Article Overview:   Daniel Pearl's wife is seeking compensation from the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund for the horrific murder of her husband when Terrorists cut off his head and videotaped the act worldwide.    I am asking my insurance company to grant me compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of my trauma at Ground Zero.    Both Mrs. Pearl and I are facing large obstacles.   But since our heads are already cut off, do we have much to lose?


Tuesday, March 30, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 930
Beheading The Rights Of Terror Victims

Cliff McKenzie

 GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 30, 2004 -- Four months and a few days following the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001, Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was abducted by Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Daniel Pearl with a gun to his head

      Four days from his January 23, 2002 abduction Daniel Pearl's face was broadcast on international television with a gun to his head and a demand by his captors.
       His body was found in May along with a video tape recording of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks against the U.S., cutting Pearl's throat. 

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Daniel Pearl

       The video shows Mohammed's hand slashing Pearl's throat until it is severed from the body.   Ultimately, he holds Pearl's head by the hair as demands are read.  The Terrorists titled the video:  "The Slaughter of Spy-Journalist, The Jew Daniel Pearl."
       Thousands of miles from Pakistan where her husband was held hostage, forced to speak a "confession," and then beheaded, stood Mariane Pearl, pregnant, viewing the horrible unfolding events of the Beast of Terror ripping her husband's mind, body and soul into tiny pieces and then casting them into the whirlwind's of public spectacle.

Mariane Pearl with her lawyer

    The visualization of Daniel Pearl's torture is symbolic of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack.    What we didn't see aboard the hijacked airplanes when the Terrorist abductors cut the throats of passengers with box cutters, we saw in living color on the video of Daniel Pearl's torture and death.   
     What we didn't see when Terrorists held weapons to the pilot's heads, or threatened passengers with death, we saw on the fourth day of Daniel Pearl's capture as he knelt with a gun to the back of his head, ready to die.
      Few can comprehend the close-up reality of Terrorism in action unless one has been in its spotlight, a personal witness to its horror and aftershocks.   Daniel Pearl's plight was the epitome of the horror of 3,000 victims that day.

Pearl 's vicious death was symbolic of the jumpers from the WTC buildings

      He was in real time metaphor like  the people leaping from the burning buildings I watched tumble to their deaths on September 11, 2001 as I craned my neck and looked up at the horror of people choosing to die by falling rather than being burned to death.   Some leapt with flames engulfing them, soaring down like a smoke jumper parachutist whose chute didn't open.    Others held hands and leapt together, dying in communion rather than solace.
       Daniel Pearl died a lonely horrible death not unlike those who leapt from the Twin Towers.   His death parallels in part the recent Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of Christ, which focuses on the suffering of one man for the "sins" of all.
       Daniel Pearl's death was as public as Jesus'.   The world saw Pearl's throat being slit and his head held high.    He died as a hapless victim of Terrorism's thirst to dominate the world with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   We saw Pearl die in ways we could only imagine thousands died on September 11.   His death was a horrific legacy to the deaths of so many faceless, nameless victims buried in the rubble of that day.

Monies are only being paid to those who died as a result Nine Eleven

      Daniel Pearl's wife is seeking to not let his death be divorced from the source of its cause.
       Slipping just under the cut-off date for the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, she filed claim No. 212-005347.   The fund is restricted by law to apply only to those who died as a result of the Terrorist attack in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
        Mrs. Pearl wants to extend the scope of the fund to include her husband, whom she considers a victim of the Terrorist attack just as much as any who died on that particular day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
       Her claim is being denied.   Mrs. Pearl is not giving up.  She is appealing to Congress to grant eligibility to her and her two-year-old son, Adam.
       If successful, 36-year-old Mrs. Pearl and her son stand to receive $2 million in tax-free compensation.   The fund has paid out to 1800 applicants to date a total of $2.4 billion, an average of $1.4 million per family.   According to the New York Times, 98 percent of all eligible applicants have filed.
       I understand the issues facing Mrs. Pearl.
       Following my survival of the 9-11 Terrorist attack, I found myself obsessed with fighting the demons I had seen that day.   I saw horrible death and destruction, and the madness and selfishness of people rushing to save their own lives, some at the expense of others.
      I also thought I was going to die that day, as did most all of us who were at the epicenter of the destruction.
      My concern was the safety of my children and grandchildren.   How could I fight the Beast of Terror?
      More than three decades earlier I had been a warrior in Vietnam.  I had been on more than 100 combat operations as U.S. Marine Combat Correspondent.  My job was to fight and kill, then write and memorialize combat.

I witnessed and participated in the wrath of war in Vietnam

      I witnessed and participated in the wrath of war.    Many days, I and my comrades were the Terrorists, burning villages, destroying anything that moved in what were called "free fire zones."
      I thought I had left the Beast of Terror behind me, in Vietnam.
      But on that day, the second Tuesday of September, 2004, I saw the Beast of Terror's Claws reaching out toward me and my children and grandchildren.
      When the Twin Towers collapsed and the roiling, boiling mass of dust and blood and flesh from those it crushed smashed into us, shrouding us all in pale of death, choking us so we gagged, unable to breathe, I felt the claws of the Beast of Terror closing around my neck.    I knew the Beast had come to haunt not just me, but all Americans who thought they were safe from the horror of Terrorism, from the ravages of war upon our soil.
        Every day from Ground Zero Plus One I have written a report on how to battle the many forms, shapes and sizes of Terrorism.  Today is the 930th of such days.   I go to sleep at night seeing the faces of the dead--not only those in Vietnam but those in Iraq, those in Afghanistan, those from Ground Zero, including the face of Daniel Pearl.
        I do my best each day to convince all readers who stumble upon my site to take the Pledge of Vigilance, to prepare their children for any battles with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency by strengthening the sinew of their Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations.
        I am afraid no one listens.   Still, I write.   
        And write.

The Nine Eleven Terrorist attack triggered in me current...

       At the beginning of this past year I was told to seek compensation, not unlike Mrs. Daniel Pearl.   Only, instead of seeking compensation from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, I was urged to seek compensation from my private medical disability insurance policy.


...and past traumas

        I was told I should apply for compensation related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by a top psychologist in the field.   I had been referred to him by my daughter.    He knew my background in Vietnam and the events of 9-11, and felt that the Terrorist attack had triggered both past and current traumas.
        Like Mrs. Pearl, I faced a technical problem.     At the time of the Terrorist attack, I was receiving disability benefits from my policy for depression.    I had come to New York from Southern California with my wife, who recently suffered from breast cancer, to be near our grandchildren.    I had trouble getting work in New York, and found myself falling into a deep funk, and, at the urging of my wife, filed for benefits under the diagnosis of depression.   I was awarded them for a two year period.

I was obsessed with righting the wrongs of Terrorism post Nine Eleven

         When September 11 came about, I was nearing the end of my benefits, but still receiving them.    I didn't consider my obsession to right the wrongs of Terrorism as a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.    I didn't think that my nightmares about the people falling from the buildings, or that sense of helplessness and sadness over the threats to my children and grandchildren represented a disorder quite different from depression.
         The anger and rage I sense over not being able to get the world to listen to my small Voice in the wilderness, or the guilt and shame I sensed regarding my impotency to stop the Beast of Terror were classic signals of PTSD.
         Near the beginning of this year, on February 1, 2004, I filed to my insurance company--whom I won't name at this moment--asking them to advocate my claim.
        Big insurance companies tend to farm out much of their administrative work, and regarding claims and processing them, my insurance company has a third--party administrator reviewing my files.
        As Mrs. Pearl faced the rejection of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, administrated for Congress, Mrs. Pearl is undaunted.  She is asking Congress to serve as her advocate, to recognize her claim for compensation as equal to any of those current 1,800 who have received it. 

      Mrs. Pearl and her attorney frame the question to Congress: Was the fund created as an act of unparalleled compassion that was meant to apply to all American families who were devastated by the war of terror waged by Al Qaeda? Or was it a politically expedient program, for instance, intended to bail out the airline industry by shielding it from potentially ruinous litigation?
        In my case, I am arguing the PTSD as a result of my presence at Ground Zero is quite different from any previous or current ailment I had.    My insurance company is questioning whether PTSD is different from "depression," and if so, is it significant enough to create what they call a "new benefit" period.

I have enrolled in the Veteran's PTSD program

       I have enrolled in the VA PTSD program.    I have met with a battery of psychiatrists and psychologists who have diagnosed me with PTSD.    I am currently appealing to the advocacy of my insurance company to expedite my claim and let me know whether they view what happened to me as worthy of a "new benefit" period.
       In a small but similar way, I am in the same boat as Mrs. Pearl.
       My financial life has been victimized by the Terrorist attack.   My wife and family have suffered.  Parts of me have been torn apart.  Old issues have boiled to the surface.   I see the mangled bodies of both Vietnamese and victims of the World Trade Center pretzeled together in my dreams, my daydreams.    I cringe when I hear a low-flying airplane, for I looked up that morning and saw the underbelly of the Terrorist jet slicing low and feral through the sky and my guts told me something was wrong.   When it smashed into the buildings, it tore the viscera of our national security out, and for me, my sense of personal safety for my family.
       Mrs. Pearl has suffered great sorrow, great horror.   I understand her battle to get compensation.

I am only asking for what is right and just from my policy

       In my case, if there is a major distinction, it is that I paid for decades on a private policy that I own.    I am only asking for what is right and just from my policy.  I am asking my insurance company to recognize my disability is different from the previous one, and while concurrent with it, creates a new benefit period as of September 11, 2001, and, according to the wording in the policies, becomes effective at the end of the previous benefit period.
       More importantly, I am asking my insurance company to see my situation as unique, as Mrs. Pearl is asking Congress to do.
       I find it hard to believe the insurance company is dragging its feet on my claim.   I have created nearly 2 million words in defense of Vigilance over Terrorism on my website, and consumed more than 930 days of my life in battling the Beast of Terror only to find out that I am operating in the symptoms of PTSD.
       My psychologists and psychiatrists have said:  "Stop writing on your website and get a job."    They believe I have been rendered inept by my hunger to save the world.

Mariane Pearl and son, Adam, face a world of financial suffering

     Mrs. Pearl is fighting to save her world.    She and her son, Adam, face a world of financial suffering.    The husband and father of the family is gone, directly related to Nine Eleven.   Mrs. Pearl wants the same rights dealt to her for her husband's political death as the victims who died here.
      I want the same.   I want the same rights I would be given had I not had a claim for depression at the same time Nine Eleven came about.   I am sure my insurance company would not argue any problem with the PTSD claim were it not for a previous claim.
      Just as I know that if Daniel Pearl had been aboard one of those airplanes and his throat was slit, he would have been unquestionably approved.  In a way he was there, in a retroactive sense.
      But, we are both here today.  I am here seeking compensation from my insurance company.
     Mrs. Pearl is here seeking compensation from Congress.

We both have our head in our hands

      We both have our heads in our hands.    Part of us has been cut off.   Horror does that.    It severs a part of you that can never be put back the way it was before the horror.   I was never the same after Vietnam.   And, I will never be the same after September 11, 2001.
      All studies on victims of horror show the level of damage to one's psyche is related to one's proximity.    A person standing one block from the World Trade Center looking up and watching bodies leaping from the burning buildings is different from the degree of damage from someone watching it on television.
      Walking through a village in Vietnam and burning huts and shooting people is different from watching it on television.
      Mrs. Pearl watched her husband's head being cut off.
     I watched horror come to haunt me when I thought I was safe.
     Do we deserve to be compensated?  Or, do we deserve to hold our severed heads in our hands for the rest of our lives?

Mar 29--Ground Zero Horrors Key To Washington Witch Hunt

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