By BENJAMIN WEISER
June 17, 2010
A federal judge in Manhattan who was criticized by families of victims of 9/11 for taking too long to decide motions in lawsuits they had filed has handed down a ruling dismissing claims made against many of the defendants.
The judge, George B. Daniels of Federal District Court, has overseen a group of lawsuits filed in the wake of the attacks. The suits sought to hold charities, financial institutions and individuals responsible for providing money and other support to Al Qaeda.
The terrorism-financing suits are not related to separate 9/11 wrongful death and injury claims brought by families and rescue and cleanup workers that are before another judge and appear near resolution. Judge Daniels, in his ruling made public on Thursday, cited jurisdictional grounds in dismissing dozens of defendants.
Robert T. Haefele, a plaintiffs’ lawyer, said, “We are pleased that the court has ruled but naturally disagree with the decision.” He said it could “immunize and embolden” terror sponsors.
Mr. Haefele and other plaintiffs’ lawyers had filed a petition this month with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, asking that the judge be removed from the case. They said he had not acted on almost 100 petitions to dismiss since being assigned the case in 2007.
One defense lawyer, Lynne A. Bernabei, said, “Finally the court has recognized that these defendants, including many of our defendants, had nothing to do with the horrific acts on 9/11.”
Ms. Bernabei’s firm… Continue reading
By John Byrne
May 11th, 2010
Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court,
helped protect the Saudi royal family from lawsuits that sought to hold al Qaeda
financiers responsible in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The suits were filed by thousands of family members and others affected by
the Sept. 11 attacks. In court papers, they provided evidence that members of
the Saudi royal family had channeled millions to al Qaeda prior to the bombings,
often in contravention of direct guidance from the United States.
But Kagan, acting as President Obama’s Solicitor General, argued that the case
should not be heard even if evidence proved that the Saudis helped underwrite
al Qaeda, because it would interfere with US foreign policy with the oil-rich
nation. She posited “that the princes are immune from petitioners’
claims” because of “the potentially significant foreign relations
consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer published Tuesday,
the mother of a man who was killed on United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania said
he didn’t know why Kagan argued that the case not even be heard. By keeping
the case off the dockets, the Saudis were spared scrutiny of their finances.
“We had hoped she would be with us so that we could have our day in court,"
Beverly Burnett said.
with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone
April 7, 2010-
Lynne Stewart has for forty years defended the poor and the oppressed against arbitrary authority and false charges.
Lynne Stewart, together with former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabar defended Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was tried and convicted of plotting to blow up noted landmarks, including the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Statue of Liberty, and to assassinate Senator Alphonse D’Amato and U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali.
Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was innocent of these charges and had no part in the initiation, planning or execution of these presumptive plots.
Indisputable and massive evidence has demonstrated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through its operatives, including Emad Ali Salem, was, in fact, the author of these plots and planned, initiated and financed these and other acts of terror, including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 in a “false flag” operation.
Attorney General John Ashcroft launched a cynical campaign to persecute and prosecute Lynne Stewart for “aiding and abetting terrorism” based upon her serving as defense attorney for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
The Justice Department has undertaken the persecution and prosecution of Lynne Stewart because she defended her falsely accused client zealously and refused to be intimidated by the drumbeat of government propaganda arising from its false “war on terror”.
Lynne Stewart has been tried and convicted in District Court of Judge John G. Koeltl of aiding and abetting terrorism based solely on the fact that she defended a man demonized by the State for the purpose of creating a climate of fear in the United States and public acquiescence in global wars of conquest including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond.…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.
March 22, 2010
by Stephen C. Webster
A terror war prisoner, once considered of such high value by the Bush administration that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered he be tortured, has taken his first step toward freedom thanks to a federal district court judge, who ordered the government to free him after nearly 10 years of imprisonment at Guantánamo Bay.
Though 39-year-old Mohamedou Slahi, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, won his habeas corpus appeal before U.S. District Judge James Robertson on Monday, he likely does not know it yet. That’s because the judge’s decision was classified, according to published reports.
“After the [9/11] attacks, he was fingered by a senior al Qaeda operative for helping assemble the so-called Hamburg cell, which included the hijacker who piloted United 175 into the South Tower,” href="http://pierretristam.com/Bobst/07/wf040107.htm" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007.
After being captured and imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay, he was repeatedly subjected to torture by his American captors, with Rumsfeld himself ordering “special” interrogation tactics be set aside for Slahi.
“For a sampling of what Slahi experienced at Guantánamo, check out page 139 of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s 2008 report into the abuse of detainees in the custody of the Department of Defense,” Washington Independent reporter Spencer Ackerman noted.
The Senate report reads:
The memoranda indicate that, on several occasions from July 8 through July 17, Slahi was interrogated by a masked interrogator called “Mr. X.” On July 8, 2003 Slahi was interrogated by Mr. X… Continue reading
9 May 2010:
A Note on a Major Event in the Worldwide Movement to Arrest the
Organized Crime of War Profiteers
from Anthony Hall
Hello friends, associates and supporters.
Hello, as well, to those who are new to the case of Splitting The Sky versus
George W. Bush.
I have no hesitation in asserting that the brilliant content of these videos
will be transformative for multitudes of global viewers. These videos contain
poetry in You Tube. They offer sophisticated political analysis of the kind
that should strike fear in the heart of the criminal class who are currently
running the global apparatus of so-called national security. These presentations
are studies of effective communication. They embody joy, love and skilled articulation
combining classical motifs of ballet-like performance with the free form creativity
of hip hop. They highlight two individuals at the top of their form who are
leading an accelerating global revolt against the lawless war machine’s broadening
onslaught. More than any other force, the organized crime of the war machine
threatens all humanity– indeed, all life forms– with imminent oblivion. Please
take the time to study this set of amazing videos and disseminate them far and
The event took place on March 9 only hours after the premature termination
of Splitting The Sky’s Calgary trial. As the trial was being hurriedly shut
down by the state, the legendary Cynthia McKinney arrived in Calgary from London
to show solidarity with the veteran Mohawk activist. In an event hosted… Continue reading
by Anthony J. Hall
Professor of Globalization Studies
University of Lethbridge
10 March, 2010
Judge Manfred Delong shut down the trial of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush on the second day of proceedings. The court denied STS his frequently emphasized request to have two witnesses give evidence in his defense. Those witnesses were myself and Cynthia McKinney. The trial came to an end just as Ms. McKinney arrived in Calgary from London. The US-based oil conglomerates active throughout Alberta form the core business constituency of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who represents a Calgary riding in Parliament.
The court accepted two documents as evidence for the defense. One is Gail Davidson’s widely disseminated legal opinion for Lawyer’s Against the War. STS and I studied this document closely in the days leading up to my friend being arrested for his arrest attempt. LAW’s legal opinion highlighted some of the evidence, statutes and treaties to brand Bush as a “credibly accused war criminal” that should not be allowed into Canada. Prior to Bush’s touching down in Calgary to address an audience of oil executives, Davidson’s documemtation was distributed widely to officials of the Harper government and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The other exhibit for the defense was my own paper that I originally presented at an invited academic venue at the University of Winnipeg. It has been published under a variety of titles on the Internet, including at Global Research.ca, 911 Blogger.com, 9/11 Truth.org and Voltairenet in both French… Continue reading
SPS versus “W” in Court Hearings in Calgary
By Carol Brouillet
March 7, 2010
DailyCensored.org from Project Censored
Dacajaweiah, John Boncore, or Splitting the Sky, is not a man of few words. If you read his hefty 653-page autobiography, it is very clear that he has lived an extraordinary life and has survived more than his share of violence, to find deep within himself a well of energy and spirit enabling him to not only endure hardships, but to serve his people and the land in the timeless struggle against oppression and tyranny. From the Attica Rebellion to Gustafen Lake to Calgary in 2009, when he attempted a citizen’s arrest of George W. Bush, “Dac” has consciously taken a leadership role to politically challenge the powerful forces that dominate the North American continent. Brutally arrested for his action, he earned his “day in court” to voice not only his defense, but “to highlight the hypocrisy and criminality of the Canadian government for allowing Bush into Canada, and to firmly establish the legal defense of ‘civil resistance’, the duty of citizens to act when our governments and their agents are derelict in their duty. This will be very useful in the future to rein these criminals in.”
Prior to Bush’s visit, the group Lawyers Against the War asked Canadian officials to bar entry or try Bush for his suspected crimes since Canadian Law prohibits “people suspected of any involvement in torture or other war crimes and crimes against humanity from entering… Continue reading
February 17, 2010
Contact: press [at] ccrjustice.org
New York — Yesterday evening, the district court in Washington, D.C. ruled against two men who died in Guantánamo in June 2006 and their families in a case seeking to hold federal officials and the United States responsible for the men’s torture, arbitrary detention and ultimate deaths at Guantánamo.
Following a two-year investigation, the military concluded that the men had committed suicide. Recent first-hand accounts by four soldiers stationed at the base at the time of the deaths, however, raise serious questions about the cause and circumstances of the deaths, including the possibility that the men died as the result of torture.
In dismissing the case, the district court ruled that the deceased’s constitutional claims that it was a violation of due process and cruel treatment to detain them for four years without charge while subjecting them to inhumane and degrading conditions of confinement and violent acts of torture and abuse, could not be heard in federal court. The men were held on the basis of an “enemy combatant” finding by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal later found by the Supreme Court itself to be inadequate.
The district court held that the claims were barred by a jurisdiction-stripping provision of the 2006 Military Commissions Act that bars any challenge by a Guantánamo detainee to their treatment, conditions, or any other aspect of their detention, while failing to address the plaintiffs’ arguments about the unconstitutionality of the provision itself. The court also dismissed the deceased’s claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act, following a holding by the D.C.…Continue reading
by Larry Neumeister, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly completed settlements of two of the remaining three lawsuits brought by families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks are likely to include language requiring evidence to be displayed at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a lawyer said Wednesday.
Attorney Mary Schiavo said the public display of evidence collected for trial by lawyers in the case was important to the families.
She called the museum a fitting place for it and said the materials were likely to be put in the museum’s reading room.
She commented outside a court hearing where lawyers announced they had settled 15 of 18 property damage cases stemming from the terrorism attacks for an undisclosed amount, including claims by the Windows on the World restaurant.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said he expects he will insist the amounts be made public later because of the “extreme public interest” in the cases.
Schiavo said families were close to settling cases stemming from the deaths of Sara Low, 28, a Boston-based flight attendant who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center, and Barbara Keating, 72, of Palm Springs, Fla., who was also aboard American Flight 11.
The lawyer said the remaining family was unlikely to settle its case on behalf of Mark Bavis, 31, of West Newton, Mass., a scout for the Los Angeles Kings professional hockey team. He was aboard United Flight 175, which also struck the… Continue reading
The Trial of Splitting the Sky as a Trial of the Cheney-Bush-Rumsfeld Cabal of War Profiteers
by Anthony J. Hall,
Professor of Globalization Studies, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
December 3rd, 2009
printable version (pdf)
Who and what is on trial ?
When Splitting the Sky broke through police lines in his attempt to conduct a citizen’s arrest of former US President, George W. Bush, the Mohawk Freedom Fighter pierced a thick wall of tyranny. He broke through a tight phalanx of state protection for the perpetrators of War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Crimes Against the Peace.
With his courageous act, Splitting the Sky announced the unwillingness of millions of global citizens to tolerate any longer the culture of impunity that places a small, interlinked global plutocracy above the law. By breaking police lines, the Attica Brother and American Indian Movement activist scouted a route of liberation for those of us seeking to get out from under the weight of complicity in International Crime committed in our name. We are all deeply implicated in the state terror permeating the 9/11wars because it is our tax dollars that fund these imperial assaults.
Splitting the Sky’s action in Calgary highlights the abject failure of law enforcement agencies to do their job. It highlights the unwillingness of police and those who direct them to apply the law equitably and independently.
When he broke through police lines last march, Splitting the Sky built on the message of Muntadarar al-Zaidi, the Baghdad journalist 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
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
The Turning Point
by Ted Walter
October 16, 2009
NYC Coalition for Accountability Now
In the fall of 2008, the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative realized that both strategy and tone were moving its effort no closer to broadening its support. Facing a wary, apathetic public and a stalled momentum, leadership was replaced, strategy was revamped and its mission rebranded.
Launched in early 2009 as NYC CAN, the new organization proceeded to effectively engage voters in a rational dialogue concerning the unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 and the best interests of our country. Our vehicle for engagement was a public referendum to create a real, independent, evidence-driven investigation into those questions that remain, eight years later, unaddressed.
That revamped strategy — focused and methodical, free of divisive rhetoric, ill-advised conjecture and alienating political judgments — succeeded in garnering the support of 80,000 NYC voters, over one-hundred 9/11 family members, dozens of first responders and survivors and leading 9/11 family advocates including ‘Jersey Girls’ Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza as well as Bill Doyle, Monica Gabrielle and others.
NYC CAN also received backing from the most trusted leaders in the 9/11 truth movement, including David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, Kevin Ryan, Steven Jones and Niels Harrit; and the endorsement of respected whistleblowers Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer and FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley, TIME’s 2002 Person of the Year.
Yesterday afternoon, Justice Edward Lehner of the State Supreme Court rubberstamped Referee Louis Crespo’s recommendation that the decision to establish a local commission to investigate the events of September 11th not be put before the voters on November 3rd.
After showing interest in weighing both sides’ arguments in the hearing, the Judge’s short decision gives no indication of having considered the arguments put forth in the Petitioners’ memorandum of law, nor any acknowledgement of the need for a new investigation, which the City of New York callously dismissed as “irrelevant”.
On a dark day for democracy, the patriotic call for answers by hundreds of 9/11 families, first responders and survivors has been stifled, and the will of the people of New York City once again denied.
Judge Lehner ruled that modifying the petition to make it “legally permissible” would result in it being “inconsistent with the law sought by the signatories of the Petition” despite the fact that all 80,000 signatories agreed by signing the Petition that “If any provision of this law is held to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions shall be in no manner affected thereby but shall remain in full force and effect.”
RELATED NEWS COVERAGE
The deadline for inclusion on the ballot falls just before the election, making it possible to appeal Judge Lehner’s decision. NYC CAN is weighing all options and will make an announcement early next week on this issue, as well as on how it will be moving… Continue reading
Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner has begun consideration of NYC CAN’s
motion to reject Referee’s Louis Crespo’s recommendation that the
NYC CAN 9/11 petition not be submitted to the voters on November 3. The petition
would ask whether or not there should be an independent New York City investigation
Responding to a motion brought by NYC CAN attorney Dennis McMahon, a hearing
was held Tuesday September 29 at the New York State Supreme Court, and concluded
with the understanding that the Court will likely render a decision on the petition’s
legality by Friday, October 2.
The City’s previously assumed deadline of September 30—spurred
by the printing deadline for military absentee ballots—was brushed away
by Judge Lehner as he suggested the printing of absentee ballots would likely
not be ordered on Wednesday, September 30, since runoff elections were being
held while the Court was in session. Even if the ballots were ordered on Wednesday,
Lehner indicated, this should not prevent the referendum from being put before
the vast majority of the electorate who would be voting in New York City.
Judge Lehner’s postponement of the supposed deadline came after McMahon
had requested that the Judge carefully consider both sides’ arguments,
rather than render a rush decision and fail to adequately contemplate NYC CAN’s
legal arguments, as the Referee had done.
Initially there was a question as to whether oral arguments would go forward
as a clerical mishap resulted in the Judge not being presented with the papers… Continue reading
Monday, September 28th, 2009 — 2:45 pm RawStory.org
UPDATE (at bottom): City’s law department tells RAW STORY that a new 9/11 investigation is ‘not a proper subject to be placed before the voters’ ‘
A lead actor from the popular FX television show “Rescue Me” joined a large group of 9/11 activists and survivors on Sunday in a march from New York City’s Battery Park to city hall.
During an afternoon rally in the park, Daniel Sunjata, who plays the role of Franco Rivera in the firefighter drama featuring actor Dennis Leary, took the stage with an impassioned call for a new investigation.
The march was held to support the NYC CAN coalition, which is currently engaged in a court battle with city hall over the legality of their ballot measure calling for a new 9/11 investigation.
The group has gathered over 80,000 signatures from New Yorkers in support of its ballot initiative, and even won a recent legal skirmish over a challenge to the validity if its petition’s signatures. The city’s challenge to the initiative’s legality continues, however, with a court referee recently advising the judge to find for the city.
An NYC CAN media advisory , which refers to the 9/11 Commission Report as a “disgrace,” notes that the group’s lawyers were to file a motion for reconsideration on Monday, Sept. 28.
“We have received, for our efforts, a slap in the face and a kick in the mouth,” said Sunjata, speaking at the NYC CAN rally on… Continue reading
9/11 Widow Jane Pollicino Speaks About Getting Involved With NYC CAN:
Day Until The Historic
MARCH FOR ANSWERS
September 27, 2009 2pm Battery Park (State Street) to City Hall
List of Speakers:
Bob McIlvaine – 9/11 Family Member
Manny Badillo – 9/11 Family Member
Daniel Sunjata – Star of FOX’s "Rescue Me"
Eileen Coles – 9/11 Survivor and Whistleblower
Major Mike McCormack – 9/11 First Responder
Mark Crispin Miller – Professor of Media Studies at NYU
*Live Feed of March Likely! Check Website Before March!
Breaking News: Court Referee Recommends Ruling in Favor of City;
NYC CAN To File Motion To Reject Referee’s Recommendation
Rather than waiting until the scheduled decision date of Monday, September
28, Referee Louis Crespo issued his "report and recommendations" on
Friday, September 25, and recommended that the Court rule in favor of the City.
After reviewing the referee’s report, we feel he did not give adequate consideration
to the extensive arguments presented in our memorandum of law submitted on Monday,
September 21. The report seemed more a cut and paste from the City’s original
motion papers than a balanced weighing of the arguments. In particular, the
referee’s report failed to analyze the vast majority of NYC CAN’s legal points
as to why the City’s claims were unfounded and its reliance on certain case
law wholly inapplicable.
Officially, Judge Lehner has up to 60 days to either adopt, modify, or reject
the referee’s report and recommendation, and render a decision. However, with… Continue reading