Tuesday 12 December 2017

Irish writer pleads for justice on 9/11

Don Lavery

AN Irish-born writer who lost his sister and four-year-old niece in the 9/11 attacks on New York has called on US President Barack Obama to make good on his promise to bring the terrorists to trial.

Ron Clifford, who was almost killed himself in the attacks, said it was "shameful and disgraceful" that the US government had not moved forward with a trial.

Mr Clifford said his family, who come from Cork, along with the rest of the 9/11 victims are still waiting for Mr Obama to make good on his promise to bring the 9/11 terrorists to trial.

The Irishcentral.com staff writer lost his sister Ruth McCourt and her daughter Juliana, who were on United Flight 175 from Boston going to California. The mother and daughter were going to Disneyland.

"Both my sister and my niece were cold-bloodedly murdered, along with everyone else who perished on that tragic day," he said.

He said Mr Obama had met with the victims' families two years ago this month and promised "swift and certain justice" for the terrorists.

"Since then," said Mr Clifford, "nothing effectual or determinative has been accomplished in order to move forward with a trial.

"It's now nearly 10 years since the 9/11 violent carnage of innocent victims and still there are no scheduled proceedings to bring the terrorists to trial.

"It is both shameful and disgraceful that the US government has not moved forward with a trial. It is cruel to all of us who have lost family and friends.

"We must see justice dispensed for this collective heinous crime," he said.

"We know who these people are, they are interned in Guantanamo by US forces. The investment in accumulating the evidence needed to institute a trial has already been made, yet advancing with the proceedings is stalled by constitutional discussions and political indecisiveness relative to the type of court to be used and a lack of agreement on admissible evidence. The list lengthens with each passing day."

Mr Clifford recalled that on 9/11 he was on his way to a meeting in the World Trade Center when he witnessed the attack first-hand.

"On that day, at the base of the Twin Towers, I saw death, I smelt death, I heard death and I have relived these deaths daily since that morning."

He said his situation was further complicated because he felt the shudder of the second plane striking the north tower -- the plane that carried his sister and niece -- as he struggled for his own life on the ground below.

Mr Clifford said he was a witness in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th hijacker, and observed the American judicial system at work, "and how it served to put this evil man away for life".

Sunday Independent

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