9/11 survivors call for renewed probe as 8th anniversary approaches Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist August 09, 2009


9/11 survivors call for renewed probe as 8th anniversary approaches
Posted by Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist August 09, 2009 9:06PM
Categories: Real-Time News
Noah K. Murray/The star-LedgerLorie Van Auken in a 2006 Star-Ledger file photo.

The eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is a month away and some survivors of those lost believe it's a good time to renew an investigation into the events of that disastrous day. New York City disagrees.

"We know we never have learned the truth, it's as simple as that,'' says Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick, one of the most ardent supporters of the creation of the 9/11 commission in 2002. It was headed by former New Jersey governor Thomas H. Kean.

"Members and staff of the 9/11 commission have said many of the questions raised by the attacks have never been answered.''

Van Auken was a founding member of Sept. 11 Advocates, originally a group of four New Jersey widows whose husbands were killed that day. The group, informally called "the Jersey girls,'' successfully lobbied for the creation of the commission.

The four women formed the core of a "steering committee" that was loosely attached to the panel, and then became lobbyists for enactment of the commission's recommendations and critics of many of its findings after the panel's report was published almost exactly five years ago.

Van Auken is now affiliated with an organization called NYC-CAN -- New York City Coalition for Accountability Now -- that has spent the last few months collecting signatures on a petition designed to require New York's city council to place the creation of an investigating commission on the November ballot.

The city clerk's office has rejected the petition, challenging thousands of the signatures and, more importantly, the legality of the referendum itself. The dispute already is in court.

NYC-CAN is still pushing for signatures, relying on a provision of the law that allows voters to bypass city council action to place a referendum directly on the ballot.

Visitors to the area around the old World Trade Center site -- now all but inaccessible because of construction -- are likely to encounter supporters of the ballot initiative seeking signatures. Only New York City voters, however, are eligible to sign the petition.

That would exclude Van Auken herself, although, under the terms of the petition, she would be one of the commissioners who would supervise the investigation. The effort has been endorsed by the other "Jersey girls" -- Mindy Kleinberg, also of East Brunswick, and Patty Casazza and Kristen Breitweiser, both of whom have moved out of state.

"We are looking for some way to renew interest in the idea of an investigation,'' says Van Auken.

Another leader of the NYC-CAN effort is Robert McIlvaine, who became a fixture at public hearings of the 9/11 commission, always noticeable in the audience because he wore an orange baseball cap. It was his son Robert's Princeton cap -- the young man had graduated from Princeton in 1997, moved to New York and gotten a job with Merrill Lynch. He was attending a conference at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It's a murder -- my son was murdered -- and there never has been a murder investigation and a finding of what happened,'' says McIlvaine, who was laid off from his teaching job at a mental hospital four months after his son's death. He is retired and spends much of his time pushing for a renewed probe into 9/11.

"It's very simple -- I'm a father who lost his son," says McIlvaine, who lives in Oreland, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. He is a member of the executive council of NYC-CAN. "Why wouldn't any father want to know how and why his son died?''

Previous efforts to promote a New York-based investigation into 9/11 have failed. McIlvaine was a leader of a petition drive in 2004 to get former New York attorney general Elliot Spitzer to impanel a special grand jury to look into the day's events.

Efforts like those of NYC-CAN face the danger of becoming overwhelmed by the more radical elements of the so-called "truther" movement, some of whose members already have reached their own conclusions about 9/11 -- including a contention that the destruction of the Twin Towers was not caused by the airplane crashes but rather internal demolition.

The NYC-CAN website -- nyccan.org -- insists any investigation it supervises will not begin with conclusions:

"The investigation will commence from a starting point of zero assumption or bias about the events of September 11. The investigation will be fact-driven and will use only the most rigorous legal standards for establishing the truth about those tragic events.''

Even if the petition succeeds in getting the issue on the ballot, and even if the referendum is adopted, the independent investigation will face daunting problems -- including how to pay for its operations. The 9/11 commission spent $12 million on its investigation; NYC-CAN hopes to raise $50 million privately.

"We do face a lot of problems,'' says Van Auken. "But we really don't have much of a choice.''

thanks for posting

Comments have been pretty good so far.

I think this guy is the only newspaper columnist in NJ that sheds any real light on that day



Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?


Any luck with the Philly Inquirer running a story about Bob M?

I doubt it.

I have tried contacting journalists in Philly papers before, and have had no luck. I recently tried contacting William Bunch from the Philadelphia Daily News (who covered the black boxes found at the WTC, as well as some of the problems with Flight 93), and he told me that no one can touch 9/11 because it has become inundated with theories, etc...

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Bob is such a intelligent & sincere

guy,that is he shows up at the Inquirer in person.. somebody will stand tall. (IMO)

"he told me that no one can touch 9/11 because it has become inu

"he told me that no one can touch 9/11 because it has become inundated with theories, etc... "

TRANSLATION: The Fairy-tale theory is unraveling fast and the facts are beginning to congeal.

Yes, that is totally BS............

He's lying.
From the top to the bottom of the news media, all across the nation, the same is going on. Alternative media venues are no better.
They lie as to why they won't present good, solid evidence about 9/11. When they are pressed, they insult the movement, as this guy just did.
It is absurd for someone in his position not to look at any of the evidence, look at how it is backed by 700 distinguished architects and engineers, hundreds of brave patriots, former military officers, etc, etc, and say that the subject is too infiltrated with theories.

He is lying.

Isn't this the kind of lying that is dangerous to our nation and the future? For the entire media system to withhold information that the American people need to know to be able to plan the future of our nation is simply TREASON.

To lie about why one would keep this vital information from the American people is treason.

Being nice to the media and not demanding that they present 9/11 truth has gotten us nowhere. Alternet, which I thought would have been the easiest to break through to since they covered other anti-Bush issues and even confront Israel issues, is adamantly opposed to any mention of 9/11 truth. In fact, they have had several articles that insulted the 9/11 truth movement, comparing it to moonlanding deniers and other similar groups. Joshua Holland has been the worst there, and he is a senior editor and writer. They simply will never, EVER present a real story about 9/11 truth. I have snuck in 9/11 truth in my replies on their comment section, but I am now banned from it. I was constantly spammed by the trolls there.

It is simply impossible and hopeless to get 9/11 information into the press, anywhere. We need to find out just how this censorship is occurring. Until then, we are just spinning wheels trying to get a decent set of articles in the press about 9/11.

>>no one can touch 9/11

>>no one can touch 9/11 because it has become inundated with theories

A lot of people do write decent truthful stories that openly sidestep claims that have little evidence, while presenting the strong evidence that challenges.

Journalists all over Denmark just did it, and did it well.

That no one would cover the nanothermite paper in the US is not about "theories" but about the fact of the outcome of that particular theory. When *US* journalists are trying to shut up scientists from all over the world, we have a big problem, and it isnt' with the scientists. It's a finding that was covered by dozens of non-US journalists, and none were so afraid of "theories" that they had to openly ignore it.

9/11 was a crime...

Elements within our Government and others have earned the title of suspect for that crime. We need a real criminal investigation.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

It's wonderful that Bob got this in the press, but.............

..........this is just one piece in one obscure news source. One piece! This is big news...........75,000 signatures pushing for a new investigation of 9/11. Very newsworthy. But ignored by the press.
How bizarre. If this had been a similar effort to investigate corruption or even the torture issue or wiretapping, it would appear in all of the alternative news outlets, and probably covered to some degree by the major news media.
For this to be NOWHERE, other than this one spot, is proof in my mind of a nationwide system of pressure on the news media to avoid and censor ANY real mention of 9/11 truth, except to insult the movement, as we have seen here and there in left wing, right wing, and mainstream media alike.

For this to be absent from DemocracyNow, Alternet, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, the Nation, antiwar.com, Z mag, or MotherJones..............is simply outrageous. It definitely points to a nationwide system of pressure and threats on our news media, and our alternative media will not break their silence.

Are there any people out there listening who can shed some definite light on just how this is being done?

It's really very simple...

The "media" has been VERY successful at painting anyone that questions the official account as Holocaust Denying murderers, crazy whacky conspiracy theorists, anti-semites, etc... etc... etc... No one wants to cover the issue for fear of falling into that category. They want to maintain their "credibility." On top of that, the BIG media in this country... the media that gets the most attention, is owned lock, stock and barrel by the "military industrial complex." An entity that DOES NOT want the truth to be exposed. Maybe people will begin to understand that we should promote the best information at all times. So as to NOT give ammunition to our enemies. The enemies painting us as "Holocaust Denying murderers, crazy whacky conspiracy theorists, anti-semites, etc... etc... etc..."

People dressing up as a clown are NOT helping.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

It's frustrating...

This is a news story... plain and simple. This isn't someone's theory-- this is a ballot initiative for a new investigation. IF by great fortune, we can get this thing on the ballot, there is hope. That will be the difference that will force news coverage and give celebrities a green light to make endorsements.

I just watched the Hunter S. Thompson documentary, "Buy the Ticket-- Take the Ride" last night, and while it didn't touch on anything related to 9/11, it showed many interviews of his closest friends. Among which include: Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, John Cusack, Tom Wolf and Bill Murray. They were musing about how they would talk to Hunter for hours at a time on the phone in the middle of the night. Penn and Depp would visit and spend time with him. These people have to be closet truthers. They have to know. They HAD to have seen and discussed "Loose Change."

They are having to gauge their risk-to-reward ratio regarding their careers at this point. NYC CAN could provide some cover for coming out.

very good points

You are right............this IS different. This is real news, not theory, not even evidence. This is news in that a LOT of people are DOING something, not just talking.
And you are right that if the resolution gets on the ballot, they have GOT to talk about it. Hopefully they won't just be insulting about it...........like, "wow, can you imagine how many nutballs are out there wanting this on the ballet?".

And, yes, those guys you mentioned MUST know that the official 9/11 story is a sham. They already know how American empire works. They know it a lot better than I did when I first saw the inconsistencies.

Different angle?

I seem to remember that the Jersey Girls were featured in a women's magazine. A brief shot of the cover appears in Press for Truth. Could this kind of publication crack the media dam?


Ms. Magazine's 2004 Women of The Year.


Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

I Just Posted Comment on AlterNet

AlterNet has a story today, "Whatever Happened to Progressive Talk Radio? Did Air America Kiss It Goodbye?" I used that opportunity to post comments about NYC CAN and the utter lack of coverage not only on Air America, but Democracy NOW and AlterNet itself. If anyone else is interested in adding comments, here's the story. http://www.alternet.org/media/141868/whatever_happened_to_progressive_ta...

I also mentioned other bombshells like the nano-thermite paper and Sibel Edmonds sworn testimony, which have been censored. And said a nice word about Thom Hartmann, who is no longer there at Air America.

Wonderful! Wish I could post.............

...........but I can't...............I was banned.
I went for six months, though, posting almost every day about 9/11, so I can't complain too much. I tried to stay non vulgar and non insulting, but eventually it was too much for them to have somebody complaining that they would not present the truth of 9/11.
I'm so glad you put something on about 9/11, especially the NYC-CAN............what a great movement and opportunity.

Couldn't find it. Is it under RL McGee?

There are quite a lot of comments on that article.

This is a little better...


Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Good for UPI, but...........

Notice that they don't give the name of the group pusing this: NYC-CAN.
That seems odd.

Yes they did...

"Van Auken now is affiliated with the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now, a group that is collecting signatures to require the New York City Council to place the creation of an investigating commission on the November ballot."

They just didn't call it NYCCAN.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

UPI-- that's more like it!

UPI is a good score for us-- one of the main wire services along with AP, from which other media often pick up their stories. Let's see if any do. Meanwhile, this a good piggy-back for us to reference when contacting other media. "Did you see this. on the wire? UPI ran... etc." This is legit and a start.

*pfgetty... I posted under Zeitgeist on AlterNet. It's the second main response that I replied to. "NY City 9/11 Ballot Initiative NOT being Covered."