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Jersey Girl Laurie Van Auken's Speech for the NYC Ballot Initialtive [View All]

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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-26-08 02:29 PM
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Jersey Girl Laurie Van Auken's Speech for the NYC Ballot Initialtive
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Edited on Tue Feb-26-08 03:10 PM by whereismyparty
Thanks, my name is Lorie Van Auken, and my husband, Kenneth Van Auken, was killed on September 11, 2001. On the morning of 9/11, Ken left me a message that said, I love you. Im in the World Trade Center. The building was hit by something. I dont know if I am going to get out, but I love you very much. I hope I see you later, bye. Ken didnt get out, and I never saw him again. From his message, I knew that he had survived the planes impact into his office building, WTC Tower One.

Six years after the event, thats about all I know. I dont know how Ken died. Perhaps he died in the fire of smoke inhalation, or maybe he was killed when the building collapsed, I suppose that I will never know. Since we didnt receive any of his remains, Ken never had a funeral. It turns out that almost everything about 9/11 was out of the ordinary, including the fact that it was never properly investigated.

When Bill Pepper asked me to be a part of a real investigation into 9/11, I found it difficult to say no.

The reason that we need an investigation into 9/11 is because we never actually had one. Almost 3,000 people were killed on September 11th, and many more have gotten sick and died from working on the pile at the WTC after the attacks. Oddly, there has never been a real look into how 9/11 could have occurred.

The 9/11 Commission was not a real investigation. It was political theater, and not a scientific, forensic analysis of the available evidence. The 9/11 Commission was comprised of politicians, not scientists, and not experts in relevant fields.

The family members who were involved with the Commission, actually had more questions after the 9/11 independent commission was completed, than we had before it began.

Questions like: 1. What happened to Americas military on 9/11? Hijacked commercial aircraft flew around the skies of America for almost two hours without a response from our military. American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane hijacked on September 11th, had its transponder turned off between 8:14 and 8:20 AM. That event alone should have triggered the militarys emergency response protocols and procedures. But it didnt. Emergency protocols, we later learned, are different from hijacking protocols. A plane without a transponder constitutes an emergency because of the potential danger posed by an errant plane flying around the crowded skies of the Northeast, or anywhere for that matter. Later on, when it became clear that the emergency was a HIJACKING, the militarys hijacking protocols should have gone into effect as well. Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania at around 10:06 Am. So from about 8:14 AM until 10:06 AM, on the morning of 9/11 Americas multi-billion dollar military was seemingly missing in action.

Question 2: NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the 9/11 independent commission three different stories with regard to their response on 9/11. We still dont know how NORAD and the FAA interacted or how they actually responded on September 11th. This is because we have never seen any evidence to support the testimony of NORAD and the FAA. All we have is their contradictory testimony which they presented in front of the 9/11 Commission. The almost complete lack of military response to the September 11th attacks has never been adequately explained. In fact, in the book Without Precedent, written by 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean and Vice-Chair Lee Hamilton, they say that the discrepancies that were presented to them by the U.S. military have never been resolved. Thomas Kean has been quoted as saying We to this day don't know why NORAD told us what they told us," ... "It was just so far from the truth...It's one of those loose ends that never got tied."

A real investigation into 9/11 would have revealed definitive evidence about the facts of what happened on that day. The loose ends should have been tied by now. Part of the reason for the lack of resolution was the limited time and funds allocated to the 9/11 Commission. The investigation into President Clintons exploits cost around $30 Million, while the investigation into 9/11 was allocated a mere $14 Million. Interesting priorities.

Question 3: Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta, testified before the 9/11 Commission on May 23, 2003. He spoke of a curious conversation between VP Cheney and a young man that took place on the morning of September 11th in the PEOC, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. This young man kept coming into the room to update Cheney on how far away American Airlines flight 77 was from the Pentagon. At the 9/11 Commission hearing, Mineta SAID: "During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President...the plane is 50 miles out...the plane is 30 miles out....and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president "do the orders still stand?" And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said "Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!??"

So, what were the orders? Mineta could only speculate because he hadnt actually heard the orders. The only people that would know what the orders were, would be VP Cheney and this unknown young man. To my knowledge, no effort was made to find the young man and question him before the 9/11 commission. It should not have been hard to find this young man as he would have to have been cleared by the authorities in order to enter the PEOC on the morning of September 11th. It is common knowledge that Cheney and Bush appeared in secret before the commissioners. They took no oath to tell the truth and no recordings or notes were allowed to have been taken. Nothing about what they said behind closed has ever been revealed to the American public. Perhaps they asked Cheney about his orders to this unknown young man, but we will never know.

Question 4: What about all the military exercises that were being conducted on September 11th? The only war game mentioned in the 9/11 Commissions final report is Vigilant Guardian, but we know that there were many others. At the final hearing of the 9/11 Commission, they played the tape of NEADS asking: Is this real-world or exercise? And we heard the FAA answering: No, this is not an exercise, not a test, recorded after flight 11 struck the World Trade Centers North Tower Tower One. Did the many military exercises cause unnecessary confusion and interfere with the militarys response on the morning of 9/11? Shouldnt we investigate that? And shouldnt the Commissioners have made a recommendation that would limit the number of war games allowed at any given time? Wouldnt we want to avoid confusing the military into utter uselessness in the future, insuring that the skies of the United States are protected AT ALL TIMES?

Question 5: The Pentagon is probably one of the most protected buildings in the world. At 9:38 AM, about an hour and a half after the transponder of American Airlines Flight 11, was shut off, the Pentagon was struck by a third hijacked plane. The Pentagon has many video cameras keeping a close eye on the building, and its airspace, which is at the heart of Americas defense.

By the third plane, 9/11 was no longer a surprise attack, how was our military STILL so unprepared an hour and a half into the attacks? And where is the video footage of whatever struck the Pentagon? Why havent we been allowed to see it? Why is that evidence still being kept from the American public? If there is nothing to hide, and they are telling the truth, why not release the videos?

Question 6: And which one of Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfelds stories about his whereabouts on the morning of 9/11 is true? As Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld was a key person in the chain of command on 9/11. He has told the public several different versions of how his day went on September 11th. Evidence should be presented to clear up the discrepancies.

Question 7: Why did the President of the United States remain in a classroom of elementary students, reading a book about goats, while America was under attack? If the Secret Service had done their job properly, President Bush would have been whisked off like VP Cheney said he had been, during the attacks. The Presidents whereabouts were published and therefore, public knowledge, and clearly he would have been a terrorist target. The children in that classroom were also put in an unnecessarily dangerous situation by keeping Bush there while the attacks were under way.

Question 8: A large part of the 9/11 story has been shaped by phone calls made from passengers and flight staff on the hijacked planes. Have you ever tried to make a cell phone call from an airplane? I have tried many times. I have attempted to place a call during take-off, during the flight and upon descending. My calls have been unsuccessful. The closest I ever came to having a conversation with someone from an airplane, was about a month ago when I tried to call Mindy Kleinberg, another 9/11 widow, during take-off in an American Airlines plane we have developed our own protocols, when she flies, she tries to call me, and when I fly, I try to call her. While on an American Airlines flight on October 16, 2007, upon my third try, the cell phone connection was made, and I spoke to Mindy for a few seconds before we were cut off. All I had time to say was hi, Im on the plane. I could not have imparted any meaningful information to her in our very brief conversation. By the way, the American Airlines plane that I was flying on was a 767, the planes on 9/11 were allegedly 757s and 767s, and there were no GTE phones in the seat backs of my plane. How did the people who called out from the doomed planes on 9/11, manage to do it? My little experiments have all been failures. Despite our attempts to find out, we still dont know which calls were claimed to have been from cell phones, and which were alleged to have been GTE operator calls. This information is a matter of record, easily subpoenaed for. Where are the experts who should have testified before the commission regarding cell phone technology in airplanes? Why is this information still being kept secret?

Interestingly, in a little noticed news item released in a BBC news article from 2004, Airbus said that it was planning to put in-flight mobile phone technology on its aircraft by 2006. To make it possible to use a mobile on a plane, Airbus installed a picocell that creates a small mobile phone cell onboard the aircraft. Calls via this base station were routed to mobile and fixed phones on the ground via Globalstar satellites. They also trialled several wireless network technologies such as Bluetooth, wi-fi and wideband CDMA. Airbus estimate that by 2006 it will be possible to use mobiles during flights.

Wouldnt that suggest that in 2001, the technology for cell phone usage from a plane was non-existent?

Question 9: What made World Trade Center 7 collapse neatly into its own footprint at 5:20 PM on September 11th? The 9/11 Commission is silent on the collapse of WTC 7, why? That building collapsed in exactly the same way that WTC Towers 1 and 2 did, but WTC 7 was not struck by a plane. In a PBS interview, Larry Silverstein, the buildings leaseholder, said:

"I remember getting a call from the Fire Department Commander telling me that they were not sure they were going to be able to contain the fire. I said, you know we've had such terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is 'pull it'. And they made that decision to pull. And then we watched the building collapse."

Wouldnt we all have liked to have seen Larry Silverstein sworn in before the 9/11 Commission in order to explain what he meant? After all, Mr. Silverstein signed a 99 year lease for WTC Towers One and Two, taking control of the buildings and insuring them in July of 2001, a mere six weeks prior to September 11, 2001. Why didnt the 9/11 Commission ever call upon Larry Silverstein to publicly testify? Why didnt the 9/11 Commission answer any of the questions about WTC 7, instead, ignoring it entirely?

Question 10: Who funded the 9/11 attacks? Wouldnt a real investigation follow the money to find the perpetrators? Instead we were told by the 9/11 Commission, that the funding of the attacks were of no real consequence.

And, for the record, whatever happened to the investigation into the Anthrax attacks of October 2001?

I could go on and on.

No one has ever been held accountable for the disastrous failures of 9/11. The people in positions such as these are trained to handle emergencies by following established protocols and procedures so that no one has to think about what should be done during the emergency. These procedures are developed and practiced to make them automatic, so that lives can be saved. On September 11th, protocols were not followed, yet no one at any level, was said to have been responsible for those failures. The 9/11 Commission told us that it was all due to a failure of imagination.

September 11, 2001 has been used as the excuse for almost everything that the Bush Administration has done since they have been in office. From launching a preemptive war in Iraq, to the hastily passed Patriot Act resulting in the assault on the civil liberties of all Americans, to outrageous economic deficits, and extensive military spending, which have all been justified by 9/11 and perpetrated in the name of the victims of September 11th including my husband. I can tell you that Ken would not have supported what this administration has done.

We need a real investigation into September 11th that follows all of the evidence, wherever it might lead, and the people that failed to do their jobs should to be held accountable. We need a real investigation into the events of 9/11 because without one, the ramifications are dire. Without the facts, the Bush Administration was able to falsely conclude that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 and invade that country. Without the facts, the EPA was able to falsely conclude that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe when it wasnt and instructed people to simply vacuum up the hazardous WTC debris from their homes and offices. In short, without a real investigation into 9/11, we get agendas imposed on us that are not in our interests. But most of all, we need a real investigation into September 11th, as a first step toward taking America back for ourselves and for the future of our children.
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