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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.”

Still Only A Pawn In Their Game.

oday’s headlines have many recalling the “March On Washington” in 1963. A 22-year-old Bob Dylan saw 34-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. give his “I Have A Dream” speech in person, – and performed at the very same podium, singing his (at the time) controversial song about the assassination of Medgar Evers.

A youthful Bob Dylan performs at the 1963 “March On Washington”

Only a Pawn In Their Game – Bob Dylan

A bullet from the back of a bush
Took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin, ” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
So it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack, shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath a hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet that he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain
Only a pawn in their game

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his world-famous “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963 at the “March On Washington”, five years before he became the victim of a political assassination conspiracy plot in Memphis, Tennessee at age 39

(Thank you to silesius at YouTube)

Memorial Day Message: Dwight And Mark’s Excellent Adventure.

by Jerry Alatalo

“The great artist is the simplifier.”

 – HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1861) Swiss philosopher

hile at first glance people might see no relationship between United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address and Mark Knopfler’s performance of “Brothers In Arms”, one might suggest the two men from different generations deliver powerful, profound, unforgettable peace messages which are precisely one and the same.

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address

My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as in traditional and solemn ceremony the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

II.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

III.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology — global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research — these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs — balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage — balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

VII.

So — in this my last good night to you as your President — I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I — my fellow citizens — need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the Earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

*

One might suggest musician Mark Knopfler confirms Dwight Eisenhower’s political sentiments from the perspective of the artist, providing a contrasting yet mirror-like portrait of two nearly identical, constantly evolving, sincere human worldviews. One might further suggest Mr. Knopfler, whether he knows it or not, has a legitimate claim to being the creator of the ideal Memorial Day anthem, and arguably the most powerful musical statement for peace ever experienced.

Brothers In Arms

(1)

These mist covered mountains

Are home now for me

But my home is the lowlands

And always will be

Someday you’ll return to

Your valleys and your farms

And you’ll no longer burn

To be brothers in arms

(2)

Through these fields of destruction

Baptisms of fire

I’ve witnessed your suffering

As the battle raged higher

And though they hurt me so bad

In the fear and alarm

You did not desert me

My brothers in arms

(Bridge)

There’s so many different worlds

So many different suns

We have just one world

But we live in different ones

(3)

Now the sun’s gone to hell

And the moon’s riding high

Let me bid you farewell

Every man has to die

But it’s written in the starlight

And every line in your palm

We’re fools to make war

On our brothers in arms

***

(Thank you to Mark Knopfler at YouTube)