WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing families of 9/11 victims today are filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. their second lawsuit against Iran asserting evidence that Iran played a key role in planning and facilitating the 9/11 attacks. The new case, Bingham, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al., is being filed in federal court by the same attorneys who have been litigating Havlish, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al., now pending in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Alice Hoagland, lead plaintiff in the new Bingham case, is the mother of 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, one of the passengers on United Flight 93 who stormed the cockpit to try to re-take control of the aircraft from the terrorist hijackers. In the ensuing struggle for the cockpit, the hijackers were forced to crash the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could reach its intended target, which is believed to be the White House or the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Their heroic actions saved the lives of countless people.
"Mark Bingham and other passengers on Flight 93 gave their lives for their country, without any knowledge on that morning they would have to do it, yet they proceeded without hesitation. We, their survivors, deserve to know why they had to give their lives and who was supporting, aiding and abetting al Qaeda. Our whole country deserves to know," said Mark Bingham's mother.
On May 19, 2011, the lawyers filed papers in federal court in Manhattan disclosing for the first time that Iran's and Hizballah's terrorist leader, Imad Mughniyah, was an active participant in escorting 9/11 hijackers through Iran and into Afghanistan for terrorist training, and in assisting the hijackers to obtain "clean" passports and visas enabling entry into the United States. Also, the attorneys for the families have filed evidence establishing that top Iranian officials assisted al Qaeda leadership and operatives to escape to Iran from Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion in the wake of 9/11. Iran then provided safe haven and support for these al Qaeda members inside Iran.
In July, the Havlish attorneys filed under seal the sworn testimony of three defectors from Iran's intelligence agency, the Ministry of Information and Security. The 25 hours of sworn testimony of the three defectors, recorded on videotape, shows Iran's key role, involving top Iranian government officials, in the planning and preparation for the 9/11 attacks. Lead attorney Thomas E. Mellon, Jr. of Doylestown, Pennsylvania of the law firm of Mellon Webster & Shelly stated that "our ten experts, including three former 9/11 Commission staff members, have stated the evidence is 'clear and convincing' that the Islamic Republic of Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks and that Iran's agent Hizballah was a direct participant."
One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Havlish and Bingham, Timothy Fleming of the Washington, D.C. office of Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis, in Birmingham, Alabama, said, "Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Iran has been shown to be a key al Qaeda supporter. It is well known that Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism throughout the world for the last thirty years. The Havlish and Bingham cases will hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of al Qaeda and 9/11."
On July 28, 2011, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Treasury said that Iran has been supporting al Qaeda by permitting terrorist operatives, recruits, and cash to be transported across Iran's territory to al Qaeda camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a Treasury Department press release, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said, "Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world today. By exposing Iran's secret deal with al-Qa'ida allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran's unmatched support for terrorism."
Former CIA case officers and nationally recognized terrorism analysts also support the Havlish and Bingham cases' proof. Their sworn affidavits disclosing and analyzing Iran's involvement can be found on the internet at www.iran911case.com.
Janice Kephart, a former staff counsel to the 9/11 Commission, was specifically involved in the 9/11 Commission's investigation regarding how the 9/11 hijackers attained entry into the United States. Havlish attorneys submitted Kephart's sworn affidavit to federal judge George B. Daniels in which Kephart noted that "the 9/11 terrorists had engaged in a specific terrorist travel operation. In other words, not only did the four nearly simultaneous hijackings of four commercial airplanes constitute a coordinated operation, but so did the hijackers' travel." Kephart also states that, because Iran assisted al Qaeda to acquire "clean" passports and visas, "there is clear and convincing evidence that Iran and Hizbollah provided material support to al Qaeda by actively facilitating the travel of eight to ten of the 9/11 hijackers to Iran or Beirut immediately after their acquisition of the U.S. visas, into and out of Afghanistan, and that these U.S. visas were garnered specifically for the purpose of terrorist travel into the United States to carry out the 9/11 attacks." As the Kephart affidavit states, "for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons."
A Senior Counsel on the staff of the 9/11 Commission, Dietrich L. Snell was the leader of the Commission staff team investigating the 9/11 plot. Snell's affidavit, also submitted to Judge Daniels in May, states that "there is clear and convincing evidence pointing to the involvement on the part of Hizbollah and Iran in the 9/11 attack, especially as it pertains to travel facilitation and safe haven."
"We need to have the entire truth revealed regarding who was involved in 9/11, that's the only way for there to be closure for the families of the victims of 9/11," said Ellen Saracini, wife of Victor Saracini, Captain of United Flight 175, which was the aircraft that hit the World Trade Center South Tower.
Fiona Havlish, whose husband Donald Havlish died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, added, "We welcome the addition of more people to the legal cases against Iran. It's important that people stand up against the world's principal state sponsor of terror because, unless we do, 9/11 could happen again."
Attorneys in the case, as well as Alice Hoagland, Fiona Havlish, Ellen Saracini, and others, are available for interviews.
For further story information, see the Havlish & Bingham website at www.iran911case.com
SOURCE Mellon Webster & Shelly