|By Clyde Lewis
"For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate."-The Book of Revelations
My phone rang early the morning of September 11th, 2001. Usually when the phone rings early it means that either I have overslept or that someone close to me has died.
It was neither.
The voice of the other end was my friend Jim.
"Clyde wake the fuck up, a plane has hit the world trade center and the Pentagon is in fire!"
I wiped the sleep from my eyes wondering if I was dreaming.
I turned on the television just at the moment that a plane had hit the tower in New York.
It takes a while for the tired mind to register what looked like a clip form a Bruce Willis flick.
I threw on my clothes and walked to the corner market. There was no time to shower, no time to shave. I just needed coffee and a cigarette to try and clear my head of what I just saw.
As I walked out the door I looked into the Contrail laden sky and thought is this what we have feared? Is this the wake up call I warned my audience about?
I walked to the market and there was Katherine and Reese standing there. Their beautiful angelic faces were sullen and introspective. Jim was standing in the entryway with an ashen face.
"Clyde this looks like the beginning of World War III." Then the radio came on in the market and Brokaw was mumbling through the news as usual but this time it was loud and clear. A calculated terrorist attack had leveled the World Trade Center, and destroyed the Pentagon building in Washington. The buildings were destroyed by commercial jet liners that were Hijacked and taken off course.
One Jet crashed in Pennsylvania.
I had two friends in both places.
Ernie Vega lived in Forest Hills New York and Holly Conley lived in Pennsylvania.
I couldn't reach Vega as much as I tried. I called and called and still no answer.
I then looked and Dana, a neighbor of mine broke down and cried. Her uncle worked in the World Trade Center, and her father worked for the government. He investigated terrorist operations in the country.
This story was hitting me and I was beginning to understand what it meant by "the living envying the dead."
I then called my friend Liz and she was devastated, she told me that this was the big one, and wondered if I had any words of comfort.
For the first time in my life-there were no words to comfort anyone.
I had talked about this day for at least a year. The last time I spoke about the inevitable future was when I did a show about Timothy McVeigh and what the future would hold if we executed him without finding the other culprits. I had stated that if we kill one, there will be many others lying in wait for the next time.
The circle of violence keeps getting wider and wider and so it goes, the hate will fester. If we make it out of this without a world war then we should give ourselves credit. However one cannot stop the inevitable.
This is War.
I said it.
I said it at the market for all to hear. This was war. A nurse who was buying coffee looked at me and the words of the radio were probably bouncing around in her head like a BB in a boxcar.
Tears welled up in her eyes.
The phone rang at the market.
The call was for me.
It was Lara, Rick's girlfriend.
"Clyde get to the radio station now-They need you to report the news they are shorthanded.!"
Dana looked at me with tears in her eyes and said that I should go.
Jim and I left and walked to the station.
I walked at a quick pace, my legs moving and my mind still not awake.
I arrived at the station and checked my website.
There it was, a message from Ernie. Even though he was devastated by the tragedy, he was forced into going from businessman and friend to being a reporter from the real "Ground Zero," New York.
"The World will awaken tomorrow to a new age. America is no longest safe. The most Americans ever killed in one day was 22 thousand. This figure may be dwarfed by the final count of the victims of this cowardly act. It's difficult to understand just how many lives were lost today. This happened inside our borders for the first time.
As you know here at Ground Zero Clyde Lewis has always brought you the news as they happen. Clyde is at KOTK reporting, this is why I'm here writing to you.
Officially 200+ firefighters and 78 police officers lost their lives, 250 firefighters, and over 100 police officers are listed as missing, there were thousands of rescuers in the building when it collapsed. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter had 3500 employees in the building. The early hour of the attack is not a big help as the WTC has round the clock offices, where word processing is done at night by young women who do this as a second job. Many single mothers supplementing their income lost their lives.
People jumped from the windows and from the roof of 120 story buildings. There are many photos of people plummeting to their death. Those on the street coming to help and passing by were all killed. When 2 100+ story buildings are collapsing, there is nowhere to run. We lost the best of the bravest today and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice. I hope they will not be forgotten.
The magnitude of our loss can't be measured in dollars and businesses. We have had a national disaster unparalleled in American history. As the week wears on it will be more and more apparent to us all just how devastating a blow this was to our nation.
My 16 yr old son was within blocks of the site and was lucky to escape the falling debris. He had to walk 25 miles to get home. My wife and her sister were frightened and afraid to leave the shelter they had found. Hours later they also walked home. My family was lucky. I thank God for sparing us thus far.
Thousands of other families were not so lucky. There are people alive in the rubble now and there is no hope of getting to them as more building collapses are expected. The Marriot Hotel is thought to be about to go down. Building 7 already collapsed and building 5 is also at risk. The most horrific part is nobody can go in to try to help.
We have to stand by and hear the cries as the unfortunate victims die in agony.
I'm sure Clyde will give you all an update as soon as he can.
All of the producers and all of the news people read the post. We all started to tear up. I had to throw up and so I left abruptly. I then bought some chewing gum to get the taste out of my mouth. I then spent the day interviewing people and getting their responses.
It ran the gambit from an angry Israeli, a Muslim, and a woman who was angry that the mall was closed. Rick Emerson, my friend, and colleague was angered and expressed his views in a letter:
"What can I say? I feel angry...angry enough to renounce everything I was ever taught about peace and love. Angry enough to reach out and smash whoever did this...to make them pay every bit as much as they hurt us this morning, and then some.
Downtown today, Clyde and I had five hours' worth of pain, suffering, and some people who apparently just didn't give a damn. There was, I kid you not, one woman who was upset that this whole thing caused the MALL to be closed. She said she had "shoes to buy", and wondered out loud why anyone would bother closing a mall because of a terrorist attack. Luckily, Clyde did that interview himself...because I might have strangled her with my fucking microphone cord if I'd been given the chance. What the fuck is wrong in your head that you're upset about fucking SHOES during an act of WAR against the country you LIVE IN?
As I noted this morning, I'm not the world's most loveable guy, and not usually prone to sentiment or maudlin displays of affection......but when I read the newswire this morning, I just snapped....I got real quiet, and didn't want to talk to anyone.
-A couple jumped to their deaths together from the World Trade Center, and held hands the entire way down.
-A woman on board the plane that hit the Pentagon called her husband from her cell phone, and asked "What do I tell the pilot to do?!?" moments before the impact.
-A man on board another plane phoned ground authorities and talked until there was "a loud bang", and his phone went dead.
-A man was on the phone with his brother, who was working in the World Trade Center, when, suddenly, his brother was gone....forever.
I don't think I have anything particularly useful to say tonight, so I'll leave it at this: Whoever did this better enjoy their few remaining days on Earth, because if this makes ME angry enough to kill, then you'd better believe the force of God's Own Thunder is about to be unveiled.
*Memento mori*, you cowardly mother fuckers. because, as James Baker just noted on CNN, "The American People will demand retribution, and we have the means with which to extract it."
And, for maybe the first time ever, you can count me in."-Rick Emerson
I spent the whole day trying not to be angry over the fact that while we stood in front of the station van people were asking if we had any free tickets to concerts, or American flags to hand out.
I was thinking of my friends on the East Coast.
JV Sanders who is a remarkable writer from Yonkers New York wrote me. I hadn't heard from him since my national show was cancelled. He conveyed a chilling view of what sounded like a page from the book of the Apocalypse where Babylon, the great city had fallen:
"I became aware of this morning's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in NYC at approx. 9:10 A.M., EST (about 25 minutes after the plane crashes took place.) I immediately began videotaping TV news coverage, then proceeded two blocks to the intersection of Voss Avenue & Shonnard Place here in Yonkers, New York. This hilltop vantage point offers an unobstructed line-of-site view of the former "Twin Towers" (distance approx 20-22 statute-miles.)
It was a clear, sunny morning with cloudless sky. The WTC Towers were clearly visible, as was the huge plume of black smoke issuing from the tops of them. Approx 20-minutes later, I noticed that "smoke" seemed to be obscuring the towers entirely, and that the plume seemed to be increasing. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I had witnessed the collpase of Tower Number One (South Tower.)
Approx 10 minutes later I returned home. Soon after, I witnessed the televised collapse of Tower Number Two (North Tower.) I immediately returned to the intersection of Voss Ave. & Shonnard Place and observed an enormous cloud of smoke rising from lower Manhattan. I believe it was the colossal plume of dust and debris which was thrown skyward in the wake of the Twin Towers collapse. Based on my research, each tower's total gravity load (i.e., weight) was approx 80,000-100,000 tons.
Needless to say, this was the most horrifying sight I have ever witnessed. The post-collapse plume seemed of volcanic proportions. It was also the sort of plume one would expect to see in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion (sans the characteristic mushroom-cloud effect.)"-JV Sanders
I then received a report from Rob McConnell from the X-Zone Radio show in Canada. Rob has been a dear friend of mine and a correspondent during my stint in Salt Lake City Utah. Toronto Canada apparently was frozen to a standstill as well.
"Downtown Toronto came to a virtual halt this morning.
Office workers fled buildings in horror, parents rushed to schools to collect their children, border crossings were put on alert and the airport was shut down in reaction to the devastation in the United States.
The CN Tower and courts were closed for the day as a precautionary measure. Pearson, like every airport in the country, was shut down.
Virtually all the major bank and finance towers in Toronto closed by midday as shocked employees began streaming home.
While Toronto police said they hadn't issued any instructions to evacuate buildings, many didn't wait for orders - they ran in terror.
Schools remained open but a spokespersons said parents could collect their children and take them home early if they wished to do so.
A news conference by Mayor Mel Lastman was apparently pre-empted by alarms that went off at Toronto City Hall at 12:30 p.m. They had to evacuate the basement, sub-basement and first and second floors.
The attack on the World Trade Centre sent shockwaves through Bay Street as traders and brokers made frantic calls to their colleagues in New York to find out who was safe. Most major Canadian financial institutions maintain offices in New York.
The United States Federal Aviation Authority diverted all flights bound for the U.S. to Canadian airports. All flights scheduled to leave from Canadian airports were halted.
Shortly after all flights into the United States were cancelled, the Toronto Stock Exchange was closed in response. TSE officials said they would continue monitoring the situation and determine when to resume trading.
The U.S. Consulate was turning away members of the public who were trying to get visas or passports. The consulate wasn't officially evacuated but many employees left for the day."-Rob McConnell
Now, I sit at my computer hoping for the right words to give you in this time of need. I guess the only thing I can muster is that life seems to be a never ending struggle.
I have struggled lately with this feeling of impending loss. I have shared these feelings with my friends and they are telling me that they are finally realizing that I have this gift of getting glimpses into the future.
I am not a prophet, nor am I some clairvoyant ready to ask you for money so that I can live.
I wish that I could get you all to suspend your programmable minds and believe for once that the vicious circle that we have created is far from constructive.
My journey lately has been painful.
My pain deals with the fact that no matter what I say there are a few who wish to attack me because I say things that are uncomfortable and sometimes outrageous.
One of the first attacks I saw was the idea that somehow I would find some conspiracy theory that would satisfy those hungry for speculation.
Well rest assured this was a conspiracy. A fool would think otherwise.
It's a conspiracy full of disharmony, disease, disgust, disdain, distrust, and disinformation.
Yet, we remain in denial.
In some sick way we are all a part of it.
As I write this article, a song seems to be echoing in my head and the lyrics are appropriate for the atmosphere that is permeating throughout the world:
"Take the children and yourself, and hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state, and everything they tell you
Believe me, I'm with the high command.
There's a gun and ammunition, just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should pray to God, the father and the spirit
Will guide you, and protect you from up here
Swear allegiance to the flag, whatever flag they offer
Never him tell what you really tell
Teach the children quietly, for someday sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stood still" -Silent Running /Mike and the Mechanics
The chorus asks "Can you hear me?"
Well I ask you, do you hear me when I tell you that we have built up all of this and now it is happening?
Can we see that these attacks are orchestrated so that we will fall in line out of fear?
I can't help but recall "The Turner Diaries" a book that seems to be a blueprint for these terrorist organizations and a favorite book of Timothy McVeigh. The coincidences that exist in the book can be looked at and used as a guide for would be domestic terrorists.
In the book there are tales of bombs made out of ammonium nitrate used to destroy federal buildings and oddly enough the story of "Earl Turner" has him crashing a plane into the Pentagon. Before this happens there is a raid on a military base where weapons are stolen for the revolution.
Is this a clue? Or merely a coincidence.
The coincidence gets better.
A report that was filed Saturday September 8th 2001 should have sounded the alarm that something was happening.
The FBI investigated the theft of high-powered weapons from a military installation in Nebraska. It happened at a missile alert facility in southwestern Nebraska, near Kimball. An M-16 machine gun and the grenade launcher for that weapon along with ammunition and an M-60 machine gun were stolen. No nuclear components were taken from the site. The missile alert facility is set up so crewmembers work in an underground area, the weapons are stored above ground. I there some sort of tie to the World trade Center attacks?
It's an eerie coincidence. It may be unrelated. Even so who has possession of these weapons and why?
More information seems to be pouring in about ties to middle east terrorism, however are we seeing sympathizers who harbor these terrorists within the borders of the United States?
We all know that the CIA is responsible for Osama bin Laden. If he is the culprit, then who is really at fault for this evil act of bloodshed?
Go to the source.
The CIA is calling Bin laden a "Blow Back."
What is a "Blow Back?"
An operative that turns on it's creators, or simply put a CIA Frankenstein that we have not had the balls to torch in the windmill.
Are you awake yet?
Do you see what is happening? Our Government shakes hands with the Devil and sometimes we even create him. We gave Bin Laden arms, money and the training to go after a superpower.
Too bad he changed his mind on what superpower needed a good swift kick in the nuts.
That is if he is responsible. Seems like he is the rubber crutch the government uses in a crisis.
It worked for Bill Clinton, so why not George W. Bush?
I mean as much as I hate to say it, George W. Bush told us that we may have strength as a people, but he seems to be just a little bit weak in the knees.
I know it may sound a bit un-American for me to talk this way, when our country looks like the set of the Movie Independence day, but let's get serious.
We all can see through weakness. Especially when it is smoothed over by exaggerated threats from a President that seems lost. How smart is it to declare war on an indefinable enemy? How wise is it to huff and puff and say how strong we are, when this attack basically shut down the entire country?
To use a biblical metaphor, the smaller countries that harbor terrorists are like virtual David's to our Goliath in this situation. This attack put the country at a standstill.
Don't let it stop good old George from declaring war on an enemy that is nebulous and not tangible.
I have pointed out in previous articles that Osama Bin Laden is like an industry in the intelligence community. He's always like the fall guy, the patsy, the little brother that you blame when dad gets out the belt. If he is so evil I am sure we could take him out.
Yet he somehow exists, like a Villain in a Batman serial.
Hey it is so easy to blame someone who is a known hater of America for terrorist attacks. However there are a lot of people who claim that Bin Laden is far from having enough charisma to control armies that will bring down the U.S.
George W. Bush speaks in metaphor when he gives speeches. He doesn't finger anyone. He calls this horrible act an act of war - but who is the enemy?
He says that it is good v.s. evil, but who committed the evil? Bush says it's an enemy that hides in the shadows. It is all dramatic for a sound bite but it means absolutely nothing. If a President is invoking the war powers act he should at least point to the real enemy.
His speeches sound like they were written like the beginning of "A tale of two cities." Doesn't it all soound a bit too familiar?
Yadda yadda yadda… can anyone see this? No one wants to point a finger at an enemy because this attack is bigger than Bin laden, or any other terrorist organization.
Can anyone answer the questions as to why the second plane that hit the tower was not intercepted? The minute the planes diverted and did not follow procedures, why did we stand helpless?
Does anyone remember the ghoulish flight of Golfer Payne Stewart?
The plane went off course while en route from Florida to Texas and crashed into a pasture in the north-central part of South Dakota after flying for four hours apparently on auto pilot. Two F-16 fighter planes had been following the jet looking for signs of distress. Federal officials said it appeared to be flying on auto pilot before the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration asked the Air Force for help after air-traffic controllers lost contact with the crew of the Learjet near Gainesville, Fla., not long after it left Orlando.
First, a fighter jet from Tyndall, Fla., was diverted from a routine training flight to check out the Learjet. Two F-16s from another Florida base then picked up the chase, later handing it over to two Air National Guard F-16s from Oklahoma, which handed it over to two F-16s from Fargo, North Dakota. Those fighters trailed the Learjet until it went down in South Dakota.
The President had the power and authority to order the jets to shoot down the plane. But he didn't.
Now back to the present.
There were four planes involved in the terrorist attack. Four planes flying off course. Three met their mark. The fourth came down in Pennsylvania. That crash has been played down. We can only speculate that this plane was intercepted.
Is this crash being down played because no one wants to admit that it had to be shot down?
The events of the terrorist attack on New York shows heightened determination of rogue groups, and it also shows that President Bush has been focusing on the wrong strategy as he continues to make his pitch for space based weapons.
No space shield would have helped in preventing the tragedy.
The Pentagon has insisted ,that this little pet project of "W" can guarantee our protection against rogue states may want to wage war on America.
I can only say -
After the tragedy in New York I think that Bush will lose even more credibility if he uses this event as a reason to get his way. If he tries to sell this rinky dink boondoggle to us after we are cleaning up the dead this will fuel my outrage.
I hope that the American people say a flat No!
I have been taking notes so you don't have to.
My colleagues have also been taking notes for me as I go out and try and report to people the events, using my wary eye.
My friend Jim posted a very thorough evaluation in the Ground Zero forum that is worth reprinting because it sums up a portion of the feelings I have regarding the whole attack:
"I have spent the entire day trying to assimilate what has happened today and what the effect will be upon our way of life. My conclusions are frightening.
Yes, I am angry at this heinous attack. Yes, I cry out for vengeance. But...where do we direct our anger? At this point in time no group or individual has admitted responsibility. Where was our vaunted intelligence community in all of this?
According to Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we had "general threat warnings" three months ago. Another US Senator had remarked that this was the work of a "loose confederation of like-minded individuals". No doubt that this "loose confederation" was firmly infiltrated by the CIA/FBI/NSA since Ruby Ridge, at least. Clyde had spoken of an organized terrorist group that existed, and lying in wait. But we were too caught up in executing the front man.
We now focus on Osama bin Laden, whom we trained. But, no doubt, his organization was infiltrated by our own operatives as well as operatives of the Mossad and MI6. Where were the warnings from them? But, Donald Rumsfeld told us "we don't speak intelligence here".
What is the effect of this, 15 hours later? Flag sales are up. Lee Greenwood is being played ad nauseum. Gasoline is going up to $5.00/gallon due to profiteering. F-15's are on Combat Air Patrol in the skies over the US, now bereft of commercial/civilian traffic. General Alexander Haig says that "maybe it is time to give up some of our freedoms for the sake of safety." And I could swear I heard General Brad Clark claim that we should put limits on the internet.
The news continues to focus on the WTC attack, which is the most spectacular. But, the airliner which crashed in Pennsylvania at the same time is not being mentioned as much. Why? Rumor has it that this plane was headed for the White House( it has also been speculated that it was headed for camp David) and was intercepted and neutralized by F 16 fighters.
If this is true...then someone knew something more than they were letting on. Also, this is the flight where we have the best chance of recovering the flight recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. I, as well as the rest of the country, would be interested in finding out the contents of those devices. So, where do we go from here? Back to business as usual in the apocalypse." -Jim Colvill
The Bottom line is that this attack has paralyzed the country.
It is evident from my vantagepoint that we are a paper Goliath and we are more fragile than our leaders will lead us to believe. It is painfully apparent that our leaders are clueless and our defense has been lackadaisical.
It is painful to sit and watch how our government has the inability to defend an unknown enemy while claiming to be strong and tough. We are exposing our weakness for all to see, as we shut down the entire country.
The whole inactivity and paralysis sends a message to other terrorists.
We have grown too big and we have overextended ourselves. We have a leader that is so full of himself to see the holes in the policies and projects that he wants so badly to pursue. Our foreign policies, all around the world have made us look like a bully.
With all of the pushing, the over extended defense budgets and with all of the warnings we knew all along that this would happen.
Why didn't it work I guess now it is simple to put a bandaid on everything. We are now waving the flag and playing patriotic songs.
It just doesn't cut it anymore.
The temperament sickens while the dead are buried under the dust of two secular monuments that used to add to the New York skyline. It turns the stomach and angers everyone who has to sit and listen to clever sound bites that sound like they have been written by a high school student body president.
The longer we wait the more we show how vulnerable we truly are.
I am frightened for the country now more than ever.
This is the big one. It is our Emergency Wake Up call.
WAKE UP or GIVE UP!
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.