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Legal Action

Cold War vets sue over alleged germ experiments

By Paul Elias
Associated Press
January 7, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Six veterans who claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies today.

The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques.

They allege in their lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court that they were never properly informed of the nature of the experiments and are in poor health because of their exposure. They are demanding health care and a court ruling that the program was illegal because it failed to obtain their consent.

Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks class action status on behalf of all participants allegedly exposed to harmful experiments without their knowledge.

At least 7,800 U.S. military personnel served as volunteers to test experimental drugs such as LSD at the Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore, Md., during a program that lasted into the 1970s, the lawsuit said. Many others volunteered for similar experiments at other locations,  according to the lawsuit.

“In virtually all cases, troops served in the same capacity as laboratory rats or guinea pigs,” the lawsuit said.

One notorious CIA project from the 1950s and 1960s, code-named MK-ULTRA, involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was the target of at least three Congressional inquiries in the 1970s,… Continue reading

Career Army officer sues Rumsfeld, Cheney, saying no evacuation order given on 9/11

Stephen C. Webster
RawStory.com

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

Court Rules Patriot Act’s ‘National Security Letter’ Gag Provisions Unconstitutional

Image of ACLU banner

Court Rules Patriot Act’s “National Security Letter” Gag Provisions Unconstitutional (12/15/2008)

ACLU Hails Victory In Challenge To Government’s Power To Silence NSL Recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court today upheld, in part, a decision striking down provisions of the Patriot Act that prevent national security letter (NSL) recipients from speaking out about the secret records demands. The decision comes in an American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the FBI’s authority to use NSLs to demand sensitive and private customer records from Internet Service Providers and then forbid them from discussing the requests. Siding with the ACLU, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the statute’s gag provisions violate the First Amendment.

“We are gratified that the appeals court found that the FBI cannot silence people with complete disregard for the First Amendment simply by saying the words ‘national security,'” said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “This is a major victory for the rule of law. The court recognized the need for judicial oversight of the government’s dangerous gag power and rejected the Bush administration’s position that the courts should just rubber-stamp these gag orders. By upholding the critical check of judicial review, the FBI can no longer use this incredible power to hide abuse of its intrusive Patriot Act surveillance powers and silence critics.”

The appeals court invalidated parts of the statute that wrongly placed the… Continue reading

Andover law school convenes Bush War Crimes Conference – WATCH LIVE

by Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, September 13, 2008

PROGRAM WILL RETURN SUNDAY, 9 A.M. Eastern

Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.

The conference, arranged by Lawrence Vevel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush’s officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for “necessary organizational structures” to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty “to the ends of the Earth.”

“For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders,” Velvel said in a media advisory.

In a published document entitled “The Long Term View” (PDF link), Vevel argues, at the very least, “there is no question” George W. Bush is guilty of conspiracy to commit torture, a war crime.

“He is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy’s friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth,” said Vevel.…

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9/11 Victims Target Saudis With Deep State Ties

by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor

Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S. government.

Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.

Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on a global scale.

The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants. The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.

Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’ activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.

During the late… Continue reading

Bush’s Mass Pardons Predicted

By Brent Budowsky
July 26, 2008
Consortiumnews.com

Consortiumnews Editor’s Note: As his presidency nears its end, George W. Bush will be faced with a tough choice: either run the risk, along with many of his top aides, of future prosecution for a variety of crimes from the “war on terror” — or fashion a mass pardon for all those involved.

In this guest essay, former Democratic congressional aide Brent Budowsky predicts that Bush will take the latter course, even outdoing his father’s lame-duck Iran-Contra pardons in 1992:

Before leaving office George W. Bush will issue a mass pardon, the largest collection of presidential pardons in American history.

Bush will pardon himself, Vice President Cheney, and a long list of officials involved in torture, eavesdropping, destruction of evidence, the CIA leak case, and a range of other potential crimes.

As George Bush signs the pardons and boards the helicopter to depart Washington as his presidency finally ends, even then he and those pardoned will worry about the statute of limitations.

There is an important point to this, often not recognized in official Washington during the Bush years: When the unthinkable became a way of life, acts were committed that defied constitutional and legal principles in ways never done by an American president.

Torture alone violates international law, domestic law, criminal statutes, and American principles that date back to George Washington.

Eavesdropping without court order violates a statute, FISA, that includes severe criminal penalties. If the courts ultimately conclude that these laws… Continue reading

‘Imperial presidency’ hearing to feature 13 witnesses

Nick Juliano
July 24, 2008

Kucinich, Barr, Bugliosi among those testifying

The House Judiciary Committee has released a witness list for its hearing to examine “the imperial presidency” of George W. Bush.

Testifying Friday morning will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced several resolutions calling for President Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s impeachment; former Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian presidential candidate who led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998; Vincent Bugliosi, author of the just-released book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder; and 10 other current and former members of Congress, constitutional experts and human rights activists.

The hearing, which was announced last week, seems to be the one Judiciary Chairman John Conyers promised to Kucinich after he introduced his second impeachment resolution aimed at Bush earlier this month. Any action on Kucinich’s articles of impeachment still seems unlikely, but the Ohio Democrat has previously said he just wants to be able to present his case.

Late Thursday afternoon, the committee released the full witness list, broken down into two panels.

Panel One

The Honorable Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio
The Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Representative from New York
The Honorable Walter Jones, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Brad Miller, Representative from North Carolina

Panel Two

The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Representative from
New York
The Honorable Bob Barr, Former Representative from Georgia,
2008 Libertarian Nominee for President
The Honorable Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, Founder and President, High Roads for Human Rights
Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law
Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82, Chairman, American Freedom Agenda
Vincent Bugliosi, Author and former Los Angeles County Prosecutor
Jeremy A.

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Flight 93 Shot Down, says Navy Officer?

By Jim Loney
Originally published July 22, 2008

Editor’s Note: Update: Janice’s mea culpa

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 King Assassination and CNN Disinformation

By Dr. William F. Pepper

As a friend and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the last year of his life, James Earl Ray’s attorney, for the last ten years of his life and, finally, lead Counsel for Dr. King’s family in the 1999 civil trial which brought forward evidence from 70 witnesses over 30 days in Memphis, I am compelled to comment, for the record, on the most recent documentary on the assassination by CNN which is being aired on an ongoing basis. The fact that my participation in the program was used to give it some credibility makes this comment even more relevant.

It is one matter to distort the truth of how this great American prophet was taken from us, but quite another to have mainstream media perpetuate disinformation on matters of such public importance to the citizens of the Republic. An expert witness, at the King family civil trial, William Schapp, set out the historical use of government disinformation through mainstream media, dating back to the 1920’s.

The first half of the program was dedicated to James and his background and history. While the program notably failed to provide a motive as to why this escaped convict would even consider such an act, and racism had been excluded by the earlier Congressional investigation, it was hinted at by a reference of his refusal to go to a work farm attached to the Missouri prison because of the number of blacks in that facility. In fact, James was afraid of becoming tied into drug activity which was going on there and having his term extended.

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Gov’t says FBI agents can’t testify about 9/11

The Associated Press
June 19, 2008

FBI ShieldNEW YORK: Government lawyers say the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks could be compromised if the airline industry is allowed to seek more information from the FBI to defend itself against lawsuits brought by terrorism victims.

In papers filed late Tuesday, the government urged a judge to block aviation companies from interviewing five FBI employees who the companies say will help them prove the government withheld key information before the 2001 attacks.

The lawyers said it would be impossible to interview the employees without disclosing classified or privileged material that could “cause serious damage to national security and interfere with pending law enforcement proceedings.”

“The harm described is not hypothetical and cannot be lightly dismissed,” according to the court papers submitted by the office of U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia. “Investigators continue to seek out those parties responsible for the 9/11 attacks who remain at large.”

Image of Phoenix FBI Memo

FBI Phoenix Memo

The largest investigation in FBI history has resulted in 167,000 interviews and more than 155,000 pieces of evidence and involved the pursuit of 500,000 investigative leads, the lawyers wrote.

They said the aviation lawyers were unrealistic to think the investigation would not be compromised if they speak to the FBI employees.

“In fact, it is not possible to disentangle the classified from the unclassified information in the context of a deposition, where open-ended inquiries may elicit responses in which classified or privileged material is intertwined,” they wrote.

So far, the government said, the FBI… Continue reading

EPA MISDEEDS ON TRIAL IN OMBUDSMAN WHISTLEBLOWER HEARING

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 9, 2008
Contact: Paula Dinerstein (202) 265-7337
http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=1059

EPA MISDEEDS ON TRIAL IN OMBUDSMAN WHISTLEBLOWER HEARING

Witnesses Detail 9/11 Contamination, Toxic Fertilizer and Litany of Other Failings

Washington, DC — In a long-awaited whistleblower trial beginning today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to justify dismantling its only independent public advocate. The National Ombudsman Office was closed early in the Bush administration as it pursued an array of EPA scandals, including its failure to issue health warnings after the World Trade Center collapse, use of toxic sewage sludge in widely distributed fertilizer and malfeasance at several Superfund cleanups across the nation, according to documents posted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The complaint by Hugh B. Kaufman, who served as the Chief Investigator for the National Ombudsman Office from 1997 until its demise in 2002, charges violation of whistleblower anti-retaliation provisions of the very federal environmental laws that EPA is supposed to enforce. The hearing will feature witnesses harmed by agency misdeeds who had sought help from the Ombudsman Office.

After an initial investigation, the U.S. Labor Department ruled in Mr. Kaufman’s favor and found EPA’s removing his duties was in reprisal for his performing a “too effective job”. Then-EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman personally pulled the plug on the Ombudsman Office and was “committed to not putting Kaufman back”, according to one e-mail exhibit.

EPA appealed the Labor Department order restoring Kaufman, thus triggering the hearing beginning today before administrative law judge… Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: SUING THE SAUDIS–Pinning the Blame for 9/11

SPECIAL REPORT: SUING THE SAUDIS
Pinning the blame for 9/11
Special Report: A Phila. law firm wages an epic legal battle to win billions from Saudi Arabia.

By Chris Mondics, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

First of two parts.

Less than a mile from the mournful place in Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center came crashing to the ground, in a hushed federal courthouse, a small band of Philadelphia lawyers is prying loose secrets of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

It is here that the Cozen O’Connor law firm has filed an 812-page lawsuit on behalf of U.S. and global insurance companies alleging that Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed Islamist charities nurtured and financed al-Qaeda, the author of those deadly attacks.

Led by its flinty chairman and founder, Stephen Cozen, the firm has invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars to scour the world for witnesses, documents and other evidence in its attempt to hold the oil-rich desert kingdom liable for more than $5 billion in damages.

Among the companies represented in the lawsuit are Chubb, Ace, Allstate, One Beacon, and nearly three dozen other insurers.

“Our concern was whether there was a viable case to be made against the defendant,” Cozen said, “and whether the defendant could pay.”

Round 1 in this titanic legal battle went to the Saudis and their high-powered lawyers three years ago when a U.S. District Court judge removed the government and Saudi royals as defendants.

Defense lawyers have declined repeated requests for interviews,… Continue reading

Lawyers want 9/11 trial dismissed (and related articles)

By Andrew O. Selsky
May 29, 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Defense lawyers accused the government of rushing the Sept. 11 defendants to trial at Guantánamo to influence the U.S. presidential elections, and asked the military judge to dismiss the case in a court filing obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

The filing also shows that the former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo, who resigned in October over alleged political interference, was sanctioned by the military on May 23 after testifying for the defense in a Guantánamo hearing.

The former prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, wrote that the action will discourage any other military members from providing information about the controversial war-crimes tribunals. The tribunals’ legal adviser, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, told the AP Davis was sanctioned because of poor job performance and not because he testified.

Military lawyers for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants revealed that prosecutors are seeking a Sept. 15 trial date — weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

The five men accused of mounting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed almost 3,000 people are to be arraigned June 5 at the U.S. Navy base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the most high-profile of the military commissions, as the war-crimes proceedings are called.

“It is safe to say that there are senior officials in the military commission process who believe that there would be strategic political value to having these five men sitting in a death chamber… Continue reading

Aviation companies blame FBI, CIA and terrorists for 9/11

The Associated Press
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Image of FAA logoNEW YORK: Aviation companies sued by the families of Sept. 11 victims for failing to safeguard air travel are in turn blaming federal investigators — arguing the Federal Aviation Administration was not alerted that al-Qaida was poised to launch terrorist attacks.

In court documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, aviation companies are seeking to force five FBI employees to provide testimony that may help defend against claims the companies share blame in the attacks.

“The aviation parties anticipate that the FBI witnesses’ testimony will demonstrate that the FBI had information before Sept. 11 indicating that al-Qaida may have been about to launch terrorist attacks on civil aviation, which it did not timely pass along to the Federal Aviation Administration,” lawyers wrote.

The airlines and aviation companies are defending themselves against lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages for injuries, fatalities, property damage and business losses related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

The companies in turn filed separate lawsuits against the CIA and the FBI last August to force terrorism investigators to tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.

The latest documents filed by the airlines, airport authorities, security companies and an aircraft manufacturer argue that if the FAA had known about an FBI investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, it could have amended security measures to guard against the type of terrorist attack Moussaoui was planning.

The… Continue reading

U.S. to televise Guantánamo trials to 9-11 families

By Jane Sutton

Fri Apr 18, 8:40 AM ET

GUANTÁNAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – The U.S. military will televise the Guantánamo trial of accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other suspects so relatives of those killed in the attacks can watch on the U.S. mainland.

“We’re going to broadcast in real time to several locations that will be available just to victim families,” Army Col. Lawrence Morris, chief prosecutor for the controversial war crimes court, said at the naval base recently.

In February, military prosecutors charged Mohammed and five other captives with murder and conspiracy and asked that they be executed if convicted of plotting to crash hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade  Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

No trial date has been set but they are the first Guantánamo prisoners charged with direct involvement in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Morris said several of the victims’ relatives asked to watch the trials at the detention center set up in Guantánamo Bay naval base to try foreign terrorism suspects.

The base sits on a dusty patch of the island of Cuba and does not have many flights, beds or courtroom seats to accommodate spectators.

The trials will be beamed to closed-circuit television viewing sites on military bases at Fort Hamilton in New York, Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, Fort Meade in Maryland and Fort Devens in Massachusetts, Morris said.

The military is borrowing a page from the civilian court sentencing hearing of Zacarias Moussaoui, a flight school student who is the only person convicted in the United States in connection with the September 11 plot.…

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Developer (Silverstein) Sues to Win $12.3 Billion in 9/11 Attack

March 27, 2008
By Anemona Hartocollis

Larry A. Silverstein, who has won nearly $4.6 billion in insurance payments to cover his losses and help him rebuild at the World Trade Center site, is seeking $12.3 billion in damages from airlines and airport security companies for the 9/11 attack.

Mr. Silverstein, the developer of ground zero, sought the damages, whose amount was not previously known, in a claim filed in 2004, that says the airlines and airport security companies failed to prevent terrorists from hijacking the planes used to destroy the buildings.

His case was consolidated last week with similar, earlier lawsuits brought by families of some victims of the attack and by other property owners. But in seeking $12.3 billion, he is by far the biggest claimant in the litigation.

The size of Mr. Silverstein’s claim was revealed last week at a status conference on the litigation in United States District Court in Manhattan.

The claims by the parties involved total about $23 billion, and Mr. Silverstein’s claim for such a large chunk could jeopardize claims from other businesses and property owners, according to defense lawyers. A lawyer for the victims’ families, Donald Migliori, said he was confident that their claims would not be affected because they would take priority over the property claims.

A lawyer for the airlines, Desmond Barry, said that if Mr. Silverstein won his claim, he could push the total claims beyond the amount of insurance that the airlines and security companies have available. “There ain’t… Continue reading

9/11 Truth, Activism and the Fourth Amendment (Updated with action steps)

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.

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Settlements Do Not Deter 9/11 Plaintiffs Seeking Trials

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS

Families of 14 of the people killed in the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, have settled their lawsuits, but relatives of other victims said yesterday that they would continue fighting in court to address their questions about how Islamic terrorists bypassed airport security, commandeered four jets and killed thousands of people.

One of those relatives, Mike Low, whose 28-year-old daughter, Sara, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center, said he was not deterred by the settlements, which were filed Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

“The frustrating thing is not having a trial date,” he said yesterday. “The wheels of justice turn excruciatingly slow. It doesn’t change my mind any. My desire and goal is to try to find some answers. I want to know why Abdulaziz Alomari and Mohamed Atta were allowed to walk on planes in Portland, Me., with prohibited weapons. I want somebody to tell me why that happened.”

The 14 settlements came a few days after the families won a ruling in Federal District Court in Manhattan that would have allowed a jury to hear a few minutes of a cockpit recording that captured the sounds of passengers trying to retake control of United Airlines Flight 93 before it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

Donald Migliori, a lawyer whose firm was involved in negotiating all of the settlements, said yesterday that Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein’s ruling on the recording last week had moved settlement talks forward.…

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