Beverly Eckert: the tragic death of a genuine truth-seeker
Last Thursday, 50 people were killed when a commercial airliner (Colgan Flight 3407) crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, New York State. Through a savage twist of fate, one of the deceased was Beverly Eckert, who was widowed as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
Eckert’s grief over the loss of her husband, Sean, led her (along with other bereaved relatives) to demand an investigation into what was effectively the US government’s most catastrophic intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor. In spite of the Bush administration’s stone-walling, Ms Eckert and her peers won a major victory for accountability and open government in the form of the 9/11 Commission (whose papers have recently been placed online).
Beverly Eckert was a passionate critic of US foreign policy post-9/11, and opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She was also a critic of the Bush administration – which (for party-political reasons) tried to block her calls for an open inquiry into 9/11. While a host of charlatans and hooks have appropriated for themselves the title of the ‘9/11 truth movement’, Ms Eckert was a genuine truth-seeker, who wanted the record of the 11th September 2001 attacks made public. She believed that al-Qaeda had succeeded in her husband and nearly 3,000 other victims because of bureaucratic incompetence and institutional in-fighting between US government agencies who were (in theory) supposed to be co-operating to protect America and its citizens from terrorist attacks. It was her hope that the Commission’s investigation would identify the failures within officialdom and the intelligence services which contributed to 9/11, so that they could be rectified. She also wanted to see the architect of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, put on trial.
A bona fide ‘truth movement’ would have had a similar agenda to Ms Eckert.