Thursday, September 22, 2011

Iranian President accuses US of 9/11 Cover Up

Delegations walk out during Ahmadinejad UN speech
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used an address to the UN General Assembly to criticise the US killing of Osama Bin Laden as a 9/11 cover-up.

His remarks prompted a walkout by diplomats from more than 30 countries, including the US and EU nations.

Mr Ahmadinejad was widely condemned after his speech, during which he also attacked the West, denounced Israel and questioned the Holocaust.

The address came a day ahead of a Palestinian bid for UN membership.

Mr Ahmadinejad's controversial rhetoric - and the resulting mass walkout - has become almost a staple of the General Assembly's meetings.

'Message of hostility'
During Thursday's address he accused Western nations of "weakening countries through military intervention and destroying their infrastructures, in order to plunder their resources by making them all the more dependent".

The Iranian leader also railed against Bin Laden's death, saying the US had "killed the main perpetrator [of 9/11] and threw his body into the sea".

Hundreds of people protested against President Ahmadinejad's appearance outside the UN He added: "Would it not have been reasonable to bring to justice and openly bring to trial the main perpetrator of the incident in order to identify the elements behind the safe space provided for the invading aircraft to attack the twin World Trade Center towers".

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that he "found it rich" that Mr Ahmadinejad would criticise US policy, and accused Tehran of "vile mistreatment" of its own citizens.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron used his speech to the UN to hit back at Iran.

"They do everything they can to avoid the accountability of a free media," he said. "They violently prevent demonstrations and, yes, they detain and torture those who argue for a better future."

Hundreds of people protested against the Iranian leader's appearance at the UN meeting in New York.

Across from the UN headquarters, there were huge banners, one of which read, "Down With the Islamic Republic of Iran", while children stamped on a poster of Mr Ahmadinejad.

The foreign ministry of Israel, which boycotted the speech, said in a statement: "Once again the Iranian president delivered a message of hostility to the family of nations, threatening world peace and security."

On Friday the UN Security Council is expected to examine a bid to admit the Palestinians as a partial or full member of the UN.

The US has vowed to veto the request, which is also firmly opposed by Israel.

US President Barack Obama has said there can be "no short-cut" to a negotiated peace deal in the Middle East.

bbc news

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/11 first responders honored at Sherwood Island ceremony

By Bonnie Adler

With the sound of bagpipes heralding the call to order, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other officials from Connecticut and New York City gathered at Sherwood Island State Park Wednesday to remember those who perished in the 9/11 attacks and to pay tribute to those Connecticut first responders who risked their lives to help in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

Firefighters, policemen and emergency personnel from around the state came to participate in an hour-long tribute, in which the efforts made by first responders around the state were highlighted and commemorated.

Malloy recalled the 156 Connecticut residents who perished in the attacks, and the 343 NYC firefighters (37 Port Authority Police officers, 23 NYPD officers and three court officers) who died in the towers that day, and highlighted the commitment of the first responders and volunteers who went to New York City to do what they could to help their fellow first responders with no regard for their own safety. He recalled the spirit which drove so many Connecticut first responders to help and said, “These are individuals who were not paid to go, not required to do so, but in every case volunteered to respond from our state to help others.”

He added, “We mark that response, that desire to go and be part of that recovery which is so great and so uniquely American.”

David Fein, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, extended his deepest gratitude to Connecticut’s first responders on the day of the event and the days, weeks and months that followed.

“You did not hesitate to act in the face of horrific devestation, you did what comes naturally to you. You leapt into action, not deterred by danger. You overcame obstacles and moved toward, not away from, the devastation with only one purpose in mind- to help others,” he said.

Noting the beautiful new metal sculpture on a nearby wall commemorating those who died in the attacks, Fein added, “We are here at Connecticut’s 9/11 Living Memorial to say thank you for what you did 10 years ago and what you continue to do today.”

Perhaps most poignant was Bonnie McEneaney, the wife of Eamon McEneaney, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th Floor of the North Tower, and perished that day. Bonnie McEneaney represents Voices of 911, which collects and shares information about all of those who died that day. She has since written a book called “Messages,” a compilation of true stories of the spiritual experiences and premonitions of loved ones lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

She asked, “Who is a first responder? You are ‘first preventers’ as well as first responders. You are the heartbeat of this great nation.”

She said many first responders had been exposed to toxic dust, and many had developed debilitating diseases as a result. “Indeed, she said, “One thousand of you have died. You put the needs of others before your own. Thank you for altruism unsurpassed.” Continued

Brotherhood Ride Honors 9/11 First Responders

By Cristin Wilson

September 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Brotherhood Ride honors 9/11 first responders, visits Southside
Firefighter Nick Ford chose to leave his family in Naples for three weeks to hit the road on a bicycle as part of a 1,600-mile journey to honor fallen heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

When the fourth annual Brotherhood Ride stopped in Jacksonville last month, Ford caught his breath and easily explained why he and other firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians signed on.

"What we're going through over these 22 days is really small compared to the families of those 411 killed that day. They gave everything. We just gave a little," said Ford.

The ride is dedicated to the 411 first responders who lost their lives 10 years ago during the terrorist attack on New York City. Brotherhood Ride founder Jeff Morse, who dedicated the first three rides to other firefighters and police who died in the line of duty across the country, wanted to make sure the legacy of those who lost their lives wouldn't be forgotten. It was important to do something more than just write a check, he said.

"I wanted some way to show the families we'd never forget," said Morse.

The 2011 ride began in North Naples on Aug. 20 and ended at ground zero in New York City on Saturday, with riders meeting with local firefighters and police along the way. Proceeds from fundraisers in the Naples-Fort Myers area will go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Concerns of Police Survivors.

When the 39 riders got to Jacksonville Aug. 24, they and their support staff stopped at the Southside Elks Lodge for a welcome ceremony, dinner, overnight lodging and breakfast the next morning.

Firefighter Scott Wilson, also of Naples, didn't even have a bike when he decided to be a part of the ride. But he said he did not view his participation as much of a stretch, considering he is used to braving high temperatures - and with a lot more clothes on than the typical cycling gear.

Being part of the ride, he said, "is a big honor."

Wilson said the public response along the route was touching, with communities rallying around them. At one of their stops, a woman did all of their laundry, even folding their clothes, he said.

Firefighter Todd Neal, who works for the Broward County Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue, agreed.

"The response we've got, it's just been amazing," he said.

Dick Maloney, public relations chairman for the Southside Elks, said the visit was the second the club has hosted for the Brotherhood Ride. The club provided pasta dinners - with homemade "red gravy" - sleeping accommodations and sendoff breakfast, while Jacksonville firefighters provided onsite shower facilities, he said.

The Elks were just as touched by the experience as the riders.

"The emotions were unbelievable. As the bicycle riders approached our lodge, after a complete day's ride, with motorcycle police escort, not to mention our firefighters' participation, the crowd's applause was heartbreaking. Their support staff was genuinely surprised with the reception," Maloney said.

The ride coordinator told Maloney that the club's preparation "greatly exemplifies the importance of 9/11, and displays in full, the great generosity of the Elks organization," he said.

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First responders of 9/11 attacks may get annual ticker tape parade

A Queens woman is one step closer to realizing her dream of seeing a ticker tape parade in lower Manhattan to honor 9/11 first responders.

The WTC Redevelopment Committee of Manhattan Community Board 1 last night approved Jill Singer's idea in a 6-0 vote, with one member abstaining. Singer still needs an NYPD permit and approval from Mayor Bloomberg's office, she said.

"I'm elated," Singer said. "The mayor's office has been talking about doing some remembrance for responders for a while now. Now we're going to go tell them, 'Let's get it done.'"

Singer, 44, of Forest Hills, has been a first responders' activist for a decade and said she became incensed upon learning responders weren't invited to be part of the opening of the 9/11 memorial.

"It's just such a slap in the face," Singer said. "If it wasn't for those responders there would be no memorial site. It wouldn't be cleaned up."

Singer wants the parade to take place the week of May 25 next year, marking a decade since the last piece of steel was removed from the attack site.

Facebook Group Promotes Ticker Tape Parade for 9/11 First Responders.

LOWER MANHATTAN — The first responders who risked their lives on 9/11 deserve a ticker-tape parade through lower Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes, advocates said this week.

A parade would boost the spirits of responders who were left out of the city's official 9/11 commemoration, and it would give those who are sick something to looking forward to, said TJ Gilmartin, a construction worker who spent nearly 300 hours at Ground Zero.

"All we want is a 'Thank you' — that's it," said Gilmartin, 50, a New Jersey resident who is suffering from respiratory ailments and acid reflux following his exposure to World Trade Center toxins.

"No one seems to care about the responders."

A Facebook group in favor of the parade has gathered nearly 1,100 members, and on Monday night, Community Board 1's World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee added its vote of support as well. Now the parade has to clear the mayor's office before it can become a reality.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not immediately return a call for comment.

Gilmartin has been planning the parade with the help of Jill Singer, an advocate for first responders, and said Monday that they hope to hold it during the week of May 25, 2012, the 10 year anniversary of when the last steel beam was removed from Ground Zero.

Singer said the parade would not just be for the NYPD and FDNY, whose members are often recognized, but also for the thousands of ironworkers, heavy machine operators and other construction workers who volunteered for the recovery effort, and many of which are now sick.

"It's the people who went down there and just put their heart on the line," Singer said. "They've been ignored."

Catherine McVay Hughes, chairwoman of the committee, said that while ticker-tape parades are often reserved for triumphant sports teams, it's important to remember why the Broadway parade route is referred to as the "Canyon of Heroes."

"There should be a 'thank you' for the real heroes, who were down on the front lines and came to our war zone," she said.


Queens Woman Pitches Ticker Tape Parade For 9/11 First Responders


12:07 p.m. EDT, September 14, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. (WPIX)— If one woman gets her way, there will be a ticker tape parade right along Broadway at the Canyon of Heros, for the first responders of 9/11.

The day would be May 25, 2012 -- marking 10 years after the last piece of steel was removed from Ground Zero.

"They didn't think about if they were going to live or die, they are the reason that area exists in the beautiful way it exists today," said Jill Singer.

This confident Queens woman committed to bringing the community together to show gratitude for the first responders.

Singer says the idea came to her while watching a Yankee game last month. She remembers attending the ticker tape parade when the Yanks won the World Series two years ago.

"They are called heros, 9/11 responders are called heros, why can't the city say thank you through a ticker tape parade?" asked Singer.

So she pitched her idea to Community Board 1 this week and it passed. World Trade Center Committee Chair Catherine McVay Hughes voted in favor.

"I've lived here for two decades, over looking other ticker tapes for sport championships," said Hughes. "But it's about time, we actually have a ticker tape parade for our real heros."

Real heros like TJ Gilmartin, Singer's boyfriend, whom she met last year, while fighting for first responders rights in Washington.

Gilmartin spent two straight weeks working on the rubble of the World Trace Center and welcomes the idea of a parade.

"It would lift the spirits. Nobody is asking for any money, just a thank you," said Gilmartin. "The greatest city in the world can't say thank you to the guys who ran in, meanwhile everybody else ran out?"

Mayor Michael Bloomberg still has to give his nod of approval, and NYPD has to approve a parade permit.,0,5197099.story

9/11 responders honored at Westport ceremony

Bonnie McEneaney reached the depths of despair on Sept. 11, 2001. Her husband, Eamon, was a vice president of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond trading firm that lost hundreds of employees in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Updated 11:03 a.m., Thursday, September 15, 2011

The swift response from thousands of emergency workers renewed her sense of hope, she said.

"When I think of the role you played, I think of love," McEneaney told dozens of police officers, firefighters and paramedics from departments across Connecticut on Wednesday evening at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. "Instead of despair, I think of hope."

Three days after the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, dozens of first responders and volunteers gathered under the pavilion at the waterfront park, which overlooks Long Island Sound and the state's memorial for victims of the attacks.

The Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office, the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the victim outreach group Voices of September 11th hosted the ceremony as a show of gratitude for emergency workers who rushed to the rubble of ground zero a decade ago.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told the crowd, mainly first responders in full dress uniforms, that the nation's sense of volunteerism and community sets it apart from other nations. He said the first responders and volunteers who traveled to the remains of the World Trade Center embody that spirit.

Malloy, who was mayor of Stamford when the planes hit the World Trade Center, recalled how city firefighters and police officers approached him shortly after Sept. 11 and asked for permission to work at ground zero. He said while the terrorist attacks changed emergency communications, response tactics and equipment over the past several years, they did not alter the American will to rebuild or recover.

"No terrorist, no war, no set of circumstances can deny that," he said.

David Fein, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, opened the ceremony by offering effusive thanks to the state's emergency responders.

"In the hours and days after the attacks, most Americans sought solace within the safety of their homes," Fein said. "You, our first responders and volunteers, did not hesitate to act."

The ceremonies began with State Police Trooper Pat Whalen playing a somber song on the bagpipes, and it ended just as solemnly, with a slow rendition of taps. John Hughes, chief of the civil division of the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office, was one of the event's organizers.

"On the 10th anniversary, we wanted to do something special," Hughes said before the ceremony. "We wanted something unique and special for first responders as a way of saying thank you."

Other speakers included Reuben Bradford, the state commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection; Andrew Savino, a deputy chief in the New York City Police Department's counterterrorism unit, and Paul McConnell, an assistant U.S. attorney and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Paul Aaronson, a member of the New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps, spoke about the call his paramedic department got in the days after Sept. 11 to help relieve the exhausted New York City emergency workers at ground zero. He also spoke about the anger and frustration felt by many first responders on Sept. 11 when survivors could not be found amid the destruction.

"We wished we could have done more," he said