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Please read and post on this, if possible. Here's some background on what appears below. You can use whatever you feel like as it is all verifiable. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation asked Debra Burlingame to become a founding board member of the WTC Foundation. They were to raise the money, above the 300 million federal dollars in seed money, to build the 9/11 memorial and accompanying projects in line with the decisions the jury that came up with as a mission statement and design for the memorial. When the WTC and memorial are completed (scheduled for 2009), the LMDC is to be dissolved and the WTC Foundation will become the landlord for all non-commercial buildings on the site, meaning they will be in charge of the Cultural building (International Freedom Center & Drawing Center), the visitors info & services, the Tribeca theatre and dance theatre. Here's a recap of the people behind the IFC plans (from Debra's op-ed in the WSJ / OPJ):
- Michael Posner, executive director at Human Rights First who is leading the worldwide "Stop Torture Now" campaign focused entirely on the U.S. military. He has stated that Mr. Rumsfeld's refusal to resign in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal is "irresponsible and dishonorable."
- Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, who is pushing IFC organizers for exhibits that showcase how civil liberties in this country have been curtailed since September 11.
- Eric Foner, radical-left history professor at Columbia University who, even as the bodies were being pulled out of a smoldering Ground Zero, wrote, "I'm not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House." This is the same man who participated in a "teach-in" at Columbia to protest the Iraq war, during which a colleague exhorted students with, "The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military," and called for "a million Mogadishus." The IFC website has posted Mr. Foner's statement warning that future discussions should not be "overwhelmed" by the IFC's location at the World Trade Center site itself.
- George Soros, billionaire founder of Open Society Institute, the nonprofit foundation that helps fund Human Rights First and is an early contributor to the IFC. Mr. Soros has stated that the pictures of Abu Ghraib "hit us the same way as the terrorist attack itself."
Debra joined the WTC Foundation's board to be of service to her country (my words) and to ensure a fitting memorial to all those lost was built (her words). But she would not stand by and let an insidious plan by anyone -- in this case led by Berstein, Soros, et al -- to desecrate the memory of all those that fell and that hallowed ground who wanted to branding the site with their ideology.
In response to her op-ed and all the press, the LMDC, WTC Foundation's board, and the International Freedom Center's board all worked hard at dividing the 9/11 family members over this. The wedge they attempted to use was Debra Burlingame didn't lose anyone at the WTC on 9/11 even though her brother, a great American in his own right, was brutally murdered by terrorists aboard Flight 77 before they slammed it into the Pentagon. (I have a string of expletives I'd like to use here but I'll spare you them). Well, their plan didn't work. Tom Bernstein being on the board of Human Rights Watch has hit the AP. Their attempt to divide the 9/11 families is about to hit the AP. Our petition numbers are rising rapidly -- including over 1,000 9/11 family members -- and op-eds and letters are streaming out to the press.
After all that, today the major family groups responded with this (Bill Doyle is the most widely known spokesman for 9/11 family member issues) :
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 26, 2005
Fourteen September 11 Family Groups Respond to Pataki and Reaffirm Unity and Resolve to "Take Back the Memorial"
New York, N.Y., June 26, 2005 On Friday, Governor George Pataki held a press conference to address charges that cultural institutions selected for the World Trade Center Memorial site will include content and programming which will dishonor the victims of the September 11th attacks. We believe the governor's remarks demonstrate that he is not yet attuned to what the American people expect and deserve in a memorial at Ground Zero.
We are heartened that Governor Pataki likened Ground Zero to historic memorials such as those found at "the beaches of Normandy or Pearl Harbor," and that he affirmatively declared that the International Freedom Center (IFC), the Drawing Center and other institutions slated for the site "won't be there" without an "absolute guarantee," that they will respect the mission of the memorial. But he later sowed uncertainty and confusion by indicating that standards of taste and respect for the lost would be determined by the institutions themselves. While the governor may sincerely hope and even believe that the IFC and these institutions will observe the sanctity of the site, ultimately, compliance with appropriate standards will be, in the governor's words, "their call."
The governor's new plan to sanitize the IFC and Drawing Center and the other cultural programming is nothing more than an empty promise. The stated mission of these cultural facilities is irreconcilable to the memorial's own mission statement. Sadly, the governor's remarks confirm that the honor of those lost on September 11 will take a back seat to free speech and artistic expression as realized in works, exhibits and programming which is completely unrelated to the events of that historic day. We believe the solution is simple. The IFC and the Drawing Center must be removed from Ground Zero.
Also, it took a great deal of courage for Debra Burlingame to speak up in her Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled "The Great Ground Zero Heist." We have all experienced first hand the efforts the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will take to discredit victims' families, divide and intimidate us and marginalize our concerns when we dare to disagree with the powers that be. This is not the first time this has happened, but it needs to be the last time. We will not let that happen to any victims' family member ever again. Together we stand united to "Take Back the Memorial" at Ground Zero.
We remain resolved that the IFC, the Drawing Center and all cultural programming unrelated to the attacks on the World Trade Center must be removed from Ground Zero. The history of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 must be preserved for future generations. It must be told plainly, without distraction and with the respect that the victims and our country deserve. We are committed to achieving a proper memorial. We urge leadership in the state of New York to respond to our plea, but we will not allow inaction or indecision to deter us.
Please visit www.takebackthememorial.com to learn more and join in the effort to take back America's memorial.
Bill Doyle - Father of Joseph
Wtc tower1 101st fl.Cantor
9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
Mrs G adds:
Let us never forget what happened that fateful day. Here, in this tribute, is a perfect example of what this Memorial should resemble.
A Time, even though seemingly short, this country was united.
Thank You, GCS Distributing