June 9, 2009
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
At the moment the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 10:28
a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Sharon Premoli was scrambling up an escalator from the
below-ground concourse toward the street with dozens of other office workers
in a desperate bid to escape.
She looked behind her and saw two things that are burned forever in her memory:
A human chain of evacuees riding the escalator and a boiling cloud of dust and
debris racing toward them.
The force of that swirling storm picked her up and threw her into nearby storefront.
After she awoke, she said, she soon realized she was lying on the lifeless body
of a man and that she was covered with his blood.
"I remember taking my nails and scraping my tongue to remove the debris
from my mouth," said Premoli, at the time a vice president for development
with a financial services software company based in the North Tower. "I
tried to get up and I realized I was lying on the body, and I am profoundly
haunted by that."
Strip away all the arcana and legal angels dancing on heads of pins, and Premoli
is the human face of litigation alleging Saudi Arabia financed the 9/11 hijackers.
She is one of 6,000 World Trade Center victims and their families who have
charged in lawsuits that the government of Saudi Arabia or its officials funded
Islamic charities that in turn… Continue reading
Tuesday, June 9th at 9am Pacific – 12 Noon Eastern – 17:00 GMT Will be archived at http://noliesradio.org after the broadcast.
Listen to this live interview with William Pepper,human rights attorney extraordinaire; proponent and prospective Commissioner, New York City NYCCAN.org ballot initiative; author, Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, Jr. . In November 1999, William Pepper won a jury trial finding that James Earl Ray was innocent, and that U.S. military and intelligence officials conspired to murder Martin Luther King, Jr. He is currently working with the NYC CAN Ballot Initiative to get a real investigation of 9/11 with subpoena power on the November ballot. Last month, William Pepper spent ten 16-hour days preparing a legal defense of the Spanish Court’s initiative to prosecute George W. Bush for war crimes. He writes: “I believe that this case may be the most important case in my lifetime for the advancement of international human rights law and condemnation of these atrocious policies and practices which go back to the divine right of kings, perpetuated by fascism.”
Email your questions now to the host of “Fair and Balanced,” Kevin Barrett. Deadline for emailed questions is 9pm Pacific Time, Monday, June 8th. Not all emailed questions will be answered on the air.
U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases
By WILLIAM GLABERSON
June 5, 2009
Full story published at New York Times
The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.
The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.
The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. People who have read or been briefed on it said it had been presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by an administration task force on detention.
The proposal would ease what has come to be recognized as the government’s difficult task of prosecuting men who have confessed to terrorism but whose cases present challenges. Much of the evidence against the men accused in the Sept. 11 case, as well as against other detainees, is believed to have come from confessions they gave during intense interrogations at secret C.I.A. prisons. In any proceeding, the reliability of those statements would be challenged, making trials difficult and drawing new political pressure over detainee treatment.
Some experts on the commissions said such a proposal would raise new questions about the fairness of a system that has been criticized as permitting shortcuts to assure convictions.…Continue reading
May 29, 2009
Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
In Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families’
Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court
(In Re: Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development
Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (RCC) In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September
11, 2001, MDL 1570)
WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement
of 9/11 Family Members: Mike Low, Father of Sara Elizabeth Low, AA Flight 11;
Bill Doyle, Father of Joseph M. Doyle, WTC North Tower; Tom & Beverly Burnett,
Sr., Parents of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., UA Flight 93; and Terry Strada, Wife
of Thomas Strada, WTC North Tower on Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt
Terrorism in Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11
Families’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court:
Today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed
the Administration’s decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against
the right of American citizens — 9/11 family members — to have our day in
court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands
as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11,
We are deeply dismayed by this decision, filed by the solicitor general of
the United States in response to the Supreme Court’s February 23, 2009 invitation
for the government to express its views in the 9/11 families’ request to appeal
a portion of the case to the Court.…
This moving 50-second piece released by NYC Coalition for Accountability Now features 9/11 Family Members Jean Canavan, Bob McIlvaine and Manny Badillo asking the unanswered questions and calling upon all New Yorkers to “Vote For Answers.” The coalition has gathered nearly 45,000 signatures, and needs your help to get to the 70,000-signature goal. Please take a moment to go to NYC Coalition for Accountability Now and give what you can to help make this a reality. Only by getting it on the ballot can New Yorkers “Vote For Answers.”
Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials
By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01
When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to
waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that
they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations
yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White
House to get those secrets out of him.
The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda
terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.
In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of
Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials
who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through
the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information
from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was
obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.
Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that
made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly
described him as “al-Qaeda’s chief of operations,” and other top officials
called him a “trusted associate” of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
Abu Zubaida was not even an official member… Continue reading
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
NEW YORK (AP) — NEW YORK — A judge said Wednesday he favors keeping Sept. 11-related documents and interviews secret until the trials for several families of victims suing the airline industry, an opinion that upset several victims’ family members.
Donald Migliori, a lawyer for families of three people who died on hijacked planes in the 2001 attacks, asked U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein to make nearly a million pages of evidence and 200 depositions public, saying there was no reason for secrecy.
Hellerstein did not rule, but he said he favored not publically disclosing evidence that had been gathered and shared with lawyers for the victims under a confidentiality agreement until a trial occurs. No trial has yet been scheduled.
He said the confidentiality agreement speeded a pretrial process that enabled more than 90 families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to settle their cases. Only three families have not settled.
Michael Rowe Feagley, a lawyer for the aviation defendants, said it would not be fair to make all of the pretrial evidence public now, especially since defendants had turned over so much with the understanding that it would remain confidential before trial. He said it would take “extraordinary circumstances and an extreme need for it” to force its public release.
Mike Low, the father of a flight attendant who died on one of the hijacked planes, said afterwards that he was disappointed but not surprised by Hellerstein’s position.
Low sued in spring 2003 on behalf of his daughter, Sara Low, 28, a Boston-based flight attendant who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center.…Continue reading
by Rory Eastburg
March 24, 2009
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
A Manhattan federal court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on whether more
than a million pages of documents related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
should remain sealed.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the United States District Court in New York
City will hear arguments from The New York Times and the Reporters
Committee, as well as victims’ families and attorneys for the aviation industry
The documents come from lawsuits the families of certain Sept. 11 victims brought
against airlines and related defendants. According to a statement from the plaintiffs’
attorneys, more than a million documents remain sealed by an overbroad protective
order that allowed the defendants to unilaterally designate vast numbers of
documents as containing confidential trade secrets.
Neither the victims’ families nor the media groups seek to unseal documents
the government has classified as containing “Sensitive Security Information.”
Attorneys for the victims’ families are seeking to set aside the blanket
designations of confidentiality, arguing that documents withheld as trade secrets
include such important information as “whether the airport screeners’
magnetometers were working on 9/11; whether the screeners were qualified for
their jobs in terms of language skills, citizenship, past criminal record and
other factors; video footage of the hijackers going through airport security;
and training manuals for screeners.”
The Times, on behalf of itself and the Reporters Committee, intervened
for the limited purpose of requesting access to the sealed documents. In a motion
filed on Jan.…
By Joe Dwinell
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Three families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks head to court
today to plead with a federal judge to release a million pages of documents
detailing the mass murder of nearly 3,000 Americans.
Those secret papers, one Bay State family member told the Herald, are “so
bad you won’t believe it.”
“It was out control,” Paul Keating, 45, said of security on Sept.
11, 2001, including at Logan International Airport in Boston where two ill-fated
jets left on a collision course with infamy.
“My mother went through the most public murder you could imagine . .
. and I’ve been putting up with this crap for seven years,” Keating
said of his refusal to settle his case out of court.
Keating’s 72-year-old mother, Barbara, a Framingham native, died aboard
American Airlines [AMR] Flight 11.
Keating is making legal history today, along with the families of Mark Bavis,
31, and Sara Low, 28, by asking Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Federal District
Court in Manhattan to lift the order keeping all the evidence hidden.
Low was a Boston-based flight attendant on Flight 11; Bavis of West Newton,
a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175. Both jets left Logan with hijackers
on board and were slammed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.
“Sept. 11 should not have happened,” said attorney Donald A. Migliori,
whose firm represents all three families.
He said the secret papers include depositions of former Massport Executive… Continue reading
by Rachel Oswald
March 10, 2009
Update at bottom: White House not concerned by judge’s actions
The ACLU is angry that a military judge has accepted an incendiary legal pleading filed by five 9/11 suspects, despite President Obama’s order stopping the Guantánamo military commissions and even though attorneys for some of the defendants were unaware of it.
Judge Col. Stephen Henley, the appointed chief trial judge in the case ordered the public release of the legal pleading even though all other legal filings have been kept sealed for months by the military commissions, said the American Civil Liberties Union in a release, adding that the competency of two of the men has not yet been determined.
The Smoking Gun has the released six-page legal pleading here.
“We fight you over defending Muslims, their land, their holy sites, and their religion as a whole,” reads the document.
“Judge Henley apparently doesn’t know what the word ‘halt’ means since he has blatantly defied President Obama’s executive order for an end to the military commissions,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU in a released statement. “The judge’s actions extending the military commissions call into question the true intentions of the Pentagon leadership at a time when the Obama administration is searching for a solution to the disastrous detention policies of the Bush administration.”
Romero adds, “If Defense Secretary Gates allowed the military commissions to proceed, that’s a serious problem; if he didn’t know about this, that’s equally troubling. Moreover,… Continue reading
March 10, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The five detainees at the U.S. Guantánamo Bay
prison camp charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have filed a document
expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting responsibility for the
deaths of nearly 3,000 people, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The document, which the newspaper said may be released publicly on Tuesday,
describes the five men as the “9/11 Shura Council,” and says their
actions were an offering to God, according to excerpts of the document read
to a reporter by an unidentified government official, the report said.
“‘To us,’ the official read, ‘they are not accusations. To us they are
a badge of honor, which we carry with honor,’” the paper said.
The document is titled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine
Accusations,” the military judge at the U.S. Naval base said in a separate
filing, obtained by the Times, that described the detainees’ document.
The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed,
who has called himself the mastermind of the attacks.
Some of the men had said earlier that they planned the 2001 attacks and that
they wanted to be martyrs. The reason for the new filing, which the report said
reached the military court on March 5, was not clear. The brief court order
describing the filing said the men sought no legal action.
(Writing by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Excerpts from the statement of five Sept.…Continue reading
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…Continue reading
Stephen C. Webster
A career Army officer who survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claims that no evacuation was ordered inside the Pentagon, despite flight controllers calling in warnings of approaching hijacked aircraft nearly 20 minutes before the building was struck.
According to a time-line of the attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration notified NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 had been hijacked at 9:24 a.m. The Pentagon was not struck until 9:43 a.m.
On behalf of retired Army officer April Gallop, California attorney William Veale has filed a civil suit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and former US Air Force General Richard Myers, who was acting chairman of the joint chiefs on 9/11. It alleges they engaged in conspiracy to facilitate the terrorist attacks and purposefully failed to warn those inside the Pentagon, contributing to injuries she and her two-month-old son incurred.
“The ex-G.I. plaintiff alleges she has been denied government support since then, because she raised ‘painful questions’ about the inexplicable failure of military defenses at the Pentagon that day, and especially the failure of officials to warn and evacuate the occupants of the building when they knew the attack was imminent” said Veale in a media advisory.
Gallop also says she heard two loud explosions, and does not believe that a Boeing 757 hit the building. Her son sustained a serious brain injury, and Gallop herself was knocked unconscious after the roof collapsed onto her office.
The suit also named… Continue reading
By Jim Loney
Originally published July 22, 2008
Someone has just brought to my attention a possible interpretation of this statement different than what I had come to, so in the spirit of accurate reporting and non-sensationalism, I am adding this for your consideration. As always, we hope you carefully interpret all information coming to you, no matter what the source, (including ours, of course). My interpretation of these comments was that Stone was simply making the case (the crux of the case) that Hamdan knew the target, therefore Hamdan must have been a party to the attack. I had not considered that Stone may have been (supposedly) quoting Hamdan fully, and that Hamdan may have been the one reported as having said, “If they hadn’t shot it down…,” not Stone. Nonetheless, it seems quite odd that the US prosecution, led by military officers, would have made any reference to Flight 93 having been shot down… [End of update.]
A couple key points here from the Gitmo show trials not really being shown:
1) Defense attorney for bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, stated: “There will be no evidence that Mr. Hamdan espoused or believed or embraced any form of what you will hear about, radical Islam beliefs, extremist Muslim beliefs.” Where have we heard that before? A little like Atta and friends drinking Dewars scotch, paying for lap dances, partying it up… fundamentalist Muslims who hate Americans’ ‘freedoms’? I think not…… Continue reading
The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Retroactive immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal spying at the behest of the NSA is at the heart of a bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, even before having been officially introduced, is being hotly debated by bloggers, electronic privacy groups, and civil libertarians, as well as presidential contenders (CT Senator Chris Dodd has actually posted a petition at his election website, encouraging readers to support his threatened “hold” on the bill). We should compare the issues involved here with the retroactive immunity provided CIA interrogators in the September, 2006 Military Commissions Act, who could otherwise have been accused of war crimes.
Below, we direct readers to an important series of programs from PBS’ Frontline to help readers investigate the background of this issue, and a deeper consideration of some of what’s at stake in continually ceding power to a rogue Executive bent on dissolving the few civil liberties which currently remain untouched.
Lest readers be swayed by the Administration’s repeated argument that “9/11 makes this necessary,” the Rocky Mountain News reported (emphasis added) on October 11, 2007 that this spying was underway well before 9/11/01:
“The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.…