Recently, a nearly forgotten entity known as the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation emerged blinking into the sunlight of journalistic attention. News stories reported that the Senate Finance Committee is looking into the foundation’s operations and the fat salaries drawn by its executives. The National Park Service had abdicated to a private foundation the task of upgrading the security of the Statue of Liberty, closed since 9/11. Rather than draw on its endowment of $31 million to pay for the work, the foundation launched a fundraising campaign, raking in $5.9 million from corporate donors so far. Anyone who recalls the definitive Nation series, “The Selling of Miss Liberty” (starting November 9, 1985), by Roberta Brandes Gratz and Eric Fettmann, will not be surprised by the latest revelations. Gratz and Fettmann revealed the facts about the foundation’s shadowy creation and its takeover of the job of renovating Lady Liberty and Ellis Island with accompanying lucrative contracts and franchises.


Richard Falk writes: The 9/11 Commission hearings have focused entirely on whether our leaders acted with due urgency, given the existence of warnings and clues that a major Al Qaeda attack in this country was in the offing. But there are some deeper concerns that have not been touched upon by the 9/11 Commission that relate to discrepancies between the official version of what happened on that fateful day in 2001 and what actually occurred. These discrepancies are credibly reported in a recently published book by the distinguished scholar David Ray Griffin titled The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. For there are many disturbing questions about the events of 9/11. The government has mobilized the country for war on the basis of its presentation of those happenings. We, as citizens, deserve to know more convincingly why so much doubt hovers over them. And what Griffin’s book demonstrates, if nothing else, is that there is an overwhelming case for a far broader inquiry than what the 9/11 Commission has been authorized to undertake. Without invoking the credibility gap opened by discrepancies relating to the Iraq war–above all with respect to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence-spinning–a vigilant citizenry would demand even at this late date a formal inquiry of undoubted independence and with broad investigative authority. Such a process could be mandated by Congress at any time.


Having demonstrated its incompetence in preventing terrorism before 9/11, the Ashcroft Justice Department continues to terrorize distributors of marijuana for medical use. In California, however, where state law permits medical marijuana, the department has suffered a setback. On April 21, Federal District Judge Jeremy Fogel granted the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, in Santa Cruz, a temporary injunction against federal raids on their pot garden. The collective grows and distributes marijuana free to its registered patients (three-quarters of whom are terminally ill), for use to relieve pain and other symptoms. Judge Fogel granted the injunction pending trial of the collective for violating federal anti-marijuana laws. The Drug Policy Alliance calls the ruling an “important victory for the medical marijuana movement.”