Printed from Kansas City IMC

Interview: Civil & Human Rights
9-11 widow, Ellen Mariani, was in Kansas City with her attorney Philip Berg, former Deputy Attorney General for the State of Pennsylvania, for a full day of speaking engagements on Sunday, February 22, 2004. The previous night, Internet Radio Project ( members, Tom Crane, Michael Murphy and Sharon Lockhart had an opportunity to interview them due to a last minute cancellation by KCUR and Walt Bodine.
Mariani is suing the Bush administration (Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice, et al.) under the RICO act [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act]. Her complaint alleges that they knowingly allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place through deliberate inaction for the purpose of political and financial gain, and subsequently are engaging in criminal obstruction of justice by concealing relevant 9-11 facts and documents. Ellen said that she was pursuing this in honor of her husband, Neil.

She said the media is doing everything possible to keep her from being seen or heard, which has made her more determined. It was a reporter who first broke the news of her husband’s death to her, and the media was very friendly at first. That was, until a lawsuit was filed. Ellen said, "The truth hurts. All's I want are questions answered. I'm not out here to play a chess game. These are human loved ones that we lost."

We asked them both when they first smelled a rat. Ellen said it was right away, when she was detained in a room and made to wait seven hours in Chicago’s Midway Airport by United Airlines personnel. Ellen and Neil were en route to California for her daughter's wedding, and due to circumstances, were flying on separate flights. Neil flew United. After the Chicago reporter had told Ellen of the tragedy, a Midway trauma counselor stayed with her through this ordeal as she waited to get some answers. "For the next seven hours, I was glared at. We were locked in a room. We were an inconvenience to them. So right there, that's one red flag."

Having no idea of the involvement he would eventually have, Philip Berg (Mariani's third attorney) said he first thought something was wrong while watching television the morning of September 11th. Berg said that after seeing the second plane hit, "because of the photo-op with President Bush in Florida that morning and the events I saw then, I knew at that moment something was wrong. I saw Chief of Staff, Andy Card, lean over to the President of the United States and though we didn't know what he said, it came out within minutes that he told the President,---I hate to call him President, but--- that the government, our country was under attack”.

“The second plane had hit the World Trade Center, and there was no reaction from Bush. NO reaction from this person. Right here and right now, sitting in this house, if we heard screeching of brakes outside, all of us would turn and probably run to look out the window. We would be concerned. The country is under attack and no reaction. We know he's not the smartest individual in the world, but when I saw 'no reaction', I knew something was wrong”.

And then he continued on—“I'm not sure if he was reading or listening to a goat story--for the next fifteen or twenty minutes. Then he reads a written statement. But the flashback was always to the moment that he was told that the country was under attack, and no reaction."

Berg also pointed out how strange it was that Vice President Cheney was abruptly spirited away by the Secret Service while the nation was under attack, while at about the same time they did nothing to whisk the President to safety, leaving the schoolchildren potentially at risk.

Berg and Mariani, want to know--if there's nothing to hide, why hide it? They are asking the public to show support by signing their online petition at "Let's get the President's Daily Briefings. “We'd like those," Ellen said that night,
" out of respect for those two thousand seven hundred and some odd that have given their lives for nothing, and all the veterans over there fighting where they shouldn't be. We deserve respect, and honor."

Berg asks, "If there's nothing to hide, why did we have to force the 9-11 Commission; why, when the 9-11 Commission wants to be extended, is there a fight; why is there a fight of what documents to deliver to this commission? I mean, they're hiding under the guise of national security. The only national security disaster is the people in the White House and the crew around them. "

Mariani pointed out that it had taken several steps to get where things are today. She fired her first attorney for "conspiring with Kenneth Feinberg" who is the individual in charge of distribution of the compensation fund to the 9-11 families. This compensation, which Mariani turned down, comes with the unprecedented requirement that recipients waive any future legal action. Number One Attorney, as she calls him, got a grieving Ellen to sign a contract granting him power of attorney, despite the fact that she had competent adult children. He also asked her to visit a psychiatrist. Also she says, she has in her possession a personal note from "Ken," scrawled at the bottom of an official letter to Number One Attorney, asking when he was going to get his client into the fund. Feinberg is now named in her suit.

Number Two Attorney, Mary Schiavo (former DOT Inspector General and author of 1997’s “Flying Blind, Flying Safe”) was also let go by Mariani, for having a secret meeting immediately prior to her second hearing in New York.

Current Attorney Berg has praised the Internet as a way of getting the word out, and was excited about Kansas City's Internet Radio Project ( and He also spoke of the upcoming international 9-11 conference in San Francisco the last week in March, with follow-ups in Toronto and Europe, as well as the tremendous research that has been done and books that have been written on the subject. "We are the vehicle to seek the truth," says Berg. He adds that the government has just filed another motion to dismiss, which they are in the process of answering.

Berg blames the media and Congress for giving the administration a free pass on much of the obstruction he says takes place. Specifically, he cites the 900 plus page Congressional report on 9-11, which has had 28 pages expunged from it, supposedly on Saudi Arabia. (It is well known that the Bush family goes back a long way with both the Bin Laden family and the Saudi royal family.)

Berg finds it interesting that while we knew nothing about 9-11 before-hand, within several hours of its occurrence, "they had the names of all the supposed hijackers and pictures, because they could identify these people." He also wants to know why at 5:30 that afternoon, WTC Building 7, which had not been hit, IMploded.

Berg expressed his frustration that none of the Democratic Candidates have been willing to touch 9-11, “other than Dean making the one statement.” They look for other ways of getting the word out. They are trying to contact Bruce Springsteen, who in a recent interview expressed outrage over 9-11, to hold a concert to bring the issue to light. “If Springsteen would hold a concert,” Berg hoped, “the media would have to cover it.” Kansas City native, Ed Asner has recently endorsed Phil’s and Ellen’s efforts, and they are working with his Speakers’ Bureau to schedule more speaking engagements such as the Kansas City talks.

They are working to keep their case as mainstream as possible, in order to avoid the pitfall of being dismissed or marginalized with the label ‘conspiracy theorist’. “Legitimate questions,” Berg reiterated throughout the conversation, as if it were a personal mantra. Legitimate questions such as: Although security films have been released of the alleged hijackers boarding in Maine, why have we not seen films of these people boarding at Boston’s Logan Airport, from where the hijacked planes last took off? Why have the flight manifests not been released?

Ellen had legitimate questions about how Red Cross donations were diverted from families. She says that some of it went toward paying the cleanup crew at Ground Zero for a year, which should have fallen under the responsibility of FEMA {Federal Emergency Management Assistance}. “They sat there and let the Salvation Army come in and help us, while we were in need. United Way came in. Safe Horizon came in. And that took away their job, and they did not come in and do theirs, as far as giving us the funds that we needed. I appreciate what you people [Red Cross Donors] did, but I don’t appreciate what the government did.” Ellen asserts that diverting funds from the families was done as a way “to starve us to the fund.” The more people remained desperate, the more likely they would be to sign over their right to litigate in order to accept the fund money, she suggests.

Ellen and Phil also spoke of their recent appearance on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country. Since the two were geographically apart, they were told that there would be a split screen where they could see each other. Phil could not hear or see Ellen until fifteen seconds before they cut to him. Phil came out of the gate with, “For 9-11 to have occurred, you would have needed 116 governmental agencies and failsafe systems to have failed.” Phil then raised some pertinent timeline issues but was quickly cut off by host, Joe Scarborough, who said that that was all the time they had. With Mariani and Berg gone, Scarborough said that for Berg to make reckless charges like this, he better have some facts to back it up. Berg, having been promised twenty minutes, sat off camera with facts in hand.

In their complaint, they allege one hundred facts that the government knew about 9-11 before 9-11. “And that’s without subpoena power, without depositions…, without interrogatories…” says Berg. That’s why they have filed this RICO action. “Our position is ‘there’s a Mob in the White House’,” Berg says to explain the use of this legal tool originally created to go after the Mafia. They have had several people offer their service to help with the daunting legal work, but they are careful about whom they work with.

While Berg seemed encouraged by 9-11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean’s recent announcement that 9-11 could have been prevented, the commission’s work has not exactly won him over. “The biggest fault of the 9-11 commission is they’re not asking the right questions!”

“It’s time for our country to have a peaceful revolution,” Berg quotes their website (, “a time where we stand hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, and demand the truth.”

“Open your hearts,” pleads Ellen Mariani. “Don’t turn your back on us and walk away. Walk with us.”

To listen to this conversation in its entirety, please visit (

Also see:


911 Victim Ellen Mariani Open Letter To The POTUS
Thursday, 27 November 2003, 1:36 pm
Press Release: Ellen Mariani Lawsuit

Open Letter To The President Of The United States

Mr. Bush,

This ''open letter'' is coming from my heart. I want you to know that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat and that this is not an attempt to ''bash the Government''.

You Mr. Bush should be held responsible and liable for any and all acts that were committed to aid in any "cover up" of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As President you have a duty to protect the American people. On September 11th you did not instruct your staff to issue a nationwide emergency warning/alert to advise us of the attack on America. We had to receive the news of the attacks via the news networks.

In the months leading up to the attacks you were repeatedly advised of a possible attack on American soil. During your daily intelligence briefings youwere given information that had been uncovered that the very real possibility existed that certain undesirable elements would use commercial aircraft to destroy certain "target" buildings. You never warned the American people of this possible threat. Who were you protecting?

When you took no responsibility towards protecting the general public fromthe possibility of attack, you were certainly not upholding the oath you spoke when you took office. In that oath you pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

On the morning of the attack, you and members of your staff were fully aware of the unfolding events yet you chose to continue on to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School to proceed with a scheduled event and "photo op". While our nation was under attack you did not appear to blink an eye or shed a tear. You continued on as if everything was "business as usual".

In the days following the attacks all air traffic was grounded and Americans, including myself, were stranded wherever they had been when the flight ban was imposed. I was stranded at Midway Airport in Chicago, unable to continue on to California for my daughter's wedding. Imagine my surprise when I later found out that during this "no fly" period a number of people were flown out of the country on a 747 with Arabic lettering on the fuselage. None of these people were interviewed or questioned by any local, State or Federal agencies. Why were they allowed to leave and who exactly was on that flight. We know for a fact that some of the people on the flight were members of (or related to) the royal family of Saudi Arabia and members of the Bin Laden family. Were these people allowed to leave because of the long-standing relationships that your family has with both families?

It is my belief that you intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen to gather public support for a "war on terrorism". These wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have not accomplished what you stated were your goals. Why have you not captured Osama Bin Laden? Where are Saddam's weapons of mass destruction? All that has happened is a bill that is passed before Congress for 87 billion dollars to rebuild what you ordered blown to bits. As an American who lost a loved one in the "war on terror" I do pray and support our troops who were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq by you. These troops have and will continue to die for your lies. As an American I can make this statement as it appears that associates of your family may stand to prosper from the rebuilding of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Bush the time has come for you to stop your control over us. Stop blocking the release of certain evidence and documents that were discovered by the 9/11 Investigation Commission if you have nothing to hide proving you did not fail to act and prevent the attacks of 9/11. Your reason for not releasing this material is that it is a matter of "national security". When in fact I believe that it is your personal credibility/security that you are concerned with. You do not want the public to know the full extent of your responsibility and involvement.

After 9/11 the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act were passed. Both of these allow the government to tap your telephone, search your home, and seize whatever they feel they need to do on a whim. They can do this without a judge's review or a warrant. I feel that this is in direct conflict with our rights as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We the families of 9/11 victims need to have answers to the following questions:

1. Why were 29 pages of the 9/11committee report personally censored at your request?

2. Where are the "black boxes" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

3. Where are the "voice recorders" from Flight 11 and Flight 175?

4. Why can't we gain access to the complete air traffic control records for Flight 11 and Flight 175?

5. Where are the airport surveillance tapes that show the passengers boarding the doomed flights?

6. When will complete passenger lists for all of the flights be released?

7. Why did your brother Jeb (the Governor of Florida) go to the offices of the Hoffman Aviation School and order that flight records and files be removed? These files were then put on a C130 government cargo plane and flown out of the country. Where were they taken and who ordered it done?

It has been over two years since hundreds of our lost loved ones "remains" have still yet to be identified and their remains placed in a landfill at Fresh Kill. We want our heroes brought back and given a public and proud resting place where we all can pay our respects and honor them. These innocent people never had a chance as they were taken from us on that sad September Day.

In the court of public opinion Mr. Bush, your lies are being uncovered each day. My husband, all of the other victims and their families and our nation as a whole, has been victimized by your failed leadership prior to and after 9/11!

I will prove this in a court of law!

Ellen M. Mariani
Check out this ode to Ellen by local artist Jance Carrol
Oops! I mean Jane Carrol