The number of people believed to have been killed in the World Trade Center attack hovers around 2,780, three years after the attack. No trace has been identified for about half the victims, despite the use of advanced DNA techniques to identify individuals. Six weeks after the attack only 425 people had been identified. A year after the attack, only half of the victims had been identified. 19,906 remains were recovered from Ground Zero, 4,735 of which were identified. Up to 200 remains were linked to a single person. Of the 1,401 people identified, 673 of the IDs were based on DNA alone. Only 293 intact bodies were found. Only twelve could be identified by sight.
New York City Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch had the difficult job of informing the friends and families of the victims that the remains of their loved ones might never be identified. The forensic investigation ended in early 2005, when the medical examiner’s office stated it had exhaused efforts to identify the missing. The victim identification statistics reported in a February 23, 2005 AP article, listed in the following table, remained about the same as those reported in articles published a year after the attack.
The aircraft impacts and fires in all probability would not have destroyed a single body beyond positive identification. Nor have building collapses ever been known to destroy human remains beyond recognition. However, the buildings were destroyed in a manner that converted most of their non-metallic contents to homogeneous dust, including the bodies. This destruction of the bodies assured that no exact determination could ever be made regarding who was piloting the jets at impact, and the condition of the people on board.
This is one of many examples in which evidence which could either confirm or refute the official story was destroyed. For example, a finding that the people onboard Flights 11 and 175 had been killed by some means before reaching the Towers would undermine the official story of multiple hijackings. The effective cremation of the bodies eliminated most of the evidence that would support such a finding.
Human Remains Discovered Since 2006:
About a year after the official program to identify victims had ended, more human remains turned up on top of the Deutsche Bank Building, which stands about 400 feet to the south of the location of the former South Tower. According to the Associated Press, more than 300 human bone fragments were recovered from the roof of the 43-story skyscraper as workers removed toxic debris in preparation for a floor-by-floor take-down of the building. Most of the fragments were less then 1/16th inch in length and were found in gravel raked to the sides of the roof of the building. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation purchased the building and is planning to begin its deconstruction in June, after removal of toxic waste — including asbestos, lead, and other materials deposited on it by the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Some victims’ family members, indignant that the human remains in the Deutsche Bank remained undiscovered for so long, said that the planed deconstruction should be postponed until the building is thoroughly searched for other remains. According to the New York Daily News, as of the second week of April, 2006, 1,151 of the 2,749 people killed in the attack have not been identified, and the medical examiner holds more than 9,000 unidentified human remains.
In October, 2006, more human remains were discovered in two manholes by Con Edison workers. In April, 2008, the remains for four more victims were idetified using remains recovered from a road, paved to clean up Ground Zero, whose excavation for human remains started after the manhole discoveries.
In June of 2010, 72 human remains were announced found, following a 2 month-long sifting of 800 cubic yards of debris from Ground Zero and underneath adjacent roads. Some of the remains were found when new debris was uncovered during construction work at the WTC site. Although a CBSNEWS article stated that “some have been matched to previously unidentified Sept. 11 victims,” it did not provide further details.
Missing Building Contents:
Accounts of Ground Zero agree on the thoroughness of the destruction. What remained was primarily the structural steel, other metal pieces, paper, and dust. Not only were the non-metallic parts of the building — such as concrete and glass — pulverized, so were the building contents, as firefighter Joe Casaliggi recalls.
At the end of the first week, a fireman from Brooklyn recalled bluntly his frustration and awe at how little was left. He had just completed a 24-hour shift.
You have 10-story buildings that leave more debris than these two 100-story towers, Where the f*** is everything? A serious week-long search and we’ve found 200 [bodies] in a pile of 5,000? What’s going on? Where is everyone? Why aren’t we finding more bodies? Cause it’s all vaporized — turned to dust. We’re breathing people in that dust.
The levelings may have destroyed evidence of crimes beyond just plane impacts and building collapses. There were vaults of gold bullion in the basement of 4 World Trade Center, but the amount of gold recovered seems to be only a small fraction of the amount known to be stored there. Was the gold stolen? Being a dense, malleable metal, gold should not have been broken up by whatever destroyed the towers. Gold is also one of the most inert elements, and is extremely unlikely to participate in chemical reactions. Even if it were possible to pulverize and disperse the gold, its storage in the basement of WTC 4 assured that it escaped the violent forces that pulverized the towers.
Precious Metals in WTC 4 Vault: Only a Fraction Recovered?:
The basement of 4 World Trade Center housed vaults used to store gold and silver bullion. Published articles about precious metals recovered from the World Trade Center ruins in the aftermath of the attack mention less than $300 million worth of gold. All such reports appear to refer to a removal operation conducted in late October of 2001. On Nov. 1, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced that “more than $230 million” worth of gold and silver bars that had been stored in a bomb-proof vault had been recovered. A New York Times article contained:
Two Brinks trucks were at ground zero on Wednesday to start hauling away the $200 million in gold and silver that the Bank of Nova Scotia had stored in a vault under the trade center … A team of 30 firefighters and police officers are helping to move the metals, a task that can be measured practically down to the flake but that has been rounded off at 379,036 ounces of gold and 29,942,619 ounces of silver ..
Reports describing the contents of the vaults before the attack suggest that nearly $1 billion in precious metals was stored in the vaults. A figure of $650 million in a National Real Estate Investor article published after the attack is apparently based on pre-attack reports.
Unknown to most people at the time, $650 million in gold and silver was being kept in a special vault four floors beneath Four World Trade Center.
An article in the TimesOnline gives the following rundown of precious metals that were being stored in the WTC vault belonging to Comex.
– Comex metals trading – 3,800 gold bars weighing 12 tonnes and worth more than $100 million
– Comex clients – 800,000 ounces of gold with a value of about $220 million
– Comex clients – 102 million ounces of silver, worth $430 million
– Bank of Nova Scotia – $200 million of gold
The TimesOnline article is not clear as to whether the $200 million in gold reported by the Bank of Nova Scotia was part of the $220 million in gold held by Comex for clients. If so, the total is $750 million; otherwise $950 million.
There appear to be no reports of precious metals discovered between November of 2001 and the completion of excavation several months later. Assuming that the above reports described the value of precious metals in the vaults before the attack, and that the $230 million mentioned by Giuliani represented the approxmiate value of metals recovered, it would seem that at least the better part of a billion dollars worth of precious metals went missing. (It is not plausible, of course, that whatever destroyed the towers vaporized gold and silver, which are dense, inert metals that are extremely unlikely to participate in chemical reactions with other materials.)
An article in The Sierra Times suggests that gold was recovered from two trucks in a tunnel under 5 World Trade Center, giving rise to suspicions that the trucks were being used to remove the gold from the vaults before the South Tower fell. However, this report may have been based on an erroneous reading of other reports that describe the removal of crushed vehicles from a tunnel under 5 WTC in order to gain access to the vaults under 4 WTC to remove their contents.
Why is there this huge discrepancy between the value of gold and silver reported recovered, and the value reported to have been stored in the vaults? There are a number of possible explanations, from outright theft using the attack as cover, to insurance fraud. Until there is a genuine investigation that probes all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the attack, we can only speculate.
Contents of Flight Data and Cockpit Voice Recorders Are Missing:
All jetliners are equipped with flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) contained in “black boxes” designed to survive the most severe crashes. To date, none of the contents of any of the black boxes have been released to the public, With the exception of a partial transcript of Flight 93’s CVR, the contents of any of the black boxes remained unknown to the public until August of 2006, when the National Security Archive published long-hidden NTSB Reports including flight path and other studies of the commandeered flights. The studies include FDR data from Flight 77 and Flight 93. Authorities had previously claimed that all but the voice recorder on Flight 93 were either not recovered or too damaged to yield data. The black boxes of Flight 77 were allegedly found on September 14th.
According to the federal authorities controlling Ground Zero, the black boxes from the two crashed 767s, Flight 11 and Flight 175, failed to turn up in the rubble taken from the site. The 9/11 Commission Report backs the FBI’s story, flatly stating: “The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 were not found.”
There are accounts contradicting the official account of the black boxes. Two men who worked in the cleanup operation at Ground Zero claim that they helped authorities find three of the four black boxes in October of 2001. One of the workers, New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi, has self-published a book with other Ground Zero workers in which he describes the recovery of the devices.
In December 2005, CounterPunch reported that an NTSB source contradicted the official account:
“Off the record, we had the boxes,” the source says. “You’d have to get the official word from the FBI as to where they are, but we worked on them here.
Events that would damage the recorders sufficiently to make them unreadable are extremely rare. NTSB spokesperson Ted Lopatkiewicz said that he couldn’t recall a domestic case before 9/11/01 in which the recorders were not recovered. The recorders are designed to survive the kinds of impacts that happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FAA has placed durability requirements on the recorders and their casings to survive severe impact and fire
The storage medium of each recorder is located in a protective capsule, which must be able to withstand an impact of 3,400 Gs (3,400 times the force of gravity). Additionally, each must also survive flames at 2,000 F for up to 30 minutes, and submersion in 20,000 feet of saltwater for 30 days. Typically, to increase their chances of survival, the recorders are located in the tail section of the aircraft, which usually sustains the least impact in a crash.
No Video Shows Hijackers Boarding Targeted Flights:
Until 2004, the only video available to the public showing the alleged hijackers at any airport was a clip from a security camera at the Portland, Maine airport showing Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari going through security. The public has not been treated to any video showing any of the alleged hijackers at Boston Logan Airport, the origin of Flights 11 and 175, or Newark Airport, the origin of Flight 93. Video allegedly showing four hijackers boarding Flight 77 at Dulles Airport was released by a law firm representing some survivors’ families in July of 2004, on the same day that the Kean Commission released its report.
At a time when most convenience stores across the country had security cameras, Logan, a major international airport, supposedly had no security cameras in its departure lounges. According to Michael Taylor, president of American International Security Corp, the Newark airport does have video cameras in its departure lounges. So does Dulles International Airport. However, the FBI has refused to release any video from these airports that might prove that the alleged hijackers boarded the flights.