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By Christopher Bollyn

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 Dec. 20, 2001. Mariani was interviewed on national television in May 2002 by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, who repeatedly questioned her 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 gag order which prevents her from speaking about her ongoing lawsuit. Likewise, thousands of employees of federal agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration have received gag orders in the mail keeping them from telling 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 stated she wanted from the beginning—a trial by jury.

Why have the many victims’ cases like Mariani’s, brought by relatives of loved ones lost on 9-11, not been allowed to be heard in a trial by jury—a basic American right? And why have the foreign-owned security companies involved in the shocking security lapses, which enabled the attacks of 9-11,
been granted immunity by the U.S. Congress?

All of the relatives’ wrongful death criminal lawsuits against the airlines and their security companies have been consolidated by the presiding judge into a negligence lawsuit, which is a civil case and much less likely to be argued or investigated in an open trial with a jury. The 9-11 wrongful death and personal injury cases against American Air Lines (AA) or UAL or any of the foreign security companies, namely Argenbright Security (British), Globe Aviation Services Corp. (Swedish) and Huntleigh USA Corp. (Israeli) are being handled by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York.

In the case of at least one of these security defendants, Huntleigh, there would seem to be a 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 men with clear ties to Israel’s military intelligence agency, Mossad.

Hellerstein, 73, on the other hand, has deep and longstanding Zionist connections and close family ties to the state of Israel. A Zionist is a supporter of the state of Israel. Hellerstein’s wife 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.”

Hellerstein is a 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?

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 purportedly crashed in Pennsylvania, departed from the Newark airport. ICTS also operates the German port of Rostock on the Baltic Sea.

Some victims’ families brought lawsuits against Huntleigh claiming the 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, along with the other security companies, 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.

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 work for firms that 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 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 sued to recover tort damages for monetary loss and pain and suffering. Those who accepted funds signed away their right to litigate against the government, the airlines or the security companies.

The Kenneth Feinberg Group is listed as one of the top 10 supporters of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies for 2004-2005. The Jerusalem Institute is an Israel-based Zionist organization that, among other things, supports the building of the illegal separation wall across Palestine.

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 a system built by Chicago-based Boeing.

(Issue #17, April 24, 2006)

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Updated April 17, 2006