Feb. 11, 2009
"I would like some truth and accountability- Mike Low, father of Sara E. Low,
-- and I want the public to hear it."
flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11.
About 97 percent of the families of the approximately 3,000 victims of 9-11 accepted money from the U.S. taxpayer-funded Victims Compensation Fund, thereby forfeiting their right to sue for accountability and compensation. Only 96 families refused to accept the government money doled out by "Special Master" Kenneth Feinberg, holding out for an open trial. Yet, after more than 7 years, not one victim's lawsuit has gone to trial --- 3,000 victims and not a single trial. What kind of justice is that?
"Special Master" Kenneth Feinberg doled out $7 billion in taxpayer funds to buy off 9-11 relatives.
Alvin K. Hellerstein, the federal judge managing the tort litigation process in the Manhattan district court has effectively delayed a 9-11 trial for years and used his power to force the grieving families to reach out-of-court settlements with the insurance companies. In this legal war of attrition nearly all of the 96 families have been forced to give up their struggle for truth and justice and accept cash settlements for the loss of their loved ones.
9-11 Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has family ties to Israel.
In mid-December, the families of Mark Bavis, a 31-year-old hockey scout, Barbara Keating, 72, and flight attendant Sara Low, 28, asked Hellerstein to schedule an open trial against Massport, the airlines, and the passenger screening and airport security companies in Boston. Once again, however, Hellerstein delayed saying he must decide first on a defendant motion to have FBI and CIA agents testify about the threats of terrorism in the weeks prior to 9-11. The next court date for 9-11 relatives is scheduled for March 2, 2009.
Donald A. Migliori, attorney for the families, called the motion a ploy to "politicize" the case. Migliori said the families blame Massport, American Airlines, United Airlines, and the airport security companies who allowed terrorists, armed with box cutters and pepper spray, onboard Flight 11 and Flight 175 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
The remaining families are demanding two things: an open trial to determine accountability for the 9-11 attacks and the removal of the court-imposed secrecy of the many thousands of pages of discovery material. Lawyers for the families have asked Hellerstein to release confidential discovery material obtained from airlines, security firms, and other defendants sued in the attacks.
Lawyers for the victims' families said the defendants had ”abused” the protections of the 2004 court order ”to shield from public view” virtually all materials turned over in the litigation. Furthermore, the essential 9-11 discovery material has been censored by Andrew E. Colsky, the gatekeeper of information under the Sensitive Security Information (SSI) program. Colsky, a Florida lawyer, was appointed by and served under the Israeli-American Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Andrew Colsky, Chief Censor of 9-11 Evidence
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
One of the key defendants in the 9-11 tort litigation is a passenger screening and security firm, Huntleigh USA, which is owned by ICTS, a company closely tied to Israeli intelligence and run by Menachem Atzmon, a convicted criminal and political ally of Ehud Olmert. Olmert, it should be noted made a secret visit to New York City the day before 9-11. Judge Hellerstein's son lives on an Israeli settlement on the occupied West Bank and works for the Israeli government, something which should clearly be considered a conflict of interest for the judge managing the 9-11 litigation in which a defendant is an entity of Israeli state intelligence.
Joseph Hellerstein, the son of the federal judge managing the 9-11 tort litigation, lives on an illegal Israeli settlement on the occupied West Bank.
"The public ought to know about the breakdowns in aviation security that allowed four commercial planes to become weapons of mass destruction," the lawyers for the three families wrote.
"We owe them a debt of gratitude, especially for their efforts to create a public archive of information," retired FAA Special Agent Brian F. Sullivan told the Boston Herald.
"I want some light to shine on all that happened leading up to 9-11 and on the day of 9-11," said Mike Low, father of Sara Low, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first jet to hit the twin towers.
"My clients are adamant it will go to trial," Migliori said.
A 9-11 TRIAL - A NATIONAL IMPERATIVE
It is truly a matter of national importance for all Americans that the 9-11 plaintiffs receive an open trial and that all essential discovery material be made public. After 7 years, the on-going legal battle in federal court is the essence of the struggle to find the truth of what happened on 9-11. Judge Hellerstein has effectively delayed and obstructed justice for years and it would be highly unlikely for him to set a trial date when the 9-11 litigation is next taken up on March 2.
Read the entire essay at Bollyn.info