September 11, 2007

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

September 11, 2006

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

September 11, 2005

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

September 13, 2004

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

November 24, 2003

Jeff Jarvis: First Hand Account of Riding the PATH into the Rebuilt World Trade Center Station

Dave Aiello wrote, "Jeff Jarvis of published an account of his first ride on the PATH into the rebuilt World Trade Center station. He describes the scene as only a PATH-commuting veteran could:"

I kept telling myself, It's just a train ride.

The last time I rode these tracks, as many of you know, was on the last PATH train into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Today, I returned. And I didn't know how I'd react. I often feel as I live with a webcam pointed at my psyche, always watching, always recording the reaction to anything 9/11: today sunken, tomorrow angry, the next day tired, the next day numb, someday hopeful. So what will it be today?

Well, the first, best indication of my own reaction came when the train pulled into Jersey City and the conductor droned, "World Trade Center." And I smiled. Relief. Even a touch of victory.

The midmorning train wasn't crowded. One grizzly guy sat by the front window; a tourist/pilgrim with camera sat a few feet away. I kept my camera in my pocket; I dislike turning tragedy into tourism.
As we went under the river, a guy in a PATH reconstruction jacket came up to the front window to look. So did the rest of us. The tunnel -- where rowboats navigated after the attacks -- looked new and clean. And up ahead, we saw daylight. That, alone was shocking; this station always seemed as if it were a mile underground. Now, of course, there is nothing above.

The train halted just at the entrance, as if to let us get ready. The grizzly guy muttered, "Graveyard." The rest stared ahead. I felt a clutch coming but then stopped.

It's just a train ride....

Dave Aiello continued, "Read the rest of the article, it's brilliant."

"I haven't ridden the PATH since 10 days before 9/11, when I finished my last consulting project at J.P. Morgan Chase. I'm planning to ride the PATH into the World Trade Center as soon as I can. I think I'll feel as anxious as Jeff Jarvis did. Because I wasn't there that day, I'll try not to focus on my reaction-- I'll be remembering the people I knew who never came home."

October 30, 2003

Port Authority: Temporary World Trade Center PATH Station to Open on November 23, 2003

The Associated Press reports that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that temporary World Trade Center PATH station will open on Sunday, November 23. The temporary station will be located in the same physical space that the old station occupied. Although a significant portion of the original PATH station survived the September 11 terrorist attack, it has been totally rebuilt.

According to the article:

On the restored platform for Tracks 3 and 4, Gov. George Pataki stood with trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and his architects, Daniel Libeskind and David Childs, and looked, two platforms across, at the space where the towers stood....

The 16-month $253 million restoration of the temporary station involved gutting the train tunnels down to their iron frames and installing nearly 7,000 feet of track and 50,000 tons of steel. The station connects to six subway lines, although the permanent station will connect to a dozen lines, ferries, buses and a transit hub on Fulton Street.

September 11, 2003

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

March 4, 2003

American Monsoor Ijaz Says Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was Key to Many Terrorist Activities

Last week, Fox News televised a number of interviews of and reports from Monsoor Ijaz. Ijaz is a muslim and an American businessman who had tried to act as an intermediary between the government of Sudan and the Clinton Administration for the purpose of helping Sudan turn over Osama bin Laden to U.S. justice.

One of the more interesting of these reports was the one Ijaz made on Special Report with Brit Hume on February 25. In it, Ijaz said we now have the key guy who is coordinating al Qaeda activities on several continents. Ijaz said:

...We now have the key guy who was the cornerstone of the operation in the Middle East, in South Asia, maybe even in the Far East. So if we are successful in now decoding the data in his computers and his telephones and the audiotapes that may, in fact, even contain instructions from bin Laden on them, we may, in fact, find out a lot of information that we would not have been able to get any other way.

And so the timing of this essentially enables us to dismantle the Middle Eastern terror cells before we have to take that next step in the war against terrorism. In fact, I just want to say that Iraq is not a separate step. It is the next most important step in dismantling the terrorists around the world.

CTDATA previously reported on Ijaz in an article that we published in December 2001.

NYC Government Officials Briefed on Likelyhood of New al Qaeda Attacks

Only weeks after the national terror threat level had been raised to orange, The New York Times reports that a terrorism expert who has studied al Qaeda for 10 years thinks that a large attack on the United States is unlikely at this time. According to the article:

...{Rohan} Gunaratna, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, contended that increased information flowing from intelligence agencies and the F.B.I. to the Police Department combined with greater public awareness had made it more difficult for Al Qaeda to launch an attack in New York.

He also said that he thought large attacks in the United States anytime soon were unlikely, and that the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on Saturday in Pakistan was a significant setback for the terrorists.

February 26, 2003

In Memory of the Victims of "The Other Attack" on the World Trade Center

Dave Aiello wrote, "Ten years ago today, Ramzi Yousef and some associates placed a bomb in the second parking level of The World Trade Center. It was detonated at about 12:18pm. Six people lost their lives and hundreds were injured."

"Today we remember the victims of the first World Trade Center attack. They were arguably the first victims in the war that Islamic militants are waging against the United States and its interests throughout the world."

"This week, U.S. News and World Report published an excellent review of the relationship between the first World Trade Center attack and September 11. It also summarizes the manhunt that ensued after the 1993 bombing, culminating with the arrest of Yousef in Pakistan in 1995."

"The U.S. News article cites a book called The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, And Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It, a book reviewed on CTDATA back in October. We highly recommended the book because it helps to connect the dots between the Meir Kahane assassination, the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and September 11."

February 20, 2003

Counterprotest Inside San Francisco Anti War Rally Achieves Notoriety

Congratulations to Kfir Alfia and Alan Lipton for achieving a media coup. Their small scale counterprotest at the San Francisco anti war rally last weekend got them on the air on the Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage radio programs. It also got their counterprotest photos posted on

If you haven't seen these photos, they are very provocative. They include the following statements:

  • Protect Islamic Property Rights Against Western Imperialism! Say No to War (picture of woman in burkha tied to a pole)
  • Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything
  • Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People, Let's Give it Another Chance
  • Saddam Only Kills His Own People, It's None of Our Business

February 15, 2003

Dave Winer May Have Convinced Himself of a Need for War Against Iraq

Dave Winer has begun to say things on Scripting News that imply that he is in favor of an attack on Iraq. This is significant because he has been very skeptical about many Bush Administration activities since September 11.

Yesterday, he reflected on the speeches given in response to the reports by Blix and El Baradei:

I listened to the UN report by the inspectors, and reps from all sides, including Iraq. I think the UK and US make good points that the French, Russian and Chinese didn't address. Do I think Hussein is serious about disarming? Come on, give me a break.... I'm still not sure it's best for the US to invade Iraq, but I don't buy the arguments our supposed allies are providing against going to war.

And then today, Winer comments on the Max Boot editorial in the New York Times that debunks the leftist theory that the U.S. wants to go to war primarily to control Iraq's oil resources:

...we all know what he does with the oil money -- he uses it to build nukes, missiles to deliver them, etc etc.... Why anyone would stand up for him is beyond me. Yet that's what the French, Germans, Russians and Chinese (and others) are doing. This makes no sense. (Unless you consider the possibility that they have conflicts of interest.)

Maybe what Winer is hinting at is that an invasion would uncover a great deal of evidence that these countries did business with Iraq that advanced Iraq's weapons programs.

In any event, it is interesting to read Winer's views at this critical time, given his skepticism about some of the administration's domestic security agenda, and his lack of respect for many Bush appointees.

February 14, 2003

Reaction to Blix's Latest Presentation Shows Everything We Need to Know About UN Security Council

The reaction of the United Nations Security Council to today's reports from Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei was nothing if not predictable. Media reports like the Associated Press' Major Powers Insist on Iraq Inspections demonstrate the degree to which the media is complicit in the anti-war agenda of the left throughout the world.

In his report, Blix cited improved cooperation by Saddam's government and reported the hunt for banned arms had thus far failed to find weapons of mass destruction. Blix said it was significant that "many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for."

The Associated Press decided not to point out the terms of Security Council Resolution 1441 that form the basis for the inspection regime. The resolution says that Iraq is required to destroy stocks of biological and chemical weapons, dismantle its nuclear weapons programs, and do away with missiles that can travel more than 150 kilometers. These are the sorts of things that Hans Blix means when he says "proscribed weapons and items {that} are not accounted for."

Powell sat silently as speaker after speaker rejected the United States' position that Iraq has run out of time to comply with a string of U.N. disarmament resolutions.

The reason that the countries who oppose the United States on this issue can dispute the United States' position is that the resolution gives Iraq a "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations." It doesn't say how long this opportunity should last.

Kudos to United Press International for running a piece called Analysis: Where are the arms from before? that lays out the reasons why "Hans Blix's briefing to the Security Council Friday... had something for everybody...." Although this article calls the countries on the Security Council who wish inspections to continue "the majority", it is one of the few articles published by the mainstream media to list the countries that called for the U.N. to take action now.

It is precisely these unanswered questions that form the basis of the indictment the United States, Britain, Spain, Mexico and Chile made Friday at the United Nations against Saddam's regime.

February 6, 2003

Powell Wins Over Lots of Americans with U.N. Presentation

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Iraq's continuing effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations security council. He followed this up today with a presentation to the U.S. Senate.

According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll seven in ten Americans believe Iraq has biological weapons, while 61 percent believe that Powell presented enough evidence to justify a war with Iraq. This indicates that the presentation was very convincing, because the media reported that the evidence that Powell would present would be circumstantial at best. Many people seemed more skeptical about the grounds for war before the presentation than after.

December 30, 2002

Washington Senator Flies Below National Media RADAR

Before Christmas, U.S. Senator Patty Murray of the State of Washington told a group of high school students that Osama bin Laden is popular in some countries because he built schools, roads, and daycare centers there. This was originally pointed out in The Columbian, a newspaper based in Vancouver, WA, but subsequently picked up by the AP and carried in newspapers across the Western U.S.

We have to chuckle at the disingenuousness of Murray's speech. How likely is it that a millionaire leader of worldwide terrorism would build daycare centers at the same time that he was in league with groups like the Taliban, who are notoriously anti-woman? The implication of her statements is that the United States has not provided foreign aid to the Islamic countries of the world-- another misleading notion.

We can excuse Murray for assuming that the average American adult is stupid. But, she was speaking in front of impressionable high school students. There is no excuse for this degree of misrepresentation.

The Washington Post broke its silence on the matter in an editorial about Murray's speech in its Christmas edition. It referred to Murray as "inept but entitled to have her say"-- as if all of her misstatements were OK in light of her patriotic criticism of American foreign policy. But, The New York Times has failed to mention the incident at all. How long will "the paper of record" be silent? So far, it's been 12 days.

December 7, 2002

Feds Raid Massachusetts Software Company, Investigating Possible Links to al Qaeda

Dennis Villone pointed out the MSNBC report that FBI and Customs agents staged a high-profile raid at a software company in Quincy, MA. The company, Ptech, makes enterprise knowledge management and business process modeling systems.

The raid took place because the U.S. Treasury Department has designated Yasin al-Qadi, an investor in the company currently believed to be living in Saudi Arabia, a "terrorist financier". According to the article:

SOURCES FAMILIAR with the raid told NBC News on condition of anonymity that investigators also were trying to determine whether the company, Ptech Inc. of Quincy, Mass., used its software to gain access to sensitive government data.... The company’s client list includes the FBI, NATO, the FAA, the Air Force, the Naval Air Services Command, the Energy Department, the IRS, the Postal Service and the House of Representatives.

The article goes on to state that Ptech "categorically denies having any connection with any terrorist organization."

October 25, 2002

OpinionJournal: Cable TV Coverage of D.C. Sniper is "Pure Melodrama"

In one of the more candid opinion pieces published during the entire D.C.-area Sniper Case, Daniel Henninger of likens the coverage of the investigation to the "Unreal City" that T.S. Elliot spoke about in his poem The Waste Land.

What we've all been watching on these stations lately is mostly live, so in some sense undoubtedly real. But what could be weirder or more bizarre than the unreal city of cable news, which reports, without discrimination, what it knows, what it almost knows and what no one knows?....

Not since long ago when villagers whispered that witches danced in the night-forest, has mere rumor been elevated to such high status in the life of a society.... Making such terrible events seem somehow unreal was a challenge. But we've met it. Trying to "report" live, much less talk about something like this for hours on end is not normal.

October 24, 2002

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: Terrorism?

Dave Aiello wrote, "National Review Online has quickly jumped on the Moscow Theater Attack with an excellent commentary written by Mark Riebling and R.P. Eddy. In it, the authors suggest that the theater attack may be closely related to U.S. intervention in Pankisi Gorge, in the Republic of Georgia, in addition to the more obvious goal of ending the war in Chechnya."

"The article also suggests that the Chechen attack may be preview of attacks outside Russia yet to come:"

The Moscow event is especially portentous because the tactics of Chechen jihadists are regarded by the FBI as a possible indicator of al Qaeda methods in the U.S. This past summer, for instance, after Chechen terrorists bombed apartment buildings in Moscow, apparently by renting rooms and then detonating explosives stored there, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller warned that al Qaeda operatives in the U.S. might attempt this tactic.

If Chechen and al Qaeda operatives do kill from the same playbook, then reconnaissance and planning for a mass-hostage drama outside Russia may already be underway.

Dave Aiello continued, "Imagine how much more press coverage the jihad would have gotten if this sort of attack had been executed at a Broadway or West End theater."

Terrorists Take 500 to 700 People Hostage in Moscow

BBC News is reporting that Chechen rebels stormed a theater in Moscow, taking hundreds hostage. The attack has gone largely unreported in the United States, due to the focus on the D.C.-area sniper investigation. According to another report, up to 150 of the attendees had been released or escaped and "children and Muslims were freed from the theater" by the terrorists.

October 15, 2002

Bali: Not in Our Backyard

Dave Aiello wrote, "Articles are beginning to appear in the Australian press indicating that the American press is ignoring the impact of the terrorist attack in Bali on Australia. Perhaps that is true of the mainstream press and television, although Talk Radio has been all over this issue."

"What's really amazing about this story is that Australians apparently didn't see themselves as being in danger until al Qaeda bombed a vacation destination in a nearby country. Apparently, they didn't look at the World Trade Center and see the Sydney Opera House or another famous landmark in Australia itself as a possible terrorist target."

"But now that perhaps 200 or 300 Australians have perished, that country appears to have realized it too is vulnerable. We, as Americans, must remember what a shock 9/11 was to us, and try to be supportive to the Australian people. And, we need to insist that our media pay equal attention to terrorist attacks wherever they occur."

October 11, 2002

"The Cell" Makes the Potential of Radical Islamic Terrorism More Understandable

Dave Aiello wrote, "I just finished reading The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, And Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It and I recommend it highly. Before I started reading 'The Cell', I had read as many news accounts of the War on Terrorism as I could. But, the depth and complexity of newspaper and magazine articles on this or any subject is limited."

"I found that this book helped me put together a lot of the pieces of information that I had gathered from news accounts. For instance, I remembered that Meir Kahane was assassinated in New York City in 1990, but I was not aware of the extent to which that assassination was linked to subsequent terrorist activity in the United States and abroad. John Miller and Michael Stone, the co-authors of this book, draw clear connections between the Kahane assassination, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and 9/11."

"The book also delves into the politics of the relationship between the NYPD, the FBI, and the CIA. All of these organizations were proud of their independence and protective of their roles in terror attack investigations and counter intelligence. This contributed to the myopia that caused all levels of government to miss opportunities to stop the 9/11 attacks. But, the book also points out a number of coincidental developments that diverted the government's attention from what would have been productive investigations."

Continue reading ""The Cell" Makes the Potential of Radical Islamic Terrorism More Understandable" »

October 7, 2002

BBC: Small Craft Rammed Oil Tanker Prior to Explosion

The BBC is reporting that French shipping officials believe that a small craft rammed their oil tanker prior to the explosion in the Arabian Sea over the weekend. According to the report, "A junior officer on board the Limburg reported seeing a small craft 'fast approaching' the tanker in the port of Ash Shihr... and believes the two vessels touched before an explosion occurred."

The article goes on to say that the "Limburg was a new, double-hulled ship, and was barely moving at the time of the explosion, which took place during good weather.... {The} force of the apparent impact had pierced both hulls and penetrated 7-8 metres into the cargo hold.... {Only} a very large ship, or one moving at 'serious speeds' would be able to cause that damage."

All of this information calls into question the Yemeni government suggestion that the explosion was not the result of sabotage. Maybe Yemen is making a distinction between sabotage and a terrorist attack.

September 22, 2002

Albany, NY Newspaper Says Former Area Resident Devised First WTC Attack Plan in 1992

The Albany Times Union reported on Sunday that Abdul Hakim Murad lived in an Albany suburb in the early 1990s and concocted the original plan to destroy The World Trade Center using hijacked airliners. He subsequently worked with Ramzi Yousef to attempt the simultaneous bombing of 12 airliners over the Pacific, but was arrested by Philippine police in January 1995. Murad was extradited to the United States, tried, and sentenced to life plus 60 years.

Yousef planned and executed the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center, but escaped to Pakistan before he could be arrested. Yousef remained at large until 1996 when he was arrested in Pakistan. He has subsequently been extradited to the United States, tried, and sentenced for his part in the original WTC attack.

This is one of the more interesting articles published in a smaller-city American newspaper about the inter-relationships between the various attempted attacks against U.S. interests by al Qaeda operatives.

September 19, 2002

Toby Keith's CD "Unleashed" is Worth the Money for One Song

Dave Aiello wrote, "Yesterday, I bought a copy of Unleashed, a CD recorded by Toby Keith on Dreamworks Records. I bought it to get a licensed copy of the song Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American), calling for a just response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. In my opinion, this song alone is worth the street price of the album (currently around $13.50 in most places)."

"I need to sit down and listen to the other songs on the album. But, I thought I'd mention it here and encourage people to listen to 'Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue', if they haven't had the opportunity yet."

September 11, 2002

Washington Times: First Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Was Different

Jennifer Harper wrote an excellent piece for The Washington Times that compares the commemoration of Pearl Harbor to that of the attack on the World Trade Center from the perspective of the media reports on the events' first anniversaries. Harper begins:

Nobody was ready for "healing" on December 7, 1942, and "closure" was the last thing anybody wanted.

America, on the first anniversary of that other date that lives in infamy — often the benchmark by which September 11 is judged — wanted blood and vengeance, without apology.

No flowers, no teddy bears, and no exploration of the national angst. No presidential admonitions to think of Shinto as a religion of peace, no appeals to understand the frustrations that drove the misunderstood Nazis to rape Poland and bomb London.

There are a number of difficulties with comparing these two sneak attacks: they occured at different times in our history, in vastly different places, and they killed different types of people. Yet, the article makes a number of good points, and much of the research that Harper did has not been published elsewhere.

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

September 10, 2002

CBS To Air "9|11" on First Anniversary of Attack

Tomorrow, CBS will broadcast the documentary 9|11 at 9:00 pm, Eastern Time. It is only the second time that this fantastic film will be aired on American television.

Last month, we reported that a commemorative edition of the Naudet Brothers' film would be released on DVD and VHS on September 10. Our report on the original airing of the documentary said:

It took great courage to produce and air a documentary like this on broadcast television, even in 2002. In a way, it was surprising how many stomach churning scenes of casualties and how much profanity spoken by the surviving firemen were left in this film. But, if they had edited it, even to contemporary network broadcast standards, what would have been left?

Watching 9|11 will remind us why we call our effort to respond to this terrorist attack a war on terror.

What We Saw: CBS News Book About 9/11 Has a DVD of Live TV Coverage

CBS News has produced an interesting book called What We Saw: The Events of September 11-- in Words, Pictures, and Video. It is both a 144 page hardcover book and a DVD. The DVD contains nearly 2 hours of as-it-happened video that was broadcast on CBS on September 11 and in the days that followed, interspersed with brief comments by CBS anchorman Dan Rather.

Much of the book is transcripts of what appears on the DVD. Additional text is included from articles that appeared in The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

We feel that the street price of this book, about $18 at this writing, is a reasonable price for the DVD by itself. If you want to have a video copy of a large amount of reportage as it appeared on U.S. television that day, this is one book you should buy.

August 16, 2002

9/11 Victims' Families Group Files $116 Trillion Lawsuit Against al Qaeda Supporters

Yesterday, CNN reported that a group of relatives of September 11 attack victims filed a $116 trillion dollar lawsuit against a number of individuals, charities, and businesses that allegedly support al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and The Taliban. The defendants named in the lawsuit include "seven international banks; eight Islamic foundations, charities and their subsidiaries; individual terrorist financiers; the Saudi bin Laden Group; three Saudi princes; and the government of Sudan." The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

This is not the first time that international groups have been sued in the United States for terrorist activity. However, this may be the first time that the terrorist activity actually occured within the territory of the United States. The legal counsel for this suit includes at least one lawyer who participated in the settlement negotiation for the victims' families' suit over the PanAm Flight 103 attack. This is one type of class action lawsuit that we fully support.

August 15, 2002 Says Indian and Pakistani Leaders Will Both Attend NYC Memorials on 9/11

Sesh Rengaswamy pointed out that reported that Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistani President Musharraf both plan to attend memorial services in New York on September 11. This information has not been widely reported in the mainstream U.S. media.

India and Pakistan were very close to war over a disputed territory in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year. Given the fact that both government leaders will attend the same ceremonies, it is possible that informal talks might take place.

August 12, 2002

Maryland Internet Entrepreneur Claims to Have Hijacked Major Al Qaeda Web Site

Wired News reported that a Maryland internet entrepreneur took over, a major al Qaeda web site, and operated it for five days before the original operator alerted the users of the site. Jon Messner, the entrepreneur who took over al Neda, has met with the FBI, but the FBI reportedly "asked him not to disclose what they had discussed".

August 7, 2002

Naudet Documentary "9|11" to be Released on DVD and VHS on September 10

To commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attack that destroyed The World Trade Center, Paramount Home Video will release 9/11 - The Filmmakers' Commemorative Edition on both DVD and VHS. The official release date is September 10, 2002. Advance orders are being taken for the program by

This film, which we have previously described as one of the great moments in television history, has only been aired once on American broadcast television. The first airing occured on March 10, 2002 on CBS. It was made by brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet. As CTDATA reported back in February, the Naudet brothers were shooting the final scenes of a documentary on the New York City Fire Department when the terrorist attack occurred. They rode along with the subjects of their documentary to the site of the attack, while keeping their cameras rolling. The result was some of the most priceless historic film footage ever captured.

According to the information provided about the DVD, the version to be released will run 130 minutes, and will include "additional interviews with the heroic firefighters, rescue workers and filmakers, giving exclusive insight to their firsthand experience of the day's events." The DVD version on sale at Amazon is Region 1 encoded (for the U.S. and Canada). It is not clear if other regional encodings are available. As was the case with the original broadcast, the videos will be released in widescreen letterbox format.

August 6, 2002

Manhattan DA Investigating ATM Thefts Enabled by 9/11 Disaster

The Associated Press reports that thousands of people are accused of using ATMs to steal $15 million from a credit union whose computer security system was damaged on September 11. According to the article, "{Manhattan} District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said the suspects found a way to repeatedly withdraw up to $500 a day from ATMs — even if their accounts at the Municipal Credit Union couldn't cover it."

Apparently, the credit union's data center was located in a building that adjoined the World Trade Center complex. That building was damaged in the terrorist attack, and it resulted in computer network problems that enabled withdrawals in excess of account balances.

Reports indicate that over 4,000 people overdrew their accounts by at least $1,000. This is shocking in light of the fact that so many people are known to have adopted a spirit of helpfulness and co-operation.

July 26, 2002

Rebuilding on Ground Zero is Pivotal to NYC Regional Economy

Martin O'Donnell pointed out an op/ed piece that appeared in today's New York Times by Richard Florida, a professor of economic development at Carnegie Mellon University. In the piece, Dr. Florida suggests that reconstruction on Ground Zero will play a key role in the economic evolution of the Metropolitan New York area.

{The Metropolitan New York} economy is fundamentally a creative economy. Growth derives from the endless creation of new firms, new industries and new ways of doing things.... {The} most sensible overall planning approach is to help Lower Manhattan become what it is becoming anyway — a multifaceted creative hub — rather than to indulge in economic overplanning or try to micromanage the future....

The fear that Lower Manhattan is losing its status as a center of the financial industry, for example, is not new and should not be allowed to drive planning. Well before Sept. 11, financial-sector activity was diffusing away from Wall Street, as when Goldman Sachs & Company decided to move many operations to a new building across the Hudson River. But the Street isn't dead. If it were, firms would be moving to Austin or Taipei, not New Jersey.

This is a very thought-provoking piece and points to different issues than the aesthetics that have caused the bickering over the alternative master plans for redevelopment.

July 17, 2002

Six Different Proposals Unveiled for Redevelopment of WTC Site

The New York Times reports that The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation unveiled six different proposals for the redevelopment of Ground Zero. A briefing on the development proposals took place at Federal Hall, across the street from The New York Stock Exchange, yesterday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey specified in its requirements that the plans must contain sufficient retail and commercial space to entirely replace the space that was destroyed in the terrorist attack. This is why the proposals all include multiple large office buildings.

May 30, 2002

Wordless Ceremony Marks Symbolic End of WTC Recovery

At 10:29am today, the World Trade Center recovery effort ended with a simple, wordless ceremony. An empty, flag-covered stretcher was carried by representatives of the organizations participating in the recovery. The stretcher was placed in an FDNY ambulance for a procession to Canal Street, 15 blocks away.

The ambulance was followed in procession by representatives of the NYPD, FDNY, and PAPD Emerald Societies. Next, a tractor trailer removed the last remaining steel column from the World Trade Center. When the truck passed the reviewing stand, Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki, and other politicians joined the procession. Hundreds of recovery workers brought up the rear.

May 29, 2002

Ironworkers Take Down Last Structural Steel at WTC Site

The Associated Press reported that the last girder standing at the site of the World Trade Center was taken down overnight and placed on a flatbed truck for removal during another ceremony Thursday morning. According to the article, "Tuesday's ceremony was the first of three – for construction workers, rescue workers and families – that make up a gradual farewell to the round-the-clock recovery operation."

May 28, 2002

NY Times Publishes Huge Article on Conversations with People Trapped in WTC

On Sunday, The New York Times published a lengthy article that pieced together the telephone and email conversations that friends and family had with victims of the World Trade Center attack. This is part of a series of articles, collectively called "102 Minutes," that were published simultaneously.

In a way it's unfortunate that these articles were published on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, because many people who are interested in these pieces of contemporary history probably missed them.

May 24, 2002

HBO to Broadcast "In Memoriam: New York City, 09/11/01" on Sunday

The New York Times reports that HBO will air a documentary about the attack on the World Trade Center on Sunday night. The documentary, called In Memoriam: New York City, 09/11/01 will air at 9:00pm Eastern and Pacific times.

According to the article, much of the program consists of a review of the activities of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on that day. He narrates a large part of the program.

Mr. Giuliani narrates his day from start to finish, his words intercut with scenes of what took place, yet the documentary has the feel of a community-made mosaic. Its images have been compiled from 16 news organizations and 118 ordinary New Yorkers, each identified on screen as his or her work appears. That unifying spirit and sense of reflection makes "In Memoriam," which has its premiere Sunday night on HBO, different in tone from the Naudet brothers' "9/11" film on CBS, with its focus on firefighters and astonishing images inside one of the towers; the terror attacks affected so many people that each new work adds a fresh perspective, just when it seems we must have exhausted every one.

May 16, 2002

Hindsight is 20/20 in New Disclosures of 9/11 Hijack Warnings

CBS News was the first to report that President Bush was briefed in August about the possibility that terrorists might attempt to hijack U.S. passenger planes. A few media outlets, like CBS, are focusing their coverage on the shock expressed by some members of Congress (who all happen to be Democrats) that the government did not react more aggressively to these warnings. The Associated Press seems to have issued two different stories by the same correspondent: one simply reporting that a briefing had taken place, another reporting that a briefing had taken place and relating the critical aspects of the Congressional reaction.

Some have already rushed to ask the standard, post-Watergate question: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" This implies that a cover-up has taken place, and that the President was told that there was a possibility that multiple groups of terrorists would coordinate hijack attempts, and crash any planes that they successfully hijacked into major U.S. landmarks.

In the next few days, many people who are seeking to do political damage will be severely critical of the U.S. Government. But we wonder how anyone can step back in time, look objectively at what was known prior to September 11, and come to the conclusion that administration should have put out an unprecedented public warning? Although we have become used to this type of warning in the aftermath of September 11, they didn't happen too often before the attack.

We remind our readers of the last words of an article that we posted on on September 12:

No one could have assumed that both strikes on the World Trade Center would be successful, considering the complexity of the events. This is undoubtedly the most daring kamakaze attack in world history, and possibly the biggest tragedy in American history.

May 12, 2002

NY Times Asks If Recollection of 9/11 is Too Much, Too Soon?

An article in today's New York Times reviews the large number of special programs about the attack on the World Trade Center and asks "Are we in danger of a 9/11 overload?"

Television has long been the defining medium for great and terrible national events like war, assassinations and presidential elections. But nothing in the past has generated this sheer volume of reportage and commentary, because Sept. 11 was an unprecedented event occurring in an age of unprecedented media exposure. (The Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination became so crucial because it was the only one.) The variety and quantity have been staggering-- valuable (much of it), but also alarming.

April 30, 2002

NOVA to Broadcast Episode Explaining WTC Collapse on April 30

Tonight, April 30, the Public Broadcasting System series NOVA will air a program called Why the Towers Fell, about the destruction of The World Trade Center. The program will air at 8:00am EDT on most PBS stations on the East Coast. Check the PBS TV schedule for more information.

There is a large amount of supporting information on-line for this program. Included on the program website are:

  • explanation of the structural innovations that allowed the World Trade Center to be built;
  • analysis from Thomas Eagar, an MIT materials engineering professor, of the probably reasons why the World Trade Center survived the initial impact, but ultimately collapsed;
  • account of the survival story of Brian Clark from EuroBrokers who descended from the 84th Floor of 2 World Trade Center, rescuing a trapped Fuji Bank employee on the way down;
  • description of the rescue and survival equipment that firefighters carried into the World Trade Center; and
  • discussion of the physical properties of metal.

April 22, 2002

Cost of Lower Manhattan Transit Reconstruction Could Reach $7 Billion

Saturday's New York Times contained a story that says a consortium of New York City, New York State and New Jersey government entities estimate the cost of rebuilding the mass transit systems in Lower Manhattan at $7 billion. The article said that this estimate does not merely rebuild facilities that existed prior to September 11, it improves and rationalizes the confusingly twisted arrangement of subway lines that pass through the area between Canal Street and the Battery. The article says:

...At the top of the new project list is $2 billion to build what officials call a downtown Grand Central near Church Street, adjacent to the former World Trade Center site. The station would connect PATH trains with three subway lines and would include a $500 million underground concourse, stretching from near the ferry docks on the Hudson River beneath the World Financial Center and through the PATH terminal.

The passageway, which would include moving walkways, would also extend east to a new Fulton Street transit center, a newly designed, $750 million hub. The transit center would straighten out the dispiriting array of pedestrian tunnels that now connect the major subway lines in the area of Broadway, Nassau and Fulton streets; together with the PATH terminal, commuters would have a single complex linking the A, C, E, J, M, Z, N, R, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 lines....

April 18, 2002

Memorial at WTC Site May Include a Tomb of Unknown Victims

The New York Daily News reports that a tomb for unknown victims is being considered as the centerpiece of a memorial at Ground Zero. According to the article, "The proposal... has been steadily gaining favor at meetings among victims' relatives, Mayor Bloomberg and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. officials, family members said yesterday."

The article goes on to report that only 968 of the 2,815 known victims have been identified. Although 19,132 bone and tissue fragments have been recovered many of them are "damaged" (presumably burned) to the point where they can not be used for any sort of victim identification purposes. Officials involved in the recovery suggest that no more than 1,000 of the victims will be identified by DNA testing.

April 13, 2002

Cynthia McKinney Suggests Bush Administration September 11th Conspiracy

The Washington Post reports that Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has called for an investigation of the Bush Administration in order to determine if they "had advance notice of terrorist attacks on September 11 but did nothing to prevent them...." McKinney is quoted as saying "persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war." McKinney's comments were reportedly made during an interview on a Berkeley, California radio station.

Congresswoman McKinney's comments are only the most recent anti-American statements she has made. Back in October, we reported that McKinney tried to interject herself in a dispute between then-New York Mayor Giuliani and Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia. McKinney has repeatedly questioned the integrity of elected officials in the United States who have far larger constituencies than she does. Her outlandish statements only serve to embarass the people of her Congressional district. Given the fact that McKinney has served five terms in the House of Representatives, we think it is appropriate to ask: What kind of people live in the 4th Congressional Distict of Georgia?

April 9, 2002

NY Times Wins Seven Pulitzer Prizes for September 11 Coverage

The New York Times has won seven Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of the September 11th attack as well as rescue and recovery efforts.

Among the prizes was the Public Service Award for A Nation Challenged, a recurring section which included Portraits of Grief which provided biographical sketches of each victim of the attack. CTDATA reported on the Portraits of Grief section several times. The Times is certainly deserving of the awards they received. They did a lot to hold the city and the region together.

March 29, 2002

Infernos Caused WTC Towers to Fall

In one of the most detailed analyses made public since September 11, The New York Times has published a summary of a forthcoming report from FEMA and the American Society of Civil Engineers about the likely cause of the collapse of the World Trade Center.

The report says that both towers could probably have withstood the impact of the planes, if fires had not subsequently broken out. But, the extreme heat generated by these fires, estimated at three to five gigawatts was sufficient to melt the structural steel, the alumnium bodies of the planes and metal fixtures and office furniture in the impact area.

Detailed descriptions of the impacts on the South and North Towers are provided, but the article indicates that the analysis of the North Tower may not be sufficient to fully explain the chain of events the culminated in its collapse.

March 13, 2002

Student Visas for Atta and Another 9/11 Hijacker Delivered to Florida Flight School

The Washington Post and a number of other media outlets are reporting that Huffman Aviation International has received student visa paperwork for Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. Atta and Alshehhi are two of the hijackers of planes that were crashed into The World Trade Center on September 11. Huffman Aviation received the paperwork by mail from The Immigration and Nationalization Service on March 11, the six month anniversary of the terrorist attack. According to the article:

The two suicide hijackers had applied for the visas through their flight school, Huffman Aviation International, in August 2000. But because of backlogs and an antiquated processing system at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, notification of the approval did not arrive at the Venice, Fla., flight school until Monday.

We urge everyone interested in the internal security of the United States and the integrity of its borders to read this article and consider the implications. This is the most obvious indication yet that our government has no effective means of controlling foreigners' access to the United States.

March 11, 2002

US Navy Pilot from Gulf War May Be a POW in Iraq

Investigative journalist Bill Gertz reports in The Washington Times that Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Speicher may be a Prisoner of War in Iraq, in captivity since The Gulf War. Speicher was declared dead in 1991 when his F-18 was shot down over Iraq. According to the article, The Department of Defense reclassified him as missing in action last year. The article went on to say:

A U.S. intelligence report from March 2001 stated: "We assess that Iraq can account for Cmdr. Speicher but that Baghdad is concealing information about his fate."

The report, ordered by the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that Cmdr. Speicher "probably survived the loss of his aircraft, and if he survived, he almost certainly was captured by the Iraqis."

"9/11" Documentary: One of the Great Moments in Television History

Sunday night's broadcast of the 9|11 documentary on CBS was one of the great moments in television history. As The New York Times reported this morning, many relatives of victims watched the documentary in spite of the emotional pain it must have caused them. The Associated Press said that firefighters who watched the documentary consider it a tasteful tribute to their fallen comrades and other victims.

It took great courage to produce and air a documentary like this on broadcast television, even in 2002. In a way, it was surprising how many stomach churning scenes of casualties and how much profanity spoken by the surviving firemen were left in this film. But, if they had edited it, even to contemporary network broadcast standards, what would have been left?

Anyone who sees this documentary will have to reassess their understanding of the attack and its aftermath. We urge the producers of this program to subtitle it in as many language as possible, and to make it available for broadcast elsewhere in the world.

March 5, 2002

CBS Documentary "9/11" Will Reportedly Air Sunday at 9 PM

The New York Post reports that CBS will air a documentary on September 11 on Sunday, March 10, at 9:00pm Eastern Time. According to the article, the documentary "features never-before-seen footage from inside the lobby of {The World Trade Center}- the first {tower} to be hit by a hijacked airliner." This footage is likely part of the video shot by Gedeon and Jules Naudet that CTDATA has been reporting on for the last few months.

The documentary reportedly will be hosted by Robert DeNiro and be narrated by James Hanlon, a New York City firefighter.

March 1, 2002

Dell Screws Up in Effort to Comply with Export Regulations

WiredNews is reporting that Dell did not ship a laptop ordered by a Mountaintop, PA handgun manufacturer because it was concerned that the company might export the computer illegally. However, rather than following up with Weigand Combat Handguns to determine the intended use of the computer, Dell cancelled the order. This situation developed as part of a screening process Dell developed to check its orders for suspicious activity that might indicate diversion of equipment to terrorists.

This foul up caused the customer to conclude that Dell treats firearms users as second-class citizens, and to encourage hunters and Second Amendment advocates to email Dell, express their outrage, and potentially, cancel or withold new orders.

If the WiredNews article is correct -- that companies whose names contain certain aggressive-sounding words were automatically flagged as potential law-breakers-- someone introduced a screening step that most people would consider Orwellian. It also set itself up for embarassment in that they would probably hold shipments bound for companies such as Clorox, if the order indicated it was intended for the Combat pest control products group.

Federal Government Disaster Contingency Site Operating at Secret Location

The Washington Post is reporting that a shadow government is at work in a secret location away from Washington, DC, in case a catastrophic attack against the capital takes place. This article actually indicates that the government has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that critical government services remain in operation, but the headline and the first few sentences seem designed to either frighten or enrage readers.

In light of the fact that a series of unthinkable attacks occured on September 11, it only seems reasonable to ready the contingency facilities. It seems, however, that people who have never participated in disaster recovery planning or testing may be shocked that this kind of thing goes on every day in industrialized countries.

February 28, 2002

CBS Urged to Remove Graphic Footage from Naudet Film

The Drudge Report pointed out a story from Reuters/Variety that reports that the head of an advisory board of 9/11 victims families has urged CBS to drop any graphic footage from a documentary about the World Trade Center attack that the network plans to air in March. William Schmidt, who is also the prosecutor of Bergen County, NJ, is reported to have written:

While we do not object to the showing of the documentary, we are particularly concerned about the potentially negative psychological effects that graphic details of death and destruction may have on the thousands of individuals who have been traumatized by the events of September 11th.

This is the latest development in the story of CBS's attempt to produce a program that includes portions of the video shot by filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet on September 11. previously reported on the contract between the Naudets and CBS and the content of the video itself in January and February.

February 27, 2002

Gallup Poll of Arabs: US is "ruthless, aggressive, conceited, arrogant, easily provoked and biased"

Many media outlets, including, published the results of a Gallup poll of 10,000 people in 9 Islamic countries. In the survey's words, the respondents held a general "belief that western nations do not respect Arab or Islamic values, do not support Arab causes, and do not exhibit fairness towards Arabs."

Many westerners familiar with the politics of the Islamic world have suggested that these beliefs stem as much from propaganda flowing out of state-controlled media outlets in Middle Eastern countries as they do from any actual U.S. policies or actions. Many Arabs also deny, or do not know, of the obvious culpability of their fellow citizens in terrorist attacks on September 11: "... most of those questioned reject the idea that Arabs, specifically Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, carried out the attacks. Significant numbers believe that Israel, or even the US itself, was responsible."

There is a lot we do not comprehend about each other. For instance, The Associated Press published a photograph of four year old Palestinian boy aiming a real AK-47 while he is in the prone position. The photo was taken Monday at an anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rally organized by the Palestinian Public Resistance on the Gaza Strip. Regardless of how we, in the West, would interpret this provocative picture, do any of us expect a child raised in this environment to be open-minded toward the United States when he grows up?

February 26, 2002

Secret Service Agents Lost Security Plan for Closing Ceremonies While Shopping

The Associated Press reports that Secret Service agents shopping for souvenirs lost a security plan for protecting Vice President Cheney at the closing ceremony of the Olympics. The article said:

"It had a pretty detailed description about what was going on," said store owner Clayton Greenhalgh, who discovered the document on a counter Sunday after the agents each purchased an $11 Olympics hat.

February 21, 2002

State Department Confirms Murder of WSJ Reporter in Pakistan

Reuters reports that Dow Jones believes that Daniel Pearl has been killed in Pakistan and that the U.S. State Department has evidence of his execution. Pearl was a Wall Street Journal reporter covering the war in Pakistan when he was kidnapped on January 23. Separately, we learned that The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Pearl is definitely dead, and is running several statements from executives that eulogize him.

This is, of course, an outrageous development and a sign of the desperate lengths to which terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan will go to retaliate against the United States. If they can't beat the United States and its allies on the battlefield, and they don't have the strength to use guerrilla tactics to hit U.S. troops or U.S. facilities, then the next best thing is to kidnap and execute innocent Americans working in country. Further evidence that terrorists and those that aid them must be dealt with severely.

February 20, 2002

Government Reportedly Identified Anthrax Suspect

The Trenton Times is reporting that Barbara Hatch Rosenberg told a group at Princeton University that the FBI has a suspect in the anthrax mailing cases under surveillance. Dr. Rosenberg, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Chemical and Biological Weapons Program, reportedly said that the FBI has known of the suspect since October and, according to her "government insider" sources, has interrogated him more than once.

The Federation of American Scientists is a group known for its advocacy of disarmament, particularly with respect to biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. Rosenberg has published many of her findings in a document on her organization's web site, called Analysis of Anthrax Attacks.

February 6, 2002

Naudet Film of WTC Attack to Air on CBS in March

The New York Post reports that CBS has secured the rights to the video shot by Gedeon and Jules Naudet during the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11.

As reported last month, the Naudet video was intended to be part of a documentary on the NYFD. Shooting was coincidentally taking place in Lower Manhattan the morning of September 11. Since the unedited video contains footage of one of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the response of firefighters to the site, and subsequent rescue efforts, it has been shown repeatedly at firehouses and police stations throughout New York City. But, up to now, this video has been largely unavailable to the general public.

It will be interesting to see how extensively CBS edits the video. The brief segments of the video that have been shown on TV have been disturbing, and it is quite likely that some viewers will be disturbed by any segment of this video if it is aired on national television. However, we believe that the networks have gone too far in limiting public access to historical footage of the September 11 attacks. This has contributed to greater public confusion over the specific events of that day, as images recede further in individuals' memories.

Update: CTDATA has learned that DVD and VHS versions of the 9|11 documentary will be released by Paramount Home Video on September 10, 2002. For more information, read our story on the release of the film.

February 1, 2002

FAA Possibly Building Massive Passenger Profiling System

The Washington Post reports that the FAA and a number of technology companies are working on a prototype for a passenger profiling application that may incorporate access to travel itineraries, credit and drivers license records, and a number of other public and private databases of information about individuals. The purpose of this application would be to profile everyone who is scheduled to fly on a commercial flight, and identify any potential terrorists.

If an application of this nature were implemented throughout the country, it would greatly improve supervision of foreigners from non-visa countries. Many travelers from non-visa countries are never checked against government watch lists. However, Americans would probably consider routine use of this type of application on all airline passengers an invasion of their privacy.

January 31, 2002

NYFD Communications Systems Failed Before WTC Collapse

In yesterday's New York Times, Jim Dwyer wrote about the huge communications systems problems that beset the New York Fire Department during the World Trade Center disaster. According to the article: "The commanders decided early on that roaring fires on the high floors of the towers could not be subdued. Many worried aloud that the buildings were in danger of at least partial failure. Confusion extended, for some, to which tower was which. Although they feared that the buildings were doomed, they could not bring their troops back in time."

This article is difficult to read, if only because it documents what most people who have followed the story carefully already suspected: that communications among the rescue workers and information about other events occurring nearby was almost totally unavailable. Many people who have worked in the neighborhood of the World Trade Center in the past could not remember which tower was number 1 and which was number 2. It is not surprising that this was a major issue in a situation where both towers were severely damaged, and an evacuation had to take place.

It is hard to imagine how any radio communication system could have stayed up and available in the conditions of September 11. We have always suspected that the changes to U.S. mobile phone base stations to provide emergency personnel with priority access would not have been enough to ensure that police, fire, and rescue workers would have been able to communicate with each other on that day.

Washington Post Publishes Series About Aftermath of WTC, Pentagon Attacks

We have been remiss in not pointing out The Washington Post's series of articles called Ten Days in September. This series, written by Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, has received rave reviews from a number of media pundits. According to the Post's own description of the series:

This series is based on interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney and many other key officials inside the administration and out. The interviews were supplemented by notes of National Security Council meetings made available to The Washington Post, along with notes taken by several participants.

Read on for links to all of the articles published in the series so far....

Continue reading "Washington Post Publishes Series About Aftermath of WTC, Pentagon Attacks" »

Was Daniel Pearl Too Close to Uncovering Pakistani Support for Terrorism?

Sesh Rengaswamy pointed out a column written by T.V.R. Shenoy that suggests that Wall Street Journal reported Daniel Pearl may have been kidnapped to prevent him from publishing stories about the Pakistani government's continued support for terrorist groups. Shenoy writes:

...I happen to know that Pearl, though based in Mumbai, knew certain people in Delhi (I shall not be more specific than that). Through this person (or persons) Pearl gained access to a report from Indian intelligence. This report gave the lie to claims made by Pakistani authorities about clamping down on military outfits.

The column goes on to suggest that one possible explanation for the differences in editorial treatment of the Pakistani and Indian governments by the major Western press outlets may be fear of abductions and reprisals on reporters in Pakistan. Shenoy suggests that the course of events indicates that these fears may be well founded.

January 30, 2002

Georgia Foundry Buys WTC Metal Scrap, Forges Medallions

Earlier today, CTDATA learned that a Statesboro, Georgia metal foundry called International Agile Manufacturing has purchased scrap metal from the World Trade Center and forged commemorative medallions that it hopes to sell for $29.95 each.

This looks like a very bad business decision by this company. We have not objected to the recycling of the bulk of the scrap metal from the ruins of the World Trade Center because, practically, there is no purpose to retaining all of it, even for a memorial. But, it is another thing entirely for companies to recast the debris into commemorative trinkets and sell them to collectors. This practice looks like profiteering to us.

January 29, 2002

WTC Memorial Planned for Eagle Rock Reservation

The Star-Ledger reports that a committee of political leaders from Essex County, NJ is raising funds for a monument at Eagle Rock Reservation commemorating the attack on the World Trade Center and memorializing its victims. Eagle Rock Reservation is located in West Orange at the crest of Watchung's First Mountain. It has a clear line of sight to the World Trade Center site, and was a place where people congregated on September 11 to view the terrorist attack's aftermath.

According to the article, "The monument and park are expected to cost $250,000. So far, the county has secured promises of $100,000 in corporate donations." The monument will be designed by Patrick Morelli who has also designed a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., located in Atlanta.

January 23, 2002

Friedman Reveals Many Reasons Why Arabs Secretly Root for bin Laden

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote an excellent editorial today cataloging the many reasons that Arabs quietly root for Osama bin Laden. Among other thoughts Friedman collected in a number of candid talks with Arab journalists, business people, and Muslim community leaders:

  • a "serious Arab journalist in Bahrain who said that Arabs could never have pulled off something as complex as Sept. 11",
  • a European convert to Islam who said that "the bin Laden tape where he boasted of the World Trade Center attack" was clearly doctored by U.S. authorities,
  • a Pakistani who confided that all of the students in his children's elementary school believe the urban legend that all of the Jews who worked in the World Trade Center were told to stay home on September 11.

Friedman also offers a constructive suggestion to the U.S. Government that we have not heard elsewhere: "The Bush team has yet to provide a dossier, in Arabic, detailing all the evidence against bin Laden. It is not too late for that, although facts alone will not be enough."

But most telling is the point he makes near the end of his column: "...{We} have to admit that bin Laden touches something deep in the Arab-Muslim soul, even among those who condemn his murders. They still root for him as the one man who was not intimidated by America's overweening power, as the one man who dared to tell certain Arab rulers that they had no clothes, and as the one man who did something about it."

Port Authority, MTA Unveil Lower Manhattan Rail Integration Plans

The New York Times reports that The Port Authority of NY and NJ and The Metropolitan Transit Authority unveiled their proposal for reconstructing the downtown PATH station and connecting it to the Subway system. The plan involves the construction of an underground concourse with moving walkways that runs from The World Financial Center east to the Fulton Street Subway Station.

Included in the New York Times article is a diagram of the proposal, which is very useful in visualizing what it would look like, and how much time it would take to complete.

January 20, 2002

New Jersey Anticipates Record Budget Deficit in 2002

The Star Ledger reports that due to the slumping economy and extraordinary expenses from the terrorist attacks, New Jersey will have its largest budget shortfall in history. As a percentage of its total budget, New Jersey's budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2002, will be the largest of any state in the nation.

January 17, 2002

Justice Department Releases Photos, Video of Suspected al Qaeda Members

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Ashcroft released video tapes and photographs of alleged members of al Qaeda who may be planning further attacks. Reportedly, the video shows the suspects declaring their intent to commit terrorist acts in the future. Ashcroft asked for the public's help in bringing to justice the men depicted in the photos and video tapes.

Contractors Already Recycling Structural Steel from WTC

The Daily News reports that scrap yards in Newark and Jersey City are cutting up structural steel from the World Trade Center and sending it on to manufacturing plants as far away as South Korea. Some relatives of victims of the terrorist are outraged, as expected. According to the article, almost 160,000 tons of steel has been removed from the World Trade Center site so far.

The article points out the difficulty of the issues involved in this aspect of the recovery process:

  • How big a portion of the debris from the World Trade Center ought to be saved?
  • Should the rest of the salvaged material be recycled?
  • How long should the material bound for recycling be kept for forensic analysis?

January 12, 2002

French Filmaker Captured NYFD Actions in WTC Collapse

The New York Times reports that an unedited video created by Jules Naudet shows NYFD actions during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Reportedly, the video has been circulated among most firehouses in New York City. However, only the first few seconds of the video have been seen on broadcast television, since it is some of the best footage of the first airplane's impact with the north tower.

January 10, 2002

PATH Train Found at WTC, No One Aboard

The Associated Press reports that recovery workers have reached the only train that remained in the World Trade Center PATH station after the September 11 terrorist attack. No bodies were found on the six car train, because it was out of service at the time that the PATH station was abandoned.

PATH rail operations typically left a train parked in the World Trade Center station after 8:30am because the number of trains that were arriving in the station to discharge passengers was not as great as earlier in the rush hour. The parked train would be moved out either to the yard west of Journal Square Station in Jersey City, or the yard west of Penn Station in Newark during the afternoon, once congestion in those yards abated. This allowed all of the tracks to be utilized during the afternoon rush hour.

F-16 Crashes Near Garden State Parkway

The Associated Press is reporting that an F-16 crashed over land near Atlantic City, NJ. The report indicates that debris from the crash was scattered across the Garden State Parkway. The aircraft was reportedly part of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard stationed at Pomona and it was being used in a training mission.

Update: According to the most recent AP report, the pilot ejected safely.

January 8, 2002

NYC Commercial Real Estate in a State of Flux

Camworld pointed out an excellent article from Sunday's New York Times that reports on the state of the commercial real estate market in New York City. According to the article:

The attacks on the World Trade Center removed 13.4 million square feet of office space for at least several years and temporarily rendered an additional 12.1 million square feet unusable.

But rather than causing the market to tighten, as might have been expected when 25 percent of the downtown submarket suddenly vanished, the attack released a flood of sublet space, as if by magic. According to a report by Grubb & Ellis, the brokerage and services company, 10.1 million square feet was offered for sublet in the three months after the attack, as companies that had been holding excess space put it on the market in hopes of attracting tenants who had been displaced from downtown buildings.

January 4, 2002

US Government Source: bin Laden Probably Alive, May be Injured

The Washington Times reports that a U.S. Government source believes that Osama bin Laden is still alive and may be injured. These conclusions are based on intelligence observations of activities of close bin Laden associates as well as review of the latest video of bin Laden broadcast on al Jazeera.

According to the article, "...his left arm remained still during his 33-minute diatribe against
America and the West. The motionless arm has led some government
analysts to conclude that he either injured the limb in a fall or in a
bombing raid. The tape most likely was made in early December."

January 3, 2002

Three Firemen from Same Brooklyn Firehouse Found at Ground Zero

The New York Daily News tells the story of three firefighters from NYFD Ladder 118 who were found side by side on New Year's Day in the wreckage of the lobby of the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel at Ground Zero. Lieutenant Regan and Firefighters Agnello and Vega were found together with four other firefighters and three civilians.

This article illustrates why the New York Fire Department must be allowed to recover its own members wherever possible. They were obviously protecting each other as best they could when the World Trade Center collapsed upon them. The least that the recovery contractors and the NYC government should do is allow them to be recovered from the site together. And, this is apparently what actually took place.

January 2, 2002

Washington Post Provides Further Analysis of Case Against Moussaoui

The Washington Post published an article in today's edition that provides more background on the case against Zacarias Moussaoui. The new information disclosed in this article includes the fact that lack of evidence of criminal activity at the time prohibited the FBI from searching a laptop computer that contained information about jetliners, crop-dusters and wind currents.

The article also says that classified French intelligence reports indicated that "Moussaoui had radical Islamic beliefs and identified a friend {of Moussaoui's} as having fought in Chechnya with an Algerian Muslim group that included a known bin Laden associate." But, this information was insufficient to charge him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires evidence that the target is an agent of a foreign power, including organized terrorist groups such as Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

This article provides a good illustration of why suspected terrorists may need to be held by the U.S. Government without immediate criminal charges. It was obvious to investigators that Moussaoui was participating in some sort of organized conspiracy, but they did not have enough information to determine the nature of the conspiracy at the time. Unfortunately, after September 11 it became clear that he was involved in the coordinated terrorist attacks.

Moussaoui Enters No Plea to Charges, Judge Says His Plea is "Not Guilty"

The Associated Press reports that Zacarias Moussaoui has appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for arraignment on charges that he conspired in the September 11 terrorist attack. He is reported to have said, "In the name of Allah, I do not have anything to plead," when asked how he pleaded by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema. The judge deemed that a plea of "not guilty" and set a trial date of October 14, 2002.

December 28, 2001

The Economist Calls America Unready for Future Terror Attacks

Another article that Camworld pointed to this morning was published in The Economist, entitled America the Unready. It criticizes the majority of Federal efforts to improve security and preparedness for future terrorist attacks, while praising certain local efforts.

We agree. Even with the effort expended to improve security in commercial aviation, major airports are still not screening all checked baggage. Who among us really feels comfortable getting on a coast-to-coast flight these days?

In addition, the focus on passenger screening on scheduled flights has the feel of "closing the barn door once the cows have left". It is reasonable to suspect that the next major terrorist attack attempted will not involve the use of commercial aviation, at least in the same manner. And even if it does, the security measures actually implemented so far do not sufficiently mitigate the problems that the September 11 attacks pointed out.

Giuliani Delivers Farewell Address as NYC Mayor

The New York Times reports that New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gave a farewell address yesterday at St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The church is very close to the location of "Ground Zero", the former site of the World Trade Center.

Giuliani used this opportunity to call for a "soaring, monumental" memorial to be built on the site of the World Trade Center. In doing so, he is representing the feelings of a large percentage of people in the New York Metropolitan area who know someone who was lost in the attack on September 11, and will never be able to return to that place without thinking of that terrible day.

We would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to point out that Rudolph W. Giuliani was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2001. There is no one who is more deserving of such an honor, and it only underscores the respect and admiration that the nation has for him.

December 26, 2001

Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan to Rebuild

The Associated Press reports that St. Nicholas' Greek Orthodox Church will be rebuilt. St. Nicholas is the only church destroyed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that took place on September 11. Prior to its destruction, was only 22 feet wide, 56 feet long and 35 feet high.

Over $2 million has been raised to permit the reconstruction. This includes a donation of $500 thousand from the parishioners of Basilica di San Nicola of Bari, Italy. Bari's patron saint is St. Nicholas.

December 21, 2001

Minnesota Flight Instructor Tipped FBI on Moussaoui in August

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that an unidentified flight instructor in Minnesota contacted the FBI in August to report that Zacarias Moussaoui was taking instruction on a Boeing 747 flight simulator. According to the article, agents from the FBI arrested Moussaoui the next day. He was subsequently charged with the commission of six felonies by the U.S. Government.

Although the Minneapolis office of the FBI did pick up Moussaoui, Minnesota congressman Jim Oberstar said that the office's response to the flight instructor's calls was so "bureaucratic" that a less-determined tipster might have stopped calling.

Apparently, the same flight school's Phoenix, AZ office contacted the FAA earlier in the year regarding the training requested by Hani Hanjour, believed to have been at the controls of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Although the FAA observed Hanjour in class, it seems they were more concerned with ensuring that Hanjour learned English than assessing the purpose of his training.

December 18, 2001

How Hypocritical is the French Government on the Death Penalty?

Dave Aiello wrote, "Last week, we criticized the Government of France for demanding that the United States not execute Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen who has been implicated in the conspiracy surrounding the September 11 terrorist attack. At that time, we asked what right the French government had to oppose the death penalty in a situation where over 3,000 Americans had been killed in a coordinated terrorist attack?"

"Two weeks ago, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the latest burining issue in France, and perhaps this gives an insight into the depth of the hypocracy of the French position on the death penalty. On November 28, France's highest appeals court ruled that children who are born with Down's Syndrome had a legal right to be aborted and can sue the doctors who attended the pregnancy for financial support."

"The implication of this ruling is truly chilling, and not inconsistant with other recent judicial decisions in France. Andre Vingt-Trois, Bishop of Tours said, 'I think with great sadness of all families who have welcomed Down syndrome children, who have showered them with love and received great love in return. This ruling amounts to a declaration that such love was worthless.'"

"Then, there is the article written by Siegfried Mortkowitz of Deutsche Press-Agentur and republished yesterday by The Drudge Report which says that France has undergone an unprecedented crime wave in 2001, prompting likely presidential candidate Charles Pasqua to call for a reimposition of the death penalty."

"The French position on the death penalty is not indicative of their government's great mercy toward those who are guilty of crimes against society. Taken together with the news accounts I've pointed out here, they are an indication of a severe social values crisis that goes well beyond anything that has been experienced in the United States recently. The only coherent approach for the U.S. Government to take is to listen politely to French envoys, and then to continue to do what they know is right."

December 17, 2001

al Qaeda Successfully Broken Up, But bin Laden Not Found

The Washington Post reports that remnants of al Qaeda forces are fleeing the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan after being routed by the Northern Alliance with U.S. Special Forces and air support. Unfortunately, there is no sign of Osama bin Laden in the area, contrary to some previous reports.

At U.S. Central Command headquarters, General Tommy Franks refered to to the battlefield situation as "confused" and said that it would take some time to assess the situation.

Governments More Willing to Cooperate with America on Terrorism

The Washington Times reports that countries with al Qaeda training camps have become more willing to work with the United States to disband them. Somalia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Yemen, and Sudan are all seen have all announced their commitment to crack down on terrorists, or have approached the United States for aid in doing so.

According to the article, "Western nations, such as Germany and Spain, can largely handle the problem themselves, aided by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement... Poorer nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Yemen and possibly even Sudan will need more direct aid by the CIA and the Pentagon."

December 13, 2001

Transcript of Bin Laden Video Tape Released by Defense Department

The United States Department of Defense has published a transcript of the English translation of a video tape showing Osama bin Laden speaking about his reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks. According to the Department of Defense Press Release:

The transcript and annotations were independently prepared by George Michael, translator, Diplomatic Language Services; and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, Arabic language program coordinator, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. They collaborated on their translation and compared it with translations done by the U.S. government for consistency. There were no inconsistencies in the translations.

French Government Opposes Death Sentence for Moussaoui

The New York Times is reporting that the French Government will oppose use of the death penalty in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen who has been indicted as a participant in the conspiracy surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11. According to the article, Moussaoui is charged with six felonies, four of which may result in a death sentence.

It is too early for the French Government to attempt to inject itself in proceedings against Moussaoui. At this point, it is not clear that the United States will seek the death penalty against him.
But, if the United States does seek the death penalty, what right does any foreign government have to oppose it? Over 3,000 people lost their lives in these terrorist attacks. If such an attack had taken place in Europe, the demand for re-imposition of the death penalty would be great.

December 12, 2001

Gertz: John Walker Lindh Warns of New Strike Against America

Bill Gertz reports in today's Washington Times that John Walker Lindh has warned U.S. intelligence officials of a possible new terrorist attack on America, to take place around the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan ends on Sunday, December 16.

Lindh is the American who is part of the Taleban guerrilla force that was defeated in fighting near Mazar-e-Sharif. The warning was apparently developed from the debriefings that Lindh was subjected to by U.S. intelligence officials at a U.S. Marine Corps base near Kandahar.

December 11, 2001

Remembering 90 Days Ago

Ninety days ago this morning, the World Trade Center was destroyed in a terrorist attack. Since the attack, we have witnessed an amazing concentration of will on the part of the American people to remember the victims, care for their families, and bring justice to the individuals and groups who participated in the acts of war. We must not forget the shock that we all felt that morning, and the anger that followed, when we realized the barbarity of the acts that we witnessed on live TV.

Schumer Calls for a Bigger Government

The Washington Post carries an Op-Ed piece by New York Senator Charles Schumer called Big Government Looks Better Now. Although he makes the case for increased security at a number of transportation and utility facilities:

To ask each town and village to guard all the power lines, gas lines and aqueducts is too much; to ask large private-sector companies such as airlines and food processors to be wholly responsible for the security of their products is also too much. It is not just that Washington is the only entity with the ability to raise the resources our new situation requires; the notion of letting a thousand different ideas compete and flourish -- which works so well to create goods and services -- does not work at all in the face of a national security emergency. Unity of action and purpose is required, and only the federal government can provide it.

... he doesn't make the case for the nationalization of these security functions that he hopes to. There are already too many agencies with overlapping missions. Left to their own devices, Congress will further dilute the "unity of action and purpose" that Schumer demands.

In our view, Congress would be best served by consolidating the federal agencies with security-related roles first. By this we mean agencies like The FBI and The ATF. Congress can do this while imposing beefed-up security standards to be implemented by private, state, and local police and civil defense forces.

December 10, 2001

Washington Post Magazine Tells Story of Afghani WTC Victim

The Washington Post Magazine published an article by David Finkel about the death of an Afghani-American who was a victim of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Taimour Khan worked on the 92nd floor of World Trade Center, but he was born in Pakistan of an Afghani family.

This article touches on his entire life, including his youth on Long Island, college experience at SUNY Albany, and his family's effort to come to the United States almost 30 years ago. The article also provides first hand interviews of relatives of the Khan family who are still living in Pakistan, as well as villagers who are their neighbors.

NY Times Documents Recovery Work on WTC Night Shift

Today's New York Times reports on the recovery work that takes place on the night shift at the site of the World Trade Center. The article estimates that half of the debris, or approximately 600 thousand tons, has been removed to date. Several bodies of police and firefighters were recovered over the weekend from airtight stairwells that were just opened for the first time.

The article says, in part: "The work goes steadily to midnight. More debris is removed and two more bodies are recovered. A group of ironworkers stand on a
gnarled beam, one end of which juts out over the pit like a gangplank. They stand with their arms folded and they can smell the
bodies. A chaplain attends to every corpse. No one goes to the morgue alone, without a friend. Mr. McKee, the signal man, looks
at his watch and confuses 10:40 with 4:50."

Damage to Retailers and Small Business Continues to Widen

Today's New York Times reports that retailers and small businesses continue to be damaged by the terror attacks on September 11. This article is primarily about small consumer-oriented retail businesses in Manhattan, but the problems that it documents have hurt small businesses of all sorts in New York and New Jersey.

According to the article: "Small businesses, including many retail establishments, account for two of every five jobs
in New York City and roughly half of all jobs statewide, so the drought among
small-business owners presages economic pain that is likely to spread far beyond Lower
Manhattan. And while numerous grant and loan programs have sprung up to help small
businesses recover from the disaster, business owners have complained, in a growing
chorus, that the grants are too small to stem their losses and that loan agencies are not
approving loans."

December 6, 2001

LA Times: Clinton Let bin Laden Slip Away

In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, Mansoor Ijaz criticized President Clinton for failing to apprehend Osama bin Laden despite several opportunities offered by the Sudanese government. The article says:

From 1996 to 1998, I opened unofficial channels between Sudan and the Clinton administration. I met with officials in both countries, including Clinton, U.S. National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger and Sudan's president and intelligence chief. President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who wanted terrorism sanctions against Sudan lifted, offered the arrest and extradition of Bin Laden and detailed intelligence data about the global networks constructed by Egypt's Islamic Jihad, Iran's Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.

Ijaz characterizes himself as "an American Muslim and a political supporter of Clinton".

Howard Kurtz Covers Tom Friedman

In today's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz profiles and interviews Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times. Friedman was prominent before the War on Terrorism began, but he has truly become required reading since September 11: has pointed to his column at least three times.

We point this story out for a number of reasons, beyond the obvious recognition of Friedman's ubiquity in this war. First of all, Howard Kurtz's choice of subjects for his "Media Notes" column and his straight news stories has been astutue recently. These choices help explain why the war is covered in the manner it is. Kurtz also reveals the bredth of criticism that Tom Friedman receives, both in the Middle East and domestically.

We've criticized Friedman here on, but readers should not conclude that we consider his perspective similar to a stopped clock. We see the world differently than he does at times. But, his perspective is deserving of respect and understanding even when we don't agree with him.

Continue reading "Howard Kurtz Covers Tom Friedman" »

December 5, 2001

Boston NPR Affiliate Translating Major Stories from al Jazeera

Dave Winer pointed out on Scripting News that Boston's NPR affiliate is translating the lead stories from al Jazeera on a daily basis. According to the translation page, "Each weekday, WBUR's Ahmed Ahmed monitors the news from Al Jazeera, the influential Arabic satellite television network. Check back each weekday to see how the Arabic media is covering the war on terrorism." The page is updated each day at approximately 8:00pm, Eastern Time.

Friedman: The Intifada is Over

Tom Friedman of The New York Times boldly predicts in today's edition that the Palestinian intifada is over. Why? He says, "It ended with last weekend's spasm of suicide bombings against Israeli kids - a signal that the Palestinian national movement was being taken over by bin Ladenism, which is the nihilistic pursuit of murderous violence against civilians, without any political program and outside of any political context. If there is anything left of the Palestinian national movement for independence, it better act now to rescue itself. Otherwise it's headed for the same dark cave as Osama bin Laden."

Friedman is totally right on this one. Whatever mistakes Israel may have made in its previous dealings with the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians are making Israel's position look more and more reasonable.

December 4, 2001

Exicte@Home Network to Cease Operations on February 28

CBS Marketwatch is reporting that Excite@Home announced that it would shut down the @Home Network on February 28. This should allow ample time for Comcast, Cox, Rogers, and other cable companies who have not already been cut off by Excite to migrate their broadband customers to new backbones. The article says, "Comcast expects that all of its high-speed Internet customers will be transferred to a new Comcast-owned and
managed network well in advance of the expiration of this three-month period."

Cox is also expected to be able to accomodate its customers on a new backbone before @Home shuts down.

Mail Cross-Contamination at Trenton May Be Worse Than First Thought

The Associated Press reports that anthrax investigators think that tens of thousands of letters mailed around the country may have picked up trace amounts of anthrax at the Trenton Regional Mail Handling Facility in Hamilton, NJ. A scientist who is part of the investigation is quoted as saying, "There seems to be the potential for not just hundreds and not just thousands but tens of thousands and maybe more letters to be potentially at risk for some level of cross-contamination."

This article does a good job of highlighting the debate among investigators. Since scientists still do not know what the minimum safe level of anthrax is, people who live and work in the Trenton area and people receiving mail which passed through the Trenton mail handling facility will keep wondering if they are at an increased risk.

December 3, 2001

Surgeon General Says CDC Labs are a "National Disgrace"

Reuters is reporting that U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher said that the United States should be "ashamed of the condition of the laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta". He also said that the public health labs at state and local levels need to be renovated, and that the U.S. needs to train more epidemiologists to deal with an increased number of threats to public health.

We agree that the state of public health services in this country is sad. However, the blame for this can be laid at the feet of President Clinton who obviously knew about the goals of terrorist groups and rogue nations to build biological and chemical weapons capabilities. Clinton instead chose to invest huge amounts of money in diseases which had large political constituencies. There is nothing wrong with spending money on AIDS, breast cancer, and other preventable or curable diseases. But, we ought not to have sacrificed the ability to detect and control outbreaks of things like anthrax and smallpox.

Palestinian Terror Offensive Kills and Wounds Hundreds

If you read any of the newspapers this weekend, you must have seen that four major terror attacks occurred in Israel over the past two days. At least 31 people were killed and 200 were wounded in these attacks. Today's Washington Post reports that few expect Yasser Arafat to respond to calls for a severe crackdown on terrorist organizations within the Palestinian territories such as Hamas.

In spite of the tit-for-tat nature of the battle between the Israeli army and various organized and unorganized Palestinian groups, it's pretty obvious that Israel can control its aggression better than the Palestinians can. It's time for Yasser Arafat to take action against his own dissident groups. He needs to demonstrate that he is capable of controling them, otherwise it seems rather pointless for Israel to negotiate with his government.

NY Times: FoxNews Coverage of Afghanistan Unabashedly Pro-American

In the business section of The New York Times this morning, Jim Reutenberg reports that the Fox News Channel is encouraging reporters and anchors to take a pro-American position on daily events in the War on Terrorism. According to the article, "Ever since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the network has become a sort of headquarters for viewers who want their news served up with extra patriotic fervor. In the process, Fox has pushed television news where it has never gone before: to unabashed and vehement support of a war effort, carried in tough-guy declarations often expressing thirst for revenge."

Isn't FoxNews simply keeping the news of the day in context with the events of September 11? Why is the New York Times surprised, in the hundred channel environment of digital cable and DirecTV, that someone decides to do the news with a pro-America viewpoint?

One has to wonder why the Times doesn't connect this story with the kind of information being conveyed in Bernard Goldberg's upcoming book about CBS News. Don't FoxNews' editorial stance seem a lot more reasonable when placed in the same context with Goldberg's revelations about CBS? America needs Fox to be out there not just to cater to the tastes of conservative viewers, but also to provide an avenue for conservative perspectives within the media establishment to get a fair hearing.

November 30, 2001

Defector: Bin Laden Bought Taliban's Cooperation

In another indication of the way Osama bin Laden ingratiated himself with the Taliban leadership, The Washington Post reports that a defector claims that bin Laden freely distributed cash to Taliban leaders in exchange for the ability to act with impugnity in Afghanistan.

This article confirms what Bob Woodward reported in an October 11 article to which we pointed at the time. He based his article on U.S. government analysis of the situation inside Afghanistan, much of which was apparently developed by the CIA. Looks like they were right.

November 29, 2001

New York Times Profiles Jack Eichler

Julie Aiello pointed out that yesterday's New York Times contained a profile of Jack Eichler in its Portraits of Grief section. We remembered Jack in an article on October 3, the day before a memorial service was held for him in Cedar Grove, NJ. The loss of Jack Eichler devastated his family and friends, and is a constant reminder of why we fight.

We thank The New York Times for their commitment to tell the stories of everyone who was lost in the terrorist attacks on September 11.

New York Times Portraits of Grief Section Restructured

Yesterday, The New York Times restructured the on-line version of its Portraits of Grief section, where it profiles the people who died as a result of the terrorist incidents on September 11. Many people have lauded the Times for the outstanding research work and writing that have gone into creating these articles. Don Imus suggested on his radio program that the writers of this section be nominated for a collective Pulitzer Prize.

The problem with the on-line version of this section has been window format (all content appeared in a small pop-up browser window), lack of search tools (articles could only be found if their publication date was known), and lack of integration with the regular New York Times site (searches often did not find these articles). We believe that most of these issues have been addressed in the new design.

November 28, 2001

Dozens of Taliban Killed as Northern Alliance Retakes Fortress

Kathleen Aiello heard radio reports about the battle for a fortress outside Mazar-e-Sharif and asked what had actually happened? The BBC reports that Northern Alliance troops, backed by US and UK commandos, retook the fortress after three days of fierce battle. Their correspondents report scenes of carnage: "...scores of corpses were strewn around, including 40 in one area smaller than a {soccer field}. Dozens of dead horses also littered the scene...."

Rush Limbaugh Compares and Contrasts George W. Bush with FDR

Rush Limbaugh has had an opinion piece published in today's Washington Post. In it, he compares George W. Bush's latest executive orders to those that Franklin D. Roosevelt issued during World War II. Limbaugh is right to make this comparison at this time.

As he points out, FDR forcibly detained 120,000 people of Japanese descent, 70,000 of which were American citizens at the time. Limbaugh says that the Bush Administration has detained only about 1,000 resident aliens who have overstayed their visas, have criminal records, or have links to terrorist groups. He also takes this opportunity to speak out on Bush's executive order establishing military tribunals and its implications for The Bill of Rights and our civil court system.

Rush Limbaugh singles out Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy for criticism. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Leahy is blocking consideration of many judicial nominees. He has made the rounds of "the Sunday talk shows" protesting Bush's approach to identifying accessories to terrorist activity. Limbaugh says Leahy's judicial blockade is enhancing the need for military commissions and we agree. In our view, Senator Leahy can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.

November 26, 2001

AXA to Cancel All High Risk Industrial Insurance Policies

The Financial Times reports that AXA has announced that it may cancel all of its high risk industrial insurance policies in France, because it is legally required to provide terrorism coverage on such policies and reinsurers are not willing to hedge this risk anymore. Subsequent reports indicate that AXA has decided to cancel all of these policies. Other insurers in France are expected to follow this move.

This action is designed to force the French government to step in and provide some guidance and support to the industry. However, the fact that an entire class of insurance is being cancelled in a major industrial country is an important development and ought to concern people who care about financial continuity.

November 24, 2001

Ad Hoc Widows Groups Keep Pressure on City Government

The New York Times is reporting that the New York City Government is under increasing pressure from ad hoc widows groups to treat the World Trade Center site with reverence. The article includes explanations of meetings that have taken place between Mayor Giuliani, the leaders of the uniformed services, and the widows of the victims. Although a lot of the pressure comes from widows of police and firemen, the widows of the victims are also aggressively seeking to influence the government.

The article says, "The emergence of so-called widows' groups is more than an expression of dissatisfaction with City Hall, or the anger stage in the cycle of grief. It underscores how no government could have planned for such wholesale sorrow. And it reflects the profound and complex needs created by a singular disaster whose levels of unfairness continue to unfold."

November 23, 2001

Experts Warn Again of Potential Terrorist Disruption of the Internet

Today's New York Times carries an article about the possibility that terrorists attacks against the Internet are likely in response to the war currently being waged in Afghanistan. In addition, hackers who are not affiliated with terrorist groups are using increasingly powerful tools to disrupt the operation of a large number of Web Sites.

This article does not merely reiterate the warnings against the Nimda worm and its derivatives. It also talks rather extensively about vulnerabilities in the UNIX SSH utility.

In our experience, concerns about these sorts of attacks are legitimate. We urge readers who operate servers on the Internet to apply the patches recommended by their hardware, operating system, Web Server, and database vendors. Servers that are insecure because they do not carry the latest security patches are the greatest threat to the unimpeded use of the Internet today.

Vatican Security Consultant Believes Pope is a Prime Target of bin Laden

Ananova reports that Vince Cannistraro, former head of counter-terrorism for The CIA and now a security consultant to The Holy See believes that Pope John Paul II is a prime target of Osama bin Laden. He also believes that al Qaeda will attempt an attack on the Vatican during the Christmas season "in revenge for the West's bombing of Afghanistan during the muslim holy month of Ramadan."

US Government Shuts Down Somali Telecom Firms

The BBC is reporting that the two telecommunication firms in Somalia have had their international access severed because the U.S. Government believes that the companies have extensive ties to al Qaeda. The companies, The Somalia Internet Company and al Barakaat are the leading international communications companies, and Somalia Internet Company is the country's only Internet Service Provider.

As we said in an article on October 10, Somalia appears to be the African country most like Afghanistan in that political turmoil has been exploited by a number of terrorist groups. This has made Somalia the host country for many terrorist training camps.

The al Barakaat company is of particular interest because it also had a money transfer network that is thought to have been used by al Qaeda in the past. In fact, the BBC article says that "Al-Barakaat, Somalia's largest company with interests in telecommunications, banking and postal services, closed its financial businesses after its assets were frozen." We found more information about this in a U.S. State Department Fact Sheet dated November 7.

November 21, 2001

Muslim Cleric in London Implicated in Spanish Investigation of al Qaeda

The Independent reports that Abu Qatada has been identified as the "spiritual leader" of al Qaeda in Europe by the Spanish anti-terror investigation that we first pointed out yesterday. According to this latest article, the indictment has now led to a total of 11 arrests in Madrid and Granada. The article further states that Judge Garzon has concluded that "Mr. Yarkas had four main contacts in Britain, the most important being Mr. Qatada. Three other contacts of the Madrid al Qaeda cell are named as Abu Walid, Abu al-Hareth and Abu Bashir. Mr. Walid is described in the indictment as 'Qatada's second man' and is said to have moved from Britain to Afghanistan. Mr. al-Hareth is described as the 'Osama bin Laden unofficial representative in the UK'."

November 20, 2001

Indictment in Spain Alleges Madrid Islamic Group is Affiliated with al Qaeda

Today's New York Times reports that Spanish Investigative Judge Baltazar Garzon indicted several members of a Madrid-based Islamic group for participating in activities which supported the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11. This group was also apparently involved in a foiled plot to attack the American Embassy in Paris as well.

The article characterizes the Islamic group, called Soldiers of Allah, as a terrorist cell affiliated with al Qaeda. In part, the article says that "Judge Garzon's account is based in part on years of telephone intercepts by the Spanish authorities. The document makes clear that Spanish intelligence has been watching Mr. Yarkas and listening to him in his interactions with other suspected Al Qaeda operatives around Europe and Asia since at least 1997."

The article also says that Judge Garzon has become well known internationally for attempting to have General Augusto Pinochet extradited from the United Kingdom to face charges that he violated the human rights of Spaniards who were in Chile at the time that Pinochet was the dictator there.

Tourism Suffers in Washington DC as Government Protects Itself

The Washington Post has run a number of interesting articles on the precipitous decline in tourism that has been experienced in Washington DC. In just today's paper there are articles about the decline in visitors coming from overseas (including illegal aliens) and the cancellation of White House Holiday tours for the general public. The latter article also alludes to the restrictions on the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, as well as the cancellation of regular tours of the White House and the Capitol.

We wonder if the wholesale cancellation of these tours is necessary. Major League Baseball managed to hold World Series games in Yankee Stadium this season without incident. The Capitol Police, the Secret Service, and the other security agencies ought to be able to come up with a plan to allow at least a more limited number of people to tour these facilities. People who wanted to see the White House would certainly understand additional security measures.

After September 11, we pointed out the high-profile effort by our ex-Presidents to demonstrate faith in heightened airport security by flying on commercial airlines. If the our nation's leaders want people to go back to living their lives as normally as possible, at some point they have to decide what the right balance is, between security and accessibility, for the tourist attractions in Washington.

November 19, 2001

Doonesbury Strip Shows Bush Thanking Terrorists for Attack on America

In another in an unending series of unfunny, partisan criticisms of conservatives, Sunday's Doonesbury strip depicts President George W. Bush thanking terrorists for attacking the United States. Cartoonist Gary Trudeau ought to know that the George W. Bush-as-idiot bit wasn't funny last year, and it looks really out of place now.

November 16, 2001

What is the Military Justice To Which Terrorists May Be Subject?

With all the talk of Military Justice, it would be nice if we knew:

  • who may be subject to it,
  • under what circumstances it will be used, and
  • what the conditions will be.

The White House has published the President's Military Order, and it answers most of these questions.

Senator Leahy Challenges Bush on Military Tribunals

Today's Washinton Times is reporting that Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy criticized President Bush's decision to impose military justice on foreigners suspected of terrorist activities. Leahy said that use of military tribunals might give the world the impression that the United States is seeking "victor's justice". The article quotes Leahy as saying: "We need to understand the international implications of the president's order, which sends a message to the world that it is acceptable to hold secret trials and summary executions, without the possibility of judicial review."

We wonder what Senator Leahy means when he says summary executions? The first article that comes up when you search Google for "summary execution" is an Amnesty International reports that says that the Taleban summarily executed "scores of Afghan civilians" in Yakaolang last December. According to the description of the incident, "A Taleban commander is alleged to have ordered his forces to kill all men between the ages of 13 and 70 whom they consider to be anti-Taleban."

Well, if that's what summary execution really means, then Senator Leahy ought to choose his words more carefully. No member of the Bush Administration will ever issue an order like the one that the Taleban commander allegedly gave. And, of course, it's outrageous to even hint at the prospect.

November 15, 2001

Fox Editorialist Likes Imus' Current Event Interviews

George Kuykendall pointed out an editorial by Eric Burns of Burns thinks that Don Imus is the "best interviewer on the air", at least when it comes to complex issues like the War on Terrorism. This is an interesting perspective, particularly because Imus appears on MSNBC, not Fox News.

The most questionable point made in this article is the one that Burns uses to try to get a laugh. Burns says of Imus, "...when he's not interviewing someone about the conduct of the war, he's probably telling a penis joke." If you are an Imus listener, answer this question: When is the last time you heard Imus tell a penis joke? The Imus In the Morning "cast" make jokes about the telling of off-color jokes all the time, but they don't do it much.

Central NJ Post Office Closings Put Some SAT Scores in Limbo

The College Board has not received SAT test results from dozens of high schools around the country because of the closing of post offices in Trenton and Princeton. Apparently test results from these high schools were sent by U.S. Mail, and happened to be passing through one of the closed post offices when contamination was initially detected.

This is a truly high profile side-effect of anthrax contamination. A lot of people are upset and frustrated about this, and relatively little of this kind of reaction has taken place to date. Of course, you can't compare the loss of SAT test materials to the deaths of postal workers from inhalation anthrax.

November 14, 2001

Times of London Finds Nuclear Bomb Plans in Bin Laden Safe House

Thursday's edition of The Times of London reports that they have discovered partially burned plans for a nuclear weapon in an abandoned Al Qaeda safe house in Kabul. Also found in the safe were plans for missles and bombs of various types.

The article says, in part: "While the terrorists may not yet have the capability to build such weapons, their hopes of doing so are clear. One set of notes, written on headed notepaper
from the Hotel Grand in Peshawar and dated April 26, 1998, says: 'Naturally
the explosive liquid has a very high mechanical energy which is translated into
destructive force. But it can be tamed, controlled and can be used as a useful
propulsive fuel if certain methods are applied to it. A supersonic moving missile
has a shock wave. That shock wave can be used to contain an external
combustion behind the missile . . .'"

Red Cross Buckles Under Pressure: Liberty Fund Will Go Entirely to Victims

The Washington Post is reporting that the American Red Cross has reversed itself and will distribute 100 percent of the Liberty Fund to the families of September 11 victims. Harold Decker, CEO of the Red Cross said, "Americans have spoken loudly and clearly that they want our relief efforts directed at the people affected by the Sept. 11 tragedies."

Too bad it took the resignation of the previous CEO and weeks of pressure from critics like Bill O'Reilly of the O'Reilly Factor to get them to change their policies.

Sky Marshals Stop Flight to Reagan National

The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. Sky Marshals ordered a USAirways flight to Reagan National Airport to land at Dulles yesterday. The Sky Marshals took action after a passenger failed to comply with the new FAA rule that requires that all passengers remain seated for the last 30 minutes of flights into Reagan National Airport. The passenger apologized, saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I just wanted to go to the bathroom."

The marshals did the right thing. The airline industry will only eventually return to normal if all passengers feel safe. Passengers will no longer feel safe unless everyone follows the instructions of the flight crew. The era of ignoring the instructions of the crew, for example, of passengers getting up before the aircraft is parked at the gate, ought to be over.

November 13, 2001

Library of Congress Creating Archive of September 11 Web Sites

ComputerWorld is reporting that The Library of Congress has announced that it is creating an archive of Web Site content about the September 11 disasters. The site is already accessible at

The archive site contains a means to suggest Web Sites that have content that ought to be included because of they contain relevant content. We have already submitted and for inclusion.

How the CDC Mobilized to Research Anthrax

Today's New York Times contains an article about the Centers for Disease Control's approach to investigating anthrax cases in New York City, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. The article begins telling the story from the time the second case of anthrax was discovered until now. It's an interesting article, but, it does not have technical details that would be interesting to our readers in the medical field.

One question that keeps rising out of descriptions of how governments operate public health agencies is how much of their information gathering involves the use of modern information technology? On the basis of things that are said in this article (such as, "But in the initial stages of the inquiry, communication among team members was difficult because some epidemiologists in the field were not privy to information gathered by colleagues...."), we think it is fair to ask that question.

November 12, 2001

Red Cross Discloses That Much Donated Blood Will Be Destroyed

A front page story in yesterday's Washington Post revealed that Red Cross officials collected hundreds of thousands of blood donations knowing that the blood could not be used for victims of the terrorist attack on September 11. They also knew that unfrozen blood has a shelf life of 42 days, and that there was no FDA-approved plan for freezing large quantities of donated blood. As a result, the Red Cross and blood banks across America will end up burning a large amount of donated blood in order to destroy it.

This is the latest in a series of troubling revelations about the management of the American Red Cross. The difficult part of reading these reports is understand which of them are legitimate criticisms and which are exaggerations. For instance, the Washinton Post emphasizes the amount of blood product likely to be destroyed, while the Red Cross places it emphasis on the fact that many blood donations will be used for platelets and plasma instead of whole blood. This information and more is available in the section of the Red Cross's site that discusses how donations made in the aftermath of the terrorist attack are being used.

November 9, 2001

NYFD Commissioner Von Essen Will Not Seek Reappointment

In an article that is as much a short biography as it is a news account, The New York Times is reporting that NYFD Commissioner Thomas Von Essen will not seek reappointment to his post in the Bloomberg Administration. Von Essen is a 31 year veteran of the department, who began his career at Ladder Company 42 in the Bronx.

This is another in a series of revelations about the New York Fire Department that is difficult for outsiders to understand. Everyone knows about the protest that rank and file firemen made at Ground Zero and City Hall in response to cutbacks in the number of firemen involved in the recovery effort. But, no credible explanation has been given for the humiliation of the Fire Commissioner by the men of the Department in the manner illustrated in this article. Regardless of the explanation, it reflects badly on the Department and the entire recovery effort.

November 8, 2001

Bill Clinton Says Attacks on America Are Payback for Past Injustices

George Kuykendall pointed out that The Washington Times is reporting that former president Clinton made a controversial speech at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service yesterday. In the speech, Clinton said that America is "paying a price today" for past social injustices including slavery and wars against American Indians.

Bill Clinton needs to realize that the people who are attacking us today weren't affected by these social injustices. To raise these issues, even tangentially, to the current war on terrorism is a disservice to America.

Currency Traders Allegedly Attempted to Use Attack to Hide Losses

The New York Times is reporting that a lawsuit filed yesterday alleges that traders at First Equity Enterprises and Evergreen International Spot Trading conspired to hide $105 million in missing funds by claiming it was somehow lost as a result of the World Trade Center attack on September 11. The lawsuit claims that three executives absconded with the money and were attempting to steal an additional $160 million from clients of the firms to cover up the original losses.

This is not the first report of an attempt to use the terrorist attack to cover up unrelated problems. Although the vast majority of loss claims will undoubtedly be legitimate, we have often wondered how many bogus claims would be filed for things like destroyed automobiles.

This kind of activity is insidious because fraud deprives those who have suffered legitimate losses of resources they deserve. Fraud investigations also delay the distribution of insurance settlements and charitable relief. Americans must have no tolerance for deception in this time of need.

November 6, 2001

Airline Yield Management Software Cannot Deal With Current Scenario

Art Iger, our friend at J.P. Morgan Chase, pointed out an article in yesterday's San Jose Mercury-News which discusses the huge problems that airlines are having filling seats on their flights. The article focuses on yield management software, statistical price modeling software that uses past demand for seats to determine future seat pricing. The issue is that the incidents of September 11 introduced a huge discontinuity in demand, and that has resulted in a significant reduction in the percentage of filled seats, which has persisted until now.

The concept of yield or revenue management is an interesting one to study. If you are interested, we highly recommend the book Revenue Management by Robert G. Cross as a non-technical overview. It is also available as an audiobook.

November 2, 2001

NYFD Members Protest Rescue Worker Cutbacks at Ground Zero

The Associated Press is reporting that three members of the New York Fire Department were arrested in a protest about a cutback of rescue workers at the World Trade Center site. The cutbacks were ordered by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and specified that no more than 24 police and 24 firemen be present at Ground Zero at any one time.

This is a sensitive issue which was bound to come up at some point. How long should the search go on for those that have been lost? If there are bodies which can be substantially recovered, they should be recovered and treated with respect. This is particularly the case with the bodies of firemen and policemen. No one wants bodies to be found at Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island next week or next year because contractors got too aggresive with debris removal.

White House Chief of Staff Recounts Role on September 11

An article in today's Boston Globe recounts White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card's speech before the Boston Chamber of Commerce. In his speech, Card makes news by saying that he may not stay in his post for too much longer, although it is not clear how he anticipates leaving.

But, the most amazing aspect of this article is the fact that it repeats the criticism of the President's actions in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Will the left in this country ever give up criticizing President Bush for not going directly back to Washington?

November 1, 2001

Fire Drill in Office Building Reflects New Seriousness

Dave Aiello wrote, "Today, I participated in a fire drill at a large corporate office building in Whippany, NJ. It was the first fire drill I have witnessed since September 11. I was surprised at the seriousness with which the staff took the drill. Then, I remembered that the thought of the World Trade Center on September 11 must have crossed peoples minds. I know it crossed mine."

"Glad that people are not fooling around anymore. Too bad it took such a tragedy to make it happen."

NY Times: WTC Vault Space Intact

Today's New York Times reports that a security firm engaged by ScotiaBank is quietly recovering the gold that the firm held in a vault in the basement of the World Trade Center. The implication of this article is that several basement storage areas in the World Trade Center may contain undamaged, or only slightly damaged, goods.

If the U.S. Government storage areas are not damaged, law enforcement agencies with offices in the World Trade Center might not have lost as many pieces of evidence and records of investigations as previously thought.

October 30, 2001

Scheduled Guests of NYC-based Talk Shows Cancelling in Droves

Tuesday's Wasington Post reported that entertainment-oriented talk shows based in New York are having a tough time booking celebrity guests. This is the result of the tendency by West Coast-based celebrities to change their travel schedules to avoid visiting New York City.

We wonder how long the public will put up with this sort of thing, considering the fact that President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in World Series Game 3. America really must move on, and everyone has a role to play-- particularly celebrities.

October 27, 2001

Woodward: CIA and FBI Suspect Domestic Groups Are Spreading Anthrax

In a front page article in today's Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen report that top FBI and CIA officials believe that one or more U.S.-based extremists are likely to be the source of the anthrax attacks that have been discovered so far. The article also says that these terrorists are probably not connected Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

If this is the case, we hope that the FBI and CIA will terminate these people with extreme prejudice, and not treat their actions as a "police matter".

October 26, 2001

UK Newspaper Says Death Toll in NYC May Be Overestimated

The Friday edition of The Guardian reports that a number of media outlets are speculating that the death toll in the destruction of the World Trade Center may be overestimated. Estimates of the number of dead provided by the City of New York continue to be in the neighborhood of 4,900, while those of three major U.S. media outlets are in the range of 2,600 to 3,000.

If this is the case, it would be a wonderful development, and yet another reason to praise the work of the police and firemen who sacrificed their lives to save others.

Friedman: We Are Alone

On today's Op-Ed page of The New York Times, Tom Friedman wrote an opinion piece called We Are Alone. In this article he says, "My fellow Americans, I hate to say this, but except for the good old Brits, we're all alone. And at the end of the day, it's U.S. and British troops who will have to go in, on the ground, and eliminate bin Laden." He comes to this conclusion after reciting a litany of conditions that different countries have placed on their participation in the alliance against terrorism.

Friedman also points out a situation that has not come to light in any news reports we've seen. He says : "... you know how much the Saudis respect sovereignty - like when the Saudi Embassy in Washington rushed all of Osama bin Laden's relatives out of America after Sept. 11 on a private Saudi jet, before they could be properly questioned by the F.B.I."

Unfortunately, Friedman has a history of holding Israel to a far higher standard of conduct than its enemies. We should all be glad that he has come around to telling things like they are, but it must be a painful adjustment for someone who looked the other way so many times in the past.

ABC Suspends Reporter for Comments on Anthrax

Yesterday, USA Today reported that ABC News suspended anchorwoman Carole Simpson for unauthorized comments about the anthrax outbreak at ABC News. In addition, she indicated that Cokie Roberts of This Week had received an anthrax tainted envelope, which was not true. ABC is right to do this. No one should be injecting themselves into the news in order to look more important than they are.

October 25, 2001

WSJ Editor in Hospital with Mysterious Ailment

The New York Daily News is reporting that the deputy national editor of the Wall Street Journal is in a Westchester County hospital suffering from kidney failure, a perforated colon, and sepsis. Rich Regis was at Dow Jones' World Financial Center office on September 11, and may have "inhaled or ingested" something that made him seriously ill, doctors are reported to have said.

Italy Nabs Egyptian Who May Have Been Planning New Hijackings

The Times of London reports that Italian police picked up an unusual stowaway in a container ship at the port of Gioia Tauro in Southern Italy. According to the article, Rizik Amid Farid was locked in a container that had its own bed and toilet. Although illegal immigrants often stow away on container ships, he possessed two mobile phones, a laptop, and a camera.

Farid also possessed a number of documents that lead the police to believe he may have been planning to participate in a hijacking. These include airport employee passes for airports in Canada, Thailand, and Egypt, maps of airports, and other documents identifying him as an airplane mechanic.

October 24, 2001

Media Ignores NYC-based Muslim Cleric's Anti-Semitic Statements

In an article posted today on, Seth Lipsky points out that the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center in New York City reportedly made a number of anti-semetic remarks in connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11. Among other things the imam, Sheik Muhammad Al-Gamei'a, is reported to have said, "All the signs indicate that the Jews have the most to gain from an explosion like that. They are the only ones capable of planning such acts.... Jews control decision making in the airports and sensitive centers in the White House and the Pentagon. {America presented} no proof incriminating Osama bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida."

Comments of this nature are reported to have been made in Arabic newspapers and over Arabic broadcast outlets based in London and the Middle East. In this case, however, and the New York Times are both reporting that the comments were made by a Muslim cleric, in Arabic, while he was in the United States. Lipsky's column essentially asks why this cleric's comments have not been reported everywhere?

Another interesting development in this story is that the New York Times reported yesterday that Sheik Al-Gamei'a suddenly resigned from the mosque and moved his family back to Cairo, citing threats made against him and his family.

Taliban Using Human Shields

The Washington Post reports that Taliban fighters are hiding in schools and mosques and storing their weapons to avoid being hit by Allied bombing runs. This is exactly what the Iraqi military did when they could effectively respond to Allied attacks during the Gulf War.

The American media should keep this in mind when they hear reports that Allied forces have struck targets that appear to have civilian purposes. This is war. Everyday people, like postal workers, have died here in America. As far as we are concerned, no facilities in Afghanistan should be sacrosanct.

New Jersey Issues Public Health Alert

As we mentioned in a previous article, the State of New Jersey issued a public health alert in an attempt to identify anthrax cases that occurred after September 11 and possible future anthrax cases. The health alert asks hospitals to immedicately begin:

  • Reviewing records of patients who had blood cultures or cerebrospinal fluid cultures performed at presentation and were admitted to an intensive care unit since September 11, 2001.
  • Reviewing the clinical findings of patients with microbiology laboratory results possibly indicating infection with Bacillus anthracis.
  • Reviewing records of emergency department visits for persons with unexplained respiratory failure.

Additional information of this nature may be found at

Postal Administrators and Public Health Officials in New Jersey Criticized

The New York Times reports that postal workers and union officials are criticizing the performance of officials in the handling of the Anthrax exposure at the Trenton regional mail facility. According to the article, "public health officials have issued a statewide alert, warning doctors and druggists to be on the watch for any flu symptoms that might mask a case of anthrax and to report them to the state immediately."

The postal union officials say that state and federal public health officials should not have allowed work to continue inside the regional mail facility while testing was taking place.

We located the public health alert issued by the NJ State Department of Health and Senior Services mentioned in the article. The state health department has issued a number of other press releases and advisories related to anthrax exposure.

October 23, 2001

Fire and Policemen Get Multiple Standing Ovations at Rangers-Sharks Game

Dave Aiello wrote, "Last night, my sister Julie and I attended the San Jose Sharks - New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Although this was probably the third most popular game of the night in the New York Metro Area (behind the Yankee game and the Giants-Eagles game), a large number of New York City police and firemen turned out. Every time the public address announcer or the scoreboard announced the presence of a group of fire and policemen, they were recognized with a standing ovation."

"The repeated cheers for New York's Finest and Bravest were appropriate, considering that this was also the game where the Rangers welcomed Adam Graves back to the Garden. He is now a member of the San Jose Sharks."

Ashcroft Implicates Hamburg-based Terror Cell in September 11 Attacks

The Associated Press reports that Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that a terrorist cell in Hamburg, Germany was heavily involved the attacks on September 11. Ashcroft named three fugitives and said that they were being sought in connection with the planning of the attacks. German Interior Minister Otto Schily also participated in the press conference.

Washington Post Explains Mail Sorting Machines' Possible Roles in Anthrax Outbreak

An article on page A11 of today's Washington Post begins to explain how postal workers could have contracted pulmonary anthrax with minimal exposure to anthrax-tainted mail. According to this article, pulmonary anthrax can be contracted if the right kind of anthrax spores are suspended in the air. The spores may have been made airborne in the Washington DC postal facility by the routine cleaning of the sorting machinery.

This is a scenario that we thought was unlikely as late as last night. However, the Washington Post article points out: "Tests performed on monkeys between the 1940s and 1960s indicate that a person must inhale at least 8,000 to 10,000 spores to develop inhalational anthrax. The amount of material would weigh only eight thousandths of a millionth of a gram, and would not be visible to the naked eye...."

1997 Editorial Explains Saudi Internal Politics and Foreign Policy

A lot of people have questions about Saudi Arabia's reliability as an ally in the war on terrorism. We found an issue of the Jerusalem Letter that contained an article called Saudi Arabia in the 1990s: Stability and Foreign Policy. The article seems particularly useful in understanding the positions that the Saudi government is taking in the current conflict.

This article was written in 1997 by Mordechai Abir of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. It explains the personalities of the three leading figures of the Saudi royal family, and their attempt to respond to the political demands of the well-educated Saudi middle class while appeasing the more militant factions in their society. The article also points out parts of Wahhabi culture that make Saudi Arabia one of the most xenophobic countries in the world.

This article makes it clear that the Saudi leadership realized more than five years ago that they had a number of foreign relations problems that were primarily caused by side-effects of Saudi internal politics. But, many of these political problems have arisen because of half-steps toward liberalization taken by the Saudi royal family as far back as 1980. Westerners have not paid much attention to these problems, and are now reacting with surprise as they all appear to rise to the the surface simultaneously.

WSJ: Helicopters Might Have Saved WTC Victims

Normally, we do not point to articles in the Wall Street Journal because it is a paid subscription site. However, this front page story talks about the possibility that helicopters could have saved victims of the World Trade Center disaster.

Helicopters were used to evacuate a small number of people from the roof of the World Trade Center after the bombing in 1993. But the operation, executed by the NYPD Aviation Bureau, was severely criticized by the New York Fire Department who claimed it was unnecessary.

After 1993, the Port Autority and the New York Police and Fire Departments continued to discuss the possibility of helicopter rescues at the World Trade Center in the future. But, the Port Authority and the Fire Department sided with each other, forcing City Hall to create a compromise plan for use of the Police Aviation Bureau which made it very difficult to officially use the group to save trapped people.

The policy, combined with security procedures that absolutely prohibited access to the roof of the North Tower, contributed to the fact that no rooftop rescues were attempted, despite the obvious presence of the helicopters.

October 22, 2001

Two Postal Workers Apparently Die from Pulmonary Anthrax

Tuesday's New York Times has an article on the death of two Postal workers in the Washington, DC area, apparently from anthrax. Looking back at our article that began asking questions about anthrax, we have begun to wonder if the public is being told of the true scope of the attack on the U.S. Postal Service and certain customers.

It was hard to imagine that a number of people at the Capitol could be infected with anthrax through the one anthrax-tainted letter known to have been sent to Senator Daschle. It is even more difficult to believe that two postal workers could have died from simply being in the vicinity of this one letter as it passed through a major mail handling facility.

New York PBS Station Still Impared by Disaster

Dave Aiello wrote, "Earlier today, I heard a radio ad for WNET, the PBS affiliate in New York City, also known as Channel 13. The ad said that the station's transmitter had been destroyed in the destruction of the World Trade Center, and that it had not yet been replaced. Since I watch everything on cable or satellite, I had not realized that WNET had not been able to resume normal broadcast operations."

"The Channel 13 Web Site has an article describing what over-the-air viewers must do to receive their signal. The fact that they are attempting to broadcast from Alpine, NJ, and not from an antenna like the one on the Empire State Building indicates the scope of the difficulties that all broadcasters are facing in New York. But, the challenge must be that much greater for a non-profit like Channel 13."

Law Enforcement Probes Huge Candy Sales at Warehouse Clubs in NJ

Over the weekend, The Bergen Record reported that thousands of dollars of halloween candy were purchased in large transactions at warehouse clubs in North Jersey. In addition, a report on radio station WPHT in Philadelphia, indicates that a similar transaction took place at a Sam's Club in South Jersey, late last week.

Postal Worker in DC Comes Down With Pulmonary Anthrax

The Washington Post reports that a postal worker in Washinton, D.C. has contracted pulmonary anthrax and is seriously ill. This is the first confirmed case of pulmonary anthrax since the two cases in Florida were discovered.

It's hard to imagine how a postal worker at a sorting facility contracted pulmonary anthrax without opening tainted mail pieces unless spores were being forced out of them by automated mail handling machines.

October 21, 2001

CIA Given Free Reign in Dealing with Bin Laden

In the Sunday Washington Post, Bob Woodward reported that the CIA has been told to do "whatever is necessary" to kill Osama Bin Laden. According to the article, this directive is the "most sweeping and lethal covert action" that the CIA has undertaken since its founding in 1947. We agree that they should do whatever it takes, and not stop with Bin Laden.

Senator Clinton Booed Unmercifully at Tribute Concert

The Drudge Report says that Senator Hillary Clinton was booed and jeered by New York City police and firemen at a televised, fundraising concert that occurred Saturday. Drudge reports that one policemen standing near Senator Clinton was overheard on the cable channel VH1 shouting, "Get off the stage! We don't want you here!"

The incident took place during a concert called America: A Tribute to Heroes.

October 20, 2001

Modern Ventilation Systems Don't Transport Anthrax Well

The New York Times is reporting that bio-warfare and HVAC experts do not consider modern building ventilation systems a good transport media for anthrax spores. The article said, "finely ground, weapons-grade spores containing anthrax would
be quickly diluted in any ordinary office building and at least partly filtered by a standard
office ventilation system, as long as it was up to current standards..."

The misuse of a building ventilation system to spread anthrax was one of the things we questioned in our article What is "Weapons Grade Anthrax" Anyway?, earlier this week.

October 19, 2001

Suitcase Containing Explosives Found at Philadelphia Bus Terminal

The Drudge Report pointed out the Philadelphia Inquirer story that reports that The Philadelphia Bomb Squad removed a suitcase containing 1/3 of a pound of C-4 explosive from the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Center City. The suitcase had been placed in a locker on September 29, removed from the locker on October 3 and placed in the Lost and Found. The explosive was discovered today when the building staff went through the baggage that had remained unclaimed for 14 days.

Iraqi Dissident: Muslim World Cannot Blame US for All Its Ills

The Guardian published a powerful opinion piece by Kanan Makiya entitled Fighting Islam's Klu Klux Klan. Makiya is an Iraqi dissident currently teaching in the United States.

...grievances alone do not explain the apocalyptic act of fury that was unleashed upon New York and Washington. Arabs and Muslims need today to face up to the fact that their resentment at America has long since become unmoored from any rational underpinnings it might once have had; like the anti-Semitism of the interwar years, it is today steeped in deeply embedded conspiratorial patterns of thought rooted in profound ignorance of how a society and a polity like the United States, much less Israel, functions.

Noonan Calls Upon Americans to Profile Young Arab Men

In her regular weekly column on, Peggy Noonan calls upon Americans to profile young Arab-looking men. She says:

No one likes "racial profiling," "ethnic profiling," "religious profiling." But I see it this way: If groups of terrorists took out two huge buildings and part of the Pentagon and killed 5,000 people and then decided to unleash anthrax and it emerged that those terrorists were all middle-aged American blond women who tend to dress in blue jeans and T-shirts and like to go by Catholic churches and light candles, I would be deeply upset not only because the terrorists had done what they'd done. I would also be upset because they were just like me! I fit their profile! I look like them! I act like them! Everywhere I went people would notice me and give me hard looks and watch what I was doing. I would feel terrible about this. But you know what else I'd do? I'd suck it up. I'd understand. I wouldn't like it, but I'd get it, and I'd accept it.

Profiling got a bad name because the NJ State Police were a little too aggressive in their investigations on The New Jersey Turnpike. But, there is nothing wrong with profiling as an anti-crime technique. If someone told you that a burglar was at large in your community, the first question you would ask is: What does he look like?

Continue reading "Noonan Calls Upon Americans to Profile Young Arab Men" »

Doctors Say Anthrax Damage is Mainly Psychological

Reuters reports that "psychological damage to society" from biological and chemical attacks could well be greater and longer lasting than any physical impact. The article says, in part, "Judging by the anthrax scares around the globe, the persistent images of spacesuit clad medics on television screens, and cautious assurances uttered by shaken politicians to a jittery public, the psychological effects are already evident."

Refer back to what Senator McCain said in the New York Times yesterday: "More people have been struck by lightning in the last 10 days, I'll bet,
than have contracted anthrax. The country badly needs to settle down."

Special Forces on Ground in Afghanistan

The Washington Post reports that Special Forces has landed in southern Afghanistan. Since many of us cannot visualize what cities are in southern Afghanistan, here is a map of Afghanistan that was produced by the CIA.

Note that Kandahar or Qandahar is located in southern Afghanistan, up the road from the city of Quetta, Pakistan. This is where the Taliban stronghold was, at least prior to the beginning of hostilities.

Families of Victims Struggle for Financial Survival

Another article in USA Today explains the dilemma that faces families of people lost in the terrorist attack. In spite of the fact that over $1 billion has been raised for relief, and over $20 billion in combined aid is likely to be available from private entities and governments at all levels, many families have not received much money.

Now is not the time to blame the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald or any other company whose offices were destroyed. We call upon the states and federal government to take decisive action to coordinate the relief efforts. Families need to know what they can expect to receive, so that they can make their plans for the future.

Franklin Park "Stunned" by Implication in Anthrax Case

The USA Today reports that residents of Franklin Park, NJ are stunned by the implication of their town in the anthrax cases. This article recounts the fact that the return address for the anthrax-tainted letter sent to Senator Daschle's office had a Franklin Park, NJ return address. It also points out that there were a number of obvious errors in that return address, as we noted in our analysis on October 17.

The USA Today article says, "People here immediately recognized two inconsistencies. There is no Greendale School in Franklin Park or anywhere else in the vicinity, and 08852 is not Franklin Park's ZIP code. But - and many found this chilling - there is a Greenbrook elementary school in nearby Kendall Park; 08852 is located in neighboring South Brunswick; and there is a grammar school in that ZIP code, Monmouth Junction Elementary."

October 18, 2001

Pennsylvania State Funds May Have Been Used to Finance Terrorism

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that the FBI is investigating the transfer of $210,000 in Pennsylvania state funds through a series of counterfeit checks. These funds were drawn through checks payable to people with Arabic names and cleared through banks in Florida and Texas. Once a pattern was identified, Pennsylvania auditors and their clearing banks reportedly stopped the theft of an additional $90,000.

Although attempted fraudulent use of state funds by passing bogus checks is a regular occurance across the United States, the article says that the "difference this time was the size of the checks, timing and links to Arabic names."

What is "Weapons Grade Anthrax" Anyway?

The Washington Post did its part to inform a nervous public by publishing an article which explains the terminology that public health officials use to describe an infectious agent's potential to cause disease. This is helpful, because many news accounts that were published yesterday, like The New York Times article Anthrax Mailed to Senate Is Found to Be Potent Form were loaded with unscientific but serious-sounding terminology.

Another question which has not been answered in print is how many people could be infected by the amount of anthrax that can be mailed in a Number 10 envelope? It's hard to believe that anyone is going to get pulmonary anthrax unless the anthrax is actually airborne. How much lighter could the anthrax sent to Senator Daschle be than confectioners' sugar? And, what is the likelyhood that confectioners' sugar sent in a business envelope would make it into a building's ventilation system?

John McCain has the threat in proper perspective, in our opinion. In the New York Times article Sense of Unease Grips Anthrax Preoccupied Washington, McCain said: "We have had one death from this stuff, and three other confirmed cases. Two of those three are a milder form of the disease. More people have been struck by lightning in the last 10 days, I'll bet, than have contracted anthrax. The country badly needs to settle down."

October 17, 2001

Postal Service Provides Mail Handling Safety Tips

The US Postal Service has posted a document called What To Do If You Receive An Anthrax Threat on their Web Site. It takes the form of a Frequently Asked Questions document, and includes criteria that can be used to identify suspicious letters or parcels.

Among the criteria: "{articles} have no return address, or have one that can't be verified as legitimate", and "show a city or state in the postmark that doesn't match the return address". As we stated in our analysis of the appearance of the anthrax-tainted envelopes, the envelopes sent to Tom Brokaw and Senator Daschle both fail these two criteria.

Justice Department Releases Photo of Anthrax-Tainted Letters

The Associated Press published a photo of the envelopes from two anthrax-tainted letters. A couple of issues with these envelopes obviously stand out:

  1. Return address errors on letter to Senator Daschle. There is no Greendale School in Franklin Park, NJ. The Franklin Park zip code is 08823, not 08852.
  2. Envelopes bought at a Post Office. The envelopes in the picture are on sale a Post Offices throughout the United States. Many post offices have cameras in the customer service counter areas. According to other news accounts, between 40 and 50 post offices feed their outgoing mail through the Trenton Regional Postal Service Center. So, any video tapes at those post offices ought to be reviewed.
  3. Handwriting looks the same on both envelopes. Handwriting analysts ought to have a field day with these envelopes. There are attributes of the handwriting that look unique (address printed in block and small block letters, strange angle to the lines of text, etc.).

You may say that the address errors would be difficult to catch in places like a Senator's office, due to mail volume. But, the zip code error is easy to spot, if you are matching 5 digit zip codes to cities. If CTDATA was likely to be targetted by terrorists, we'd perform checks like this.

Were All Hijackers in on Suicide Pact?

An article in The Washington Post asks the question that has been floating around Talk Radio for days: Were all the September 11 hijackers aware of the fact that they were on a suicide mission?

There are many good arguments supporting the notion that a large number of the terrorists did not know the full details of their dastardly plan. One is that only a few of the terrorists left suicide notes, and the terrorists that did leave suicide notes were trained as pilots or were otherwise readily identified as leaders of hijacker groups.

October 16, 2001

Congresswoman McKinney Injects Herself in Saudi Donation Dispute

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on the continuing controversy over Representative Cynthia McKinney's letter to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The article tries to indicate that the Atlanta community is divided over the issue, with Arab-Americans supporting her stance, and Jews opposing it. Yet the on-line poll, appearing on the same Web Page as the article, is running 91 percent to 9 percent in favor of Rudolph Giuliani's rejection of the donation.

[ Text of the McKinney letter to Prince Alwaleed ]

Few Articles Focus on Trenton Post Office Role in Anthrax Cases

We are surprised at the limited number of articles that have run in major newspapers after the revelation that two of the letters involved in anthrax cases were postmarked in Trenton, NJ. Among the articles that were written, the Philly Daily News published the first article that included interviews of people in the Trenton area. According to the article, called More Caution, No Panic in Trenton, "...the people of Trenton say they're too battle-scarred from last month's terrorist attacks to let a little local biohazard scare them."

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's best newspaper, Trenton mail hub becomes a center of disease fears: "... envelopes they handle might be carrying deadly bacteria such as anthrax. That concern was particularly on the minds of the 900 employees of the Trenton Processing Center in Hamilton Township, which on Sept. 18 postmarked the anthrax- laced letters that infected an NBC News employee and were sent to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.)".

The Trentonian, one of the two daily newspaper in Trenton, is running slightly modified wire service copy. It's primary value add is a locally-written headline.

The Washington Post headline Investigators Scour Post Offices in Fla., NJ for Clues to Deadly Mail's Source only has first hand accounts from the Florida postal distribution center, where the mail intended for American Media was handled. Although seven Washinton Post reporters contributed to the article, none of them filed their report from Trenton.

How PA Workers Saved 250-pound Quadriplegic Co-Worker from WTC

The Star-Ledger reports that nine Port Authority employees teamed up to save a quadriplegic co-worker from the 69th floor of Tower 1 by carrying him down on a special evacuation wheelchair. The group made it out of the World Trade Center with 10 minutes to spare.

Senator Clinton's Motorcade Runs Security Road Block, Injuring Policeman

On Sunday, Cablevision News 12 reported that New York Senator Hillary Clinton's motorcade injured a Westchester County police officer when it attempted to bypass a manditory security checkpoint at the Westchester County Airport. This story was publicized on a few New York City radio stations yesterday, but it took a little while for us to locate, due to the fact that it was reported by a regional cable news outlet that we do not receive in Central New Jersey.

NY Times Tom Friedman: Saudi Royalty in Denial

Dave Aiello wrote, "It's a little hard to believe how much I agree with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, considering his dovish support of the Palestinian Authority in the past. But, in his column on the Op-Ed page of the Times today, Friedman is absolutely right to point out the huge inconsistencies in the policies of the Saudi royal family toward the current war on terrorism."

"Friedman points out the Saudi's act as if many of the leaders of al Qaeda were not originally from their kingdom. They have not owned up to the fact that they continued to fund the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after it became clear that the country had become a terrorism factory."

"Friedman calls upon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to rechannel the $10 million he tried to give to World Trade Center relief to change the political climate in the Middle East:"

So if you want to do something useful with your $10 million, then endow an anti-corruption
campaign in Saudi Arabia, or endow American Studies departments in all Saudi universities,
or endow a center of Islamic learning in Saudi Arabia that would focus on the teachings of
reformist Islamic scholars. Or give the money to Seeds of Peace, which brings Arab and
Israeli youth together, or invest in development inside Saudi Arabia or Palestine, so young
Saudis and Palestinians can find fulfilling jobs. Or persuade King Fahd to say publicly that
if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, Saudi Arabia would lead the Muslim world into
diplomatic relations with Israel.

October 15, 2001

Article Exposes Limitations of Verizon's Lower Manhattan Network

Today, The New York Times published an about the vulnerability of the Verizon infrastructure in Lower Manhattan and the problems that resulted from the World Trade Center attack. The article provides a detailed (non-technical) explanation of the vulnerability of the Verizon facility at 140 West Street. This building is so close to the World Trade Center that falling rubble and steel girders hit it, damaging switching gear dedicated to J.P. Morgan Chase.

It appears that the financial services companies that supposedly have technology risk assessment programs were caught with their pants down. According to the article, "Only after Sept. 11 did executives from the financial services industry in Lower Manhattan come to realize just how many of its eggs were in that one 75-year-old building."

Giuliani to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

The Telegraph reports that New York Mayor Giuliani is to be given an honorary knighthood for leadership in the World Trade Center attacks. The announcement was made by Buckingham Palace, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

Thomas Von Essen and Bernard Kerik, representing the Fire and Police Departments, will also receive honors.

Infectious Disease Specialists Serving as Seninels in Bio Threat

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a front-page story about doctors specializing in infectious diseases and their role in quickly identifying biological warfare attacks. The doctors interviewed work at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City.

Although they spend most of their time consulting on the care of patients with troublesome post-surgical infections and AIDS, they are keeping up to date on developments in biological warfare agents that could be employed by terrorists against targets in the United States.

Hani Hanjour Said to Have Been A Study in Paradoxes

The Washington Post has an interesting article on Hani Hanjour, the terrorist who is believed to have crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

The article provides descriptive information that can be used to profile potential members of al Qaeda: "Hanjour's meek and introverted manner fits a recurrent pattern in the al Qaeda network of unsophisticated young men being recruited as helpers in terrorist attacks. FBI agents have told people that they have interviewed about Hanjour that he 'fit the personality to be manipulated and brainwashed.'"

700 Arrested in Terrorist Sweep of United States

The New York Times reports that 700 people have been arrested in conjunction with the investigation on terrorism. Federal officials believe that these arrests "had broken up several active Al Qaeda cells in the United States."

Yes, but Americans want to know how many of these people were in the United States illegally? And, when will those people and any similarly-situated family members be deported?

Ex-Kuwait Government Official Denounces Kuwait as "Hesitant and Timid"

Judith Miller reports in the New York Times: "In a stunning denunciation of what he called a 'shameful' betrayal of the United States, a former Kuwaiti government minister and member of the ruling family has scorned what he called his country's 'hesitant and timid' support for America's war against terrorism."

Sheik Saud Nasser al-Sabah is further quoted in the Times: "I say that this country of ours is kidnapped, hijacked by groups that call themselves Islamic but in truth use Islam as a cover and a garb for political goals." The New York Times article quotes extensively from an article in Asharq al-Awset, a popular Saudi-owned newspaper published in London.

Al Qaeda May Have "Radiological" Weapons

Bill Gertz reports in the Washington Times that al Qaeda may have created radiological weapons, which are primarily designed to deliver large amounts of radiation as opposed to a nuclear blast. Such weapons would attempt to maximize death in a relatively confined area.

The article also refers to possibility that al Qaeda may have built simple chemical weapons that require limited technological expertise. These weapons would contain chemicals like chlorene and phosgene as their payloads.

Al Qaeda Tells Muslims to Avoid Planes and Skyskrapers

The BBC has reported that Al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith warned Muslims in the US and UK not to travel by plane or live in skyscrapers. The warning was broadcast over the Al Jazeera news network.

Abu Ghaith added another demand to the litany he has previously recited: now Al Qaeda wants the Western countries to stop supporting the Hindus against the Muslims in Kashmir. Kashmir is an area which India and Pakistan have been struggling to control.

Diatribes like these are losing their impact. It was important to see and understand these statements early in the crisis, so that the threats could be better understood. But, Westerners who believe in God are not infidels, and no harangue for extremists like Sulaiman Abu Ghaith will change that.

We are re-evaluating our approach to reporting on Al Qaeda's communiques because they have more value to their own members and friends as propaganda than they do to us as insight into what they are planning.

October 12, 2001

Strong Anti-Terrorism Bill Passes Senate

The Senate passed a very strong anti-terrorism bill last night 96-1. Many of the provisions of this bill have been sought by law enforcement officials for some time. Passage of this bill was not hailed in all quarters: Slashdot thought passage of this bill was tantamount to the destruction of freedom.

Airport Security Firm Hired Felons

The Washington Post reports that Argenbright Security, the company that provides security at Philadelphia International Airport hired employees with criminal records, even after being fined for doing so.

A quick Google search for "Argenbright Security" indicates that this company has had plenty of trouble in the past, including problems at O'Hare with the FAA and problems with labor law violations at LAX.

FBI Issues Most Wanted Terrorist List, Warning About Potential Attacks

In the last 48 hours, The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a Most Wanted List of Suspected Terrorists and a warning of the potential for new terrorist attacks in the next few days. We are posting links to this information in order to help the FBI spread the word.

Further details on the circumstances surrounding the FBI attack warning can be found in an article in today's Washington Post.

NY Times Says Bush Has "New Gravitas"

Don Imus pointed out that The New York Times Editorial Board completed its 180-degree change of perspective on the George W. Bush presidency today. According to their editorial, "The George W. Bush who addressed the nation at a prime-time news conference yesterday appeared to be a different man from the one who was just barely elected president last year, or even the man who led the country a month ago. He seemed more confident, determined, and sure of his purpose and was in full command of the complex array of political and military challenges that he faces in the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. It was for the most part a reassuring performance that gave comfort to an uneasy nation."

Small Businesses Feel Neglected by Recovery Effort

The New York Times reports that small businesses in Lower Manhattan see themselves benefitting less from recovery efforts than large businesses. For some reason, newspapers and magazines focus on restaurants and newsstands when they want to illustrate small business problems. But, there are hundreds of businesses in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere in the region that have been terribly hurt by the disaster. CTDATA is one of them.

October 11, 2001

Giuliani Rejects $10 Million Gift from Saudi Prince

In a remarkable demonstration of political courage, NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani rejected a $10 million donation from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for the Twin Towers Fund, citing a political statement in a press release that accompanied the donation.

The press release included the following statement, attributed to Prince Alwaleed: "However, at times like this one, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. I believe the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause. Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek."

Giuliani, who was not aware of Alwaleed's statement when he initially accepted the check, said upon being informed of the statement: "I entirely reject that statement. That's totally contrary to what I said at the United Nations {referring to his speech last Monday}. There is no moral equivalent for this act. There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people. And to suggest that there's a justification for it only invites this happening in the future. It is highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous."

NJ Families Struggle to Cope, One Month Later

Today's Star-Legder describes the plight of support groups in Northern New Jersey trying to help survivors and families of people lost in the World Trade Center deal with their grief. The article discusses the situations at Family Services of Morris County, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Chatham, and a newly-created group called The United Fund in Westfield.

Over in The Daily Record, Matthew Katz interviews survivors of the World Trade Center. Patrick Farnan, a 25 year-old survivor from Parsippany, is quoted as saying, "You know when it rains, you see rain flowing into the gutter? Well, just imagine blood. It was the sickest thing you can imagine."

Taliban: a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of bin Laden

On the front page of today's Washington Post Bob Woodward reports that Osama bin Laden has given over $100 million to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Woodward says, "government sources said, the CIA has concluded that bin Laden 'owns and operates' the Taliban, highlighting the pervasive influence that bin Laden and his al Qaeda forces exert within Afghanistan."

White House Asks TV Networks Not to Air bin Laden Statements Live

Yesterday, the Bush Administration asked TV Networks to limit the use of video tapes provided by al Qaeda. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice held a conference call at 9:00am to warn that "long, prerecorded statements issued by bin Laden and his spokesmen to frighten Americans and inspire supporters, and could even included coded messages that could result in new attacks."

CTDATA has published links to translations of bin Laden and al Qaeda statements. We do not consider these translations to be a vehicle for coded messages because the translation into English is done by a third party (in most cases, the BBC). Also, by separating the text from the video, abuse by techniques like steganography, coded eye blinks, etc., is not possible.

Al Qaeda Launders Money Through Honey Trading

The New York Times reports that Osama bin Laden uses a network of shops that sell honey to generate income for and provide logistical support to al Qaeda, the terrorist network that he created. Apparently, honey is an important part of people's diets throughout the Middle East and other predominantly Muslim countries like Pakistan.

Included in this article is a diagram of the al Qaeda Organization, including a list of five companies that are reportedly fronts for the terrorist network.

October 10, 2001

Boston Globe: Hijackers Sought Prostitutes on Night Before

The Boston Globe is reporting that the hijackers of United Flight 175 and American Flight 11 contacted escort services with the idea of using them on the night of September 10. This is a great article because it calls into question the terrorist's belief in their supposed reward in heaven. It also illustrates the scope of the FBI investigations that are taking place in Boston, such as questioning cab drivers and escort service workers.

Recalling the article that Bob Woodward wrote for the Washington Post two weeks ago, you have to ask if all of the hijackers were on the same religious wavelength as Mohammed Atta? If they were, then what were the hijackers who stayed the previous night in Boston doing trying to hire prostitutes?

ESpeed and TradeSpark May Be Only Viable Businesses for Cantor Fitzgerald is reporting that eSpeed and TradeSpark are the only viable businesses left for Cantor Fitzgerald unless it hires a completely new traditional brokerage staff in the United States. For those who do not know, eSpeed is an electronic bond trading marketplace, while TradeSpark is an electronic energy trading marketplace.

In other developments related to Cantor Fitzgerald, callers to NYC talk radio stations have complained that the families of lost Cantor employees do not expect to receive bonus payments due to their loved ones and other forms of deferred compensation. The company attempts to address many of these issues on the Benefits Page of its Emergency Information Web Site.

Special Forces May Be Featured in Next Phase of Attack

Today's New York Times lead story indicates that The Pentagon is planning to use helicopter gunships to attack bin Laden's forces in ways that high altitude bombing cannot. Special forces based just outside Afghanistan are likely to make these attacks.

Al Qaeda Exhorts Muslims to Join Jihad

The BBC published the text of a new statement from al Qaeda calling upon Muslims to wage war on the Allies. This statement was read by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, one of Osama bin Laden's leading lieutenants.

The text of the statement is full of apparent quotations from the Koran. Abu Gaith begins with a particularly sensitive passage instructing Muslims to avoid associating with Christians and Jews.

The rhetoric in this statement is among the most inflamatory used since the beginning of hostilities. Al Qaeda is apparently not interested in encouraging a peace movement in the United States or other Western nations. Any educated person who reads this statement would come to the conclusion that al Qaeda hates anyone who does not adhere to their religious and social views.

Blair, Visiting Troops in Middle East, Receives Death Threats

The BBC reports that Scotland Yard is investigating a statement allegedly made by a Pakistani spokesman for a British-based Islamic group. Agence France Press claims that the spokesman for Al Muhajiroun said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a "legitimate target" for Muslims.

Blair is travelling in the Middle East, visiting troops and political leaders who are part of the military alliance. He indicated that such threats are just part of his job.

Taliban: Bin Laden Free to Wage Holy War Against U.S.

Reuters reports that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has lifted its curbs on Osama bin Laden and indicated that he is free to "wage holy war on the United States". This is a reversal of the Taliban's stated policy of three days ago. On Sunday, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef offered to detain bin Laden and try him under Islamic law if the United States made a formal request.

It is now obvious why the Taliban regime was never recognized by the international community as a legitimate government: its policies are subject to change without notice.

From our perspective, there is little difference between the policies of the Taliban and the so-called War Lords who have controlled Somalia since before the U.S. military intervened there in 1993. Recent reports in the BBC indicate that the situation in Somalia has not changed much recently and Somalia may be another base of terrorist activity against the industrialized nations. It will be interesting to see if the Allies take action in this country in the coming months.

October 9, 2001

What is al Jazeera?

The Guardian has an interesting article on al Jazeera, the 24 hour Arabic-language satellite TV station. Many of the staff come from an ill-fated Arabic BBC TV service, which failed because a Saudi company responsible for transmitting it was pressured by its government into pulling it off the air.

As the article says: "That would have been the end of it had the Emir of Qatar not offered $100 {million}, spread over five years, to fund a new and independent-minded TV station. Ready-trained staff from the BBC channel joined it en masse, bringing - as they see it - BBC values with them."

Bush Orders Enhanced Protection of Classified Information

President Bush ordered members of his cabinet to limit the amount of information shared with Congressional rank and file. According to the article, the Attorney General, the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury, and the Directors of the CIA and FBI, have been ordered to brief only the senior leadership of Congress.

Some reports have indicated that this policy was undertaken in response to a leak of information from a confidential intelligence briefing given to members of Congress.

Breaking Out of a WTC Elevator

The New York Times tells the story of six men who escaped from an express elevator in the World Trade Center by breaking through a sheetrock and tile wall, and walking down an escape stairwell from the 50th floor. One of the men in the elevator was a window washer, so they used the edge of his squeegee to dig through the sheetrock.

Apparently, the wall between the elevator shaft and the bathroom consisted of three one-inch thick layers of sheetrock and tile. The men were able to dig through two layers of sheetrock with the aid of the squeegee edge. This is an amazing story of survival and well worth reading.

NY Times Publishes Excellent Article on State of WTC Subfloors

Today's New York Times "Science Times" section publishes another excellent article about the exploration of the basements of the World Trade Center. We have followed this aspect of the recovery effort closely. Information about the state of the Concourse and the basements have been found in articles about the 1-9 Subway Reconstruction, the difficulty in initially reaching the debris field of the towers, and the early exploration of the WTC Concourse.

This information is important to putting the devastation in context. Many of us who have worked in Lower Manhattan are very familiar with the layout of the Concourse and the basements. Therefore, diagrams like the one included in today's article make it much easier to visualize the damage. Also, the PATH station for Lower Manhattan is in the basement of the World Trade Center, and full recovery of the area is impossible without restoration PATH service to the former World Trade Center or to a new station.

The diagram of the WTC basements included in this article is the best we've seen in any Web-based newspaper article. By looking at the layer of the cut-away called "Basement 6", you can see the route that the PATH tracks through WTC basements. The rails passed directly under 2 World Trade Center. This is probably the reason that three of the seven cars of an empty PATH train left in the World Trade Center station were crushed.

October 8, 2001

Times of London: Anthrax Might be "Inept" Attack on Newspaper Office

A New York-based reporter for The Times of London wrote an article for Tuesday publication which suggests that the anthrax outbreak in Florida may be a deliberate attempt to kill employees of a newspaper. The outbreak is known to have killed one employee of the Sun supermarket tabloid, and the bacteria has been found on at least one other man who works for the company.

A retired US Army biological weapons expert is reported as saying, "I cannot conceive of any way that it could be natural. What it does suggest is a somewhat inept person may have released it intentionally into the building and had a mixed bag of small and large particles and did not know what he was doing."

Text of Bin Laden Speech Published by BBC

The BBC posted a transcript of a message recorded by Osama Bin Laden and broadcast initially by the al Jazeera television channel, based in Qatar.

We point to the text of his message because we feel that it is important for people living in democratic countries to read his words. We post these links without comment.

WSJ Describes Its Recovery from the Disaster

Robert Bartley, the editor of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article on that describes the process of putting their paper together on September 12. This is a good article, because it explains the logistics and technology involved in this effort, in layman's terms.

October 5, 2001

20 Foot High Piece of WTC Deemed a Cross, Blessed by Priest

A 20 foot section of one of the buildings of the World Trade Center which was discovered two days after the terrorist attack, has been referred to by the rescue workers in the area as a cross. Many of the workers consider it a symbol of God's presence amid the rubble.

On Thursday, a Franciscan priest blessed the cross after it was hoisted into position atop one of the piers of a destroyed pedestrian walkway. [ Photo ]

How Google Handled The Terrorist Attacks

Richard Wiggins has written an interesting summary of Google's user interface adaptations as it attempted to help people find information about the terrorist attacks. This article appears on a Web Site called First Monday, a project of the University of Chicago Library.

Technologists generally agree that Google is the best search engine, in terms of its clean user interface and broad coverage of the Internet. But, it also demonstrated common sense in this case by deviating from its traditional look and feel. Furthermore, it continuously adapted its UI modifications as relevant content became more available.

October 4, 2001

British Government Summarizes Evidence Against Bin Laden

In a 70-point document that reads like an indictment, the British Government provides the world with ample evidence that Osama bin Laden and his associates in the al Qaeda Organization committed the atrocities that took place on September 11 in New York, Washington, and Western Pennsylvania. We salute British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government once again for their courage in laying out the case.

Clinton Didn't Do Enough to Stop al Qaeda

Rush Limbaugh writing on has concluded that Bill Clinton did not do enough to attack Osama bin Laden or stop the development of al Qaeda, late in his presidency. He provides information from the Associated Press and Jane's Intelligence Digest to support his conclusion.

In his piece, Limbaugh quotes Jane's, saying:

...the failure to deal with al Qaeda was due "to a political reluctance to take decisive action during the
Clinton era, mainly because of a fear that it might derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This was "combined with a general
complacency in Washington towards warnings that the U.S. itself (as opposed to U.S. facilities and personnel abroad) might be

Federal Agencies Pull Web Content for Security Reasons

Tomalak's Realm pointed out this St. Petersburg Times article, which provides details on some information that has been removed from Federal Agency Web Sites. The information removed includes everything from chemical plant disaster plans on the EPA Web Site to pipelines at the Department of Transportation.

Families Breaking New Ground with Memorial Services

Mary Jo Patterson wrote an article in today's Star-Legder that illustrates the different ways people are choosing to remember their lost friends and family members. If you compare this article to the one we pointed out last week which discussed hesitance to hold any sort of memorial services, it appears that many more relatives of those lost in the World Trade Center are progressing through the grieving process, with or without the recovery of remains.

The main point of the Star-Legder article, however, is that memorial services for those lost in the World Trade Center are quite vaired. Many are not involving funeral homes, opting instead for prayer services.

The thing that this article does not point out is that non-relatives who want to participate in memorial services for friends and neighbors are scrambling to keep up with arrangements that are often announced shortly before services take place. In the search for information about Jack Eichler's memorial service we discovered that's obituaries are running 24 hours behind print editions of the newspapers in at least some cases.

NY Times Describes Difficulty Strengthening Canadian Border

Today's New York Times talks about the difficulty of increasing supervision over the longest undefended border in the world. There is a solution: militarization. America ought to deploy the military across the U.S.-Canadian border, if only to see who and what is attempting to cross the border without passing through customs.

Obviously, this goes double for the U.S.-Mexican border.

Can anyone believe that the U.S. Border Patrol has only 8,000 men and that they are only planning to increase staff by 2,000? After all, there are over 39,000 uniformed officers in the New York Police Department alone.

October 3, 2001

Star-Ledger Tells Story of Stockbroker Statue in Liberty Plaza Park

The Star-Ledger is reporting that a statue called "Double Check" has remained intact across the street from One Liberty Plaza, near Ground Zero. The statue by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, was a small landmark in Lower Manhattan prior to the disaster. However, from the sound of this story, it has become a symbol of the disaster and the recovery.

For readers familiar with the disaster site, "Double Check" is a life-sized sculpture of a stockbroker seated on a bench in the park, looking inside his briefcase.

Greyhound Bus Crash in Tennessee Kills 6

Update: The Associated Press reports that a Greyhound Bus en route to Atlanta crashed in Tennessee, killing at least 6 and injuring about 30. A passenger initially claimed that a fellow passenger killed the driver by slitting his throat seconds before the crash.

According to the FBI, the perpetrator attacked the driver with a knife, but the driver survived. The attacker died, apparently as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. The attacker was traveling with a Croatian passport.

Tony Blair Makes Case for Attack on Terrorist Network

At the Labor Party Conference in Brighton, England yesterday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a speech that will go down in history as one of the greatest speeches of the Twenty-First Century. In making the case for action against terrorism, he said:

...So what do we do?

Don't overreact some say. We aren't.

We haven't lashed out. No missiles on the first night just for effect.

Don't kill innocent people. We are not the ones who waged war on the innocent. We seek the guilty.

Look for a diplomatic solution. There is no diplomacy with Bin Laden or the Taliban regime.

State an ultimatum and get their response. We stated the ultimatum; they haven't responded.

Understand the causes of terror. Yes, we should try, but let there be no moral ambiguity about this: nothing could ever justify the events of 11 September, and it is to turn justice on its head to pretend it could....

In Memory of Jack Eichler, Retired Executive

Dave Aiello wrote, "It is with great sadness that I point out Jack Eichler's obituary on According to my father, this obituary appeared in the print editions of The Star-Ledger yesterday."

"Jack Eichler was my aunt Joan Aiello's brother, and I saw him fairly often at family get togethers. Yet, my most vivid memories of Jack is running into him in the World Trade Center or the World Financial Center on my way to work at my consulting client J.P. Morgan Chase."

Continue reading "In Memory of Jack Eichler, Retired Executive" »

October 2, 2001

NATO Says U.S. Proved Terrorist Attacks Directed from Overseas

The Associated Press reported that NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson has said that the U.S. has provided "clear and compelling evidence" that Osama bin Laden was involved in the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington. Robertson said, "It is clear that all roads lead to al-Qaida and pinpoint Osama bin Laden as having been involved in it."

According to the article, the evidence presented was sufficient to fully invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which is the joint response to attack provision of the NATO charter.

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Transition Begins

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is taking the first steps in the transition of power that will take place when Governor Tom Ridge resigns to take the job as director of the federal Office of Homeland Security. Ironically, the first visible step is to change the governor's name on "Welcome to Pennsylvania" highway signs. Only people from the Northeastern United States can really appreciate the humor in this.

Restaurants to Create "Windows of Hope" Event on October 11

A number of restauranteurs have created a fund raising program to benefit the food service workers who were injured or killed in the World Trade Center disaster. Participants in this program, called Windows of Hope, will contribute at least 10 percent of their sales on Thursday, October 11 to the relief fund.

The Windows of Hope Web Site,, includes a directory of participating restaurants from coast to coast. CTDATA encourages all of its friends to find a participating restaurant, go out to dinner on October 11, and support the victims families and the restaurant industry.

Memorial Service for Cantor Fitzgerald Workers Held at Central Park

In dreary conditions yesterday, a memorial service was held for the deceased Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed employees at Central Park. Over 2,500 people including Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attended the service.

According to the article, Giuliani proceeded to a memorial service for the workers at Windows on the World. Senators Schumer and Clinton are reported to have attended the service as well, which was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side.

October 1, 2001

In Memory of Vito DeLeo, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineer at WTC

Dave Aiello wrote, "Anothony Crowdell told me that Vito DeLeo died in the World Trade Center disaster. Vito was a member of the Metropolitan NY-NJ Chapter of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association, a group that I joined over 10 years ago. Vito is the second person I knew through the sport of ice hockey to have died in the World Trade Center."

"I wanted to take this opportunity to say that Vito and his family are in our thoughts and prayers. I hope that one day someone in his family sees this rememberance and is comforted by it."

September 30, 2001

Star-Legder: Mass Transit in NJ at Breaking Point

Dave Aiello wrote, "I rode the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor service between Trenton and Newark for a few weeks prior to the World Trade Center disaster. At the time, it was apparent that you had to get on the train before 7 AM in order to have a comfortable ride. Parking is also impossible at most NJ Transit stations if you don't show up really early."

"Today's Star-Ledger has an article that illustrates the post-disaster problems. Among the many cited in the article: the $450 million Secaucus Transfer Station, designed to cut 40 minutes off the commute from Bergen County to Midtown, may not be able to open on schedule because there is no longer enough space on the trains that were supposed to take the passengers into Midtown. Riders on the Northeast Corridor who used to get off at Penn Station Newark are now staying on to Penn Station New York City because they cannot take the PATH to the World Trade Center."

"With services now exceeding capacity, the entire system must run flawlessly or else tens of thousands of commuters won't make it to work as planned. What will happen when the bad weather comes?"

September 28, 2001

NY Times: Damaged Portions of Subway Could Take Years to Rebuild

Today's New York Times reports that the damaged parts of the New York Subway system may take years to rebuild. Our reading of this article is that the damage to the 1 and 9 subway lines, in particular, is similar to that which could be expected if Lower Manhattan had been hit by a major earthquake.

The article explains that many subway lines serve Lower Manhattan, in part because there were larger numbers of residents and workers in Lower Manhattan when construction began 90 years ago. The article does a poor job of explaining the effect that the loss of these subway lines will have on commuting. During peak commuting times, all of the lines are heavily used. If they are not restored to service soon (and the article strongly suggests that at least one will not), commuting into and out of the area will continue to be a hardship.

Lance Armstrong Visits Rescue Workers, Victims Families

Three time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong visited New York City on September 21 and 22. He is reported to have consoled families of people missing in the World Trade Center and rescue workers. He visited the Family Assistance Center, the FEMA and OEM headquarters, a number of firehouses, and Ground Zero itself.

According to the report, Lance Armstrong said, "That city has done so much for me, I'm happy to go - but this isn't about publicity, it's about helping those who need it."

Woodward Analyzes Terrorists' Prayer and Plan Document

The Washington Post published an article by Bob Woodward which analyzes a document found in Mohammed Atta's baggage that was written in Arabic and was apparently meant to guide and motivate the terrorists in the execution of their attacks. Excerpts of the English translation of this document also appear on the Web Site and in today's newspaper.

Woodward provides a chronology of the last day of Mohammad Atta's life. He explains that the FBI came to posess this document because Atta's baggage, which he checked at the airport in Portland, Maine, failed to make it on to the connecting flight that ultimately crashed into the World Trade Center. A similar hand-written document was apparently found in the wreckage of the plane that crashed in Western Pennsylvania as well.

Buchanan Calls Upon Americans To Support Administration's Approach to War

Pat Buchanan wrote an editorial in USA Today earlier this week which calls upon all Americans to support the Administration's effort to build a coalition to fight terrorism.

The editorial points out an open letter, signed by 41 foreign policy scholars-- a group that Buchanan refers to as "the entire neo-conservative establishment". He says that the letter asks President Bush to "target Hezbollah for destruction and retaliate against Syria and Iran if they refuse to cut all ties to Hezbollah and move militarily to overthrow Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Failure to attack Iraq, the neocons warn Bush, 'will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.'"

Buchanan says that early attacks on Hezbollah, Iraq, Syria, and Iran would cause the war to "metastasize into a two-continent war from Algeria to Afghanistan, with the United States and Israel alone against a half-dozen Arab and Muslim states." He argues that this is precisely the war that bin Laden's forces had been trying to foment with their recent attacks.

It's hard to know whether his conclusions about the result of pursuing a hard-line agenda with respect to the war are the right ones. We also have to keep in mind Buchanan's animosity toward Israel and its interests in the past. But, in the end, Buchanan argues for a moderate approach to the prosecution of the war (at least initially) and support of the Bush Administration. In this we agree.

FBI Asks Americans to Tell What They Know About Terrorists

Yesterday, The FBI published photos of the men accused of hijacking the planes used in the terrorist incidents on September 11. They have asked the public to help provide more information about them.

We recommend that our readers review these photos and contact the FBI if they ever encountered any of these people.

Ex-Presidents Fly Commercial to Promote Return to Air Travel

Several articles have come out in the last few days saying that former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush have chosen to take commercial flights to demonstrate their faith new security procedures and encourage the public to start travelling again. This type of public activity is terribly important, and serves a similar purpose to the role that the British Monarchy played during The Blitz in World War II.

Public efforts by people like President George H.W. Bush and California Governor Gray Davis aren't the cheap "photo ops" that had become infamous in the past few years. These are attempts to boost public confidence and inspire people. We have to look at these efforts for what they are: attempts to boost America's morale in time of war. On that basis, they are welcomed and further demonstrations of this nature ought to be encouraged.

Noonan: God Is Back

Dave Aiello wrote, "Over on Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan has an editorial called God is Back. The column contains a number of anecdotes which point to more open discussion and practice of religion in New York City in the wake of the World Trade Center attack."

"At the conclusion of the column, she suggests that America may have come full circle since the October 1965 article in Time Magazine where an Emory professor asserted that 'God is dead.' However, I don't think that this point resonates with people who are under 35 as she might want."

"For people like me who are not imprinted by the Time Magazine article, the most important passage in her column may be this:"

... I know her faith... because some little taboo or self-editing or reticence has lifted in the past few weeks. People are feeling a little less self-conscious about integrating their actual thoughts about their faith into the actual statements they make to friends and family, to coworkers and colleagues.

Dave Aiello said, "I have further comments on Peggy Noonan's column and the notion that God is a higher priority in American's lives than He was a month ago. Read on for more..."

Continue reading "Noonan: God Is Back" »

September 27, 2001

"War on Terror" Section of Created

Dave Aiello wrote, "In order to better organize the coverage of the terrorist incidents at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the recovery effort, and subsequent military actions, I created a new section of The section will be called War on Terror, and a static page for it is located at"

"Initially, I thought of calling it Aftermath of September 11, but then I considered the fact that this name might turn out to be limiting."

"I plan to include everything in the War On Terror section that occurs in response to the terrorist incident, but there will probably be stories posted that have less to do with the events of September 11 than with the war itself. Please let me know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions."

NY Times Interviews Six Technology Experts on Future of Tech In Wake of Incidents

The New York Times has published a round table conversation with six technology experts. The subject is the future of technology in the post terror incident world. The panelists are Ray Kurzweil, Peter Neumann, Bruce Sterling, Lawrence Lessig, Severo Ornstein, and Whitfield Diffie. It's a good discussion and worth reading.

CD and DVD Planned from Telethon for Terrorist Victims

E! Online reports that executives from Interscope Records have begun securing publishing rights for a tribute album and DVD taken from the telethon "America: A Tribute to Heroes". This was the commercial-free telethon held on September 21.

This article contains a fairly complete list of the artists who participated in the telethon. Some readers may be interested in that list because some of the none of the artists were identified during the broadcast.

NY Times: Grief is Difficult for Families Who Have Not Received Loved Ones Remains

The New York Times has published another excellent article, this time about the logistical difficulties of having traditional funerals and memorial services after the World Trade Center disaster. Many religious and social rites are made more difficult or impossible by the absence of the dead person's body.

This points out one of the great problems underlying this tragedy. Many families are simply unable to bring themselves to hold services for a dead relative whose body has not been found. Yet, many bodies will take months to identify because they have been dismembered. Many more will never be identified because they were incinerated by fire.

People need to begin to grieve. The easiest way to get through this would be for funeral or memorial services to be held soon. This way, friends and distant relatives can support the family of the deceased person. Until such services are announced, it is impossible for anyone but the immediate family to express their sense of loss.

In Memory of John M. Pocher, Bond Broker at Cantor Fitzgerald

Dave Aiello wrote, "The other day I learned that John M. Pocher had died in the terrorist incident at the World Trade Center. He was a 36 year old bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald. I knew John 20 years ago when his brother Michael was my teammate on the Essex County Chiefs Bantam 'B' Team."

"I was not one of John's close friends. But, he was a constant presence in our locker room back then. His family is a terrific group of people. I just wanted to take a moment to remember him, in the hope that one day one of his family or friends sees this rememberance and is comforted by it."

September 26, 2001

Terrorists Apparently Tried to Obtain Hazmat Transport Licenses

On Imus in the Morning, Tom Friedman pointed out the article in the New York Times that reveals that about 20 men arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks attempted to obtain hazardous materials drivers license endorsements. Friedman said that until he read this article, he had not been too nervous about terror attacks directly impacting him at home.

The Times article says that some of the people under arrest had also tried to obtain permits to transport explosives and poisons.

Reuters Won't Use Word "Terrorist" to Describe WTC Bombers

The National Review published an editorial written by John O'Sullivan which argues that Reuters should change its policy and refer to the World Trade Center bombers as terrorists. It's hard to believe that Reuters has persisted for so long in this ridiculous doublespeak. Even if the "perpetrators" had a legitimate complaint against the United States, any reasonable journalist would call the killing of six or seven thousand civilians a terrorist act.

What do you call someone who participates in a terrorist act? A freedom fighter?

Telegraph: War Will Begin Within Days

The Telegraph is reporting that British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "Military conflict {in Afghanistan} will be unless the Taliban change and respond to the ultimatum given to them." This article also said that Downing Street announced that Parliament would be recalled for one day on Thursday of next week. Leaders of the British political parties had previously indicated indicated that the House of Commons would be convened only after military action had started.

In another development discussed in the same article, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar increased tension by saying that the attacks on New York and Washington were to avenge US "cruelty" towards Muslim countries. He said:

The American people must know that the sad events that took place recently were the result of {your} government's wrong policies. Your government is perpetrating all sorts of atrocities in Muslim countries. Instead of supporting your government's policies you should urge your government to reconsider their wrong and cruel policies.

NY Post: Associates of bin Laden Attempted to Buy Mothballed 727

Today's New York Post reports that associates of Osama bin Laden attempted to buy a Boeing 727 in the United States earlier this year. The article admits that jet brokers are careful not to sell airplanes to people who appear to be involved in the drug trade. So, buying a wide-body jet might have seemed more difficult to the terrorists than hijacking a scheduled flight.

September 21, 2001

Bills Owner Donates 3,300 Tickets to Emergency Personnel

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. has donated $130,000 worth of tickets to local police, fire, and rescue personnel according to the Associated Press. Wilson said, "I wanted to honor these groups of people on the local level in a way that says, 'We appreciate you and thank you for your bravery.'"

The article goes on to point out that Wilson was in a hotel room in Arlington, VA, about two blocks away from the Pentagon, when the hijacked airplane crashed into the building on September 11.

MapQuest Provides Good Aerial Photo of WTC Site

Dave Winer on Scripting News pointed out this aerial photo of the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

Although we are pointing to this disturbing satellite photo for its relevance to the terrorist incident in New York, it is an example of the kind of powerful mapping services available to everyone on the Web since MapQuest and GlobeXplorer have created a mechanism that unites their two services. The MapQuest Web Site can provide an on-demand map and a satellite photo for most addresses in the United States. It is not clear why some addresses do not have photos at this time, but many do. Here is an example, using Wrigley Field in Chicago: [ street map | aerial photo ].

The best resource available on GlobeXplorer's Web Site is the before and after pictures of the disaster sites in the USA.

Pre-season NHL Game in Philadelphia Ended by Bush Speech

Ira Podell of the Associated Press wrote, "When President Bush started his speech to Congress on Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers were tied 2-2 during the second intermission. His address was shown in the arena, but when it was time to get back to the game, the fans spoke up."

"The start of the third period was delayed and then called off as the 19,117 in attendance demanded to watch the president's speech instead." [photo]

September 20, 2001

Time for Radio Free Afghanistan

The New York Times published an essay by William Safire today called Equal Time for Hitler? where Safire points out asks the simple question "Why is there no Radio Free Afghanistan broadcasting the truth about the consequences of harboring the headquarters of terrorism?"

We agree. Right wingers like Steve Forbes and Caspar Weinberger have been arguing for the increased use of Radio Free Asia and Voice of America to undermine the political legitimacy of regimes that are not acting in the interest of world peace.

We need to begin winning back the hearts and minds of people in places like Afghanistan. The media in many Islamic countries has broadcast undiluted Anti-Western rhetoric for too long.

NATO Explains Invocation of Article 5 Against Terrorist Attacks

When checking the NATO Web Site earlier, we noticed this new document explaning the rationale for invoking Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. We haven't seen any articles pointing to this on any Weblog or other on-line news site, so we point to it from here.

Among the more interesting passages is this:

Article 5 has thus been invoked, but no determination has yet been made
whether the attack against the United States was directed from abroad
. If
such a determination is made, each Ally will then consider what assistance it
should provide. In practice, there will be consultations among the Allies. Any
collective action by NATO will be decided by the North Atlantic Council. The
United States can also carry out independent actions, consistent with its
rights and obligations under the UN Charter.

{Emphasis added by CTDATA.}

This may be the reason why some foreign ministers in Europe have indicated that they are not necessarily committing troops to relatiatory military action.

September 19, 2001

After a Week, Rescuers Still Have Not Reached WTC Tower Wreckage

This morning, Ed Walsh on WOR Radio read this shocking quote from the New York Times:

Seven days after the disaster, contractors clearing rubble at the site said they had yet to reach even the area where the twin towers had stood, except occasionally with the aid of mechanical talons at the ends of huge cranes.

The article from which the quote is taken, At the Site, Little Hope of Uncovering Survivors, provides a lot of new statistical information about the scope of the rescue and recovery effort. However, it is even difficult for people who were at the World Trade Center every day to understand this article without a good area map. At the moment, the best map we have located is a map of the surroundings of the World Financial Center. This only shows the western half of the World Trade Center site, so it explains only part of the New York Times article.

Continue reading "After a Week, Rescuers Still Have Not Reached WTC Tower Wreckage" »

Ferry Services to Lower Manhattan Try to Replace PATH Service

The company called New York Waterway Ferry provides ferry services across New York Harbor. It established commuter services to supplement the PATH rail system in 1986.

At the time of the disaster, veteran commuters wondered where ferry services would land in order to get people into the Lower Manhattan area. Until September 11, most ferry service to Lower Manhattan landed at the World Financial Center, south of the New York Mercantile Exchange building and west of the base of Building 4. NY Waterway has announced that it will provide service to Pier 11, the pier directly south of South Street Seaport. Pier 11 is on the east side of Manhattan island, at the foot of Wall Street.

Apparently, NY Waterway had service running into Pier 11 prior to the disaster. However, this was not their typical service from New Jersey because it is a significant distance further from Harborside in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken than their landing at the World Financial Center.

Continue reading "Ferry Services to Lower Manhattan Try to Replace PATH Service" »

September 18, 2001

AP Story Describes Condition of WTC Concourse

Dave Aiello wrote, "In another heartbreaking story, Shannon McCaffery describes the remains of the concourse level of the World Trade Center:"

One floor beneath the World Trade Center, in what used to be a shopping concourse, a clock on a jewelry store {The Tourneau Time Machine} wall remained frozen at 9:10. A ghostly Bugs Bunny statue stood coated in gray dust outside a Warner Brothers gift shop nearby.

Continue reading "AP Story Describes Condition of WTC Concourse" »

Tom Clancy: First We Crippled The CIA, Then We Blamed It

Tom Clancy, in a piece in the Opinion Journal, tries to explain how America lost the political will to fund CIA covert operations. He writes:

Call it the law of unintended consequences. The intelligence community was successfully assaulted for actions taken under constitutionally mandated orders, and with nothing left to replace what was smashed, warnings we might have had to prevent this horrid event never came. Of course, neither I nor anyone else can prove that the warnings would have come, and I will not invoke the rhetoric of the political left on so sad an occasion as this.

NY Times Article Hints at Difficulty of WTC Excavation

Julie Aiello pointed out that today's New York Times has an article which describes the excavation that will be required to fully search the World Trade Center's basements. The article goes into some detail about the construction techniques used to build the outside, waterproof foundation walls. It also talks about the conditions of the PATH system from Exchange Place to the World Trade Center station, and certain subway lines including the 1-9 and N-R.

US Financial Markets Operate Smoothly on First Day

Congratulations to the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, the American Stock Exchange, and the other US financial markets for successfully restoring trading yesterday. They not only traded all day with no interruptions, but also made trading look smooth, in spite of tremendous volume.

As we pointed out last week, this achievement was not a foregone conclusion. There was a very good possibility that communication links would fail after trading resumed, because relocated facilities may not have been as redundant as the ones that existed prior to the disaster.

September 14, 2001

In Memory of Those Who Were Lost in the Attacks of September 11

President Bush has declared today a national day of prayer and rememberance. Therefore, we pause to remember our fellow citizens who have died, and we pray that God will give strength to those engaged in the rescue and recovery efforts. May He have mercy on us all.

September 13, 2001

Perl and Linux Communities Seek Whereabouts of Its NYC Area Members

We have identified a number of places where Perl and Linux user groups are collecting information about their Metropolitan New York-area members:

  • Damian Conway's list of Perl community members
  • disaster check-in (New York City Perl Mongers)
  • NYLUG disaster check-in (New York Linux User Group)
  • The World Trade Center Tragedy discussion on

Update: Mayor Giuliani has noted that a significant amount of the information posted to Web-based survivor lists is wrong or misleading. He asked people who are collecting this information to stop. Therefore, we have removed the links to these lists from our Web Site.

Data Communications Disruption May Hamper the NYSE

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Verizon's facilities in Lower Manhattan have been severely damaged. From our experience working for financial firms in that area, there are thousands of T1 lines and other private lines that interconnect the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, banks, and brokerage houses. There is no question that many of these will be impared or fully disrupted for some time. This article provides some anecdotal evidence of the amount of infrastructure work that needs to take place, beyond basic electricity, gas, and steam.

The contingency plans of all Lower Manhattan-based firms and organizations have never been enacted to the extent that they will be within the next few days. We can only hope that when the stock markets begin trading that they can take the orders, process them, and provide market data to their customers.

WSJ: Many People Avoided WTC Disaster by Coincidence

Dave Aiello wrote, "Today's Wall Street Journal is carrying an article entitled, She Got Laid Off, He Missed a Train; Such Lucky Breaks. The article tells the story of people who would normally have been in, or passing through, the World Trade Center at the time of the disaster but were not there because of unusual situations."

"I can relate to the people in this story, because I would have been passing through the World Trade Center on the day of the disaster, if the project that I had been working on at J.P. Morgan Chase had not been cancelled during the week of Labor Day. My friend Ray Weisner, a fellow Rensselaer alumnus, was not in his World Trade Center office on Tuesday because he was getting his teeth cleaned at his dentist."

If it is possible to link to the WSJ article from a public site, we will do so later today.

September 12, 2001

In Spite of Collapse, WTC Was One of Best Engineered Building in the World

The BBC is carrying a story that says: "The design of the World Trade Center saved thousands of lives by standing for well over an hour after the planes crashed into its twin towers, say structural engineers." This article is similar to articles that have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers.

When the first terrorist attack occured on the World Trade Center in 1993, it was clear that the plan was to cause an explosion in the sub-basement of one tower that would topple it, and either knock down the second tower or undermine it so that it could not be used. This week's attack was obviously planned with the previous failure in mind.

As time passes since the attack, the enormity and diabolical nature of the plan is settling in. Consider these facts:

  • at least 20 people were involved in the series of hijackings as members of hijacking teams,
  • more than four of the hijackers must have been trained pilots, capable of flying either Boeing 757s or 767s,
  • all flights were chosen based on the airplanes that the airlines were planning to fly, so that the hijack pilots could fly them,
  • all flights were chosen for their planned length, so that the hijacked planes would be full of fuel,
  • crashes into the WTC towers were staggered, permitting TV to cover the second crash live,
  • passengers in the hijacked planes were encouraged to call their families, increasing the terroristic effect.

No one could have assumed that both strikes on the World Trade Center would be successful, considering the complexity of the events. This is undoubtedly the most daring kamakaze attack in world history, and possibly the biggest tragedy in American history.

Kudos to Ed Anuff for pointing this story out.

September 11, 2001

World Trade Center Destroyed by Terrorist Acts

Dave Aiello wrote, "Of course you know by now that the World Trade Center has been destroyed by an orchestrated terrorist attack. I don't have anything to add to the news other than to say the following:"

  • Many friends know that I work in Lower Manhattan most of the time. Many have called different phone numbers trying to reach me. I am safe. I am in Central New Jersey.

  • I pray for my friends who I know were working in the area. I pray for the people who I've seen day after day on the PATH train. I hope all of them are safe. I am sure some of them are not.