Category Archives: Silencing relatives

China buys the silence of grieving parents

In a move echoing the US government with respect to the families of 9/11 victims, the Chinese authorities are "buying" the silence of parents whose children died when schools collapsed.

Here a story by The Sunday Times (UK). Note that when the US government bribed families of 9/11 victims – by requiring of them to forfeit their right to their day in court in return for lavish compensations –  Western media did not describe such moves as "buying" the families’ silence.

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July 27, 2008

China buys the silence of grieving parents

Earthquake: Free ‘life insurance’ has been offered to families of children who were killed when schools collapsed

Little boy who is walking on crutches after he lost his leg in the Sichuan earthquake

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WE did not notice the cars following us until we drove out of the village onto the dusty track leading to the rice fields. Crawling menacingly in the distance, the cars briefly lost sight of us when we turned a corner but were close enough to catch up again at a moment’s notice.

We had no option but to keep driving. Inside our car, a man I shall call Liu Qiang was explaining why he had texted me and arranged a meeting.

One of hundreds of parents who lost children in schools that collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake in May, he was in a state of deep shock when I met him four days after the quake. Choked with tears and unable to hide his anger, he took me to see his 13-year-old daughter’s freshly dug grave. Before I left, we swapped telephone numbers, and we have kept in contact since.

Ten weeks later we arranged to meet again on a busy street corner, not far from his home, to talk about the Chinese government’s attempts to buy the parents’ silence with spurious offers of free life insurance.

“I don’t want to fall out with the government,” he said firmly. “All I’m asking for is justice for our dead children.”

He had just come from a meeting called by village officials. All the parents who had lost children in the local middle school – more than 100 families were affected – had been asked to attend. He fished out a folded sheet of paper with writing on one side – an application form for basic life insurance handed out at the meeting.

The form asked for details of the dead child and their parents’ ID and mobile phone numbers. It left space at the bottom for the signatures of parents and representatives of the school and a government official. There was no sum of money mentioned; no details of the coverage, to whom it would apply or for how long.

“We were rounded up and ordered to sign the contract if we wanted to collect the government’s gift of free life insurance,” Liu explained. “They also said we would get £5,000 in cash as compensation for our dead children.” Some parents were already signing their forms.

“How do we even know if it is real life insurance?” he said. “If we accept the cash, my wife and I want to use it to take the local government to court over the death of our daughter, but we’re afraid it is not enough to cover the legal fees.

“If we don’t sign the contract, we are afraid we will be left with no children and no money to look after us when we grow old.

“We’re thinking about having another child to safeguard our future. Eventually that child will also have to go to school and we’re afraid if we don’t cooperate with the government now they will cause problems for the child later on.”

Liu’s voice strained as he mentioned the possibility of having a new child so soon after his daughter died. He added quietly that his wife was already 34 and they had little time to decide.

“They’re trying to buy our silence,” he said, his voice cracking. “All the people in our village are poor, but how can the money they are offering make up for the losses we have suffered?”

It is a dilemma felt by all the parents whose children died. At least 10,000 of the 70,000 people who perished in the earthquake were of school age; the government has done its best to play down the number of schools that collapsed.

Sichuan’s bereaved parents refuse to stay silent, however, and, as details of shoddy construction work emerge, a case for corruption is mounting.

One example is Xinjian primary school in Dujiangyan, where more than 400 of the 600 students died. The main building collapsed in less than four minutes, but nearly all the structures around it survived. Bereaved parents have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and bribery to bully them into silence.

Liu told me that all the parents in his village had been made to give their mobile phone numbers to the police and were warned that their phone lines could be tapped for “security reasons”. Plain-clothes police had been deployed to their village to spy on them and everywhere they went they felt they were being “watched”. One bereaved couple made secret plans to travel to Beijing and petition the government. They were apprehended by police and ordered to return home.

There was no mistaking the two cars gaining speed behind us. I needed to get Liu out of the vehicle before stopping to face them. We sped back to the village, letting Liu slip out onto a busy side street to dissolve into the crowd.

Thirty seconds later I was joined again by the two cars and when we stopped a mile further on, they pulled up, followed by three more. Several uniformed policemen and a number of people in civilian clothing piled out. I was asked to hand over my passport. As they stood writing down my details, one policeman filmed me while several of the plain-clothes men snapped me on their mobile phone cameras.

At the station they let me go after an hour of questioning, but not before I had signed and fingerprinted a letter of apology for going to places “under supervision” by the authorities.

“The Chinese authorities promised when bidding for the Olympics that hosting the Games would improve human rights, but things have got worse, not better,” said Steve Ballinger of Amnesty International. “We want people here in the UK to speak up – online and in letters and faxes to the Chinese authorities – and demand human rights for China.”

Many Sichuan schools were ‘time bombs’

At the Xinjian primary school in Dujiangyan, more than 400 out of the 687 killed were children. A nursery school less than 20ft away was barely cracked. A 10-storey hotel opposite was also largely intact. Parents say the school was known to be unsafe but it was not properly reinforced because of its low importance compared with other schools in the area.

Another school in the same town, catering for children of the Communist elite, was so structurally sound that it was used by officials as their base after the earthquake struck.

Independent evidence from structural engineers confirmed that the materials used to build the school were unsafe and a “time bomb waiting to explode”. The entrance was also too small for emergency vehicles to pass through to reach the site after the accident.

In Wufu village 126 children aged between nine and 13 died. Parents said the school was ruled unsafe 10 months ago and the children moved to a single-storey structure next door. They were moved back again without explanation shortly before the disaster struck.

At least 10,000 of the 70,000 people who died in the earthquake were of school age. The government has promised a full investigation into why the schools collapsed.


FBI ‘Harassing And Intimidating’ 911 Witnesses

FBI ‘Harassing And Intimidating’ 911 Witnesses

By Daniel Hopsicker
Mad Cow Morning News
12-11 03

VENICE, Florida — FBI agents harassed and intimidated witnesses to the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy’s activities in Florida, issuing warnings to avoid talking with reporters, say current and former residents in Venice, Florida.
 
At least one eyewitness, who knew Mohamed Atta because he lived next door for a time, received regular visits for over six months after the attack from FBI agents eager to ensure she continued to remain silent. Several said they felt unfairly singled out because what they saw and heard is at considerable variance with the official story of the terrorist cadre’s time in Florida. An American girl named Amanda Keller, for example, briefly lived with Mohamed Atta in Venice, according to both local news reports and numerous eyewitnesses.
 
She possessed presumably ‘scorching-hot’ details of life with a terrorist ringleader. But we never saw her being interviewed by Diane Sawyer.
 
The FBI had other ideas.
 
A total blackout on information
 
With reporters literally camped at her doorstep, Keller told us she had been so intimidated into silence by the FBI that she spoke barely a dozen words. "The newspaper quote you read was accurate," she said. "I can’t really say anything. I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble."
 
"A N.Y. Times reporter named Chris – young, tall, kind of heavy, dark hair and a dark goatee – came to my house," she explained. "And he was mad because I wouldn’t talk to him. This dude would NOT leave me alone. I stood outside arguing with him forever, and he was trying to trip me up and get me to say something."
 
"And so I called the FBI agent that had been calling me – right while this reporter guy was standing there – and told him this reporter won’t leave me alone. The agent said let me talk to him, so I handed him the phone. And I don’t know what was said, but after that he left me alone."
 
Why had she remained silent? "Because of the intimidation by the FBI," she replied. "They told me not to talk to anybody, to keep my mouth shut."
 
"Peeling hundreds from his fanny pack"
 
The FBI didn’t confine their menacing visits just to people who had lived with the terrorist ringleader. Some got in trouble just for having lived next-door, like Stephanie Frederickson, a pleasant 50-year old housewife who made the grave mistake of living in an apartment beside the apartment that Mohamed Atta moved into with Amanda Keller.
 
"At first, right after the attack, they (the FBI) told me I must have been mistaken in my identification," Frederickson stated. "Then they would insinuate that I was lying. Finally they stopped trying to get me to change my story. After that they just stopped by once a week to make sure I hadn’t been talking to anyone."
 
Frederickson shrugged. "Who was I going to tell? Everybody around here already knew."
 
The Sandpiper Apartments manager, Charlie Grapentine, is a grizzled Korean vet in his early 60’s. The FBI did not his recollections any more warmly than they had those of Stephanie Frederickson.
 
"Atta always carried a fanny pack around his waist," Grapentine told us. "I remember Amanda once telling him that she needed some new clothes, and he reached in and peeled off a few hundreds from a thick roll of cash he had stuffed inside the fanny pack."
 
But, we all have careers to think about…
 
Grapentine turns grim on the subject of the FBI’s treatment. "They called me a liar, and told me to keep my mouth shut," stated the ex-marine through clenched teeth. "Nobody likes to hear that: that they didn’t see something they know they saw."
 
Keller, Frederickson, and Grapentine, are just three examples of the apparently officially-sanctioned silencing of eyewitnesses in Florida to the terrorist’s activities.
 
They are by no means alone in having felt official pressure to keep silent.
 
Longboat Key fire captain Carroll Mooneyhan was waiting in the lobby of the hotel President Bush was staying at the night before the attack, for Bush to come out for his morning run when he saw something he shouldn’t have. Something pretty big, actually…
 
After talking with local reporters he clammed up. When we finally reached him by phone, Mooneyhan, who witnessed the launch of an attempt to assassinate the President, told us: "I was visited by the CIA and the Secret Service after 9/11. I have a career to think about. I have to be careful what I say."
 
And that was the last we heard from him.
 
A lesson for our times
 
You can count the number of investigative journalists who have followed the trail of the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy during their time in the U.S. on one hand and pick your nose at the same time.
 
It’s time for a change.
 
http://www.madcowprod.com/indexbb.html

Legal action jeopardises 9/11 compensation

http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,795766,00.html#article_continue

Legal action jeopardises 9/11 compensation

Families of victims of September 11 could lose their payout claims if they decide to sue alleged Saudi funders of terrorism, writes Oliver Burkeman

The Guardian (UK)
Friday September 20, 2002

President George Bush’s "war against terrorism" has thrown up a particularly cruel irony, according to several people who lost relatives in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

It could, they say, lead to hundreds of family members bereaved on September 11 being denied millions of dollars in compensation payments.

Controversy is brewing over a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 600 relatives of the victims against a cross-section of the Saudi establishment – "wealthy Saudi individuals, banks, corporations, and Islamic charities" – accusing them of knowingly funding the terrorist activities of al-Qaida.

Some plaintiffs in the case say the Bush administration is pressuring them to pull out of the lawsuit in order to avoid damaging US-Saudi relations, threatening them with the prospect of being denied any money from the government’s own compensation scheme if they continue to pursue it.

Bereaved relatives who apply to the federal compensation scheme must, in any case, sign away their rights to sue the government, air carriers in the US, and other domestic bodies – a condition that has prompted some of them to call the government compensation "hush money".

They remain, however, free to sue those they accuse of being directly responsible for the attacks, such as Osama bin Laden, and – so they thought – the alleged financers of terrorism.

"It was stated very specifically that we couldn’t sue anything domestic," Cheri Sparacio, who lost her husband Tom in the World Trade Centre, told the Guardian recently. "But anything that had to do with funding terrorism, any terrorist nation, terrorist financers, we could go ahead and sue."

Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the compensation scheme, told them as much at a private meeting, they say. But now the department of justice says it is investigating whether participation in that lawsuit could disqualify the relatives from claiming government compensation.

The investigation, the plaintiffs argue, is meant to frighten them off because Washington is intent on preserving cordial relations with Saudi Arabia – above all, in the event of proposed military action against Iraq.

Ron Motley, the high-profile attorney leading the lawsuit, last month told a Staten Island newspaper that the government was protecting its "gangster" friends in Riyadh. He labelled the move a "dirty trick."

"It seems like a lot of political propaganda to try to scare us to pull out," Ms Sparacio said. Nick Chiarchiaro, whose wife Dorothy also died in the World Trade Centre, said: "Some people have already pulled out." The State Department denies that the investigation into a potential clash has anything to do with foreign policy.

If the government were to rule that pursuing the lawsuit and applying for compensation were incompatible, that would leave the relatives with an unenviable choice: seek payouts from the alleged funders of terrorism, risk losing the legal action, and waive their right to federal compensation – or drop out of the lawsuit and risk missing out on millions of dollars in punitive damages were it to succeed.

A spokesman for Mr Feinberg’s office recently told reporters that, for the victims’ families to be able to follow both routes at the same time, they would have first to prove that the targets of the legal action had been connected with terrorism.

That seemed an odd argument to make, the relatives responded, since establishing such a connection would be precisely the endpoint of the lawsuit.

Even if those eligible for government money did remove their names from the suit, potential diplomatic embarrassment could remain: many of the plaintiffs are non-dependents, who were never eligible for the compensation fund but could continue fighting for punitive payments.

The federal compensation scheme has been beset by disputes, and Mr Feinberg has several times had to modify the method used to calculate the awards in response to allegations of unfairness. Even so, few victims’ relatives have submitted applications to it yet: they are waiting, on the advice of their lawyers, to see what others do.

The first 25 payments – of between $300,000 (

Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’

Published on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 by the Toronto Star
Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’
Ignore Deadline for Compensation
by Tim Harper
 

WASHINGTON”For some, it’s blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept.

 

For a handful of others, the process of claiming compensation is too painful: they find themselves paralyzed by grief and unable to reopen emotional wounds barely healed from the deaths of their loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

But as many as 73 families see the process of U.S. government compensation as an attempt to protect those who should be held accountable for what they believe was mass murder.

 

They ignored a midnight deadline last night, their last chance to apply for government cash.

 



It’s almost like it’s a payoff to save the airlines and not hold any of those people responsible for what happened.


 

Irene Golinski, 53, whose husband died in the Pentagon attack

And today, they begin a new stage in an arduous odyssey and will sue their government, airlines and state and local authorities.

 

"This may be uncharted waters, but I was thrown in a pool on Sept. 11, 2001 and had to learn to swim," said Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband Richard in the World Trade Center attack.

 

"I am doing this for my husband. He was a gentle man, and he was alive, trying to get out of that building that day. The dead. The dying. The smoke. The terror. No one should have suffered like that. I want accountability. I need answers."

 

The compensation fund has been controversial since President George W. Bush signed it into law 13 days after the attacks. For those who lost family members, it was always about protecting airlines, federal, state and local authorities from billions of dollars of lawsuits.

 

To receive the federal money, recipients must sign a waiver giving up their right to sue anyone involved in the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history.

 

A late surge of claims on deadline yesterday meant close to 95 per cent of the 2,976 families who lost loved ones in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were expected to finally take the money.

 

To get there, they had to accept a monetary value on the lives of those closest to them, after making a case based on birth and marriage licences, diplomas and degrees, even videos. They will, on average, receive $1.8 million (all figures U.S.) each.

 

Families of 24 Canadian victims are eligible for compensation and most have applied.

 

Brian Alexander, a New York lawyer representing a portion of the victims who have launched the lawsuit, said he knew of no Canadians involved.

 

He said those who have chosen to sue have put no dollar figure on awards and each claim will be individually tailored.

 

"A widow who is 80 years old is not in the same category as a widow who lost her husband at age 30 and has four kids at home," he said.

 

Some $1.5 billion had been paid from the government fund by the weekend. Compensation for individual deaths has ranged from $250,000 to $6.9 million. Those physically injured as a result of the attacks have received compensation ranging from $500 to $7.9 million.

 

"Only in America could there be a program like this," fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg told CNN yesterday.

 

"You wouldn’t find a program paying an average $1.8 million tax-free to eligible families. This is an unprecedented, unique program and exhibits I think the best in the American people."

 

Yet Gabrielle says it is a bribe by the government so victims can be coerced into washing their hands of the affair.

 

She is also resentful that the government is determining the worth of loved ones.

 

"This is about mass murder," she said. "I want to know who was responsible.

 

"No one has been fired. No one has been demoted. The same people who are guarding us today on an elevated security alert are the same people who were working that day."

 

Gabrielle said she is looking at a special 9/11 commission headed by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean to answer the question of responsibility.

 

Kean has battled the White House, New York and aviation authorities for access to documents. He has a May deadline.

 

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean told CBS last week.

 

He said later he was talking of lower level officials, but Gabrielle and others want to know more about the safety of the buildings and airport security.

 

Even those who have accepted the money see it only as the lesser of two evils.

 

Irene Golinski, 53, whose husband died in the Pentagon attack, was still grappling with the decision to put 9/11 behind her or continue with a lawsuit.

 

"It’s almost like it’s a payoff to save the airlines and not hold any of those people responsible for what happened," she said.

 

Feinberg’s office detailed some awards. The beneficiary of a 36-year-old project manager earning $231,000 and with one dependent was paid $3.48 million, while the beneficiary of a 26-year-old military officer with no dependents and a $44,000 salary got $1.84 million.

Rand study shows 9/11 compensation tops $38 billion

News Release

FOR RELEASE
Monday
November 8, 2004

RAND STUDY SHOWS COMPENSATION FOR 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS TOPS $38 BILLION; BUSINESSES RECEIVE BIGGEST SHARE

Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – both individuals killed or seriously injured and individuals and businesses impacted by the strikes – have received at least $38.1 billion in compensation, with insurance companies and the federal government providing more than 90 percent of the payments, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

New York businesses have received 62 percent of the total compensation, reflecting the broad-ranging economic impacts of the attack in and near the World Trade Center. Among individuals killed or seriously injured, emergency responders and their families have received more than civilians and their families who suffered similar economic losses. On average, first responders have received about $1.1 million more per person than civilians with similar economic loss.

The analysis by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice is the most comprehensive examination to date of financial compensation made following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The crashes of passenger planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania together made up the largest terrorist strikes in U.S. history, killing 2,551 civilians and seriously injuring another 215. The attacks also killed or seriously injured 460 emergency responders.

“The compensation paid to the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania was unprecedented both in its scope and in the mix of programs used to make payments,” said Lloyd Dixon, a RAND senior economist and lead author of the report. “The system has raised many questions about equity and fairness that have no obvious answers. Addressing these issues now will help the nation be better prepared for future terrorist attacks.”

Dixon and co-author Rachel Kaganoff Stern interviewed and gathered evidence from many sources to estimate the amount of compensation paid out by insurance companies, government agencies and charities following the attacks. Their findings include:

  • Insurance companies expect to make at least $19.6 billion in payments, comprising 51 percent of the money paid in compensation.
  • Government payments total nearly $15.8 billion (42 percent of the total). This includes payments from local, state and federal governments, plus payments from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 that was established by the federal government to compensate those killed or physically injured in the attacks. The total does not include payments to clean up the World Trade Center site or rebuild public infrastructure in New York City.
  • Payments by charitable groups comprise just 7 percent of the total, despite the fact that charities distributed an unprecedented $2.7 billion to victims of the attacks.

Because of concerns that liability claims would clog the courts and create further economic harm, the federal government limited the liability of airlines, airports and certain government bodies. The government established the Victim Compensation Fund to make payments to families for the deaths and injuries of victims. In addition, the government funded a major economic revitalization program for New York City.

RAND researchers found that businesses hurt by the attacks have received most of the compensation that the study was able to quantify. The families of civilians killed and the civilians who were injured received the second-highest payments. The study found that:

  • Businesses in New York City, particularly in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, have received $23.3 billion in compensation for property damage, disrupted operations, and economic incentives. About 75 percent of that came from insurance companies. More than $4.9 billion went to revitalize the economy of Lower Manhattan.
  • Civilians killed or seriously injured received a total of $8.7 billion, averaging about $3.1 million per recipient. Most of this came from the Victim Compensation Fund, but payments also came from insurance companies, employers and charities.
  • About $3.5 billion was paid to displaced residents, workers who lost their jobs, or others who suffered emotional trauma or were exposed to environmental hazards.
  • Emergency responders killed or injured received a total of $1.9 billion, with most of that coming from the government. Payments averaged about $1.1 million more per person than for civilians with similar economic losses, with most of the higher amount due to payments from charities.

Certain features of the Victim Compensation Fund tended to increase compensation relative to economic loss. Other features tended to decrease compensation relative to economic loss. Researchers say more detailed individual data are needed to determine the net effect.

For example, the Victim Compensation Fund decided to limit the amount of lost future earnings it would consider when calculating awards for survivors. Administrators capped income the fund would consider at $231,000 per year in projecting future lifetime earnings, even though many people killed earned more than that amount. The special master of the Victim Compensation Fund had substantial discretion to set final awards for higher income earners, but data are not available on how he exercised that discretion.

Many issues of equity have been raised by the compensation process. For example, some people have questioned whether it is fitting that some lives appear to be more valuable than others, as demonstrated by higher payments to emergency responders and people who earned high salaries. Others wonder why the victims of the 2001 attacks received greater compensation than that paid to victims in previous incidents, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Researchers also interviewed people who said it appeared that more effort was made to compensate those killed or physically injured than to aid those with economic losses not related to death or serious injury.

While insurance companies provided the majority of compensation, the RAND researchers warn that there may be less insurance in future domestic terrorist attacks. While before the 2001 attacks terrorism was automatically covered in insurance policies, since then it has been offered as a separate type of coverage, and many businesses have not purchased it. In addition, chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks are now typically excluded.

Researchers say that deciding now what mechanisms should be used to compensate terrorist victims in the future could lead to better use of resources and less duplication of efforts. For example, had the charities known that there would be a victim compensation fund, they might have used their resources differently rather than focusing on providing direct aid to victims killed or seriously injured in the attacks.

A better compensation system for victims of terrorism also would help the nation cope with the aftermath of any future attack and help thwart the aims of terrorism, researchers say. For example, compensation can reduce economic vulnerability to terrorism by affecting how quickly the economy rebounds from an attack and can create incentives to adopt physical security measures and potentially reduce panic and fragmentation.

The RAND Institute for Civil Justice helps make the civil justice system more efficient and equitable by supplying government leaders, private decision makers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research.

Printed copies of “Compensation for Losses from the 9/11 Attacks” (ISBN: 0-8330-3691-2) can be ordered from RAND’s Distribution Services or call toll-free in the United States 1-877-584-8642).

About the RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world.

 

FDNY Chaplain Resigns After 9/11 Remarks

FDNY Chaplain Resigns After 9/11 Remarks

Friday September 30, 2005 8:01 PM

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

Associated Press Writer

 Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:37 pm 

 The fire department’s new Muslim chaplain abruptly resigned Friday after saying in a published interview that he believes something other than al-Qaida hijackers brought down the World Trade Center.

"It became clear to him that he would have difficulty functioning as an FDNY chaplain," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told reporters an hour before Imam Intikab Habib was to be officially sworn in. "There has been no prior indication that he held those views."

Habib told Newsday in an interview published Friday that he was skeptical of the official version of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which killed 343 firefighters.

"I’ve heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone," he told the newspaper.

"It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours," he said. "Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?"

The 30-year-old Guyana native joined the department as chaplain on Aug. 15 after the FDNY’s Islamic Society recommended him for the part-time position, which pays $18,000 a year.

Scoppetta said Habib, who was educated in Islamic law in Saudi Arabia and preaches at a New York mosque, had appeared qualified and passed a background check.

Habib made his comments after Newsday asked him whether he thought firefighters would object to a chaplain trained in Saudi Arabia. The country was home to 15 of the 19 men who hijacked four jets on Sept. 11, 2001, crashed two of them into the trade center towers and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.

"There are so many conflicting reports about it," the newspaper quoted Habib as saying. "I don’t believe it was 19 … hijackers who did those attacks." He said he didn’t know who was responsible for the attacks.

"It’s sad," said Kevin James, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel. "We had no idea those were his views. He’s entitled to his opinion but he’s not the right person for the chaplain."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Habib’s resignation.

"The remarks were offensive and the mayor is satisfied that the chaplain has resigned," mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler said.

Some have blamed the destruction of the trade center on a U.S. or Israeli plot designed to whip up support for attacks on Muslim countries. In 2003, New Jersey eliminated Amiri Baraka’s position as poet laureate after he wrote a poem suggesting Israel had advance knowledge of the attacks.

Family members ‘cautioned’ by FBI not to talk to reporters

"Cautioned by the FBI not to reveal the contents of the tape, the few family members who spoke to reporters after listening to the contents were guarded in their remarks"

 

Flight 93 tape ends doubts for families
 

Recording confirms for loved ones the hero status of the passengers who fought 9/11 terrorists

By Stevenson Swanson
Chicago Tribune national correspondent
Published April 19, 2002

PRINCETON, N.J. — Hearing a violent struggle that was recorded in the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93 as the plane plummeted toward the ground on Sept. 11 confirmed for family members Thursday that their relatives died trying to wrest control of the plane from its hijackers.

In an unprecedented departure from standard procedure in air crash investigations, the 30-minute recording was played at the behest of grief-stricken family members, about 70 of whom listened to the tape at a hotel here.

"I heard what I wanted to hear today," said Deena Burnett, widow of Thomas Burnett Jr., who is believed to have been one of the leaders of a passenger revolt that ended in the crash near Shanksville, Pa. "There’s never been a doubt in my mind that everyone on board was a hero and acted heroically. This tape confirms that."

The last minutes of the tape are muffled by the sound of rushing wind as the plane plunged from the sky, family members said, but the recording was clear enough that American and Arabic-speaking voices could be discerned.

Flight 93 was the last of the four hijacked planes to crash on Sept. 11. It was the only plane that did not strike a target during the attacks in New York and Virginia. Many passengers aboard the San Francisco-bound flight had been tipped off by cell phone calls reporting that the other three planes had been used as fuel-laden missiles to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"These are clearly people who were informed of the unthinkable, they digested it, and acted upon it," said Hamilton Peterson, whose father, Donald, was a passenger on the plane, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field, killing 40 passengers and crew and four hijackers. "I think it’s a message to the world that the American spirit is alive and kicking."

Cautioned by the FBI not to reveal the contents of the tape, the few family members who spoke to reporters after listening to the contents were guarded in their remarks. But some, including Burnett, indicated that they believed they recognized their relatives’ voices on the tape.

Some find comfort

"I found more comfort in listening to the tape than I expected," said Burnett, who was among the most insistent of the family members that they be allowed to hear the tape. "Oddly enough, [my feeling is] one of joy. I feel more at peace. I think we all heard something that was unexpected."

She refused to elaborate, but she said that Justice Department officials told the family members that the tape would be played in court as part of the federal government’s criminal case against alleged hijacking accomplice Zacarias Moussaoui, possibly as early as this fall.

Not all of the families of Flight 93 victims listened to the tape. Some declined to come to Princeton on Thursday, and some who did decided at the last minute not to listen to the tape.

"They said it was very graphic detail of what went on in the cockpit. They said it was horrifying," said Mitchell Zykofsky, 43, whose stepfather, John Talignani, died in the crash. "That was enough for me to decide that I didn’t want to hear it."

Shortly after Sept. 11, family members said they wanted to hear the cockpit voice recording, one of two "black boxes" that airplanes carry to give investigators clues to the cause of a crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which usually takes the lead in investigating crashes, rarely allows anyone but investigators to hear the recordings, although they have sometimes been played in legal cases, generally in closed courtrooms.

In rare instances, including the 1994 crash of American Eagle Flight 4184 in Roselawn, Ind., family members have been allowed to hear the tapes only after a cause has been established in a crash and litigation has been settled.

Because the Flight 93 crash was immediately classified as a criminal matter, the FBI has been the lead agency in the investigation. At first, the FBI refused to allow families to listen to the cockpit recording. But family members persisted, and last month the FBI reversed itself. Pilots fear the decision may set a precedent for future crash tapes to be released.

Playing the recording "goes against the fundamental principles of the recordings, the gathering of useful information to determine the cause of an accident," said Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association. The pilots group has long argued that the tapes should stay closely guarded, arguing that leaks "lead to sensationalism and speculation."

Officials who have heard the tape say it does not clearly establish what made the plane crash or whether passengers were able to overwhelm the hijackers. The tape, a 30-minute loop, begins after the hijackers have seized control of the cockpit. At one point, a woman is reportedly heard crying and pleading for her life. The sound of someone choking is also reportedly audible, as are many expressions in Arabic, including "God is great."

Listening to tape

The day was divided into two sessions, with the families of crew members hearing the tape in the morning and passengers’ families in the afternoon.

Plaintiff charges measures to silence Americans seeking the truth

Ellen Mariani’s RICO Suit against Bush et al Filed 26 November 2003

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MAR402A.html

[...]

36. Plaintiff asserts the Air Transportation Safety and
System Stabilization Act, (hereinafter "Act") is unconstitutional
and ex post facto legislation specifically intended to silence the
truth of the true perpetrators or terrorists which have yet been
captured or held to account for the "911" attacks which resulted
in the murder of her husband Louis Neil Mariani.

...

40.     Plaintiff, herein also names Defendant Kenneth R.
Feinberg, Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation
Fund of 2001, (hereinafter "Fund") as a party for his questionable
strong-arm tactics and hostility towards Plaintiff. Plaintiff
asserts and alleges, Defendant Feinberg's appointment by Defendant
Aschroft was tactical placement of a "go along to get along" move
by Defendant GWB to ensure all "911" families joined the fund to
prevent any questions of liability, gross or criminal negligence
on behalf of Defendant GWB and his administration for failing to
act and prevent the "911" attacks.

 ...

 42.     Plaintiff asserts Defendant Feinberg's overall
involvement with the "Fund" and his appointment by Defendant
Ashcroft is highly suspect and will call at trial staff members of
the "Fund" who will expose the appropriate facts to support
Plaintiff's claim that Defendant Feinberg's assignment is not to
administer just compensation to the families but, a ploy to
silence any traditional lawsuits that will expose Defendant GWB's
failure to act and prevent the "911" attacks. Furthermore, Red
Cross delays have in effect thrown needy families into the waiting
arms of Defendant Ashcroft and Defendant Feinberg while also
serving to keep the government of the United States out of the
courtroom via what Plaintiff originally termed "the Feinberg hush
fund." Defendant Feinberg has maintained total control over fund
settlements while allowing the Red Cross to extend payments in the
millions from donations to displaced renters and homeowners who
did not even lose a family member, and also to Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) workers, all of whom should have been
paid from FEMA's well-established and budgeted funds approved by
Congress. Defendant Feinberg allowed the U.S. government to use
Red Cross funds specifically donated to the families who lost
their loved ones, said funds given to other parties, which only
helped to extend and intensify the financial difficulties of
victims family members, as many just decided to give up and submit
to Defendant Feinberg's fund while also absolving the government
of the United States of all future accountability.

43. Plaintiff, reasonably believes, Defendants are hiding
behind arbitrary legislation such as this "Act" [Air
Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act] and the
Patriot Act to silence Americans such as herself from obtaining
the truth as to how and why "911" ever occurred. To protect and
preserve the United States Constitution Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint merits judicial redress and all extraordinary relief for
the good of our nation.[22]

Legal action jeopardises 9/11 compensation

Legal action jeopardises 9/11 compensation 


Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

Families of victims of September 11 could lose their payout claims if they decide to sue alleged Saudi funders of terrorism, writes Oliver Burkeman 

Friday September 20, 2002

President George Bush’s "war against terrorism" has thrown up a particularly cruel irony, according to several people who lost relatives in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

It could, they say, lead to hundreds of family members bereaved on September 11 being denied millions of dollars in compensation payments.

Controversy is brewing over a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 600 relatives of the victims against a cross-section of the Saudi establishment – "wealthy Saudi individuals, banks, corporations, and Islamic charities" – accusing them of knowingly funding the terrorist activities of al-Qaida.

 

 


 
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Some plaintiffs in the case say the Bush administration is pressuring them to pull out of the lawsuit in order to avoid damaging US-Saudi relations, threatening them with the prospect of being denied any money from the government’s own compensation scheme if they continue to pursue it.

Bereaved relatives who apply to the federal compensation scheme must, in any case, sign away their rights to sue the government, air carriers in the US, and other domestic bodies – a condition that has prompted some of them to call the government compensation "hush money".

They remain, however, free to sue those they accuse of being directly responsible for the attacks, such as Osama bin Laden, and – so they thought – the alleged financers of terrorism.

"It was stated very specifically that we couldn’t sue anything domestic," Cheri Sparacio, who lost her husband Tom in the World Trade Centre, told the Guardian recently. "But anything that had to do with funding terrorism, any terrorist nation, terrorist financers, we could go ahead and sue."

Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the compensation scheme, told them as much at a private meeting, they say. But now the department of justice says it is investigating whether participation in that lawsuit could disqualify the relatives from claiming government compensation.

The investigation, the plaintiffs argue, is meant to frighten them off because Washington is intent on preserving cordial relations with Saudi Arabia – above all, in the event of proposed military action against Iraq.

Ron Motley, the high-profile attorney leading the lawsuit, last month told a Staten Island newspaper that the government was protecting its "gangster" friends in Riyadh. He labelled the move a "dirty trick."

"It seems like a lot of political propaganda to try to scare us to pull out," Ms Sparacio said. Nick Chiarchiaro, whose wife Dorothy also died in the World Trade Centre, said: "Some people have already pulled out." The State Department denies that the investigation into a potential clash has anything to do with foreign policy.

If the government were to rule that pursuing the lawsuit and applying for compensation were incompatible, that would leave the relatives with an unenviable choice: seek payouts from the alleged funders of terrorism, risk losing the legal action, and waive their right to federal compensation – or drop out of the lawsuit and risk missing out on millions of dollars in punitive damages were it to succeed.

A spokesman for Mr Feinberg’s office recently told reporters that, for the victims’ families to be able to follow both routes at the same time, they would have first to prove that the targets of the legal action had been connected with terrorism.

That seemed an odd argument to make, the relatives responded, since establishing such a connection would be precisely the endpoint of the lawsuit.

Even if those eligible for government money did remove their names from the suit, potential diplomatic embarrassment could remain: many of the plaintiffs are non-dependents, who were never eligible for the compensation fund but could continue fighting for punitive payments.

The federal compensation scheme has been beset by disputes, and Mr Feinberg has several times had to modify the method used to calculate the awards in response to allegations of unfairness. Even so, few victims’ relatives have submitted applications to it yet: they are waiting, on the advice of their lawyers, to see what others do.

The first 25 payments – of between $300,000 (

Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’

Published on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 by the Toronto Star
Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’
Ignore Deadline for Compensation
by Tim Harper
 

WASHINGTON”For some, it’s blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept.

 

For a handful of others, the process of claiming compensation is too painful: they find themselves paralyzed by grief and unable to reopen emotional wounds barely healed from the deaths of their loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

But as many as 73 families see the process of U.S. government compensation as an attempt to protect those who should be held accountable for what they believe was mass murder.

 

They ignored a midnight deadline last night, their last chance to apply for government cash.

 



It’s almost like it’s a payoff to save the airlines and not hold any of those people responsible for what happened.


 

Irene Golinski, 53, whose husband died in the Pentagon attack

And today, they begin a new stage in an arduous odyssey and will sue their government, airlines and state and local authorities.

 

"This may be uncharted waters, but I was thrown in a pool on Sept. 11, 2001 and had to learn to swim," said Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband Richard in the World Trade Center attack.

 

"I am doing this for my husband. He was a gentle man, and he was alive, trying to get out of that building that day. The dead. The dying. The smoke. The terror. No one should have suffered like that. I want accountability. I need answers."

 

The compensation fund has been controversial since President George W. Bush signed it into law 13 days after the attacks. For those who lost family members, it was always about protecting airlines, federal, state and local authorities from billions of dollars of lawsuits.

 

To receive the federal money, recipients must sign a waiver giving up their right to sue anyone involved in the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history.

 

A late surge of claims on deadline yesterday meant close to 95 per cent of the 2,976 families who lost loved ones in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were expected to finally take the money.

 

To get there, they had to accept a monetary value on the lives of those closest to them, after making a case based on birth and marriage licences, diplomas and degrees, even videos. They will, on average, receive $1.8 million (all figures U.S.) each.

 

Families of 24 Canadian victims are eligible for compensation and most have applied.

 

Brian Alexander, a New York lawyer representing a portion of the victims who have launched the lawsuit, said he knew of no Canadians involved.

 

He said those who have chosen to sue have put no dollar figure on awards and each claim will be individually tailored.

 

"A widow who is 80 years old is not in the same category as a widow who lost her husband at age 30 and has four kids at home," he said.

 

Some $1.5 billion had been paid from the government fund by the weekend. Compensation for individual deaths has ranged from $250,000 to $6.9 million. Those physically injured as a result of the attacks have received compensation ranging from $500 to $7.9 million.

 

"Only in America could there be a program like this," fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg told CNN yesterday.

 

"You wouldn’t find a program paying an average $1.8 million tax-free to eligible families. This is an unprecedented, unique program and exhibits I think the best in the American people."

 

Yet Gabrielle says it is a bribe by the government so victims can be coerced into washing their hands of the affair.

 

She is also resentful that the government is determining the worth of loved ones.

 

"This is about mass murder," she said. "I want to know who was responsible.

 

"No one has been fired. No one has been demoted. The same people who are guarding us today on an elevated security alert are the same people who were working that day."

 

Gabrielle said she is looking at a special 9/11 commission headed by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean to answer the question of responsibility.

 

Kean has battled the White House, New York and aviation authorities for access to documents. He has a May deadline.

 

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean told CBS last week.

 

He said later he was talking of lower level officials, but Gabrielle and others want to know more about the safety of the buildings and airport security.

 

Even those who have accepted the money see it only as the lesser of two evils.

 

Irene Golinski, 53, whose husband died in the Pentagon attack, was still grappling with the decision to put 9/11 behind her or continue with a lawsuit.

 

"It’s almost like it’s a payoff to save the airlines and not hold any of those people responsible for what happened," she said.

 

Feinberg’s office detailed some awards. The beneficiary of a 36-year-old project manager earning $231,000 and with one dependent was paid $3.48 million, while the beneficiary of a 26-year-old military officer with no dependents and a $44,000 salary got $1.84 million.

Black box cover-up

BLACK BOX COVER-UP


Rescue workers silenced after exposing 9-11 whitewash

 

By Greg Szymanski

A 9-11 rescue worker recently came forward to say he was told by FBI agents to “keep my mouth shut? about one of the “black boxes? a fellow firefighter helped locate at ground zero, contradicting the official story that none of the flight and cockpit data recorders were ever recovered in the wreckage of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers.

Honorary firefighter Mike Bellone claims he was approached by unknown bureau agents a short time after he and his partner, Nicholas DeMasi, a retired New York firefighter, found three of the four “black boxes? among the WTC rubble before January 2002.

The pair first claimed in an August 2003 book entitled Behind the Scene: Ground Zero to have found the data recorders.

DeMasi said the “black boxes? were found while he traversed “ground zero? in his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with three federal agents.

FBI and New York fire officials have denied ever finding the voice and data recorders.

Now Bellone claims agents were adamant about keeping the discovery a secret.

“They confronted me and told me to not to say anything,” recalled Bellone, referring to one of three reddish-orange boxes with two white stripes he saw in the back of DeMasi’s ATV. “I said, “Give me a good reason.” When they couldn’t, I told them I wouldn’t shut up about it.

“Why should I? I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain. It’s the truth, and Nick and I are sticking to our story as we always have.”

Bellone said he and DeMasi were not the only 9-11 rescue workers to see the “black boxes.” He said there were several other witnesses and said he knows they have been silenced by federal agents.

“I know two or three others saw what went down, but they are not talking,” said Bellone. “They got to those guys after they talked to me. The only reason I can figure they are trying to hide the truth is that the government knows it screwed up, and the recorders would prove it.”

Asked to give names of the other witnesses, he said he wouldn’t break a fellow worker’s confidence by revealing his identity.

“I can tell you this, though, it was all very strange. I worked on the spaceship Columbia cleanup, and you know when something important is found and when something is not,” he said.

The day the “black boxes? were secretly carted away, agents acted like “something big was going down,” he added.

Bellone said he never learned the FBI agents? names as this type of personal contact and information wasn’t exchanged between the civilian workers and government officials working side-by-side at ground zero.

“They had on their FBI jackets, but I’m sure I could pick them out of a lineup or recognize their pictures,” said Bellone.

The pair’s bombshell accusations blow a big hole in the official story as well as the findings in the recent 9-11 commission report.”

In Chapter 1, footnote 76, there is the sole but definitive reference to the airline “black boxes?: “The CVR?s and the FDR?s [voice and flight data recorders] from American 11 and United 175 were not found.”

Asked if DeMasi and Bellone were questioned or subpoenaed, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said: “I can’t tell you now if he was one of the 1,200 people we interviewed or if the book was one of the countless ones we researched. We explored every lead, but I will try to find out if we talked with him and get back to you.”

Bellone said commission members never contacted him or DeMasi and never asked the two to appear before the group even though the book was published well before the hearings commenced.

“I have been contacted by only one newspaper reporter, from The Philadelphia Daily News,” said Bellone, referring to an October 2004 story by reporter William Bunch, who recapped DeMasi’s statements as well as the usual official denials.

Those close to the 9-11 investigation said the recovery of the “black boxes? is important because they may hold vital clues about what really happened on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

The cockpit voice recorder uses a pair of microphones to capture all cockpit sounds for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight. The flight data recorder is also significant since it records altitude, heading and airspeed.

Both recorders are designed to withstand enormous impact and heat. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said they should have withstood the conditions at the WTC.

And finding the boxes after a crash seems to be standard procedure, according to the NTSB.

“It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the recorders back,” said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. “I can’t remember another case which we did not recover the recorders.”

Bellone is retired and was made an honorary New York fireman for his efforts after 9-11. DeMasi has recently retired from Engine Co. 261, nicknamed the “Flaming Skulls.”

Some 9/11 families reject federal fund and sue

Some 9/11 families reject federal fund and sue

The U.S. government made two promises to the families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: A special Justice Department fund would compensate their financial losses and official investigations would uncover the security failures that enabled al-Qaeda to kill 3,027 people.

Uncle Sam asked only one thing of the families in return: Don’t drag the battered airlines and their affiliates into court. Many members of Congress wanted to avoid the sad spectacle of victims’ families suing another hard-hit group.

Nearly two years later, many families of 9/11 victims are rejecting that guidance.

With the Dec. 22 deadline to apply for government payments nearing, the relatives of 1,995 deceased victims have submitted claims. The families are lining up for settlement checks that are averaging nearly $1.5 million, and are agreeing not to sue airlines, airports, security companies or other U.S. entities that might be faulted in the fatal hijackings.

Meanwhile, with official findings of blame for the attacks slow in coming, hundreds of victims’ survivors are spurning the government cash and flocking to federal courts. Undeterred by the difficulty in proving that anyone was culpably negligent ? or by roadblocks set up by Congress and the Bush administration ? the determined survivors are seeking money and facts on their own.

“Someday, please God, I will see my son again,” says Kathleen Ashton, of Woodside, N.Y., whose son, Thomas Ashton, 21, died at the World Trade Center. “I need to be able to look at him and say, ‘Tommy, I did the right thing.’ The right thing is not to take the (government) money. The right thing is to try to get answers, to see what sort of lapses allowed the murderers to do what they were able to do.”

Nearly 100 individual and class-action lawsuits have been filed. More are likely by this Sept. 11, which under New York state law ? the guideline being used for claims related to the attacks? is the two-year deadline for filing personal-injury lawsuits. Behind some of the lawsuits are prominent lawyers who have won billions of dollars from tobacco and asbestos companies in verdicts and settlements.

The 9/11 families are suing not only United and American airlines and others in aviation, but also Osama bin Laden, Saudi royal princes, Arab banks, Muslim charities and the governments of Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan. In a complaint filed in Miami by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is accused of sending “at least $1 million” to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the deposed ruling group in Afghanistan that was aligned with bin Laden. (Venezuelan officials deny making any such donation.)

Slapping lawsuits on terrorists might amount to little more than psychically satisfying payback, because recovering money from a shadowy network is all but impossible. Alleged financiers of terrorism are more reasonable targets and have deeper pockets.

The search for evidence is barely underway, but the aggressive litigation already has shown signs of unraveling some of the mysteries shrouding the attacks.

One pretrial discovery debunks the widespread notion, endorsed briefly after the attacks by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, that the box cutters the hijackers carried had been allowed under federal security rules.

An anonymous whistleblower mailed a copy of the airlines’ pre-Sept. 11 list of banned items to Los Angeles litigation lawyer Mary Schiavo, whose firm is representing the families of 62 jet passengers. The list showed that box cutters were among the potential weapons that screeners were supposed to confiscate. Federal officials have not questioned the document’s authenticity.

Schiavo, a former Transportation Department inspector general, calls the document “the smoking gun” in suits against the checkpoint guards’ employers and the airlines that hired those private firms. But Jim May, president of the Air Transport Association of America, the major airlines’ lobbying group, says the walk-through metal detectors approved by U.S. authorities were unlikely to spot dangerous items smaller than a handgun.

Meanwhile, the litigation has lent some support to the Bush administration’s effort to cast Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as having been allied with al-Qaeda, a claim the White House made while trying to justify the war with Baghdad.

The administration’s claim that Saddam sheltered a bin Laden ally with ties to chemical weapons didn’t sway the United Nations Security Council.

But in May, a federal judge in New York found it convincing enough to order Iraq to pay a $64 million “default” judgment ? Iraq never showed up in court ? to the families of two businessmen who were killed at the Trade Center. It’s unclear whether the families will ever see any of the money.

Litigating families say they aren’t waiting any longer for official committees to establish the full story behind the attacks.

A House-Senate panel has finished an 800-page report that deals mostly with intelligence failures, but the White House has held up its release to review classified information in it. An independent national panel headed by former New Jersey governor Tom Kean recently held its first two public hearings. The commission’s leaders have complained that government agencies have been slow to answer their requests for information.

James Debeuneure, 58, a Washington, D.C., schoolteacher, died aboard American Flight 77 when it hit the Pentagon. His son, Jacques Debeuneure, 34, a Matthews, N.C., postal worker, says his lawsuit against the airline provides a separate avenue of investigation. He’s asking the court for access to flight recorder data and cockpit voice tapes from the doomed jet.

“If you go with the federal fund,” he says, “you’re out of the loop.”

Lawsuits ‘a real crapshoot’

One advantage of the unprecedented victims’ compensation fund: It works fast.

Administrator Kenneth Feinberg determines payments under formulas using a decedent’s age, income and dependents. Feinberg expects to pay out a total of $4 billion. So far he’s distributed $559 million to settle 380 claims.

The claims process usually takes about four months; there are 1,615 claims under consideration. The largest award so far, $6 million, went to the family of a victim who earned more than $200,000 a year.

But Debeuneure says he’s learned that the fund would pay him nothing. Congress requires payouts to be reduced by any amounts that survivors have gotten from life insurance and other death benefits. Debeuneure says his father was “well-prepared” for death because of insurance.

Nine other families sued Feinberg, saying his formulas shortchange victims who made more than $231,000 a year when compared with sums that juries regularly award such victims’ families in tort actions.

In May, a federal judge in New York upheld Feinberg’s rules. Many of those now filing civil suits, relatives of high-income and well-insured professionals, aren’t happy with what they’d get from Feinberg’s fund.

Most 9/11 cases are traditional tort lawsuits that accuse U.S.-based defendants of negligence. Complaints name airlines, Boeing (for allegedly “flimsy” cockpit doors), three security-checkpoint screening firms and the airports that the hijackers passed through ? Boston’s Logan International, Dulles International near Washington, D.C., Newark (N.J.) International, and Portland (Maine) International Jetport.

“It’s about people being responsible for their actions,” says Carole O’Hare, 51, of Danville, Calif. She’s suing United over the death of her mother, Hilda Marcin, 79, one of 37 passengers on the hijacked jet that crashed near Shanksville, Pa. “My mother had a contract with the airlines. They were supposed to get her from Point A to Point B.”

Some complaints on behalf of victims on the ground name the Trade Center, alleging that it had poor fireproofing and gave workers in the south tower tragically bad advice to stay at their desks after the north tower was struck.

Attorneys warn would-be litigants that they’ll have to relive the 9/11 tragedy for a long time; aviation-disaster trials and appeals often drag on for 10 years. And it’s far from certain that juries, despite sympathy for the families, will hold anyone legally liable.

Defendants say in pleadings that a plot to fly hijacked jets into buildings wasn’t “reasonably foreseeable.” Airlines, airports and security screeners say they followed U.S. regulations.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys grumble that the Bush administration is imposing additional obstacles.

The attorneys want United and American airlines to produce records of their security programs, government tests of those programs, hijacking warnings from the government, and pre-9/11 travel by the hijackers. The Justice Department, saying the records could reveal “sensitive security information,” intervened and was granted the authority to veto the release of such information.

For a year, the government’s move stalled the pretrial process of deposing witnesses under oath and subpoenaing documents. Now it’s edging back on track. Schiavo says she expects the wrongful-death suits to be consolidated into four trials, one for each hijacked jet, that would start in 2005.

If the plaintiffs can persuade juries and appeals courts to award damages, they will encounter a barrier Congress raised that could prevent the full collection of any judgments. The law that forces families to choose between the U.S. fund and the courts limits the potential liability of a company or airport authority to the amount of its insurance coverage.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys say the airlines, for example, carried about $1.5 billion insurance for each flight. Some of the insurance money will pay for damage on the ground, leaving less for any families that win in court.

“You have to figure out how to equitably distribute a limited pool of dollars among people with very, very diverging legal claims and theories,” says Stuart Newberger, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who has handled terrorism claims against Libya and Iran but who isn’t involved in 9/11 litigation. “You could have the very unseemly spectacle of people fighting with each other over limited funds.”

Newberger says a negligence suit is “a real crapshoot,” and says the federal fund is “a reasonable choice for victim families to make.” The fund offers compensation “far below what one could win in court if successful, but maybe more than one could get in the real world.”

New York lawyer Mitchell Baumeister, who specializes in aviation cases, predicts that about 85% of victims’ families eventually will choose the fund, while the others will risk going to court.

Targeting alleged conspirators

Families have another option that carries the longest odds of all.

Congress allowed them to sue “knowing participants in the hijacking conspiracy” without losing rights to government compensation. More than 4,000 victims’ survivors have joined 11 lawsuits against terrorists and their alleged supporters.

These complaints are a long international reach for justice, and for whatever assets of the defendants can be found in the USA.

Led by tobacco-wars veteran Ron Motley of Mount Pleasant, S.C., a consortium of law firms last August plunked a 406-page complaint into federal court in Washington, D.C. It targets rich Muslims who allegedly have helped to fund al-Qaeda.

Among the 225 defendants: the bin Laden family’s Saudi Arabia-based construction business; five Saudi princes, including the defense and interior ministers and the former chief of intelligence; Arab-owned banks, and Islamic foundations. Other attorneys have brought two similar suits.

Saudi officials have said the royal family considers the suit “culturally offensive and undignified.” Several Saudi defendants have asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Among those joining the massive international-terrorism lawsuits are some of the 2,337 people who were injured in the Sept. 11 attacks. Nearly 1,000 of the injured have filed claims for compensation from the federal fund, as well.

(Another 35 personal-injury lawsuits have been filed against New York and New Jersey agencies by workers involved in the cleanup at the Trade Center site after the attacks. The workers allege they have health problems because they were not given proper equipment to protect them from toxic fumes.)

In October 2001, Philadelphia lawyer James Beasley filed the first lawsuit on behalf of families whose relatives were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. Long before President Bush threatened war against Iraq, the suit blamed Saddam, bin Laden, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Afghanistan. None responded to the complaint, which was “served” on the defendants via Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV channel.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. held a hearing on damages in his New York court. He considered testimony implicating Iraq from ex-CIA director James Woolsey as well as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Feb. 5 speech at the U.N. that advocated retaliatory force.

Baer ruled on May 7 that the evidence “barely” established an Iraqi connection to the Trade Center attacks, but that it was enough to convince a “reasonable jury” of that. He ordered Iraq to pay $57 million to widow Katherine Soulas and $7 million to heirs of business executive George Smith.

The victorious plaintiffs hoped to collect the judgment from the $1.7 billion in Iraqi assets that had been frozen in the USA by presidential order since 1990.

But on May 22, Bush ordered that Iraqi assets here not be used to pay court judgments. He reserved the money for postwar rebuilding of Iraq, except for $300 million that was set aside for Americans who were seized as human shields by Saddam at the start of the Persian Gulf War in 1990.

Soulas, a guest of Bush at the 2002 State of the Union address, is “just devastated,” says Beasley’s son, lawyer James Beasley Jr.

For most of those who have gone to court, suing over the 9/11 attacks is more than a way to collect money or answer lingering questions, says Larry Klayman, chairman and chief counsel of Judicial Watch. “It’s also a cathartic experience for the client.”

Ashton’s fervor is proof of that. Aside from suing United Airlines, she is the lead plaintiff in a suit that seeks $1 trillion in damages from international terrorists.

She says she signed on “because I want these bastards, these Iraqis and Iran and al-Qaeda and bin Laden, I want them to know my son’s name. My son would really think it was very cool.”

9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks

9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks
New York Observer
20 June 2004


by Gail Sheehy

URL: http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage2.asp

Despite having boarded her train at 5 a.m. that morning in Washington, D.C., Rosemary Dillard’s linen jacket was still creaseless, her carriage professional and crisp, as she walked down the train platform at Princeton Junction on the morning of June 4.

Ms. Dillard dared to hope that the F.B.I. would clarify the timeline in the mystifying story of Sept. 11, 2001.

The briefing in New Jersey two weeks ago, attended by about 130 family members of victims, had been arranged by the F.B.I. Previously unavailable calls from passengers and crew were to be played for families of victims of the four infamous flights that were turned into missiles by terrorists.

Who knew what, and when? And what did the airlines and federal officials do about it? These were the burning questions on the minds of many family members who have begged the commission to help connect the dots. This week, when the 9/11 commission wraps up its public hearings, families had been promised that the final report would be titled "9-11: The Timeline." But at the last minute the commission switched the subject to "9-11: The Plot," focusing on the hijackers? success in foiling every layer of the nation’s defenses, up to and including the airlines”.

For Ms. Dillard, the tapes scheduled to be played in Princeton this June morning were especially important: She herself had acted as the American Airlines base manager at Reagan National Airport on the morning of Sept. 11. She had been responsible for three D.C.-area airports, including Dulles. For the last two and a half years, she has been haunted by the fact that American Airlines Flight 77 took off from Dulles Airport that morning, with her blessing.

Her husband was a passenger on that flight.

The cab on the way to the hearing at the Radisson Hotel was quiet. Asked if she was part of a lawsuit being filed by the roughly 115 families against American and United Airlines and an alphabet soup of government agencies, she demurred.

"That’s a very sore subject," she said. She hoped, in hearing tapes of conversations between flight crews and authorities on the ground, to find out why, when flight controllers in Boston suspected a hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11 as early as 8:13 a.m., neither her company nor the Federal Aviation Administration notified her to warn the crew of American Airlines Flight 77 of the terrorist threat in the skies when the plane took off at 8:20 a.m. By 8:24 a.m., flight controllers were certain that Flight 11 had been overrun.

But neither the tapes and cell-phone recordings Ms. Dillard heard that afternoon, nor the PowerPoint presentation that took the families systematically through all four flights with neat timelines and bland conclusions, helped her to connect the dots. She fled the hearing early, deeply upset.

Those present were told that the material they were hearing is evidence in the government’s case against Zacarias Moussaoui, the once-alleged 20th hijacker, and in order not to compromise the case, it mustn’t be disclosed. They signed nondisclosure agreements and were not permitted to take notes. Civil attorneys and the media were barred. F.B.I. agents filled the halls of the hotel and took any camera or recording equipment before people were admitted to the ballroom. Those who left the three-and-a-half-hour session to relieve themselves were accompanied into rest rooms by agents.

The families heard a tape that has just now surfaced. Recorded by American Airlines at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Tex., even as the first hijacked airliner, Flight 11, was being taken over, the tape shows the airline’s top management was made aware beginning at about 8:21 a.m.” 25 minutes before the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center’s north tower that a group of men described as Middle Eastern had stabbed two flight attendants, clouded the forward cabin with pepper spray or Mace, menaced crew and passengers with what looked like a bomb, and stormed the cockpit in a violent takeover of the gigantic bird.

Despite all the high secrecy surrounding the briefing, a half-dozen different family members were so horrified by voice evidence of the airlines? disregard for the fate of their pilots, crew and passengers that they found ways to reveal some of what they heard on those tapes, and also what they felt. To them, the tapes appeared to show that the first instinct of American and United Airlines, as management learned of the gathering horror aboard their passenger planes on Sept. 11, was to cover up.

The response of American’s management on duty, as revealed on the tape produced at the meeting, was recalled by persons in attendance:

"Don’t spread this around. Keep it close."

"Keep it quiet."

"Let’s keep this among ourselves. What else can we find out from our own sources about what’s going on?"

"It was disgusting," said the parent of one of the victims, herself a veteran flight attendant for United Airlines. "The very first response was cover-up, when they should have been broadcasting this information all over the place."

That instinct to hold back information, some of the families believe, may have helped to allow the third hijacked plane to crash into the Pentagon and contributed to the doom of a fourth flight, United Flight 93. The United dispatcher was told by his superiors: Don’t tell pilots why we want them to land. The F.B.I. and the F.A.A. have also held back or, in one case, destroyed evidence in the government’s possession that would tell a very different story of how the nation’s guardians failed to prepare or protect Americans from the most devastating of terrorist attacks on the homeland.

"Flight 77 should never have taken off," Ms. Dillard said through clenched teeth.

Voices of the dead on cell

phones aroused gut-wrenching feelings. Passengers who called from both American Flight 11 and United Flight 175 talked about believing the hijackers were piloting the aircraft, and reported wildly erratic flying patterns.

Voices of crew members, calmly disseminating specifics to airline managers on the ground, pointed out how much was known minutes and even an hour and a half before the last of the jumbo jets had met its diabolic finish.

American Airlines officials had to know there was nothing traditional about this hijacking, because two of their flight attendants, Madeline (Amy) Sweeney and Betty Ong, were calmly and bravely transmitting the most illuminating details anyone has yet heard. Ms. Ong’s tape was played in a public commission hearing in January, prompting family members to demand that the F.B.I. honor their rights under the Victims Assistance Act to hear any and all calls made from the stricken planes that day. Ms. Sweenex’s name was cited only in passing at that earlier hearing. And when the president and chief executive of American Airlines, Gerard Arpey, testified, he never mentioned Ms. Sweeney or the cache of information she had provided American Airlines officials so early in the unfolding disaster.

Since then, Mike Sweeney, her widowed husband, has been troubled by the disconnect between the airline’s ignoring of his wife’s efforts, and the fact that the F.B.I. awarded her its highest civilian honor. He was first informed about the new tape two weeks previously by the U.S. attornex’s office in Virginia. David Novak, an assistant U.S. attorney involved in prosecuting the Moussaoui case, told Mr. Sweeney that the existence of the tape was news to him and offered him a private hearing.

"I was shocked that I’m finding out, almost three years later, there was a tape with information given by my wife that was very crucial to the happenings of 9/11," Mr. Sweeney told me. "Suddenly it miraculously appears and falls into the hands of F.B.I.” Why and how and for what reason was it suppressed? Why did it surface now? Is there information on that tape that is of concern to other law-enforcement agencies?"

The gut-churning question that has kept the widowed father of two young children on edge for so long is this: "When and how was this information about the hijackers used? Were Amx’s last moments put to the best use to protect and save others?"

Now he believes the answer is no.

From the beginning, the commission has been plagued with questions of where evidence exists about what happened with the flights on Sept. 11. This tape is a case in point.

"We, the prosecution team and the F.B.I. agents that have been assigned to assist us, were not aware of that tape," Mr. Novak told me. He says he only learned of it two weeks ago while he was briefing 9/11 commissioners on what he knows about the two hijacked American flights. He believes the commission got the tape from the airline.

"Now, does Mike have a reason to have heartburn about this?" he asks rhetorically. "Absolutely as any other victim would, if they learned of something after two and a half years. We’re trying to figure out why we didn’t know about this before. Is it American Airlines? fault? I don’t know. Is it the way they produced it? I don’t know. Is it an F.B.I. fault? I don’t know."

Mr. Novak suggested a possible explanation for the airline’s personnel to hold the horrific information tightly: "I think they were trying not to get other people unduly alarmed so they could deal with the situation at hand." But he says he is not going to defend or attack airline personnel. "That’s not my job. Our job is to try to convict Moussaoui. We view this as a giant murder case."

He confirmed that the Justice Department only revealed to the families what in its judgment were the "relevant" tapes. The F.B.I. is holding back other recordings from some of the flights as evidence in prosecuting its criminal trial. It is the way the F.B.I. has always done business: zealously guarding information to make its case retrospectively, rather than sharing information with other law-enforcement agencies to improve the countrx’s defensive posture proactively. For example, tapes considered "relevant" to the families didn’t include the cockpit voice recorder or the flight-data recorder from Flight 93, the final casualty.

On the American Airlines tape played at the meeting, a voice is heard relaying to the airline’s headquarters the blow-by-blow account by Ms. Sweeney of mayhem aboard Flight 11. The flight attendant had gone face to face with the hijackers, and reported they had shown her what appeared to be a bomb, with red and yellow wires. The young blond mother of two had secreted herself in the next-to-last passenger row and used an AirFone card, given to her by another flight attendant, Sara Low, to call the airline’s flight-services office at Boston’s Logan airport.

"This is Amy Sweeney," she reported. "I?m on Flight 11 this plane has been hijacked." She was disconnected. She called back: "Listen to me, and listen to me very carefully." Within seconds, her befuddled respondent was replaced by a voice she knew.

"Amy, this is Michael Woodward."

The American Airlines flight-service manager had been friends with Ms. Sweeney for a decade and didn’t have to waste time verifying that this wasn’t a hoax. Ms. Sweeney repeated, "Michael, this plane has been hijacked."

Since there was no tape machine in his office, Woodward began repeating the flight attendant’s alarming account to a colleague, Nancy Wyatt, the supervisor of pursers at Logan. On another phone, Ms. Wyatt was simultaneously transmitting Ms. Sweenex’s words to the airline’s Fort Worth headquarters. It was that relayed account that was played for the families.

"In Fort Worth, two managers in S.O.C. [Systems Operations Control] were sitting beside each other and hearing it," says one former American Airlines employee who heard the tape. "They were both saying,

Relatives angry at cover-up and secrecy

9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks
New York Observer
20 June 2004

by Gail Sheehy

URL: http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage2.asp

Despite having boarded her train at 5 a.m. that morning in Washington, D.C., Rosemary Dillard’s linen jacket was still creaseless, her carriage professional and crisp, as she walked down the train platform at Princeton Junction on the morning of June 4.

Ms. Dillard dared to hope that the F.B.I. would clarify the timeline in the mystifying story of Sept. 11, 2001.

The briefing in New Jersey two weeks ago, attended by about 130 family members of victims, had been arranged by the F.B.I. Previously unavailable calls from passengers and crew were to be played for families of victims of the four infamous flights that were turned into missiles by terrorists.

Who knew what, and when? And what did the airlines and federal officials do about it? These were the burning questions on the minds of many family members who have begged the commission to help connect the dots. This week, when the 9/11 commission wraps up its public hearings, families had been promised that the final report would be titled "9-11: The Timeline." But at the last minute the commission switched the subject to "9-11: The Plot," focusing on the hijackers? success in foiling every layer of the nation’s defenses, up to and including the airlines”.

For Ms. Dillard, the tapes scheduled to be played in Princeton this June morning were especially important: She herself had acted as the American Airlines base manager at Reagan National Airport on the morning of Sept. 11. She had been responsible for three D.C.-area airports, including Dulles. For the last two and a half years, she has been haunted by the fact that American Airlines Flight 77 took off from Dulles Airport that morning, with her blessing.

Her husband was a passenger on that flight.

The cab on the way to the hearing at the Radisson Hotel was quiet. Asked if she was part of a lawsuit being filed by the roughly 115 families against American and United Airlines and an alphabet soup of government agencies, she demurred.

"That’s a very sore subject," she said. She hoped, in hearing tapes of conversations between flight crews and authorities on the ground, to find out why, when flight controllers in Boston suspected a hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11 as early as 8:13 a.m., neither her company nor the Federal Aviation Administration notified her to warn the crew of American Airlines Flight 77 of the terrorist threat in the skies when the plane took off at 8:20 a.m. By 8:24 a.m., flight controllers were certain that Flight 11 had been overrun.

But neither the tapes and cell-phone recordings Ms. Dillard heard that afternoon, nor the PowerPoint presentation that took the families systematically through all four flights with neat timelines and bland conclusions, helped her to connect the dots. She fled the hearing early, deeply upset.

Those present were told that the material they were hearing is evidence in the government’s case against Zacarias Moussaoui, the once-alleged 20th hijacker, and in order not to compromise the case, it mustn’t be disclosed. They signed nondisclosure agreements and were not permitted to take notes. Civil attorneys and the media were barred. F.B.I. agents filled the halls of the hotel and took any camera or recording equipment before people were admitted to the ballroom. Those who left the three-and-a-half-hour session to relieve themselves were accompanied into rest rooms by agents.

The families heard a tape that has just now surfaced. Recorded by American Airlines at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Tex., even as the first hijacked airliner, Flight 11, was being taken over, the tape shows the airline’s top management was made aware beginning at about 8:21 a.m.

More Than $38 Billion Paid to 9/11 Victims

More Than $38 Billion Paid to 9/11 Victims

LA Times
8 November 2004

by Maggie Farley

URL:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-110804compensation_lat,0,44112.story?coll=la-home-headlines

NEW YORK ? Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks received more than $38 billion in compensation ? a figure 30 times the size of the largest previous disaster payout ” and one that is unlikely to be matched, says a Rand Corporation study released today.

Insurance companies and the federal government provided more than 90% of the payments ” and some victims were overpaid while others fell through the cracks. But the massive compensation ? unprecedented in scope and in the mix of programs ? may not happen again, says Rand, because of new moves by the government to limit liabilities and requirements by insurance companies for businesses to purchase separate terrorism insurance.

The 173-page analysis by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice examined the compensation system as a whole and how well different organizations interacted to support those affected by the 9/11 terrorist strike.

The report also looked at questions of equity and fairness, noting that some people’s lives were considered more valuable than others by compensators, and that the 9/11 victims received more money than those affected by other terrorist attacks, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Framing the compensation system as an element of national security, the authors concluded that a robust system can dampen the intended effects of a terrorist strike, and they made several recommendations to improve policies and preparedness for future attacks.

"As we did the study we increasingly began to see that the choices we make for compensation have national security significance," said Lloyd Dixon, senior economist at Rand who coauthored the report with Rachel Kaganoff Stern. "When you put money out the door quickly, that can reduce the economic impact. It can affect the incentive companies have to adopt security measures, such as installing evacuation plans, and how it’s set up can help reduce the panic and social fragmentation produced by a terrorist attack."

The crashes of passenger-filled airplanes into New York’s World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon near Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11killed 2,752 people and seriously injured more than 400 others. The largest terrorist strike in U.S. history also resulted in the largest financial payouts, but changes in the compensation system afterward may leave gaps that need to be addressed.

The insurance industry paid about 51% of the $38.1 billion in compensation accounted for, a figure Dixon called "striking." Government programs made up 42%, and charity provided 7%. Several lawsuits are pending, but there have yet to be any payouts through the tort system. The total does not include financial assistance to airlines or payments for the repair of public buildings, transportation or infrastructure.

Insurance companies expect to make at least $19.6 billion in 9/11-related payments, and because of the heavy hit on the industry, many have stopped including automatic coverage against terrorism in policies. Since the attacks, it has been offered as a separate type of coverage, and many businesses have not purchased it, the report said. In addition, chemical, biological and nuclear attacks are now typically excluded.

"If that [coverage] is not there next time, what’s going to fill in the gap?" said Dixon.

The study concluded that the government reacted, on the whole, quickly and effectively to stem potential losses from business interruption and provide benefits for victims. But the report singles out two government agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Administration(FEMA) and the Environmental Protection Agency for criticism of the way they responded to the economic and environmental fallout of the disaster.

Charities responded at times even more rapidly than the government, distributing an unprecedented $2.7 billion, and caught some people who would have fallen through the cracks, such as undocumented workers or those without insurance. They also increased attention and services for mental health issues, an area that has been underserved in past disasters.

There were, at times, duplication of efforts and benefits among charities, a problem that was recognized and addressed through the creation of the United Services Group.

But a lack of coordination led to disparities in compensation. Civilians killed or seriously injured received a total of $8.7 billion, averaging about $3.1 million per recipient, coming mostly from the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

Before the government’s creation of the Fund, charities awarded an average of $1 million to the families of first responders ? firefighters, police and medical workers ? who died in the attack. That meant they received an average of $1.1 million more than average civilians with similar economic losses. Had the charities known about the other sources of compensation, they might have chosen to allocate their funds differently, Dixon said.

The report also noted that the extraordinary amount of donations and number of volunteers after the 9/11 strikes cannot be assumed to reoccur, and that agencies should create a more permanent and predictable coordination plan and social safety net.

Among those who were undercompensated include undocumented workers, who were excluded from most government compensation programs after the initial payout from the Victims’ Compensation Fund. High-income earners may also have been shorted because their awards were capped at $231,000 per year in projected future lifetime earnings.

While businesses in New York City, particularly in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site, received $23.3. billion for property damage, interrupted business and revitalization incentives, the compensation system missed many people who had lost their jobs because of the economic ripples of the attack.

Displaced residents and workers, those with emotional trauma, and people exposed to environmental hazards, received about $3.5 billion.

Although there is a government-funded study of the health consequences for residents and workers around ground zero exposed to environmental hazards, there are no funds reserved for eventual claims if they eventually develop chronic diseases such as lung damage or cancer as a result of their exposure, Dixon said. Those people likely would have to file a lawsuit to receive compensation.

The researchers warned that there is no guarantee that the unique mix of resources will be available if there is a future attack. Congress may not reauthorize the same sort of victims’ fund, many businesses are not covered by special terrorism insurance, and charities may not play the same role. There is still no agreement on how the different organizations should coordinate their efforts.

Without defining a specific policy, the study recommends developing some sort of objective standard for determining payouts to achieve more equitable and efficient distribution of funds in the future, and to reduce the nation’s economic vulnerability to terrorism.

Because of its importance to the events of September 11, 2001, this article has been archived by by the 911truth.org Reading Room