October 4, 2007

Settlement Imposes Silence

The families of the 9/11 victims at the World Trade Center and Pentagon who sued American Airlines have settled their suits against them. American Airlines and other contractors involved in security will pay an undisclosed sum to the victims and pledge to continue improving security. However, they will also avoid having to admit any negligence, and the evidence will remain sealed -- which seems inimical to the plaintiffs' stated motives.

At Heading Right, I explore why this settlement bothers me. The families of 9/11 have the right to act in their own self-interest, but their continued insistence that the truth means more to them than money seems at odds with the sealed depositions. What did they learn? How did the airline and airport fail on 9/11, if they did at all?

These particular families are not the only people with standing on 9/11. If the depositions revealed failures, we should all know about them, if the truth really does mean more than the money.


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Comments (19)

Posted by Scott | October 4, 2007 9:02 AM

Cap'n, I am more bothered by the lawsuit itself than any settlement.

What responsibility does American Airlines have for 9/11? Did they somehow negate the established security measures of 9/10? I doubt it.

So now business is responsible for every crime that occurs on their premise. If someone robs a bank and kills a customer, the bank is now responsible. Ditto the Quicky Mart. Crime is now the responsibility of the institution being criminalized.

It don't seem right. I have no quarrel with idea that someone was looking to make an easy buck, but the lawsuit should never have taken place. American Airlines did not orchestrate 9/11.

Posted by alain | October 4, 2007 9:04 AM

Je découvre votre blogue. Il est très bien et le contenu aussi, surtout.
Très intéressant, merci pour l'information.

Posted by Richard Daugherty | October 4, 2007 9:07 AM

Once again I'm going back to the American Military person rates only up $400000 in death gratuity. Why is it that these folks, as tragic as it was on that day keep getting more and more money awarded to them.
I also agree with you on if they wanted to improve security and learn from mistakes why is the case sealed.

Posted by docjim505 | October 4, 2007 9:16 AM

Ditto Scott.

I would also like to simply say:

Lawyers. [spit]

Posted by Cousin Dave | October 4, 2007 9:21 AM

Scott, it's worse than that. 9/11 wasn't a crime; it was an act of war. English common law doctorine, going way back to before America was ever though of, has held that war is a force majure for which no party to a contract can ever be held responsible. In effect, American Airlines has been charged by the court with the responsibilities of the U.S. military.

Further thought: Whenever someone says it isn't about the money, it's about the money.

Posted by james23 | October 4, 2007 9:30 AM

I agree with Scott. I am as troubled or more so by the suit than by the confidential settlement. We already know that the principal failures setting up the 9/11 attack occurred with officials of the US government at the very highest levels. To blame the Airlines for it is disgusting.

As for the sealed nature of the settlement, in many federal courts it has become difficult, even when both parties to a settlement want to keep it confidential (albeit usually for different reasons), to keep the judicial record of the settlement sealed. The local case law and rules often provide mechanisms for 'un-sealing' in cases of public interest. Court records being public records, and all that.... That is, such confidentiality orders can be pierced by motion from the media, public interest groups, and so on.....

Posted by swabjockey05 | October 4, 2007 9:33 AM

I vote for making the business responsible for the safety of the customers...not the government.

But only if they're given the authority to implement what they think are appropriate security measures.

I'm the same guy who doesn't mind walking through the magic "stripper X-ray" machine. I'd even pay extra money to be able to bypass the BS "security" they have now...where granny has to have her boobs fondled...to stand in front of the Xray. Even if the pimple-faced union Dhimmi "sees" me in my birthday suit. Would be much faster. And I wouldn’t have to take off my shoes, my belt and have the union Dhimmi wave his wand in my face.

Do you think the business would profile too? I'll bet if you let the free market rule airport security, we'd be much safer than we are now. The "down" side would be that we'd see bootleg X ray pictures of CE's trolls on the internet…yak.

Posted by Sue | October 4, 2007 9:43 AM

Well, another example of "it's the money, stupid"!

Posted by John Steele | October 4, 2007 9:59 AM

Like Scott, I've never been comfortable with this suit on a number of levels. As noted this was an act of war for which AA would traditionally have borne no responsibility. But there is 'gold in them thar hills' and by God some lawyer is going to get their hands on it.

I'm also troubled that the families of 9/11 get lavished with compensation and attention while the families of our military suffer essentially silently. This was not an attack on their loved ones, or New York, this was an attack on the entire nation and to sigle out the families in New York is simply wrong.

Also as noted, it is interesting how "it's about the truth not the money" is so easily tossed over the transom when the money appears on the table --- principle be damned, I want what's mine.

Posted by GarandFan | October 4, 2007 10:05 AM

Where money is concerned, ethics are negotiable.

Posted by filistro | October 4, 2007 10:27 AM


Bienvenue! Mais je vous avert... si vous restez avec nous, seulement un peu, vous eterai adonne a le Capitaine!

Posted by Timothy S. Carlson | October 4, 2007 12:26 PM

The airline did the right thing - the costs of a trial, and the possibility of a verdict against them (consider the number of truthers out there, how many would get on the jury?) - this was less costly for them. But, yes, this buries any discoveries, positive or negative, unfortunately.

More grist for the mill - chew it up, truthers.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 4, 2007 12:49 PM

Sounds like there is some sort of coverup going on here to protect certain people. 2 of the 4 9/11 flights, including the American Airlines plane that hit the WTC, took off from Logan Airport, whose head of security at the time was a pure political hack appointed by Republican Governor Bill Weld. It has been widely reported that Logan didn't even have cameras in its gate areas, concourses, and terminals!

In fact, 4 months before 9/11, Massachusetts Senator Jean-Claude Kerry received a letter from Brian Sullivan, a retired special agent with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), whose specialty was risk-management charged with securing air traffic control facilities throughout New England. Sullivan expressed to Kerry his contention that Logan Airport was very vulnerable to terrorists. He thought that any terrorist could board and blow up a plane without much difficulty. He believed this because undercover operatives had proven that the security shields at Logan were ineffective by breaching them with potentially deadly weapons 10 times. He even suggested that more than one plane could be taken down in a day. In addition to the letter from Sullivan, Kerry was given a videotape depicting the broken security shields by Bogdan Dzakov, a former FAA chief of the national airport security covert Red Team.

Kerry basically brushed the whole matter off. He waited 11 weeks, then told Sullivan he had "passed along" the info to DOT. Kerry never gave the information to MassPort or the Massachusetts State Police.

After the 9/11 attacks, weapons were found on a couple of other planes at Logan. Apparently this went a lot deeper than anyone realized. And someone still wants to keep it under wraps.

I started flying in and out of Logan on DC-3s, but my final flight in and out of there was in May of 2001-and I won't be flying out of there again.

Posted by Carol Herman | October 4, 2007 1:52 PM

Well, let's see if I can help ya out, here.

No. I'm not a lawyer.

But I do know that what happened that ALLOWED the highjackers onto the planes, could'a been stopped with a better system of letting terrorists climb on board.

And, MUCH better tactics, once you find there are terrorists in your midst.

To start with ... anytime there's a big body count, you get to learn the nature of sheep, more than you learn the nature of self-preservation. But you're not really without things to do, If your life depends on it.

In the future? I'd like to see those who didn't know what would have helped, back on 9/11 ... discover that in "the many" ... everyone has something to throw! A man? Can whip off his belt. And, swing it. People can take their on-bard luggage and begin tossing things out.

You have no idea, but we've already learned the number of terrorists are FEWER than the number of people under attack!

Maybe, that's a better lesson than what families can do after the fact, when they go for the gold, calling lawyers in to dig deeply into the business pockets of airlines; as well as others who are making money offering services in public places.

Now, if you were sitting quietly in your chair; and suddenly had to act promptly. What would you reach for? I mean. To save your life.

I know. Some of you could call 911, and tell the operator you "fell down and cannot get up."

Because? There was once a commercial trying to sell you a device that practically made the call for you. All you had to do was grip a button.

While, as far as lawsuits go, it's part of our system. In a system no one even thinks of the lawyers, while they're standing there, getting married.

As if by magic, though. Lawyers have a business that's just available out there, everywhere.

Pays to know you can hire good ones. Just as it pays to know when you call these good ones, they're generally busy. You'd have to worry if they were waiting around for your calls, ya know?

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 4, 2007 7:12 PM

Another point to consider-the 9/11 perps obviously did their homework to the max. And they had to be cramming, as the entire 9/11 plot was conceived, trained for, and executed in the 8 months after F-102 pilot Dubyah was crowned by Halliburton.

We've all seen the press reports of "dry runs" the 9/11 bad guys took, including the famous encounter that actor James Woods had with them. But we've not seen that many press reports of how many different airlines, flights and routes they cased to see which would work. Boston was obviously ripe for the picking, otherwise they wouldn't have tried to hijack 2 flights out of one airport minutes apart. Security there was very bad indeed.

Atta and company also obviously wanted the propaganda value of having a plane that said "American" or "United" flying into a building. So they cased airlines with "US" names, and American and United won. It's rather interesting that they took a pass on US Air. Mebbe that airline had better security?

Posted by fouse, gary c | October 5, 2007 12:00 AM

Rush Limbaugh-"Phony Soldiers", Phony Charges

Once again, conservative talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh is the target of the left-wing that is determined to bring him down one way or another. Ironically, the left is now charging that Rush has defamed the military with his comment about "phony soldiers". Interesting that the left is now claiming to be the defenders of our troops. These are the same folks that have called our troops Nazis, Soviet Gulags, cold-blooded murderers, terrorists of Iraqi civilians in the dead of night, bombers of Iraqi civilians, ad nauseum. These are the same folks that demonstrate against military recruiters on college campuses. These are the same folks that have put out the "Not Welcome" sign for the military in San Francisco. Now they are "defending" the troops against Rush Limbaugh.

This little bruhaha started this week when Limbaugh, in a conversation with a caller, referred to "phony soldiers" who had aligned themselves with the anti-war left. Rush's opponents have interpreted this as an attack against any military service personnel who disagree with the Iraq War. It is clear that Limbaugh was not referring to the above, rather more specifically to "phony soldiers" like Jesse MacBeth. This is the character who washed out of basic training in 2004, but went on to present himself as an Army Ranger who had witnessed horrible atrocities carried out by US Military personnel against Iraqi civilians, statements that picked up a lot of traction from the anti-war left until shown to be a lie. Eventually, it was brought out that MacBeth had never been a Ranger, had never been to Iraq and had fabricated his charges. He has now pleaded guilty to attempting to defraud the Veterans Administration. It was clearly MacBeth that Limbaugh was referring to in his comments.

That has not stopped the Democrat buffoons in Congress from wasting the taxpayers time and money in throwing out resolutions of condemnation against the popular and influencial conservative talk show host. For sheer effrontery, few can top Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who Limbaugh regularly (and with precision) describes as "Dingy" Harry. Reid has led the charge against Limbaugh for his comment-never mind the fact that Reid has recently called the war in Iraq "lost" and the "Surge" a failure. Then there is Sen Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) who made the caustic remark that Limbaugh must be back on his drugs again, a reference to his previous addiction to pain-killers.

The fact of the matter is that Limbaugh has consistently, over the years, shown himself to be a staunch supporter of the Armed Forces as well as their effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can the same be said of Reid, John Kerry, Dick Durbin, John Murtha,and Barack Obama? (Try a little matching quiz and match the politician with the statements outlined in the first paragraph.) To be fair and accurate, Murtha and Kerry are both combat veterans from previous wars, but they have hardly shown themselves to be supporting today's military, as evidenced by their public statements. They have both made inflammatory comments about our military personnel in Iraq.

This public hissy fit on the part of the Democrats in Congress is just a "hail Mary pass" to try and bring down one of the right's most articulate and effective spokespersons, something they have been unable to do for years. Similar efforts are underway as we speak against Fox's Bill O'Reilly and conservative commentator Michael Medved. The public should see them for what they are. Next week, it will be somebody else for something else. The elimination of public debate by character assassination is now a highly-refined art on the part of the left.

gary fouse

Posted by the friendly grizzly | October 6, 2007 11:14 AM

Alain said: "Je découvre votre blogue. Il est très bien et le contenu aussi, surtout. Très intéressant, merci pour l'information".

Easy for YOU to say! Now, being serious for a moment, will someone translate this, please? " I discovered something blog. It is very good and..." HELP!!!


Posted by david | October 9, 2007 12:32 PM

One has to really laugh. All of a sudden you are interested in knowing about the failures that led to 9-11!!! Where the hell were you for the past 6 years? Why were you not demanding answers from Republican Congress from 01 to '06?

No wonder you are called Bush leaguers

Posted by Captain Ed | October 9, 2007 12:53 PM

The only thing I'm laughing about is that you came to an old thread to make an accusation that my archives prove is completely bogus. Try reading my posts on the 9/11 Commission, for instance. Tahat is, if you haven't bungeed back to DU.

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