The Continuing Censorship of ‘The Path to 9/11′

* A hard look at Wllie Clitman’s legacy:


By John Ziegler
Blocking the Path to 9/11″

Just less than seven years ago it would have been impossible to predict that the horrific events of September 11, 2001 would be as forgotten as they now seem today. In those heady days of national unity that marked the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America, we made a communal pledge that we would never forget the victims or the lessons of that fateful day. There is little doubt that we have long ago betrayed that promise.

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There is no more dramatic example of this distressing reality than what has happened to the one major film that attempted to answer a very simple and yet extremely complex question: How was that day allowed to happen?

In 2006, exactly five years after the attacks, ABC attempted to broadcast “The Path to 9/11.”  The extraordinary mini-series was a $40 million, five-hour-plus production that aired, commercial-free, over two nights, in prime time.

However, prior to broadcast, Bill Clinton and members of his former administration went ballistic after discovering that one scene in the film dealt with the many opportunities during his presidency to kill or capture Usama bin Laden. A two-week firestorm erupted and the film had several key scenes edited out of the completed and legally vetted version before finally airing with numerous disclaimers.

Since then, the film which was originally intended to run each year around 9/11, has not been broadcast again and the DVD has never been released. While it has been reported that this decision was made over concerns about disrupting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Robert Iger, the head of Disney (the parent company of ABC) declared at this year’s shareholder meeting that it was “simply a business decision” to not put out the DVD. He made this odd declaration despite the fact that DVD distribution would have limited costs associated with it and not doing so insured a $40 million loss on the project.

We now know (thanks to the book, “Clinton in Exile”) that it was Bill Clinton himself, among others, who called Iger and demanded that movie be edited or pulled.  With the specter of a then nearly certain Hillary Clinton presidency staring them in the face (and with Iger and many others in the film’s management hierarchy already financial contributors to the Clintons), Disney caved and committed perhaps the most blatant, under-reported, and significant act of censorship in modern American history.

I have devoted most of the last year of my life to producing a documentary on the controversy surrounding “The Path to 9/11.” My film, “Blocking the Path to 9/11,” has put together O.J. Simpson-like evidence demonstrating that the initial smear of the movie and the filmmakers was a travesty of justice so “Simpsonian” in its proportions that Americans of all political stripes should be equally outraged.

What anyone who sees my film is likely to conclude is that the great irony of the “The Path to 9/11″ being branded — and largely discredited –as a product of a right-wing conspiracy within Hollywood (a concept which is absurd enough on its own) is that almost all of those who made the docudrama were so liberal that they feared attacks from the right on the mini-series.

Among the many revelations my documentary provides is new evidence that what Disney actually did was to take a dive on their own movie. They did this by preventing the liberals in charge of the film from speaking out in defense of the movie. Why? Because, amazingly, they preferred the scenario of unilateral disarmament (not to mention throwing away $40 million) to rebutting and embarrassing the Clintons.

The writer/producer, director, research assistant, and editors of “The Path to 9/11″ have all demonstrated enormous career courage (something rarer in Hollywood than a starlet without plastic surgery) to participate in this documentary. They risked their standing in Hollywood because they believe in this film and want to stand up for the truth and what is right.

Unfortunately, their courage has not been matched by any of the numerous entertainment organizations that pretend to defend free speech but have been shockingly silent on this issue, apparently for fear of appearing to protect “conservatives.” The news media as a whole (which is also skewered in the documentary) should be embarrassed by their complicity in this smear and the injustice, too.

One of the many unfortunate consequences of this controversy is that the education company Scholastic also caved to left-wing pressure and killed their plan to use “The Path to 9/11″ as a teaching tool in schools.  Seven years after 9/11 we live in a state where teaching “global warming” is part of the official curriculum, but the events of 9/11 are not. It is now an anomaly to meet a youngster who has yet to reach their teen years who has any memory or even rudimentary knowledge of 9/11.

If those who do not know their history truly are doomed to repeat it, we are well on our way to disgracing the memories of those who died on 9/11and setting ourselves up for making the same mistakes again. The continuing censorship of “The Path to 9/11″ is both emblematic and symptomatic of that  sad truth.

For more on “Blocking the Path to 9/11″ click here.