Updated August 27, 2005








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Mainstream Press Avoids Sept. 11 Hero’s Testimony


By Christopher Bollyn

SCHAUMBURG, Illinois—In amazement and awe, audiences hang on every word of William Rodriguez when he speaks about his experiences of Sept. 11, 2001. The compelling testimony of the former custodian of the World Trade Center, in which he clearly describes a huge explosion occurring in the basement of the North Tower seconds before the plane struck the building, demolishes the government version of events as completely as the explosions that pulverized the twin towers.

The 40-minute testimony of Rodriguez, a national hero, presents listeners with an inescapable dilemma. Either Rodriguez is making it all up or the official explanation of what caused the destruction of the two 110-story steel and concrete towers is a pack of lies.

Because the corporate-controlled press cannot square the Puerto Rican custodian’s testimony with the official version, they simply have to avoid him entirely.

To pursue the truth in a public forum is why American Free Press invited Rodriguez to participate in its 9-11 Symposium in Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago, home of the world’s first skyscraper constructed with steel girders.

Dr. Gene Corley, structural engineer and team leader of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report on the destruction of the WTC, was invited well in advance to participate in the symposium and defend the fire induced gravity collapse theory. Corley chose not to.

As team leader of the official engineering study about the damaged towers Corley wrote: “. . . absent other severe loading events such as a windstorm or earthquake, the buildings could have remained standing in their damaged states until subjected to some significant additional load.

“The large quantity of jet fuel carried by each aircraft ignited upon impact into each building. A significant portion of this fuel was consumed immediately in the ensuing fireballs. The remaining fuel is believed either to have flowed down through the buildings or to have burned off within a few minutes of the aircraft impact. The heat produced by this burning jet fuel does not by itself appear to have been sufficient to initiate the structural collapses,” Corley wrote in the executive summary of the “World Trade Center Building Performance Study.”

According to Corley, neither the impact of the planes nor the burning fuel caused the towers to collapse.

“Over a period of many minutes,” Corley wrote, secondary fires, such as burning office supplies and furniture set alight by the burning fuel, “induced additional stresses into the damaged structural frames while simultaneously softening and weakening these frames.

“This additional loading and the resulting damage were sufficient to induce the collapse of both structures,” the FEMA-sponsored study concluded.

Corley, a senior vice president with Construction Technology Laboratories in Skokie, has his office 20 miles from the Schaumburg library where the 9-11 Symposium was held on Sunday,

Aug. 21.

Corley told AFP that he is quite willing to discuss the findings of the official report, but during the entire month prior to the event he failed to respond to several written invitations. AFP finally called Corley’s office two days before the event and was told he would be in Memphis.

Corley played a key role in authoring similar technical reports about the Pentagon, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the Branch Davidian compound disaster in Waco, Tex.

In addition to Rodriguez and Corley, three other researchers were invited to participate in the symposium.

Dave von Kleist, host of “The Power Hour” radio show and producer of the video In Plane Site, traveled from Versailles, Mo.

Phil Jayhan, author of the letsroll911.org web site, came from McHenry, Ill., and Eric Hufschmid, the California based author of Painful Questions: An Analysis of the Sept. 11 Attack, donated books, videos and funds to the event.


Although the news departments of every major media network in the Chicago area were informed well in advance of the event, the only news outlet to attend was the Spanish language Univision television channel, which interviewed Rodriguez for the nightly news. Thus, while Rodriguez, a national hero who has been honored at the White House five times, delivered his testimony to a full house at the conference, not a single reporter from the English-language media or The Chicago Tribune bothered to attend.

The suburban Daily Herald told AFP that they “lacked the resources to cover the event,” and featured a front-page story about adult dodgeball the following Monday.

Peter Hernon, chief of The Chicago Tribune’s Schaumburg office, told AFP that he was unaware of the event although his bureau had received numerous notices by post, fax, email and phone. The Tribune, which has a bureau only two miles from the library, had even published an announcement of the symposium the Friday before the event.

Likewise, Richard Wronski, news desk editor on the day of the event, said he had not heard of the event.

Hernon and Wronski were less than completely honest because a fellow editor at the Schaumburg office told AFP two days before the symposium that while the paper was well aware of the event, it had decided not to cover it.

Puzzled by these responses, AFP asked N. Don Wycliff, public editor at the Tribune, how the decision was made not to cover what was probably the most significant 9-11 event ever held in the Chicago area. The Tribune Company is one of America’s largest media networks owning print, television and radio outlets in the nation’s three largest markets of New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

AFP told Wycliff about how Rodriguez had returned to the burning tower several times and led firefighters up the stairwells opening the locked fire doors with his master key allowing many trapped workers to escape.

Wycliff then asked what Rodriguez had to say that might add to the public understanding of what happened on 9-11.

Told of the tremendous explosion that Rodriguez and others felt in the basement of the North Tower at 8:46 a.m., before the plane hit the building, Wycliff said, “The fact that three or four years later this guy comes out with these revelations doesn’t strike me as news.”

It is a fact, however, that Rodriguez has been saying the same thing since he was pulled from under a fire truck buried under the rubble of the North Tower. His testimony to the official 9-11 commission, however, was not included in the final report.

(Issue #36, September 5, 2005)

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