Black Boxes Found at WTC – Update
“The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 were not found, and the CVR from American Flight 77 was badly burned and not recoverable.”
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (“official government edition”), Notes to Chapter 1. (p. 456 of PDF version)
It is believable that the debris field and mass grave of Ground Zero was dug up so fast – or the damage was so incredibly severe – that the virtually indestructible “black box” (orange) flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) from the 2 planes were never found (source – see also here). Never mind how very rare an occasion that was on land. If the steel beams didn’t crush the devices, or if the fires didn’t fry them, their burial in a million-plus tons of debris could have easily rendered them lost. Right?
Briefly consider the other 9/11 black boxes. The two devices were found for the Pentagon attack plane, American Airlines Flight 77. Yet the voice recording was allegedly not usable (images, source: NTSB FOIA appeal 2012, 911datasets.org). Recent flight data recorder analysis contradicts early inaccurate interpretations which had fueled the ridiculous conspiracy theory of a flyover masked by internal explosions (see the data). Pentagon theories have long been the bane of the 9/11 Truth Movement – the poison in the well, so to speak (Frank Legge, BSc, PhD, “What Hit the Pentagon? Misinformation and its Effect on the Credibility of 9/11 Truth,” journalof911studies.com, 2009). In the words of researcher Russell Pickering, “This plane/no-plane debate at the Pentagon is responsible for more division, destruction and disgusting behavior than any other 9/11 topic. It has deterred more of the general public from understanding the BIG PICTURE than any other aspect of 9/11.” I digress.
For the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash of United Flight 93, again the cockpit voice recorder (alt. version) and flight data recorder were recovered quickly. As opposed to the Pentagon device, the CVR was useful. Suspiciously, or to avoid disrespectful media dissemination, the voice recording was only shared at length with the victims’ families in closed quarters… and the last 3 minutes were missing. (William Bunch, “Three-minute Discrepancy In Tape,” philly.com, Sept. 16, 2002.) Also, NORAD and the 9/11 Commission place the crash at 10:03 while seismic data says 10:06:05 and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 10:07 (historycommons.org). Watch a “Loose Change” collection on Shanksville to understand conspiracy theories on why the final minutes were missing. It has been argued the plane was shot down. This (or a bomb on board, or the plane breaking up after excessive velocity stress) would explain why the plane debris field was spread over several square miles. Of course there are witnesses who described a plane – not parts of a plane – diving at a 45 degree angle. There were witnesses who said lots of things. Finally there is the inconsistent labeling on the two Shanksville devices. The CVR was labeled “AlliedSignal” and the FDR, “Honeywell.” Details. See the NTSB Flight Path Study here.
In the New York cases of American Flight 11 and United Flight 175, the black boxes – at least one – was found, just supposedly not recovered. On Sept. 19, 2001 the New York Times reported that the “pinging” signal of one of the black boxes “might have been detected.” (Susan Sachs, “At the Site, Little Hope of Uncovering Survivors.”) Solid “new” evidence confirms this.
“Investigators have identified the signal from one of the black boxes in the WTC debris,” said a Sept. 18 memo to Gov. George Pataki from New York State Emergency Management Office Director Edward F. Jacoby, Jr. (OEM FOIL Sec. 4, p. 16.)
These investigators included “14 personnel” of U.S. Army’s CECOM (Communications Electronics Command), in addition to FBI and USAR (Urban Search and Rescue), from whom “[a] ten-man team is using acoustic sensors and direction finders to locate the audio transmitters (pingers) on the recorders.” (FEMA Situation Report #15, for Sept. 19-20, pp. 8-9) The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) was involved, too, helping to set up six observation/camera points to help guide FDNY and USAR (apparently with laser pointers [source, Sept. 24-25 FDNY Incident Action Plan]) to the area(s) emitting the signal(s).
All but two of these camera points were removed Oct. 21/22 (FDNY Incident Action Plans). This strongly suggests that before this time, either the “pinging” stopped or the devices were recovered. Why was there no report confirming failure (or success)? (Many thanks to Caveman for his new research into this matter.)
One article touting CECOM went as far as to say, “Radio frequency detectors developed at CECOM were used to find ‘black box’ flight recorders from the airliners that crashed into the two towers.” (Gen. Paul J. Kern, Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, “AMC: Accelerating the Pace of Transformation,” AUSA: Army Magazine, Feb. 1, 2002.) Note the wording there was not “to try to find.” It is now undeniable that one or more of the devices was found. Were they retrieved?
DEMASI AND BELLONE
Now recall the famous claim by Nicholas DeMasi, firefighter with “now defunct Engine Company 261” in Queens. (Will Bunch, “9/11 ‘black box’ cover-up at Ground Zero?,” Philadelphia Daily News [online version], Oct. 27, 2004 [updated the 28th].) Will Bunch picked up this story from a rare 2003 book titled Behind the Scenes: Ground Zero, by Gail Swanson (and TRAC Team, Trauma Recovery and Assistance for Children, self-published), p. 108. Quoting DeMasi secondhand from that:
“At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. . . . There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.”
– Bryan Sacks and Nicholas Levis, “Firefighter Said Black Boxes Were Found at Ground Zero” [mirror], Oct. 27, 2004.
In October that “million dollars worth of equipment” supposedly helped locate the boxes using their waterproof, impact/heat resistant, built-in homing beacons. Forget for a minute that similar equipment had been used by professionals for weeks to pinpoint the “pinging,” without previous assistance being required from “ATV guy” firefighter DeMasi.
DeMasi’s story – or at least one of the three recoveries – was visually confirmed by a man named Mike Bellone, who told more of his story on Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” episode on 9/11 (TruTV, 2009 – watch part 4 to see it). Bellone said he had friends who had worked for American Airlines, “supervisors” who had “monitored the phone calls coming in from the actual flight,” Flight 11. They would not participate in Ventura’s program out of fear, said Bellone. One woman “running for her life” had found surveillance “bugs” in her home and vehicle. “Conspiracy Theory” producer Michael Braverman told us later in the episode: “Bellone says that somebody on the ground knew a hijacker was in the cockpit. Somebody else on the ground let that plane take off.” So not only has Bellone seen one of the devices recovered at the WTC, he’s friends with people who have direct knowledge of a conspiracy. Plus he also said the FBI had confronted him personally, to get him to stop talking about the black boxes.
Of course, people are suspicious of this man, who traveled the country with Ground Zero “artifacts” as an “honorary firefighter” with a supposed charity group doing presentations to schoolchildren. (911myths.com)
“Fire marshals … arrested Bellone, 51, of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sept. 27, for having an FDNY Scott air tank, harness, regulator and mask. He was charged with grand larceny, criminal impersonation and possession of stolen property, but the charges were later dropped after Bellone returned the items.” (Ed Zagorski, “New York ‘firefighter’ who delivered talk on 9-11 at Concordia was fraud,” GM Today, Oct. 19, 2005.) [emphasis added]
Coincidentally, Nicholas DeMasi’s firehouse in Queens was shut down in mid-2003. Was he a volunteer, or a paid member like most New York City firefighters? That might have been incentive to participate in the 2003 TRAC Team book (with Bellone’s name on front). Since then, no additional comment has come from DeMasi.
If the account by DeMasi and Bellone is true, it’s not clear what motive federal authorities would have for claiming they weren’t found.
By the same token, however, it’s not clear what incentive either man would have to lie.
. . .
Bellone has encounted some unrelated problems in connection with the TRAC group, however. In April, the New York Post reported (story not available online) that TRAC owned money to a number of creditors, including the company that published the book. Fire officials also told Bellone, who was made an honorary firefighter by a New York engine company, that he couldn’t wear an official uniform on school visits.
– Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News, 10/28/2004.)
Spokesmen for the FBI and the FDNY denied the claims of these two Ground Zero workers.
Finally, a third claim of retrieval:
“A source at the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency that has the task of deciphering the data from the black boxes retrieved from crash sites – including those that are being handled as crimes and fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI – says the boxes were in fact recovered and were analyzed by the NTSB. ‘Off the record, we had the boxes,’ the source says. ‘You’d have to get the official word from the FBI as to where they are, but we worked on them here.’”
Dave Lindorff, “9/11: Missing Black Boxes in World Trade Center Attacks Found by Firefighters, Analyzed by NTSB, Concealed by FBI,” CounterPunch, Dec. 19, 2005. [mirror]
The solitary source is anonymous and cannot be verified in any way. An NTSB spokesperson has since denied the veracity of this, as has the FBI and everybody else in officialdom… since no 100% credible, credentialed source has provided evidence and made it public. Of course no evidence to the contrary has been published either. The black boxes recovery effort just dwindled and faded into history without word.
As it turns out, at least one of the black boxes was really found according to NYC OEM and U.S. Army Materiel Command… if only temporarily located, technologically from a distance.
Now since nobody confirmed or denied the recovery of the devices, a two man team linked to theft and fraud has taken the story and run with it. One of the guys disappeared into obscurity. The other appeared on a 2009 TV show with more amazing stories, and re-made the book as an anniversary edition in 2011.
Where are the New York black boxes, then? Do they rest at Fresh Kills Landfill with the rest of the debris, having somehow escaped the trained eyes of people watching conveyor belts (sometimes described as running too fast)?
Frequent statements made to Rhonda Shearer and London Allen by NYPD Fresh Kills workers indicate that the speed of the conveyor belts were too fast for proper observation of materials and that like at ground zero, a struggle to reduce speed existed between officers doing the observation and management pushing for speed. The quest for speed in dealing with debris was at ground zero and the Fresh Kills Dump.
– WTC Living History Project, http://www.wtclivinghistory.org/groundzerocorrection3.htm, Number 52.
Why were the alleged murder weapons never identified forensically? That is, including Flight 77 and Flight 93, each with no serial numbers on the black boxes (Aidan Monaghan, “9/11 Aircraft ‘Black Box’ Serial Numbers Mysteriously Absent,” 911blogger.com, Feb. 26, 2008). Since the crashes weren’t classified as accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board didn’t have the burden of responsibility that the FBI did. Yet, a records search by FBI Record/Information Dissemination Section (“RIDS”) section chief David Hardy uncovered no “documentation pertaining to any formally and positively identified debris” from the aircraft used in the attacks (Aidan Monaghan, “FBI Records Chief Describes Unsuccessful Search For Identifying Records Of 9/11 Aircraft Wreckage & Flight Data Recorders,” 911blogger.com, Aug. 26, 2008).