false-flag operation, designed to give the Bush-Cheney administration a pretext to attack oil-rich Muslim nations.
Taken together, these two books provide everything one needs to make an informed decision about 9/11 – whether one is a journalist, a political leader, a religious leader, or an ordinary citizen concerned about truth, democracy, and the rule of law.