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911 widow ellen mariani letter to bush { December 1 2003 }

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Guerrilla of the Week
Editor's Pick, December 1, 2003
Every family member of a 9/11 victim reacted differently to their loss. Some wrapped themselves in the flag and called for revenge. Others took to the streets and cried out for peace. Others became obsessed with the memorial and how their loved ones would be remembered. Others became numb, unable to even fill out forms for federal funds allocated them. But a small number took it on themselves to find the truth about what really happened that day.

First there were the four New Jersey widows. Now Ellen Mariani, whose husband Louis died on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the South Tower, has joined the fight. Last week, she filed a bold lawsuit against President Bush and other top administration officials including Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld, charging they had knowledge about an impending attack and did nothing to stop it, and have been covering up the search for the truth since.

Mariani is suing the officials under the Civil RICO Act. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was originally created to take down the Mafia in 1970, but in the 80's became a popular legal device for people seeking redress for everything from common fraud to faulty products to breach of contract. Recently, courts have tried to stem the tide of RICO suits by requiring a claimant overcome numerous legal hurdles to prove a long-term pattern of criminal activity.

Mariani has her work cut out for her. Though, this isn't her first 9/11 suit. In December 2001, she filed one of the first 9/11 lawsuits, a complaint in federal court charging United Airlines' poor security allowed the hijacking of Flight 175 and the death of her husband, a retired sales coordinator from New Hampshire.

Her RICO filing is a courageous, if flawed, step forward. Her complaint is not the most professional brief ever written, it refers to Ari Fleischer as Ari Fletcher and often relies on third party references to make her points. Her "everything but the kitchen sink" approach also probably doesn't help. In addition to high-level administration officials, she also charges Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the government's 9/11 Fund, and the Red Cross, with fraud, but provides little proof. She also makes unsupported or exaggerated historical references, like Roosevelt had advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor and Prescott Bush, the President's grandfather, was "Hitler's banker" (for the real story of the Bush-Nazi link go here). She refers to the August 6, 2001 intelligence briefing the President received at his Crawford ranch as the "Smoking Gun" - a charge that may well be true, but we'll only know when it is released.

Probably the most confusing part about the filing is it is often not clear whether she is charging the President and his cabinet with simply failing to heed warnings, or something much more sinister - actual complicity.

Nevertheless, the complaint is a serious and important document. She effectively lists the multitude of news reports of intelligence warnings the U.S. received prior to 9/11. And she succinctly details how lower-level FBI agents' investigations into suspicious characters who turned out to be part of the plot were thwarted.

The real power of her action may be the timing. The 9/11 commission is flailing, with a meager $11 million budget, limited access and little media attention. Recently the White House reached an agreement with the commission headed by Tom Kean, the Republican former governor of New Jersey, that would allow it to censor any presidential briefing it turned over to the panel.

Even more troubling: Last week, former Democratic Senator Max Cleland, one of the most outspoken critics of the administration on the panel, was appointed by the White House to head the Export-Import Bank. The new position means he will have to step down from his position on the 9/11 commission.

You can read Mariani's full complaint here.

The following is an open letter Ms. Mariani recently wrote to the President.

Mr. Bush,

This ''open letter'' is coming from my heart. I want you to know that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat and that this is not an attempt to ''bash the Government''.

You Mr. Bush should be held responsible and liable for any and all acts that were committed to aid in any "cover up" of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As President you have a duty to protect the American people. On September 11th you did not instruct your staff to issue a nationwide emergency warning/alert to advise us of the attack on America. We had to receive the news of the attacks via the news networks.

In the months leading up to the attacks you were repeatedly advised of a possible attack on American soil. During your daily intelligence briefings you were given information that had been uncovered that the very real possibility existed that certain undesirable elements would use commercial aircraft to destroy certain "target" buildings. You never warned the American people of this possible threat. Who were you protecting?

When you took no responsibility towards protecting the general public from the possibility of attack, you were certainly not upholding the oath you spoke when you took office. In that oath you pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

On the morning of the attack, you and members of your staff were fully aware of the unfolding events yet you chose to continue on to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School to proceed with a scheduled event and "photo op". While our nation was under attack you did not appear to blink an eye or shed a tear. You continued on as if everything was "business as usual".

In the days following the attacks all air traffic was grounded and Americans, including myself, were stranded wherever they had been when the flight ban was imposed. I was stranded at Midway Airport in Chicago, unable to continue on to California for my daughter's wedding. Imagine my surprise when I later found out that during this "no fly" period a number of people were flown out of the country on a 747 with Arabic lettering on the fuselage. None of these people were interviewed or questioned by any local, State or Federal agencies. Why were they allowed to leave and who exactly was on that flight. We know for a fact that some of the people on the flight were members of (or related to) the royal family of Saudi Arabia and members of the Bin Laden family. Were these people allowed to leave because of the long-standing relationships that your family has with both families?

It is my belief that you intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen to gather public support for a "war on terrorism". These wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have not accomplished what you stated were your goals. Why have you not captured Osama Bin Laden? Where are Saddam's weapons of mass destruction? All that has happened is a bill that is passed before Congress for 87 billion dollars to rebuild what you ordered blown to bits. As an American who lost a loved one in the "war on terror" I do pray and support our troops who were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq by you. These troops have and will continue to die for your lies. As an American I can make this statement as it appears that associates of your family may stand to prosper from the rebuilding of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Bush the time has come for you to stop your control over us. Stop blocking the release of certain evidence and documents that were discovered by the 9/11 Investigation Commission if you have nothing to hide proving you did not fail to act and prevent the attacks of 9/11. Your reason for not releasing this material is that it is a matter of "national security". When in fact I believe that it is your personal credibility/security that you are concerned with. You do not want the public to know the full extent of your responsibility and involvement.

After 9/11 the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act were passed. Both of these allow the government to tap your telephone, search your home, and seize whatever they feel they need to do on a whim. They can do this without a judge's review or a warrant. I feel that this is in direct conflict with our rights as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We the families of 9/11 victims need to have answers to the following questions:

1. Why were 29 pages of the 9/11committee report personally censored at your request?

2. Where are the "black boxes" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

3. Where are the "voice recorders" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

4. Why can't we gain access to the complete air traffic control records for Flight 11 and Flight 175?

5. Where are the airport surveillance tapes that show the passengers boarding the doomed flights?

6. When will complete passenger lists for all of the flights be released?

7. Why did your brother Jeb (the Governor of Florida) go to the offices of the Hoffman Aviation School and order that flight records and files be removed? These files were then put on a C130 government cargo plane and flown out of the country. Where were they taken and who ordered it done?

It has been over two years since hundreds of our lost loved ones "remains" have still yet to be identified and their remains placed in a landfill at Fresh Kill. We want our heroes brought back and given a public and proud resting place where we all can pay our respects and honor them. These innocent people never had a chance as they were taken from us on that sad September Day.

In the court of public opinion Mr. Bush, your lies are being uncovered each day. My husband, all of the other victims and their families and our nation as a whole, has been victimized by your failed leadership prior to and after 9/11!

I will prove this in a court of law!

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