Friday, February 12, 2010

Excerpts from David Friend's "Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11"

Why do they make it so hard over at to find out the name of a book's publisher? All they say is "softback," but I could just barely make out in the image of the book jacket, a little name, I.B. Tauris, whoever the hell they are. (Apparently, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published the hardcover book in 2006.) I just wanted to be sure that a 2,287-word extract falls within fair-use guidelines.

It will be easy to prove a case against all of those who participated in the specific 9/11 operational sub-plan known as the victim's-families narrative---a public relations effort composed of the "friends" and "family members" of the supposed 9/11 dead. These were the living, breathing crew of corporal beings, of whatever background, who blanketed the city with "missing-persons" fliers in the aftermath of the attacks, while giving media interviews of their experiences along the way.

The entire group of them is false, inasmuch as there is no genuine class of 9/11 victims in existence. However, most of these family-qualifying victims, whose images littered city streets, were "vicsims"---nothing more than computer generated identities, who were given support in the storytelling by armies of real people of questionable background and identity. Many people were set up in mock identities in the years preceding 9/11, meant to play out either a victim or support role. Any identity whose role is established in the record is ultimately an actor, who is at base an agent, or an asset of the conspirators who planned and executed this massive false-flag operation. Adding to our confusion, many in the media who told these stories were also conspirators to the plot.

So we just have to allow them to keep telling their own stories, over and over again, where the details of the substandard drama were so overwritten that eventually their own words will damn them.

When they throw the book at David Friend, I hope it will be his own---although it seems likely he was much too busy over at Vanity Fair to have actually written or developed the book attributed to him here. Friend won the Emmy and Peabody awards as an executive producer of 9/11, the Naudet brothers snuff film shown on CBS in 2002. This makes Mr. Friend a very high-level operative in the media/government/military complex, which undertook the false-flag attacks and their follow-up illegal wars. Since Friend has "covered conflicts in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East," he's been in the thick of it for a while now.

Following are some excerpts from the book pertaining to the leafleting campaign and the broader media effort that went into establishing the victim identities, along with some editorial comments in italics.

[page 35]
"Analog tape, digital video, live feed. Daguerreotype, digital, disposable. Thousands of cameras provided optical confirmation of the unbelievable. September 11, simply put, was the most widely observed and photographed breaking news event in human history. And it occurred, aptly enough, at a time when image reigned supreme in world culture due to a number if factors: the primacy of marketing in a global economy; the modern era's fascination with around-the-clock news and anything rendered real-time; the culture's addiction to speed and immediate gratification; and the rise of various digital technologies, including digital photography, cable and satellite television, and the Internet."

The conflict inherent in the 9/11 story is summed up with the statement, "Thousands of cameras provided optical confirmation of the unbelievable." 9/11 may indeed have been "the most photographed event in world history," but that doesn't mean it was the most "documented" one. For instance, we cannot find a single image of the south face of Building 7 while it burned for seven hours, a fact lamented in the earliest ASCE engineering report, nor are there any images of the magnificent Cass Gilbert skyscraper, 90 West Street ablaze, even though in normal circumstances it would have been called the fire of the decade.

"The CBS anchor Dan Rather, covering the story that morning, described it in these terms: "If you didn't know better," he remarked, "you'd say it must be from a horror movie. It's horrible. It isn't a movie." For many people the world over, however, on 9/11 the image, the footage, the movie was the event. For most of us, the picture was all we had, and ever will have, to signify it."

Friend is saying that for anybody not in the loop, there is no objective reality beyond what we are being told. What Dan was really saying here, was that it seemed horrible, and it seemed like a movie.

"A neighbor of mine, Geraldine Davie, of New Rochelle, New York, knew her daughter Amy O'Doherty had been put at risk by the attacks. Amy, twenty-three, was working as a broker's assistant for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of Tower One. The last time Davie and her daughter had spoken was over dinner a week before. They discussed rather mundane topics, Davie says, but she recalls being pleasantly surprised by Amy's manner. "The way she ordered was very specific, worldly, with a flair," she says. "I remember thinking, She's really grown."

"On the evening of September 11, Amy's close friends picked out a snapshot---taken a year before, at Melissa Della Donna's engagement party---and used it as the centerpiece of a "missing" poster. Below the photo, they printed Davie's phone numbers, hoping that anyone who knew Amy's whereabouts would quickly get in touch. The friends made several hundred copies, and the next day they set out for the streets of Manhattan to affix paper to glass and stone.

"As they went about their rounds, Edward Ornelas, a San Antonio Express-News photographer, took a picture of two of them: Claudia Trevor, her back to the camera, clutching Liz Gallello, in tears while grasping a..."

It's likely that Geraldine Davie, of New Rochelle, New York is only a temporarily established identity, or perhaps an intentionally underutilized asset resting in deep cover. Her daughter Amy O'Doherty of Cantor Fitzgerald, is only an electronically created vicsim. Melissa Della Donna is nothing but a funny name. Edward Ornelas, the photographer, is genuine, or legitimate, but he could be witting, or unwitting, depending on the falling standards of San Antonio Express-News journalism, Claudia Trevor and Liz Gallello are most likely real people who are now in real trouble.

"These handbills, created in haste and with a heavy heart, were then dispensed throughout the city. The local Kinko's, the office Xerox, the home scanner and printer of every make and model would become samizdat presses for the distraught. By nightfall and into the next morning, photomosaics of the missing materialized on shuttered storefronts, plate-glass windows, cyclone fences, construction-site partitions, phone booths, bus shelters. They were lifelines, as Geraldine Dacie calls them, frantically cast to the outside world: Please, please, have you seen this man, this woman? He matters, she matters."

Friend states here for the record that the posters were put up overnight, which isn't rational for family members to have done. "Lifeline" is a good word choice. "Feeding somebody a line," is a euphemism for lying, so "life-lying" is a double-entendre, made complete by the dual meaning of "cast," of fishing/playing a role.

"In those first days, hope was everywhere ascendant. And what erected those walls was the imperative to find one's own, at all costs. The faces of the lost would stick like barnacles. They would dominate kiosk-style signboards at Grand Central Station and the red-brick edifice of St. Vincent's Hospital. They would paper hundreds of other pedestrian thoroughfares or public spaces where eyes and sympathies might linger."

Friend repeatedly refers to the missing-person posters collectively, as assembled onto "walls," which is our experience of media witness---not some individual posters view, which was never meant to be artistic. Friend's book reads like a rewritten advanced briefing paper laying out the rules for the op. He is sharing the organizational viewpoint, as this was indeed, an enterprise. "Stick like barnacles" is an unintentional joke, as anyone who has ever tried taping a piece of paper to a brick wall, or a metal fence will tell you.

"The faces in the photographs were sunny, almost invariably smiling. Most were youthful, hardy, pictured in the proverbial prime of their lives. They were the sign makers' favorite shots (outside the chapel, on a motorbike, with a beer-can collection,) the ones that had caught the subject's defining spark. The placards were literally attempts to put a loved one's best face forward. And, except for the occasional lead or closing sentence (Please Find My Daddy!"), they were certificates of fact, not rhetoric, written with concise newspaper or police-blotter sobriety: "Brooke Jackman, DOB 8/28/78; ht 5'4'; wt 110 lbs; wearing: tan pants, maroon shirt; brown, shoulder length hair, brown eyes; work: WTC 1, Cantor Fitz, 104th FL. PLS CONTACT..." In some instances, other details were provided, such as a nickname (in case the missing person was, by chance, found disoriented) or the sign maker's relationship (inadvertently invoking the conventions of obituary notices): Brenda Conway---Age 40, 1 World Trade Center, Marsh---97th Floor," followed by phone numbers for "Husband," then "Mother," the "Sister." At times there was a solemn "Thank you" meant for those concerned enough to have stopped to read, or there were words of love or encouragement, meant for the missing, or for the eyes of the Divine "God bless you" or "We love you" or "Keep Holding On."

How does an unorganized project achieve the level of consistency he is describing? Again, Friend is rewriting briefing bullet points. What is so wrong with "inadvertently invoking the conventions of obituary notices?" If inadvertent is what spontaneous people do frequently. I find the posters with just bare phone numbers unnatural---I'd prefer first and last names actually. In the real word, some people are tight-lipped, while others are gushy. And why is he now referring to family members as 'sign-makers'?

"The majority, however, were devoid of extraneous sentiment. The words served as emergency-response captions. The pictures, in what would soon become a terror-era trope, were "biometric data." The visual and the verbal were to be swiftly processed, and action prompted. A recollection was to be dislodged from someone's shot-term memory ( Isn't she the one I saw in the stairwell of Tower One?), then an authority was to be summoned to collect the data, and then a phone number was to be dialed. A voice was then to have intoned, "We've found him. He's shaken up, but he's all right/ He's on the fourth floor at Bellevue..." These were crisis calling cards.

This is all just the academic operational planning viewpoint. What damns the entirety of the missing-persons endeavor is that what Friend describes as being the hopes that people had would happen, in fact, were dashed.

"What impulse drove so many to craft such similar signs in such abundance? The missing posters in those first days were makeshift attempts at cutting through the havoc so as to plead one's case directly, concisely, individually. Loved ones, in the absence of a coherent system for sending information or receiving answers, had to do something concrete to broadcast the vital statistics of the missing---their missing. Cell-phone networks were overloaded. New York City's 911 lines couldn't handle the call volume. Many of those affected, including agencies offering assistance, were not yet attuned to the Internet's facility for connecting multitudes. Radio and television were one-way media.

Here Friend reveals the true agenda behind the missing-persons posters: to "broadcast the vital statistics of the missing."

"Family members just couldn't bear the limbo, the helplessness, or their loved one's silence, which roared above the media's white noise. So, watching others do the same, through news stories presented on television, they concocted their own grassroots medium, collectively: the "missing wall" became a hybrid of ID card, spiritual homage, and emergency graffiti."

"Amidst the horror," says British television executive Stephen Claypole, four years later, "it was actually quite reassuring that people reverted to a simple, intimate means of communication. They went to their PCs or albums and found a photograph that was the seed of their misfortune, then went as close as they could get to the World Trade Center and put up this impassioned personal appeal."

Friend tells us more than once that the posters were an overnight phenomena. Limbo would have to wait until shock had worn off first. "Emergency graffiti," like spray painting an insurance company policy number on your wreaked house, is of an entirely different order. "Emergency craft-project sentimentality" is a better term.

"Another motive behind the posters was the urge to sanctify the lost, through ritual....Yet communal expressions of grief and widespread public "offerings" the week of 9/11 seemed of a new and powerful order in an urban American setting. People had begun to treat the missing walls as outdoor shrines."

The "ritual" of public mourning for the benefit of television cameras was a phenomena unheard of before the death of Princess Diana in 1997, an event which is sometimes cited as being possibly not an accident. This suggests to me that the ritual was designed by psychologists as a mode for managing predicted mass emotion. Existing rituals for expressing grief in urban settings, such as Hispanic-communal graffiti murals, were abused and overtaken by this new---and lesser, mardis-gras trinket---order. (See my completely revamped blog, Organizing the Work Product on 14th Street: Mourn-sims or Grief-sims?) These "walls," as distinct from any incidental groupings, came about because they were undertaken by crews tasked with the job, who stage-managed the unwitting who stepped in as volunteers. A legitimate poster would have scorned the competition these "walls" represented as they developed, preferring the plentiful open spaces available surrounding them. There was no urge to "construct" such an assemblage, except perhaps by the television producers.

"As Elie recalls, they came with "fliers bearing photos; flags; peace signs; votive candles made out of plastic cups (which they lit in the open air, still smelling of burning ash from the disaster site); laser-printed maxims from the Bible and the Qu'ran, from St. Francis and Walt Whitman; placards blending pictures of the towers with saints and archangels---all of this, emerging overnight, made clear that even in an apparently secular city people still conceive of grief and loss in frankly religious terms, and in terms of their own devising..."

This is a very interesting fact. I had always assumed that the people putting up the posters were not the same people who added on the extra layer of maudlin ornamental sanctification. Again, Friend describes the outpouring as "emerging overnight," attributing it to spiritual conviction.

"The enormous missing walls would turn into enormous memorial walls, mortared with sorrow. The impulse to create and post the signs became ever more conflicted, as forces of confidence and reliance (and the instinct for rescue) gave way to forces of denial and mourning (and the desire to honor loved ones.) The leaflets became outward expressions of inner shock and loss and unbearable grief. But still the walls spread, as New York Times correspondent Amy Waldman allowed, "like desperate ivy." [...]

This is an example of an op that got out of hand. They should have pulled the plug on Friday when the rains came. It is said that the individual posters evolved, as time progressed from the rescue to the recovery stage, but the use couldn't move beyond that where an image makes an identification. They were useless for corporal DNA matching.

"For the first week, there were still bagging doubts, " says my friend, Don Johnson, a financial services consultant.

"Photographer Steve Simon went to the Sixty-ninth Regiment Armory on Lexington and Twenty-sixth Street with the intention of making a visual record of the pictures, the signs, and what he calls the "words of hope and desperation taped to the walls." He encountered a trellis of faces. He remembers that most of those depicted appeared to have been caught at their "proudest moments. Graduation parties, weddings, people with pets and one man standing next to an elephant, a reminder that in a time of pure pain and grief a weird sort of humor is still possible, maybe even necessary." Photographer Ken Regan recorded the walls too, roaming the streets. And Time's Christopher Morris. And Jane Barrer, Russell Boyce, John Branch, Phillip Buehler, Betty Hamilton, David Hinder, C. Bronston Jones; Peter Lucas, Nathan Lyons, Melissa Molnar, Margaret Morton, Krista Niles, Jaime Reyes, and many more, Ambreen Qureshi took Polaroids. Nathaniel Welch and Vincent Giordano shot relatives and friends holding up their fliers. Photographers diligently photographed photographs, a tattered, citywide veil of images stitched into place with masking tape and anguish...."

This is an erroneous analysis of the images. On Reality Shack, a forum which discusses the vicsim theory, constant mention is made of the substandard nature of the images that make up the memorial record. Low in resolution, disrespectful of individual dignity, and fundamentally not very informative, often it is only this original image "off of" the missing posters used in subsequent memorial packages.

"The predominant virtue of the walls was that they not only helped assuage the creators of the individual posters, but also were channels of public response and redemption. The walls became a medium for soldering connections between loved ones and the lost, between employers and their missing workers, between neighbors (who felt the posters had become theirs---their missing---on their walls) and the anonymous faces, between those wandering the streets and those back home who had made the signs."

The writer seems to be saying that the op worked for them at the time. Were the poster's creators really "assuaged" when absolutely nothing came of their efforts? Their purpose was to find people and they didn't. This point is reinforced by the one example cited of a successful recovery. The much reproduced poster depicts a man dressed in military uniform, with the image streaked into abstraction from rain damage. He was said to have been job hunting in New York on 9/11, but was hospitalized afterward for unrelated issues, where he failed to notify his out-of-state family for several weeks, until a policeman recognized his pre-rain-damaged visage and made the connection. But this story doesn't hold water given modern hospital social work. In the context of the time, would a hospital really hold a mentally sound patient in a state amounting to isolation? Since this image is the star of a failed touring show of 200 of them that continued the public drumbeat, it is likely to be imaginary detail. It would have been respectful, for the show organizers to have included a pristine copy of the image too.

"The walls became a message board, a sort of metropolitan conscience. Citizens seized the mode of expression that best simulcast their need to identify the missing to the largest audience: pictures on mass-produced posters placed on walls in public spaces. They chose simple, readily available technologies---digital photography, digital scanning and printing, and photocopying---that best addressed the urgency of the crisis. And every step of the way, from the format of the sign to the means of its reproduction to the manner in which it then furnished its message for the viewer, was intrinsically beholden to the photograph and to the photograph's versatility at imparting essential information with swiftness and accuracy (a versatility perhaps matched only by the Internet itself---minus the accuracy.)"

Why would need to reach "the largest possible audience" in order to effect the stated objective of identifying a missing person? Concentrating a search downtown amongst likely associates is a more logical move. But in using the collective term, "the missing" and terms like "broadcast" and "simulcast," reveals the larger motive of the effort, which was the reinforcement of a wounding idea---that tragic losses occurred that day. The steady lowering over time of the total number of dead, was an example of the projection being brought more into line with a verifiable reality---verifiable not meaning true.

"The walls, in fact, would have been impossible just four or five years earlier. In the summer of 1997, when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash, it seemed as if the city of London had descended en masse on the Buckingham Palace gates to pay their respects in an abundance of objects: bouquets, candles, trinkets, lockets, handwritten notes and poems, and images of Diana ripped from magazines and newspapers or appearing on posters and commemorative items. But few back then had access to devices that might let them digitally tailor the offerings they would set at the shrines to Diana."

Were there no Kinko's in 1997? Why "impossible?" Was it impossible because the plan hadn't been unleashed yet? Here is evidence that the form these public expressions of grief took are examples of a mass psychological manipulation by scientists working in cahoots with corrupt leaders---AND that the death of Diana was ordered at the behest of the powers-that-be.

"While the walls were still standing, images of the missing would appear at other rituals. Friends and family members would carry pictures at public commemorations, at rock-concert fund-raisers, at memorials or pregame ceremonies where the victims were honored (and where their photographs, it so happened, could be picked up by TV cameras to spread them among even wider audiences.) Sometimes the pictures would be held aloft like religious icons, between thumb and forefinger:..."[pages 44-45 not part]

Further evidence that they were really pumping this one big time. Standing in public while holding a picture of somebody and crying is just tacky. It is the Paris Hilton of sorrow. To take images and "spread them among even wider audiences" will never bring anybody home, and reveals the true nature of what was going on.

"Five years later, what remains most distinct about the walls, in my memory, is the faces that had been streaked by rivulets of ink as the rains came. The weather on Tuesday, and for much of the week, had been unseasonably pristine. Well into the evenings, street shrines had thrived and citizens had gathered in parks and squares, many on their way home from work, lighting candles, leaving flowers, sharing poems, tear, songs of peace. But on Friday, the skies opened. After the downpour, the city enjoyed a respite of five more bone-dry days before the rains swept in again. many digital photos disintegrated to indistinguishable smudges, just as weathered inscriptions, over years, might fade on timeworn headstones. Looking at an individual sign with its names and numbers streaked, its photograph blurred, was like squinting through one's tears...."

"Five years later, what remains most distinct about the walls, in my memory, is the faces that had been streaked by rivulets of ink as the rains came," should be quoted in book reviews.

"The body was ephemeral, but its countenance---the most accessible and human reflection of the soul within---could survive, through art. Part of the urge to post these pictures was the urge to so honor."

Art can, and will, do better than that.

"In the mid-nineteenth century, Malcolm Daniel has observed, the daguerreotype "offered some small degree of immortality...bequeath[ing] to later generations a record of the faces of their ancestors." The ritual of the postmodern photograph became commonplace. A photographer would often be summoned to a deathbed, and the subject would be figuratively laid to rest once again upon the reflective surface of a daguerreotype. Sometimes the images recorded the face alone---perched upon a high collar or framed by a pillow, a bedsheet, and a bonnet's garland."

See: A Higher Education of the Mind Beyond the Confines of Mere Rationalism

"One hundred and fifty years later, the snapshot, in consort with the digital scanner and printer, would allow for a similar, if more ephemeral, recognition of the dead. The missing walls would become expressions of lives passing, and of souls persisting, the pictorial representing the corporeal, and then some. As with a living cell, the part encapsulated the whole. As with the communion wafer, symbolizing and incorporating the body of Christ, the "faithful likeness" was a sacred object, meant not just to embody but also to sanctify and immortalize. The photograph said: This being is no more; long live his image." [end page 48]

The "faithful likeness" of Christianity says: This being never was, and is no more; long live the King!

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