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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/16/09

9/11 Lawsuit Turns Into a Show Trial

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You may recall that a federal court gave Saudi Arabian royals sued by the families of the 9/11 victims immunity from being sued. Not because there wasn't any evidence of Saudi complicity in 9/11, but because it would interfere with relations with Saudi Arabia.

Now, a U.S. court is shutting down the attempt by airlines - hardly your tinfoil hat types - to prove that the government's actions were so egregious with regard to 9/11 that they override any mistakes the airline may have made.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

A U.S. judge has denied a motion by a group of airlines to depose several Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding the government's probes into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

In an order Thursday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan denied a motion by the airlines to question six current and former FBI agents, a potential setback for their defense.

The judge indicated the airline defendants hoped to show at trial that the government's failure to apprehend the terrorists and stop the attacks was so considerable that it mitigates and excuses any alleged faults of the airlines and the terrorists likely would have succeeded even if the defendants had exercised due care.

This is a reasonable argument. But the judge held:

"The government's failures to detect and abort the terrorists' plots would not affect the aviation defendants' potential liability," the judge wrote. "Moreover, efforts to prove these propositions would cause confusion and prejudice, and burden court and jury with long delays and unduly lengthy trial proceedings."

Cause confusion and prejudice? You mean, like actually discovering the true facts, as legal scholars have demanded?

Delay court proceedings? Isn't 9/11 important enough to encroach on the judge's calendar?

The judge also skewed discovery in the lawsuit as badly as Guantanamo prosecutors are skewing them in their "military tribunals":

The judge did allow some of the testimony of two of the FBI agents from the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, who is serving a life sentence - namely what they learned in their investigations.

"Testimony as to what their superiors did or did not do is not relevant, and is not admissible," the judge said.

The judge also denied a motion to admit the 9/11 Commission report as a whole as evidence in the case, instead only admitting the chronology provided in the report.

Won't allow the 9/11 Commission report - the one that even the 9/11 Commissioners no longer believe - just a chronology?

This is a show trial. Judge Hellerstein is no more interested in hearing the truth about 9/11 than the Guantanamo judges are in finding out whether or not the detainees are innocent.
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George Washington

As a political activist for decades, I have rejoiced in victories for the people and mourned in defeats. I chose the pen name "George Washington" because - as Washington's biographies show - he wasn't a (more...)
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