Skip to comments.Litigant In Chief: 9/11 Widow Ellen Mariani Says George W. Bush is a Gangster(Ed Asner)
Posted on 01/31/2004 10:38:20 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
9/11 widow Ellen Mariani(Derry, N.H.) says George W. Bush is a gangster. We talk to her and her lawyer Philip J. Berg:
Ellen Mariani last saw her husband Louis Neil early on the morning of September 11, 2001, at Logan Airport, where they were taking different flights to Los Angeles for a daughters wedding. He hadnt gotten his tickets until the last minute, and couldnt get on her flight, but there were seats open on Flight 175. Neil Mariani died when that plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, and after rejecting a settlement offer of approximately $500,000 from the Victim Compensation Fund, Ellen Mariani embarked on a series of lawsuits. At first she sued United Airlines, but she has since set her sights higher, filing a racketeering lawsuit against the Bush White House, with the aid of attorney Philip J. Berg, former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania and one-time Democratic candidate for that states governorship. Berg is no stranger to controversial lawsuits; after the 2000 presidential election he filed a class-action lawsuit to overturn the results.
The Phoenix got a chance to speak with them via conference call.
Phoenix: Whats it like to sue the government?
Mariani: When the publics not around, its sad. But this is the old saying: Fake it till you make it. No medication; you gotta deal with it. You gotta bite the bullet. But Im all for kicking ass. We dont have much freedom left.
Phoenix: How did you get in touch with Phil Berg?
Mariani: Well, after you have hired a couple of attorneys and then gone pro se for a little bit, you start looking for people to help you search. A host on a radio station recommended Phil.
Phoenix: Who was that?
Mariani: It was out in Arizona. I really dont want to go into it.
[Phil Berg comes on the line.]
Berg: Were the ones who are going to overthrow the government. [laughs]
Phoenix: Okay, tell me how youre going to do it. This is not something people do every day.
Mariani: Its like a little child being told, You cant do this, and I say watch me. They didnt like me asking questions. My attorney didnt like that because they cleverly tried to do a few things behind my back and they got caught.
Phoenix: Which attorney was that?
Mariani: The number one attorney in Chicago, Don Nolan. So I went and got Mary Schiavo, who was so honored to have me as her client, and then it seemed to go in the same direction. They want dummies, and they want them medicated.
Phoenix: What were they trying to do?
Mariani: They dont want to let you know what theyre doing. It all ended up that the government had secret meetings with them. [Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the victims compensation fund] was conspiring behind my back with my first attorney. He didnt care about us, except enough to bribe us to shut up and lose our rights. Thats Mr. Feinberg and hes number 10 on our lawsuit. He was very surprised he was on this list. He was mad! So be it; so was I.
Its just made me more curious. More determined. The Transportation Security Administration and Department of Justice went in and said, Nope! Cant have no evidence. Well, I never heard of a murder that we didnt have the right to investigate. Now theres 3000 murders there. The only thing thats left of these people is thousands of empty shoes at the bottom where the ashes were.
Phoenix: Hows the lawsuit going? Walk me through where its been filed and what sort of objections are being raised, and whether you think you can get it heard.
Berg: We were trying to file it for tokenism on 9/11, but when the messenger went down the guard didnt open the door on time, so it was filed on 9/12. We filed an amended detailed complaint on November 26. Prior to that, the government filed a motion to dismiss. The court scheduled a hearing on January 14 on the governments motion to dismiss. Several weeks later we got an order from the court canceling the hearing. We have now served all of the defendants.
Presently were waiting for the government to either file an answer to our amended complaint or to file a motion to dismiss. Meanwhile its our feeling that the government is going to let this case lay low as long as they can. Its our position to try to move this case as fast as we can because we think the public has a right to know. The sole purpose of this lawsuit is to seek out the truth of 9/11. Were drafting a motion for the deposition of Zacarias Moussaoui.
[Berg takes another call.]
Phoenix: Youve been traveling a lot, speaking out.
Mariani: Were going out to Kansas to speak at huge crowds in churches, and theyre black. Theyve been persecuted for years. This is nothing new. Its hard for me to be home. Its a house now. Its not a home. My kids are all grown and theyre not around.
Phoenix: What do they think about the lawsuit?
Mariani: Trust me, they dont dare say boo because they know I have enough insight, I have enough common sense, that Im determined to get to the bottom of this. They took a precious person from me. I left two hours before he did, and we kissed goodbye, and within two hours Im a widow? That isnt sitting very good with me. And to think it happened on our own soil, when Neil was in the Air Force four years protecting our country, and thats what Mr. Bush was supposed to be doing.
They will not show us anything. They will not show us the passenger lists, and the surveillance tapes, the last time I see my husband boarding a doomed airplane, they wont give us that either. Come on. Theres definitely a problem there. But the minute I put that lawsuit in, they were right there to block everything. Youd think it was a chess game. These are loved ones that we lost, and we have a right to know. They are not going to walk away and leave us wounded and give us a life sentence.
Phoenix: Whats been the reaction from other victims family members?
Mariani: Its been hard to say, because theyre all over the place. The few I met when I was in New York when they took that last piece of steel out on a stretcher, they felt they gave up, like they were beaten. We were all talking, and they said, Dont you stop. Please dont stop for us. Theres too many of us, and theres no chance for any of us to be heard. I said yes there is, get an attorney. They said, They dont know what theyre doing, and they were right. There were probably five attorneys who were experts on death and disaster, and Feinberg got in with those.
Phoenix: Got in how?
Berg: We also have filed paperwork for a deposition of Saddam Hussein. We want to know what he knows of the location of Osama bin Laden, what discussions they had regarding the events of 9/11 because supposedly bin Laden was the one in charge of that. Thats another issue we have. We believe we should not have attacked Iraq. The third one is that were filing a motion for the deposition of George Bush; we feel we have the authority for Bush based on the case of Paula Jones v. Bill Clinton, which allowed the deposition of Bill Clinton even on a matter which did not occur while he was in office.
We know the smoke screens going to come up; the governments going to take a position that everythings under national security. Our position is going to be that national security is really the issue here, and these issues need to be resolved because there are so many unanswered questions about 9/11.
There have been lots of conspiracy theories. Were not going there. Were just going right down the middle. If the government has nothing to hide, why are they stonewalling the 9/11 commission? Why is Bush not releasing the presidential daily briefings and other documentation from the FAA and from NORAD? The information has to come out.
Phoenix: Theres a big difference between suing the government for negligence and alleging a criminal conspiracy.
Mariani: Well, number one, Feinberg was conspiring with my attorney. How do I know this? Ive got a letter. He didnt know I had it. I will not tell you how I got it.
Berg: RICO, the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations act, was created by Congress to go after the Mafia or the mob. Its our strong position that theres a mob in the White House. For a RICO lawsuit, you have to have an ongoing pattern of conduct before, during, and after an event. We have that. On our amended complaint, we have 100 notices that this government had of the events of 9/11 before it occurred, and its our position that the government failed to prevent it or warn the American public. Afterwards we have the coverup, which is apparent in Condoleezza Rice not wanting to take sworn testimony, George Bush reluctantly forming the 9/11 commission and then not giving them the PDBs [presidential daily briefings], not releasing other government documentation. Weve told many radio stations that if George Bush will release the PDBs, the FAA documents, the NORAD documents, and we look at it and were wrong, well withdraw our lawsuit. We know they wont; they cant because theyre involved.
If you look back in history, now were finding out that President Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor two weeks before, but he wanted to get the US into World War 2. Its very sad that we had to lose men and women, ships and planes, to get us into the war. But more in line with what people can identify with is the Northwoods Doctrine from 1962, whereby the Joint Chiefs of Staff had a plan whereby they would cause death and destruction to American citizens and property, to blame it on Cuba. President Kennedy stopped that. Unfortunately that was probably one of the steps that led to his assassination. He was doing things that didnt make certain people happy.
Now the question is: What could Bush get out of it? Millions of dollars. Theres a new pipeline in Afghanistan, the opium fields are open again now. Just look at Halliburton, which is Cheney. Thats only the tip of the iceberg. These are people who are supposedly doing honest business with our government, but these are all no-bid contracts that were given out to Bushs friends.
Weve got a petition on our Web site demanding that people cover this story. Were asking people to stand shoulder to shoulder and demand that whats occurred here stop. This administration has taken away more rights than anyone else. After 9/11 they created the Stabilization Act, under which Kenneth Feinberg could determine how much a persons life was worth and take a check right out of the US Treasury. This was never done before in US history. It wasnt done after Oklahoma City, it wasnt done in any wars. Why was it done here? For the purpose of hushing up people. If you take money from the fund, youre prevented from pursuing lawsuits.
People have called Ellen and said, Im sorry I wasnt with you, but I had children and I had to go to the fund. People gave millions of dollars to the Red Cross which was supposed to go to families, but they gave it to FEMA workers in New York and forced people into the fund. Ellen didnt go to the fund, but in a way she should have because shes on Social Security and is having trouble making ends meet.
One unanswered question is that FEMA went to New York City on September 10. How did they know to be there? On September 7, Jeb Bush declared martial law in Florida. What did he know that we didnt know? The unanswered questions are there.
Phoenix: Why couldnt coincidence, or simple incompetence, explain all this? Its not difficult to believe that this administration is incompetent. Its a little more difficult to believe that they would deliberately allow the murder of nearly 3000 people.
Berg: One hundred and sixteen government agencies and failsafe systems would have had to fail on that one day. The odds of that are one in four million. Lets assume we had no foreknowledge of 9/11 which is an out-and-out lie, because in 1993 we knew al Qaeda had plans to use planes to go into the World Trade Center and the Sears Tower. But at 8:20 a.m. on 9/11 when the first plane goes off course, nothing happened. When Payne Stewarts plane went off course a few years ago, jets were scrambled to go up and see what was happening, and they ended up escorting that plane until it ultimately crashed. Why didnt this happen on 9/11?
At 8:48, when it was announced that a plane had "accidentally" hit the World Trade Center, the government knew we were under attack. Every fighter jet in the US should have been scrambled. At that point there were one or two other planes off course. If planes had been scrambled from all bases, we submit regretfully that Ellens husband Louis Neil Mariani would not have survived, but that second plane never would have hit the World Trade Center. But instead of scrambling every jet in the country, they scrambled planes from Cape Cod instead of Long Island coming in at something like one-third throttle.
Why didnt the Secret Service just come in and jump on the president and take him out of that room? Vice President Cheney was in the White House, and the Secret Service came in, picked him up, and carried him off to some secret location; but George Bush was allowed to sit in a classroom with a goat story for 18 minutes after being told that the second plane had hit the WTC. Not only was he jeopardizing his own life, he was jeopardizing the lives of those children, unless he knew nothing was going to happen there.
Mariani: Can I say something? Mr. Bush showed more reaction when he thought hed lost the election than he did when he was told about the second plane.
Berg: The nonreaction from him when we were under attack made me think something was wrong. And I remember seeing debris from the plane in western Pennsylvania, I think five miles from the site of the crash, and after the first couple hours you never saw the story again. Now Im not trying to take away from the heroes, because as far as Im concerned every person who died on 9/11 was a hero, but theres no way that plane in western Pennsylvania was not shot down. If a plane crashes, the debris does not bounce five miles. Now if they could shoot down that plane, why couldnt they shoot down the second plane before it hit the World Trade Center? Why were San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and others told not to fly on 9/11? Why werent Ellen Mariani and the American public told not to fly on 9/11? Why did John Ashcroft stop flying commercial aircraft in July 2001 and use military charters? What about the supposed cell-phone calls about boxcutters? Cell phones dont work on airplanes. European intelligence agencies are quoted in Time magazine as saying theyd warned us, and the administration could have stopped 9/11 if theyd wanted to.
Theres been no investigation. The 9/11 commission made a deal that two members could look at some documents in the White House, make notes, and then leave those notes in the White House. And both of the people theyve agreed to let see the notes are in bed with the administration. Max Cleland, they obviously had something on him. He was the most outspoken member of the 9/11 commission, but they gave him a nice promotion up to the Import-Export Bank. It was a shock to the administration that the chair of the commission, Governor Kean of New Jersey a Republican said that 9/11 was preventable.
Weve started to become the focal point for a lot of groups looking for information. A lot of people felt it smelled bad from day one. Everyone should be asking these questions. The Democratic candidates, everyone. Even Bush, but he cant because he was involved.
Phoenix: Will any court actually let this lawsuit go ahead?
Berg: What were trying to do right now is spread the word around the country and around the world. Hits on our Web site are growing by leaps and bounds. Most people do not believe weve been told the whole truth about 9/11. Fifty percent believe weve been lied to about the administration being involved with it. We feel that were going in the right direction.
Mariani: My gut feeling is the truth will come out and justice will be served. We want a better world, we want a better country. We do not want history repeating this ever again.
Berg: I really feel that with Congress turning up the pressure after [Treasury Secretary Paul] ONeills comments, and now with our lawsuit, by June of 2004 Bush will be forced to resign.
Berg hinted that he and Mariani were in physical danger. "I want all of you to know that Ellen and I are both in good health," he said, adding that "weve been forewarned by people," although of what, he didnt say.
PJBLAW Press Release
Tell that to Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians."
Who's gonna dress up as Osama Yo Mama?
They don't? May this woman never see a penny.
Who TF is Phil Berg?
89% at 2,000 feet,
44% at 4,000 feet,
30% at 6,000 feet,
9% at 8,000 feet,
Flight 93 was flying at 35,000 feet.
Where does it say Berg is representing Mariani pro bono?
I hope this poor Mariani lady has some money left after Berg is done.
I dunno, but Ed Asner likes him. ;D
Hmm. If this were the case, one would think that the corrupt little commie popinjay would be shouting it from the rooftops. I can't believe he would pass up an opportunity to smear Bush.
I wonder if they have a source for this, or if it is just more gasbaggery from this blowhard attorney.
Phoenix: Why couldnt coincidence, or simple incompetence, explain all this? Its not difficult to believe that this administration is incompetent.
A competent, unbiased reporter would never have couched the question this way. BLECCH.
And for all the Ray bin-Laden Taliaferro fans:
No Mr. Berg, you have it backwards, the mob was thrown out of the White House on January 20, 2001, almost nine months before Mr. Mariani died.
The plane was at an altitude well below 2000 feet when the Islamikazis began their run on the WTC.
She needed to look for a new deep pocket when United filed Chapter 11. She didn't want to spend time and money in an adversary proceeding, and then just end up as a general unsecured claimant.
Here's Lie No. 1 right in the beginning of the article. The average amount that 9/11 victims' families are getting from the Victim Compensation Fund is $2.4 million.
Also sad are those that play on her tragedy for their own personal agenda such as Asner ..lie down with dogs and..you know the rest!
Talk about a conspiracy theory.?!??!?!?!
You're kidding me, right? Sheesh...
"...the last time I see my husband boarding a doomed airplane"