By Craig McKee
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has made it official: the effort to force the City of New York to investigate the destruction of Building 7 is having a significant effect on the profile of the 9/11 Truth Movement.
The mayor recently lashed out at the efforts to get a question on the ballot in the November municipal election that would, if it passes, impose a change to the city’s charter. The change would force the city’s Department of Buildings to investigate all high-rise collapses retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001. Exempted would be the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
In an article in Crain’s New York Business, de Blasio said: “From what I’ve heard, it’s absolutely ridiculous. And it’s inappropriate, after all the suffering that went on 9/11 and since. It seems to be this is a very insensitive and inappropriate action.”
The article is one of a number that have emerged as the mainstream media starts to actually cover the story. The effort, called the High-Rise Safety Initiative, is being organized by the NYC Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN). The campaign needed 30,000 signatures to hit the initial target for getting the initiative considered by the city council, and another 15,000 by Sept. 5 to override any decision by council to reject the initiative.
So far more than 67,000 names have been collected. The additional signatures are important since not all of the names collected will prove to be valid.
The media coverage has been a mixed bag, although not has hostile as the movement has become accustomed to – particularly after the horribly biased CNN report by Jake Tapper on the AE911Truth initiative to distribute alternative pamphlets outside the 9/11 memorial and museum.
The Crain’s article refers to the campaign as the “so-called High-Rise Safety Initiative.”
The Wall Street Journal writes that as a result of the initiative, the city might be forced to “reopen the probe” into Building 7’s destruction (not really accurate). Ny1.com acknowledged that the campaign is “quickly gaining attention,” and the tone of its piece was reasonably neutral except for a predictable reference to a “cottage industry of conspiracy theories” arising after 9/11.
Gothamist.com did the best job of reporting the details of the story and even took a shot at the 9/11 museum with their opening sentence: “Out of the cheese plate, onto the ballot.” This is a reference to what gothamist.com calls the museum gift shop’s “most tasteless souvenir” – a cheese plate in the shape of the United States with the 9/11 “crash sites” marked.
The New York Post, which calls 9/11 “the ultimate conspiracy theory,” refers to NYC CAN as a “group funded by 9/11 conspiracy theorists”
Salon, says New Yorkers will finally get to vote “on whether they want to expend time, money and effort toward deducing who’s really responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Who’s “really” responsible? That’s interesting. They also say that Walter said he doesn’t believe the government was involved in 9/11. I hope that’s not true.
And, on nbcnewyork.com, an Associated Press report quotes de Blasio as say he is planning to block the initiative from getting on the ballot. If the group gets enough valid signatures, he won’t have any choice in the matter.
The report on Building 7 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, released in 2008, attributed the destruction of the building to a “new phenomenon” – thermal expansion leading to a progressive collapse due to fire. If true, then the obvious question that would arise would be: Why aren’t any changes being made to how high-rise buildings are constructed?
A required financing plan has been created to cover how investigations would be funded if the initiative passes in November. The petition proposes a 0.9% surcharge on the cost of building permits in the city that would raise an estimated $1 million per year to operate the program. The surcharge would be suspended once the amount in the fund reaches $3 million and would be reinstated should the fund drop below $1 million.
If the initiative does make it on to the ballot, it still has to pass before any probe into Building 7 can be forced. And if it does pass, then NYC CAN has to follow up to ensure that the city is doing a proper investigation.
The media coverage of the High-Rise Safety Initiative has been superficial and intermittently snarky, but overall it has been a very positive development – including the comments of the mayor. Even as we near the 13th anniversary of 9/11, the issues raised by the Truth Movement are getting noticed, sometimes with very negative coverage, sometimes less so. But the message to the general public is that we’re still around and we’re still pushing for the truth.