Thursday, April 17, 2008

EQUITAS Virginia Tech Legal Report Reveals Potential Domestic Terrorism Connection, Highlights Negligence

On April 8, 2008, I was privileged to receive an authoritative report titled Equitas Virginia Tech 04.16.07 Legal Report from EQUITAS, a group of leading Canadian scholars, jurists and human rights advocates established in 1967 that has become a global leader in human rights education.

According to the report, EQUITAS is


Although the report, which contains elements never addressed by the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Virginia Tech Review Panel, should be read in its entirety, included here for your convenience is Section 5 - Summary:

[Reprinted from the Equitas Virginia Tech 04.16.07 Legal Report –]

- Drawing The Line -

05/184 The VT incident was born out of the nefarious will of an individual determined to terrorize and destroy the lives of many. It makes utterly no difference whether that individual was mentally ill; incapacitated or harboring hatred -- the fact that this individual (or for that matter, any individual) could easily access relevant VT buildings and provoke mass casualties of the sort obviously demonstrated the unhindered ability in carrying on terrorist attacks ;
05/185 As judiciously ascertained in this Legal Report, VT was made fully aware or was in the obligation to be fully aware of possible threats and consequences of domestic terrorism. This Legal Report underlines -- between 1993 through April 16. 2007 -- liability issues VT would face when confronted with defective premises and redundant campus security policies. How VT suffered a Level II incident has already been generously ascertained in the various VA State / VT Reports -- why VT egregiously failed to a prevent an act of terrorism is a legitimate question this Legal Report attempts to elucidate ;
Key Indicators
05/186 Careful scrutiny of relevant indicia contained in this Legal Report provides the reasonable and well-informed person the means to connect the dots and draw the line as to why the State of Virginia and VT both failed in securing procedural and substantive safeguards recognized by international and domestic Law. Inverse analysis of recommendations proposed in both VA State and VT-sanctioned investigative Reports also reveals overwhelming evidence of governing deficiencies in the planning and maintenance of structural security integrity and adequate emergency planning against man-made disasters such as Level II incidents involving acts of terrorism and mass casualties ;
05/187 The perpetrator who instigated the attacks on April 16 was 23 year old Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean-born VT student who had an interest in Engineering studies. Comparing similarly situated circumstances can be revealing: Another South Koreanborn VT student of the name Yong Ki Kwon, an Engineer, was indicted and sentenced by a Virginia Court for, inter alia, conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks against the U.S.
That individual collaborated with other Virginia-based Jihadists well known to Federal and VA State authorities. The name of one Va Jihadist AL-Qaeda supporter was known as Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer. A package sent to NBC -- comprised of Cho's manifesto -- contained the name "A. Ishmael" as Sender ("Ishmael" and "Ismail" are same, and according to muslim scholars, are symbols of sacrifice.) ;
05/188 Haunting indicia common to both aforementioned South Koreans simply cannot be ignored: They were VT students of same nationality; both related to Engineering studies; both shared interest with "Ismail/Ishmael" (one teamed with a Va Jihadist called "Ismail" -- the other had the words "Ishmael" inscribed on his arm); both were from Fairfax County; and both were inclined to provoke mass casualty attacks (one is currently jailed for conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism -- the other committed suicide after slaying 32 lives and wounding 25 others on Jewish Holocaust Memorial day, Date for Yom Hashoah: April 16, 2007) ;
05/189 It would be absolute foolishness to argue that VA State and VT administration were both unaware or have not have been made aware of the dangers of any form of domestic terrorism within their relevant jurisdictions -- Virginia Jihad Network associates of Lashkar-e- Taiba (LeT - a terrorist organization linked to Al-Qaeda) were under police surveillance since 2002 and subsequently charged and brought to justice for their role in conspiring and abetting acts of terrorism against the U.S.
FEMA, the DOE and DHS sent Advisories to their respective constituents warning them to prepare against any possible terrorist attack
Governor Kaine endorsed a NIMS-compliant Emergency Response Plan
(See: ;
05/190 VT Annual Security Report (2006) provides that "At times it may be necessary for 'timely warnings' to be issued to the university community. If a crime(s) occur and notification is necessary to warn the university of a potential dangerous situation then the Virginia Tech Police Department should be notified. The police department will then prepare a release and the information will be disseminated to all students, faculty and staff and to the local community" yet on April 16, 2007, an ill-suited multi-level chain of command was adopted across the VT Board -- in the case of any emergency requiring timely warnings, the Director of Campus Security and Chief of Police first had to report to the Vice President for Administrative Services who in turn had to report to the Executive Vice President who then consulted with a Policy Group before relaying back a decision to the source ;
05/191 The latest version of the VT Emergency Response Plan (the "ERP"), dated 2005, hints on an onerous decision-making process and ill-suited structure of command which compounded the impediment of ground-level life-saving efforts of first responders. The first VT shooting incident reflected a Level I decision-making process that excluded a suicide but involved a double-murder with the murderer still on the loose. According to the ERP, the proper Level I response suggests that "The ERP would not typically be activated for Level I emergencies." therefore the VT Chief of Police should have enjoyed the supervising role of dessiminating timely warnings to the university community and ensure that "Security procedures ... need ... be established to protect occupants, evacuees, and/or property" as mentioned in the ERP and according to the "timely warning" policy of the VT Annual Security Report 2006. Because of the inconsistent rationale behind the crimes at West Ambler Johnston Hall and the inconclusive position VTPD took regarding the unsolved double-murder as of the subsequent decision-making interoperability plan subsequently implemented between the VTPD and VT, a Level I reaction with Level II implications had been drawn -- the burden to provide the university community for timely warnings fatally resting on the supervising ability of the VT administration. As exemplified in the Report of the VTRP :
05/192 "The police did not have the capability to use the university alerting system to send a warning to the students, staff, and faculty. That is, they were not given the keyword to operate the alerting system themselves, but rather they had to request a message be sent from the Policy Group or at least the associate vice president for University Relations, who did have the keyword. The police did have the authority to request that a message be sent, but did not request that be done. They gave the university administration the information on the incident, and left it to the Policy Group to handle the messaging."
05/193 "The university administration failed to notify students and staff of a dangerous situation in a timely manner. The first message sent by the university to students could have been sent at least an hour earlier and been more specific. The university could have notified the Virginia Tech community that two homicides of students had occurred and that the shooter was unknown and still at large. The administration could have advised students and staff to safeguard themselves by staying in residences or other safe places until further notice."
[VTRP Report, p. 87 -]
05/194 According to the DHS, "A balance must be struck between the ability to adapt procedures based on the situation and the need to standardize them. However, the urgency and circumstances of an incident often demand decisions and actions. Waiting for complete knowledge of the situation can have serious consequences, as well." (See: NIMS Compliance Guide -
05/195 Although the emergency notification system allowed for an audible message, a protocol for how to respond when the siren is activated was not in place prior to April 16, 2007. Also, outdoor loudspeakers adjacent Norris Hall initially announced to "find shelters immediately" over 3 hours after the first shooting incident (over 45 minutes after the second shooting incident / hear: R. E. Denton - Email notification of text alerts -- initially made available more than two hours after the double murder at West Ambler Johnston Hall -- were void of any informative content prescribed by Law and arrived too little, too late at their target destinations. An overwhelming majority of subscriber-based recipients of email alerts would have never guessed to access any form of timely text-based warning without intercepting prior visual and/or audio announcement of the existance of their publication ;
05/196 Events prior to Norris Hall mass shooting offer hints of a planned attack: Bomb threats aimed at Torgersen, Durham and Whittemore Halls -- encountered between April 1 thru 13, 2007 -- may have been a staged provocation aimed at testing the security response; the 04.16.07 West Ambler Johnston Hall double-murder provoked a fatal diversion sufficent enough to deflect police activity away from the site (Norris Hall) of the planned massacre ;
05/197 For a variety of reasons, VA State and Virginia Tech failed to capitalize on both the individual and collective significance of available information that appears relevant to the events of April 16, 2007. As a result, VA State and Virginia Tech missed opportunities to disrupt the April 16 plot through heeding of warnings from legal authorities and specialists in the field of Campus Security; timely implementation of security measures advised by FEMA including the DOE and DHS; timely enactment of relevant State legislative measures; timely attempts at unravelling the plot through surveillance and other investigative work within the university community; and, finally, through timely warnings to the university community which would have provoked a heightened state of alert hardenning the broad Va Tech and Blacksburg community against a Level II incident. No one may ever know what might have happened had timely connections been drawn between the bomb threats and the Perpetrators' motives. We know however that Virginia Tech administration willfully avoided the diligent implementation of the ERP because of unfounded fear of possible student panic supposedly witnessed during prior response to a similar crisis involving an off-campus murderer escapee (Morva incident). The important point is that Va State; the Virginia Tech Board; and police authorities -- for a variety of reasons -- egregiously neglected to bring together and fully appreciate a range of information that could have greatly enhanced their chances of uncovering and preventing the Attacker's plan to commit an act of terrorism.
05/198 Securing the Truth and ensuring Restorative Justice can only be attained through an independent and impartial judicial hearing whose task of exposing the crux of the matter would contribute in resolving the question as to why VA State and VT egregiously neglected to implement and administer valid procedural and substantive safeguards aimed at securing the broad Va Tech and Blacksburg community against Level II type incidents involving acts of terrorism and mass casualities. - EQ


Equitas Virginia Tech 04.16.07 Legal Report (pdf) Click here to visit site
Equitas Virginia Tech Gateway Click here to visit site
EQUITAS Rule of Law Commission Click here to visit site

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