Former Congressional Nominee Threatened
by US Marshal in 9/11 Evidence Cover-Up
by Tom Flocco
SHERMAN OAKS, CA, July 28, 2003 (TomFlocco.com) -- A former Democratic nominee for the United States Congress from the 20th District, Bakersfield, California was threatened on April 24 by Deputy U.S. Marshal Steve Borak from the Phoenix office of the United States Marshal's Service.
Michael Thomas, 42, born and raised in Hollywood, California, but now living in Phoenix, Arizona, has been independently researching and investigating circumstances surrounding events related to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center for TomFlocco.com -- but also for some victim family members.
"It happened around 1:00 pm after lunch. I received a call from Deputy US Marshal Borak regarding reference to 'rumors and statements made to us' that you were trying to obtain a picture of and may have threatened Judge Hellerstein regarding the New York City 9-11 litigation," said Thomas.
"I want to let you know that I'm not the Gestapo calling you," said Borak. "But I just have a few questions; and I'm concerned about these reports. I want to tell you not to interfere with the [New York 9/11 litigation] case, do not disrupt the case, do not go to the court, and do not interfere with the court or its process, or you will be held in contempt."
Thomas said he was surprised, as one of the victim family members had gone to him in confidence, seeking advice about her status regarding the case, while also asking Thomas to do some research and investigation. This, because she was so disappointed with what looked to her as a government cover-up -- given the credible time-line evidence.
[ Thomas and his associate Gareth Wean, former intelligence officer in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Bureau of Intelligence have been lobbying Congress since 1985 regarding organized crime in the judicial system. In 1987-88 they stopped Congress from reforming the racketeering statures which would have made legislators and other elected government officials immune from being sued under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).]
[Civil RICO suits involve enterprises wherein two or more persons conduct an ongoing pattern of illegal activities which damage an individual (s). In 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled in Sedima, SPRI v. Imrex Co. , 473 US 479 (1985). That private individuals may prosecute persons, corporations, and administration officials in a manner similar to the Government. Thus 9/11 victim family members may sue government officials, including the judiciary, for acts which violate the racketeering statutes, while combining to disrupt and thwart the legal process. Wean's long-time friend and associate, Robert Du Pre, former FBI agent and Chief Legal Counsel for Senator Strom Thurmond, wrote the RICO statutes with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.]
Alvin K. Hellerstein is the presiding US District Court judge from the Lower District of Manhattan, New York in the wrongful death lawsuits involving victim families suing the airlines and security firms involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Curiously however, Judge Hellerstein has written a number of legal briefs and papers dealing with the subject of RICO suits. Thus questions can be raised regarding what criteria Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department used in the judicial selection process for such an historically important criminal case. For a presiding judge in the 9/11 litigation with knowledge of RICO statutes has the power to subtly divert or deflect evidence in potential RICO suits brought by victim family members.
Moreover, some families are concerned about the Bush Administration's heavily redacted 9/11 congressional report, Judge Hellerstein's limitations placed on discovery, and attorneys who are not fighting for full and complete discovery involving government officials -- including the subpoenaed testimony of those at the highest level -- given starkly indefensible time-line evidence. Thus, Judge Hellerstein 'may' be the ultimate damage control for the Bush Administration.
Michael Thomas' seemingly inconsequential request for a book photo of a United States District Court judge appointed by the President of the United States may have more relevance than meets the eye -- regarding where the judge goes, what he does, and who he sees. There are indications that a confidential meeting with US government agents took place immediately prior to a key hearing in the 9/11 litigation.
THE SECRET MEETING
On Friday, September 20, 2002, a secret meeting was held for a few hours surrounding the lunch hour in a private hotel room in New York City near the courthouse -- just prior to the scheduled 2:00 PM public hearing where Judge Hellerstein initiated limits which severely affected 9/11 evidence discovery.
This, according to a government official who was not in attendance, but who has direct knowledge of the meeting and said that special heightened security was employed at the meeting.
The government source told TomFlocco.com that a number of the victim family attorneys involved in the New York City litigation and other government officials attended the clandestine meeting, among other individuals who were not identified.
Given the virtual shutdown of discovery requests via government invocations of "sensitive security" and "national security," the question is begged as to whether the unidentified officials at the meeting carried instructions from higher-up officials to slow down and/or circumvent requests for evidence which would shed light on 9/11's mysteries.
Moreover, it is not known at this time whether the 9/11 National Commission will question the attorneys, the government officials, and all other attendees at the September 20 meeting about full details of the agenda, since problems arise as to why government officials who are fighting the disclosure of evidence at every turn in the courtroom met with plaintiff's counsel at a concealed conference just prior to a key evidence hearing.
Other questions arise as to why victim family attorneys were meeting outside the courtroom with their government adversaries and what effect possible instructions and/or 'suggestions' from the government may have had upon their willingness to accept without appeal the judge's rulings limiting discovery which would implicate White House officials -- given the staggering and indefensible 9/11 timeline of events. http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/
The meeting was originally undisclosed to reporters and victim clients until it was confirmed by family member Ellen Mariani who confronted her attorney Mary Schiavo while leaving the courtroom just after the public hearing. Without Mariani, no outsiders would have known.
Mariani filed a civil action on December 20, 2001, regarding the events of September 11 and the wrongful death of her husband Neil. She was the first American citizen to initiate 9/11 civil litigation.
Schiavo is a former Assistant US Attorney who represented the US Marshal's Service, Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) and other government agencies, after which she was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as Inspector General of the FAA 1990, and is now an attorney and partner with the Baum-Hedlund law firm in Los Angeles, California.
"Mary Schiavo has never been one to pull her punches. The Inspector General for the Transportation Department proudly displays a wooden carving on her desk that reads 'Maximum Mary.' It's a gift from her days as a federal prosecutor in Kansas City. 'I always asked for the maximum sentence,' she explains." (Business Week, 6/14/1997) Photo: American Free Press
Schiavo represents September 11 families of victims from airliners which crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into a Somerset County field in Western Pennsylvania.
After the Friday hearing, Mrs. Mariani asked Schiavo, "Where have you been all day? I walked the courthouse halls floor to floor looking for you -- and you were nowhere to be found. I thought we were going to meet for a while before the hearing like we did before." [First hearing on July 12, 2002]
Mariani said that Schiavo, a Harvard psychology major, "nervously giggled before telling me 'We had a meeting in my hotel. They set up a special room for us.' "
The 9/11 widow waited for an explanation regarding the meeting. But "nothing was offered, causing me to feel more curious -- even betrayed by my counsel," she said.
"I had asked all three attorneys [Paul Hedlund, John Greaves, and Mary Schiavo] if the cat got their tongues and why they all sat there in the courtroom, never once at least objecting to Daniel Alter [Department of Justice (DoJ) Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Alter who represents the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)], who stood up and seemed to take over the flow of the whole case for the entire hearing," she said, adding "they didn't act surprised at Alter taking over. It was like they already knew what was going to happen."
"Something happened at that secret meeting," said Mariani. "I kept wondering why they were avoiding me after the hearing was over and why they wouldn't walk out with me. Everything had changed."
"Now I think I know why Mary had told me to 'start keeping my mouth shut' about what I was helping her find out about the terrorists and the case. Originally, she was always encouraging me to speak out to the media, adding that she was proud of me and was honored to have me as her client," said Mariani.
"It was very strange," said the widow. "They didn't even want to talk with me -- they hurriedly walked ahead of me and deliberately took a separate elevator to avoid answering my questions about who was at the meeting, what it was about, and what was said -- especially by the government officials who I found out later were also there."
"By the time my elevator reached the ground level, they were nowhere in sight. I finally saw them across the street flagging down a taxi, looking the other way while trying to avoid me," said Mariani.
"I was the only one of their clients to show up for the hearing," she said. "And here my attorney kept avoiding eye contact and kept away from a 64-year-old 9/11 widow who was one of her key clients. I didn't understand what had happened."
"Paul Hedlund told me 'we have a plan that we're going to follow,' and he just left it at that," said Mariani, adding, "I had just met him for the first time that day; but that was the only thing they would say about the meeting [September 20, 2002] held right before the hearing."
This reporter was also present at the 2:00 hearing that day. And while waiting for the hearing to start, Schiavo and her two associates arrived so late that there was hardly a seat left anywhere in the courtroom. The attorneys had to search for their own chairs to bring up to the lawyers' table to seat themselves just seconds before Judge Hellerstein entered.
SEC CONTROL LIST AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES
TomFlocco.com can confirm one area of evidence interest regarding the New York City litigation that has also changed since the September 20 meeting, as Schiavo had discussed with this reporter a key area of evidence discovery during a phone conversation late last summer:
" That's a great idea to go after all the documents connected to the pre-attack insider trading profits from the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) 'control list.' " [the still confidential -- not for public consumption -- list of stock trading profits in the weeks and months prior to 9/11 involving companies directly affected by the attacks.
" Tom, I agree that none of the information contained in the control list would be related to National Security, and not only that, we could then go after punitive damages [additional monetary compensation as punishment] from this discovery," said Schiavo. Before the September 20 meeting, the Los Angeles attorney had seemed excited about pursuing this very relevant area of evidence directly linked to prior-knowledge of the attacks.
The FBI and SEC had directed securities firms in the US and Canada to analyze the "large number of trades involving companies directly affected by the attacks," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. But the FBI refuses to make available to the public the "control list" identifying those individuals and other entities profiting from trades made in the days and weeks prior to 9/11.
Thus far, nearly a year later, court documents indicate that Schiavo and other attorneys have not sought evidence discovery from the SEC regarding the confidential list of those who potentially profited from prior knowledge of the attacks by trading a) airline and World Trade Center (WTC) corporate securities directly linked to the attacks, b) billion-dollar U.S. Treasury notes, and c) generally dumping stocks and mutual funds before September 11, 2001.
Selling out or employing put option contracts betting that certain stocks would tank before the 9/11 market collapse would potentially generate fortunes IF one had prior knowledge -- or dumb luck.
It is not known whether an independent and unbiased review has been conducted regarding administration and other government officials with access to the July and August intelligence information briefings about "planes being used as weapons to fly into buildings." Moreover, in a matter this serious, one would think that friends, relatives, and other corporate-connected individuals who may have also profited from pre-attack insider trading should also be questioned -- just like Martha Stewart.
And the Secret Service will not publicly divulge the results of their probe into an unusually large number of 5-year Treasury note purchases just before the attacks -- including one single $5 billion purchase, according to the Wall Street Journal. Treasury notes provide the best financial protection next to gold during a crisis.
Given what 9/11 Commissioner and CIA Advisory Panel member Jamie Gorelick termed as "frantic" intelligence warnings during July and August, 2001 -- supplied to the Bush Administration regarding coming terrorist attacks, one would assume that the Commission will probe whether administration officials profited from put-option contracts betting that a stock would plummet, airline and WTC stock sales, Treasury bill purchases, and moving individual assets (mutual funds/stocks) to cash or other safe havens in the weeks/months just before 9/11.
Without harming "national security," the SEC control list will identify anyone linked to the administration, congress, the military, and all other government agencies handling or viewing intelligence briefings who profited from adjusting financial investments for personal gain or at least to avoid catastrophic losses. Those individuals have not been questioned or had their financial transactions analyzed thus far.
Such discovery could well make both homemaker maven Martha Stewart's Imclone trades and President Bush's Harken Energy insider trading profits look like small potatoes.
YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES
It has not been established whether the DoJ's Alter or one of his associates was present at the off-the-record meeting with the government officials and 9/11 attorneys. Moreover, our government source said it was not known whether Judge Hellerstein was present.
Curiously, all likenesses of the presiding 9/11 judge have been completely purged from the internet and all Washington, DC publications and documents.
We even called the Associated Press, United Press International, and the New York Times to ask about acquiring a file photo for this story; however, we were told by all three that they have no photos of Hellerstein either.
This, at a time when even photographs of Supreme Court Justices [both group and individual] are widely available to the whole world via the internet!
All information regarding the presiding 9/11 judge's congressional judicial confirmation hearing has also been deleted or blocked from public access on the world-wide web, thus fueling speculation, if not begging the question why no one is permitted to possess a photo of the judge -- given the prominence and nature of the litigation over which he presides.
Michael Thomas recently communicated with the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the issue of Hellerstein's appointment and confirmation to the bench, but also the threats made against the former candidate by Deputy Marshal Borak who, interestingly, told Thomas that he had worked in the New York Federal courts for ten years.
"These records are public documents, and I want to know why they're not readily available," said Thomas, adding "a committee staffer avoided answering my question, but promised to pass it on to Jim Fluke, who would 'look into it.' "
The issue regarding Hellerstein's photo, however, remains unresolved as Fluke has not yet responded, according to Thomas.
When Thomas was asked by Borak whether he did, in fact, request Hellerstein's photo or make any threat, the former congressional nominee said "I told Mr. Borak that I was doing research for a book about 9/11, but I never threatened any judge."
Thomas said "I do question, however, why the presiding judge in the most famous and historical criminal event probably in the history of the country has had his photo and almost all biographical information -- including even his congressional judicial confirmation to the bench -- literally removed from the internet," adding "Is there something that someone does not want us to know about Judge Hellerstein?"
"Then I asked the Marshal who put him up to threatening me," said Thomas, continuing, "He told me I could find that out under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) if I wanted -- because he was not permitted to tell me. But I said that wouldn't be necessary since I would be telling the story about this phone call and putting it out there to the public."
Thomas then reiterated Borak's charge about having "a report that you might have threatened the judge and wanted his picture," while also revealing that Borak said "we may place a court order prohibiting you from writing a book about this."
To which Thomas replied to Borak: "Oh, you must be talking about the lunch I had in person with one of the 9/11 attorneys -- Mary Schiavo."
Thomas then said that the only person connected to the government who knew he was looking for a picture of Hellerstein for use in a book written about the case was Schiavo.
Moreover, Thomas told us that "Schiavo was also the only person involved in the New York City litigation who knew that I even lived in Phoenix," adding "Mary smirked and bragged to Ellen and me at the luncheon that she 'still has contacts in Washington, DC.' I didn't know whether to take that as a warning or a threat."
Ellen Mariani said "Mary Schiavo wrote to me in one of her letters that she used to represent the United States Marshal's Service when she was a US Attorney with the Justice Department during the Reagan Administration."
It is not known whether Schiavo or someone in New York City used influence to have a Phoenix-based US Marshal give Thomas a phone call in Phoenix to firmly request that he stop investigating issues surrounding the September 11 attacks. [Thomas later called the Phoenix US Marshal's office and confirmed that Borak worked there.]
Borak gave Thomas his personal phone number to call him about any questions he might have rather than announce Borak's name on the main switchboard which would alert other marshals to his activities regarding Thomas on behalf of other unknown government officials involved in the illegal activity.
WANTED: DEAD AND ALIVE
During the 3-4 hour personal luncheon meeting with Schiavo, who picked up the tab, Thomas said he discussed various aspects of 9/11 and that some of the supposedly dead "hijackers" were still alive, well, and living in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Interestingly, two of those nineteen "hijackers" the FBI produced within hours after the attack are currently working as commercial pilots for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to our undisclosed sources close to the investigation.
Thomas also said "Mary told me that she didn't want to hear that any hijackers might still be alive, because 'that is discovery that I don't want to know about,' adding " 'this is a case of negligence, and we wouldn't get any money if that were the avenue I took to prosecute the case.' "
Ellen Mariani was also present at the luncheon meeting with Schiavo, as she has consulted with Thomas regarding various aspects of his personal investigation related to the attacks.
"Do you understand? That is discovery. I don't want to hear it [Mariani told us that Schiavo put her hands over her ears] -- I would have to report that as discovery [evidence that many of the FBI's 'hijackers' are still alive -- potentially thrusting a spear into the heart of an airport negligence case]," said Schiavo, turning to Mariani, who had expressed dismay that the truth about 9/11 may become an impossibility.
"That's right," said Thomas. "But the government would have to pay billions for the cover-up they are committing," adding "If I would deliver some of the FBI's 'dead' hijackers willingly to the United States -- alive and well, would you want them to show up at the New York court room or your LA office?"
Whereupon the former Bush 41 FAA Inspector General replied, "No. However, if I didn't know about it, you could probably do it."
Mariani had decided to invite Thomas to attend her meeting with Schiavo in Sherman Oaks, California to disclose his findings to Schiavo, since the 9/11 attorney had sent Mariani a letter with an attached email requesting evidence and discovery assistance from citizens.
Editor's note: Sherman Oaks is a town within the city limits of Los Angeles.
"I thought I was doing the proper thing by attempting to help her gather evidence by introducing her to Michael and his findings," said Mariani, "my reward for trying to help her was twisted all around by her colleagues and Mary terminated her firm's legal agreement with me -- and now I have no attorney to represent me in my poor husband's death."
"I wish I could find a lawyer who wants to find out the real truth about September 11, instead of someone who talks out of both sides of her mouth like the former paid teenage ventriloquist that she used to be," the 9/11 widow said.
Adding to the intrigue, another Bush Administration official who asked not to be named told us "Mary Schiavo is just being used as 'damage control' regarding suppression of the real evidence related to 9/11 and the advance-warning cover-up. She only wants to go after 'airport negligence' -- not the deeper criminality of prior knowledge by administration officials who let the attacks happen. Study the time-lines. They speak for themselves."
"THIS PLANE COULD BE FLOWN WITHOUT PILOTS"
Thomas continued: "Then Mary and I talked about the reasons for the September 11 attacks, and I told her about how the planes could have been flown into the buildings without terrorists taking control of them," adding, "show me the video tapes of the Arabs boarding the four planes and let me talk to the airline boarding personnel who took their tickets."
[Reports indicate that the Justice Department and FBI have steadfastly refused these same requests made by others. But there is no information as to why Congress failed to request public testimony from boarding personnel and air-traffic controllers, or neglected to subpoena public video-tape evidence that would confirm terrorists boarding the 9/11 jets. Instead, taxpayers were presented with 15 days of secret congressional hearings. There is also the matter of probable Bush Administration refusal to comply with subpoenaed testimony and un-redacted documents before the 9/11 Commission ]
The former congressional nominee then offered Schiavo a startling disclosure: "In 1970, during the maiden flight of the new Lockheed L-1011, engineers on board the plane stated that 'this plane could be flown without pilots' -- they could land and take off in a 'man-less' flight."
"How would I know this?," Thomas told Schiavo. "My grandfather was a design engineer for Lockheed Corporation and for the Bendix Corporation [now Allied Signal-Honeywell] -- and they make the transponders for commercial aircraft -- with which all the planes crashing on 9/11 were equipped."
"That might be one of the reasons why a United States Marshal was ordered to call and attempt to intimidate me," Thomas said. "And since Borak told me he used to work in New York for ten years, these subtle threats against me are also linked to New York where all of Judge Hellerstein's 9/11 litigation is being conducted."
But the ties run deeper than that. Thomas also said "Mary Schiavo attended the same law school as Hellerstein. And Mariani later told us that "Schiavo's face turned flush-red, and she looked down at the floor -- at a loss for words -- when Michael asked her about New York University Law School and Hellerstein." It is not known whether Hellerstein served as Schiavo's law professor at NYU.
"That was the only reason why I asked Mary for a picture of the judge. I figured maybe she could obtain one from her old law school review, yearbook, or some alumni records," Thomas added.
"I just could not explain why an elderly judge with a long legal career behind him would have such little information about his past available somewhere on the internet," Thomas said. "Given the magnitude of September 11, I am beginning to think this lack of information about Judge Hellerstein is intentional."
Sources close to the real 9/11 investigation -- involving thousands of independent citizen investigators from around the United States and other countries -- say that the court may be worried that some of the supposedly "dead" 9/11 hijackers might turn up alive and well in Hellerstein's courtroom.
This, just as victim families are being coerced into settlement with Special Master Kenneth Feinberg's 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund by December 21, 2003 or continue on with civil litigation linked to evidence many say was tampered with, contained, or controlled by administration officials who even lobbied strenuously against all investigations by Congress and Independent Commissions.
Interestingly, if victim family members choose compensation from Feinberg's 9/11 Fund, the only condition required is that the family may not ever sue the US Government regarding the events of September 11.
"Marshall Borak said that I would be held in contempt of court for 'interfering with the court's process' if its proceedings were delayed or disrupted in any way," said Thomas, adding "I just assumed that he was referring to my being involved in producing the 'dead' hijackers alive in the courtroom. What a press conference that would be."
And Mariani added, "I not only lost my husband on September 11 -- but also my country. I have been abandoned by US government officials -- but also my lawyer -- both of whom have conducted weak and incomplete investigations, even as the President's lawyers just completed blacking-out and clouding key evidence which is covering up the real secrets of 9/11."
But murder has no statute of limitations.