I asked Dr. Sunder about 7 WTC. Why was the fate of the building barely mentioned in the final report?
This was a matter of staffing and budget, Sunder said. He hoped to release something on 7 WTC by the end of the year.
NIST did have some “preliminary hypotheses” on 7 WTC, Dr. Sunder said. “We are studying the horizontal movement east to west, internal to the structure, on the fifth to seventh floors.”
Then Dr. Sunder paused. “But truthfully, I don’t really know. We’ve had trouble getting a handle on building No. 7.”
9. Can 49.3 Percent of the People Be Crazy?
Late in the summer of 2004, as the Republicans in Madison Square Garden extolled George Bush’s staunch protection of the homeland, a Zogby poll asked New Yorkers if they believed that “some of our leaders knew in advance attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and consciously failed to act.”
Of city residents, 49.3 percent said yes.
A year and a half later, doubt had increased, at least according to my own informal canvassing. Per Nick Levis’s “HOP” paper, I offered four choices: (A) the Official Story; (B) the Official Story plus incompetence; (C) LIHOP; (D) MIHOP.
Of the 56 respondents, 28 said C, 23 picked B, with 4 (including two Muslim cabdrivers) opting for MIHOP.
Almost every white person with a straight job said B. Many disliked Bush but said they couldn’t bring themselves to believe the U.S. government would take part in the death of 3,000 of its countrymen.
Typical was the opinion offered by an investment banker at a downtown bar. “I can see them wishing it would happen, secretly happy it did. But on purpose? Look at the way they’ve managed Iraq. They’re boobs. They couldn’t have pulled off 9/11 without getting caught. Not possible.”
Uptown, responses were different. “Yeah, they knew,” said a retired transit worker on 116th Street, one of the 17 of 22 black people questioned who picked C. He said he’d heard Marvin Bush, the president’s younger brother, was a director of Securacom, a firm that on 9/11 was in charge of security not only at the World Trade Center but also for United and American airlines as well as at Dulles airport, where Flight 77 took off.
“That true?” he asked.
Yeah, I said. That’s what I heard.
“There anywhere he ain’t got no brother?”
“Bush’s cousin, Wirt Walker III, worked there, too.”
“Wirt? The third? You’re shitting me.”
This was pretty much the opinion. If Katrina proved the government was willing to let people die, right there on TV, why should 9/11 have been any different? Only one person picked A, the official story. This was a fireman, who was smoking a cigarette outside a downtown engine company. Truth be told, I wasn’t keen on quizzing firemen about 9/11 Truth, but I knew the guy’s brother from high school.
“Not answering that,” he said, warning not to ask others in the company, which had lost men on 9/11. This didn’t mean he wasn’t of the opinion that if he lived to be a million he’d never “see anything as corrupt, bullshit, and sad as what happened at the WTC.
“They got their gold and shipped us to Fresh Kills,” he said. Call it one more conspiracy theory, but many uniformed firefighters believe the powers that be cared more about finding the gold reserves held in vaults beneath the Trade Center than the bodies of their fallen brothers.
Still, the fireman said, if he had to pick a letter in my poll, it would be A.
“Osama fucking bin Laden, like Bush says. If I thought it was someone else, then I’d have to do something about it. And I don’t want to think about what I’d do.”
It weighs on you, thinking about 9/11, the day and the unremitting aftermath. Being a supposedly unflappable New Yorker offers little solace. The wound remains unhealed, emotions close to the surface.
Certainly there was an urgency as activists gathered at the Veselka restaurant after the Tarpley meeting.
With all the saber-rattling about Iran, this was no time to decrease vigilance, said Nick Levis, proposing a toast: “That in 2006, we will crack the Official Story so we can stop being 9/11-heads and return to normality.” A classically hermetic New York conversation ensued, quickly moving from snickers about bin Laden’s supposed CIA code name, “Tim Osmond . . . as in Donny and Marie,” to speculation about the role of Jerry Hauer, Giuliani’s former OEM guy, in the post-9/11 anthrax threats.
Talk came to a halt, however, with the mention of whether it was American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.