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Friendly Fire: Army Sergeant demoted for questioning 9/11

Raising questions about 9/11 gets an Army sergeant demoted for “disloyalty.”

By STEPHEN C. WEBSTER

Fort Worth Weekly, Feature: Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Buswell1These days, Donald Buswell’s job is not as exciting or dangerous as it once was. For the past few months, his working hours have been spent taking care of some 40-plus wounded soldiers at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston medical center. The work is sometimes menial, even janitorial, but he doesn’t mind. After all, Buswell has been where these men are — three years ago, he too was recovering from wounds received in a battle zone in Iraq.

“I truly consider this an honor,” Buswell told his dad not long ago.

Still, it’s not exactly where Buswell expected to be after 20 years of well-respected service in the Army.

Since joining the Army in 1987, he had risen to the rank of sergeant first class, serving in both Gulf Wars, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Korea. He ended up with shrapnel scars and a Purple Heart and, back in the U.S. after his last tour in Iraq, a job as intelligence analyst at Fort Sam Houston.

He couldn’t have foreseen that one e-mail could derail his career and put him on his way out of the Army. One e-mail, speculating about events that millions of people have questioned for the last six years, was all it took.

Sgt. Buswell wants to know: What really happened on 9/11? And he said so in his e-mail. In the few paragraphs… Continue reading

Robert Fisk–Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11

Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11

By Robert Fisk

Published: 25 August 2007

Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience — just one — whom I call the “raver”. Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions — often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist — and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the “raver” is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a “raver”.
 

Editor’s Note:
Robert Fisk a truther? YES!

Robert Fisk, award winning journalist, for the Independent in London; described by the NY Times as “the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”; frequent contributor to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, a man so famous he has become a verb in his own lifetime, and he’s is a 9/11 truther!

In this article, Fisk complains about the ill-behaved 9/11 truthers who shout out questions about the 9/11 cover up at various speaking venues, but this complaint may be just to give himself some cover. Without that shield, he would be immediately denounced and marginalized, (he may be anyway) but he goes on to mention the dirth of plane parts at the Pentagon,… Continue reading

Settlements Do Not Deter 9/11 Plaintiffs Seeking Trials

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS

Families of 14 of the people killed in the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, have settled their lawsuits, but relatives of other victims said yesterday that they would continue fighting in court to address their questions about how Islamic terrorists bypassed airport security, commandeered four jets and killed thousands of people.

One of those relatives, Mike Low, whose 28-year-old daughter, Sara, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center, said he was not deterred by the settlements, which were filed Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

“The frustrating thing is not having a trial date,” he said yesterday. “The wheels of justice turn excruciatingly slow. It doesn’t change my mind any. My desire and goal is to try to find some answers. I want to know why Abdulaziz Alomari and Mohamed Atta were allowed to walk on planes in Portland, Me., with prohibited weapons. I want somebody to tell me why that happened.”

The 14 settlements came a few days after the families won a ruling in Federal District Court in Manhattan that would have allowed a jury to hear a few minutes of a cockpit recording that captured the sounds of passengers trying to retake control of United Airlines Flight 93 before it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

Donald Migliori, a lawyer whose firm was involved in negotiating all of the settlements, said yesterday that Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein’s ruling on the recording last week had moved settlement talks forward.…

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New Evidence that the Official Story about 9/11 is Indefensible

by David Ray Griffin
Debunking 9/11 Debunking

 

Cover photo of Debunking 9/11 Debunking Early in 2007, Interlink Books published my Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory . The stimulus for my writing this book was the appearance in August 2006—just before the fifth anniversary of 9/11—of four publications intended to bolster the official account by debunking the alternative view, according to which 9/11 was an inside job. The most explicit and well-known of these publications was a book by Popular Mechanics entitled Debunking 9/11 Myths .

My book’s introduction and conclusion dealt with the irresponsible way the press, including the left-leaning press, has dealt with this issue. One of their failings, I showed, was simply to accept the official reports — especially The 9/11 Commission Report and the report on the World Trade Center put out by the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) — as neutral, scientific reports. They thereby ignored the fact that the 9/11 Commission was run by Philip Zelikow, who was virtually a member of the US. Bush administration, and that NIST is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce and hence of the Bush administration (which has distorted science for political purposes to an unprecedented extent).

The book’s four chapters then demonstrated that none of the documents of August 2006 actually served to debunk the claims of the 9/11 truth movement. The first two chapters dealt with two documents—including a new book by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton,… Continue reading

The First Fifteen Minutes of September 11th: Former Air Traffic Controller Robin Hordon

The First Fifteen Minutes of September 11th
Former Air Traffic Controller Robin Hordon speaks out on 9/11, NORAD and what should have happened on 9/11.

By Jeremy Baker

Within three hours of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Robin Hordon knew it was an inside job. He had been an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) for eleven years before Reagan fired him and hundreds of his colleagues after they went on strike in the eighties. Having handled in-flight emergencies and two actual hijackings in his career, he is well qualified to comment on what NORAD should have been able to achieve in its response to the near simultaneous hijacking of four domestic passenger carriers on the morning of September 11th, 2001.

“There had to be something huge to explain why those aircraft weren’t shot down out of the sky. We have fighters on the ready to handle these situations twenty-four-seven. We have NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) monitors monitoring our skies twenty-four-seven. We have a lot of human beings, civilian and military, who care about doing their jobs.”

I spoke to Mr. Hordon one afternoon at a coffee shop in Bremerton, Washington.

“You have to understand the emotions, the duty, the job of an ATC. We are paid to watch aircraft go across the country.”

It’s clear that Hordon is passionate about the subject. A lot of people are. The dark questions that the attacks have left lingering in the national psyche have been recorded. 49% of New Yorkers believe that the government had something to do with 9/11. Following an interview with Charlie Sheen, a CNN poll revealed that 82% of respondents believed that there was “a government cover-up of 9/11.” Jay Leno asked Bill Maher on The Tonight Show about the fact that 37% of Americans (according to Scribbs-Howard) believe that the government was involved in some way with the attacks (Maher was definitely not one of them).

As far as the “emotions, the duty, the job” of an ATC is concerned, Hordon puts it this way:

“Imagine yourself at a circus, a fair, a crowded sports event. You have in your hand your little child of five or six, you’re amongst hundreds of people and you turn around and see that your child is gone. How do you feel at that moment? You feel panicked. You feel that this is the worst thing possible, so what you do is you engage. When ATCs lose an aircraft, all hell breaks loose. They flip right into motion. We take action and do not wait for other things to happen.”

As a former member of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization), Hordon’s years as an ATC are particularly relevant to 9/11 researchers.

“I was a certified ATC in Boston west-bound departures, the routing that AA11 and UA175 followed on 9/11. I know it like the back of my hand.”

He even received a letter of commendation for his role in dealing with an actual hijacking. When it became clear that there hadn’t been a systems failure of any kind on the morning of September 11th, Hordon was certain that something had gone terribly wrong within the upper echelons of authority. A pilot (third level air carrier) as well as an ATC, he is well versed on in-flight emergency protocol. He is also adamant that if these procedures had been followed on 9/11 not one of the hijacked planes would have reached their targets. Continue reading

9/11 Contradictions: When Did Cheney Enter the Underground Bunker?

by David Ray Griffin
9/11 Contradictions

9/11 Contradictions

This essay is the second in a series of articles written by Dr. David Ray Griffin for The Canadian. This particular one is an abbreviated version of Chapters 2 and 3 of Dr. Griffin’s 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (Northampton: Olive Branch, March, 2008).

With regard to the morning of 9/11, everyone agrees that at some time after 9:03 (when the South Tower of the World Trade Center was struck) and before 10:00, Vice President Dick Cheney went down to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), sometimes simply called the “bunker,” under the east wing of the White House. Everyone also agrees that, once there, Cheney was in charge—that he was either making decisions or relaying decisions from President Bush. But there is enormous disagreement as to exactly when Cheney entered the PEOC.

According to The 9/11 Commission Report, Cheney arrived “shortly before 10:00, perhaps at 9:58” (The 9/11 Commission Report [henceforth 9/11CR], 40). This official time, however, contradicts almost all previous reports, some of which had him there before 9:20. This difference is important because, if the 9/11 Commission’s time is correct, Cheney was not in charge in the PEOC when the Pentagon was struck, or for most of the period during which United Flight 93 was approaching Washington. But if the reports that have him there by 9:20 are correct, he was in charge in the PEOC all that time.

Mineta’s Report of Cheney’s… Continue reading

Half Great, Half Terrible–Griffin Reviews Shenon

by David Ray Griffin

“The Commission” by Philip Shenon has performed a great public service, letting the world know that there are good reasons to be suspicious of “The 9/11 Commission Report.” The main problem is the fact that the Commission was almost entirely under the control of Philip Zelikow, who was closely connected to the Bush White House. Although my book “Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11″ revealed some of the facts about Zelikow that showed him to be one of the worst possible choices for the Commission’s executive director, Shenon has revealed even more facts.

It was already known that Zelikow had been on the National Security Council (NSC) with Condoleezza Rice during the administration of the first President Bush; that he wrote a book with her while the Republicans were out of power; that he helped her make the transition from the Clinton to the Bush NSC; and that he wrote at her request the 2002 version of “National Security Strategy of the United States of America” (NSS 2002), which enunciated a new doctrine of preemptive war that was used, in Shenon’s words, to “justify a preemptive strike on Iraq.”

But now Shenon reveals more: that in applying to Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, for the position of executive director, Zelikow failed to reveal some of his conflicts of interest, especially his authorship of NSS 2002 and his role on the transition team; that he continued, contrary to his promise,… Continue reading

Michael Mukasey, Day of 9/11, Osama bin Laden

Kevin Fenton
4/20/2008

More material has been added covering the NSA’s surveillance of Ahmed al-Hada, father-in-law of alleged Pentagon hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney used the non-exploitation of calls between his phone in Yemen and the hijackers in the US to justify the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in January 2006. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell attributed the failure to trace the calls to a 1981 executive order earlier this year, and Mukasey bizarrely then claimed that one of the calls was between the US and Afghanistan, rather than Yemen. This confused the media somewhat, and a group of congressmen asked Mukasey for an explanation.

There are additional entries about the day of 9/11. A senior official later disputed Richard Clarke’s account of the day’s events, some Pentagon security cameras did not show the crash site, and the fighters who later responded to the Pentagon attack attended anti-terrorism training earlier in the day. There is a dispute over which gate American 11 left from at Boston airport, where suspicious passengers arrived on September 10, when Larry Silverstein’s publicist cancelled an appointment at the WTC for 9/11. Other entries point out United 93′s autopilot was turned off, top air force officials continued with a meeting when they learned the WTC had been hit, and crew on United 93 had previously attended antiterrorism training. Pilots on American 77, American 11 and United 93, were allocated… Continue reading

The Truth is Out There (published in the ‘Financial Times’)

By Peter Barber
June 7 2008
Financial Times

When Cynthia McKinney speaks the words of Martin Luther King Jr, they resound through the church with some of King’s cadence. “A time comes,” declares the former US congresswoman from Georgia, “when silence is betrayal.” The congregation answers with whoops and calls of “That’s right!” King was talking about America’s war in Vietnam. More than 40 years later, before the packed pews of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, McKinney is speaking of the American government’s war on its own people. The shock and awe phase of this conflict, we had been told earlier, began on September 11 2001, when the Bush administration launched attacks on New York and Washington, or at least waved them through.

According to a show of hands that February afternoon, several hundred people in the immaculate church believe this to be true. Some came in T-shirts bearing the words “9/11 was an inside job”. One wore a badge demanding that you “Examine your assumptions”. Quite a few bought the DVDs on sale in the foyer, most of which bore photographs of the Twin Towers spewing smoke. They had all come to hear the message of Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, one of the dozens of groups across the US which campaign to persuade us that everything we think we know about 9/11 is wrong.

Marion Cotillard, actress–“There was a tower in Spain which burnt for 24 hours. It never collapsed”

Last winter, “Investigate 9/11”… Continue reading

9/11, Deep State Violence, and the Hope of Internet Politics

Peter Dale Scott

The Deep State and 9/11

The unthinkable — that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians — has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools. 1 Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB). 2

Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” — a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.” 3 The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer. 4 On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered… Continue reading

Tim Russert, Dick Cheney, and 9/11

Tim Russert, Dick Cheney, and 9/11

by Prof. David Ray Griffin
Information Clearing House

While we are remembering Tim Russert and his years as moderator of “Meet the Press,” we would do well to recall his interview with Vice President Dick Cheney at Camp David on September 16, 2001, just five days after the 9/11 attacks. 1 In fact, Cheney himself, during an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer the morning after Russert died, reminded us of that Camp David interview, saying: “I always, when I think of Tim and think of ‘Meet the Press,’ that’s the show that always comes to mind. . . . It was a remarkable moment in American history.” 2

Commenting that he himself “remember[ed] that interview vividly,” Lauer asked: “Anything stand out from that interview?” In his reply, Cheney said: “We went back and reminisced to some extent about what had actually happened on the morning of 9/11. So it was—it was a remarkable moment in my career.” 3

It was indeed. In reminiscing about his movements that morning, Cheney contradicted what was to become a crucial element of the account that the 9/11 Commission would give of those movements.

In praising Russert’s tenure on “Meet the Press,” Cheney said: “He would ask you tough questions, he would remind you of quotes you made previously in other settings or on earlier shows, so you never got away with anything going up vis-à-vis Tim.” 4

Given Cheney’s appraisal of his interview with Russert as… Continue reading

Rep. Dennis Kucinich talks with Truth Movement

The Price We'' Pay If We Don't Impeach! poster

Last night 911Truth.org hosted a conference call with Rep. Dennis Kucinich. If you missed it, or would like to listen again and forward to friends,

 
or listen below.

In addition, NoLiesRadio.org will rebroadcast this conversation at 11am Pacific Saturday. Following are the questions we asked him, as well as the full transcript, with a few links and very brief commentary, which we’re posting for convenience and further study.

We are grateful to Rep. Kucinich for his time with us, especially on the day he introduced a powerful Article of Impeachment against George Bush; to Allan Rees of NoLiesRadio.org for recording the call and making available; to Paul Deslauriers for organizing the call; and we’re grateful to all of you for listening, for submitting questions, and for your ongoing commitment to reclaiming our government!

At this time we most strongly encourage you to get on the phone, right now! Call every member of the House Judiciary Committee, over and over, to demand hearings on impeachment and a vote out of Committee and onto the full House Floor immediately. If your own Representative is a member of the Committee, double your efforts there. If s/he’s not a member, call anyway, and insist that they support this critical effort, cosponsor the bill, and work aggressively to push the Committee to move on this right away. Full committee member contact information is available at http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html , and a call to the main Committee number can be made to 202-225-3951, or email sent via… Continue reading

History Commons, Update on July 23, 2008

9/11 Timeline

* 7/7 London bombings mastermind Haroon Rashid Aswat was alleged to be an informer by a counterterrorism expert in 2005, and the British authorities certainly showed a surprising lack of interest in him during his career

* Lead 7/7 London bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan was monitored by the British security services

* Details of calls by Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett

* Vice President Cheney’s demands for alterations to 9/11 Commission report

The Commons needs your donations and your participation. Please consider making a donation here, and becoming a member here.

Watergate Timeline

* Progress of the Washington’s Post investigation

* Dick Cheney’s first hiring to work in the executive branch

* Nixon’s mental health, according to Barry Goldwater

US International Relations Timeline

* The Reagan Doctrine, its originator’s visit to a Nazi cemetery and jokes about bombing the Soviet Union

The History Commons has a new blog up. Here’s where you can find the latest about the Commons, including news on the move towards “History Commons 2.0,” fundraising,  community outreach, and more. Please share your opinions with us.

A second contributors’ blog is also up and running. Here’s where you can talk about the material published at the Commons. We keep the two blogs separate because the content is separate from the History Commons itself. Please join the discussion.

Flight 93 Shot Down, says Navy Officer?

By Jim Loney
Originally published July 22, 2008

Editor’s Note: Update: Janice’s mea culpa

Someone has just brought to my attention a possible interpretation of this statement different than what I had come to, so in the spirit of accurate reporting and non-sensationalism, I am adding this for your consideration. As always, we hope you carefully interpret all information coming to you, no matter what the source, (including ours, of course). My interpretation of these comments was that Stone was simply making the case (the crux of the case) that Hamdan knew the target, therefore Hamdan must have been a party to the attack. I had not considered that Stone may have been (supposedly) quoting Hamdan fully, and that Hamdan may have been the one reported as having said, “If they hadn’t shot it down…,” not Stone. Nonetheless, it seems quite odd that the US prosecution, led by military officers, would have made any reference to Flight 93 having been shot down… [End of update.]

 

A couple key points here from the Gitmo show trials not really being shown:
1) Defense attorney for bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, stated: “There will be no evidence that Mr. Hamdan espoused or believed or embraced any form of what you will hear about, radical Islam beliefs, extremist Muslim beliefs.” Where have we heard that before? A little like Atta and friends drinking Dewars scotch, paying for lap dances, partying it up… fundamentalist Muslims who hate Americans’ ‘freedoms’? I think not…… Continue reading

What Really Happened on September 11?

by Sam Vaknin
TheConservativeVoice.com

An Interview with David Ray Griffin

On September 11, I entertained a couple of house guests, senior journalists from Scandinavia. I remember watching in horror and disbelief the unfolding drama, as the United States was being subjected to multiple deadly attacks on-screen. I turned to the international affairs editor of a major Danish paper and told her “This could not have been done by al-Qaida.” I am an Israeli and, as such, I have a fair “sixth sense” as to the capabilities of terrorists and their potential reach.

Enter David Ray Griffin. I was introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance. He is emeritus professor of philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. He has published over 30 books, including eight about 9/11, the best known of which is “The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé.”

On the face of it, his credentials with regards to intelligence analysis are hardly relevant, let alone impressive. But, to underestimate him would be a grave error. Being a philosopher, he is highly trained and utterly qualified to assess the credibility of data; the validity and consistency of theories (including conspiracy theories); and the rationality and logic of hypotheses. These qualifications made him arguably the most visible and senior member of what came to be known as the 9/11 Truth Movement.

In our exchange, he proved to be tolerant of dissenting views, open to debate, and invariably possessed of… Continue reading

The Ultimate 9/11 ‘Truth’ Showdown: David Ray Griffin vs. Matt Taibbi

By Matt Taibbi and David Ray Griffin
October 6, 2008
Alternet.org

A poll of 17 countries that came out September of this year revealed that majorities in only nine of them “believe that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.” A Zogby poll from 2006 found that in America, 42% of respondents believed the US government and 9/11 Commission “covered up” the events of 9/11. It’s safe to say that at least tens of millions of Americans don’t believe anything close to the official account offered by the 9/11 Commission, and that much of the outside world remains skeptical.

Over the years, AlterNet has run dozens of stories , mostly critical, of the 9/11 Movement. Matt Taibbi has taken on the 9/11 Truth Movement head on in a series of articles, and most recently in his new book, The Great Derangement .

In April, I asked Taibbi if he would be interested in interviewing David Ray Griffin, a leading member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice , Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University and author of seven of books on 9/11 , about his recent book, 9/11 Contradictions . After months of back and forths between them and some editorial delays, I’m pleased to share their written exchange — all 24,000 words of it. What we have here are the preeminent writers on both sides of the 9/11 Truth argument; a one-of-a-kind debate.… Continue reading

The Norad Papers IV: How NORAD Radar Operators Identified Aircraft Flying Over American Airspace on 9/11 And Its Implications

How NORAD Radar Operators Identified Aircraft Flying Over American Airspace on 9/11 And Its Implications For The Official 9/11 Narrative

September 10, 2008
by Dean Jackson

To say that communication between civilian Air Traffic Control (ATC) and NORAD was abysmal on the morning of September 11, 2001 would be a massive understatement. As an illustration, it took ATC twenty-three minutes to communicate to NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 had been hijacked,1 and in the case of United Airlines Flight 175, ATC informed NORAD of that flight’s odyssey through northeast skies at 09:03, the same minute as Flight 175 impacted Two World Trade Center!2

Communication between ATC and NORAD in regards to the last two flights hijacked–American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93–fared worse. In these two cases NORAD wasn’t officially informed of any troubles with those flights until after they had crashed!3 In the case of Flight 77, that flight began deviating from its flight plan at 08:54,4 but NEADS wasn’t informed about Flight 77 until 09:34 when NEADS just happened to be in contact with a Washington Center manager discussing what turned out to be a “phantom” Flight 11 heading south towards Washingon, D.C. During the conversation NEADS was matter-of-factly informed that Flight 77 was also lost. This was the first indication that NORAD had of Flight 77′s troubles … via a chance utterance by Washington Center!5

In the official 9/11 narrative NORAD is always on the receiving side when it… Continue reading

Remains of the Day: Nineteen hijackers died on 9/11. What should be done with what’s left of them?

by Eve Conant NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Jan 12, 2009

In the grim, sleepless months of excavation after the September 11 attacks, forensic pathologists in New York City worked day and night to identify the dead. They didn’t have much to go on. The collapsed World Trade Center towers had burned at temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees, incinerating those trapped inside. Many of the bodies of the passengers aboard the two airplanes that struck the buildings were consumed by burning jet fuel, leaving only traces of DNA, much of it so damaged that it was impossible to read. Few bodies were found intact. Most of the human remains culled from the vast wreckage at Ground Zero were little more than tiny fragments of charred tissue and bone. The volume was overwhelming. Robert Shaler, who headed the city’s Department of Forensic Biology and was a leader of the identification effort, worried his lab would be paralyzed if it tried to identify every piece. At first, they decided they would only attempt to test samples that were “the size of a thumb or larger,” he says. But when they saw how small many of the fragments were, they changed their minds. “If we were really going to make an honest effort,” Shaler says, “we had to do everything that came along.”

Shaler and his colleagues at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner gave weekly updates to family members of the victims, reporting how many of the dead had been identified and reassuring them that the city was doing everything to identify their loved ones.…

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