The Smell Of
Death Surrounds You 
"Canít you smell that smell?
The smell of death surrounds you." - --Lynyrd Skynyrd
douglas herman
I remember that smell, even after almost four years. It was the smell of death mixed with toxic fumes. Reportedly, the fires were still burning deep in the hole, more than a month after planes had smacked into the towers and set them afire. From my camper van in Liberty State Park, across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, I could see the smoke rise every morning against the first tint of dawn. Then, if the westerly wind shifted, I could smell the disturbing scent of death. Strange, but it remains with me even now, a mixture of burnt flesh and roasted electrical circuits mixed with a sooty, metallic smell.
Can you smell that smell? The smell of incredibly suspicious events compounded?Shortly before the towers fell, in April, 2001, new tenant Larry Silverstein signed a 99 year lease and increased insurance policy to coverage of 7 billion. Less than six months later, the entire WTC site was demolished.
So many perplexing and frustrating things about the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers remain smoldering in my mind even today. The most perplexing and frustrating might be that not one--NOT ONE--New York-based writer seems inclined to raise a reasonable doubt about the "official" story. Did the airborne asbestos really fry everyone's circuits that day, their ability to think critically? In the almost four years since that day in September, Iíve yet to read a single column, essay or news story with a New York byline, either in print or on the Internet, disputing the official government-sanctioned version. By contrast, Texans were among the first to deny the official version of the JFK coup, and among the first to discredit the Warren Commission Report. Why havenít there been more dissenting opinions about the WTC?  Certainly New Yorkers lost a sizeable part of their city on September 11, 2001, but we Americans lost a larger chunk of our country.
Well, the smell of death surrounds us, and sadly thousands have paid, and will continue to pay, the price of this coup, one that many people still cannot see or refuse to recognize. Toxins like asbestos and heavy metals spewed from the fire in the controlled demolition that day, but equally noxious were the absurd stories that have become the official record. Nowadays we do not have history, rather we have a series of government and media myths more toxic than asbestos. Or we have "fibology," the science of fibs in the furtherance of the state.  That genius for scientific truth, Galileo, would understand, or Tom Paine.
"The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection," said Paine. "Our present condition is legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name."  Paine would have seen the significance of the faded ink on our Constitution, recognized the irony of the disappearing print on our treasured documents: words without meaning are already invisible, as invisible and irrecovably destroyed as the World Trade Towers.
What happened to WTC-7 was similar to scuttling a heavy battleship using a dirty bomb and reporting the ship ran aground. While the History Channel repeatedly airs a program called, "The Rise and Fall of an American Icon," about the short life and mysterious death of the World Trade Towers, the narrator, Edward Herman, briefly intones of WTC-7, "the building burns unchecked for seven hours." Almost as an afterthought a structural engineer comments on the puzzling collapse of the 47 story skyscraper, "We donít know exactly how it happened." Nothing more is said about the highly suspicious collapse of WTC-7; end of any intelligent discussion.
Indeed, the present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection. Consider: between 11:30 and 2:30 PM on September 11th (hours after the twin towers had collapsed), according to this National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report on the curious collapse of WTC 7, fires "broke" out on the following floors: 6,7,8,10,11,12, 19,20,21--and "multiple fires observed on floors numbered 20s and 30s." Gee, who knew modern architecture was so inflammable, so prone to spontaneous combustion? Curiously, none of the other tall buildings much closer to the fa lling towers combusted in any similar, mysterious manner--but then they weren't "Command Centers," apparently ordered destroyed.
Nova aired another similar program, "Why The Towers Fell," narrated by the appropriately named Will Lyman. Before the North Tower felle--plainly visible in the Nova video--one could see a woman (someoneís wife, daughter, loved one) clearly waving from the North Tower impact hole. Evidently the fires were not as hot as the so-called "experts" said they were, though the place where many of these experts are bound for is a raging inferno.
South Tower survivor, Brian Clark (complete transcripts) who managed to escape before the building collapsed, said of the fire surrounding the stairwell, "You could see through the wall and the cracks and see flames just licking up, not a roaring inferno, just quiet flames licking up." 
Narrator Lyman droned on however, "Had firemen even reached the blaze the equipment they carried wouldnít have made much difference." Oddly, New York firemen contradicted this. Radio reports by firemen within the tower itself, moments before it came down, expressed confidence they could control the fire! 
By all appearances "It was very much like a controlled demolition when you look at it, because the building essentially fell almost vertically down, as if someone had deliberately set a blast to take place to cause the building(s) to fall vertically downward," admitted Matthys Levy, author of "Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail," on the Nova program.
For Leslie Robertson, who actually built the towers, the collapse still mystifies and torments him, the trio of buildings pancaking downward with such uniformity and gravitational speed that even Isaac Newton would be amazed.
The smell of death surrounds us all. Suspicious odors and putrid stenches. Like those perplexing passenger manifests for the World Trade Center attack.  Skeptical webloggers copied the lists of passengers immediately following the "terrorist" attack and released the list on the Internet, thus preventing anyone from adding --forging?--names later (Which is easy enough to do). Oddly, a US military veteran penned this rejoinder to the propagandists who continued to claim Islamic hijackers, acting alone, wrecked the WTC.
"A list of names on a piece of paper is not evidence, but an autopsy by a pathologist, is. I undertook by FOIA request, to obtain that autopsy list and you are invited to view it below (here). Guess what? Still no Arabs on the list," said Navy veteran, Thomas Olmstead. "Now, being the trusting sort, I figured that the government would want to quickly dispel any rumors...It seemed simple to me. . produce the names of all the bodies identified by the AFIP and compare it with the publicized list of passengers. So, I sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the AFIP and asked for an expedited response...Fourteen months later...and I finally get the list. No Arabs wound up on the morgue slab; however, three ADDITIONAL people n ot listed by American Airline sneaked in. I have seen no explanation for these extras." 
So how did they manage to get aboard, these hijackers? Osmosis? No names and no black boxes from the planes forthcoming either, nearly four years later. Those rescue workers who saw the black boxes in the rubble were firmly told to shut up.  "They confronted me and told me to not to say anything," recalls firefighter, Mike Bellone. The smell of death surrounds those who smother the truth, but in this atmosphere of fear, the honest man is threatened or intimidated.
Even more perplexing, the criminal inactivity from FBI headquarters in the weeks and months before the attack. FBI field agents in Phoenix and Minneapolis wrote clear warnings that foreigners appeared to be using flight school instruction for possible terrorist purposes. These reports and memos were repeatedly ignored. Pleas for search warrants from the field agents were also stonewalled by FBI headquarters in Washington DC, according to FBI agent Colleen Rowley (see below). Were officials there simply bumbling incompetents, diabolical opportunistsóor sinister co-conspirators?
The abrupt resignation of former director, Louis Freeh, and the appointment of Robert Mueller in early July, 2001 seems highly suspicious, especially since the emphatic warnings from FBI field agents occurred in this July/ August time period.
Consider this apocryphal quote from the above news report, about the departing Freeh: "He pushed the bureau into joint investigations with police around the world...daring international investigations that not only snared foreigners who committed crimes on U.S. soil, but also built cases against people who planned the crimes abroad and never set foot in the United States." Can't you smell that smell?
FBI agent Colleen Rowley wrote a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller disputing his version (myth?) of the historical record. "In the day or two following September 11th, you, Director Mueller, made the statement to the effect that if the FBI had only had any advance warning of the attacks, we (meaning the FBI), may have been able to take some action to prevent the tragedy...I'm hard pressed to think of any case which has been solved by FBI-HQ personnel and I can name several that have been screwed up!" FBI agent Rowley later sought Whistleblower status to protect herself from having done her job too well.
Equally fishy, the military exercises that conveniently drew NORAD interceptors well away from New York and Washington DC on the day of the attack. How did the hijackers know? Was it a one-in-a-million coincidence or was Osama Bin Laden somehow privy to Pentagon war game secrets? Once again, were Pentagon officials simply bumbling incompetents, diabolical opportunists, or--as many now believe--sinister co-conspirators? Asked to comment on the war game exercises, by Rep. Cynthia McKinney, both Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers visibly squirmed and avoided the questions.
We are all canaries in a coal mine.  Our survival is tenuous at best. The first canaries have already died--the New York firefighters who believed in the laws of engineering and physicsóthat no steel framed building had ever collapsed before. You would think at least one or two local New York columnist might make mention of this disquieting aspect of the tragedy but the bugler blew taps, flags flew at half mast, and the nation mourned. And new buildings rise from the ashes, so move on say most folks.
But the smoldering fumes in my mind refuse to go away, and the smell hasn't dimished with time but has instead grown stronger, that something deadly happened. Far deadlier than the official reports.
The WTC may be a metaphor for the entire nation. The image remains imprinted in hundreds of films (Thank God) and television reruns but the structure itself has disappeared, much as the imprint of the Constitution remains, althought the original ideals and the ink have long since faded away.
Smoke lingersóthe smell of death that surrounds usóbut the populace of much of America is as pacified as those Pompeiians who disregarded the clear threat of Mt. Vesuvius, because they no longer trusted their own better judgement. The mute testimony of their mummified bodies remains an amplified warning, set in stone, of the folly of blind trust.
Amateur historian, philosopher and provocative Internet essayist, Douglas Herman writes regularly for Rense. Please support an intelligent antidote to the mainstream media



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