Transcript of a speech by Senator Mike Gravel
[See accompanying video on the home page of this site]
From the forum: “A New Path to Peace and Prosperity”
May 11, 2011 • Oakland, California
[See accompanying video on the home page of this site]
From the forum: “A New Path to Peace and Prosperity”
May 11, 2011 • Oakland, California
I want to approach the problem less dramatically because I want to deal with solutions. We’ve amply heard the nature of the problem – and I mean amply heard on all facets of it, both 9/11 and the broader spectrum that Bob Bowman presented to you about the state of affairs with the American government and the American empire. So I’ll take two approaches.
One, I’ll take the immediate approach, which is the 9/11 problem. I personally feel in my heart of hearts that if we can expose the dishonesty, the criminality that existed on 9/11 – if we can expose that what will happen is we can change the American psyche and maybe for once people will begin to question authority. That’s possible.
Now, how do we get to that one facet of it? And I’ll deal with another facet, which is a broader solution to our global problems. And that is real simple. You’re not going to get an investigation from the Congress, from the Obama administration. It’s just not going to happen. And if it did it would be another cover-up. So that’s a red herring. We don’t’ even want to go there.
So when you look at the body politic, you say, “Well, how can we bring something about?” Well, we’re fortunate enough, as a result of the courageous leadership of politicians and progressives 100 years ago, to have 24 states that have initiative laws, where people can make laws. California is one of them. I came up with this suggestion in New York at a conference on 9/11, saying that what we ought to do is write an initiative that would set up a commission that would have subpoena powers or grand jury powers to go ahead and investigate what happened leading up to 9/11, what happened on 9/11 and the aftermath of 9/11, which is three wars – one of them, which is totally ridiculous, the war on terror, which is no more than the economic underpinning for the continuation of the appropriations for the military-industrial complex. That’s all that is.
And so now, if we could get an investigation to pursue that with some independent powers – well, my bluff was called – or not so much a bluff but my idea was called and said, “Well, would you help out and do something?”
Well, we did. I came to – first I had to ascertain – I had my own take on 9/11. It was more political than technical. I just knew from my intelligence background that this was not a go. It doesn’t take 18 months to set in motion an investigation, and a fraudulent investigation at that, which is admitted to by the investigators. And so – but I didn’t act on it. I was busy doing this other area with respect to the national initiative.
So after coming up with this idea I made a tour of California and came to a conclusion that the 9/11 truth movement is much, much larger than I had anticipated. And it’s really coming into its own with this – as of what’s going to take place of ten years next September. And as it’s coming into its own it can be plumbed for support to create a legitimate commission.
Now, I also found out that this is not only the United States. In Germany a reputable poll was taken and it showed that 86 percent of the people do not believe the story about 9/11. They feel it was a false flag operation. Well, they know a little bit history than most Americans know because we have a great, great historic tradition of false flag, starting with the Mexican War in 1848, going on to the Spanish American War, going on to the First World War, going on to parts of the Second World War and also in Vietnam , with respect to the Gulf of Tonkin. So this is very much in character for our defense mechanisms, our secret – I want to wedge this in. Do you realize that the president of the United States has the largest secret army in the world? It is totally funded with black box monies, appropriations. The Congress doesn’t even know where the money’s going and that is that the beck and call of the president of the United States. So when they talk about having pure power, this is the Praetorian Guard of the American Empire, and it’s at his beck and call.
So now, when you look at the possibilities of action you can say, well, supposing we write an initiative that says that we’re forming a commission. We take this commission and we take the initiative and we do it in Oregon, we do it in Massachusetts, we do it in Maine, we do it in Washington State, we do it in Alaska, we do it across the country, at least ten states. It develops a character, a national character, because we don’t have anything like that at the federal level, and I’ll address that in a moment.
What would happen? Well, with the young attorney and the law in California where you can go to the state legislative counsel and they have to help you draft legislation, we drafted this legislation and it passed muster. We have it on the stationary of the legislative council of the State of California.
Now, going into California with an initiative is quite an undertaking. We’re talking about $2 million from the get-go to really just get it to the campaign stage, get the signatures involved.
Now, if we go into other states – and plus, we have to amend the constitution of California because of the way we’re appointing the members of the commission. This is the biggest problem we have. If we let an initiative go forward and do not set up the mechanism to appoint the membership of the committee, what happens, it’ll be appointed by the various governors and we’re back at square one where they appoint their cronies and you’ve got not a citizen’s commission but you’ve got a government commission that will proceed with the continued cover-up that we’ve experienced.
So after looking at the California draft that we have, which we have in the bank, so to speak, I went to Alaska, met with the legislative council up there and looked at their constitution and law. Did the same thing with the State of Oregon.
Now, Alaska – you’ll laugh as Californians – all we need are 30,000 signatures to get something on the ballot in Alaska. Well, that is chump change for an undertaking of this kind.
Secondly, we had the same – and there’s no requirements with respect to appointing somebody to go ahead and appoint the commission when it comes into being. There’s no constitutional barrier to that.
Secondly, we have the same situation in the state of Oregon where it takes a little less than 100,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. So obviously, what we need to do is to get it passed in those two states, which is sort of a freebie, and then work on the rest of the nation. And since we would have the corpus of this initiative, which is basically a joint powers agreement – and so other states could latch on. They could pass an initiative that doesn’t have to contain the same language. All they’ve got to do is pass an initiative saying that they will join the joint powers agreement that’s passed in Alaska or Oregon.
Now, there’s another feature of those joint powers. Not only can states latch onto this joint powers agreement, but also cities can. And so you have the anomaly where Texas, which has no statewide initiative but has over 50 cities that do have the initiative, that these 50 cities could tie on to this joint powers agreement and, I’ll tell you, George Bush, who can’t go to Europe anymore, won’t even be able to get out of Crawford.
Now, the rub of that – and we had Ken Jenkins, who’s our communications officer, director who’s been helping us on a daily basis. Secondly, Byron Belitsos – yes, a hand for Ken. [Applause]. And Byron Belitsos, who’s been with the 9/11 truthers from the get-go, he obviously cannot give up his day job to take this on. I don’t particularly have substantial resources at all. In fact, I have no net worth and my first wife has my Senate retirement so thank God I’ve got a second wife who loves me.
And so we’re without resources. Now, just this last week I formed a corporation. The name of the corporation is called the Citizens 9-11 Commission. The purpose of this is to go out and draft the initiative legislation for Alaska, Oregon and all the other states that we’re go into put it in, including – well, we’ve already got California but we would change it a little bit. And then from that – in fact, when I went up to Alaska I had almost as large a gathering of this, overnight, of people that even with my experience in Alaska I didn’t even know they’re all truthers and they were all committed to do something. And so we’re going to be moving ahead in those two areas.
In addition to forming a corporation we’re going to have a PayPal account and an account with Wells Fargo wherein people can donate money. We’ve been working for the last two or three months to try and see if we could find some angel that could plunk down a million dollars and get us off the ground. It hasn’t happened. And it may but what we’re going to do if we’re going to succeed, we have to rely on you on an ongoing basis.
And Richard Gage has proved that you can do this. He’s raised the money to do all of this as he’s going forward and melding together these architects and engineers. So if Richard can do this – and he’s been very gracious saying that anybody who wants to donate to our cause can donate it to his c3 and he would funnel it to us. But we have to be able to go directly and that’s what we’re doing with this corporation. So if those of you that want to write down, it’s Citizens911commission dot com.
We’re working this weekend on the web site and we’ll have a contingent of people on the East Coast and of course others on the West Coast, and the first thing we’ll do is with our monies is be able to hire staff that will work on a permanent basis discarding their day jobs so they can get this job done.
And again, let me repeat: If we can get it done in one state we can get it done in several states. And this is what will energize the American people. This will also, because we’ll be out there collecting signatures, getting qualified — this is what’s going to now take the marginalization done buy the fourth estate, the media, and really stick it in their nose that we are succeeding and we’re moving forward. That will change their attitude.
Now, if we can get it on the ballot for 2012 we will be able to make this a presidential campaign wedge issue [applause] and it will be, “Do you support a commission, Barack Obama?”, or Mitt Romney or anybody else that makes it in and every member of Congress. And so you will have the body politic at your mercy. You know when you’ve got them at your mercy? When they want something, they want to get elected. So they want to go to you and say, “Hey, vote for me.” Well, then you can meet them right in your district – not in Washington, because you don’t get any time there. Meet them in their district and get them to commit one way or the other and suffer the consequences if they don’t commit to a commission. But not to do it through the Congress but to do it through the methodology that we’ve established.
Having said that, let me now touch something that’s a broader gauge. And we could do this within 30 days with about $30,000 if we had in place a national initiative. That is, an initiative where people could be able to make laws in every governed jurisdiction of the United States, most importantly, the national government.
Now, to presage that concept to you let me try to give you, and it’s not as dramatic, but a little bit of a lecture about how we are the way we are in the mess that we’re in. And the mess that we’re in is because our forebears, after the Age of Enlightenment, settled on representative government. Well, representative government under our Constitution is really not what it’s cracked up to be. If you analyze it, interestingly, you realize that it’s no more than the tribal system of governments. And that is, each tribe sends a delegate to a central location and that delegate has to fight, whether with knives or spears or what have you – has to fight for the wealth of the collectivity of all the tribes. Now, isn’t that an interesting concept. You elect the person to go to Washington and his job is to steal money from every other state he can get his hands on and bring it home to you. That’s bringing home the bacon.
Now, to show you how convoluted this becomes, and touching on a little bit what Bob was talking about when you talk about American empire, the reason why the empire is there is for the outreach and the (0:16:20.7 s/l hegemon) goal of controlling energy, oil and gas. That’s our foreign policy. Now, keep in mind, you have very little to say on foreign policy. You don’t have much to say even on domestic policy. On election day, all you do is give your votes away and the sovereignty that you had now resides, with respect to foreign policy, in the office of president of the United States. And it’s sustained by the congress.
Most people look at the president. The Congress is worse – much, much worse. In 1989 they passed a law. It’s called the Silk Road Plan. And that is that everything from China to Europe, the underbelly of the Eurasian continent, was declared by an Act of Congress our vital interest. And then from that you can see how the bases were set up right across this whole continental area, and then of course, the other bases that we have in Asia, particularly Guam, which is no more than an armed aircraft carrier and the Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. It is appalling.
But what’s appalling is that we buy into it. You know why? Because if you cut the defense budget you’re going to have a lot of unemployment. That’s the problem we have right now. So we’re in a quandary. Every member of Congress —and this is not by accident that every congressional district has a little bit of the honey bucket, the honey jar, in their district – jobs. And so if they don’t vote right they’re threatened with that. They will move the manufacturing of this airplane over to this state away from your state. I lived through this with Alan Cranston and the issues in southern California and it’s a conundrum.
It’s totally soluble. You know? It’s really so simple. Close the factories down but keep paying the people. [applause]. What’s so – you’re going to spend the money anyway. You’re going to spend the money anyway on weapons that do nobody any good. So you’re going to cause an unemployment problem? Hell, give them two, three years of full salary. And there’s a psychological aspect to this. That is, the people will go find other jobs within that period of time. People just don’t want to be unproductive. That’s part of our psychological id. And so that’s the problem that we face in the United States that is not soluble within the context of representative government.
Now, let me describe to you how we got to this mess structurally because the problem is representative government. There’s two venues for change: One is the government, wherein the problem exists; the other’s the people. But the people have to have a tool to be able to do something. There’s nothing that drives me up the wall more than great, great authors – and I include my friend, Noam Chomsky – where I say, “Well, here, Noam. You can describe the problem but what’s the solution?” “Oh, the people should and the government should.” Well, that and $1.75 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. No more than that. And that’s the tragedy of it that we don’t realize that the solution is a lot more apparent than we’ve been led to believe.
I lanced upon this several years and in a book, Citizen Power, that I wrote I wrote a chapter – I was very proud. I don’t consider myself a scholar but I wrote a chapter describing how representative government really came into being in the United States. And we really praise our Constitution. Our Constitution, for me, is no more than a living document that should be changed and improved upon.
Now, our forebears, if you’ll bear with me – our forebears was Washington, Madison, all of them, Wilson – they all said repeatedly the people should have the right to change their government in the future to satisfy their needs. Now, what does that mean? That’s code forth the people should have the right to make laws. That’s what they’re saying. And of course, they brought for the Constitution and in the Constitution they just forgot a little detail. They gave themselves the powers to change the Constitution, which they haven’t done a very good job doing, but they didn’t give the people the procedures to change the Constitution or to make laws.
Now, how did this happen? Are our forebears all hypocrites? No. They’re normal human beings. They put their leggings on one legging at a time in those days. And so what they did is they came together knowing that the nation, the 13 colonies which were now sovereign, some warring with each other – people were shooting at each other from Connecticut to New York – that they knew they had to make a change. And so they came together and isn’t it interesting? This was 11 years after the greatest document we have in our history, which is the Declaration of Independence where we state that all human beings are created equal. That’s the message of our forebears, not what happened in Philadelphia.
What happened in Philadelphia is that up until the decision was made to include slavery in the Constitution there wasn’t a prayer of getting a Constitution written. And of course, after it was agreed to then it went through like greased lightning. Everything fell into place. And what fell into place, very simply, was that a Negro was 3/5 of a white human being for the counting of representatives in the House of Representatives.
Now, Thomas Jefferson, when he was elected in 1800, shortly after that was called the Negro president. Now, let me disabuse you if you think it was over Sally Hemings. It had nothing to do with that. It was over the fact that with the 3/5 of southern slaves he was able to get enough votes to beat John Adams. John Adams, without the 3/5, would have been reelected president of the United States. Isn’t it interesting how, when you look at the underpinning and pull back the dirt and you see where our roots really lie?
We paid a price for slavery. Now, you say, “Well, really? Did they categorically deny you the right to make laws that everybody said you should be able to in order to put slavery in?” Of course that’s what happened. In 1778 in Massachusetts they put forth a Constitution that had slavery. It was voted down by the people. Two years later John Adams wrote a new Constitution that excluded slavery so strongly that it set up the whole process of doing away with slavery in Massachusetts and other states. It passed overwhelmingly.
So 11 years later, sitting in Philadelphia, the founders, the framers knew that if they were to put slavery in the Constitution and let the people vote on it as part of ratification they would lose. So what did they do? They ginned up this process under Article 9 of the Constitution that says that when the conventions of nine states ratify this document it becomes the law of those nine states. Now, that was illegal at the time because they were all already bound by the Constitution of the Confederation and the Confederation required unanimous consent. But what happened was interesting because we were falling apart so badly that the opposition to the Constitution after the ratification took place melted away. It was still there because they had put in place some interesting protections.
There’s five areas of the Constitution that are horribly undemocratic. The first one is the 3/5. That was taken care of by the Civil War. The rest locked down so tight the slavery in our culture and in the polity that there was no way to get rid of it absent a Civil War, which John Quincy Adams referred to, “the last battle of the revolutionary war,” which I think is very accurate.
Now, what are the other four areas that make our Constitution so undemocratic? And they’re all there and they’re healthy and they’re still doing unbelievable mischief to our system of government. One is the US Senate. I served in the Senate. I would vote in a heartbeat for a unicameral. We don’t need the Senate. Cooling the coffee in the saucer – that’s a nice cliché. You don’t need the repetition and of course, the Senate – and I’ve used the filibuster extensively – is not democratic.
Secondly, the electoral college. Isn’t it interesting that a citizen of Alaska, when voting for president of the United States, has five times the clout that you have when you vote for prescription of the United States? That’s because of the electoral college. Most Americans, if you ask them, and know anything about it won’t do away with it. Why is it you can’t do away with it?
The next area is Article 5. That’s how the elites are supposed to improve upon the Constitution. Well, of course, you can and there’s been nothing significant that’s passed in this fashion under Article 5 other than the expansion of the franchise, which was done primarily by initiatives for women’s votes and done by the Civil War.
So now you get to, why is it so difficult to take a structure of government that’s over 225 years old and that has never really been improved upon when science and technology’s just raced ahead? And so we have a government that’s a mess because it’s out of date. It doesn’t work for this period of time. Why is it there’s no changes? Just do the math. It takes three-fourths of the states to approve anything that comes out of the Congress, which takes two-thirds, or you could do it with three-fourths of conventions but it still has to go to three-fourths of the states. That means that 13 chambers – 13 chambers, which would stop any one of the 13 states – can step forward and support any constitutional amendment – 13 chambers. Now you know how much that is numerically? That’s less than 1,000 people. The Alaska senate is 40. Take your own senate and just take 13 states and you’ll see that you don’t even come close to 1,000 people that can thwart any possibility of changing an amendment.
Here, the women’s rights amendment that almost got enacted, which represents the rights of more than 50 percent of the population in our country, they couldn’t even get a constitutional amendment passed and it was obviously because of one state, one chamber, one state senator who wouldn’t budge.
Now, the last area that causes the most mischief – and we saw it in Florida, we saw it in Ohio – and that’s real simple. When they agreed to federalism they turned around and said, “Oh, that’s fine. We’ll have a federal government but we’re going to believe in states’ rights and we’re going to continue to fight for states’ rights.” But they don’t have to fight very hard because what they set up was all federal elections since the get-go are conducted by local and state government. So when you vote for president in California it’s controlled by the state legislature of California and the judiciary of California. And just move that around the country.
So when we saw what happened in Florida, what did the Congress do? It had an unbelievable opportunity to make some fundamental changes to that process, to have federal elections dealing with federal officers. No, they threw $3 billion at it and let Diebold and a bunch of other companies rip it off with devices that gave you no idea as to how the people were voting.
That’s where we’re at today. What is the answer now? Because I mentioned to you that it was natural for me to think of initiatives to address the 9/11 problem. But it’s even more natural because I’ve devoted the last 20-some odd years of my life writing legislation and writing about the concept of empowering you to make laws in every government jurisdiction of the United States. It’s not complicated. It truly isn’t. The law that we’ve put forth has 5,600 words. And it solves all of the shortcomings that exist in all of the 24 states that have initiatives and it solves the problems that even Switzerland has. And so this is on the shelf. If the American people realize that on the shelf they could reach and grab this legislation and they would be empowered to address all these problems that we’ve talked of that we want to see change.
The people can bring about change. The leaders won’t.
We did a focus group in Detroit and Atlanta and it was a surprising experience for me. Focus group, you’ve got the well to do educated, you’ve got the middle America and you’ve got the blue collar not so educated. Well, when we asked a question about empowering the educated and well to do, oh, it was, “What if? What if? Oh, my God, what if?” When we asked the same group that was in middle America, they had the what ifs but they also had their mind open to a possibility of change. And then when we got to the bottom there was no what ifs. They knew they were getting screwed and they wanted change. And so I found out what really denies the ability for change in our polity and our society, and that is there’s only three things that can happen with respect to change: You get better, get worse, or stay the same. So if you’re well off, if you’re part of the elite, you sure don’t want any change. And that’s the reality that we face today.
Now, with the National initiative – it’s out there. You can go to my website. It’s called either NI4D.us or NationalInitiative.us and you can vote for the national initiative. The problem is, it takes 65 million votes to enact this into law. Why? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s that since the beginning we’ve always had a situation where people ran for office and whoever had the plurality or majority, that person was elected to office. So we take that precedent and we use the precedent of the Article 7 in the Constitution and we just turn around and say that when the people who voted in the last presidential election vote in the affirmative for the national initiative it becomes the law of the land. We go entirely around the government. We’ve got nothing to do with the government. Once we have that many number of votes who vote for this we will declare it the law of the land and it will be the law of the land.
If there’s any doubt – and I’ve never had a constitutional scholar even put a glove on this – I’ll give you this example. In the Constitution it says, “We the people do ordain.” What does that mean? It means that we are the creators of our government. In the Preamble we create the rest of the Constitution to create our government. And so if we, the creator – like God – have to turn to the createe – what we created, the government – and get their permission to change the government, then we’re no longer the Creator. Do you see that logic? It’s indisputable and that is what will carry the day when we get a sufficient number of people to vote to empower themselves with the national initiative.
I’ve devoted my life to it and now I’m moving into another phase of it because by working on the 9/11 commission initiative at the state level it will wake people up. “Boy, if we can do this at the state level, create a de facto national commission, maybe that national initiative makes sense because we could vote for that, too, and enact that into law.”
The question that remains is, can this take place? I think so. But it’s going to take place because of people like yourselves who will make that extra effort to become informed. And it’s easy to become informed because what Bob and Richard and others are telling you is just right there. You don’t have to scratch – just on your computer you can tie into AlterNet, CommonDreams. There’s a bevy of information out there that all you’ve got to do is just stay casually informed and you’ll know the problem. The problem, the difficulty, is to know the solution. And that has to be carried forward by you to your associates and friends.
And so if you do go to the website for our Citizens 9-11 Commission Campaign, we need to be able to get people. You have – I have a Facebook account. You have probably the same kind of operation, whether Twitter or Facebook – is to turn around and saturate – saturate the ether with what we have putting forward, and that is the empowerment of the people. If the people were to realize – polls overwhelmingly show that people want to be empowered. The problem is, they don’t know that there’s something on the shelf that all they could do is reach for it and it will happen. And it will happen without the government standing in the way.
Thank you very much.
Help Us Transmit This Story
Add to Your Blogger Account
Put it On Facebook
Tweet this post
Print it from your printer
Email and a collection of other outlets
Try even more services