Submitted by u2r2h on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 7:16pm.
9/11 Guilt: An Interview with DVD Producer Don Paul
found here: http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/905/
9/11 Guilt: An Interview with DVD Producer Don Paul
Written by Bob Feldman
Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Toward Freedom interviewed Don Paul, the author of 9/11: Facing The Fascist State and the 2005 book To Prevent Another 9/11, about his recently produced DVD, 9/11 Guilt: The Proof Is In Your Hands.
TOWARD FREEDOM [TF]: Five years after the September 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, there have been a lot of DVDs and movies about the 9/11 events produced. How is the DVD that you and Jim Hoffman produced similar to or different from the other 9/11-related DVDs and movies?
DON PAUL [DP]: Well, the only DVDs that I've seen are the second edition of Loose Change, one of David Ray Griffin's talks, and one of Steven Jones' and Kevin Jones' recent talks about some of the physical evidence which shows that three World Trade Center buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. I've seen only those three DVDs about 9/11.
I would say that Jim's and my DVD, 9/11 Guilt: The Proof Is In Your Hands, is distinguished by the concision of the physical evidence that Jim presents. His part of the DVD is titled 'Proving Controlled Demolition of World Trade Center Building 7 and the Twin Towers.' In the last ten or so minutes of his presentation Jim offers more than five "features" and then five "proofs" of demolition--along with some very pointed graphics. He shows beyond question, I think, that all three Buildings were taken down by different methods of controlled demolition. The Twin Towers were exploded as no buildings have been before or since and about seven hours later World Trade Center Building 7 was imploded in a classic, conventional demolition. Another distinction of our DVD, I think, is that we get into the who and why of the crimes.
Both our presentations were recorded to be played at the second convening of the Los Angeles Citizens' Grand Jury on the Crimes of September 11, 2001. My presentation is called "Indicting the Financiers Behind the Crimes of September 11, 2001." I name five individuals as deserving of further investigation by a Grand Jury: Larry Silverstein, Peter G. Peterson, David Rockefeller, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.
Larry Silverstein is the developer of World Trade Center Building 7, completed in 1986, and the head of a group that took over the lease to the Twin Towers and much other World Trade Center property from the New York Port Authority just seven weeks before September 11, 2001.
Why should a Grand Jury indict Larry Silverstein? One reason would be to find out exactly why he said on PBS, on national TV, in September of 2002 that he and a New York City Fire Department chief had decided in the late afternoon of 9/11/01 about WTC 7 that they should "pull it"--"pull it" meaning that this 47-story skyscraper should be demolished--though WTC had not been hit by either aircraft or much debris and showed only small fires in that late afternoon, seven hours after the second Twin Tower went down. WTC 7, 590 feet tall, fell is less than seven seconds, imploding straight-down into its own footprint. Jim's website, www.wtc7.net, has excellent footage of this implosion. In February 2002 Silverstein and WTC 7's lease-holders (the Blackstone Group, Banc of America Securities, and the General Motors Acceptance Corporation) were awarded an insurance pay-out of $861 million, about $475 million more than the total investment in WTC 7 before the building's demolition.
My presentation reports from the website of Controlled Demolition, Inc. about the amount of time that preparations for implosion of a building the size of WTC 7 would require. It took 24 days to simply place the charges that took down the 35-story J. L. Hudson building in Detroit in 1998. So weeks of planning and placement must have preceded the obvious demolition of WTC 7 on September 11, 2001.
On 9/11 Peter G. Peterson was Chairman of the Blackstone Group, an investment-banking firm that was one of WTC 7's leaseholders along with Banc of American Securities and the General Motors Acceptance Corporation. I say in 9/11 Guilt that Peter G.Peterson should be indicted because leaseholders of a property as valuable of WTC 7 should be responsible for foreknowledge of the lengthy preparations to demolish it.
I say also that Peterson and David Rockefeller should be investigated for their larger roles in a financial establishment whose irrational, destructive, debt-driven needs make crimes such as 9/11 inevitable. On September 11, 2001 Peter G. Peterson was also Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Toward Freedom's readers should check out, if they haven't already, what the C F R and the Federal Reserve System are truly doing to the possibilities for liberty in our country and the world. David Rockefeller, a former Chairman of the Chase Bank and the Chairman for 15 years of the C F R, was the individual most responsible for construction of the World Trade Center and especially the Twin Towers. He and his brother controlled the New York Port Authority in the 1960s and 1970s and allies of the Rockefeller family controlled the New York Port Authority at the time in 2001 of the N Y P A's transfer to Larry Silverstein and his partners of a 99-year-lease for the Twin Towers and other WTC properties.
9/11 Guilt also notes that the Twin Towers were obsolescent "white elephants", laden with asbestos and needing hundreds of millions of dollars in modernization, worth more in insurance pay-outs if demolished than if they'd stood. In sum, I think it would be very healthy and useful to our society for David Rockefeller and Peter G. Peterson to be questioned by a Grand Jury. Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, whose roles in our economy and society are perhaps less consequential, already are subject to some scrutiny by the public in this society.
Another part of 9/11 Guilt examines how much the invasion of Afghanistan that followed the crimes of September 11, 2001 increased the opium crop there--a 2000% increase in 2002--and how much this Afghan opium crop means to the world's illegal economy (about $180 billion when 3500 metric tons of opium are turned into street-corner heroin) and the world's legal economy (about $3.6 trillion when that $180 billion is laundered into Stock Markets and processed through institutions such as the Chase Bank). The DVD's other main creator, Celestine Star, did an excellent job with graphics in this part. These are some of the elements in "9/11 Guilt" that I think may be special to it.
TF: Now, if there was an economic motivation on the part of Silverstein and Rockefeller to bring down the "white elephants", why didn't they just bring it down at night, when there weren't any people involved? Why turn it into a mass-casualty thing?
DP: Because another large part of the intention of the acts committed in Lower Manhattan on 9/11/01 was to traumatize the world's populace and especially the U. S. public. The populace was meant to receive a series of blows and that delivery of psychological trauma couldn't have been accomplished if the crashes and Twin Tower demolitions happened at night.
If you look at the amount of casualties from the Twin Towers, it's remarkably low, given what they might have been. I know when I watched the collapse, I was thinking that thirty thousand--fifty thousand--people had perished. Because TV commentary was saying over and over that was the normal workday population of the Twin Towers. Fatalities were minimized not for any humane reason, I think, but to reduce the number of victims' intimates who might be suspicious afterward.
At the same time, the suddenness and violence and scale of the Twin Towers' collapses (more explosions and disintegrations, really, than collapses) had to be overwhelming so that we, the public, would be more or less incapable of considering what we were seeing. As others have observed, 9/11 was the biggest psychological operation, or "psy-op", in history.
The number of fatalities in New York City on 9/11/01 is close to the number of deaths at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, another instance of a U. S. administration facilitating an attack that killed thousands. The spectacular attack on "9/11" was the 'new Pearl Harbor' wanted by Zbignew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard, 1997, and by the "neo-cons" of the Project for a New American Century in their year 2000 paper to outrage the U. S. public into backing invasions of Central Asia and the Middle East.
TF: Now, could you recap what your current explanation is for the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings on 9/11/01? The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the 9/11 Commission Report, and the U. S. State Department have all issued explanations that say the Twin Towers came down due to airliners' impacts and the subsequent fires (though they say little or nothing about WTC 7).
DP: I think three kinds of explosives were used to bring down the Twin Towers. I think that RDX-shaped charges, more conventional explosives, were used to cut some beams due to the predictable precision of these charges. I think that more powerful, thermite-laced charges were used to cut through each Tower's 47 central steel columns at crucial junctures--Steven Jones' has an excellent lecture about this likelihood in print, online and on DVD. I think that by far the greatest destruction of each Tower was accomplished through thermobaric weapons placed in the buildings' freight-elevator shafts. A thermobaric weapon shoots an aerosol spray that's then ignited by a charge so its explosiveness is multiplied in outward waves--a lot more powerful than conventional, commercial explosives.
If you look at footage of the fall of each Tower--footage that's available on many sites online-you can see several phenomena that can't be explained by the building's potential gravitational energy. The acronym of E. P. V. S. S. helps to break down the phenomena that you can see. E for Explosiveness--the instantaneous, violent, horizontal thrust of matter at the very start of each Tower's destruction. P for Pulverization--90,000 tons of concrete slabs in each Tower blown to 100-micron particles instantaneously. V for Velocity--steel beams shot sideways as far as 500 feet at 100-feet-per-second early in each Tower's fall. One S for Speed--the rate at which the Towers fell, a rate close to free-fall, a rate identical for both matter falling through the footprint area of those 47 central steel columns and falling through the air outside each Tower's footprint area. And the last S for Symmetry--each Tower plummeting straight-down like a disintegrating elevator instead of toppling as dozens of other skyscrapers have in earthquakes.
These obvious phenomena--and several more that Jim details in his presentation--are there for anyone to see if look objectively. The Towers were demolished. Mass murder in a series of psychological shocks was executed on 9/11/01. And the demolition of WTC 7 is even more obvious for anyone who cares to study footage of that building's inward fall.
TF: O.K. Now what about the Pentagon? Based on your investigation, what caused that destruction of that side of the Pentagon?
DP: Well, it was certainly not an aircraft that could have been flown by the Official Story's purported pilot of it, Hani Hanjour. Nor, I think, could whatever aircraft that struck the Pentagon's west wedge have been flown by any human pilot aboard it, based on what I hear from commercial airline pilots and former military pilots, given this aircraft's maneuvers of descending 7,000 feet in 2 1/2 minutes and executing a 270-degree turn in that span of space and time.
We that there's a lot of dispute and furor over whether or not a Boeing 757-200--that is American Airlines Flight 77--was the aircraft that hit the Pentagon. To me, this uncertainty--an uncertainty that's been enhanced by more or less self-incriminating evidence released by the U. S. Government from its load of confiscated video-tape--doesn't matter. It doesn't matter as to the culpability of the perpetrators. We know from other indisputable facts there that there had to be a U. S. military stand-down which allowed the Pentagon to be struck by an aircraft 34 minutes after the second Tower was hit and that this aircraft must had computerized and/or remote piloting in order to execute the maneuvers to brought it to impact with the Pentagon. Neither the stand-down nor the computerized and/or remote piloting could have been done by Al Queda.
TF: What about the fourth plane that went down in Pennsylvania or it disappeared in Western Pennsylvania? What happened there? What's your sense of what happened?
DP: I'm certain that this aircraft was United Airlines Flight 93 and that it was shot down by U.S. military, shot down because passengers aboard it were on the verge of gaining control of the aircraft. The aircraft left an 8-mile range of debris and a one-ton piece of one engine was found 2000 yards away from the aircraft's main impact-zone--signs that it was shot apart in mid-air. Jim's 911research.wtc7.net site has an excellent summary and good aerial photos.
TF: Why do you think the Kean Commission's official story of what happened on September 11, 2001 is not accepted by most people in the United States and around the globe these days?
DP: Well, because we still can see straight. Because we're still a people capable of recognizing that explosions are not collapses and that emperors--or more precisely would-be dictators, per George W. Bush's wish in December 2000 that he could be dictator of the U. S.--are not wearing clothes--or more precisely that certain un-elected officials are not fit to wear the gear they sometimes put on.
The 9/11 Commission Report is another great lie or complex or interdependent but ill-fitting lies, and more and more people are seeing through it. By "most people" I think you mean the polls last Spring which showed, you know, that 83% of us believe along with Charley Sheen that there has been a cover-up of the crimes of 9/11/01. And another poll, run by the Washington Post just after it published a lengthy piece by Michael Powell around September 8 of this year. That poll asked: 'Do you believe any of the conspiracy theories suggesting the U. S. government was somehow involved in 9/11?' Out of 64,000-some respondents, 59% answered: 'Yes. The government has left many questions unanswered about that day.' The public's avowed doubts are proof that the Corporate Government's "psy-op" is not working, five years on. Now we have the courage to carry our astute perceptions into action.
TF: Who are the individuals who should be held accountable for the collapse of the World Trade Center?
DP: Well, I've named the five for whom indictments are sought in the 9/11 Guilt presentation--Rockefeller, Peterson, Silverstein, Cheney and Bush. Indubitable criminals all, acting against our society's well-being long before 9/11/01, I think. In the past year more has come to light about individuals who might be questioned on the operational level about the World Trade Center demolitions--individuals who were far inside planning of mock terrorist incidents or far inside 'security' for the WTC and for crucial Airports. Readers of Toward Freedom might want to do Internet seaches on L. Paul Bremer, Jerome Hauer, Marvin Bush, Wirt Walker and Michael Cherkasy.
But the real culprit behind the crimes of 9/11 and the pretexts that these terrible crimes provided is the economic system that holds us in thrall and that makes such crimes (there like repeated in Madrid on 2/11/04, in London on 7/7/05, and elsewhere on other dates since 9/11/01 to perpetuate the " 'War on Terrorism' " and increase State repression) inevitable.
In Jim's and my 2004 book Waking Up from Our Nightmare I use another acronym, G. O. D. D., to sum up the four main working-parts of this system that holds us in literal bondage. G for Guns--armaments and all the business of wars. O for Oil--obvious in Central Asia and the Middle East. D for Drugs--also obvious, once you know the billions unto trillions of dollars that are reaped annually from Afghan opium and Andean coca. And D for Debt--the greatest instrument, I think, of bondage and fear that Banks' and other financial institutions' amazing global empire wields.
It's Banks' own colossal debts that leave them no alternative to "their destructive, irrational system" but acts of terror and subsequent wars to keep their more and more abstract machinery going. They're combining 'derivatives' now. It's their pride or hypocrisy that lets them justify their catastrophe-making exploitativeness under guises such as 'Strategic Adjustment Programs'. It's the hubris behind concepts such as a 'New World Order.'
And I have to say that we ourselves are accomplices as well as victims of this G. O. D. D. system. It's up to us to show what we know and a force a turn from this system before we lose the "hundreds of thousands of lives" that Dick Cheney promises us could be lost "as the result of a single attack, or a set of coordinated attacks."
TF: Some people might say "Well, just like after WWII, you had the Nuremburg Trials. Put the officials of the U.S. government in the docket for 9/11." It sounds like you're saying it's deeper than that: "It's the System." And you wouldn't necessarily think it would be a valid option to go after the individual officeholders?
DP: Well, Nuremburg itself was a show trial because it didn't reveal the thoroughgoing involvement of U.S. and British corporations in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. You know there could not have been a rise of Adolf Hitler without the support of George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, a Republican who later became Senator from Connecticut, and Prescott Bush's partner in the Brown Brothers Harriman investment-banking firm, W. Averell Harriman, a Democrat who later became Governor of New York.
These bankers, brothers in Yale University's secret-society of Skull and Bones (George W. Bush and John Kerry are brothers in the same secret-society) co-owned a mine in Poland that employed labor from Auschwitz into 1942. Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht could not have fought into 1944 without parts from Ford, General Motors and I.T.T. and oil from Standard Oil. Charles Higham's Trading with the Enemy is a good reference on these dealings.
So I think that putting Dick Cheney on trial won't really get us out of the deeper crises we're in. Certainly we need to expose more to public scrutiny. Certainly the public needs to register what a predicament the Western world and our entire species is in. We need to feel how ravaged and threatened freedoms are in the United States since 9/11.
The last little book I did, To Prevent the Next " '9/11' " / Abandoning the 'New World Order' of Financiers' Corporate State, notes that three officials from the Soviet Union's KGB,, Yevgeny Primakov, Alexander Karpov and Oleg Kalugin, are now executives in the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and Markus Wolf, former head of East Germany's STASI, now heads surveillance for Homeland Security.
The To Prevent ... book also notes particulars of repressive legislation that has passed in the U. S. since 9/11--particulars in the Homeland Security Bill and the Patriot Act of 2001 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of late 2004. It quotes the speech by Dick Cheney to the World Affairs Council in January 2004 that I cited a little earlier, the one in which the former Halliburton CEO warns about the potential use of biological, chemical and "even nuclear weapons" by terrorists: "Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives as the result of a single attack, or a set of coordinated attacks."
And it notes that--according to the New York Post--on the night after Cheney's speech in Los Angeles a meeting was held in the New York City apartment of media-advisor Steven Brill between the then head of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, and the heads of the News departments of CBS, ABC, FOX CNN, and Network anchors Aaron Brown, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, 'to discuss how to handle the next terrorist attack.'
Now, this very week in early October 2006, a few factors point to much broader U. S./British/Canadian war in the Middle East and further State repression. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 recently sailed through the House and Senate of the U. S. This Act lets the U. S. President declare anyone an 'unlawful enemy combatant' and imprison that person--perhaps imprison him or her in one of the huge detention-centers that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root is building with the $385 million awarded it last January. Readers can check out Marjorie Cohn's recent article for more information.
At the same time naval and land forces are massing near the borders of Syria and Iran. A pretty detailed overview of this build-up is up on the www.globalresearch.ca site that Michel Chossudovsky edits. This site will also show readers that the 2006 Afghan opium crop has increased about 50% above recent years' crops--and about 3000% above the last year, 2001, that the Taliban governed Afghanistan.
So we, the majority of the U.S. and Western world who now suspect that the crimes of 9/11/01 were an inside-job, that these crimes were mass murder meant to provoke endless war, crimes that could have been accomplished only by those with approved access to the Twin Towers' central steel columns, need to make our knowledge visible. We need to choose a day for a mass demonstration--or nationwide teach-ins. Basically we need to show the mass-murderers that their standard-operating-procedure of false-flag terror won't work anymore. We've gained a lot in terms of a skeptical, aware public in the three years. We have a lot more to win.
TF: How can people obtain a copy of your new DVD?
DP: Well, the easiest way for most Internet-empowered folks is through www.wireonfire.com/donpaul . Jim's www.wtc7.net also offers 9/11 Guilt and other material for sale.
And I'd like to make this new offer to better spread the word. Students or anyone who considers himself or herself a low-income person can have the DVD for $12, shipping included, by writing to me at POB 74-1365, New Orleans, LA 70114. The DVD can be had from us at $10 per copy for purchases of 20 or more, $8 per copy for 50 or more, and $6 per copy for 100 or more. Jim and/or I are happy to travel for public showings. Please visit his sites for more extensive information. Let's do all we can to spread the word, as said, and prevent that next "attack."
Submitted by u2r2h on Thu, 10/19/2006 - 7:24pm.
The Case ZammarGermany | hamburg cell
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."
Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals, p. 58
The dangerous prisoner from Damascus is a political time bomb for the establishment
by Daniel Neun
Syria. By a coincidence a presumed key figure of the assassination attempts from 11 September emerged again from sinking: the German citizen Mohammed Haydar Zammar called his name before a Syrian public security court and indicated, he originated from Germany, hence german medium reports. This monitored coincidentally a present European Union civil servant, who along-pursue by routine such processes.
Zammar is threatened, because of membership into the forbidden Muslim brotherhood, with the death-penalty(1). Not only the fact that a German is to be tortured quietly and secretly, somewhere in prisons of the Syrian MAD (german military secret service) partner service, thus the military secret service, imprisoned, and now to death condemned, makes the thing so explosively - Zammar is the living proof and witness of the facts around the "El Kaida" cell in that Hamburg Marienstrasse and the whole "Islamic-terrorist-Carpet-Knifes-Boeing -- whammo-smack-into-World-trade-Centres" - hijack-job.
2006 mid term elections -- more important than 911 truth?
Tue, 10/24/2006 - 7:23pm.elections
We want a transparent new 911 mass murder investigation. Democrats are sure to win Congress and Senate majorites. The Republican's strangehold refusal will be broken, right? Remember Robert Kennedy Jr telling us how the 2004 election was stolen, and asking us whether the next election will be hacked, too?
What do you think will happen this time?
>>>VOTE NOW, <<<
Mark Crispin Miller insists that there is no more important issue. I think he might be right. In other words, 911 truth is important, but to bring the vote-counting-fraud to the public's foremost attention is more important. Without democracy we are paralysed.
Will the private companies that provide the voting machines and crucially, count the votes overdo it this time and the resulting scandal will force the issue in the open? Depends on the result, of course. While the media predicts a disaster for them, will it be believable when the GOP wins by the slimmest of margins?
Or better yet,
Take Action! http://www.blip.tv/posts/?topic_name=against
Stop Fraud in 2006! A Plan to Take Back The Polls
Following introductory remarks by Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance on the critical importance of Exit Polls for detecting fraud, Jerry Adams of the Velvet Revolution Election Protection Strike Force offers a strategy and a way to approach the potential theft of the 2006 midterm elections by using a citizen-based media network and analysts to pre-empt the announcement of fraudulent results by the controlled media, demonstrate publically, and stop the installation of people selected on unverified, hackable election machines.
Electronic voting vs exit polls graph: http://www.nogw.com/images/exit_poll.jpg
RIGHT MAKES MIGHT says Honest Abe
Might makes Right .. says the current administration.
PS: Thanks to dz for unbanning me. Sorry for the hassle.
Cheney: we had two terrorists living in San Diego
Thu, 10/26/2006 - 7:12pm
In the decade prior to those attacks, our country spent more than two
trillion dollars on national security.
Yet we lost nearly 3,000 Americans that morning at the hands of
19 men with box cutters and airline tickets.
.. the official myth is alive!!!
Read the annotated speech excerpts:
October 25, 2006, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
The Phoenix, Cincinnati, Ohio 11:59 A.M. EDT
... 19 men with box cutters and airline tickets. These enemies have intelligence and counterintelligence operations of their own. They take their orders from overseas. They are using the most sophisticated communications technology ...
END 12:23 P.M. EDT
Iranian Minister Homayoun: 9/11 plane impacts "a make-believe scene"
Fri, 10/27/2006 - 4:19pm.
9/11 incident, a make-believe: official
Moscow, Oct 27, IRNA
An Iranian official here on Friday mocked the 9/11 story presented to the world public opinion by the US.
"What we watched on the TVs regarding slamming of two planes into the New York Twin Towers, was in fact a make-believe scene," said Iran's Deputy Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister and head of Iran's Culture, Art and Communications Research Center Mohammad-Hadi Homayoun in an address to the Iran-Russia Dialogue among Civilizations Conference in Moscow.
Homayoun stipulated that the sky-scrappers were destroyed through bomb explosions, adding that after massive media propaganda of the US the crusades began.
Criticizing Hountington's theory of Clashes among Civilizations, Homayoun said the theory was formed to justify clashes and tensions among civilizations and cultures.
Meanwhile, touching on a quarter-a-century chronology of the globalization process, Iran's Presidential advisor Mohammad Nahavandian told the audience for his part that global village is in need of human relations more than satellites and the internet.
"Communications are today only responsible for preparing the technical ground for the relations; and as long as there is no cultural cooperation, there will be clashes among civilizations," announced Nahavandian.
Accusing the US and the Zionist regime of adventurism and of opposing the idea of dialogue among civilizations, Nahavandian said that Iran and Russia are advocates of dialogue among civilizations and cultures.
He called for expansion of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow for promotion of democracy on the international level.
News sent: 20:12 Friday October 27, 2006
Ground Zero - Box Columns Memorial
Fri, 10/27/2006 - 4:35pm.
.. will distract people, into perpetuity, from the truth of 9/11.
9/11 families don’t care about W.T.C. box beams
By Michael Burke
We, all of us, have one duty at ground zero — what was until the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the World Trade Center: to bear witness to the truth. It does not matter who we are, presidents, governors, mayors, billionaire developers, government officials, cultural experts, Downtown residents, witnesses, survivors, family members. The events of 9/11, the evil that struck, the death and destruction, the heroism and sacrifice bind us all equally and irrevocably. No one has the right to try and discard that truth or to substitute their version of it — for any reason.
The memorial site must speak equally to future generations as it does to us.
At Gettysburg, Lincoln said the history of the site “has consecrated this ground far above our poor power to add or detract.” At ground zero, the exact opposite philosophy has been applied.
Recently it was announced that the W.T.C. Memorial Foundation, working with “9/11 families” and “preservation groups” will spend untold millions of public funds, whether gathered through taxes or donations, to construct a 120 foot by 120 foot area 60 feet below the W.T.C. plaza that is supposed to somehow convey the breadth and majesty of two, 110-story towers that soared into the sky. They will further construct “raised walkways” to protect ground that has seen countless truck, cars and foot traffic, and rain and snow. These walkways, like ones found in pristine natural areas, will provide views of the box beam column remnants of the Twin Towers — things that practically no one has ever expressed an interest in and could not recognize if their lives depended upon it.
I have been to bedrock every anniversary; I have never seen anyone paying any attention to those remnants. Preserving space like this, 60 feet underground with a ceiling 30 feet above, is neither sacred nor historic; it is a waste of precious memorial funds. Worse, it will distract people, into perpetuity, from the truth of 9/11.
The “historic” box beam columns are not pictured in any book dedicated to 9/11; they are never featured in any exhibition or museum display. They are not featured on a single 9/11 Web site, even the crackpot ones, except for the “Coalition of 9/11 Families.”
I do not believe this is what the average person is sponsoring $500 stones for. I do not believe this is what corporations are contributing millions toward.
The museum’s responsibility is to faithfully convey the significance, magnitude and impact of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and Feb. 26, 1993. I know, because I was part of the advisory committee to the museum and memorial center that crafted the mission of the museum, as were, among others, Sara Bloomfield of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Ric Burns, historian and filmmaker; Robert Kuhn, archaeologist for the State Historic Preservation Office; Kenneth Jackson of the New York Historical Society; Robert B. Tierney, chairperson of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission; and two survivors of the attacks, Chief Salvatore J. Cassano of the F.D.N.Y. and David Lim of the Port Authority Police Dept. — as well as five family members, including myself.
I am sure, in our many meetings and hours of work, never at any time did the words, “box beam column remnants” pass our lips. They were never considered for preservation or exhibition. They were never considered at all. Here’s why: They don’t matter.
What we did consider a great deal, and I would suggest it was our main focus, was to ensure that the visitors to the site, when they immediately arrive, standing where the W.T.C. once stood, would know immediately that this is where the attacks took place.
No one said, “let’s send them all underground, away from where the attacks occurred, away from where the witnesses stood and looked in horror, away from where people died, where others fled, where firefighters marched in response to their call of duty, where the buildings collapsed as the world watched. Let’s ignore all that and send them underground. Only then will they be able to appreciate the enormity of the events.”
No, strangely, none of us said that.
There is one reason the column remnants are being preserved: lawsuit. Anthony Gardner, executive director, or whatever his latest title is, of the Coalition of 9/11 Families, representing himself and at least five others, stood up and threatened the officials of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the W.T.C. Memorial Foundation with a lawsuit, further delaying development if the bedrock and box beam column remnants were not preserved. These officials weighed their duty and the governor’s and mayor’s commitment to the history of 9/11 at the site on one hand, and what the governor and mayor really wanted at ground zero: expediency.
Good-bye history. Why should this decision be any different than any other at ground zero since the start?
Still, it is highly improper and unprofessional for the L.M.D.C. and Memorial Foundation to blow off the recommendations of its own advisory committee, many of them experts in the field of history and preservation, and also to ignore the obvious and stated wishes of the paying public that embraced the facade, the Koenig Sphere and the flag raisings as the icons of 9/11, and replace them with the demands of one irresponsible individual representing a handful. Maybe it’s not an illegal use of public funds; it is certainly an unethical use of them.
Bedrock is sacred ground. Not just because remains were found there, but because of how and why those people died. The how and why of their deaths must first be preserved; without that, nothing else will have any meaning.
The towers rose from the plaza; even architect Minori Yamasaki’s design planned for that. That is where the life of the W.T.C. took place; that is where so many met for lunch and breaks; where many would have met on the beautiful day that was Tuesday, Sept. 11, but where so many, tragically, unjustly, perished instead.
It is unfortunate that “ground zero” seems to have inspired so many to fill up that space with what they think must go there, forgetting what was there. We must stop believing that the site won’t be complete without our imprint, whether we are family members or high concept intellectual memorial jury members. The exact opposite is true. Humility was the first virtue demonstrated by all the good people on 9/11 from which sprang the others of wisdom, compassion, courage, heroism and sacrifice. Let us use that as our inspiration on how to best commemorate it. We have a responsibility to the truth of that day — and to future generations.
Michael Burke is the brother of F.D.N.Y. Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. 21, who was killed at the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.