Screw Loose Change has been pouring scorn (here
and here) on NYC-CAN’s ballot initiative. The SLC folks assume that the NYC government’s legal challenges are valid and irrefutable, and that we stupid “troofers” just didn’t even bother to look at the election law, or hire a lawyer.
In fact, the ballot initiative was originally written by Carl E. Person, a lawyer, and then later revised by William Pepper, another lawyer. In both cases, the NYC election law was looked at carefully. I remember quite a bit of discussion about it back in the days when I attended meetings of New York 9/11 Truth in late 2007 and early 2008.
I’m no lawyer myself, but I suspect that Pepper knows what he’s doing and does have a viable strategy for responding to the NYC government’s legal challenges. I’m no lawyer myself, but here’s my guess as to how he might go about it:
First off, last I heard, the ballot initiative does indeed deal with the funding question, about which I heard lots of discussion back in 2007/2008. The funding is to be accomplished by raising money from private sources. And, from what I remember hearing last year, Pepper has claimed that he already has a bunch of rich donors lined up. So the funding may be a non-issue.
If the funding is to come from private sources, this also implies that the commissioners aren’t, properly speaking, government officials. Hence Pepper might be able to argue that some aspects of New York State election law, such as the residency requirement, are not applicable. (I have no inside info on whether Pepper actually intends to make such an argument, nor do I have any idea how well it might hold up in court. I’m just guessing here.)
The commission will be in a legally unprecedented grey area between being a public and private institution. Well, not totally unprecedented. Sort of like the Federal Reserve System, only on a much smaller scale. A better analogy might be the many small towns that have all-volunteer fire departments and police forces that don’t receive public funds.
As for the jurisdiction issue, well, some important aspects of the crime did take place in New York. NYC is where the largest number of people were murdered, after all. So 9/11 is arguably a local concern, as well as a federal concern. And there have been many crimes that have been prosecuted on both a local level [b][i]and[/i][/b] a federal level. I suspect that Pepper will be able to win easily on the jurisdiction issue.
I should mention that I personally do have some other concerns about the ballot initiative. For example, I question the qualifications of some of the proposed commissioners. Also, since we don’t know who Pepper’s rich donors are, we don’t know what hidden agendas they might have. I also wonder whether Pepper himself might have a conflict of interest, since he apparently worked for the government of Pakistan at one point, at least according to 9/11: Press for Truth.
But I don’t think the election law issues are anywhere nearly as cut-and-dried as the Screw Loose Change folks seem to imagine. And, despite its flaws and potential flaws, I still hope it can succeed at getting a bunch of hidden truths revealed.
Time will tell.