The Hub Weekly Reviews: 9/11: PRESS FOR TRUTH

by Chuck Koplinski

Author Paul Thompson will be available to answer questions and sign copies of his book The Terror Timeline on September 9.

For the widows and families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, there will always be a void that can never be filled, an anger that can never be sated and a sense of disbelief that will never leave. Time may heal the emotional wounds they suffer, to a certain degree, and they've found the strength to go on, despite all they've suffered. An important part in this process is the search for answers to questions of why the events unfolded as they did on that fateful day. While all of their queries may not be answered in the end, the search and the occasional discovery of an explanatory piece of information helps those who've been left behind heal and move on a little bit more.

Ray Nowoseilski and John Duffy's documentary, 9/11: Press for Truth, concerns the efforts of a group of widows and other families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks to find some answers as to why events unfolded as they did on that tragic day and reveals that, surprise, surprise, the United States government has done very little to help them in their search. According to the film, instead of helping them deal with their pain, the Bush Administration has stonewalled them at every turn, exacerbating their suffering instead of helping them relieve it. What is it that George W. and his cronies have to hide in relation to the 9/11 attacks? Turns out, they committed many acts of ignorance and negligence that they'd like to sweep under the rug and would have gotten away with doing were it not for the tenacity of four New Jersey widows and a lone reporter.

Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza and Kristen Breitweiser, who would come to be known as the "Jersey Girls" all lost their husbands on 9/11, and after dealing with the initial shock, they each set out to get some answers to some basic questions about the attack. Why wasn't the United States air defense system able to take down the jets used in the attack? Why was the response from Bush and his administration so slow after the assault began? Were there any warnings that an attack like this might occur? Not surprisingly, they could get no answers to these inquiries, which would lead them to ask why there was no investigation being conducted into the attacks by the United States. Only through immense pressure and a coordinated effort was a commission put together to uncover the truth about the attacks, but it soon became apparent that it was nothing but a dog-and-pony show set up to placate those who called for it instead of providing them with answers.

With little cooperation coming from their government, the "Jersey Girls" and their supporters found what they were looking for from a reporter whose tenacious nature would provide them with the answers they were looking for. Sifting through over 7,000 sources of public information, reporter Paul Thompson was able to find a piece of information here and another there that, when put together, would provide a mosaic for not only how the attacks were implemented but would also uncover threats, as early as 1995, that they would occur. Thompson's research was eventually put together into The Terror Timeline, a book that lays out a detailed history of how the attacks were put together, the relationship between the United States and Osama Bin Ladin and other terrorists and a long list of warning signs that went unheeded.

Nowoseilski and Duffy do a marvelous job of presenting the most dramatic of Thompson's findings in an easy to understand manner. While there are many, many facts to examine, the filmmakers wisely don't overwhelm the viewer with them, laying them out in an easy to understand way that provides a degree of clarity to this muddled picture.

Wisely, they also avoid presenting this information with a sensationalist tone, opting instead to let the facts they've uncovered do the talking, knowing full well that they are enough to raise the ire of any viewer.

While many recent documentaries (An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car?) have gone out of their way to provide a hopeful ending to their cautionary tales, Nowoseilski and Duffy don't go out of their way to do the same. The vision that comes out of 9/11: Press for Truth is a dire one, as the fact that a duplicitous government headed by a callous, indifferent leader is in charge comes into full focus. The gulf that exists between government representatives and their constituents is seemingly unbridgeable. It's bad enough that Bush and his administration only seem interested in protecting their own interests and covering their tracks, but their flippant attitude about it adds insult to injury. This is fully apparent here, as is the fact that their tenure in control is a tragedy of epic proportions. As Lorie Van Auken states early on, "Our country is at risk from terrorists and incompetence, or worse." Unfortunately, truer words were never spoken.

Reporter Paul Thompson, author of "The Complete 9/11 Timeline" appears in the thoughtful documentary 9/11: Press for Truth.