The Making of 9/11 Activists

By Jerry Mazza, Online Journal Associate Editor Sep 15, 2010

Among the clash of voices near Ground Zero this 9/11, we had the shouts for and against an Islamic Cultural Center, creating another layer of chaos and diversion amidst the people, thanks to the Islamic Cultural Center’s Council on Foreign Relations funded Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The bullhorns could be heard from the intended site of the old Burlington Coat Factory several blocks away from where I stood with members of WeAreChange at Trinity Church in near silence.

This as a zealot of Terry Jones ignited a Koran during the event. “A hate-filled fanatic ripped pages out of a Koran and lit them on Saturday amid the chaos outside the planned community center and mosque near Ground Zero. His logic was ‘f they can burn American flags, I can burn the Koran.’ He also claimed, we ‘Americans should never be afraid to give our opinion.’” Are we, ever?

Witnesses called it “a ghastly display of fervor,” inspired by the Florida nut-case pastor who swore he’d torch the holy book earlier in the week. All of this overshadowed what should have been a somber day. The book-burner was not arrested but escorted away.

Add to that, the right-to-lifers, who had decided to attend, bringing a truck carrying a billboard featuring a full-color, blown-up picture of a dead fetus, plus amplified hymns of Country & Western voices singing Christian hymns, others passing out quotes from the Bible, and so on.

On top of that, we had a small army of cops, with sirens, blip horns, and white plastic wrist bracelets dangling amid guns, flashlights, cell phones dangling from their waists, and tons of locking barricades, all as the red double-decker bus tourists waved as they rode by.

Yet the flinty members of WeAreChange, even with their Reinvestigate 9/11 posters and such, lined up both respectfully and quietly outside Trinity Church at 8:30 AM to hear the tolling of the bell at 8:40 AM, in memory of Flight 11 that hit Tower 1 at that time. We each had a single flower in our hands to be tossed in the fountain in front of Tower 7, to mark its importance in the scheme of infamy.

The original Tower 7, as you may know, was not hit by any “hijacked airliner” but nevertheless fell in its footprint within 6.5 seconds at 5:20 PM on 9/11/2001. In fact, at about 3 PM of that infamous day, its owner, Larry Silverstein, came on television and said, there had been “so much pain and suffering that we [he] had decided to ‘pull it,’” that is take down the 47-story, steel-framed tower in an explosive, internal demolition, which is what the term “pull it” means.

Demolition experts around the world agreed that could only be accomplished with an internal demolition. The rub was that you couldn’t set up a steel-framed building of that size for an internal demolition in less than two and a half hours. You would need more like two and a half months. Experts also extrapolated from Tower 7 that internal demolitions were used on Towers 1 and 2.

In fact, the 22-year veteran architect, Richard Gage, who formed Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth,, provided books, DVDs,’ technical papers brochures, cards for use in educating the public about these Tower 7 facts. At that site you will find 1,292 verified architectural and engineering professionals and 9,526 other supporters, including A&E students, who have signed the petition demanding of Congress a truly independent investigation. The petition is open to everyone to sign.

Richard Gage would appear himself at 1 PM for a press conference at the fountain in front of Tower 7, introduced by Manny Badillo, one of a dozen founders of WeAreChange, a family victim member and First Responders First advocate, an action program to get the Senate to pass the law providing funds to care for Ground Zero’s victims, now numbering more than 900 dead, and countless thousands sick and dying.

Earlier, during the reading of the names of the lost, Manny read a tribute to his lost uncle, Thomas J. Sgroi, who had been the vice president of Internet Technology (IT) for Marsh & McLennan. Chris Bollyn writes about that day and flight, “Moving at about 440 mph, the nose [of Flight 11] hit the exterior of the tower at the 96th floor. The aircraft cut a gash that was over half the width of the building and extended from the 93rd floor to the 99th floor.

“All but the lowest of these floors were occupied by Marsh & McLennan, a worldwide insurance company, which also occupied the 100th floor.

“The fuselage was centered on the 96th floor slab and filled the 95th and 96th floors top to bottom,” the NIST report says.

“So, what was on the 95th and 96th floors of the north tower, which were rented by Marsh & McLennan, Lewis Paul ‘Jerry’ Bremer’s company?” The copious, computer plus data rooms of the big insurance companies.

At that time, AIG owned Marsh, and Hank Greenberg was the CEO, and Hank’s son Jeffrey was Marsh’s CEO. Marsh was then under scrutiny for financial malfeasance. And it was ironically convenient that all of Marsh’s financial records were destroyed in the blast of its central computer room, another one of 9/11’s unsolved anomalies. In 2005, Greenberg was asked to resign from AIG as CEO, and the insurance giant fined $126 million for boosting income reserves, i.e. cooking the books.

A year later, 2006, was the year that Manny Badillo, came to believe that 9/11 wasn’t the conspiracy of some low-tech Muslims operating from a cave somewhere on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and who suddenly turned out to be 19 Saudis who had boarded the airliners with box-cutters to skirt a $60-billion US intelligence apparatus to do their thing with a minimal of flight training on single-engine Cessnas.

It was around this time as well that Badillo had a great awakening, reading the retired US Army General Chalmers Johnson’s book, The Sorrows of Empire, which revealed the true nature of the American Empire and its constant war-making to overtake the resources and land of people around the world. Though the book did not cover 9/11, it pointed out how the use of previous false-flag operations had been of great use in goading the American people into war, and how they were used by one nation against another to go to war, blaming other countries for crimes they had committed against their own nations to incite their people.

Previous to this, Badillo had spent six years in the US Air Force, working in public relations as a writer, putting “a positive spin” on every story he cranked out for the military machine. At the time, he describes himself as a staunch conservative. Ironically, it was the conservative 9/11 Tea Party given in Boston in 2006 that put him on the path to 9/11 Truth. His eyes and mind opened wide to the counter theories of what 9/11 represented, which was mainly a march to world hegemony, based on the false flag operation of 9/11.

Badillo went on to lead the formation of NYC CAN, New York City Coailition for Accountability Now.

The organization gathered 81,000 signatures for a voting initiative to be put on the ballot for a new 9/11 investigation. Nevertheless, the votes and the legality were questioned, though they were both perfectly legal. New York Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner was brought in to be the final authority on whether or not the will of the people should be heard. Unfortunately, his hearing wasn’t too keen.

As the plaintiffs discussed the issue of Tower 7’s internal demolition, Justice Lehner’s big question was, “Building what?” Badillo and the plaintiff attorneys explained what had occurred at Tower 7. They utilized educational materials developed by Richard Gage to reveal the internal demolition. In short, Lehner nixed the initiative for reasons only he and his conscience must deal with throughout eternity.

Nevertheless, though down, Badillo was not out. Both he and other 9/11 victim family members produced an excellent 30-second television commercial which you can view here. It explains to laymen viewers the story of Tower 7 very clearly. You can also make a contribution here to make sure the TV spot runs enough times to wake up the deaf. This commercial can have an enormous impact with enough running time. The message is crystal clear and it leads you perfectly to for more information, again provided by Richard Gage, who, by the way sacrificed his practice and family life to assume the role of a 9/11 architect/activist.

Again, amid the dizzying array of voices on this latest 9/11, here is Manny Badillo at the reading of names on the morning of 9/11, 2010. This comes from NY1’s coverage. It takes place 18 minutes and 12 seconds in on the tape that covers 8:40 to 9:40 AM. If you click on the NY1 logo, a line with an arrow and a ball on the line will come up. Click the arrow to stop and start. Put your cursor on the ball and move it to the time of 18:10. Manny begins two seconds letter. Here is what Manny says as he holds his uncle’s photo, continuing the reading of names . . .

“ . . . and my Uncle Thomas Sgroi . . . Uncle Tom, you remain the light of our lives, a loving man who teaches us still, your smile, your humor. You are the rock defined. Your sister [Manny’s mother] is here for the first time this year. Just last year, 80,000 New Yorkers petitioned for the comprehensive investigation into your murder that we all need. Without the truth, there can be no justice. And we know the truth of this unsolved crime saves countless lives and brings us towards the justice and accountability we all deserve. We miss you dearly and love you so much, Uncle Tom . . .”

Interestingly, Uncle Thomas’ wife received $1.8 million from the Victim’s Compensation fund for herself and her two sons, Manny’s cousins. The net effect was that she disappeared from the fold of the family, another loss for the family. Perhaps she believed someone would ask her for money. Perhaps she was warned to stay clear. Who knows? Meanwhile, Manny and his siblings miss their cousins.

On the positive side, this was the first year that Manny’s mother could bear to come to the ceremony commemorating her brother and the other victims. Hearing her son’s words led her to attend.

But Manny’s words must have jolted or solaced more than one family member. Only one other family member, a young woman, made an even more potent, pointed statement to the effect that the government conspiracy statements were all lies. But here is this young man, Manny Badillo, who a handful of years ago, was writing spin-copy for the US Air Force, now challenging the US Government to come clean.

Manny also pointed out to me the somewhat improvised, circular, wooden tub that has stood as an unfinished pool or monument for years now. It was overflowing with the thousands of flowers that victim family members placed in it. So there were the muck-a-mucks, including Mayor Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to the victim families, kneeling before this ersatz if not shoddy monument. But only several hundred feet away, Silverstein’s new 50-story building stood, having been built higher and wider with $500 million in insurance money, with a real-life fountain before it, around which we gathered in the morning, and in which we tossed our flowers.

Of course, our silence at this point was broken with the chant, “Pull it, Larry! Go ahead, Larry, pull it!” And so on.

But Manny’s words I believe echoed in many ears. As he walked back to his family that morning, he received many nods for from other family members. As he passed Bob McIlvane, who lost his son Robby on that awful day, Bob threw his arms around Manny, and said, “That was great, Manny. You said it perfectly.” Bob is an outspoken unbeliever of the government conspiracy theory, a man who also went from a quiet successful life to one of an activist who speaks around the world. They are all great people, their seeming ordinariness a disguise for their exceptional selves.

Also, as Badillo walked off stage, through the NYPD Honor Guards and families waiting to speak the names of their loved ones, he read a text message from family member Jane Pollicino. With all her family in the crowd at the time, Pollicino, widow of Steve Pollicino, a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote “Wow, you rocked it!” Pollicino volunteered last year in the NYC CAN court-mandated signature verification at the Board of Elections in downtown Manhattan. Her work helped to move the legal process through to the almost infamous court hearing in State Supreme Court when Judge Edward Lerner blurted the words “Building what?” replying to the lack of proper investigation into the late afternoon demise of the Salomon Brothers building, WTC 7, on Sept. 11.

Then, too, leaving the makeshift wooden memorial, Badillo ran into US Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who spoke quickly with Badillo. She gave her answer to his question about when WTC 7 would be investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. Badillo said “We still have no memorial here and first responders aren’t getting help they need. The biggest mystery of all is what happened to Building 7?”

Napolitano stated, “We leave that to the [New York] City.”

Badillo then asked, “So you say New York could begin to look into what happened to Building 7?”

Napolitano replied definitively,”It would be up to the city.”

Napolitano should be encouraged to know that the position of the DHS is being advocated by NYC CAN’s “Building What?!?” campaign by informing and lobbying the New York City Council, a 51 member legislative body, which has yet to act on the efforts of family members, first responders, survivors, architects, engineers, and the citizens of New York City to begin an official, comprehensive, fact-driven inquiry into the events which took down WTC 7.

After parting, Badillo moved on to his 1 PM function, to introduce Richard Gage at a press conference. Gage announced how the ubiquitous presence of the government-developed explosive, nanothermite, was found at Ground Zero. Beneath tons of debris, molten pools of steel and iron were still simmering weeks and months after 9/11. The red thermite dust was found in these pools, and on debris about the Ground Zero area, and most probably sitting in the lungs of first responders and others who worked there.

The nanothermite was distributed to a group of scientists around the world, and they all agreed that it was the nanothermite explosive that would be perfect to bring down the buildings, and that the collapses weren’t caused by fire that purportedly had weakened the redundant steel frames. The fires burned at a significantly lower temperature to melt the steel. And, of course, NIST had politicized the science, seeing how it was a government contractor.

In fact, on the previous evening’s meeting at All Souls Church on Lexington and East 80th Street, which included speakers Bob Schulz (We The People Foundation), Anthony Shaffer (Army Intelligence), William Rodriguez (WTC Key-holder), Cindy Sheehan (Anti-War Activist), Wayne Madsen (investigative journalist extraordinaire), Annie Machon, Colleen Rowley (FBI Whistle-blower), Ray McGovern, (CIA analyst), First Responder John Citara, Jason Bermas (Loose Change, Fabled Enemies, Invisible Empire), Gary Franchi (FEMA Camp), Daniel Sunjata (Fox’s Rescue Me) . . . the Dutch, physicist Niels Harrit again affirmed his agreement with Dr. Steven Jones discovery of nanothermite and his own belief in nanothermite as the explosive element that brought down Towers 1 and 2 in a pyroplastic cloud of dust.

Harret’s closing comment was that “when his future grandchildren asked him “whose side were you on, grandpa,” he would say “yours,” which brought the house down. He also reminded us how many professors of all kinds who had sided with Jones were now retired, i.e. lost their jobs.

Count all of these great people above as the newly created 9/11 activists, although there are thousands, millions more around the world, ready, willing and able to join in. Just as hundreds of members of WeAreChange joined in after Gage’s press conference and marched down Broadway, eastward to City Hall, and back again to Tower 7, opening eyes, minds, and consciousness with our chants, signs, brochures, and street seminars, despite the day’s other distractions.

And count it as a minor miracle that on the night of 9/11, when the two blue beams of light were shot into the air to commemorate Towers 1 and 2, there was a third beam of blue light shot into the air next to them, to commemorate Tower 7. This business of being an activist, even for this aging writer, had its rewards. And certainly another one was meeting these fine people of all ages. Life doesn’t make people better than this. So we will win in the end, no matter how long it takes.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. Reach him at His new book, “State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 on” is available at, Amazon or He has also written hundreds of articles on American and world politics as an Associate Editor of Online Journal.

Nicely reported and written!

Nicely reported and written!