In an opinion (PDF) issued on Wednesday, the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed. The case had been argued only three weeks before. The court said the complaint was frivolous and affirmed dismissal, calling the suit a “fantastical alternative history.”
The plaintiff, April Gallop, said she was working at the Pentagon with her infant son on the day of the attacks, and both sustained head and brain injuries from the collapse of the building’s ceiling and walls. She alleges the Pentagon was destroyed, not by a plane crash, but possibly by a missile or explosives on the orders of U.S. leaders, the appeals court said. According to the opinion, she claimed the conspiracy was motivated by a desire to create a political atmosphere where officials could pursue their policy objectives and to conceal trillions of dollars in defense misappropriations.
The suit named as defendants former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials.
"The courts have no obligation to entertain pure speculation and conjecture," the 2nd Circuit said. In this case, the appeals court said, the plaintiff advanced inconsistent theories, including that the defendants may have ordered explosives to be planted in the Pentagon, may have hired Muslims extremists to carry out the attacks, may have used Muslims as dupes or patsies, or may have fired a missile into the Pentagon. Nor did the plaintiff cite any facts to support a conspiracy among the defendants, according to the opinion.
Gallop’s lawyer is identified as William Veale of Walnut Creek, Calif. A website called Lawyers for 9/11 Truth identified Veale as a former instructor of criminal trial practice at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, and a former assistant public defender for Contra Costa County.
In an interview with the ABA Journal, Veale said opinions by the appeals panel and then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin were “both entirely, in all due respect, dishonest. They didn’t mention half of what we presented to them in the complaint. They simply disregarded mountains of evidence.”
In a prior affidavit (PDF), Veale cited “considered support” in the scientific and scholarly communities for the theory that the Sept. 11 attacks were at least partly an inside job.
He elaborated in an interview, urging us to mention what he sees as two pieces of key evidence. The first: One of the substances found at Ground Zero has been used in controlled demolitions, he said. The second: Cheney told a subordinate before the attack on the Pentagon that the “orders still stand.” That direction, according to Veale, was not an order to shoot down the plane. Instead, he claims, it was an order allowing the Pentagon to be attacked.
“You have a job here,” Veale told the ABA Journal, “and I hate to lecture you on your job. … But you’ve got to get up to speed where you at least mention the important things.”
Military officer April Gallop filed suit in December 2008 against former Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and US Air Force Richard Myers for the injuries she sustained when the Pentagon was “bombed” on 9/11.
Federal District Judge Denny Chin dismissed Ms. Gallop’s lawsuit in a lower court in March 2010 calling the case “frivolous” and claiming that the complaint was based on “cynical delusion and fantasy.”
However, today on April 5, 2011 her appeal was made in a 2nd Circuit Federal District in in New Haven, Conn. and not one major news outlet covered the event. You will not be able to find a single mention of it on Google. I had found only a few mentions on a Twitter search, which redirected me to the Center for 9/11 Justice Website where I found the contact info for and spoke with one of Ms. Gallop’s attorneys, Bill Veale.
He told me when Ms. Gallop’s attorneys were first notified last Thursday of the opportunity to appeal the dismissal of the complaint, they were informed that if the appeal were successful that the case would be assigned to Judge John Walker, and he definitely throw out the case. If that name sounds familiar, you guessed it: It’s George W. Bush’s cousin!
You will never believe what happened in court today.
They argued before an appellate panel of three judges: Judge Ralph Winter, Judge Marina Corodemus (a potential SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States) nomination), and Judge John Walker (all Yale law school grads). Of course, Ms. Gallop’s attorneys filed for dismissal of Judge John Walker, which was denied. Clearly, they do not care that the judge hearing the case suing the former Vice President is the former President’s cousin. Ms. Gallop’s attorney’s then made a motion for an appellate review of their decision to keep Judge Walker on the case, which was also denied. And the whole time in court, the arguments of Ms. Gallop’s attorneys were completely ignored and instead were questioned with very demeaning inquiries by the judges, such as:
Ms. Gallop’s attorneys plan to file a petition for a re-hearing en banc to appeal to all judges in the case to agree to accept the case. If that gets denied, they will file Cert with with SCOTUS, which will probably also be denied.
I’ve got to say, I’m rather disappointed in our legal system today. But it definitely makes for a very controversial and interesting topic discussion.
Attorney William Veale, co-counsel for April Gallop
Civil Rights Attorney Dennis Cunningham, co-counsel for April Gallop36 Plaza Street Brooklyn, NY 10238
From April’s Attorney, William Veale (and off of the website http://www.centerfor911justice.org):
On March 15th, 2010, Judge Denny Chin dismissed with prejudice the case of Gallop v. Cheney, et. al., ruling that the Complaint was frivolous and based on “cynical delusion and fantasy.” The full text is posted under “News” on this site. Anyone who has followed the case and supported the Center’s efforts in this matter deserves a response to Judge Chin’s decision. It follows.
When April Gallop sat down at her desk at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, with her two-month old baby son, Elisha, in his basket beside her, she was as far from conceiving of evil at the highest levels of American Government as was Federal District Court Judge Denny Chin when he asked plaintiff’s counsel at the pre-motion conference if this lawsuit was filed in good faith. Unfortunately, in spite of reading 65 pages of affidavits appended to our Response to the Motion to Dismiss, all of which he chose to ignore, he was still no closer to that conception than when the suit began. He granted the motion to dismiss because in his view, the claims made there were frivolous and based on “cynical delusion and fantasy.” When those words were written, the court embraced with energy a manifest historical ignorance, blindness to a fundamental human impulse which concedes the attraction of evil to power, and a supreme denial, vast in scope and scale, fortified and impregnable.
The government raised a number of issues in its Motion to Dismiss, including the statute of limitations, governmental and intra-military immunity, and frivolousness, the claim that the case was without conceivable legal or factual basis. Judge Chin addressed only the last of these grounds, finding the accusations to be driven by delusion.
The decision will be something of a shock to anyone who has spent any time at all studying the evidence in the case, but even more so if one sets the Complaint and the Decision next to each other and then compares the two. In so doing the reader learns how many of our allegations find no mention in Judge Chin’s prose. Worse than the number left out, however, is his choice of excluded factual claims. Premier among them is the one that has to do with Defendant Cheney’s activities on the morning of September 11th, the subject of testimony given by Secretary Norman Mineta to the 9/11 Commission. Rather than have to deal with the thorny matter of explaining Cheney’s actions, Judge Chin decided not to mention them at all.
In his decision, Judge Chin could have adopted the finding of the Commission which contradicts Secretary Mineta’s testimony. The 9/11 Commission found that Vice President Cheney was not in the room for Secretary Mineta to hear or observe conversations between Cheney and one of his operatives. By implication it found that Secretary Mineta was delusional when he recounted the remarks of the young man and Cheney’s response to them, which Mineta then enhanced with a visual image of Cheney “whipping his head around.” Mineta clearly told the Commission of the young man’s reporting of the progress of the plane heading for the Pentagon, first 50 miles out, then 30, then 10. When Cheney responded to the aide’s question about the orders still standing, he said, “of course, the orders still stand; have you heard anything to the contrary?” Mineta’s testimony that Cheney changed his body position as he spoke those words, would normally require a further level of explanation, were the entire account to be dismissed as “delusion,” but Judge Chin decided to make no effort to confront the issue, whatsoever.
Had Judge Chin adopted, in his decision, the Commission’s implied finding, his action would have contravened a fundamental premise of law, that in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the judge must assume pleaded facts to be true. A motion to dismiss is not an opportunity to have a trial without having one; it is simply an opportunity for the judge to weed out lawsuits that are based upon allegations that insufficiently establish the theoretical possibility that the defendant may be liable. Had we said only what the judge said we said, his ruling would have been wrong but theoretically supportable, but we said much, much more, and his failure to acknowledge the fact raises questions that are disturbing in the extreme.
As a second example of judicial avoidance, Judge Chin made no mention of the fact that two governmental entities, the National Transportation Safety Administration and the 9/11 Commission, could not agree on the supposed flight path of the plane alleged to have hit the Pentagon. Necessarily ignored as well are the unavoidable inferences of governmental complicity, in the cover-up and in the execution of the attack, that arise from the disagreement. The incompetence of governmental entities may be posited as an explanation for the disagreement, but for a judge to make such a finding before a trial, is to invade the province of the jury.
As a third instance, Judge Chin ignored entirely the passages in the Complaint which refer to expert analyses of the contents of the purported “black box,” supposedly belonging to Flight 77 and supposedly found in the Pentagon. Veteran pilots have determined that what is alleged to have come from the flight data recorder is completely inconsistent, not only with the physical ability of a Boeing 757, if it were to have come in contact with the building, not only with the known functions and capabilities of flight data recorders, but also with the videotaped evidence of the flying object which the government claims captures the impact of that object with the wall of the Pentagon. The only possible tactic that a judge could choose in deciding to dismiss this case, given the contents of the Complaint, is to ignore page upon page of printed words.
As a final example, Judge Chin makes no reference to the fundamental importance that must be attached to the physical whereabouts of Defendants Rumsfeld and Myers as the attacks were carried out. Their presence at the heart of the military command structure at the critical moments that morning is established by no less a figure than the then-Chief of Counterterrorism, Richard Clarke, and this for some considerable number of minutes before, and as the explosion at the Pentagon took place. The two highest ranking members of the chain of command, other than the President, were thus at the helm and saddled with the duty of protecting the country and the soldiers at the Pentagon in those moments. Whatever efforts they made to prevent the attack on the Pentagon were unsuccessful even though sufficient time and armaments existed to mount a defense. If they were, as is alleged in the Complaint, in the National Military Command Center, in full view by Richard Clarke, and presumably taped on a video-teleconference screen, they cannot avoid the scrutiny that ordinarily follows failure in the line of duty. Judge Chin was aware, since these facts were set out in the Complaint, of the crucial fact that Rumsfeld and Myers have both denied their presence at the video-teleconference and at the heart of the command structure shortly after the South Tower was hit, and the world knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Judge Chin’s decision makes no allusion to these crucial facts, thereby adopting the simplest manner of avoiding the damning implications.
It must be noted as well that, in addition to the omissions set out above, Judge Chin avoided addressing one other matter raised unmistakably in April Gallop’s allegations. In addition to alleging that the three defendants conspired to commit mass murder, the Complaint also asserts that the defendants were aware of the danger faced by occupants in the Pentagon in sufficient time to evacuate the building and save many lives, but did nothing. Not one paragraph, sentence, phrase or word in Judge Chin’s decision addresses this claim.
The Center’s appeal will seek reversal in the Second Circuit, a process that could take a year or more. For those interested, a line by line, factual allegation by factual allegation analysis and comparison will be posted when it is prepared.