Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Walnut Creek Lawyer Says He Will Fight Sanctions Imposed by Appeals Court in 9/11 ‘Truther’ Case
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
A Bay Area lawyer sanctioned by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for filing a frivolous appeal on behalf of a service member who claims that government officials were complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks said yesterday he will continue to fight the sanctions and the dismissal of the lawsuit.
“We’re wasting our time, I guess,” Walnut Creek attorney William Veale told the MetNews. But the press and the government are not telling Americans what really occurred at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that day, so he and his colleagues will continue to pursue the matter, Veale said.
He said he intends to seek en banc review of the sanctions, and that his co-counsel are working on a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review the merits of the dismissal.
Veale was ordered, along with San Francisco attorney Dennis Cunningham and New York lawyer Mustapha Ndanusa, to pay $15,000 plus double costs to the government. Veale was further ordered to notify any court within the Second Circuit—which consists of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont—in which he appears in the next year that he was sanctioned.
That order was handed down Friday by Second Circuit Senior Judges Ralph K. Winter Jr. and John M. Walker Jr. and Judge Jose Cabranes. Winter was appointed to the court by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981, Cabranes by Bill Clinton in 1994, and Walker by his cousin, George H.W. Bush, in 1989.
The court had earlier affirmed U.S. District Judge Denny Chin’s order dismissing the case, and had denied a rehearing motion in which Veale suggested that the judges disqualify themselves “and any like-minded colleagues” who were too emotionally wrought over the attacks to see the merit in the case.
In their opinion Friday, the judges said the complaint—naming former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and retired Gen. Richard B. Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the attacks, as defendants—had been properly dismissed because “it consisted of speculation and conjecture and ‘fail[ed] to set forth a consistent, much less plausible, theory for what actually happened’ on September 11, and further failed to present anything beyond vague and conclusory allegations of conspiracy among the defendants.”
As a result, the panel explained, it issued an order to show cause why frivolous-appeal sanctions should not be imposed. Veale’s response, they said, “presents only irrelevant information in a jarringly disorganized manner, united solely by its consistently patronizing tone” and “comprehensive compilation of every rumor, report, statement, and anecdote that may reveal an inconsistency or omission of an ‘official version’ of the 9/11 attacks, such as the 9/11 Commission.”
The response also accused the court of “angry pre-judgment” and said the judges had participated or acquiesced in the “ongoing” government “conspiracy.”
While the attorney acknowledged in response to the OSC that he had used a “regrettably…intemperate” tone, the judges took umbrage at Veale’s suggestion that they had allowed their “normal intellectual functions” to be impaired by their personal emotional responses to the attacks.
“Conveniently, the apparent litmus test for whether a judge’s normal intellectual functions have been compromised such that he or she must be disqualified from hearing Gallop’s case is identical to the question of whether a judge agrees with the original panel’s determination that Gallop’s action is frivolous,” the panel said. “But as Veale is surely aware, no party to litigation is entitled to a pre-screened panel of sympathetic judges, and we have no patience for Veale’s homegrown psychosocial theories contrived to achieve that end.”
The panel declined to sanction the plaintiff, April Gallop, saying she should not be held responsible for her lawyers’ questionable choice of legal strategy. But it warned that she might be sanctioned if her counsel continue to pursue the case.
Gallop’s complaint alleges that she was injured while sitting at her desk at the Pentagon sometime after 9 a.m. The 9/11 Commission concluded that the building was struck by American Airlines Flight 77, which was deliberately crashed into the building by five hijackers.
Veale, however, is one of a number of individuals who have suggested that the 9/11 attacks were planned by American officials in order to gain public support for hostile military action abroad, and that the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers associated with the attacks were actually used as dupes. Those individuals have come to be known as “truthers,” a term attributed to writer/television host Bill Moyers.
There is an “enormous amount of material,” Veale said yesterday, calling the official version into dispute.
“We don’t know what hit the Pentagon,” he said. “We think there was a flying object...We don’t know whether it was a plane or a missile. It could have been Flight 77...but the evidence says it didn’t happen.” Had the court allowed the suit to go forward, he said, discovery might show that whatever hit the Pentagon set off an explosion that had been pre-planned by the defendants.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company