Lawsuit hangs 9/11 responsibility on Iran

By Bob Unruh

A legal team fighting one of the court battles over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks carried out by Muslim terrorists that claimed almost 3,000 American lives says it has submitted evidence that Iran should be blamed for the nightmare, and held accountable.

“Our experts, including three former 9/11 Commission staff members, have stated that the evidence is ‘clear and convincing’ that the Islamic Republic of Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks,” said Timothy B. Fleming, of the District of Columbia office of the firm Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis and also an investigative attorney in the case.

The court action includes In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, Civil Action No. 03 MDL 1570 (GBD) and Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., Civil Action No. 03-CV-9848 (GBD).

According to a report from the Doylestown, Pa., law firm of Mellon Webster & Shelly, the lead counsel in the Havlish case, the clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York already has entered a default against the Iranian government defendants. The plaintiffs now are asking the court to enter judgment against Iran.

Now the law firms are arguing that Hezbollah arch terrorist Imad Mughniyah, killed in a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008, was a key link between the actual Saudi Arabians who hijacked the jetliners and flew them into the twin towers in New York as well as the Pentagon, and Iran.

According to the Mellon report, “comprehensive evidence that Iran played a key role in planning and facilitating the 9/11 attacks” was filed with the court.

“Nearly a decade after the attacks that took so many of our loved ones away, we believe the 9/11 families and the American people deserve to know the full truth about Iran’s complicity,” said Thomas E. Mellon Jr., in the report.

“We simply want to make sure that those who are responsible for assisting the September 11 terrorists in their attack on the United States are found accountable for the harm they caused,” said Fiona Havlish. Her husband, Donald, was on the 101st floor of the North Tower and died in the terrorism.

Members of the legal team said they have obtained sworn testimony that is being filed with the court under seal from former Iranian intelligence operatives who described how Mughniyah and top government officials of Iran participated in the “planning of, and preparation for, the 9/11 attacks.”

The witnesses also describe how Mughniyah and top Iranian officials helped al Qaida leadership escape from Afghanistan at the point the U.S. invaded in the wake of the 9/11 terrorism.

The attorneys and their investigators reported Mughniyah, a Lebanese Shiite, was a top commander in Hezbollah, the terror group created by Iran in the 1980s.

“The 9/11 Commission called for further investigation by the U.S. government into the al Qaida-Iran-Hezbollah relationship, but until now there’s been no indication that any government agency has taken any action to pursue this matter,” said Mellon. “Through interviews with former U.S. government and intelligence officials, members of the 9/11 Commission staff, former Iranian intelligence officers, and a wide variety of non-governmental experts and fact witnesses, we have undertaken this ‘further investigation.'”

The United States previously had accused Mughniyah of involvement in the April 1983 attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, another attack on the military barracks in Beirut that killed 241 that same year, and kidnapping and murder of U.S. hostages in Lebanon.

The report said Mughniyah also was wanted by the FBI for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the murder of U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem.

“The 9/11 Commission discovered, just days before publication of its report, important U.S. intelligence documents that detailed Iran’s involvement in aiding and abetting the 9/11 plot,” Mellon said.

The report said the 9/11 Commission found that “a senior Hezbollah operative visited Saudi Arabia to coordinate activities there,” and that this “senior Hezbollah operative” and his associate were on the same air flights as several of the future hijackers who were traveling to and from Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.

“We have compelling evidence that the ‘senior Hezbollah operative’ was Imad Mughniyah,” added Dennis G. Pantazis.

“Imad Mughniyah was known to be an agent of Iran, running terrorist operations for Iran and Hezbollah. Mughniyah’s participation in the hijackers’ preparations for the 9/11 attacks leaves no doubt that Iran was directly involved in, and had foreknowledge of, a planned terrorist attack on the U.S.,” Mellon said. “Discoveries about Mughniyah’s role are very important because, as found by the 9/11 Commission, ‘after 9/11, Iran and Hezbollah wished to conceal any past evidence of cooperation with Sunni terrorists associated with al Qaeda,'” Fleming added.

“Developing evidence of Iran’s involvement with al Qaida regarding the events of 9/11 is like putting together a large jigsaw puzzle where many of the pieces are missing and will never be found. Still, the picture is clear that Iran’s and Hezbollah’s complicity cannot be seriously challenged,” said Mellon. “Over the last nine years, after interviewing dozens of people, reviewing hundreds of documents, and consulting with many experts in the field, we have developed a strong evidentiary case of Iran’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.”

Ellen Saracini, the widow of Victor Saracini, captain of United Flight 175, which was the second aircraft to hit the World Trade Center, said, “The September 11 attacks were an attack on the American way of life and on the American belief in a civil society where we respect others and resolve our differences in an orderly and peaceful way. It is only appropriate that those who are attacking our way of life are found accountable in our American system.”

When U.S. Navy SEALs carried out a covert operation into Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, long described as a mastermind behind the attacks, Havlish told a website representing Philadelphia suburban newspapers that she was surprised by the attack, but never thought the operation could be attributed to one person.

“Sure, I’m glad they got him,” she told the site, “But Osama bin Laden was just a figurehead. He may have bee the mastermind beyind 9/11, but there was a whole group of people involved in the planning and most of them are alive and well right now.”

WND previously reported when, following Mughniyah’s death, various security sources credited the Israeli Mossad for the blast, an accusation rejected by the Mossad itself.