New York City
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Aug. 9 approved a bus advertisement protesting the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" (which, as we have pointed out, is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque). AP writes that the ads depict "a plane flying toward the World Trade Center's towers as they burn along with a rendering of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero." But we question whether the ad's depiction of the "proposed mosque" (sic) is accurate. An image of the ad at MSNBC shows a tall building inlaid with a giant star-and-crescent, whereas a rendering of the proposed Cordoba House (actually an ecumenical community center, now dubbed Park51 for its address on Park Place) on the progressive Jewish website Tikkun Olam shows it without the star and crescent. Poking around on the site of the Cordoba Initiative, the group behind the project, we were unable to find a depiction. The ad's caption reads "WTC Mega Mosque—Why There?" The ad was produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whose website banner (in vivid contrast to pacifistic imagery at the Cordoba Initiative site) features an image of a charging soldier with an assault rifle below an American flag.
A panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on June 9 ruled that New York City can withhold documents related to the arrest of 1,800 protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The appeals court held that the lower court had abused its discretion in ordering the release of the documents. The city alleged that the documents were not discoverable due to law enforcement privilege.
New York City reached a settlement June 10 with the 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers who became sick or injured from responding to the 9-11 attacks. The agreement follows two failed settlement attempts between the parties. The city's insurer, WTC Captive Insurance Company, has agreed to pay the plaintiffs $712.5 million, up from its previous offers of $575 million and $657.5 million. Also, the plaintiffs' lawyers will reduce their legal fees from 33.33% to a maximum of 25%, giving their clients an extra $50 million.
New York City's kneejerk jingos, already aghast that the hubristic "Freedom Tower" name has been dropped from the new skyscraper going up at Ground Zero, have got a new cause to gripe about. From Fox News, May 14:
Plan to Build Mosque Near Ground Zero Riles Families of 9/11 Victims
Outraged family members and community groups are accusing a Muslim group of trying to rewrite history with its plans to build a 13-story mosque and cultural center just two blocks from Ground Zero, where Islamic extremists flew two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
From the Gothamist, April 28:
Community Activist Harry Wieder Killed by Taxi
Harry Wieder, an LGBT rights, transportation, and disabilities advocate, was run down and killed by a taxi last night in the LES [Lower East Side]. Weider, 57, described himself on his Facebook page as a "disabled, gay, Jewish, leftist, middle aged dwarf who ambulates with crutches." He was crossing Essex Street after leaving a Community Board 3 monthly meeting at P.S. 20 when he was struck by the cab. Many colleagues witnessed the accident and accompanied him to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have posted two videos since the attempted Times Square car-bomb attack of May 1. In one, a Taliban spokesman claims the botched New York attack. In the second, alleged to have been filmed April 4, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud promises attacks inside the US within a month. Mehsud had been believed killed in a drone attack back in January. New York police dismiss the Taliban claim, and are looking for a middle-aged white man caught on videotape near where the SUV loaded with propane, fireworks, fertilizer and timing devices was left. (CSM, ABC, May 3)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 27 cited costs and potential disruptions to the lives of New Yorkers in urging the federal government not to try accused 9-11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other high-profile terror suspects in New York City. Bloomberg suggested a military base may be a more appropriate venue for the trial. Earlier this month Bloomberg claimed that providing security for the trial in New York would cost the city more than $216 million in the first year and $206 million in any additional years. Bloomberg originally backed the idea of trying some of the terror suspects currently held at Guantánamo Bay in Manhattan due to its proximity to Ground Zero and the symbolic significance of convicting the suspects there. (Jurist, Jan. 28)
Four men in Newburgh, NY, are arrested by federal agents in a supposed plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at Stewart International Airport with Stinger missiles. The men are apparently all Black converts to Islam; one is a Haitian immigrant; most have drug convictions and converted in prison. (NYT, May 21) The (disabled) Stinger missile, of course, originated with the FBI infiltrator. We wonder how much more of the plot originated with the FBI infiltrator.