Twenty eight pages. That’s what we want. Families of those killed on September 11th want twenty eight pages made public from the 2002 report entitled the Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11th, 2001. There’s talk these pages concern the sovereign state of Saudi Arabia, its wealthy citizens, and financing of terrorist operations. Families have been waiting fourteen years to read what OUR government wrote. We don’t want to wait one minute more. Here’s why –
We’re tired of trade-offs.
No one was ever disciplined, demoted, fired or held accountable in any meaningful way for the penetration of our national security on 9-11, or the loss of nearly three thousand lives. One man, Richard Clarke, former Counterterrorism czar, had the decency to publicly look family members in the eye and say, “I’m sorry. We failed you.”
The co-chairs of the 9-11 Commission, Tom Keane and Lee Hamilton, took to the opinion page of the New York Times in 2008 to describe the CIA’s behavior in response to their investigation “obstruction”.
The pre-trial hearings of the five men accused of conspiring to plan and execute 9-11 is mired in the swamps of Guantanamo Naval Base. Almost fifteen years after September 11th and still no trial date in sight. Yes – you read that correctly. Five men. Fifteen years. No trial.
The American people were distracted by a disastrous war in Iraq, supposedly to get the bad guy Saddam Hussein, who never had anything to do with the suffering of 9-11, but had a lot to do with the suffering of the Iraqi people. When it comes to terror attacks on American soil, he was the wrong guy. But remember those five at Guantanamo??
For those family members who are American citizens, we have been asked since childhood to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. But what exactly does justice mean here? Justice is nearly impossible to come by when we don’t have all the facts. Justice relies on truth, and truth rests on transparency. There may be truth to what’s on the twenty eight pages. There may not. But we won’t know until the documents are made public and our messy democracy can analyze and argue over its content. Today, I’m choosing to pledge allegiance to truth, wherever it leads, be the final destination a nation, an ideology, or individuals. I invite you to join me.
Lastly, there are some who would call 9-11 family members naïve, claiming we don’t understand the world order, international relations, or geopolitical maneuvering. They might be largely correct, but missing the most important point. There’s one thing we understand as crystal clear: the primary and fundamental function of the state is to protect its citizens; not its image, nor its economic interests, not even its allies. The United States collectively failed in that safeguard role on September 11th. We must not fail again. Senators and Representatives alike, and our President, should take bold and decisive steps to release those twenty eight pages. Immediately.
Sister of William Kelly Jr. (Billy)
Co-founder, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
In response to the rise in hate crimes, including recently deadly attacks against innocent Sikh men in the tri-state area, families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks have developed a new bus ad calling for unity and interfaith tolerance that will be posted on New York City public transit. Please join us by helping fundraise and contributing yourself to the campaign.
Everyone Please Share - Make Unity Go Viral!Click here to download "Islamophobia" PDF document.
Since 9/11 our families have despaired as hate crimes have been perpetrated against Muslims as well as Sikhs and others appearing to be of Middle Eastern descent. Intolerant advertisements on public transit have also emerged casting fear against all who practice the Islamic faith (1/5 of the world's population). We stand united to firmly assert that this must end. This outreach campaign honors those who lost their lives on 9/11 by helping prevent more innocent civilians of any faith or background from dying needlessly. Support of our 9/11 families is not to give way to fear, revenge, and hate, it lies in interfaith understanding, unity, and hope.
We hope that many will join us in helping raise money and otherwise support this effort.
Campaigns and Projects
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Rule of Law campaign mobilizes and amplifies the voices of 9/11 family members who support closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, restoring the rule of law, and ending indefinite detention and other violations of human rights that have become an enduring legacy of the U.S. “War on Terror.” Our goal for this initiative has been to strengthen the reasonable voices of 9/11 family members who support the rule of law in all aspects of dealing with the perpetrators and accused perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. This includes the decision to conduct federal versus military trials, to close Guantanamo, to end indefinite detention, to end the military commissions, and related issues.
When the U.S. Kills an American Citizen
(This letter was published in the New York Times)
To the Editor:
Re “A U.S. Citizen, in America’s Cross Hairs” (front page, March 10), about the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen:
I am a United States citizen; I was born here and have lived here all of my 81 years. If I were a threat to this country’s safety, I would expect to be caught and brought to justice.
The idea that any president can kill an American citizen without a trial is abhorrent and frankly scares me more than any act of any “terrorist.”
Senator Rand Paul’s politics are not mine by any stretch of the imagination, but I applaud him for trying to make the American public aware of what those we elected are doing.
It is a disgrace.
New York, March 10, 2013
The writer, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, is a co-founder of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Starting in 2002, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows helped lead opposition to the war in Iraq. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, we looked for ways to remain supportive of the Iraqi people. As part of our solidarity efforts, we have helped to publicize the campaigns of the Iraqi nonviolence network, La’Onf, to let people know that Iraqi citizens have a vision for their country that includes peaceful relations among different religious and ethnic groups, equal rights for women, and human rights and freedom for all. We are also a member of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, a collaboration between Iraqi and international NGOs to effect change that supports justice and democracy in Iraq.
In January 2002 four people who would soon become founding members of Peaceful Tomorrows traveled to Afghanistan to witness the consequences of U.S. military intervention, to express concern about the devastation of civilian casualties and to draw attention to the prospect that this war would increase terrorist recruitment. Peaceful Tomorrows members have continued to travel to Afghanistan, to speak out against war and violence in Afghanistan, and to build friendship and collaboration with civil society organizations in Afghanistan and elsewhere in support of peace for the women, men and children of Afghanistan. Peaceful Tomorrows works for an end to foreign military action and foreign military funding in Afghanistan, for a ceasefire and negotiated path forward, and for nonviolent and inclusive rebuilding and healing for Afghan society.
On Monday June 24, twenty-five members and religious leaders of the Metrowest interfaith community met with Wilnelia Rivera, the External Affairs Director for the Patrick administration to discuss the slight that the Islamic community felt from the governor’s office after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Other leaders present included Susan Thel of the Framingham Quakers, Michael Furstberg of the Workmen’s Circle, Dr. Asif Razvi of the ICB in Wayland, Mr. Anwar Kasmi, a board member of the I.S.B.C.C., and Shaheen Akhtar, leader of the Wayland interfaith book group. The issue was that the Muslim religious community felt slighted when a secular Muslim leader was selected to participate in the interfaith memorial service attended by President and Mrs. Obama, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. Their understanding was that an invitation had originally been extended to Imam Suhaib Webb, and was then rescinded the evening before. Read more
9/11 Stories: Our Voices, Our Choices