Larry Silverstein made a sweet deal for himself prior to
the fall of the Twin Towers and WTC 7.
Of the promised $3.2 billion for the 99-year lease that
was estimated to be worth $8 billion, Larry Silverstein committed only
$15 million of his Properties' money - that is, less than half of .01 %
of the total financing.
He and his partners (mall-builder Westfield America and
a group headed by Lloyd Goldman) immediately took out insurance polices
worth more than $3.2 billion for their dream-come-true new holding.
On November 5, 2001 the Real Estate Journal
reported on the progress that Larry Silverstein, Lloyd Goldman, and
their partners had made toward rebuilding on the Twin Towers' site. The
REJ article stated that Silverstein had the support of New York
senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton (Larry Silverstein had
hosted parties for both politicians on his yacht the Silver Shalis)
as well as Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Senate Minority
Leader Trent Lott ,and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. REJ reported
that the mogul had hired Brad Card, brother of White House Chief of
Staff Andrew Card, to "work" politicians in New York. He was lobbying
for caps on liability from the WTC carnage and pursuing lawsuits against
insurers. He talked of building four 50-story buildings and a memorial
on the site.
The 11/5/01 REJ article concluded: "It also may
end up being a good investment. In the end, Mr. Silverstein may wind up
controlling 11 million square feet of attractive, lower-rise modem space
instead of 11 million square feet of 30-year-old space in New York's
tallest and most conspicuous buildings.
"'It should prove to justify the time, energy and the
psychic impact of what we've been through,' Mr. Silverstein says."
In February 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million
from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC Building 7.
Regarding the Twin Towers, Larry Silverstein and his
partners are locked in lawsuits with Swiss Reinsurance, the Towers' main
insurer, over whether the 9/11 attacks were one "occurrence" or two. The
lease-holders would receive $3.55 billion as a settlement if the attacks
are considered one occurrence. They would receive $7.1 billion - that
is, more than twice their investment, an investment that was itself only
20% paid for (and in the case of Silverstein Properties less than half
of .01 % paid for) if the attacks are determined to be two occurrences.
Whatever the result of the dispute with Swiss
Reinsurance, Silverstein Properties will receive billions in insurance
moneys and possibly more in state and federal funds to rebuild on the
At the time of their collapse the Twin Towers and WTC 7
needed extensive work to stay competitive as office-space in Manhattan.
As early as 1993 - the year of the basement-garage bombing by '"Muslim
terrorists"' that the FBI had anticipated from at least 1985 onward -
the WTC "was already passing its prime as office space, overtaken by a
generation of more recent, cybernetic ally 'smart' buildings with higher
ceilings and greater built-in electrical capacity," according to Eric
Darton's Divided We Stand.
Darton continues: "To maintain the trade center as
class-A office space commanding top rents, the PA" (the Port Authority,
then the WTC's owner) "would have had to spend $800 million rebuilding
the electrical, electronic communications, and cooling systems."
The new Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, created
by Governor George Pataki in November 2001, is to decide on uses of the
Twin Towers' site. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is
chaired by John Whitehead, he the former Chief Executive Officer of the
Goldman Sachs investment-banking firm and former Deputy Secretary of
State in the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration and he another
close associate of the Rockefeller family's.
Now I feel obliged to look at who died and who did not
in the World Trade Center attacks last September 11.
2,952 people is the current total of dead from there on
that day (we'll never know how many undocumented workers remain
uncounted beyond the official dead). 129 were passengers or crew aboard
the airliners. 479 were public-service personnel such as firefighters
and New York City Police. The remaining 2,344 were office-workers.
We can be thankful that the current total is times less
than the numbers that were broadcast on the day of "'9/11'" and in the
several weeks afterward.
Only one Chief Executive Office is among the total.
David Alger of Fred Alger Management headed a firm with offices on the
North Tower's 93rd floor, a firm that lost 34 others on 9/11.
The largest employer of workers in the Twin Towers was
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
The Wall Street Journal of 9/12/01 quoted Phil
Purcell, Chairman and CEO of MSDW, a brokerage and investment-banking
firm: '"Some 3,500 people working for Morgan Stanley's
individual-investor businesses were based in the World Trade Center
complex, and we are working diligently with local authorities to
determine the facts regarding their safety."'
We can be thankful that only ten Morgan Stanley Dean
Witter employees were killed last September 11.
We can also be thankful that only one Israeli died in
the World Trade Center on that day.
Early reports led to fears that dozens or even hundreds
of Israelis might have died on "'9/11.'"
On September 12, 2001 the Jerusalem Post wrote
that according to Israel's Foreign Ministry and its Consular offices
about 4,000 Israelis had been employed in the World Trade Center Towers.
Four days later, September 16, addressing Congress, President George W.
Bush linked Israel's tragedy to the United States' by saying that 130
Israelis had died in the attacks on the WTC.
On September 22, 2001, however, the New York Times
ran a piece that corrected President GWB. "There were, in fact," the
Times wrote about fatalities from 9/11, "only three Israelis who
had been confirmed as dead: two on the planes and another who had been
visiting the towers on business and who was identified and buried."
That is, there was only one death out of one
nationality's initial, supposed pool of 4,000 in the Towers.
That's a statistical anomaly of huge proportions. Two
other facts help to explain this anomaly.
In August of 2001 Israel's intelligence service, the
Mossad, repeatedly warned the United States that attacks such as those
of "'9/11'" were imminent. The Mossad sent agents to the CIA in
Washington with this alarm.
Further, on the morning of 9/11 an Israel-based
instant-messaging company, Odigo, e-mailed employees in its South Tower
offices that they should not go to work because their building was
likely to be attacked.
The investment-banking firm of Goldman Sachs may also
have warned its WTC workers. The 9/14/01 edition of CounterPunch
reported: "CounterPunch has also learned that an internal memo
was sent around Goldman Sachs in Tokyo on September 10 advising all
employees of a possible terrorist attack. It recommended all employees
to avoid any American government buildings."
Odigo's message and the reported Goldman Sachs' warning
somehow weren't conveyed to the tens of thousands who did come to work
at the World Trade Center last September 11. Nor were those thousands
warned by U. S. Government Agencies and officials.
Fiduciary Trust is yet another investment-banking firm.
Like J.P. Morgan and Lazard Freres before it, Fiduciary Trust wants to
serve big money or an exclusive elite. It's "for institutions and
wealthy clients." Five months prior to 9/11/01, Fiduciary Trust was
bought by Franklin Resources of San Mateo, California for $825 million.
Fiduciary Trust employed 645 people on five floors on or
above the 90th in the WTC's South Tower. 87 of those employees were
killed due to the "'9/11'" destruction.
Fiduciary Trust's Chairman and CEO, Anne Tatlock, 62,
was gone from her headquarters on "'9/11.'"
The February 1, 2002 San Francisco Business Times
reported: "On the morning of Sept. 11, Tatlock herself had just arrived
with a small group of business leaders at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha
for a charity event hosted by Warren Buffett. She then heard the news of
the first plane hitting the World Trade Center's north tower."
H'mm! Or: H'mm?
We should pause here to note other, curious, and
Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska is home to the United
States' Strategic Air Command Center.
The SACC is a two-level, 14,000 square-foot underground
structure that links directly with the National Military Command Center
in the Pentagon.
The SAAC may be imagined as a vaster, 21st-century model
of the bunker in which Peter Seller's Dr. Strangelove wanted to wage
nuclear war in Stanley Kubrick's 1963 movie.
The press release for the SAAC states: "Within seconds,
vital operational data can be displayed on the large wall display
screens or individual computer monitors…. The Senior Controller also has
a direct line to the National Military Command Center in Washington,
D.C., and to the other major command headquarters. This system, called
the Joint Chiefs of Staff Alerting Network, allows CINCSTRAT (the
Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command) prompt contact with the
President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and other unified commanders…. Through satellites and radio
networks (VLF, LF, UHF, and HF), the Command Center can communicate with
aircraft in flight over any part of the world. A principal purpose of
these networks is to pass National Command Authority orders to the alert
forces…. Although CINCSTRAT can launch aircraft for survival, only the
President can order nuclear strikes."
From the above paragraph, you may gather that the SAAC
should have helped to track and intercept the four off-course airliners
last September 11.
You may know, too, that Warren Buffet is one of the
world's leading financiers. His fortune of more than $50 billion makes
him widely listed as one of the five richest men in the U. S.
H'mm! Or: H'mm?
You also may now be exclaiming at certain coincidences.
How was it that "a small group of business leaders" were flown to
Nebraska and this particular Air Force Base - the AFB that's the
"nerve-center" of U.S. air defenses - and flown there for a "charity
event" hosted by Warren Buffet - very early on the morning of 9/11/01?
Who other than Anne Tatlock were among the "small group
of business leaders" is yet another question.
And these questions are but a few among the deeper
details of "'9/11'" that have yet to be answered.
President George W. Bush went to Offutt AFB later in the
9/11/01 day. President GWB left Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana
at 1:48 Central Daylight Time, arriving at Offutt AFB in the next hour.
From there he consulted by phone with his National
In March of 2002 financial speculator Warren Buffett
predicted that the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists was
In August of 2002 we in the U.S. have become familiar
with the charges by Strangelove-like Cabinet officers such as Dick
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld that Saddam Hussein of Iraq wants to wield
nuclear weapons against us.
Fiduciary Trust appears to have also profited from the
The 2/1/02 San Francisco Business Times reported:
"Through the first two weeks after the attacks, Franklin had paid out
$16.46 million in benefits payments to victims' families," but the firm
could "write off $19.8 million in lease, property, and equipment
leases," and that it could also "recover an estimated $27.2 million from
The difference between $47 million and $16.46 million is
about $30 million. Fiduciary Trust's payments to victims' families'
average about $200,000 per family.
Further, Fiduciary Trust's "integration" with Franklin
Resources has been enhanced after September 11, the 2/1/02 San
Francisco Business Times reported.
"With most of Fiduciary's physical assets destroyed, the
firm's back-office integration with Franklin - an ever-risky blending of
culture and technology - also was bumped up.
"We are now a year or more ahead on integration plans,"
Plus, Franklin and Fiduciary launched FTI Institutional,
its global sales effort aimed at institutional investors.
Given the overarching tragedy, however, Franklin and
Fiduciary officials, as well as Wall Street analysts, resist calling the
changes a silver lining.
"We want to show in September 2002 just how far we've
come," Tatlock said. "We want to have a powerful proof statement in
First Looks ... Last Looks
Let's look back at the WTC Buildings' collapse.
On September 14 a relatively obscure newspaper, the
Albuquerque Journal, ran a story that was headed "'Explosives
Planted In Towers,' New Mexico Tech Expert Says."
Van Romero, Vice President for Research at the New
Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, told the Albuquerque
Journal on 9/14/02: "'My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that
after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive
devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse.'"
Van Romero is "a former director of the Energetic
Materials Research and Testing Center at Tech, which studies explosive
materials and the effects of explosions on buildings, aircraft and other
structures," the newspaper in New Mexico wrote.
"Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled
those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures... .
"'It could have been a relatively small amount of
explosives placed in strategic points,' Romero said. The explosives
likely would have been put in more than two points in each of the
towers, he said.
"The detonation of bombs within the towers is consistent
with a common terrorist strategy, Romero said.
"'One of the things terrorist events are noted for is a
diversionary attack and secondary device,' Romero said.
"Romero said that if his scenario is correct, the
diversionary attack would have been the collision of the planes into the
On the afternoon of September 11 another engineer, David
Rostchek, reviewed TV coverage of that morning's catastrophe in lower
Manhattan. He posted his observations on the Internet.
David Rostchek remarked on how smoke from the fires in
the North and then the South Tower turned from white to black, a change
that showed the fires were cooling due to lack of oxygen, a change we've
"Then, later," Rostchek wrote, "the second building
suddenly crumbles into dust, in a smooth wave running from the top of
the building (above the burned part) down through all the stories at an
equal speed. The debris falls primarily inward. The tower does not break
off intact and collapse into other buildings.… The crumbling comes from
the top (above the damage). It moves at a uniform rate. All of the
structural members are destroyed in a smooth pattern, so there is no
remaining skeleton. The damage is uniform, symmetric, and total.
"In summary, it looks exactly like a demolition -
because that's what it is."
Last September, too, on the ABC News Website for 9/11 a
bystander on the ground below the Towers described what she saw and
heard: "'Lots of smoke and then the next thing I heard was an explosion
in the building from the top, the south building just crumbled, just
completely went down, I saw it,' said witness Joan Fleischer."
In July of 2002 the Public Broadcasting Corporation
(PBS) - sponsored by many of the financial institutions and oil
companies that had or have offices in the World Trade Center - presented
a documentary titled "Why the Towers Fell."
Over the course of this documentary's hour several
professors and engineers elaborated on the depiction/explanation that
the 767s' impact and the subsequent fire had caused the Towers' beams to
deform, snap loose, and collapse.
Not once, however, was any substance in either Tower
identified as able to burn hot enough to deform steel. One of the North
Tower's two above-the-impact-zone survivors, Brian Clark, in fact, said
that he'd seen nothing like "an inferno" as he passed downstairs through
the impact zone.
In August of 2002 the New York Times corroborated
this eyewitness with the piece that I've already quoted - that about the
two New York City firemen, Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer and Fire
Marshal Ronald P. Bucca, who reached the 78th floor, the Sky Lobby, of
the South Tower, about 45 minutes after United Airlines 175's impact.
Here's more of what the New York Times wrote:
"Once they got there, they had a coherent plan for putting out the fires
they could see and helping victims who survived…. At that point, the
building would be standing for just a few more minutes, as the fire was
weakening the structure on the floors above him. Even so, Chief Palmer
could see only two pockets of fire, and called for a pair of engine
companies to fight them."
1971 Don Paul (No. 36 in the picture to the left) was the
youngest winner of a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford
University, after Ken Kesey, Tillie Olsen and Robert Stone and before
Ray Carver, Alice Hoffman and Bill Kitteredge.
Between 1973 and 1980 he
was a logger or roughneck in northwest Washington, southeast Alaska,
Louisiana and Texas.
He held the World Road
Best for running 50 kilometers between 1982-94 and qualified for the
U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trial in 1980 and 1988.
In 1988 he began to put
poems to music by his brother Kenton. He's subsequently led or produced
more than 20 recordings, including the Rebel Poets compilations and
albums led by Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, India Cooke, Paul Plimley,
Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ben Goldberg.
Most recently he's
released two CDs, 5 Songs For The Bush Reich (available at
wireonfire.com) and Love Is
The Main Flame, and the books of poems
Pulsing and Flares.
He works with the organizations Housing Is a Human Right
and From the Ground Up in San Francisco.