A pretrial hearing to determine potential compensatory
damages in six lawsuits brought by 9/11 victims� families, originally scheduled
by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein for August 30 at the Southeastern District
Federal Court, was changed at the last minute.
�He�s on vacation� was the answer from the court clerks. And
�always check the court website before coming.� Now we know to call first for
Federal Court hearings.
That left Ellen Mariani (who had flown in especially to
witness the event), attorney (and independent candidate for NY Attorney
General) Carl Person, American Free Press Reporter Mark Anderson, myself and
other concerned persons high and dry in the marble corridors outside courtroom
14D, where nevertheless we lingered for two hours sharing information and ire.
After a call to court chambers, we found out that the
hearing had been rescheduled to September 4, at 10 am, for those remaining 41
families who had chosen to sue rather than take money from the Victims
Compensation Fund, which would cancel their right to sue. A day later, the date
for the pretrial was moved again, ironically to September 11 at 2:30 pm. One
wondered if someone was playing musical chairs with the dates to prevent those
concerned from attending.
We have (as of this
writing) one day left to see if Judge Hellerstein will keep his appointment
with justice. The judge chose to begin with the damages portion of the would-be
trials. This would be to determine the victims and their families� pain and
suffering in the cases, which include wage, property and business losses, all
of which are compounded by the number of dependents. But damages are usually
the second phase of a trail. Liability is generally part one, so that a jury
can determine if and to what extent the airlines and their security contractors
could be held liable.
In this case, the liability phase is to be decided by a
single jury later. The defendants include airlines, airline manufacturers (such
as Boeing), agencies such as the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey
(which owned the World Trade Center) in addition to agencies responsible for
security at the WTC and the key airports, Logan and Dulles.
As USA TODAY reported,
�Andrew Maloney, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said it is unusual to have a
trial on damages before it is decided who might be forced to pay them, but he
said it has happened before in airline disaster cases. He also said he agreed
with the judge that �this might break the logjam.�� Another attorney called it
�a sterile environment� in which to judge the cases.
The �logjam� refers to the fact that even though 2,880
victims' families (97 percent of all) have been paid some $6 billion, the
remaining 41 families that still chose to sue have been waiting several years
for courtroom not backroom settlement justice.
NY Times paints a
condescending picture of remaining families
In an article, Little-Noticed 9/11
Lawsuits Will Go to Trial, Anemona Hartocollis writes, �By the
plaintiffs� own accounts, they have sued with mixed motives, which sometimes
even they cannot untangle. They present themselves as heroes fighting for the
truth and as families honoring the memory of their loved ones, but they are not
apologetic about seeking money. They seem to be an angry, stubborn, sorrowful
and stalwart group, who have been little known by most Americans, or perhaps
forgotten with the passage of time.�
Why should they be apologetic about anything, including
financial awards, to sustain themselves after losing their loved ones; and with
no explanation but the tome of the 911 Commission of Omission or the CIA�s
self-serving report on its failures?
In another place, Hartocollis lays on another coat of tar
and feathers, �If there is anything that characterizes many of the remaining
holdouts in the lawsuits, their lawyers acknowledge, it is that they tend to be
people who would not have received high awards from the federal government�s
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund -- children, retirees, single people
Again, the implication here is that these families are not
really holding out on the basis of principle but to get more money, �angry,
stubborn, sorrowful and stalwart� as they have been characterized.
The truth is, I witnessed both plaintiff and airline lawyers
bandying about names of cases on June 25, 2007, in Judge Hellerman�s courtroom,
trying to find those victims with the least amount of dependents� liability,
and the most financially and legally expedient jurisdictions. I wrote about it
in Choosing 9/11 victim
lawsuits for trial? In the first paragraph, I linked my first
article from the June 14 court date: The 9/11 Victim Compensation
Fund: cui bono? This article provides more background on the fund
and its players.
Of the six cases chosen from the June 25 meeting, four were
single adults, and two were seniors whose adult children were grown and
self-supporting. One senior victim, a successful computer engineer, left a wife
who shared her husband�s comfortable retirement. So, the onus of
money-grubbing, quick and easy settlements was on the lawyers and the judge.
What�s more, Ellen Mariani, who had spoken out first and
ferociously against the government with a RICO suit (subsequently dismissed)
and a suit against United Airlines, had her name illegally replaced on that
latter suit with her step-daughter�s name, Lauren Peters, n�e
Mariani, natural daughter of Louis Neal Mariani. This was done by a variety of
skilled if not corrupt lawyers in league with the �judicial system.� Mrs.
Mariani has now been given the status of non-person, or persona non grata for
exercising her right to challenge. It�s been left to this patriot widow to
fight her way back into her due process and/or award.
In fact, Lauren Peters may have already struck a deal with
the powers that be and may be receiving payment from Oasis Legal Finance, based on her final award. It�s sort of like
getting your tax return early from one of those accounting companies that slice
a piece of the action for fronting you your cash. Lauren Peters originally was
in full accord with her step-mother about the suits back home in New Hampshire.
Also, New Hampshire state law stipulates that any and all awards must be
equally shared. But then Peters reportedly has had a history of alcohol,
substance and eating abuse. Perhaps her judgment and commitment to her original
principles were clouded by those problems and the legal-beagles� lure of big
Hartocollis� New York Times article also mentions Mary
Schiavo, who was a former inspector general for the federal Department of
Transportation. After 9/11, Schiavo visited the Washington, DC,
African-American family of one of the victims, 11-year old Asia Cottom,
lost on Flight 77 on an educational trip with her classmates. Mrs. Cottom says,
�She [Schiavo] came to me and convinced me that she could bring justice to the
situation, and I trusted what she said.� Schiavo, the Times reports, �convinced
Mrs. Cottom that her instincts were right, that Asia deserved much more than
what the government would offer.� The average award was $2 million; the range
from $250,000 to $7.1 million. So, who�s at fault here, the grieving mother of
a bright, beautiful child or a lawyer full of promises, promises?
It is also interesting that Schiavo went on to become a
noted authority on TV talk shows on aviation disasters and terrorism. More
importantly, she went on to lawyer for the well known South Carolina law firm
of Motley Rice. She brought with her 44, count them, 44, 9/11 cases for the
Motley roster. Initially, Motley Rice represented some 53 cases, with 30
remaining after 23 settlements. Somewhere along the line, Schiavo dropped Mrs.
Mariani as a client, since Mariani caught her in and questioned her about a
secret meeting with high officials. Perhaps Mrs. Mariani was too close to
something for comfort. Originally, Schiavo said she was �honored to have
Mariani as a client.� Unfortunately, she wasn�t honored to keep her.
Ah, but now the plot takes an interesting turn.
Airlines sue FBI and
CIA over 9/11 blame
AP beamed this story to
media around the globe, that aviation and related companies were
suing the CIA and FBI to force terrorism investigators to tell the whole truth
and nothing but to clear the aviation industry from being solely to blame for
the 9/11 attacks. In other words, the fly-boys weren�t going to eat the tab
that could run in the billions for 41 possible lawsuits. The FBI/CIA suits were
deposed conveniently in the same Manhattan US District Court to build defenses
in those victims� suits for damages from injuries, deaths and property and
business losses. Curiously, this was an offbeat clarion call for some in-depth
9/11 truth, though far from what really happened.
Check that out at this link.
Also, the airlines said the CIA and FBI had turned down a
request to depose two secret agents, including the 2001 head of the CIA�s
special Osama bin Laden unit, and six FBI agents with key knowledge of al Qaeda
and bin Laden. The airlines claimed that they were entitled to present evidence
showing that the �terrorist� attacks didn�t depend on negligence by any airline
defendants and that there were other causes involved.
Now someone was shaking the cage, at least within the larger
zoo of the myth that bin Laden and box-cutter brandishing terrorists did it. No
demands have been made as to whether they were the patsies or the real
culprits, or that the �terrorists� were not even on the planes.
But the airlines and their compatriots want to show that the
terrorists were �sophisticated, ideologically driven and well-financed� and
would have been successful irrespective of any action by airline entities. Well
at least that points a finger in the right direction: towards the government
itself as the culprit.
One would hope that the FBI and the CIA would depose the
White House and the Pentagon coup-engineers who were pulling the real strings
on that awful day. For some more realistic answers, Google or order historian
Webster Tarpley�s 9/11 Synthetic Terror
-- Made in the USA or David Ray Griffin�s classic, The New Pearl Harbor -- Disturbing Questions about the Bush
Administration and 9/11.
Returning to the FBI/CIA case, in this instance the plaintiffs
are American Airlines, Inc. AMR Corporation; United Airlines, Inc.; UAL Corp.;
US Airways Group, Inc.: US Airways, Inc.; Delta Airlines, Inc.; Continental
Airlines, Inc.; Airtran Airways, Inc.; Colgan Air, Inc.; Argenbright Security,
Inc.; Globe Aviation Services Corporation; Globe Airport Security Services,
inc.; Huntleight USA Corp.; ICTS International NV; The Boeing Company; The
Massachusetts Port Authority; and the Metropolitan Washington Airport
Authority. They represent 5 percent of America�s wealth. The Wall Street Journal
Online can provide you with a look at the actual suits.
In the CIA lawsuits, the above plaintiffs said they asked to
interview the deputy chief of the CIA�s bin Laden unit in 2001 and an FBI agent
assigned to the unit at that time. Those names remain secret. In the FBI
lawsuit, the plaintiffs asked to interview five former and current FBI
employees who had taken part in investigations of al Qaeda and al Qaeda
operatives before and after the 9/11 attacks.
I would suggest the airlines ask to speak as well to bin
Laden�s CIA handler who saw him in July 2001 as he entered a hospital in Dubai
for kidney dialysis. This is duly noted in former CIA Station Chief Robert
Baer�s book, Sleeping With the Devil.
Getting to the truth of 9/11
Perhaps if we open the doors to the cages in the myth�s zoo
and we pull out all the animals inside, we�ll get to the real truth about 9/11,
that it was an inside false-flag job. And then
the government and its leaders will have to pay a lot more than money, and not
just to the victims and their families, but to the people of America for the
War on Terror that ensued as a result of 9/11 in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and the
one which now seems to be brewing in Iran, created as still another cover-up in
which to cage the American psyche, its energy, resources and freedoms.
In essence, all who believe 9/11 was anything but an inside
job are victims, too. And the justice they seek, unless they investigate and
demand it themselves, will not be forthcoming. Instead a $3 billion a week
chunk of their tax money will be taken from their treasury just to pay for the
first two wars, let alone a third. And their sons and daughters will taken by
draft this time. And there will be no turning back, no court of last resort;
only the shadows, the emptiness of those fallen Towers that can be seen so
clearly from courtroom 14D at 55 Pearl Street. Those are really the larger
implications of these trials and the justice sought by its 41 families, whether
they know it or not. And perhaps there is no calculable price tag for all these
losses. But perhaps the heads of the real perpetrators might do as a start.
Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at email@example.com.