Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today a Manhattan jury cleared foreman Salvatore DePaola of charges that he should have known a crucial water standpipe was damaged in the former Deutsche Bank building at Ground Zero which caught fire in August 2007, killing 2 firefighters in the Line of Duty.

The jury was still deliberating the case of Jeffrey Melofchik, the building site safety manager, who like DePaola was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the blaze.

Also charged are the building's toxin cleanup director Mitchell Alvo and the Galt Corp., the subcontractor that employed Alvo and DePaola. They have chosen to have Judge Rena Uviller, not the jury, rule on their cases and the judge has not yet ruled. The jury found DePaola not guilty of all charges.

Firefighters Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33, died in the Line of Duty of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning when they became trapped in the nine-floor fire.

The defense argued that the construction managers removing asbestos could not have anticipated the circumstances that led to the firefighters' deaths.

They had argued that if local government inspectors had repeatedly failed to identify a damaged water pipe in the basement, it was unreasonable to expect construction supervisors with less expertise to recognize the potential danger. The defense argued that the conditions were caused not by a lack of water but by a fan system that pulled smoke downward, leaving firefighters blind and disoriented.

Source: The Secret List 6-28-11 / 2147 Hours

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DOD Announces Charges Sworn Against Five Detainees Allegedly Responsible for 9/11 Attacks

 The Department of Defense announced today the office of military commissions prosecutors have sworn charges against five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

The prosecutors have recommended that the charges against all five of the accused be referred as capital. Capital charges may only be pursued with the convening authority's approval. Under rules governing military commissions, the accused will have the right to counsel learned in applicable law relating to capital cases.

The charges allege that the five accused were responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks on New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pa. that occurred on September 11, 2001. Those attacks resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

The charges are allegations that the accused committed offenses that are chargeable under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C. §§ 948a, et seq. There are eight charges common to all five of the accused: conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking aircraft, and terrorism. The accused are presumed innocent and may be convicted only if their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

These charges go beyond what is necessary to establish that the 9/11 co-conspirators may be lawfully detained under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, as informed by the laws of war -- an issue that each Guantanamo detainee may challenge in a habeas petition in federal court.

In accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2009, the sworn charges will be forwarded to the Convening Authority, Bruce MacDonald. The convening authority will make an independent determination as to whether to refer some, all, or none of the charges for trial by military commission. If the convening authority decides to refer the case to trial, he will designate commission panel members (jurors). The chief trial judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary would then assign a military judge to the case.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense - Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Decade Later: Osama Dead, Obama Visits Ground Zero

Obama's Visit: Pictures of Ground Zero a Decade After 9/11

As the President journeys to lower Manhattan to give New York City its own moment of justice, TIME looks at the evolution of the historic site of Osama bin Laden's deadly attack

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Osama Bil Laden Dead: Thank-You DevGru Seal Team 6 #Winning

On April 29, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama authorized a Kill raid ("Operation Neptune Spear" with "Geronimo" as the code name for bin Laden himself. on bin Laden's suspected location near Abbottabad, Pakistan. 

Location: It was originally believed that bin Laden was hiding near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but he was actually found 100 miles (160 km) away in a $250,000 three-story mansion in Abbottabad at 34°10′9.67″N 73°14′33.60″E.[157] Bin Laden's mansion was located 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy (Pakistan's "West Point"). Google Earth maps show that the compound was not present in 2001, but was present on images taken in 2005.

The Raid: On May 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (May 2, Pakistan Standard Time), U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. The operation (dubbed Geronimo "E-KIA") was successfully carried out in the early morning of May 2 by U.S. Navy SEALs with intelligence support from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). During the raid, bin Laden was fatally shot in the head and chest The entire raid, including intelligence sweeps of the compound, was completed in less than 40 minutes.

Among those killed in the raid were one of bin Laden's sons, a man described as a courier, and the courier's brother. Four years of surveillance of the courier led to the intelligence which made the raid possible. It was reported that the courier was the owner of the compound where the assault took place.

The day after the raid John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, said that the woman that was killed was one of bin Laden's four wives and was being used as a human shield at the time, though this claim was later retracted. Two other women, who were also used as shields, were injured during the raid. He also said that the al-Qaeda leader put up resistance, but was unarmed. Bin Laden was shot twice. A shot above his left eye blew away a part of his skull. He was also hit in the chest.
The Team: U.S. officials reported that a team of 24 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six), under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command and working with the CIA, stormed bin Laden's compound in two helicopters. Bin Laden, three other men, and a woman were killed in a firefight in which U.S. forces did not experience any injuries or casualties however one of the helicopters experienced mechanical difficulties, and was destroyed by the SEALs onsite. In his broadcast announcement President Obama said that U.S. forces "took care to avoid civilian casualties."According to U.S. officials, the attack was carried out without the knowledge or consent of Pakistani authorities.

Aftermath:  The U.S. State Department issued a "worldwide caution" for Americans following bin Laden's death and U.S diplomatic facilities everywhere were placed on high alert, a senior U.S official said. Crowds gathered outside the White House, in New York City's Times Square, as well as the World Trade Center, the site of the September 11 Attacks, to celebrate bin Laden's death. Chittral News, a Pakistani news site, claimed that some people were dismayed that Pakistan has lost its sovereignty.

The Body: His body was taken and biometric facial recognition tests were performed. Subsequent genetic testing reportedly supported the preliminary identification.

Within 24 hours of his death, his body was transported to the aircraft carrier "USS Carl Vinson" for final rites and burial at sea. According to the United States military, the decision to bury his remains at sea was to circumvent international difficulties in choosing a burial site. Some observers at the time suggested it might also have been designed to prevent any physical enshrinement of the terrorist leader. His death attracted protests from hundreds of people in the city of Quetta, in southwestern Pakistan, burning U.S. flags and paying homage to the late al-Qaeda leader.

DNA from bin Laden's body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister's brain confirmed bin Laden's identity the following day according to assertions to ABC News by unnamed sources. The 193 cm long body was recovered by the U.S. military and was in its custody until his body was buried in the North Arabian Sea from the USS Carl Vinson, within 24 hours of his death in accord with Islamic traditions. One U.S. official stated that, "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult."MSNBC reported, "There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

9/111 Lawyer on Vacation as payments wait...

The city has released more than $5 million in initial payments for some Ground Zero workers, but many plaintiffs are still getting requests for required documents they thought were already filed -- while their top lawyer took a posh, two-week vacation in Switzerland, The Post has learned.

The first funds -- up to $3,250 each for 2,210 workers and their spouses-- were wired Friday to the law firm representing most of the 10,000 suing 9/11 responders, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, said a spokesman for the WTC Captive Insurance Co, the city-run entity controlling a $1 billion federal fund.

The law firm is expected to deduct its 25 percent fee, plus expenses, and send checks to their clients.

Under the mass settlement, worth $662.5 million, the first payments must be made 20 days after the deal was finalized on Jan. 5, or after an outside firm verifies the claims.

The first $5 million is going to plaintiffs “who have met the requirements for payment under the final settlement agreement,” said a WTC Captive statement yesterday. “We will continue to make timely payments as these requirements are met.”

Some responders received letters from the law firm this month, warning:


 Lawyers have known about the requirements for at least 10 months.

Meanwhile, lead lawyer Paul Napoli took a getaway in Zermott, a Swiss resort near the Matterhorn, from Dec. 18 to Jan. 2, insiders said. He also spent Thanksgiving week in Anguilla, a Caribbean island, and went to Paris and Aix en Provence in southern France last September, after a deadline for workers to sign onto the settlement was extended two months to Nov. 8.

"A lot of people need this money for medical costs -- or because they're flat out broke -- and he thinks its a perfect time to see Europe." fumed a 9/11 responder awaiting payment for his illness.

Napoli yesterday denied delays on his end, saying "All forms and documents have been submitted timely. The paperwork needs to be processed before payments are made. That is out of our hands."

He said his office is staffed every day and holidays -- and time with his family is "always an important priority."

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/payouts_on_hold_as_lawyer_vacations_mw9lwMJLW1bgfPFCirujcJ#ixzz1CjDDC1cV

9/11 Forensic Expert Dies...

Brick - A man who participated in the forensic investigations of the Sept. 11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 587 crash and other accidents has passed away, according to a report on APP.com.

Haskell Askin, 75, of Brick, served as the tour commander for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of New York City and spent more than 25 years as the chief forensic odontologist for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

986th First Responder Dies From 9/11-Related Illness

- Robert 'Bobby' Ehmer, 47, of East Meadow, Long Island died Sunday after succumbing to a three-year battle with kidney cancer.
Ehmer raced to the site of the World Trade Center and worked there for several weeks as he assisted in the search for survivors and removal of debris.
He along with several thousand first responders were exposed to toxic dust that blanketed the area. He was an officer for the 100th Precinct in Queens and retired in 2005.
He also dedicated his time to his community as a volunteer firefighter and an EMT for St. John's Hospital. In 2007, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
His condition worsened over the last three years as the cancer spread throughout his body. Ehmer was single and did not have any children.
Ehmer's family will hold a wake for him on Tuesday and Wednesday. His funeral is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at Chapel Funeral Home in East Islip.
On Friday, more than 10,000 Sept. 11 first responders and New York City reached a settlement worth at least $625 million over the city's failure to provide protective equipment to the responders, which allowed deadly soot enter their lungs and make them sick.
Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service Link