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‘Jersey Girls’ Are “Rock Stars Of Grief”

Lest we forget, Ann Coulter isn’t the first to notice that the "Jersey Girls" have used their personal tragedies to advance their personal agendas.

This is a two year old story from the UK’s Telegraph. I don’t recall Burlingame’s comments attracting much comment. They might not even have been mentioned by the domestic media, apart from the Wall Street Journal.


Families of 9/11 are ‘the rock stars of grief’ says sister of Pentagon pilot

By Julian Coman in New York
(Filed: 27/06/2004)

Among the activist leaders of 9/11 families’ groups it is safe to say that Debra Burlingame – whose brother, Charles, was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon – is not a uniformly popular figure.

Ms Burlingame, a staunch Democrat, has become the first public 9/11 "dissident" – a vocal critic of the "blame game" being played over the al-Qaeda attacks – and an unlikely defender of George W Bush. For good measure, the outspoken former lawyer describes some of the bereaved 9/11 families as America’s "rock stars of grief".

"I’ve practically been thrown out of meetings," she says. "They’ve gotten very angry with me. But I’ve decided it’s very important that another voice is heard in the September 11 debate."

Charles "Chic" Burlingame piloted the doomed American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon minutes after the twin towers of the World Trade Centre were struck. Since suffering the loss of her brother, Debra Burlingame has undergone an extraordinary and traumatic political education.

A year and a half ago, the grieving sister passionately supported efforts, championed by a now-famous group of four New Jersey women, to force a highly visible inquiry into the events that led to her brother’s death. Like the so-called "Jersey girls", led by Kristin Breitweiser, Ms Burlingame believed that grievous mistakes must have been made for such a catastrophe to occur. She carried a home-made placard to one rally that angrily pointed out: "The men who murdered my brother were listed in the San Diego phone book."

With anger mounting among the relatives of victims, the 9/11 Commission, made up of both Republican and Democratic Congressmen, was formed; it will report next month. After hearing evidence given in the commission’s recent hearings, the four New Jersey women have made countless appearances in the national media, accusing various federal agencies, agents and the White House of hopeless incompetence.

Ms Burlingame, though, begs to differ. In blistering attacks last week on the 9/11 Commission and those who lobbied for it, she described the high-level hearings as a "Beltway soap opera – awash in politics and finger-pointing". Even more provocatively, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal, Ms Burlingame accuses prominent 9/11 activists of holding an unjustified "contempt for all the people whom they feel contributed to a loss of life on the day their loved ones didn’t come home".

For good measure, she also states that the 9/11 families "are not a monolithic group that speaks with one voice". The activist organisations, she says, have been indulged too much. Standing by a memorial in Manhattan to the September 11 victims, with her back to Ground Zero, Ms Burlingame says: "I first felt the need to speak out when ‘The Families of September 11’ group protested against the use of images of Ground Zero in Bush campaign advertisements. The idea that relatives of victims ‘own’ September 11 and its images, and can give or withhold permission to use them, is frankly ridiculous.

"People held back from criticising the relatives because of who they were. But what’s happening is that this prominent group of activists have become the rock stars of grief in this country. I think people are getting sick of them because they are being so demanding. I can say it because I’m a relative too."

Her views have certainly hit home. On the day Ms Burlingame’s article was published, it was the most frequently read piece on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Most of all, Ms Burlingame is angry on behalf of those who made valiant, improvised efforts to avert the tragedy of September 11 and who are now, as part of a political agenda, "being told that their hard-fought but doomed efforts amounted to incompetence and poor judgment that cost lives". "The air-traffic controller in charge of my brother’s flight did nothing wrong," she says. "He never went back to work and went into a deep depression.

"To me he’s just as much a victim of 9/11 as my brother, as are other people like him.

"So to have a widow saying they could have done this, they should have done that is just unfair. And it is to place an intolerable burden of guilt on their shoulders."

Not all the bereaved relatives, she suggests, are so concerned with apportioning blame and "owning" the events of September 11. "I’m getting many many messages of support from relatives of 9/11 victims," she said. "Some of what I’m saying might be considered blasphemous by some, but people are telling me, ‘Thanks for saying what you said.’ "

According to Ms Burlingame, discussions over future memorials to victims have been constrained by demands from 9/11 activists for "politically correct" mourning. "The Ground Zero memorial will list all the names of those who died," says Ms Burlingame. "There was a suggestion made that the firefighters who died heroically doing their job should be acknowledged by stating their unit or engine. What was the response from the 9/11 groups? They said there can be ‘no hierarchy of heroes’! Why can’t we acknowledge what the firefighters did in trying to save lives? It’s just nutty."

Attending the commission’s sometimes rowdy hearings, which have been held in both Washington and New York, Ms Burlingame says it also became clear that the 9/11 Steering Committee, an umbrella organisation for the various relatives’ groups, had a specific, partisan agenda.

"The groups wanted to dictate how the commission was constituted, who the witnesses would be and what questions should be asked," she says. "They won’t say it in public but I can tell you that in private, it is all about bashing Bush. They want to get Bush out of office and they are using 9/11 and the commission to try to ensure that happens.

"At the beginning, I would receive e-mails from the groups which were all about emotional support and solidarity. Then they started getting political, along the lines of ‘Can you believe what these bastards in the government are doing?’

"Yet the 9/11 Family Steering Committee is made up of 12 unelected, self-nominated representatives. It’s like 12 people sitting around someone’s kitchen table with a bottle of wine, but they’ve managed to establish themselves as the voices of the 9/11 family members. The media never go anywhere else for an opinion."

By the time Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, agreed to appear before the commission in April she was, says Ms Burlingame, entering a bearpit. "It was a circus atmosphere, and I mean that in the Roman sense; there was a sense of menace."

However, Kristen Breitweiser said: "People are entitled to their opinion but I think it’s sad that Debra keeps singling out me and the other three women from New Jersey in particular for criticism. What we are trying to do is make sure that much-needed reforms in important areas are made. It’s our conscience that’s driving us. This is not political. I voted for George W Bush. My husband voted for him. But because I voted for him I hold him to a higher standard than I would otherwise."

Next month, Ms Burlingame expects the "Jersey girls" and others to use the 9/11 Commission’s final report to savage further the Bush administration. She will be mounting her own campaign, with a quite different message.

"I would like to act as a reminder to people of where we should focus our energy: that is on the people who are trying to hurt us. We need to concentrate on defeating them, not on beating up on each other. I know that is what my brother, Chic, would be thinking."

But gosh that Ann Coulter is outrageous!

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 13th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “‘Jersey Girls’ Are “Rock Stars Of Grief””

  1. rpm319 says:

    You sick people you don’t even pretend to be objective. You’re just a bunch pathetic Republicans morons that sit here and regurgitate quotes from Fox news and reinforce the ideas that have already been planted in your heads. 9/11 was an inside job here are few unanswered questions that these poor, devastated widows want answers to. Real patriots ask questions and keep their government in check, unlike you who takes the easy way out in the form of racism and ignorance. I know you want America to be the benevolent giant that never does wrong but, face it, it’s not, our leaders and media have been bought and paid for by ruthless billionaires who have the money, means and motive to pull off these false flag attacks. I’m sure you believe the JFK assassination official story too. 9/11, like the JFK assassination, is a manufactured tragedy that takes 6 months or a year to plan and allows the real perpetrators to control public opinion for 10 years after. And with that control they enter the country into unnecessary wars that they then heavily privatize and deliberately prolong. it’s going to take vigilance and skepticism by an educated citizenry in order the stop these megalomaniacs from further tightening their grasp on this country. I could go on for days but good luck regurgitating fox news instead of thinking for yourself. Think about these questions, but you probably won’t because you’ve got the mentality of a frightened little boy who’s too afraid of the big bad complex world. Where’s the resistance from the millions of bolted steel connections and solid concrete when the collapse reaches the lower undamaged part of the towers? Why does building 7 go down in the same way when it hasn’t been hit by a plane? What caused the molten material to pour out of the south tower before the collapse and flow under the rubble after? (thermite) How were 1300+ degree temperatures sustained in the rubble 6 weeks later? (thermite) Enough to keep steel red hot… Why doesn’t the plane fit in the hole in the Pentagon? Why isn’t there damage from the wings on either side of the larger hole? How does the plane reach into c-ring of the Pentagon? Why do trained military personnel smell cordite at the Pentagon immediately after the crash? Why didn’t the missile defense system at the pentagon start up? Why is there only 5 frames of pentagon surveillance footage released? Why would G.W.B and Cheney only testify to the 9/11 commission together and not under oath? Where are of the black boxes? Why was only 6 million dollars spent on the 9/11 investigation and 40 million was spent on Clinton’s sex life investigation? Why can no one explain the “Nose in Nose out” footage from a fox news chopper? How can anyone explain Willie Rodriguez witness an explosion in the basement prior to the plane hitting the tower?

  2. wirenut says:

    rpm319, you left out the moon landings, any ideas on that?

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