Category Archives: Operation 9/11

Spielberg: darker side came out after 9/11

Steven Spielberg reveals a darker side to film-making since the events of 9/11

huffingtonpost.co.uk | Jan 11, 2012

Steven Spielberg changed the direction of his moviemaking after the 9/11 terror attacks in America, because the disasters inspired him to create “darker” films.

The director, whose latest film War Horse is released in the UK on Friday, is celebrated for family friendly projects such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones franchise and Jurassic Park, but he felt compelled to alter his style after the 2001 atrocities which left almost 3,000 people dead.

Spielberg tells the Independent newspaper: “9/11 changed a lot for me. It changed a lot for everybody in the world. And my films did grow darker after 9/11.”

He has made some lighter films following the tragedy, such as Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio, which has been hailed by some as his best film of the last decade.

But the filmmaker has predominantly concentrated on more serious topics and indepth storylines – and he even makes a specific reference to the terrorist attacks in his film War of the Worlds.

He adds, “Minority Report was a very dark look at the future, and certainly War of the Worlds, which was a very direct reference to 9/11. It was a real post-9/11 story.

“Not intended that way, but that’s the way it turned out. So I think the world has a great impact on how it colours my movies.

“I think that’s a good sign. It just means I’m changing by being aware of what’s happening.”

And Spielberg seems set to continue his darker stance – his next film, Lincoln, will deal with politics, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the former US President, Abraham Lincoln.

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NY judge drops Binladen Group as 9/11 defendant

Associated Press | Jan 11, 2012

NEW YORK — A construction company founded by Osama bin Laden’s father cannot be sued to recover money for survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks, a judge has ruled, because no evidence has emerged to show the company provided a “financial lifeline” to the terrorist leader after he was removed as a shareholder following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Judge George B. Daniels in Manhattan released a decision Wednesday dismissing the Saudi Binladen Group as a defendant in six lawsuits brought by more than 3,000 survivors of the attacks, relatives, victims’ representatives and insurance carriers. They allege more than 200 defendants provided material support to terrorists.

The defendants include al-Qaida, its members and associates. The suit also names charities, banks, front organizations, terrorist organizations and financiers.

Lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit alleged that proceeds used to support terrorism came from a successor to a construction company founded by bin Laden’s father that is now one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the Arab world.

It said the group maintained a close relationship to bin Laden leading up to the attacks and cited business activities by a now-defunct subsidiary and by an employee who worked from his North Carolina residence as evidence that a U.S. court should have jurisdiction.

It said the company provided “significant support to bin Laden before he was removed as a shareholder in 1993 with knowledge that he was targeting the United States” and continued to provide a “financial lifeline” to him afterwards.

The Feb. 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center killed six people and injured more than 1,000. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has claimed a role behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, who is serving life in prison after he was convicted in the 1993 bombing.

Another judge in 2005 allowed the lawsuits to proceed against the Saudi Binladen Group, saying lawyers needed to find out whether the company purposefully directed its activities against the United States. The cases were transferred to Daniels.

Daniels said the business activities of the subsidiary were irrelevant since it had closed by 2000 and other business activities by the group in the United States were sporadic or casual.

At the time of the attacks, the company “had no operations of any kind in the United States, had not undertaken any construction or engineering projects in the United States and had no office in the United States,” the judge said.

He said no evidence had been produced to support claims by the plaintiffs that the Saudi Binladen Group maintained a financial lifeline to bin Laden or that discrepancies in the company’s accounting suggest that a third party provided bin Laden with direct material support via Saudi Binladen Group funds.

Last year, a magistrate judge recommended that al-Qaida be assessed $9.3 billion for the damage done to properties and businesses in the Sept. 11 attacks. Al-Qaida, the organization founded by bin Laden, never responded to the lawsuit and was found in default in 2006. The organization is blamed for orchestrating the attacks.

Bin Laden was killed last May in Pakistan during a raid by U.S. special operations forces.

9/11 similarity puts Korean twin tower plan in doubt


“The Cloud,” a design of two Seoul skyscrapers, is seen in this artist’s rendering provided Dec. 12, 2011, by Dutch architectural company MVRDV.
(Credit: AP Photo/MVRDV)

CBS | Dec 13, 2011

By Alex Sundby

A fiery blast rocks the south tower of the World Trade Center as hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the building Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images)

A Dutch architectural firm might try to find a silver lining in its cloud that critics say resembles a World Trade Center under attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

The firm, MVRDV, apologized on its website Monday after being criticized for the resemblance between the exploding Twin Towers and the “pixelated cloud” designed to bridge two skyscrapers planned to rise above Seoul, South Korea.

“There is nothing finalized about the design,” Seo Hee Seok, a spokesman for the project’s developer, told Bloomberg News Tuesday.

The Seoul skyscrapers, designed to stretch 57 and 60 stories high, is planned for a development near U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, the headquarters for U.S. armed forces in the country, which is slated to return to South Korean control by 2016, Bloomberg reported.

In its apology, the firm said it wasn’t its intention for the building to resemble the attacks and that no issues were raised about it while designing the structure.

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“Don’t insult our intelligence,” John Feal, a first responder who lost part of his foot after being injured at ground zero, told CBS News station WCBS-TV in New York. “To many, the wound hasn’t closed, so when you see pictures like that it keeps that wound open.”

But to Washington Post art and architecture critic Phil Kennicott, the controversy appears to be an effort “to use the meaning of the terrorist attack for larger, more overbearing cultural control.”

Kennicott writes further: “Even if the Dutch design firm, MVRDV intended a reference to 9/11, there’s no reason that reference should be read as mocking or ironic. It might easily be seen as an effort to freeze frame a traumatic event, in architectural form, and neutralize its shock and pain.”

Korea building World Trade design sparks 9/11 anger

Pepsi to ‘change’ can design some say depicts 9/11


Rolando Martinez’ photo which some say depicts the New York skyline on Sept. 11, 2001.

wtop.com | Dec 19, 2011

WASHINGTON — A photograph apparently taken by an American servicemember of a Pepsi can before departing Iraq has spurred a heated debate online for what some say is a “slap in the face” from the sodamaker’s Middle East/Africa division.

As U.S. troops left Iraq, U.S. soldier Rolando Martinez reportedly took the photo at right of a Pepsi can he found. Many online, including users who posted to the PepsiCo Facebook page, believe the rendering of a skyline combined with an airplane overhead depict the Twin Towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

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New Diet Pepsi Can from US Soldier in Iraq

McDonald’s debuts light version of its French fries in Chicago: A laser light billboard that resembles New York’s 9/11 memorial


McDonald’s new ad campaign designed by Leo Burnett Chicago features giant yellow lights that look like fries beaming into the sky. Leo Burnett Chicago

The ‘Fry Lights’ billboard shoots yellow beams into the heavens to honor the French fry

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | Dec ,5 2011

BY Amanda Mikelberg

McDonald’s has reclaimed the Bush era catchphrase “freedom fries” with a light-beam tribute to the fried potato that looks remarkably like Tribute in Light, which shines annually at Ground Zero.

As part of its “Best Fries on the Planet” campaign, McDonald’s partnered with Chicago-based marketing giant Leo Burnett to design the “Fry Lights” billboard in the suburb Oak Brook, where it’s visible from a three-mile radius, McDonald’s said.

The billboard features a “giant box of fries with beacons of golden light illuminating the night sky,” says NBC Chicago, which called it “a beacon of hope for fast-food junkies and late-night drunks in downtown Chicago.”

Tribute McDonalds
On the left, the ‘Tribute of Light’ in New York City. On the right, McDonald’s ‘Fry Lights’ billboard in Chicago. (John Tracy for New York Daily News; Leo Burnett Chicago)

The marketing device’s apparent inspiration is New York City’s monument to the Twin Towers that has shone every year on September 11 since the World Trade Center bombings in 2001.

Although the McDonald’s team has yet to comment on the freedom-themed advertisement, Twitter users apparently approve of the marketing strategy.

“McDonald’s has a very creative and awesome new billboard in Chicago that you need to see,” posted Twitter user and media ethics PhD student Cory Weaver.

The Fry Lights billboard will reportedly be turned off on December 8.

Court: Silverstein Not Liable in 9/11 7 WTC Collapse

globest.com | Sep 27, 2011

By Mark Hamblett

NEW YORK CITY-A federal judge has dismissed negligence claims by utility company Con Edison over the destruction of the original 7 World Trade Center on 9/11. Southern District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, in In re September 11 Litigation, said the chain of events that led to the destruction of 7 World Trade was “much too improbable to be consistent with any duty” toward Con Edison by builder and developer Larry Silverstein and Citigroup, the successor-in-interest to the building’s primary tenant, Salomon Brothers.

The building caught fire from flaming debris after planes hijacked by terrorists slammed into the twin towers. The 47-story 7 World Trade collapsed at 5:21 p.m., destroying a Con Edison substation.

Two counts charged Silverstein’s 7WTCo. with negligence in the design and construction of the building and for permitting commercial tenants to install diesel-fueled backup generators. Two counts against Citigroup claimed an unreasonably dangerous design that incorporated “an unreasonable amount of diesel fuel” in two 6,000-gallon tanks. With so many firefighters dead from the collapse of the towers next door, and the water system destroyed, there was no way to stop the fire, which was made worse when the diesel tanks inside the building exploded.

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Judge Hellerstein quoted the famous 1928 ruling of Palsgraf vs. Long Island R.R. Co., where the New York Court of Appeals dismissed a negligence claim based on a sequence of events in which train guards allegedly pushed a man carrying a package of fireworks onto a train, he dropped the package and the fireworks exploded, causing a set of scales at the other end of the platform to fall over, strike and allegedly injure a passenger. The Palsgraf court said the “risk reasonably to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed, and risk imports relation; it is risk to another or to others within the range of apprehension.”

Judge Hellerstein said, “It was not within 7WTCo.’s, or Citigroup’s, ‘range of apprehension’ that terrorists would slip through airport security, hijack an airplane, crash it suicidally into one of the two tallest skyscrapers in New York City, set off falling debris that would ignite a building several hundred feet away, cause structural damage to it, destroy water mains causing an internal sprinkler system to become inoperable, kill 343 firemen and paralyze the rest so that a fire within a building would not be put out and the building would be allowed to burn an entire day before it consumed itself and collapsed.”

. . .

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9/11 Memorial Gun Ban Outrages First Responders, Retired Cops


NYPD officers stood at attention during a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial Sept. 20, 2011, one of the dedicated “first responder” days on which they were allowed to carry firearms at the memorial. PHOTO CREDIT DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

“We all have permits to carry our weapons. We are not criminals. We are not terrorists.”

DNAinfo | Sep 27, 2011

By Julie Shapiro

LOWER MANHATTAN — Ten years and one week after Robert Reardon rushed to the fires at Ground Zero, the retired NYPD detective returned to the attack site and tried to visit the new 9/11 Memorial for the first time.

But Reardon, 54, a Staten Island resident, was turned away because, as many retired police officers do, he was carrying a gun.

“I still can not believe the disrespect I felt, and feel now,” Reardon wrote in an e-mail to DNAinfo after the Sept. 18 incident. “We are retired members of the NYPD. We all have permits to carry our weapons. We are not criminals. We are not terrorists.”

Reardon said he had reserved a memorial visitor pass in advance and traveled to lower Manhattan on Sept. 18 with friends and family members, planning to commemorate a woman they knew who was killed, and whose remains have never been recovered.

He said he was stunned to be barred from entering the site where he had unhesitatingly responded 10 years earlier.

The 9/11 Memorial referred questions about the firearm policy to the NYPD, which did not respond to requests for comment. The mayor’s office did not immediately return a call for comment.

But a source familiar with the policy said that retired or off-duty law-enforcement officers are not allowed to bring guns into the 9/11 Memorial, except on seven dedicated first responder days this fall.

That policy, which does not apply to on-duty officers, was determined by the NYPD, the source said.

As word about the rule spread among retired NYPD officers this week, many were surprised and upset.

“It’s one of the most asinine things I ever heard in my life,” said retired NYPD Lt. Commander Ed Day, 60, who lives in Rockland County.

“It’s as though law enforcement feels we’re more of a threat on some days and less on other days. It makes no sense.”

Day said he almost always carries a weapon with him because, after working at countless grisly crime scenes, he has seen how dangerous the world can be.

“If, God forbid, something happened, I would like to have the ability to intercede,” said Day, who retired in 2000 and responded to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but not to 9/11. “I want to have a level chance of protecting my family.”

Retired NYPD Lt. John Lincks, who also previously served in the U.S. Army and now lives in Florida, said he has earned the right to carry a weapon, and it is wrong for the NYPD to take that away.

“It is an insult to prohibit those of us who served from bearing arms when we are properly licensed to carry them,” Lincks said.

Reardon, who wrote a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg detailing his experience, said he doesn’t understand why the NYPD feels that retired or off-duty officers are a threat.

“If anything, you would think it might just be a good idea to have us around,” Reardon said. “Most of us have not forgotten how to help.”