Charges of Sabotage Plague NY 9-11 Ballot Initiative
By Mark Anderson
N.Y.—The New York City 9-11 ballot proposal is
dead, as backers confirmed in writing on Oct. 19. It was intended to be put
before city voters Nov. 3.
Members of New York City Coalition
for Accountability Now, or NYC CAN, decided not to appeal State
Supreme CourtJudge Ed Lehner’s Oct. 8 decision to uphold the court referee’s
recommendation to deny the petition. The petition sought voter approval for a
new 9-11 investigation.
NYC CAN spokesman Ted Walker
informed AMERICAN FREE PRESS of this development with an eight-page statement
entitled “Turning Point” which already makes a new proposal: A long-term public
relations campaign that urges, among other things, 9-11 groups to unify
behind this campaign to reach a greater cross section of the American public
with a multi-media approach. The claim is that this will require less money
than an advertising campaign, but hiring a PR firm, which is not free, is
clearly contemplated, as indicated below in a statement excerpt:
“Lessons learned? With the
experience gained in persuading 80,000 NYC voters to act, the strategy that
will work has become ever more clear: a national public relations campaign to
persuade the American public to rethink the bill of goods they were sold and
now accept as bible truth . .... The right PR firm not only partners in
shaping strategy and message to convey the desired image, but also maintains
the media contacts to bring that message directly to the public. The most
daunting challenge PR firms face in effectively conveying an image with which
the public will identify lies in identifying trusted spokespersons that can
articulate [a] message in a manner that engenders their support. Those
individuals have already been identified. All that remains is the crafting of
the message and the vehicle for the right spokespeople to drive that message
While these spokespersons have not
yet been named, AFP has chronicled over the last two years that a prior
9-11 ballot proposal was abandoned – some allege toppled—in 2007. The ripples
are still being felt today.
Former Steering Committee
member Allan Rohde is among those who recalled that the original New York
City 9-11 ballot proposal that called for creating a new office of a city-level attorney
general as a proposed funding mechanism, via legal actions including anti-trust
suits, was abandoned but perhaps should have been maintained. He feels this
matter is especially notable now, in light of the fact that the City Clerk’s
office on July 24, 2009 stated in a denial letter that lack of a funding
mechanism was among the reasons for denying the current ballot proposal.
According to Rohde’s allegations,
longtime 9-11 ballot-petition leader Les Jamieson originally supported this
local attorney general idea but backed away from it when William F. Pepper, a
self-described barrister, entered the scene in the summer of 2007. “Pepper came
along and demanded that it (the city AG idea) be removed. As soon as Pepper
came along, Jamieson went over to his side,” according to Rohde. “When he made
this demand we (the steering committee) thought it was a pretty suspicious
Rohde alleged that Jamieson was
promised funding by Pepper and the local AG idea was then removed.
The local-AG component of the
original 9-11 ballot proposal was reported by AFP in the spring of 2007. This
specific idea’s creator is Manhattan
attorney Carl Person, who at the time offered himself as the candidate to be
the first-ever city-level attorney general in the nation.
Person recalled as this AFP edition
went to press that the N.Y. City Council can simply adopt any ballot proposal
without the petitioning process. “If they want it, they adopt it, so having not
passed it [themselves] they are in opposition to it,” he said of the current
Rohde believes that, contrary to
Pepper’s and Jamieson’s view that the local AG idea would have been too radical
a change to get past city election authorities, it may have been the very thing
that would have given the ballot idea a better chance because the new AG would
have worked on various matters to help New York City citizens besides
spearheading a new 9-11 investigation, bringing in money through litigation and
giving the city government a new stream of significant revenue.
“If a city AG could raise money,
the city might want it to pass, if even for the AG idea itself,” Rohde said.
Rohde recalled that committee
members looked into Pepper’s background and determined that, in their opinion,
“We found out that he was a pretty mysterious man,” as the allegation goes.
AFP stopped at St. Mark’s Church on
lower-east side for the “We Demand Transparency” event where Pepper was to
speak the evening of Sept. 12. However, he did not show up, even though
he was described as “chief counsel to NYC CAN” in the event’s advance
publicity online. He has authored several notable books, and
according to Wikipedia online, he represented James Earl Ray and
tried to prove his innocence in the shooting of Martin Luther King “some
years after King’s death.”
Still, the overriding concern is
whether the 9-11 ballot proposal intended for the Nov. 3,
2009 election was allegedly mishandled, or worse, in a manner that
resulted in legal precedents against such a concept, thereby making
any future ballot attempts harder to advance in a legal landscape slanted
against a new 9-11 investigation.
The NYC CAN statement also states:
“Our best and current expert legal advice indicates that no petition
of this kind, however framed, can ever be assured success in New York City. Hence, no more time, energy,
or money will be spent on this court action or a new petition effort.”
Rohde added that he is surprised
that NYC CAN got more than 30,000 signatures approved, given allegations that
some petitions were signed by someone other than the actual circulator [i.e.
petitioner] in a city that has invalidated petitions for far lesser flaws.
The statement continues: “Those who
wield political power will be swayed neither by rational dialogue nor by the
best interests of those they are meant to serve, as their motivation to act is
based upon that which it always has – an insulating propagation of
self-interest. Only by winning the hearts and minds of the people will our
voice be heard in the halls of power that govern this country. Only when that
voice echoes our message will it reverberate through those halls too loudly to
be ignored. Only when the people wield the threat of their vote will those in
power be forced to act. It is to the people we must make our appeal. Only then
will we succeed.”
But this statement announcing the
move to a “PR mode” did not sit well with all NYC CAN supporters. Kevin
Barrett, a well-known lecturer on 9-11 issues, told AFP: “As a strong supporter
of NYC CAN, I am disappointed by their decision to give up the legal fight.
Their press release announcing that decision [not to appeal] was not very
impressive. It was little more than a long-winded, repetitious diatribe about
how the truth movement needs to improve its PR techniques. The thesis was that
by abandoning the ballot initiative struggle, and issuing a poorly-written
email urging us to get better at PR, NYC CAN was somehow taking the battle for
9/11 truth to the next level. I am baffled by this press release. I would have
preferred a clear and concise explanation of precisely why they’re abandoning
the project they’ve worked so hard on. ‘Because we ran out of money to pay the
lawyers’ would have sufficed.”
Person disagrees with the city Law
Department’s assessment [reported in AFP last week, No. 43, Oct. 26] that the
special investigative commission that would have been created had the 9-11
ballot proposal been fully approved lacked legal authority to subpoena
“It was to be a government agency,”
given authority by the voters, Person explained, adding, however, that the lack
of a clear funding mechanism and the proposed commission’s make-up consisting
of a lot of non-New Yorkers helped diminish the petition’s chances, in his view.
MARK ANDERSON is AFP's corresponding editor.
to American Free Press. Online
subscriptions: One year of weekly editions—$15 plus
you get a BONUS ELECTRONIC BOOK - HIGH PRIESTS OF WAR - By Michael
subscriptions: 52 issues crammed into 47 weeks of the year
plus six free issues of Whole Body Health: $59 Order on this website
or call toll free 1-888-699-NEWS .
Sign up for our
free e-newsletter here
- get a free gift just for signing up!
(Issue # 32,
August 10, 2009)