Urgent Action Alert for [today]! A message from Debra Burlingame of 911 Families for a Safe and Strong America.
Dear 9/11 Families and Friends:
President Obama has nominated James Cole to be the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) at the the Department of Justice. This is a critically important position. While Attorney General Eric Holder is the nominal head of the Justice Department, it is the deputy attorney general who actually runs the day-to-day operations of the entire department. For instance, it was Mr. Holder who, as DAG during the Clinton administration, orchestrated the Sept. 1999 clemencies of 16 terrorists belonging to the FALN, a Puerto Rican separatist group that carried out 146 bombings which killed 9 people and maimed NYPD bomb squad officers. Mr. Holder also facilitated and pushed through the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich, who made billions of dollars engaging in illegal oil trades on behalf of Iranian ayatollahs. Today, the DAG has a pivotal role in formulating and executing decisions dealing with the policy issues surrounding the capture, detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected Islamic terrorists.
So who is James Cole? As a partner at the law firm of Bryan Cave, he represented Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family and one of the defendants in the 9/11 lawsuit filed on behalf of 9/11 Families against the government of Saudi Arabia and other Saudi individuals by the law firm of Motley Rice. Prince Naif ran the Al Haramain Foundation, a Saudi charity designated in 2004 by the U.S. Treasury Department as a facilitator of terrorism which diverted charitable funds to Al Qaeda both before and after Sept.11, 2001.
Additionally, in 2006, Mr. Cole was also appointed as an independent overseer of insurance giant AIG. The whistleblower non-profit, Government Accountability Project, has come out against his nomination due to the gross irregularities that happened while he was charged with oversight responsibilities prior to its 2008 collapse. See http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/31-2010/529-aig-monitor-james-cole-wrong-choice-for-deputy-attorney-general
In light of this history, it is impossible to fathom how Mr. Cole can ethically carry out his duties and responsibilities as the de facto head of the Justice Department while U.S. troops are fighting terrorists who receive funding and support from organizations associated with the Saudi government and their proxies. This is a direct conflict of interest. Given Saudi NGOs’ continued involvement in terrorist facilitation world-wide and their connection to the Saudi royal family, this conflict of interest will cripple Mr. Cole’s ability to ethically perform his duties as head of a department charged with investigating and prosecuting terrorist facilitators associated with or working for the Saudi government.
Below is an op-ed published by Mr. Cole just two days before the first anniversary of 9/11, in which he compares 9/11 to drug crimes, ordinary murder, rape and mafia-type crimes, saying that the “war on drugs” is actually “a longer term and far more devastating disaster for our country in terms of the number of people affected…” Ironically, Mr. Cole says that the only factor which distinguishes those crimes and the “tragedies of Sept. 11? is that “foreign organizations, possibly even foreign governments, were involved in the planning, funding and carrying out of the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Further, Mr. Cole has gone on record opposing military commissions for any detainees, stating that military commissions are an inferior form of justice which do not provide defendants with adequate due process protections. In light of the fact that the Obama administration continues to drag its feet on an announcement regarding the forum and venue for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other admitted 9/11 conspirators, Mr. Cole’s nomination is an alarming signal. The public is overwhelmingly opposed to holding these trials in New York federal court. Clearly, the administration needs to hear from us again.
Mr. Cole is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, June 15. The hearing, calendared so quickly after the announcement of Mr. Cole’s nomination, appears calculated to capitalize on the media’s attention on the oil spill crisis in the Gulf, and to limit our ability to mount public objection.
I urge all 9/11 family members and friends who were disappointed that the administration opposed the 9/11 Families’ opportunity to have their day in court in the Saudi lawsuit, to contact the President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and members of Congress, and express your adamant objection to Mr. Cole’s nomination to Deputy Attorney General.
Co-founder, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America
See the 9/11 Families Legal Complaint: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/1239.pdf