Tag Archives: New York City

London Murder Rate Surges Past NYC After Spike in Stabbings, Gun Crime

Over the past two months, London’s murder rate has for the first time risen above that of New York City. The shift in data follows a year-over-year downward trend in New York’s murder rate and a surge in gun crime that has plagued London since 2014.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service reported 15 murders in February and 22 murders in March, whereas the New York Police Department reported 14 murders in February and 21 in March, according to Reuters.

A spike in stabbing attacks has also contributed to London’s increased murder rate, as 31 of the 47 murders in London this year have been carried out with knives.

Both cities have similar total populations around 8 and half million residents.

According to Get West London, a London Assembly report noted that in the 12 months leading up to October of 2017, gun crime in London was up by 16 percent compared to the previous year and 44 percent compared to 2014. Also the number of guns fired in violent crimes has increased by 20 percent since 2012.

The Evening Standard notes that New York City’s murder rate has plunged by 87 percent since the ’90s, whereas London’s murder rate has spiked by 40 percent in the past 3 years, excluding deaths caused in terror attacks.

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Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, Britain’s top cop, blamed social media for the rise in violent crime, saying that gangs are using popular online services to glamorize attacks and escalate conflicts.

Britain’s Interior Ministry said that in response to the spike in knife attacks, it’s considering legislation that would ban the delivery of knives by online stores to residential addresses and ban the possession of some types of weapons in public.

A BBC editorial cautioned that the two-month spike might just be a statistically anomalous “blip” that looks large due to having a small sample size of only two months, and pointed out that London has only had 47 murders this year so far compared to 50 in New York City.

Some have blamed the fact that officials in London have decreased the frequency at which officers perform stop-and-frisk searches for causing the increase in murders. However, New York City has also decreasingly used its own stop-and-frisk program during the same period, and murder rates have fallen precipitously, according to the BBC.

After a fatal south London stabbing on Sunday and the fatal shooting of a 17-year old girl in North London on Monday, a spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Tuesday, “The Mayor is deeply concerned by violent crime in the capital – every life lost to violent crime is a tragedy… Our city remains one of the safest in the world … but Sadiq wants it to be even safer and is working hard to bring an end to this violent scourge.”

Stabbings Spike By 20 Percent in New York City

New York City has experienced a 20 percent increase in stabbings this year, including a series of high-profile apparently-random stabbing attacks that has sparked fears among the city’s residents.

According to NBC New York, there have been 151 more stabbings as of March 13 of this year than the number that occurred by the same date last year.

Describing some of the apparently-random stabbing attacks that have taken place this year, Bloomberg’s Henry Goldman wrote, “In January, a surveillance camera captured video of a man striding beside a 24-year-old woman on a sidewalk in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and, without warning, slicing her face twice. In another attack that month, a 71-year-old woman required 30 stitches after a man with a razor opened a four-inch gash on her left cheek as she sat on a subway train in lower Manhattan. On March 10, a man rushed up from behind and slashed a 53-year-old woman’s neck on a residential street in Brooklyn. … Thursday, police searched for a suspect who stabbed to death a 53-year-old man in the East Harlem subway station the day before who was illegally selling MetroCard swipes for access to the trains.

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At a Monday City Council Public Safety Committee meeting, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said, “Slashings, stabbings, cuttings, whatever the terminology, what we’ll be doing this year is putting more precision on the definitions that we use to describe these cases that we’re investigating.” He added that the number of attacks is “much lower than we experienced back in the ’90s and much lower than we experienced even a few years ago, but as other crimes have gone down, there’s increased focus there.

The uptick in stabbings comes as crime in general is declining in the city. Homicides have dropped by 23 percent during the same period of time.

Commissioner Bratton claimed that the spike in attacks stemmed mainly from an increase in domestic disputes in public housing. “We have not identified patterns or any idea that any one person is doing multiple. We’ve had several where two or three were attributed to one individual,” he said.

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Criminologist David Kennedy of City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice believes that the spike in media reports of random stabbing attacks might be inspirational to potential copycats.

There’s been a lot of examples of mini-epidemics of so-called copycat behavior, where press attention makes incidents like suicides and school and spree shootings contagious. As I watch the coverage unfold my hope is this attention isn’t causing more of them,” Kennedy said.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Silk Road ‘Mastermind’ Ross Ulbricht to be Sentenced Friday Afternoon

NEW YORK CITY – On Friday afternoon, convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht will find out how many years he will spend in prison for his role in the Silk Road online marketplace. With federal mandatory minimum sentences, Ulbricht is facing at least 20 years in prison.

In February, the Silk Road trial concluded as the jury reached a verdict of guilty on seven charges related to distributing narcotics, fraudulent documents, money laundering, and continuing a criminal enterprise. The jury took just three hours to convict Ulbricht on all charges. Now, US District Judge Katherine Forrest will weigh the evidence and decide what length of sentence to give Ulbricht.

At least 97 friends and family members of Ulbricht have written to the judge asking for the most lenient sentence possible. (Ars Technica has posted the letters online along with the court filing of photos of Ulbricht and many family and friends.) Ulbricht himself wrote the judge asking her to give him 20 years so he might still have his old age. The 31-year old tech genius faces prison until at least his early 50’s.

Despite Ulbricht’s defense team continuing to argue that he was not the Dread Pirate Roberts mastermind, but instead was “left holding the bag”, Ulbricht told the judge: “Silk Road turned out to be a very naive and costly idea that I deeply regret.” This marks the first time the public is hearing from Ulbricht directly.

Ulbricht has received support from the Drug Policy Alliance’s nightlife community engagement manager Stefanie Jones. On the Drug Policy Alliance’s blog, Jones asks whether or not putting Ulbricht behind bars will accomplish anything. She says the Silk Road actually was a beneficial market for three reasons:

  • Silk Road reduced the potential violence associated with buying drugs.
  • It allowed for better knowledge about content and purity.
  • It encouraged harm reduction among users.

Will Judge Katherine Forrest take a similar view? Just ten days ago, she asked for a copy of the Silk Road website so she could perform searches for what products were available for sale. The government produced a fully functioning replica of the site from the server.

Although the charges Ulbricht was found guilty of in New York City do not include the controversial “murder-for-hire” charge, the accusation has still weighed heavily in this current trial. Ulbricht will eventually be tried on those charges in a Maryland court but that did not stop the government from mentioning chat logs that detail five murder-for-hire plots. Still, prosecutors filed no charges in New York, possibly indicating a lack of evidence.

Throughout the trial Ulbricht’s supporters, family, and defense team said they were being blocked at every turn. Witnesses were not allowed, evidence was removed from the record, and many believe the jury could not have possibly had a grip on the emerging technologies that played a large role in the trial- namely Bitcoin, the Tor Browser, and the Deep Web.

Another point of contention came in late March after two former federal agents were accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars during their investigation of the Silk Road. The two defendants are Carl Force, a former special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service special agent. Force and Bridges were assigned to a task force based in Baltimore investigating Silk Road. Force was the lead investigator working undercover, and Bridges was a computer forensics expert working on the case.

According to a press release from the Justice Department, Force “served as an undercover agent and was tasked with establishing communications with a target of the investigation, Ross Ulbricht, aka ‘Dread Pirate Roberts.’” Force was authorized to communicate with Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) online to gather information, but he allegedly went on to create several unauthorized, fictitious online identities.

“The Government’s efforts to keep the Carl Force scandal out of the public eye at trial is in itself scandalous,” said Joshua Horowitz, a defense attorney for Ulbricht. “The recently filed Complaint which names Carl Force as a defendant demonstrates that the Government’s investigation of Mr. Ulbricht lacked integrity, and was wholly and fatally compromised from the inside.””

Whether any of the latest revelations will have any effect remains to be seen. The fate of Ross Ulbricht now lies in the hands of Judge Katherine Forrest. Will the effects of this trial have a chilling effect on the internet and stifle new innovation, as some believe?

Ross Ulbricht will be sentenced in New York City at 1:30 pm EST. Derrick Broze will be attending the sentencing and will appear on RT America this evening to discuss the outcome. For the latest updates follow Broze on Twitter @DBrozeLiveFree

NYPD Commissioner Bratton: Privacy Advocates Have To “Get A Life”

In a WABC Radio interview with Rita Cosby, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton confirmed for the first time that the NYPD plans to create a new unit to investigate officer-involved shootings in New York City. Bratton went on to deny that the department’s Shot Spotter technology, now in use, is capable of picking up conversations, and he criticized privacy advocates worried about the devices.

In an exclusive interview on The Rita Cosby Show on WABC Radio late last week that aired on Sunday, Bratton told Cosby that there will be an NYPD unit created specifically for investigating officer-involved shootings:

“I am looking to form a new unit- a force investigation unit- that would have the specific function of taking over what is now a decentralized investigative function that’s handled by, initially by, each of the eight patrol bureaus, instead have that as a unit that would report to the First Deputy Commissioner,” Bratton told Cosby. “It’s modeled after what I created in Los Angeles when I was there and it worked very effectively there. It’s much more cost-efficient. It’s much more timely and I think the overall quality of the investigation, which is already very high as you might expect because it involves officer use of force, but I think we have the ability to enhance it even further.”

Cosby asked how large the unit would be, and Bratton responded that “That’s still in the process we are working on as far as what the staffing would be. We’ve identified some of the lead issue part and I would expect that within several months that we would have it up and running.” Bratton confirmed earlier speculation that Deputy Inspector John Sprague would be leading this new unit. “He will do very well in that environment,” Bratton said. “He’s got a lot of experience. He was recently, most recently, Chief of Detectives over in Staten Island and has a lot of background in the investigative world so Commissioner [Benjamin] Tucker obviously has a lot of confidence in him. He was hand selected by the Commissioner.”

When asked if this unit may serve to restore public confidence in the police, Bratton said he believes that there already is a “high degree of confidence” in police investigations. “We are just seeking to improve the quality of our investigations, the timeliness of it and taking advantage of new technologies that have been developed over the years that we can now bring into these investigations,” he said.

Cosby brought up the NYPD’s recent utilization of the Shot Spotter program, which connects recording sensors that identify gunshot locations to the police. Cosby noted that privacy advocates have been critical of the sensors’ ability to pick up other sounds such as conversations.

“The advocates have to get a life,” Bratton said in response to the privacy advocates’ concerns. “We are not out there eavesdropping. That’s not what the system does, that’s not what it is designed to do, it’s not what it is capable of. So get a life and move on to some other issue. We’re not out there eavesdropping on public conversations. I’ve got enough to do without doing that.”

The full  interview is available below.


This post has been updated.

Raising resisting arrest to felony charge could happen in NYC

The commissioner of the NYPD, Bill Bratton, has made the suggestion of raising the charge of resisting arrest to a felony.

At a joint hearing on Wednesday with the four State Senate committees, Bratton made the suggestion along with a number of other recommendations. “I think a felony,” said Bratton according to the Observer, “would be very helpful in terms of raising the bar significantly in the penalty for the resistance of arrest.”

Currently, resisting arrest in the state of New York is a misdemeanor charge, but Bratton said the current penalties for the charge are not enough to deter the nearly 2,000 resisting arrest charges per year in the city. According to the New York Post, the charge rarely gets prosecuted in court, but if it were raised to a felony this could change. “We’re asking district attorneys to treat them more seriously than they have been treated in the past.” said Bratton.

Bratton did acknowledge some of the cases involving the charge may not be legitimate, however.

A report published in December last year by the WNYC by retired criminal justice professor Sam Walker, says, “There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover – and that phrase is used – the officer’s use of force… Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

According to this same article, not all officers fall into this category of using the charge as a “cover.” Records uncovered by Walker show the number of NYPD officers who are involved in civilian complaints related to an officer’s use of force, are a very small percentage.

“If there are 10 lawsuits — lawsuits — there’s something wrong here,” said Candace McCoy, a professor at the Graduate Center and John Jay College at the City University of New York in the same report. “And if this person has not been reprimanded and controlled there’s something wrong.”

Some of the other suggestions made by Bratton, which did not generate as much controversy, are having heavier penalties for individuals who fatally attack law enforcement officers, installing bulletproof glass in police vehicles, and possible punishments for people who publish personal information of officers.

NYPD officer indicted for stomping a citizen’s head

An NYPD officer has been indicted on multiple charges, including assault, after he allegedly kicked a subdued citizen in the head during an arrest over the summer.

A video of the arrest allegedly shows Officer Joel Edouard, 37, and his partner arresting 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee, according to CBS New York.

Cuffee was allegedly drinking on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, and the officers claim he was in possession of marijuana at the time. While attempting to arrest Cuffee, a bystander began to videotape the incident with their cellphone. This video shows other officers begin to arrive to help mediate the situation, but near the end of the video, Edouard allegedly is seen stomping on Cuffee’s head after he was already handcuffed and on the ground.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said, according to RTPolice officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. However, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground, which is unacceptable for a police officer.” Thompson continued by saying this indictment should not reflect the work the majority of officers who perform their duty honorably are doing in New York City. 

At the trial on Tuesday, Edouard’s attorney, Stephen Worth, pleaded not guilty to the charges he is faced with. Worth also said Edouard was simply trying to place handcuffs on Cuffee and this is no more than a case of an officer doing their job. “The act, so-called kick, was part of the arrest process and to attempt to get his hand in custody so he could be handcuffed… It’s not a kick, we’ll leave that for trial.”

After the incident, Edouard was stripped of his badge and gun according to New York Magazine. If convicted, Edouard could face up to a year in prison.

NYPD on alert after ISIS video release

The New York Police Department is on high-alert after ISIS re-released a propaganda video which tells people to murder “intelligence officers, police officers, soldiers and civilians” throughout the US.  

The specific propaganda video was originally released in September 2014, but following the events in France last week, the NYPD is taking the resurgence of the video seriously.

An internal memo released throughout the NYPD told officers to “remain alert and consider tactics at all times while on patrol,” according to FOX News. Similarly, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union in New York City, sent out an email to union members which reads, “Pay attention to your surroundings. Officers must pay close attention to approaching vehicles . . . Pay close attention to people as they approach. Look for their hands.”

However, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, John Miller, said according to CNN, “I don’t think that we are under any more threat … or any less threat than we were the day before.” Miller also said the NYPD has not detected any specific threats in New York City, but the NYPD has stepped up their police presence at central locations throughout the city, such as in Times Square.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told the citizens of New York City to also be on the lookout for anything suspicious. “We are the number one terror target, and that has created in us a sense of vigilance every day,” said de Blasio according to CBS New York. “There is no down day. There is no day when we’re less vigilant. We’re vigilant every day,”

The NYPD was not the only agency to take notice after the video resurfaced.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are also taking the video seriously. These agencies released a nationwide bulletin to law enforcement offices with similar warnings found in the NYPD memo as well as the union released email.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said he hopes intelligence agents in the U.S. are prepared and ready to prevent attacks similar to those carried out in France last week. “What we have to do,” said Menendez, “is be able to create a sense in communities of the importance of high alert, of vigilance, of being able to share information.”

NYC Suspends Uber Bases for Refusing to Provide Trip Records

Five out of the six New York City bases belonging to the ride-sharing service Uber were suspended on Tuesday, after a ruling stated that the service failed to comply with data requests from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

CNET reported that the TLC is a “division in the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings,” whose ruling stated that Uber must suspend five out of its six bases in New York City “until the company provides the data and each base pays a $200 fine,” leaving the one base that provided data “in operation and handling all rider requests.

According to the New York Business Journal, “Lyft and other competitors did not object to the request.”

Business Insider reported that the requests were under a new rule from the TLC, which states that a Licensee “must truthfully answer all questions and comply with all communications, directives, and summonses from the Commission or its representative.

The commission requested that Uber hand over “the date of trip, time of trip, pick up location, and license numbers” from April to mid-September of 2014.

The New York Business Journal reported Uber “fought the request on constitutional grounds,” claiming that the commission was “demanding trade secrets, information that could harm its competitive position and possibly violate drivers’ privacy.”

This is not the first time Uber has been met with challenges over the last year. In addition to being criticized for being an alternative to tradition taxi services, Uber has received criticism from major businesses, and has had its drivers threatened to “stop driving or face arrest” in states such as AlabamaTennessee, and Virginia.

Despite the fact that the company is down to just one base in New York City, Uber’s spokeswoman Natalia Montalvo released a statement saying that Uber is still in operation, and continues to provide service to its customers:

Uber continues to operate legally in New York City, with tens of thousands of partner drivers and hundreds of thousands of riders relying on the Uber platform for economic opportunity and safe, reliable rides. We are continuing a dialogue with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission on these issues.”

The NYPD has effectively stopped working

A few days after the funeral for NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, one of two slain police officers whose deaths have sparked a rift between the police and the mayor in the city, reports are claiming the NYPD have virtually stopped working.

According to the New York Post, traffic tickets and minor offense summonses have dropped in the city by about 94 percent since the funeral. Some officers are saying they feel betrayed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and fear for their safety while on the job.

The overall arrest rate has dropped by about 66 percent throughout the city, and officers are only making arrests “when they have to.”

One source told the New York Magazine, “This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.”

As of right now, according to CBS New York, the slowdown of work is not an intentional or coordinated plan. Rather the drop in arrests is being attributed to the number of officers who are still grieving after the lose of both Officer Ramos and Liu, as well as officers being on edge after their shooting deaths.

The stoppage comes as de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton are scheduled to hold an “emergency summit” with the leaders of five different police unions in the area.

One tweet from the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association read, before it was deleted, the mayor needs to “humble himself” as well as “change his philosophical views on policing,” in order to deal with the new protests and manner in which they are handled by the police in the city.

Breaking: NYPD Officer Not Indicted In Death Of Eric Garner

New York- The New York Post is reporting that a grand jury has declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who was caught on video placing Eric Garner in a choke hold in July following accusations against Garner over alleged sales of loose cigarettes.

Garner, 43, died shortly after his altercation with Pantaleo and was heard on amateur video yelling “I can’t breathe” as Pantaleo placed him in a hold that was classified as a choke hold, which is a forbidden hold to use in the NYPD.

Garner’s death had been ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner. Garner’s family plans to sue the city for civil rights violations and wrongful death.


NYPD says fatal shooting was an ‘accident’

A fatal shooting in Brooklyn involving the NYPD and an unarmed man has been deemed an “accident” by the NYPD.

Reports from the AP say Akai Gurley, 28, was exiting his girlfriend’s apartment in the public housing complex known as the Louis Pink Houses around 11 p.m. Thursday night.

Rookie NYPD officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were performing a “vertical patrol,” which requires the officers to conduct floor-by-floor sweeps, within the complex at the time.

Liang and Landau reportedly came into contact with Gurley in a dark stairwell of the complex.  Liang had his weapon unholstered and his flashlight out to illuminate the stairwell prior to coming into contact with Gurley.  Once the officers saw Gurley in the stairwell, Gurley was shot in the chest, and he was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a press conference, according to the LA Times, the shooting was an “unfortunate accident,” and Gurley was “innocent.”

“It appears to be an accidental discharge, with no intention to strike anybody,” said Bratton in the press conference.  Bratton said Gurley was not taking part in any aggressive or illegal activity, and he was simply “trying to walk down the stairwell,” when he was shot.  

Gurley’s girlfriend Melissa Butler, 27, told DNA Info, the officers “didn’t present themselves or nothing and shot him. They didn’t identify themselves at all. They just shot.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the death of Gurley a “tragic accident,” adding, “There’s going to be a full investigation to say the least.”

As of now, Liang has been put on desk duty until the investigation is complete.

6 Reasons To Question and Investigate 9/11

(NOTE: This article was originally written in 2014. Most of the information has been updated but some may not reflect current efforts to reveal the truth about 9/11)

“In the course of our investigation into the national response to the attacks, the 9/11 Commission staff discovered that the official version of what had occurred (the morning of September 11, 2001) – that is, what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media and the public about who knew what when – was almost entirely, and inexplicably untrue.”
– John Farmer, senior counsel to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

We are days away from the fourteenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since that time, America has undergone great changes as a result of the ensuing War on Terror. A number of wars have been launched by the American government and its allies. Questionable surveillance and security measures have been put into place, all in the name of keeping the people safe. Many Americans accept these changes as consequences of living in a post-9/11 world, where terror lurks behind every corner.

However, a growing number of individuals in America and around the world continue to question the events of that day, where the funding originated from, and who benefits from shunning any such questioning. Those asking these tough questions include survivors and family members of those who lost their lives on that fateful day. Despite the efforts of the corporate owned media to portray the 9/11 Truth movement as disrespectful or un-American, many people are realizing there are legitimate reasons why any critically thinking individual should support a new investigation into the attacks. Today we take a look at six of those reasons.

1. Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia

Once it became clear that the Bush Administration was dragging its feet when it came to investigating 9/11, family members began investigations of their own and demanding the government do the same. As early as 2003 it had been reported by the New York Times that congressional reports pointed toward involvement of Saudi citizens, working at the behest of the Saudi government, in the funding of individuals responsible for the attacks. Because of this, family members, survivors, and insurance companies have been pursuing justice by attempting to sue various Saudi Arabian officials, and citizens, as well as charities, banks, and other organizations accused of financing the attacks.

The cases have been bogged down in bureaucracy and diplomatic immunity. First, in 2005 a federal District Court judge in New York said Saudi Arabia could not be sued. In 2008 an appeals court agreed with that ruling.  In May 2009, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan – at that time serving as U.S. solicitor general – urged the Supreme Court not to allow arguments against Saudi Arabia to proceed. The court agreed with Justice Kagan. Those decisions have recently been reversed however, and the lawsuits are now allowed to go forth. There is a catch however.

In late June of this year the Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits by family members and survivors could proceed, however, the justices allowed a previous ruling from a lower court which dismissed claims against 25 defendants, to stand. This means that relatives of Osama bin Laden and Saudi businesses reportedly connected to al-Qaida would not be allowed as defendants. This decision has angered critics, especially in light of the fact that two days after the 9/11 attacks, while all flight traffic was grounded, members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the county. Close financial ties between the United States and the Saudi Arabian government has made the situation precarious for U.S. officials who do not wish to embarrass their allies. Several times Judges have ruled that Saudi Arabia is entitled to immunity under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling it may only be a matter of time before the victims family members find the justice they seek. While public officials proclaim to be working to support the family members, there seems to be a concerted effort to keep certain details from being released. In February 2014, watchdog group Judicial Watch revealed 79 pages of documents from the FBI further detailing the Saudi connection.

2. 28-Page Classified Report

Immediately following the attacks family members called for an investigation into what happened and what went wrong. This lead to the formation of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, the official name for the report completed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The investigation began in February 2002, and the report was released in December 2002.  

When the final report was released it amounted to over 800 pages. Despite the lengthy report critics immediately pointed towards 28 pages that had been classified. Since the report was first released in late 2002 family members and lawmakers have fought to release the classified pages. In December 2013, Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced Resolution 428, calling on President Obama to make the pages public. The resolution has received bi-partisan support.

Representative Jones has said the 28 pages will be an embarrassment to the administration, while Thomas Massie (R-KY) said while reading the documents he “had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to rethink everything,” he said at a press conference discussing the bill. In order to view the documents they had to sit in a soundproof room without taking notes.

Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, co-chair of the joint Senate-House investigation, recently told VICE News that the redactions are a “cover up.” Graham stated, “It’s become more and more inexplicable as to why two administrations have denied the American people information that would help them better understand what happened on 9/11.”

On several occasions President Obama promised family members that the classified pages would be released.


3. 9/11 Commission Members Embarrassed and Set up to Fail

Four hundred and forty two days after the attacks the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was established. The commission was chaired by five democrats and five republicans. The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, or 9/11 Commission report, was released on July 22, 2014.

The report was wrought with controversy from the beginning, with the Bush Administration fighting testifying under oath and the public criticizing appointments that were seen as conflicts of interest. Perhaps the most telling piece of information came from the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission himself. In 2006, Chairman Thomas Kean, former Republican Governor of New Jersey, and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, former Representative from Indiana, co-authored the book “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission”. In the book Kean writes that the Commission was “Set up to fail.” In an interview with CBC News Kean was questioned further on his comments.

He states, “We had a lot of people strongly opposed to what we did. We had a lot of trouble getting access to documents and to people. We knew the history of commissions; the history of commissions were they.. nobody paid much attention to ’em. So there were all kinds of reasons we thought we were set up to fail.”

At a recent press conference for the ten year anniversary of the release of the government’s official report on the attacks, Kean and Hamilton were questioned by a family member on the 28 classified pages. Hamilton stated, “I am embarrassed that they are not declassified.” He said the pages should be released. Kean commented that 60-70 percent of the information they saw should not be classified.

If the Chair and Vice Chair of the report responsible for telling Americans what happened on September 11th, 2001 do not believe they were able to tell the full story, why should Americans believe it?

4. The High-Rise Safety Initiative 

In the years following the attacks a number of efforts for transparency have been launched by supporters of the family members and survivors. A number of family members point to the collapse of World Trade Center 7 as a possible crack in the official story that might broker a new national conversation on the events of that day. WTC7 was not hit by a plane that day, however, it collapsed at 5:42 p.m. According to the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the official cause for the collapse was office fires. A growing number of family members, activists, architects and engineers question the official theory for collapse and are seeking a new investigation into WTC7.

One of the groups behind the efforts is  the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), a coalition of families of 9/11 victims and activists. The group was recently  successful at gathering over 100,000 signatures for the High Rise Safety Initiative, a measure that would require the NYC Department of Buildings to investigate high-rise building collapses in NYC that occurred on, or any time after, September 11, 2001. Despite these efforts, the NY Post reported that the New York City Council will not be accepting over 30,000 signatures for the High Rise Safety Initiative.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told the Post that the City will not waste taxpayer dollars by “humoring conspiracy theorists”. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has previously called the measure “inappropriate”, “very insensitive”, and stated he believes City Council would not allow the measure on the ballot.  The group released a statement on Friday August 8 stating that they had filed suit against the city. Representatives of the city will be required to appear in court for an initial hearing on Thursday, August 14.

Much of the media tends to paint efforts by family members, independent investigators, and concerned citizens as “conspiracy theorists” or disrespectful, yet it is clear that the much maligned 9/11 Truth movement was started by family members of the victims. For this reason alone it is important that campaigns such as the High Rise Safety Initiative be given a fair chance.


5. First Responders Continue to Show Signs of Failing Health

One week after the attacks the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Christine Todd Whitman released a statement declaring the air and water surrounding Ground Zero to be safe to breathe and drink. 

“Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink.”

Since that time firefighters, EMT’s, police officers, and volunteers who remained at Ground Zero looking for survivors and bodies have found themselves falling victim to breathing illnesses, cancer, and other sicknesses likely related to inhaling dust consisting of building materials, computers, and human bodies.

Truthstream Media reported on the situation:

“Back in May 2007, a Congressional investigation was launched into the EPA’s role in properly responding to the environmental crisis and air quality emergency in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Former EPA commissioner Christine Todd Whitman refused to testify – despite the fact that her statements on air quality after 9/11 had immediately affected hundreds of thousands of rescue workers and New York residents, and more broadly millions – until she was pressured under threat of subpoena by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) whose district includes lower Manhattan. However, she was officially cleared of any wrongdoing, and defeated multiple lawsuits.”

In September 2013 the NY Daily News reported that “as of August, 1,140 responders and people who worked, lived or studied in lower Manhattan have been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety.” This was based off a Mount Sinai Medical Center study that found 15% higher cancer rates among first responders compared to those not exposed to the dust at Ground Zero. More recently the NY Post reported on a growth in cancer rates among first responders. According to the latest data from Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program, over 2,500 first responders now have cancer.

Congress for its part, did pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is designed to provide medical services and compensation for first responders. Critics say the government is not doing enough to help those who volunteered their livelihood in the wake of the largest terror attack on American soil. If these brave men and women chose to put themselves in harms way based on a lie, that needs to be investigated and those responsible held accountable.

6. The Public Supports a New Investigation

Thirteen years after that horrific day many Americans have had the opportunity to calmly and clearly revisit the events. Sure, there are those who have placed the memory in an uncomfortable location in their psyche. It is often painful to recall the emotions that surged through one while being told the nation was under attack. However, it remains as important as ever to look into the facts and put aside dissonance that comes with questioning something so emotionally charged.

In late August 2013, a poll conducted by YouGov found that nearly half of Americans polled had doubts about the official story of 9/11. The poll found that 38 percent had doubts, while 10 percent did not believe it at all and another 12 percent were unsure. Other findings include 46 percent of those polled were unaware of the collapse of WTC7, and another 46 percent suspected controlled demolition after viewing footage of the buildings collapse. Only 28 percent believed the building could have collapsed due to office fires.

Ben Swann did an exclusive report on the survey in September 2013.


The poll was sponsored by the ReThink 911 campaign, a global public awareness campaign launched on September 1, 2013. YouGov surveyed 1194 adults between 27th – 29th August 2013. Although the sample size is admittedly small, it does indicate that Americans do still have questions regarding September 11, 2001. 

Indeed, when Matthew Mills interrupted a press conference following the Super Bowl in February 2014 with the message “Investigate 9/11, and 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government”, the internet blew up with support (and hate). Obviously, the world still has quite a bit to say about 9/11.

It has become painfully obvious that Americans do not know the full story of September 11, 2001. Earlier this year Freedom of Information Act Requests revealed FBI documents that point towards “an antagonist in Jerusalem” being involved in the attacks in some way. The heavily redacted documents say this person was someone of great wealth who “denounce and criticize the United States of America and its policies.” This connection is yet another lead that goes uninvestigated. 

On Friday, September 11, 2015, and September 12, two events will be hosted by a coalition of groups, including the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and Firefighters for 9/11 Truth.  Check this article for more info.

NYPD Has Received Over 1,000 Complaints Of Police Choke Hold Use Since 2009

New York- According to a report released Saturday by New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, 1,022 complaints have been made between 2009 and 2013 by city residents accusing NYPD officers of putting them in choke holds.

Choke holds were prohibited by the NYPD in a 1985 order that only allowed its practice if it was the “least dangerous alternative method of restraint”, and the order was later modified in 1993 to allow no exceptions.

Out of 1,022 complaints, 462 of them were investigated. In nine cases of the 462, enough evidence was obtained to have the complaint substantiated by the CCRB. The CCRB had recommended administrative trials for those nine cases of choke hold use by police. Administrative trials can lead to termination of police officers.

However, the police commissioner makes the final decision of carrying out discipline in these cases, and the consequences for those officers were either nonexistent or mild.

Out of the nine substantiated cases, two officers were not disciplined by Raymond Kelly, the NYC Police Commissioner at the time. In three cases Kelly had instructed the officers to be re-trained regarding the rules. One officer retired before a ruling was issued, and one officer was disciplined by losing vacation days. Two cases are still pending.

Current NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton said last Friday that NYPD officers were reminded last year that choke holds were banned.

Choke hold use by NYPD officers has fallen under sharper scrutiny following the death of Eric Garner, who was placed in an apparent choke hold last Thursday by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Staten Island.

CCRB Chair Richard Emery announced in a statement last Saturday that the agency has begun a “comprehensive study of the chokehold complaints it has received during the past 5 years (2009 to 2013) and in the first six months of 2014.”

“We also hope to be able to shed light on the CCRB methodologies that led to such a large number of cases that are unsubstantiated,” said Emery in the statement.

NYPD crackdown on sleeping subway passenger

A subway passenger in New York City was recently arrested by the NYPD for the crime of taking a nap on his way home from work.

A video recorded by an onlooker shows a black man on a nearly empty subway car being drug to the floor of the car while asking the officers why he was being arrested.  The officers tell him to relax while struggling to the ground, and the man says, “I didn’t do sh**. I’m sleeping.”

Further on in the video, the man tells the other passengers and officers he was on his way home from work and asks others to record his arrest.

According to the NYPD, the man was breaking the Mass Transit Authority’s rules of conduct by “occupying more than one seat,” at a time and cited this as the man’s reason for arrest.  The video is unclear though as to whether or not the man was occupying more than one seat.

This comes as part of the NYPD’s harsher standards for the city.

The NYPD, under Commissioner Bill Bratton, has adopted punishments and penalties for petty crimes which would normally result in fines or go unpunished.  These petty crimes include being homeless and staying in the subways and dancing or creating improvised music for subway goers.

These standards have been derived from the “Broken Windows” theory of criminology, made famous by social scientists and criminologists James Wilson and George Kelling.

The theory connects social disorder with crime, saying no accountability for one broken window in a building sends the message throughout the area that “no one cares,” allowing petty crimes to go unpunished.

Latest Attack On Freedom: NY Raising The Age To Buy Cigarettes To 21

On Wednesday, New York City lawmakers adopted the strictest limits on tobacco purchases in any US city.

The change would make 21 the minimum age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco items (the current minimum age is 18). The New York City Council also voted to set a $10.50 minimum price for a pack of cigarettes.

The Council passed these new rules in the name of “keeping us healthy.”

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, “This legislation will reduce smoking rates among New Yorkers — especially young New Yorkers — sparing them years of nicotine addiction and health problems.”

City Councilman James Gennaro, the bill’s sponsor, said, “This will literally save many, many lives.”

The new rules compliment recent efforts by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been trying to raise tobacco taxes and make all restaurants and bars smoke-free.

Following the Council’s vote, Bloomberg said, “By increasing the smoking age to 21 we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking. It’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start.”

As noble as the Council’s rules sound, there could be some down sides.

ABC News points out that “cigarette manufacturers have suggested young adult smokers may just turn to black-market merchants. And some smokers say it’s unfair and patronizing to tell people considered mature enough to vote and serve in the military that they’re not old enough to decide whether to smoke.”

Even if the new rule did make some people “healthier,” when did it become the government’s job to control what adults do to their own bodies? Has America become a complete nanny state? Of course, increased smoking regulation is tied to the advent of public health care. When Washington provides and pays for your health care, it will then try to control what you eat and smoke. Government continues growing.

America is supposed to be the Land of the Free. If people want to make poor choices, they should be allowed to. Of course, it is unfair to make the rest of us pay for their lung cancer. This is why ObamaCare (the biggest government power-grab in a generation) must be overturned immediately. In a free country, government cannot dictate lifestyle choices, nor can it become the overprotective Mommy and Daddy of its citizens. Freedom means having the right to make bad choices and then deal with the consequences ourselves.

Still, politicians will likely keep regulating. Quinn said, “We have to do more and that’s what we’re doing today.”