Sunday, August 15, 2010

Firefighter Darren Harkins, Pilot Timothy Martins and Ladder 2

In doing some research recently comparing the different way in which the media, and those they report on, handled the August, 2007 fire and loss of life at the Deutsche Bank building near the World Trade Center site, as distinct from the earlier attacks on the WTC itself, I was struck by the elaborate compendiums of news articles assembled by the firefighters themselves in 2007, such as this one.

For the much more devastating attacks of 9/11, no professional firematics organization cared enough to collect and protect the public record of their experiences in this fashion.

At www.thebravest.com/FDNYNewsArchive, my work was speeded along by the comprehensiveness of their efforts at listing links to news articles. Nowhere did I find a broken link, or a robots.txt exclusion, which is the bane of online research into the earlier tragedy.

That is until I got down to the last article on the page. There I found a tantalizing snippet, from a piece in the Des Moines Register, dated December 2, 2008.

Titled, "9/11 survivor inspires with talk about courage," it was about a former New York City firefighter, Darren Harkins, who was the sole survivor of Ladder Company 2 on Sept. 11, 2001. Seven years later, he was living in Waukee, Iowa, while attending law school at Drake University. But when I tried to expand the start of the article to the complete version, for the first time in using this web-page resource I was defeated.

So, with the article's subtitle, "Sole survivor of FDNY Ladder Company 2 tells Johnston Middle School ninth-graders that serving your community the most important job," I searched Google, where I located its home page link at the Register, but it was broken. So I attempted to find a cached copy of the same page at archive.org. There I got the dreaded "Blocked Site Error. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008812020315 is not available in the Wayback Machine."

I don't know if a "Blocked Site Error" is more sinister than a "robots.txt exclusion," but they both indicate to me that a deliberate effort was made to suppress the piece of journalism. Since a Google search for Ladder Company 2 + "Darren Harkins" returns only seven hits, I knew something was up.

A broader search for Darren Harkins the NYC fireman, returns only a single pre-9/11 reference in Google---it is to his time in a foot race on Staten Island in 2000. Only one other return references him---from the Staten Island Advance, where Harkins is vaguely quoted in a piece about Ladder 2 victim George DiPasquale.

If the rest of the Des Moines Register article was as damaging as the beginning, I wondered what it might contain worth the effort at suppression. Here's the way it led off...
"He now lives in Waukee, and recently spoke to Johnston Middle School ninth-graders about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which killed 2,751, including office workers, airline passengers and emergency crews in the buildings.

"Harkins told students that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks he worked to dig survivors out of the rubble at ground zero.

"The ninth-grade seminar curriculum focuses on character education traits every two weeks. When the mother of a student heard about Harkins, she recommended that he speak to classes about the trait of courage. The students were in second grade when the attack happened, so they didn't understand the impact that 9/11 events had on the country.

"It was a really good fit with all of our curriculum," said ninth-grade English teacher Kate Leo.

"Harkins, a New York native, moved to Iowa after retiring from the fire department in 2005 because of health issues. Harkins met his wife, Kaylene, on the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Now, Harkins is a law student at Drake University and had never done a presentation about his experiences before speaking to Johnston classes.

"To Harkins, what he went through was just his job..."
...where it peters out.

I suppose it wouldn't be so odd for a former NYFD member to go off to law school in Iowa, but in a Drake University newsletter was this: "Former NYPD firefighter aims to use his law degree to help Iowans," where we are told Harkins was setting up a law practice in Iowa too!
"Darren Harkins isn't the typical Drake University Law School graduate. The New York City native is 38 and worked as New York City police officer for two years. He then served for 10 years as a FDNY firefighter, was promoted to lieutenant and helped with rescue and recovery efforts during the 9/11 terrorist attack.

"The graduation ceremony is a jumping off point for me, and my professional career as an attorney is starting," said Harkins, who also holds a bachelor's degree in political science and history from the State University of New York, Binghamton.
In what may have seemed like quick work to envious fellow grads, the May 2009 piece reports that
He graduated in December and already has passed the Iowa Bar Exam, been sworn in as a practicing attorney and established his own law practice in the Des Moines area. New furniture was just delivered last week to his office at 8450 Hickman Road in Clive.
The Drake newsletter informs us that...
Harkins came to live in Iowa in 2006, when he moved here with his wife Kaylene from Nevada, Iowa. The two met when Harkins visited the state for the annual RAGBRAI bike tour in 1999. She moved to New York City in 2000 and they got married in 2003.
...without informing us as to what made Harkins visit the state for the bike tour to begin with.

Unless his wife were very well connected in Nevada, Iowa, Harkins' chances for success in Clive, Iowa might not pay off any student loans anytime soon. But it is not just in an unlikely start to a mid-western law career that makes me question his motives and agenda
Harkins said he always wanted to go to law school and knew Drake was a good fit for him because of its size and reputation for its faculty-student ratio that lends itself to close relationships.

"My whole life, I have chosen to work in public service," said Harkins, who also worked at the Legal Clinic through Drake's clinical program. There, he helped people with various challenges and that experience inspired him to focus helping people through civil practice.

"Although he won't be battling fires and carrying people to safety, Harkins said he knows he can count on his new career to help him continue to find "fulfillment in helping people."
It is in Darren Harkins special status as being the only "survivor" of Ladder 2 that draws attention to him.

Of the seven men said to have died from Ladder 2: Michael J Clarke, 27, George DiPasquale, 33, Denis P Germain, 33 , Daniel E Harlin, 41, Frederick Ill, Jr, 49, Carl Molinaro, 32, and Dennis M Mulligan, 32, only Fire Captain Frederick Ill has a significantly established profile.

He is also described as being Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill, who had sixteen years of military service, was a fire captain, and was in the New York State Army Reserves at the time of the attack.

Much research is being done to ferret out fake identities on the 9/11 victim's rosters, but this is one of the first clear indications that a survivor of that day, a fireman who escaped from inside the North Tower, may be a manufactured identity--with all that entails for proving NYFD collusion with the 9/11 plot.

But even more fascinating is someone named Timothy J. Martins.

On a thread dated April 1, 2010, at the www.firehouse.com/forums is this grave warning
Calling all members of the NYFD, specifically the NYFD Ladder 2 of Manhattan:

Within the last week the Air Line Pilot Association (ALPA) union published in their April 2010 member magazine (which was distributed to over 53,000 members) an article on an American Eagle airline pilot named TIMOTHY J. MARTINS who, among other verified false claims, has made claims to be a member of NYFD Ladder Company 2. In the article he also claimed to be an F-16 fighter pilot in the New Jersey Air National Guard as well as a Paramedic for New York City. Both of these claims have been since verified as false. As a result MULTIPLE military and airline forums numbering in excess of ten have begun threads on this individual and more and more of his lies have surfaced.

He does claim to be a volunteer of the Nesconset Fire Department, which does appear to be true, however.

The severity of his blatant false claims has led to both the ALPA and his employer beginning an investigation into this individual. In the meantime it appears as though he has been suspended from his duties with pay.

Attached below are scans of the original published article. Please read them.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...3&id=213500296

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...d=520047385846

Also, below is a link to the military forum that broke the story and continues to discuss this issue.

http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums.../page__st__160

The question I have for you is: Is this individual indeed a member of Ladder 2? Is he even a Firefighter for NY? Or is it another one of his lies that is greatly disrespectful of Firefighters everywhere and the great service to their country?

Thank you for your time.
What makes this EVEN MORE fascinating can be found in an article in the New York Post on April 1, 2010, "American Eagle pilot grounded after lying about background," by Christine Negroni, which states
A pilot for a commuter airline that flies out of all three New York airports was grounded after telling multiple lies about his background to make himself look a poster boy for his industry in a magazine profile, The Post has learned.

Timothy Martins, who flies for American Eagle, told the magazine, published by his union, that he’s an active member of the New Jersey Air National Guard, an FDNY firefighter and a graduate of an aviation school on Long Island.

None of it was true, officials of the agencies said.

The safety of regional commuter carriers and their pilot training came under heavy scrutiny after a Colgan Air jet crashed near Buffalo last February, killing 50 people.

Many of the smaller carriers pay their pilots peanuts, give them insufficient rest time between flights and make them commute thousands of miles.

The story about Martins was written, in part, to counter the bad publicity resulting from the crash and other highly embarrassing incidents — including an airliner overshooting Minneapolis while its pilots chatted about their schedules.

Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American Eagle, which is owned by American Airlines, refused to comment on the allegations.

But she insisted that Martins holds all the required FAA certifications for his job as a first officer. There’s no indication he lied to his employer about his background.

Martins, who has been grounded, did not respond to a call and an email requesting for comment.

The controversy began after the lengthy article appeared in the April edition of the Air Line Pilots Association magazine.

Questions about his claim to be an F-16 pilot in the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard soon began circulating on the Internet.

Major Yvonne Mays, spokeswoman for the Jersey Guard, said it didn’t "have any record of a pilot" named Martins.

The 24-year old, who is from Long Island, also claimed to be a firefighter and paramedic in New York. But an FDNY spokesman said, "He’s not a firefighter, he has not worked for our department."

Dowling College confirmed that Martin attended the school, but said he did not graduate and his years of attendance do not correspond to the dates he said he was there.

Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said if Martins lied, it should be of concern to American Eagle.

"Anyone who is charged with a responsibility for transporting the lives of other people safely who is evidently intentionally fabricating or embellishing credentials or falsifying stories, that’s obviously a terrible problem that should be of concern to the airline," he said.

An ALPA spokeswoman declined comment.
That Colgan Air jet crash near Buffalo was the flight which killed Beverly Eckert!

Didn't their mothers ever tell them? Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive?

1/8/2009 - Senior Airman Adam McCarty helps transfer a New York Fire Department flag between two Army units before a transfer of authority ceremony at Ali Base, Iraq, Jan. 6. The 962nd Ordnance Company, 1st Platoon, deployed from Schenectady, N.Y., transferred the U.S. and New York Fire Department flags to the 157th Combat Service Support Battalion, which is deployed from Willow Grove, Pa. The flags were flown over the World Trade Center Ground Zero site for four months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by firefighters from Engine Company 8, Ladder Company 2 and Battalion 8. Since then, these flags have been in the care of six Army units deployed in Iraq and have returned home twice. McCarty, a firefighter with the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, is deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)

Ali Base

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