The Judicial Hijacking of the 9-11 Victim Lawsuits
by Christopher Bollyn
14 April 2006
While the media plays up the significance of the government show trial of the seemingly deranged "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui, not one 9-11 victim's lawsuit has been allowed to be heard in a trial by jury. Why have the 9-11 victims' families not been given the same right to have their cases heard in an open trial?
Ellen Mariani, who lost her husband Neil on United Air Lines (UAL) Flight 175, filed the first 9-11 wrongful death lawsuit against UAL on December 20, 2001. Interviewed on national television in May 2002 by Bill O'Reilly of FOX News, O'Reilly repeatedly questioned Mariani about why she had chosen to pursue litigation instead of accepting the government fund.
"I want justice," Mariani said. "I want accountability. Who is responsible? I want the truth." Today, Mariani, like the other 9-11 plaintiffs, is under a legal gag order which prevents her from speaking about her on-going lawsuit. Likewise, thousands of employees of federal agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, have received secret gag orders in the mail preventing them from speaking about what they know about the events of 9-11.
After more than four years, however, Mariani's determined pursuit for the truth about 9-11 through the court system has failed to yield any answers or discovery about who is responsible for 9-11. Today, she is no closer to obtaining what she has clearly and repeatedly said she wanted from the beginning – a jury trial. Why have the many victims' cases like Mariani's, brought by relatives of loved ones lost on 9-11, not been heard in open trials with juries -- a basic American right? And why has the Israeli-owned airline security company involved in the shocking security lapses, which apparently enabled the attacks of 9-11, been granted complete immunity by the U.S. Congress?
All of the relatives' wrongful death lawsuits, i.e. criminal cases against the airlines and their security companies, were consolidated by the presiding judge into a negligence lawsuit, which, as a civil case, is much less likely to be argued or investigated in an open trial with a jury. All the 9-11 wrongful death and personal injury cases against either American Air Lines (AA) or United Air Lines or any of the foreign-owned airport security companies, namely Argenbright Security (British), Globe Aviation Services Corp. (Swedish), and Huntleigh USA Corp. (Israeli) have been handled by United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York.
In the case of at least one of these security defendants, Huntleigh USA, there would seem to be a serious conflict of interest for the judge because the airline security company who is responsible for the shocking security lapses at both the Boston and Newark airports on 9-11 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of an Israeli company (ICTS) headed by Israelis with clear ties to Israel's military intelligence agency, the Mossad. Judge Hellerstein, on the other hand, has deep and long-standing Zionist connections and close family ties to the state of Israel. A Zionist is a supporter of the Jewish state of Israel. Judge Hellerstein's wife, for example, is a former senior vice president and current treasurer of a New York-based Zionist organization called AMIT. AMIT promotes Jewish immigration to Israel and stands for Americans for Israel and Torah. AMIT's motto is "Building Israel -- One Child at a Time."
Judge Hellerstein, 73, is also a long-time member of The Jewish Center of New York and a former president of the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York. This raises the obvious question about why, in the 9-11 terror case in which an Israeli security company is a key defendant and in which individuals from Israeli military intelligence are suspected of being involved, was Hellerstein chosen to preside over all 9-11 victim lawsuits -- and who chose him?
Huntleigh USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of an Israeli company called International Consultants on Targeted Security (ICTS) International N.V., a Netherlands-based aviation and transportation security firm headed by "former [Israeli] military commanding officers and veterans of government intelligence and security agencies."
Menachem Atzmon, convicted in Israel in 1996 for campaign finance fraud, and his business partner Ezra Harel, took over management of security at the Boston and Newark airports when their company, ICTS, bought Huntleigh USA in 1999. UAL Flight 175 and AA 11, which allegedly struck the twin towers, both originated in Boston, while UAL 93, which supposedly crashed in Pennsylvania, departed from the Newark airport.
ICTS also operates the German port of Rostock on the Baltic Sea. An Israeli company linked to the Mossad runs the port operations of a major German harbor. Why would the Israeli intelligence agents want to run a German port?
Some victims' families brought lawsuits against Huntleigh claiming the Israeli-owned airport security firm had been grossly negligent on 9-11. While these relatives have a right to discovery and to know what Huntleigh did or did not do to protect their loved ones on 9-11, Huntleigh was granted complete congressional protection in 2002 and will not be called to account for its actions on 9-11 in any U.S. court.
On July 26, 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Homeland Security Bill and slipped in a last-minute provision which provided complete corporate immunity for the three foreign-owned security companies. Likewise, the Senate voted to shield the three security companies from corporate responsibility on November 19, 2002. These congressional votes effectively prevent any legal investigation or discovery into the security failures of these foreign companies on 9-11.
Hellerstein, however, is not the only player overseeing the 9-11 litigation process who has close ties to Israel. In fact, all of the key players and law firms involved are either active Zionists or do a great deal of business representing Israeli companies and/or the state of Israel. Kenneth R. Feinberg, for example, the special master of the federally-funded Victims' Compensation Fund, is also a deeply dedicated Zionist. Feinberg single-handedly administered the $7 billion fund that paid out U.S. taxpayer money to some 97 percent of the families who could have otherwise used the courts to sue to recover tort damages for monetary loss and pain and suffering.
The families who accepted the Feinberg administrated federal fund signed away their right to litigate against the government, the airlines or the security companies. This federally funded pay-off to the families effectively prevented nearly all of the relatives from using the courts to obtain justice or truth through the legal process, which would have brought discovery of facts and events of 9-11.
The Kenneth Feinberg Group is listed as one of the top ten supporters of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies for 2004-2005. The Jerusalem Institute is an Israel-based Zionist organization that supports the building of the illegal separation wall across Palestine, for example. The Feinberg Group also lists as its clients major insurance and re-insurance companies such as Lloyd's of London. These are the companies who stood to lose billions of dollars if 9-11 victims' lawsuits had gone forward.
Feinberg was appointed special master by then Attorney General John Ashcroft. Ashcroft, a dedicated Christian Zionist and supporter of such groups as Stand for Israel, is today working as a lobbyist for Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Israel's major military aerospace company, which hired the former U.S. Attorney General to help secure the U.S. government's approval to sell an Israeli weapons system to the South Korean Air Force.
The Israelis hired Ashcroft to improve their chances against an American-made system built by Chicago-based Boeing Co. Ashcroft, who was born in Chicago, is the former head of the Dept. of Justice, where his Israeli-American assistant, Michael Chertoff, directed the FBI non-investigation of the events of 9-11. Ashcroft is now being paid by the state of Israel to work against the interests of an American company - and the United States.