posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 04:45 AM
I'm looking forward to the contributions of the recently launched ATS 9/11 Emergency Team research project.
Here's a reminder to people 'less affected' by the biggest government national security failure in US history, of why it should not be laid to rest
until the culpable people all the way to the top are removed.
It's a personal statement from the widow of a victim, published in USA Today a week before Christmas...
'Silence cannot be bought'
By Beverly Eckert
I've chosen to go to court rather than accept a payoff from the 9/11 victims compensation fund. Instead, I want to know what went so wrong with our
intelligence and security systems that a band of religious fanatics was able to turn four U.S passenger jets into an enemy force, attack our cities
and kill 3,000 civilians with terrifying ease. I want to know why two 110-story skyscrapers collapsed in less than two hours and why escape and rescue
options were so limited.
I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues, including congressional hearings and the 9/11 commission, my lawsuit requires all testimony be
given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence.
The victims fund was not created in a spirit of compassion. Rather, it was a tacit acknowledgement by Congress that it tampered with our civil justice
system in an unprecedented way. Lawmakers capped the liability of the airlines at the behest of lobbyists who descended on Washington while the Sept.
11 fires still smoldered.
And this liability cap protects not just the airlines, but also World Trade Center builders, safety engineers and other defendants.
The caps on liability have consequences for those who want to sue to shed light on the mistakes of 9/11. It means the playing field is tilted steeply
in favor of those who need to be held accountable. With the financial consequences other than insurance proceeds removed, there is no incentive for
those whose negligence contributed to the death toll to acknowledge their failings or implement reforms. They can afford to deny culpability and play
a waiting game.
By suing, I've forfeited the "$1.8 million average award" for a death claim I could have collected under the fund. Nor do I have any illusions
about winning money in my suit. What I do know is I owe it to my husband, whose death I believe could have been avoided, to see that all of those
responsible are held accountable. If we don't get answers to what went wrong, there will be a next time. And instead of 3,000 dead, it will be
10,000. What will Congress do then?
So I say to Congress, big business and everyone who conspired to divert attention from government and private-sector failures: My husband's life was
priceless, and I will not let his death be meaningless. My silence cannot be bought.
Beverly Eckert, whose husband died at the World Trade Center, is the founder of Voices of September 11th, a victims advocacy group.
[Edited on 6-1-2004 by MaskedAvatar]