by Kristen Breitweiser,
9/11 widow and activist
November 16, 2009
Even after witnessing the horrors of 9/11 that included me helplessly watching the murder of my husband on live television, I still believe that we are a civilized nation of laws. And like the Nuremberg trials that brought the murderers of millions to justice, now more than ever, Americans need to trust our own judicial system to fully and openly prosecute the mass murderers of 9/11 while the rest of the world bears witness.
Because while the terrorists were successful in bringing down the Twin Towers and hijacking airplanes on 9/11, our Constitution should never be hijacked or brought down as a result of anything–let alone the potential adversity faced in prosecuting modern day monsters like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Indeed, in the fight against Islamist extremism, we should never bow to the terrorists by compromising, manipulating, re-writing or flat-out ignoring the core, bedrock principles of our Constitution that speak to the very heart of who we are as a nation–a democracy.
Yet, quite alarmingly, Republicans seem to be exhibiting just this sort of crisis of confidence in our Constitution’s ability to prosecute these horrible men. Republicans argue that men like KSM are war criminals who can only be convicted in military commissions where they won’t receive the protections of our laws. Republicans seem to lack a certain faith in our Constitution’s ability and adaptability in meting out the demands of modern day justice.
So the once-brazen, chest-thumping Republicans who… Continue reading
By Michael McAuliff
November 24, 2009
Some 9/11 widows who want to see a terror trial in New York today questioned why a group strongly linked to Liz Cheney is leading the charge in opposition to the trial.
Her father, after all, is the man many Democrats and liberals think broke the law in pushing for interrogation techniques now deemed torture by the Obama administration, and which were used on Al Qaeda plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
The anti-trial group is led by Debra Burlingame — whose brother piloted one of the doomed planes — and who is a guiding light at 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America.
The 9/11 Families group had as a springboard Keep America Safe, a Liz Cheney vehicle where Burlingame serves on the board.
“Perhaps they’re trying to protect her father’s role in torturing these detainees,” said Lorie Van Auken, who lost her husband on 9/11. “And that’s actually what could keep us from seeing justice, is this torture that was done to these people because that evidence is not really evidence. It won’t be admissible anywhere.”
Auken was speaking on a conference call organized by the liberal Human Rights First.
Later, she declined to back off her statement. “You start to wonder why Liz Cheney would be organizing the 9/11 families,” she said. “It’s just a funny connection.”
Below (see source) is the press conference Burlingame did today with Rep. Pete King and others, posted online by Keep America Safe, in which… Continue reading
For Immediate Release
It is with utter disbelief that we listen to the unfolding details of the attempted December 25, 2009 terrorist attack of Delta Flight 253.
Let us remind you, on September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists managed to evade all security measures, hijack four commercial airliners, slam them into three buildings and a field in Pennsylvania, killing 2,976 innocent people, including our husbands.
We responded by strenuously lobbying for an independent investigation to find out how on earth so many agencies could have failed in their duties to protect us, and our loved ones, from such an attack. We asked that they find and fix the loopholes that existed, in order to safeguard our nation.
After the 18-month 9/11 Commission investigation, countless systemic and human failures were uncovered, including: failure to analyze data, failure to share information, human error, failure to follow up, antiquated computer systems, too much information in the system, not enough information in the system, not enough time or people to analyze data, failure to watch list, failure to properly coordinate the watch list with other lists and visa issuance and monitoring failures. Despite all of this, the 9/11 Commissioners simplistically announced that it was a “failure of imagination” that caused the agencies to falter and allowed 9/11 to happen. Additionally, we were told that those in positions to protect us “could never have imagined this type of attack” and that “everyone is at fault, so no one is at fault.”
The 9/11 Commissioners would not… Continue reading
By Mireya Navarro
New York Times
Sgt. Dawn Sorrento says she looks on the years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a blur of doctor’s visits, ambushes by illnesses she had never heard of and growing resentment toward the city that challenged her injury claims.
[RELATED: Ground Zero Workers Reach Deal Over Claims (March 12, 2010)]
Yet on Friday, Sergeant Sorrento, a police officer who is among some 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers at ground zero who sued the city for health damages, felt a grim sort of satisfaction. She had expected her case to be among the first to go to trial this spring; instead, both sides announced a legal settlement of up to $657.5 million Thursday night.
“It’s nice that someone took responsibility, finally,” said Sergeant Sorrento, 43, who helped coordinate the movement of cranes, dignitaries and cadaver-hunting dogs in and out of ground zero in September 2001. “The city finally acknowledges that 9/11 diseases do exist and that people are suffering.”
Officials cast the settlement as righting a historic wrong on Friday and predicted that it would assure speedy and just compensation to the workers, who have waited more than six years for a legal resolution. But significant hurdles remain.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, of the United States District Court in Manhattan, has made clear that he intends to play a role in assuring that individuals are compensated fairly.
At a hearing on Friday, Judge Hellerstein said he would take a week to review the terms of the agreement and convene again next Friday to give his “initial impressions” and to hear from interested parties, including plaintiffs.…Continue reading
March 31, 2010
From the Huffington Post:
In anticipation of a final announcement as to the trial venue for the 9/11 plotters, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is warning the president against “buckling to political pressure,” calling the use of military tribunals the “wrong thing to do.”
In a nearly four-minute long video, Donna Marsh O’Connor — a Peaceful Tomorrows member who lost her pregnant daughter when the Twin Towers collapsed — speaks both to the broad notion that America has a “historic commitment to justice” and, more narrowly, to the horse-trading politics that now surround terrorist trials. Reflecting disappointment with recent signals from the White House, O’Connor calls specifically for the president to reject a reported compromise proposal with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in which the administration would drop plans for civilian trials in exchange for Republican support for the closure of Gitmo.
“As 9/11 families, we have suffered greatly and waited almost nine years to see justice done with our own eyes,” O’Connor says. “We understand that you face political pressure to back down. We ask that you do not allow fear and prejudice to govern your decision as we are not afraid. We know our country is strong enough to hold on to our values in the face of terrorism.”
The video follows other efforts from Peaceful Tomorrows to advocate for civilian trials for the 9/11 suspects.
A 30 second television spot featuring 9/11 family members and promoting awareness of the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7 has begun airing in New York City. The ad is sponsored by buildingwhat.org and highlights the fact that over 1200 architects and engineers have called for an independent investigation into the events of 9/11.
World Trade Center 7 was the third skyscraper to be completely destroyed on September 11, 2001 — despite not having been hit by an airplane.
The ad began airing on election day and will run through November 10 on 13 channels, including CNN, MSNBC and VH1. NYCCAN, the group who created the ad, estimate that it will be seen by nearly 900,000 viewers. The group plans to commission an opinion poll after the run of the ad and send the results to every City Council member.
“We’ve been educating the City Council about Building 7 and the need for a new investigation for the past six months,” said Bob McIlvaine, father of Bobby McIlvaine and one of the 9/11 family members who appear in the ad. “We are asking them now to do something about it.”
Manny Badillo, another family member who appears in the spot, said “For the next two weeks, we the people will see, many for the first time, the demise of the Salomon Brothers building on the day of my uncle’s murder. What you witness allows critical thought about details of the crime that we have… Continue reading
By David Edwards
The Senate passed a bill by unanimous consent Wednesday that will provide health care benefits to first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Original report follows…
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) earned himself a visit from some 9/11 first responders after he threatened to block a bill that would provide them health benefits.
A group of former Ground Zero workers visited the senator’s office Tuesday to give him a piece of their mind but Coburn refused the meeting.
“Mr. Coburn should be ashamed of himself,” John Feal, the leader of the group, told Think Progress. “Because I think before he was a senator he was a doctor and he took an oath to help people that are sick. He’s going against his oath as a doctor. He can vote any way he wants as a senator, but as a doctor, he just embarrassed the medical profession.”
“What about going office to office? Have their staff and the senators been very receptive to the group?” Think Progress asked.
“Once in a while we’ll run into some resistance and some arrogance and some rude people. Listen, we busted our asses since 9/11. We’ve fought and advocated for ourselves so others wouldn’t. So to be insulted by the staff of the United States Senate and Congress — most of them were 12 years old when 9/11 happened — doesn’t bother me,” Feal said.
All but one of the 42 Republican senators stood together last week… Continue reading
by Sibel Edmonds
31. January 2011
Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs
The Witnessed & Documented “Kamikaze Pilots” Case
In a public statement issued today (see below), members of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee demanded a prompt response from the former Chairman and Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission regarding Former FBI Language Specialist Behrooz Sarshar’s censored testimony to the Commission. The press release was prompted by recently released documents related to the interviews conducted by the 9/11 Commission published at Cryptome.org, in particular the “Memorandum for the Record” containing the Commission’s interview with Mr. Sarshar. The memorandum, after establishing Mr. Sarshar’s credibility and vaguely referring to his documented and witnessed testimony regarding specific tip(s) provided to the FBI in April and June 2001
regarding planned imminent “Kamikaze Pilots” attacks targeting major cities in the United States, leaves out the entire testimony. This testimony was also entirely left out of the Commission’s final report released in July 2004.
Behrooz Sarshar worked as a GS 12 language specialist with Top Secret Clearance at the FBI Washington Field Office. After leaving the FBI in 2002, he provided his testimony on “Kamikaze Pilots” to several Congressional offices and investigators, including staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Committee’s leading Democrat at the time, Senator Patrick Leahy, and the Justice Department’s Inspector General Office. The congressional sources familiar with Mr. Sarshar’s case and briefing found him and his report credible:
A former Grassley investigator says he found Sarshar credible, too. “We thought… Continue reading
Shame on Representative Cliff Stearns and shame on each and every one of the representatives who voted to make compensation for 9/11 first responders reliant upon a check for “terrorist” activities. Shame is a concept that blankets American actions as it responded to that grave day. I won’t belabor the many instances where this nation either killed or maimed others either in retribution or in the pretense at keeping the rest of us “safe” but I will say that this last act of betrayal by elected officials places all of us in greater danger. Frankly, if we don’t counter this betrayal, we deserve what we get.
What has come over us? Have we completely lost the ability to function as compassionate adults in an imperfect world? Think for one minute about the ramifications of such an act:
On 9/11/2001 when many people fled the horror of the scene at Ground Zero, countless firefighters, police officers, and brave civilian volunteers rushed to the scene to help. I believe that my own daughter who was on that day four or five months pregnant was almost home free precisely because others helped her almost, almost to safety. How many others walked away because they were provided help? We can only guess at the numbers. How many families of first responders are like my own — ten years out still suffering the effects… Continue reading
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN
July 18, 2011
Relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks have asked to meet with the FBI and top members of the Obama administration about allegations reporters from one of Rupert Murdoch’s British papers tried to hack the cell phone accounts of victims.
In letters sent Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, a lawyer representing some victims’ families is asking for meetings to discuss a report that journalists from the now-defunct News of the World asked a New York-based private investigator to help them gather information from victims’ phones.
The FBI has initiated an informal probe into the allegations, which were first reported by the Daily Mirror.
“We commend the FBI for opening a preliminary inquiry into this serious issue and we are requesting a meeting to ascertain the scope, goals and timetable of the inquiry,” the letter to Mueller said, Reuters reported. The FBI’s press office declined to comment.
The lawyer representing the victims’ relatives, Norman Siegel, told the wire service that his “clients are troubled about the allegation of potential hacking and they are particularly upset that there now exists an allegation that a newspaper would seek to illegally obtain information about their loved ones.”
“I tried in the letter not to accuse anyone, especially News Corp, of anything yet because you don’t want a media frenzy accusing someone if the facts aren’t there. We want… Continue reading
Lorie Van Auken
Lorie Van Auken joins us and shares with us her reflections ten years on about the events of 9/11 and her loss. She discusses the still-classified 28 pages of the JICI dealing with terrorist financing, the 9/11 families’ stalled lawsuit to bankrupt the terrorists and the direct interventions by the White House to protect the Saudi regime against the justice-seeking families, and the many uninvestigated questions and facts covered up by the 9/11 Commission. She questions our current many-fronted wars and the senselessness of the occupation of and our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan with Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden both dead, while our economy is crashing here at home. Ms. Van Auken talks about the three versions of the NORAD timeline, the passage of the Patriot Act as a vehicle to erode our civil liberties, NSA’s illegal wiretapping of our domestic communications under the guise of security, and more!
Lorie Van Auken, the mother of two children, lost her husband Kenneth Van Auken in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. She is one of the “Jersey Girls” who, along with Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza, fought the Bush administration for a commission to investigate the attacks. Ms. Van Auken is also a member of the September 11 Advocates.
Here is our guest Lorie Van Auken unplugged! Click here to listen to interview with Lorie Van Auken [48:26].
For the last year or so, one of my “pet projects” has been to search the video archives of C-SPAN for statements made about different people, different events, and make short movies out of them. They cover a multitude of topics, including NORAD’s response, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the Israeli Art Students, Saudi Arabia, and many others. Here is my C-SPAN Movie Collection, in the order they were created.
Praise For The 9/11 Report
by Sophie Elmhirst
8 September 2011
The New Statesman
“I can’t believe I haven’t seen my daughter in ten years.”
You lost your daughter in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Does the tenth anniversary feel particularly painful?
You want people to remember the date for the right reason – that hate engenders hideous things. Time heals in some ways, but I can’t believe I haven’t seen her in ten years. I did an interview in New York City recently and came home on the plane, and when the lights dimmed in the cabin, I lost it. I didn’t want to be on my own on a plane sobbing. I just kept thinking about the day of her birth.
Do you remember 11 September 2001 clearly?
Of course. To be honest, I don’t want to remember. It was absolutely exquisite: the crispest, clearest, sunniest morning on the East Coast, warm and beautiful, and sad because it was getting near the end of summer – but it was almost so beautiful that it made you OK with that.
How did 9/11 transform the US?
From that moment, there was a decision on the part of the Bush administration to give up the American way of life. In so many significant ways – the constitution, the Patriot Act, Guantánamo Bay, military tribunals, torture, water- boarding, Halliburton [oilfields], endless war.
Has your perception of your country changed?
I was raised on this heady idea that America had an ethical… Continue reading
By SUSANNA KIM
Sept. 15, 2011
After the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 and six months after the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, questions still remain regarding who funded the attacks that led to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages.
The latest legal pursuit is that of an insurance syndicate of British insurer Lloyd’s, which says the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its banks and various charities should be financially responsible for the $215 million it paid in insurance settlements to 9/11 victims’ families.
William Doyle’s family is one of the families determined to find those who funded the attacks on 9/11. Doyle’s son, Joseph, was killed in the north tower of the World Trade Center.
William Doyle told ABC News there are “concrete facts” showing the majority of the hijackers’ funding originated from Saudi Arabia. He said the government helped “shield” some of that evidence when the joint congressional committee investigating the attacks published a report in December 2002 and redacted about 28 pages.
Doyle and others believe names of Saudi financiers and companies have been removed. 9/11 Anniversary: Congress Shows Bipartisan Spirit, In Song Watch Video GMA: America Remembers 10 Years Later Watch Video From the Tower Watch Video
“How could they hide under diplomatic immunity?” Doyle said of those he believes have been protected. “People don’t get missiles to strike down helicopters by themselves. Someone is funding them. If someone is funding them, let it be known and cut… Continue reading
September 21, 2011
SecrecyKills.com [website no longer exists]
Despite threats of prosecution from the CIA, the makers of 9/11: Press For Truth have released their new documentary podcast Who Is Rich Blee?
By Elisabeth Bumiller
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware disposed of body parts of some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by burning them and dumping the ashes in a landfill, an independent panel said in a report to the Pentagon released on Tuesday.
The startling new disclosure was the latest to tarnish the reputation of Dover, hallowed ground for the military and the entry point for the nation’s war dead, and is likely to create further anguish among families of the Sept. 11 victims.
Mortuary officials had already been under fire for what the Air Force termed “gross mismanagement” for losing the body parts of two service members in 2009, repeated failures of command, doing little to change sloppy practices and sawing off the protruding arm bone of a dead Marine without informing his family.
The method of disposal of the Sept. 11 body parts was limited to what the report said were “several portions of remains” that could not be identified from the attack on the Pentagon and the crash site in Shanksville, Pa. The report said the remains were cremated and placed in containers provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor, which then incinerated them and put them in the landfill.
Air Force officials said they could not confirm all the information about the Sept. 11 remains and were trying to clarify details on Tuesday night.
Lisa Linden, a… Continue reading
Statement of September 11th Advocates Regarding Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunals
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2012
It would seem that the U.S. Government found itself in a conundrum when they allowed prisoners, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), to be tortured in secret prisons around the world. Once tortured, any confession or testimony from KSM, or others, could not be deemed reliable. Furthermore, the focus of the eventual proceedings would become a trial about the practice of torture, instead of being a trial about alleged terrorist crimes. That would have been untenable for the U.S. Government, which wants to avoid any and all accountability for their own crimes of torture.
In order to bypass potential discussion of torture, the latest Chief Prosecutor for the Military Commissions, Brig. General Mark Martins, found a willing witness in Majid Khan, a fellow GITMO inmate to KSM. Khan himself was not involved in the 9/11 plot. He supposedly got his information from time spent behind bars at GITMO with KSM. Kahn will be allowed to give this hearsay evidence against KSM in return for a reduced sentence. However, Khan’s sentencing won’t take place for four years. It seems the Prosecution is pinning their hopes and dreams on Khan’s upcoming performance. None of this lends credibility to an already suspect system.
Additionally, with campaigning for the upcoming Presidential elections heating up, the timing of this latest attempt at justice for 9/11 is exploitive at best.
Patty Casazza Monica Gabrielle Mindy Kleinberg Lorie Van Auken
9/11… Continue reading
September 8, 2012
by Kevin Ryan and Graeme MacQueen, co-editors
Journal of 9/11 Studies
For the 11th anniversary of September 11, the Journal of 9/11 Studies would like to share a series of letters from thoughtful people who have reflected on the tragic events of that day. Five letters were published today, from the following individuals.
Lorie Van Auken is a founding member of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee. Without her dedication there would never have been a 9/11 Commission investigation.
Gregg Fishman is Secretary of the World Trade Center Rescuers Foundation. Like others he represents, Gregg risked his life and health in an attempt to rescue and recover victims following the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings.
Father Frank Morales is an Episcopal priest, activist, and author from New York City. He was present at Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 events, offering prayers for the victims and support for the first responders.
David Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Johnson served as a panelist at the Toronto Hearings on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has investigated the events of September 11, 2001 and his writings on that and other subjects have attracted a worldwide following.
A similar number of letters from other contributors will be published later this week. We hope that the words and… Continue reading