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Speed Likely Factor In WTC Collapse Researchers believe the second hijacked plane to hit the World Trade Center was traveling about 100 mph faster than the first, according to a published report.
Investigators are focusing on the speed of the two planes as they seek to explain what caused the south tower to collapse first, even though it was the second one hit, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Researchers have closely studied videos, sound recordings and radar to estimate how fast the two jetliners were moving. Studies show that both planes were traveling well over the federal limits for altitudes below 10,000 feet, The Times said.
The second plane was flying so fast that it was in danger of breaking up in the air as it approached the south tower, Boeing spokeswoman Liz Verdier told the Times.
"These guys exceeded even the emergency dive speed," Verdier said. "It's off the chart."
Two studies have analyzed the speed of the planes, one by the Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the National Transportation Safety Board and the other by Eduardo Kausel, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. - "It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders," said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. (CBS)
Official: 15 of 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi Saudi Arabia acknowledged for the first time that 15 of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers were Saudi citizens, but said Wednesday that the oil-rich kingdom bears no responsibility for their actions.
Previously, Saudi Arabia had said the citizenship of 15 of the 19 hijackers was in doubt despite U.S. insistence they were Saudis. But Interior Minister Prince Nayef told The Associated Press that Saudi leaders were shocked to learn 15 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
"The names that we got confirmed that," Nayef said in an interview. "Their families have been notified."
Osama bin Laden — the chief suspect in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks the killed more than 3,000 people — was Saudi born but stripped of his citizenship in 1994. (USA Today)
Explosive New Book Published in France Alleges that U.S. Was in Negotiations to Do a Deal with Taliban BUTLER: The most explosive charge, Paula, is that the Bush administration -- the present one, just shortly after assuming office slowed down FBI investigations of al Qaeda and terrorism in Afghanistan in order to do a deal with the Taliban on oil -- an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. ZAHN: And this book points out that the FBI's deputy director, John O'Neill, actually resigned because he felt the U.S. administration was obstructing ... the prosecution of terrorism. (CNN)
Pakistan spy service 'aiding Bin Laden' Afghan interior minister Younis Qanooni has accused the Pakistani secret service of helping al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden flee Afghanistan. - US planes have also continued sporadic bombardments of the Tora Bora region in a bid to flush out remaining al-Qaeda forces. (BBC)
Report: Bin Laden Already Dead Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. (FOX)
Flight 93 remains yield no evidence United Airlines Flight 93's crash into rural Somerset County decimated all human remains so badly that investigators can't say if any of the 44 people aboard were killed before the aircraft went down, the FBI has told the county coroner.
That leaves it up to the jet's cockpit voice recorder to offer support for widely held assumptions that the four hijackers began killing passengers before or during a fight for control of the jetliner. For now, federal investigators holding that recorder, one of two pieces commonly dubbed the black box, are staying mum.
Investigators who recovered remains from the Shanksville-area crash site brought possible stab wounds and lacerations to the attention of FBI pathologists, Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said yesterday. But the FBI has responded that "the catastrophic nature of the crash and fragmentation" left them unable to draw conclusions, Miller said. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
German firm probes final World Trade Center deals German computer experts are working round the clock to unlock the truth behind an unexplained surge in financial transactions made just before two hijacked planes crashed into New York's World Trade Center on September 11 (Rediff)
Transcript of Bin Laden Videotape Following is a transcript of the videotape released by the Pentagon of Osama bin Laden, that U.S. officials say provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Source: U.S. Defense Department. - (US Department of Defense)
Buried WTC gold returns to futures trade A fortune in gold trapped for seven weeks in the ruins of the World Trade Center officially returned to the global bullion trade Friday, but dealers had already closed the book on the tale of tragedy and buried treasure (Rediff)
NTSB Investigators Continue to Research the Crash Site and Data Recorders of Flight 587; The Community of Rockaway Attempts Tries to Return to Normalcy JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators working the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, considering now a number of possible causes. Just a little while ago, CNN aviation analyst Jim McKenna reported a leading theory involves air turbulence caused by another airplane in front of the American Airlines flight, that it might have gotten too close to. For the latest on that theory and rest of the investigation, let's go to CNN's Kathleen Koch, she's in New York. Hello, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy.
What we are expecting to hear from federal investigators this afternoon was that a Japanese Airlines plane, a 747, which was roughly twice the weight of this airbus, took off before flight 587 and apparently at about two minutes part, which is the appropriate distance. However, what we are expecting to hear, is that at these two planes climbed away from JFK that the airbus angled in too closely and the wake, aircraft actually spin out a wake from their wings, especially large aircraft like this JAL plane flying slowly with its gear up, with its tail flaps folded in, and that produces a wake and could have actually disrupted the plane behind it.
Now the NTSB, what you are seeing is video that the NTSB created when their was a similar incident of a U.S. air crash back in 1994. And they studied the problem, because it can be very disruptive to a plane that is following, especially a larger plane. We are expecting to hear more about that today.
Another issue, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder both now found, both in Washington and being examined for vital clues. One problem, however, that the flight data recorder was damaged by the impact -- is being sent however to its manufacturer in Sarastoa, Florida. And investigators are still hoping that they will be able to get vital information from it about the mechanical functioning of the plane as it was going down. (CNN)
Does bin Laden have Marfan syndrome? Is Osama suffering from a rare disease that can cause sudden death? If what some medical experts say is true, it may not require a military strike to kill Osama bin Laden. For several years now, reports have been circulating that claim the 45-year-old is quite ill, sees doctors regularly and may have a heart problem. The evidence is sketchy, but some see signs that bin Laden could die suddenly.
Marfan syndrome is a potentially fatal disorder of connective tissue, and some believe it's jeopardizing the life of al-Qaida's elusive leader. Bin Laden would be in good company: Some say Marfan would have killed Abraham Lincoln if John Wilkes Booth had missed his mark in 1865. It also appears to have claimed the lives of Jonathan Larson, author of the musical "Rent," who died on the eve of the production's 1996 Broadway debut; Chris Patton, a University of Maryland basketball star who died during a pickup game; and Flo Hyman, an Olympic volleyball player who died at 31 in 1986. The aortas of all three ripped in a manner consistent with the disorder. Charles de Gaulle and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff are also believed to have had Marfan.
Although Marfan syndrome, like sickle cell anemia, is often the product of an inherited genetic mutation, determining whether someone has the disease is tricky. Experts say one in 10,000 people have it, but that thousands are unaware that they are affected. The National Marfan Foundation estimates that more than 200,000 people in the United States have Marfan syndrome or a related connective tissue disorder. "It's a very complicated diagnosis to establish," says Dr. Hal Dietz, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, who led the team that discovered the mutant gene responsible for Marfan. "There is no DNA test that can absolutely confirm whether someone has it." (Salon)
How cut-price diamonds are traded for weapons SIERRA Leonean rebels opposed by Britain have been selling cut-price "blood diamonds" to Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda network to support the group's terrorist activities.
For the past three years, senior bin Laden lieutenants have bought diamonds at about 10 per cent of the market price from members of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
The diamonds, wrapped in polythene or rags, are taken across the border to a safe house in Liberia where they are exchanged for briefcases full of banknotes carried from Belgium by dealers who make several trips a month, according to American and European intelligence officials.
Payment is also made in the form of guns, medicine and food. During Sierra Leone's civil war, the RUF hacked the limbs off civilians and conscripted children. The diamond mines were principal among the spoils of war. (London Telegraph)
FBI: We Know Who Hijackers Were FBI Says It Has More Than 400,000 Leads - The FBI has resolved questions about the identities of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks and has discovered places outside the United States where the conspiracy was planned, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday.
Saudi Arabian officials and others have questioned whether some of the hijackers identified by the FBI in the weeks after the attacks used stolen identifications. Mueller said those questions have been answered.
"We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible," he said. "We have been successful in working with our foreign counterparts in identifying places where the conspiracy we believe was hatched as well as others who may have been involved in the conspiracy."
Mueller provided no new information on the hijackers' identities beyond his statement at a briefing Friday for reporters. Neither did he name any of the places abroad where authorities now believe the conspiracy was initiated, or any of the other conspirators. (CBS)
Treasure found in World Trade Center rubble Over $230 million in gold and silver was recovered from a delivery tunnel beneath 5 World Trade Center Wednesday. Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia stored over $200 million in gold and silver in their vaults under the building (Reuters)
CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July French report claims terrorist leader stayed in Dubai hospital - Two months before September 11 Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro. The disclosures are known to come from French intelligence which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere. (London Guardian)
Crushed towers give up cache of gold ingots RECOVERY workers at Ground Zero have discovered hundreds of gold ingots, part of a billion dollar cache which was lost when the twin towers fell.
Workers clearing rubble in a service tunnel underneath one of the collapsed World Trade Centre buildings found themselves surrounded by more than 100 armed FBI and secret service personnel, who had been tipped off by the owners where the gold was buried.
The collapsed buildings contained a number of vaults and strongrooms, but the police were not saying who owned the gold.
The Comex metals trading division of the New York Mercantile Exchange kept 3,800 gold bars — weighing 12 tonnes and worth more than $100 million (£70 million) — in vaults in the building’s basement. Comex also held almost 800,000 ounces of gold there on behalf of others with a value of about $220 million. It also held more than 102 million ounces of silver, worth $430 million. (London Times)
Final Contact Will rules change concerning wireless calls on planes?
Early Sept. 11, airline passengers all over the country boarded their flights like any other day. Many chatted on their wireless phones. As the doors closed and the pilots prepared the planes for take-off, flight attendants asked passengers to turn off their wireless phones until the planes had landed at their destinations.
But on four flights, these phones would offer the last contact passengers would have with their loved ones. They would be using their wireless phones to say goodbye. - “On land, we have antenna sectors that point in three directions — say north, southwest, and southeast,” she explained. “Those signals are radiating across the land, and those signals do go up, too, due to leakage.”
From high altitudes, the call quality is not very good, and most callers will experience drops. Although calls are not reliable, callers can pick up and hold calls for a little while below a certain altitude, she added.
Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless spokesperson, said that RF signals actually can broadcast fairly high. On Sept. 11, the planes were flying low when people started using their phones. And, each call lasted 60 seconds or less.
“They also were digital phones, and there's a little bit more leeway on those digital phones, so it worked,” she said. (Telephony Online)
Flight 93: Forty lives, one destiny Late. They were late. United Airlines Flight 93 had been scheduled to take off at 8:01 a.m. Now it was sitting on the tarmac, waiting for clearance to depart for San Francisco.
Tucked into a flatland from which the New York skyline shone in the distance, Newark International Airport was ringed with new construction. Two days earlier, a fire had started at one of the sites, briefly closing the airport. Flights already delayed by construction around an overtaxed airport had backed up even further.
The Flight 93 passengers had walked down the concourse of Terminal A, where they breezed past the security gate, then walked the 100 yards to a long circular hallway from which the boarding ramps jutted out like spokes. - "No. I'm on United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. The plane has been hijacked. We are in the air. They've already knifed a guy. There is a bomb on board. Call the FBI." (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
"Get These Planes on the Ground" Air Traffic Controllers Recall Sept. 11 - "The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane," says O'Brien. "You don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe." (ABC)
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