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On September 11, 2001, William Rodriguez, a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, single-handedly rescued fifteen people. The only employee with the master key to the North Tower staircases, he led firefighters up the stairs, unlocking doors as he went, aiding in the evacuation of hundreds of additional people who, but for his efforts, might have perished. Although his job description did not include saving lives, Rodriguez re-entered the building three times after the first plane struck, and was the last person to exit the North Tower alive. He survived the collapse of the North Tower by diving beneath a fire truck to avoid the avalanche of concrete and steel. After onsite treatment for his injuries, Rodriguez plunged right back into rescue efforts at the site. At dawn the next morning, Rodriguez returned to Ground Zero from his home in Jersey City, to continue to aid in rescue efforts.
Later, Rodriguez became an unofficial spokesman for survivors, among other things helping to secure an amnesty for undocumented aliens, many of them Latinos, and in the creation of the World Trade Center Memorial Fund. Although he lost his job of 19 years and his means of livelihood - even falling into homelessness for a time - Rodriguez has continued in the three years since 9-11 to continue his work in honor of the heroes and the victims of that awful day, as president of the Hispanic Victims Group, Director of the 9/11 United Services Group, and member of the Family Advisory Council of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Now, this native of Puerto Rico and remarkable American hero is taking his 9-11 activism to an even higher level. He has commenced, as Plaintiff, a federal court lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld and others alleging that they and others were complicit in the 9-11 attacks, and either planned the attacks, or had foreknowledge of the attacks and permitted them to succeed, in order to exploit a "New Pearl Harbor" to launch wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. (The phrase "New Pearl Harbor" comes from a declaration of principles by the neo-conservative "Project for the New American Century," in which it is proposed as an event needed to steel American public opinion to support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and U.S. military domination of the Middle East.)
Attorney Berg acknowledges that Rodriguez's action will shock and offend many Americans. But he urges critics to read the detailed complaint, posted on the internet at www.911forthetruth.com, before forming conclusions. "The 'Official Story' of what actually took place on 9-11 is a lie," Berg flatly maintains. "We do not pretend to have put together a full and definitive account of how, and by whom, the attacks were carried out. But information reported in mainstream media, and viewed in the light of common sense and the laws of physics, demonstrate that the 'Official Story,' examined closely, is not credible. The 'Official Story' contains an alarming number of inconsistencies and implausibilities. The major media have reported many of the raw facts, but have studiously avoided analysis, because doing so would reveal that the government is lying to us. The 9-11 Commission, a suspect collection of government and intelligence insiders, restated without question or examination all essential elements of the 'Official Story' of the actual events of 9-11. It failed almost completely to refute, or even to mention, the great body of evidence that suggests the 'Official Story' cannot be true, and it failed completely to hold anyone accountable. From the foregoing facts, it ought to be obvious that a cover-up, or a "limited hang-out" admitting only bureaucratic mistakes for which no one is to be held accountable, has taken place and is continuing."
Berg maintains that many prominent figures in politics, the military and the mass media consider the 'Official Story' of 9-11 to be untrue. But while the truth is emerging bit by bit, thanks to anonymous whistleblowers and researchers posting on the internet, to date no one with the stake in being a Senator, a Presidential candidate, or a media celebrity has found the courage to risk being ridiculed as a "tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist." Berg points out that the only Senator who has dared to publicly question even parts of the 'Official Story," Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, has received threats ominous enough to impel him to shut down his Washington, D.C. office until after the coming election.
"Some facts cannot be denied," says Berg. "Clearly, 9-11 was carried out by more than one person. Therefore, by definition there was a conspiracy. What we're arguing is that the true conspirators have abused their enormous power and the trust of the American people to concoct and to sell to the world a false conspiracy theory, to justify war and mass murder for economic and political gain. Since the neo-cons, allied with the President, said in almost so many words that they wished for a New Pearl Harbor, why dismiss out of hand an allegation that they used their undeniably sufficient power to actually bring it about? Why has there been no full and transparent investigation? Indeed, isn't it shocking that the federal government grabbed up all of the physical evidence, and that no police authority has conducted a true criminal investigation into 3,000 homicides? Instead of due process of law, government officials and the mass media convicted Osama bin Laden, and had names and photos of his 19 accomplices on the internet, literally within hours of the attacks. The truth is that there is no definitive evidence that there were any Arabs on those planes, and even less proof concerning the supposed identities of the alleged hijackers." Berg notes too that a poll taken by the respected Zogby organization in August 2004 disclosed that half the population of New York, including such unlikely "conspiracy theorists" as those who identify themselves as "very conservative" and as Evangelical Christians, believe the federal government had foreknowledge of the attacks, and knowingly failed to prevent them.
Asked why he decided to bring this controversial lawsuit, Rodriguez explains that, having survived the World Trade Center disaster when so many did not, he feels he must learn the truth of what happened on that day. "If what the government has told us about 9-11 is a lie," he says, "somebody has to take action to reveal the truth. Since that plane hit the North Tower on 9-11, like it or not my life's meaning has become to reduce the number of victims, and the amount of suffering from those attacks. If suing President Bush is what I have to do to accomplish that, so be it." Rodriguez notes that the events of 9-11 are directly related to the deaths of thousands of people in two ongoing wars, attacks on Constitutional liberties in the United States, the abuse and torture of detainees around the world, and the use by the United States of depleted uranium and other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Admitting the obvious - that his client's legal fight against powerful government figures is of the "David versus Goliath" variety - Berg, a former deputy attorney general in Pennsylvania, invites both financial support for his efforts, as well as assistance from volunteer attorneys.
The action, filed in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on 10/22/04, is Rodriguez v. Bush, et al., Civil Action No. _04 CV 4952_.
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