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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.
Alison L. Des Forges, a historian who documented the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and was an authority on human rights abuses in Central Africa, was a passenger on Continental Airlines Flight 3407 when it crashed near Buffalo on Thursday night, killing all 49 people on board. She was 66.
The death was announced by Human Rights Watch, the New York-based advocacy group where Dr. Des Forges, who lived in Buffalo, served as senior adviser for its Africa division.
The haunting words keep echoing through Jeff Smith's mind.
"For the sake of your children I wouldn't get on that flight," a Continental Airlines flight attendant told him.
About an hour later, that flight, Continental 3407, from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo that was supposed to have carried Smith, 39, his wife Kathleen and their two children, Paddon, 7 and Tanner, 4, crashed just short of the Buffalo airport in Clarence, N.Y., killing everyone on board.