On this week's episode of 9/11 Free Fall, Mick Harrison and David Meiswinkle of the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry join host Andy Steele to give an update on two cases working their way through the U.S. legal system.
First they discuss the petition for a federal grand jury investigation of the World Trade Center’s explosive demolition filed in 2018 as well as the ongoing lawsuit aimed at compelling the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan to present the petition to a grand jury. They then discuss their ongoing lawsuit against the FBI — in which AE911Truth is a co-plaintiff — aimed at forcing the Bureau to report the evidence it has gathered related to the World Trade Center’s explosive demolition.
We invite you to listen or to read the interview below.
Welcome to 9/11 Free Fall. I'm the host, Andy Steele. Today we're joined by representatives of the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry. My first guest is Mick Harrison. He is the Lawyers' Committee's director of litigation. He's a public interest attorney and has a national practice focused on cases that involve whistleblower protection, government accountability, corporate fraud and false claims, and dangers to the public health or the environment.
And he's joined by Dave Meiswinkle, who is the president of the Lawyers' Committee. He is a criminal defense attorney, a retired police officer of 23 years, and a former U.S. Army veteran. This guy's been working hard over the past couple of years to try to get us the justice that we deserve as the American people for the crimes of September 11th. Not the crimes they told you about on TV but the crimes that they refuse to tell you about in the corporate media: the controlled demolitions of the towers and of course all the other issues associated with the truth behind that event. Guys, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Andy.
Thank you, Andy.
All right, so we want to give an update on our major projects that we have going on with the Lawyers' Committee. I'm going to say Lawyer's Committee for short throughout the show, but you can find them lcfor9/11.org to keep track of them. And we're going to talk about some of their new initiatives as well towards the end of the show. But let's start with the grand jury petition. Now, last time you guys were on, you were filing a mandamus suit to compel the U.S. Attorney's office to tell you whether or not they had even introduced the petition to the grand jury at all. I want to ask you – and we'll start with Mick – has there been any further word on that suit or any answer from the U.S. Attorney on the originating question of whether or not they've even put the petition before a grand jury?
Short answer is we're still waiting on the judge to make a decision on the government's motion to dismiss in that case. It was brief some months ago, as we may have mentioned last time, the judge in that case, in the Southern District of New York actually has some rules specific to his court, which impose a non-mandatory deadline on the judge himself in getting out decisions on motions, because he's – to his credit – trying to keep his cases moving and not have folks wait too long on decisions.
So we passed his informal deadline for that decision a few months ago, and his rules actually provide to be reminded by counsel if he does pass that deadline. And the attorney who filed the motion in question is supposed to remind him, and that would be the government attorney in this case. So we, not seeing an immediate reminder from the government, we did give the government's attorney a call and ask if they would remind the judge under his own rules, and they agreed to do so.
And, actually, they did remind the judge of the deadline that the judge himself has imposed. We have not heard back from the court since then. Of course we were then approaching holidays, and it's been kind of a crazy time in many ways with the pandemic and other controversies since. So it's hard to say, and the judge of course has other cases to deal with.
So we're waiting. We don't have too many choices but to wait for that decision. At some point, of course, for any judge in any court, if too much time passes, you can file a motion asking for a decision and can also, in the extreme case, file a motion for mandamus. In this case it would be a mandamus on a mandamus. And the mandamus, the second mandamus, would simply be to get a decision issued.
So we're not anticipating having to do that and expect to get that decision pretty soon. Now things had happened, of course, since. We've had an election and we'll presumably have, not for certain but presumably have, a new U.S. Attorney. So I think if that happens, we certainly would invite the new office holder to talk with us about the petition. So I'll leave that there and see if Dave wants to add something.
What I'd add Andy is just to give the audience a little flavor of that lawsuit and why it came about is that we had, back in April actually of 2018, we had submitted a grand jury petition with stuff down in New York, the city, in the Southern District. And in July of that year, we amended it to include more federal crimes.
In November, the U.S. Attorney pleasantly surprised us by giving us a letter, which he said he had read and reviewed, and he would comply with the law, USC 183332A, I believe it was. And basically we thought we were going to get our grand jury petition submitted, and it's before a grand jury. That never came, so we eventually had to sue.
Now who is suing in this case, besides the Lawyers Committee and Architects & Engineers are – and Richard Gage – are Jeannie Evans who lost her brother – he was a firefighter – and Diana Hetzel, who lost her husband – he was a firefighter – and Bob McIlvaine, who we all know lost his son.
The fire chief, Michael O'Kelly – he was a hazmat chief – he has some permanent injuries to his lungs from working there on the piles. We all know Christopher Gioia. He was a commissioner in the Franklin Square Munson Fire Department. And he received a qualification that he qualifies for it if you get sick. He worked on the piles, etc., so the argument there was no standing. And Mick can go into that maybe a little better if you want to.
And there's different types of standing. There's the information or organizational standing. And we claim that, of course, people have standing look at the injuries that in particular that the individual people I just mentioned; they've lost dear ones. They should have standing. And right now we're waiting for the judge to basically rule on whether the U.S. Attorney should be presenting this evidence. And they're claiming no, they don't have to because there's no standing. Maybe Mick, you want to follow that up?
Well, let me pause and see if Andy wants to ask a different question, and then if he would prefer I just give those details now I will.
Sure, I have questions about both suits, but I would like you to comment on the standing issue. It just amazes me. I've used Bob McIlvaine as the example in the past; he lost his son on that day. And, again, I am not a lawyer. I don't claim to have any kind of deep knowledge of our justice system beyond the knowledge that everyone else probably has out there. It just amazes me that Bob McIlvaine would have no standing in trying to figure out how his son died. But then you also mentioned somebody who got sick as a result of their work at Ground zero September 11th event. And certainly, in my view, they would have standing 'cause it really changes the dynamic, whether or not his sickness is the result of Islamic terrorists from overseas or people here at home. So, yeah, Mick I would like to hear your comments on that.
Well, it's an argument the government tends to make in every case they can get by with it these days, including environmental cases, and they try to get people dismissed, so they don't have to deal with the merits of the case. So they use the standing procedural argument as an attempt to do that. They don't always win on standing, but sometimes they do. The courts have been somewhat demanding on what one has to show to prove standing, which is essentially being aggrieved or impacted enough to have the right to sue.
In this case, it's not really an argument that's, well-placed. Some cases, it may be a legitimate question, but in this case, what we're really talking about, as I think your listeners know by now, is we filed a detailed petition, and the petition, which goes into detail on the demolition evidence for the Trade Center towers and Building 7 – it isn't really just limited to a submission to the U.S. Attorney asking the U.S. Attorney to do something, even though we did do that, it's also a petition directly to the grand jury itself asking the grand jury to evaluate the evidence under their own powers and under a federal statute that Congress passed, which changed over the historical practice.
Citizens now are required by that statute, and there's a debate about whether that statute is actually constitutional, but citizens are required by that statute to go through the U.S. Atorney in making their report of a federal crime to a grand jury. So we follow that procedure, but it doesn't change the fact that we're actually petitioning the grand jury itself.
So what we have here is the government arguing not only that we don't have standing in the case where we're challenging the U.S. Attorney's failure to respond to a petition we submitted to the U.S. Attorney, we have the government arguing we don't have standing to complain that the U.S. Attorney has obstructed delivery of our petition to another government entity, the grand jury.
And to me, there's no real logic and no case law supporting that argument because the Constitution gives us the right to petition for redress of grievances, and that applies to any government entity, which would include the grand jury as well as the U.S. Attorney. So whether or not we have standing to sue to mandate under the mandamus statute, the U.S. Attorney had to do his job, and he does have a mandatory duty to give the grand jury our petition, whether or not that standing question is real. And we've argued that we of course we have standing to do that.
There is no real, in my view, good faith argument that the government can put forward with a straight face, in my view, that citizens don't have standing to complain that one government entity is obstructing delivery of a petition to another government entity. It would basically mean that the U.S. Attorney would be empowered to deny our right to petition under the Constitution.
So we expect to win that argument on standing. There's also... The government actually also makes other arguments besides standing. And you're welcome to ask about those as well, but they're essentially saying that what is clear in the statute as a mandatory duty, isn't really mandatory. So that's another twist.
I was just going to clarify for the audience, and I'm sure they know that, but this grand jury petition in this lawsuit has to do with the controlled demolition evidence, the bombs and the explosives that were going off during that period of time. And this grand jury has never viewed this sort of evidence. And so this is all new evidence in the sense of the public not really getting to examine it. And it really feeds into the 9/11 review commission, which probably you'll get to the FBI lawsuit down in Washington D.C., because some of that same evidence is listed there as the first count.
Right. It reminds me of conversations I was having with people earlier in the week, talking about other world events and things going on, and someone saying, "They can't do that, that would be illegal." And we have to get our mind around is that there's no physical object that comes out of the ground and stops you called the law that stands in your way. It's something that we all agree to. And the problem is when the entities like the government cut corners or overlook it, turn their back to it, it ceases to exist. That's why we got to keep on pressing them and calling them to account and reporting when they turn their back at it or try to find ways around it. We take these things for granted here in this country, and I think people are starting to wake up to how things really work.
Now, I may have asked this before in previous interviews, but I really want this audience to hear the answer, newcomers. Have either of you encountered anything like this before where a case goes to U.S. Attorney's office, and then it goes behind this kind of cloud of secrecy, and there's hardly any communication during a significant amount of time, and they can't even tell you if it's gone before a grand jury or what's exactly happening with the case. I mean, this seems highly unusual to me. You guys are the experienced lawyers. Have you ever seen this in your own practice or in other people's practices before? We'll start with Mick.
Short answer is in criminal matters where there's an investigation ongoing like an FBI investigation, you may get the same sort of wall of silence. The FBI will talk to you, take your information, and you won't hear back from them because they're doing their investigation, and they don't want to reveal anything that may interrupt or complicate their investigation. That's the legitimate reason for the silence sometimes.
So that's about the only context in which I've seen the government not respond in a timely manner on a matter of this importance, and their excuse is, "It's an ongoing investigation, it's sensitive and we can't talk about it until it's done." Other than that, generally speaking, you don't get this sort of inaction and silence, but as they said, we thought to the U.S. Attorney's credit, we did hear from them where they agreed to comply with the statute that imposes the duty on them to give the grand jury the petition. So that was, we thought, an encouraging sign. And after that, it was, of course, when we didn't get additional responses.
Yeah. With my experience Andy as... I've had more experience, actually as a police officer, dealing with a situation where there's a grand jury going on and they take their own time. They... You know something's going on, maybe you even testified at it. Right? Or you... But you know something's happening, but it doesn't happen for a while. And I've seen them go two-and-a-half years before there's something develops or... But this is I think a little bit different because we did call them up and we did talk to them. We asked them, "Just give us a wink and a nod that you're doing something on it." And they couldn't do that. And we thought they could at least give us some ministerial records or some kind of indication. So when we sued them, it was... we didn't want to have to sue them, we just wanted them to do their job.
So... And they... It's a mandamus. They have a responsibility to do a job, but we're trying to call them to it. If they were doing the job, they could just easily tell us, or tell the judge, to give some indication, so we didn't have to do all this litigation. So I'm fairly sure, I think Mick is, too, that they haven't done anything. They haven't presented anything. And so that's why we're suing them. And that's why the judge now is taken so long to make a decision because when he makes this decision one way or another, if we have to appeal we'll appeal it, but if he makes it in our favor, that's the landmark decision. That is a tremendous decision. And that's probably, I think, why he's waiting so long on this.
Now the change of administration may be more favorable as Mick pointed out to be possibly a new U.S. Attorney. There's still different people running Washington D.C. that will be from the party that was basically not the controlling party at that time. It was Bush and Cheney and those guys were in there controlling it. And so you may never know, politics may somehow surface here, but I've not seen anything like this. No. And as an attorney, I've been seeing it, usually I would defend clients that already had been indicted. And so I would basically, go from there. But this is a pre sort of indictment stage here. We are pre government turning it over for an investigation to the grand jury and then hopefully indictments to follow. But I haven't seen it, no, except, like I said, as a police officer somehow, remotely.
Now I just want to let the audience know, and I was telling Dave this before the show, that I had called the U.S. Attorney's office yesterday. We're recording this on Tuesday, so yesterday was Monday. It turned out it was Martin Luther King Day, which I had forgotten, because we don't usually take that holiday off here. But I called there and I talked to the security office, and they told me, "Don't take their word for it." And we got to talk to a clerk. But my question was, has the COVID pandemic caused any kind of delay in the grand jury process, caused it to come through slower, less grand juries convening? And he said it has been slowed down but then contact the clerk's office.
I contact the clerk's office, they put me to the press office. I went to their voicemail, and they have yet to call me back as of this recording. I will get an answer for this audience because I want to know myself.
I remember reading an article early on, back in, I believe it was March, March or April, saying that there has been no delay in the grand jury process because of COVID, but that may have changed. A lot has changed throughout this year. So that is a factor to mix into it as well. I will say though, that they did receive this petition long before the COVID stuff hit. So they still had a lot of time before that.
And I know that there are supporters out there who are eagerly following this, waiting for new developments, and we're just going to have to be patient. I mean, the reason that a Lawyer's Committee exists is because taking on this issue is very difficult. We know what we're up against. And so we need these warriors out there, these legal warriors out there doing battle for the long haul. They're going to have to go to the distance because nobody in the society does anything they'd rather not deal unless they get a lot of pressure from a single source or from many sources.
And so that's what the Lawyers' Committee is about. That's what AE911Truth is about. And we're still continuing on this fight, and they can delay all they want, but ultimately they're going to have to answer for that delay. And we're going to have some kind of outcome from this. So, again, just keep waiting, and it's still going on here even... And when did we file this? Back in 2018 I think it was? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Yeah the lawsuit was filed in September 2019, but the grand jury petition was filed in April of 2018. So almost a year and a half, we waited until we sued. Right Mick? I believe that's correct.
Yeah, that's pretty close. Pretty close.
Yeah. So its not that we didn't give them a chance. Right? Like we said...
We'd prefer they do their job, but you wait a year and a half and you don't get a positive response you figure that maybe you're not going to get a positive response. You have to basically force them to act one way or another.
Before you go to the FBI lawsuit, just two quick fine points on the mandamus lawsuit in New York on the petition to grand jury. In reading the government's briefs and their arguments and reading a little between the lines, but you don't have to look too hard, it appears that the government has taken a position on this mandatory duty to report our petition to the grand jury that they're reading that statute as imposing a very minimal duty on the U.S. Attorney. And they appear to be reading it to say that the only thing they have to do when they get a petition from a citizen on a federal crime is to tell the grand jury that they received information about crime X and give the grand jury maybe a sentence or two on what the crime is reported to be and give the grand jury the name of the party reporting the crime, which would be the Lawyers' Committee in this case, and about 2,000 other people. And that they think that's the end of their duty.
And so it's likely, in my view, that the grand jury actually was told something, probably almost nothing, about our filing and then was given our name as the submitter and never shown the petition. The only other point I'll mention quickly on that lawsuit is, in addition to the mandamus portion, which is asking the judge to order the government to give the grand jury our petition, we also had a request to the court itself, which is for grand jury records, hoping to accomplish that way what Dave mentioned we were trying to get voluntarily from the U.S. Attorney, which is some ministerial records, some routine documentation that would show that our petition actually got submitted to the grand jury.
And that is actually a request that. I would certainly hope the government would not win a standing argument on because the court controls those records, not the U.S. Attorney. And to say that we can't ask the court for that is again saying we can't even petition the court for something the court has control over, and standing really doesn't apply in my view in a situation like that. So I'll stop there.
All right. So we have about five minutes here, and I know you've got new things going on. I just want to ask a quick question about the FBI lawsuit. So you're filing an appeal because of the standing issue that they claimed before – again Bob McIlvaine doesn't have any standing in the events that surrounded his son's death. What's going on with that? And if that appeal doesn't work, is there any way that you can file another appeal after that?
Well, yes, there is something going on. What we have is the U.S. Court of Appeals deciding the merits of that appeal, our appeal; Architects & Engineers are a party in that case. We did get dismissed on standing grounds in that case. And remember, this is our request to the court to order the FBI to comply with its mandate from Congress to look at all the evidence regarding 9/11 that the 9/11 Commission did not look at originally.
And the Court of Appeals initially set an oral argument in that case after we did the briefs, and then after the panel of judges was appointed, that oral argument was unscheduled. It's not required under the rules, it's optional, and the court has the discretion to do it or not. We learned at that time who the panel of judges was, and it turns out that one of the three judges was Merrick Garland, who is, of course, President Biden's pick for Attorney General of the United States.
So we were – I expect we won't now, but we were – going to have our appeal heard by the circuit judge in D.C., who is now going to become the Attorney General. And, of course, that's who we're suing. We're suing the Attorney General and the FBI in that case. So I expect Judge Garland will have to step down from our case. It would have been interesting to see what opinion would have come out of that panel, but I expect that panel will be changed now, which may cause a little bit of delay. To answer your last question – what happens if we get a decision that we don't like from the Court of Appeals – the only other recourse is to petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. That is an option. It's a request for certiorari, which means it's a discretionary review, not a mandatory obligation by the Supreme Court to hear the case. So very few cases are actually accepted for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. So I hope we don't have to go to that step.
All right. And our last two minutes here, I know you're doing a new thing regarding anthrax. If you can just give a quick summary of what that's about and how our listeners can learn more about it and get behind it.
Sure. Andy they can go on the Lawyers' Committee website, it's LCfor911.org. On October 15th, we submitted a congressional petition, a petition to Congress asking them to reopen the investigations there. Our investigation has showed us that the main suspect that at least the FBI was looking at who died before he could be indicted, who was under 24/7 surveillance by the FBI, supposedly committed suicide, that he was... The evidence there wasn't that he was the killer. There was a lot of information or evidence to indicate that he was innocent or a scapegoat and that the FBI really doctored this investigation.
They compromised it, and they weren't truthful to the public or to Congress about it. And that we think that they... Congress has to get involved to do a proper investigation. The Department of Justice can't investigate itself, and that the suspects who were involved in the anthrax attacks... And that was a week after or so after 9/11, people started getting mail that had anthrax in it. And two of them were you U.S. Senators, Daschle and Leahy, and Leahy is still there. And we're hoping that they... This anthrax was very sophisticated and very lethal. And we believe that it has never been properly investigated. So maybe with this new Congress coming in, or with people like Leahy at this position, they'll acknowledge the need to do what they wanted to do back then. It's not like we're shooting in the dark with this. The New York Times wanted an investigation, the Washington Post wanted an investigation, and we've talked to USAMRIID, that's the scientist down at Fort Detrick, the scientists. And we have declarations of four of them who believe that there should be a new investigation and who said that Bruce Ivins, their colleague, was an innocent man.
And we talked to Rick Lambert, who said that our compilation was the best, most thorough research, he said, on anthrax that he's viewed and that he was a whistleblower. He was in charge of that investigation called the Amerithrax for four years. So he gave us a compliment. So right now we're drafting... Mick can talk about it, a grand jury petition to the U.S. Attorney down there, and we're going to be asking for a special counsel to get involved, again because of the conflicts of interest. So Mick, why don't you just finish it up? What I said.
So, Andy, I know we're short on time, so the short version is we're going to give to another U.S. Attorney and a grand jury the details of our investigation over the anthrax attacks, which came on the heels of 9/11. And it's going to, as Dave points out, show that the FBI did not do his job. There's a lot more to that investigation than has ever been made public, and the FBI appears to have intentionally distracted attention from the real suspect, or at least the best suspects.
So we hope to get a grand jury to look at that and use their power of subpoena to get to the bottom of it. One last note on that, which is sort of connecting it to current events, the recent attacks on the capitol some people may be thinking are unprecedented. It's not the first time, however, that Congress was attacked, literally. And we're not talking about the British, we're talking about the anthrax attacks. It was an attempt to assassinate two United States Senators who did receive, or at least had mail addressed to them – in one case was received and other case was intercepted –.mailings that had very deadly anthrax in it. So the current disturbing events is not the first time that someone has to alter U.S. politics and U.S. government by attacking Congress directly. I mean, that's important to keep in mind.
And again, you can learn more about it at the Lawyer's Committee's website. Guys, thank you for all the work that you're doing and for coming on here and giving us these updates. And again, we are going the distance here in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and we're going to keep on knocking on the door until it opens and lets justice flood in. But thank you for coming on 9/11 Free Fall today.
Thank you. And you sir.