Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero. A Collection of Personal Accounts — [summeroftruth.org]
A heartbreaking, inspirational collection of first-hand stories from the recovery effort at Ground Zero, along with a startling claim that the black boxes from Flights 11 and 175 were found.
When Flights 11 and 175 hit the World Trade Center on September 11, the tragedy for Lower Manhattan had only just begun. In this heart-rending collection of first-hand accounts, the aftermath of the attacks is conveyed in chilling detail, from the terrifying moments just after the collapses to the powerful feelings of common cause arising from the cooperation of strangers.
Tiny distances meant the difference between life and death. Rescue workers, disoriented by the force of the collapse and choking on asbestos and air-borne debris, crawled blindly in the midday darkness to what they hoped was safety. Told in the first person, these are some of their stories—of recovery, of loss, of the hope that fueled them, and of the powerful sense of togetherness and fellowship that began that morning and grew over the next several months.
The book is dedicated to the memory of the 343 firefighters who died that day, and to all of those who perished at Ground Zero. As the authors note, that toll includes 37 Port Authority Police Officers, 23 NYPD Officers, six Emergency Medical staff, three court officers, one Secret Service agent and one FBI agent.
Journalists: A limited number of copies are available gratis to print and broadcast journalists. Please send your name and relevant details to Bryan Sacks with “Journalist” in the subject line, and include your mailing address.
Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004
Pulitzer Prize winner William Bunch uses an account from the book to the left, “Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero,” as one source for the claim that three black boxes from the aircraft that crashed into the World Trade Center were discovered by authorities during the recovery efforts in 2001-2002. This is contrary to the official story. (Philadelphia Daily News, Thursday, 10/28/04 – a longer version was published on his “Campaign Extra” weblog.)
Therefore we are offering a limited number of copies of the book gratis to print and broadcast journalists, and to the general public at cover price with free shipping. (For ordering information, see left.)
Update, Oct. 29: This breakthrough story has been picked up at OpEd News, Scoop Media, Yahoo PR Newswire and many other outlets.
Amid the enormous detail of loss, sorrow and recovery conveyed in “Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero,” a New York City firefighter reveals that at least three of the four black boxes from Flights 11 and 175 were found by “Federal Agents” at the former World Trade Center site, during the clean-up efforts from September 2001 to March 2002.
At the time of the disaster, Nicholas DeMasi was a firefighter at Engine Company 261 in Queens. (The firehouse was shut down in 2003, after a century of operation.)
In the weeks that followed 9/11, he joined an all-terrain vehicle crew (ATV Unit) at Ground Zero. In “Behind-the-Scenes,” he describes his experience as follows: “If you needed anything, go ask the ATV Guy, they’re the gopher guys.”
On page 108 comes the revelation:
“At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. When we got into the ATV to take off, the agent accidentally pushed me forward. The ATV was already in reverse, and my foot went down on the gas pedal. We went down the stairs in reverse. Fortunately, everything was okay. There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.”
DeMasi’s statement was committed to print in August 2003 and concerns an event that likely happened before January 2002. It has gone unnoticed by the media until now, and is flatly contradicted by the Kean Commission’s supposedly exhaustive findings.
The only statement on the status of the Ground Zero black boxes in the 9/11 Commission Report is buried in footnote 76 to Chapter 1, but it is definitive: “The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 were not found…” As if to leave no doubt about what is meant – that not even a trace of the total of four cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders from the two aircraft remained – the same sentence adds: “…and the CVR from American Flight 77 was badly burned and not recoverable.”
DeMasi did not return phone messages to a number of investigators who reached out to him, and has not spoken out beyond his comments in “Behind-the-Scenes.” He is obviously not seeking attention – why else drop his bombshell in this off-hand way, in a passage that almost no one has noticed? – and we have no interest in putting him on the spot. Given his commitment to the recovery effort at Ground Zero and the detail he provides, his account has an immediate, prima facie credibility.
Porter Goss orders CIA Inspector General to sanitize report assigning individual blame for 9/11 (Archive of article from NY Times, 11/2)
ELECTION DAY TERROR DRILLS – CHENEY IN COMMAND? by Michael Kane
ALERT: FEMA plans terror-incident training program for Election Day, Nov. 2, 2004
Analysis: “Osama” Video Points to LIHOP!
ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF BIN LADIN’S OCT. 31 SPEECH,
(NOTE: LIHOP=”Letting It Happen On Purpose,” the hypothesis that U.S. officials deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks for their political and financial gain and as a pretext war.)
The latest statement by “Osama Bin Laden” (whether or not it is really him) raises the question of why there was no air defense response to the Sept. 11 hijackings.
Is it really him? As usual, “Osama” has a new look, once again different from the “Osamas” of previous videos. As usual, when the video was made and how it was received by Al Jazeera is unclear.
He says he devised the original plan for 9/11 together with Mohamed Atta. Well, that settles any question about who authored the attacks. However, he also says the idea was to complete the attacks in 20 minutes. The conspirators feared that otherwise, the hijacked flights would be intercepted by U.S. jet fighters.
But the actual attacks on Sept. 11 took almost two hours. The Pentagon was hit about one hour and 15 minutes after the first hijacking began. Why weren’t the planes intercepted – as “Osama” says he and Atta had feared?
According to “Osama,” this was because Bush stayed on in the Florida elementary school, listening to “The Pet Goat.” Bush did nothing to exercise his authority after hearing news of the attacks, and this allowed their success. “Allah be praised.”
Of course, Bush’s actions do not suffice to explain why the U.S. Air Force failed to follow standard operating procedures in reacting to the ongoing hijackings.
But to even bring up the issue tells us that “Osama,” or whoever really made this video, is aware that millions of people are questioning the official story on this point. Whoever made the video is willing to imply Bush may have been complicit – in exchange for establishing the ultimate authorship of “Osama.”
Fact is, this “Osama,” the first one to address Americans in the course of an entire speech, is the strangest one yet. More than any previous Osama, he sounds as though his script was written by Michael Moore. He presents well-informed critiques of the USA PATRIOT Act, the awarding of contracts to Halliburton, and the irrational hysteria and curtailment of freedoms in the U.S. following 9/11. Almost too well-informed.
Perhaps the intent of the video producers was simply to associate valid criticisms of the Bush administration with the hated figure of America’s greatest enemy. For an alternative analysis suggesting that the release of the video (given the convenient timing) was in fact intended to support the Bush-Cheney campaign – despite the suggestion of LIHOP – see the always brilliant Michel Chossudovsky, “Intelligence Asset Osama Supports Bush Reelection” (Oct 31)
Right on schedule to accompany the new Osama tape:
Revelation that 9/11 Commission has not released 70 pages implicating officials for failure of air defense response on Sept. 11
(Oct 30: Original story in NY Times, by subscription)
Thursday, Oct 28: JUSTICE FOR 9/11
Citing probable cause to open an immediate investigation and convene a grand jury into the crimes of September 11, New Yorkers delivered a Complaint and Petition to the office of State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (120 Broadway).
Greg Palast on preparations for election fraud (Oct 28)
Ground Zero Black Boxes Found? (Oct 27)
Civilian Death Toll in Iraq exceeds 100,000 (Oct 27)
“WE WANT REAL ANSWERS ABOUT 9/11” (Oct 25)
100 luminaries from all walks of life and 50 relatives of the fallen demand a new investigation into Sept. 11.
Eminem video attacks Bush 9/11 behavior, cites New York Post headline: “BUSH KNEW” (Oct 25)
Crossing the Rubicon sells out first print run of 30,000 in a month – is someone trying to slow it down? (Oct 24)
Who benefits? Sept. 11 mom points to Bush (Oct 22)
“WTC Hero Sues Bush and Others under RICO Statute” (Oct 23)
Mariani RICO lawsuit revived as Rodriguez v. Bush et al. (Oct 22, PDF download of filing in Pennsylvania, 1MB)
Delmart “Mike” Vreeland captured in Iowa (Oct 22)
9/11 Citizens’ Commission – “The Omissions Hearings” video & audio online (Oct 21)
Bush pre-election strike on Iran ‘imminent’? (Oct 20)
Carol Brouillet in Daily Stanford: “The truth about Zelikow and the Sept. 11 cover-up commission” (Oct 20)
NY 9/11 Truth’s Mike Kane starts blog (Oct 20)
“CIA withholding damning 9/11 report that points at top officials” Caution: Consider the source! (Oct 19)
Washington Post on the Million Worker March: “One of the most prominent banners on display was one declaring, ‘The Bush regime engineered 9/11′” (Oct 18)
Word at the German parliament: U.S. gov’t due to decide on Iran attack in November (Oct 15)
Sen. Dayton closes DC office after threat? (Oct 12)
Remains of 9/11 victims ‘to spend eternity’ in city rubbish dump (Oct 10)
Go to the home page for details on all coming events:
• Every SUNDAY: 9/11 Unreported – Films and Open-House Seminars at Verlaine, 110 Rivington.
• Every WEDNESDAY: NY 9/11 Truth meetings at the Judson Church.
• Every SATURDAY: Street visibility actions around the city.
Saturday, Jan 16: “Justice for 9/11” – Rally and Music in Battery Park to support opening a new criminal investigation of September 11.
“THE DOLLAR CRISIS AND 9/11 TRUTH” (May 04 but timely!)
“ZELIKOW – LOSING TO THE BACTERIA” (Oct 8)
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The collapses of the Twin Towers on 9/11 were devastating, but black boxes almost always withstand explosions, high-speed crashes into mountainsides, even missile strikes; they have been retrieved in working condition from the bottom of the ocean floor and from sites where planes were almost completely destroyed (as in the case of Flight 93 at Shanksville).
The effort to better understand the events of the day isn’t being made easier by the fact that the voice and data recorders aboard the two hijacked jetliners that hit the twin towers haven’t been recovered. The four devices – and all the clues they would hold – have failed to turn up in the 1.25 million tons of steel, concrete and other material taken from ground zero.
“It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the recorders back. I can’t recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders,” said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
If DeMasi’s story is true, then there will be others at Ground Zero who heard about or may have even witnessed the recovery of the black boxes, such as the “Federal Agents” he mentions.
As DeMasi describes it, the search for the black boxes was not undertaken in secret; presumably word of the discovery spread quickly among the rescue workers on the site, and the news was only later suppressed. A trail demonstrating the truth of his statements would almost certainly exist. There may even be pictures or video of the successful recovery of the boxes, and documents confirming it. Recall that FEMA and OSHA continuously monitored the entire site with fixed and mobile video cameras, and that firefighters at Ground Zero were often in real-time radio contact with their headquarters to provide continuing updates of the recovery effort. Were these conversations recorded or transcribed?
It is also possible, of course, that someone may have taken footage of the recovery with their own minicam.
The 9/11 Commission had a staff of more than 60 persons, a budget of $15 million, and 20 months in which to explore every possible avenue of research into the events and aftermath of September 11. “Behind-the-Scenes” is one of a handful of books containing first-hand accounts by Ground Zero rescue workers. Yet the Commission seems to have entirely missed DeMasi’s revelation.
Since September 11 the government has extended its power to suppress information it believes may jeopardize national security. The Administration has claimed great latitude in the use of this power, as in the case of its bizarre “retroactive classification” of facts that FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds had already revealed (and after her most serious charges had received independent confirmation). Now as well, we can find no plausible argument that merely revealing the discovery of black boxes at Ground Zero could present a security threat worthy of classification and providing false accounts to the public.
For the moment, then, we are left with questions:
Will enough journalists and public officials be willing to pursue this story, wherever it leads, until the full truth is revealed?
If the black boxes were recovered, was this information made available to the 9/11 Commission? Was the data on the black boxes retrieved?
If the story is true and the government has been lying, then the 9/11 Commission Report repeated that lie, whether intentionally or out of ignorance. What else is being hidden from us? And why should we lend credence to other statements in the 9/11 Commission report?