Featured

The World Is About To Change.

(Originally published by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

Seeking Justice for 9/11 Heroes: An Interview with New York Area Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia

Andrew Steele: On July 24, 2019, the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which oversees a volunteer fire department that serves a hamlet of 30,000 residents, just outside of Queens, New York, made history by unanimously passing a resolution that supports a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, becoming the first legislative body in the country to do so.

Today, we’re joined by the man who introduced that resolution, Christopher Gioia. He’s a former firefighter and chief of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department, and now a commissioner that oversees that department. Mr. Gioia, welcome to the show.

Christopher Gioia: Thank you very much, Mr. Steele.

Steele: Before we get into the big news that everybody is talking about in the movement, and all throughout alternative media, we want to get to know you a little bit more, so please tell us about yourself and your career.

Gioia: Well, let’s see. I am presently in the construction industry. Franklin Square Fire Department is a volunteer fire department. We’re comprised of people from all walks and all trades. I’ve been in Franklin Square, I guess, for most of my life. I grew up maybe a block away from the firehouse, so when I was growing up, I used to sit on the curb and watch the firetrucks go by. I always wanted to be a fireman.

In the meantime, I completed high school, and I had joined the Marine Corps. When I had gotten out of the Marine Corps, I came back to town, and I wanted to continue my service, because the fire department is a paramilitary organization, so I went to the fire department, and I joined the local fire department. I’ve been with the Franklin Square/Munson Fire Department now for 32 years. I rose through the ranks, lieutenant and captain. I went through the chief’s office. We have three chiefs, second assistant, first assistant, and then you become chief of department. Those are two-year terms.

Then some years went by. We also have the fire district, which is comprised of five fire commissioners, who are responsible for the buildings and the grounds, the maintenance of the equipment, uniforms, and such. Pretty much, it’s administrative, and you pay the bills, but it is an elected position, and you have to submit a petition and run for office, and there are other people out there that you have to run against, so you actually have to mount a campaign. Then whatever monies, because it’s public money, everything has to be done according to state law. Everything has to be voted on, and there’s policies and procedures, and everything has to be on the up and up and above board.

We are audited by the state. We have our own internal auditors. Every penny is accounted for, and we do run a tight ship over here. I’ve been a commissioner now for about, I guess, three years. They’re five-year terms, so I’m probably about halfway through. You lose track of time. When you get older, things have a tendency to blur a little bit.

Steele: Is it just one term that you have or are allowed, or are you allowed to run again, when the five years are up?

Gioia: You can run again for another five-year term. You could actually stay in office. The other four commissioners have been in office 10, 15, maybe 20 years, so I’m pretty much the new kid on the block. The other members… We have another ex-chief, who’s sitting on the board, as well. He was chief of the department back in the late ’80s or the early ’90s. That would actually be Commissioner Malloy. Then you have Commissioner Saltzman, who is a member of Engine Company Number Three. You have Commissioner Lyons, who is a member of Engine Company Number Two. Commissioner Joseph Torregrossa, he’s the chairman, and he’s also a member of Engine Company Number Two.

You can run again. Five-year terms is a long time, but if you’re in there, and you like what you’re doing, it’s pretty procedural after… For me, personally, after being chief and being commissioner, coming into the district, it’s actually a less hectic pace. When you’re chief, you respond to every call, and you’re out there on the front lines. Pretty much, the commissioners are the ones in the background, just paying all the bills. It’s a lot less hectic. It’s more relaxed. When you get a little older, you want to be a little bit more relaxed.

Steele: I understand that myself, as I’m getting older. Believe me. Now, please tell us about your 9/11 story. Where were you on the day of September 11th, and how did you first hear the news?

Gioia: On 9/11, I was working… As I said, I do construction for a living. I’m a construction surveyor. I work for a large construction company. I was working on new construction of a small power plant on the river, the East River in Brooklyn, just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. I was working with a gentleman, who works in Upstate New York. We were working. We’re less than two miles from the Trade Center, and you have a spectacular view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn side of the river.

We heard this explosion, me and my partner, and he remarked something like, “Is somebody blasting around here?” Because he knew what the sound was. It didn’t register, so we looked around, and somebody said, “Hey, look! The Trade Center, the Twin Towers, is on fire.” We were looking at it, and we’re like… We pretty much knew right away. We’re like, okay, a plane hit it or a helicopter hit it. It was up high, and there was enough smoke and fire that we could see.

Then somebody ran out of one of the trailers and said that a plane had hit the North Tower. It was a spectacularly beautiful day. It was just this beautiful blue sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was this perfect day. I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, this guy, whoever was flying the plane, how could you hit the building? It’s just absolutely perfect flying weather.

I have survey equipment, which is pretty much like a telescope, so we focused the instruments on the North Tower, and I could see the imprint of the plane. I could actually see everything. Just looking at it, it was registering that we all thought it was maybe a small propeller plane, like a Piper Cub or something like that, but just from looking at the damage, it was like you knew that it was something larger.

In the meantime, then, the person… People were running around, scurrying, and they didn’t know what was going on, and then all of a sudden, we were watching. Then from our vantage point, we couldn’t see the plane coming from the other side, because the second plane that hit the South Tower came from the Statue of Liberty side, which is the New Jersey side, and the building exploded, and it blew out on the side, and then all hell broke loose. We were like, we’re under attack, you know?

People just wanted to leave the job. Me and my partner, we were transfixed on what we were seeing, because we had the instruments set up, and people wanted to see what was going on. We actually could see people waving for help. I could see people waving their clothes from the windows. I actually saw the lady who was perched at the bottom of the impact hole in the North Tower. I believe she was identified, and she ultimately wound up being killed, but I saw her.

Then it got even worse, because then you saw people jumping out of the building, and then that was it. I couldn’t watch it anymore, and I had to get home to my wife and my kids. My son was just about a year old. I told my boss. I said, “Listen, I’m out of here,” so I jumped in my truck, and we’re about… From Brooklyn to my house is probably about 20 miles, and it’s about maybe five or six miles to get to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

When I had driven about five miles to get on the expressway, when I got up to the expressway, I looked in the rear view mirror, and the whole sky of Manhattan down by the Trade Centers was just blacked out by this cloud. I guess the North Tower had collapsed, but I didn’t know it yet. People had just stopped on the highway, and everybody was just staring. I turned on the radio, and then all kinds of reports were coming in. I just, I flew home, and I made it home in record time. It must’ve taken me 15-20 minutes, because I was literally doing 90 miles an hour down the highway to get home.

I got home, and I threw open the door. My wife looked at me, and she goes, the South Tower just collapsed. I couldn’t understand. I said to her, I go, “What do you mean the South Tower just collapsed?” I go, “What happened to the North Tower?” She said, “That one collapsed 15 minutes ago.” I just sat back down on the couch with my wife, and we just sat there, and we watched TV. We were just in shock, because it was just too much to take in. We just sat there, and we just watched, watched the TV, and we just watched everything, as it unfolded.

Steele: It was horrible enough to watch it on television from Florida, where I was at the time. I can’t imagine standing there watching what you just described through your equipment that day, and seeing that. I know for New Yorkers, it had, of course, a more profound impact, because they actually lived it, people in New York and in the surrounding areas. It happened right in front of them. I understand that you had friends that died on September 11th. Do you want to tell us about them, and the lives that they lived?

Gioia: Yes, that’s correct, Andrew. I lost three of my friends, who were city firemen. One of them, Thomas Hetzel, was in the department here in Franklin Square. The other two lived in Franklin Square, and I was friends with them. I grew up with firefighter, Robert Evans. We used to pretty much hang out, maybe down at the park. He was a friend from school. Then the other firefighter, Michael Kiefer, he was one of these kids who used to come around the firehouse on his bicycle, and he was a… We’d call him a buff. He would have his scanner, and he would follow the trucks around. He grew up, and he joined the fire department.

He went into the towers. He responded. They never found him. I think they found little bits and pieces of Bobby. I was speaking to his sister the other day. They actually recovered some more parts or bone fragments. Tom they found in a stairwell. He was on his way out of the building. I was really good friends with Tom. I pretty much grew up with him. I went to his wedding. We did things together, and he was a good friend. They were all good people.

Continue reading “The World Is About To Change.”

One Flew Over The Belmarsh Prison.

by Jerry Alatalo

“The deeds on men never deceive the gods.” 

– OVID (43 B.C. – 18 A.D.) Roman poet  

eople concerned about the severe health and well-being threats to the world’s most important publisher-journalist of the 21st century, Julian Assange, are especially concerned during the ongoing extradition hearings at London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison.

The sense of frustration felt by millions of men and women around the Earth regarding the seemingly endless persecution and increasingly harsh, unjust retribution Assange has been forced to endure for (10) years was captured by authors in the past.

After years of seeming incomprehensible, overly-complex legal wrangling between Mr. Assange’s attorneys and the combined United States-United Kingdom establishment seeking to imprison Assange for life inside America, serious observers surely have felt the “Catch 22” predominant aspect of the affair.

From the motion picture “Catch 22”

Joseph Heller’s book “Catch 22” was eventually made into a major big-screen motion picture, capturing the author’s sense of utter futility and hopelessness in the conditions and circumstances involved in the conducting of wars. “Catch 22” has since become a well-known term for describing the category of human-to-human communications which share the depressing feature of resulting in zero communications at all.

Another book and film in the vicinity of the same genre is “Cool Hand Luke” by author Donn Pearce, perhaps best remembered by the scene where actor Strother Martin, playing the prison warden, explains to the prisoners regarding Luke’s (actor Paul Newman) repeated attempts to escape, that “What we have here, is a failure to communicate!”.

From the motion picture “Cool Hand Luke”

That scene’s dialogue followed the warden’s vicious whipping of Luke as punishment for Luke’s “Stop treating me so nice, boss”, and warden/actor Martin’s Academy Award-worthy delivery of “Don’t ever talk to me like that again! Never! … Never!! … Never!!!”

The book and 1975 Academy Award for Best Picture “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by author Ken Kesey captures the insanity and brutal nature of Julian Assange’s years long “punishment” for being an effective peace activist, arguably the #1 peace activist of the 21st century. In particular, the character played by Nicholson’s eventual brain lobotomy provides the powerful analogy to the current chemical, pharmaceutical applied intentional destruction of Assange’s brilliant mind.

The character played by actor Jack Nicholson eventually becomes lobotomized into the shape of a non-cognizant, unfeeling human vegetable, leading to his Native American friend, the gentle giant named “Chief”, – performing the ultimate act of mercy – to smother Nicholson’s character to death, before breaking out of the mental institution to freedom.

We hope and suggest it may not yet be too late to heal Julian Assange’s physical, mental and spiritual injuries. There might still be time to save Julian Assange’s life. The chance still exists he might become rightly freed to live out his days and share with all people on Earth the full range of human experiences.

May right actions be taken before it is too late. Walk in beauty.

#FreeAssange

(Thank you to Queentin Tarantula at YouTube)

“A Hidden Life”: Review By Edward Curtin.

(Cross-posted from DissidentVoice.org)

Painting A True Christ

A review of Terrence Malik’s film: A Hidden Life

by Edward Curtin / February 14th, 2020

here’s an early scene in Terrence Malik’s masterful new film – what I would call a moving painting – where the central character Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant farmer from an isolated small mountainous village who refuses to take an oath to Hitler and fight in the German army, is talking to an older man who is restoring paintings in the local Catholic church.

Franz, a devout Roman Catholic, is deeply disturbed by the rise of Hitler and the thought of participating in his immoral killing machine.  The older man tells Franz – who has already been admonished that he has a duty to defend the fatherland (homeland) – that he makes his living painting pretty holy pictures for the culturally conditioned parishioners for whom God and country are synonymous.  He says.

“I paint their comfortable Christ with a halo over his head.  We love him, that’s enough.  Someday I’ll paint a true Christ.”

Malik’s “someday” has arrived with A Hidden Life, where the older Malik shows the younger Malik – and us – a moving picture of what experience has taught him is the complex essence of a true and simple Christ: out of love of God and all human beings to refuse to kill.

To watch this film is to undergo a profound experience, an experiment with truth and non-violence, a three-hour trial (Latin: experimentum – trial).  While Franz is eventually put on trial by the German government, it is we as viewers who must judge ourselves and ask how guilty or innocent are we for supporting or resisting the immoral killing machine of our own country now.

Hitler and his Nazis were then, but we are faced with what Martin Luther King called “the fierce urgency of now.”  Many Americans surely ask with Franz, “What has happened to the country that we love?”  But how many look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a guilty bystander or an active supporter of the United States’ immoral and illegal wars all around the world that have been going on for so many years under presidents of both parties and have no end?

Do I support the new cold war with its push for nuclear war with its first strike policy?  Do I support, by my silence, a nuclear holocaust?”

I say that A Hidden Life is a moving painting because its form and content cannot be separated.  A true artist, Malik realizes that what non-artists call form or style is the content; they are one.  The essence of the story is in the telling; in a film in the showing. The cinematography by Jörge Widmer, a longtime Malick collaborator, is therefore key.  It is exquisitely beautiful as he paints with swiftly moving light the mountains and streams of the Austrian countryside, even as the storm clouds with their thunder and lightning roll in across the mountains.

The ever-recurring dramatic scenes of numinous nature and the focus on the sustaining earth from which our food comes and to which we all return and in which Franz, his wife Fani, and their young daughters romp and roll and plant and harvest and dirty their hands is the ground beneath our feet, and when we look, we see its marriage to the sky, the clouds, the light, the shadows, which in their iridescent interplay of light and darkness beseech us to interrogate our existence and ask with Franz what is right and what is wrong and what is our purpose on this beautiful earth.

Continue reading ““A Hidden Life”: Review By Edward Curtin.”