Friday, Feb 13th, 2009
|Beverly Eckert, whose husband, Sean Rooney was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, became co-chairperson of the group Voices of September 11th.|
One of the passengers aboard the plane that crashed into a house 10 miles from Buffalo, New York, airport late on Thursday was a 9/11 widow who had questioned the official account of the attacks, sued the government and consistently lobbied for an Investigative Commission.
Beverly Eckert was flying to the city for a celebration of what would have been her husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday, reports the Press Association. Mr Rooney died on the 98th floor of the World Trade Center’s south tower.
She was among the 44 passengers and four crew on board the Continental Connection flight operated by Colgan Air when it crashed in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence Center.
After 9/11, Ms Eckert refused to accept a cash settlement as compensation and instead sued the government.
“I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues… my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence.” Eckert wrote in December 2003 in a statement entitled My Silence Cannot Be Bought.
“The victims’ fund was not created in a spirit of compassion.… Lawmakers capped the liability of the airlines at the behest of lobbyists who descended on Washington while the September 11 fires still smoldered.” she wrote.
Other September 11 relatives who accepted settlements forfeited their right to sue the airlines, airports, security companies, or other US organizations that could have been faulted for negligence and inadequate security measures. This ensured that very little detail of the attacks emerged outside of the government appointed 9/11 Commission.
In the same statement Ms Eckert also wrote:
“I want to know what went so wrong with our intelligence and security systems that a band of religious fanatics was able to turn four U.S. passenger jets into an enemy force, attack our cities and kill 3,000 civilians with terrifying ease. I want to know why two 110-story skyscrapers collapsed in less than two hours and why escape and rescue options were so limited.”
As a co-founder of the steering committee group “Voices For Sept. 11” Ms Eckert joined other activists in pushing for an Investigative Commission.
Only because of the consistent efforts of the relatives groups were the deaths of more than 2800 Americans ever formally investigated by a government who would have rather kept the truth about 9/11 buried.
In 2004 the Ms Eckert also successfully lobbied Congress to pass a sweeping reform of the U.S. intelligence system.
Last week, Ms Eckert was at the White House to talk with President Barack Obama about how the new administration could deal with terror suspects.
According to reports, the Colgan Air flight was on final approach to Buffalo airport, 5 miles from the runway, when the control tower lost all contact. Weather was reported as light snow and fog and a 17 MPH wind. There was no radio message indicating a problem, so whatever happened happened in an instant. Only one house on the ground was destroyed, so the aircraft was on a nearly vertical path when it hit.