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<nettime> Yesterday's bombings [4x]
nettime's compiler on Wed, 12 Sep 2001 23:55:41 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Yesterday's bombings [4x]

Table of Contents:

   The Media: As an Attack Unfolds, a Struggle to Provide Vivid Imag es to Homes   
     John Armitage <john.armitage {AT} unn.ac.uk>                                         

   WTC/Pentagon attac                                                              
     folks {AT} arthide.de (folks)                                                        

   Re: <nettime> New York City                                                     
     Andrew Ross <andrew.ross {AT} nyu.edu>                                               

   It was supposed to be such a beautiful day                                      
     "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>                                                


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 11:42:35 +0100
From: John Armitage <john.armitage {AT} unn.ac.uk>
Subject: The Media: As an Attack Unfolds, a Struggle to Provide Vivid Imag es to Homes

SEP 12, 2001


The Media: As an Attack Unfolds, a Struggle to Provide Vivid Images to


Television's broadcast networks and many of its cable channels - both news
and entertainment - scrapped their regular schedules yesterday. Radio
stations took live television news feeds. Two dozen newspapers published
special editions and Web sites threw out their advertising and in some
cases stripped down to basic text and still images to help their overtaxed
computers handle a demand for news unlike any they had experienced.

Between the moment when perplexed morning news broadcasters began fielding
calls from Greenwich Village residents who saw a low- flying plane crash
into One World Trade Center and the moment more than an hour later when
New York's twin towers crumbled into Roman candles of smoky debris, the
country's media outlets geared up to become the public stage of a national

By noon, all four major television networks had agreed to share video
images. By midafternoon, almost all of AOL Time Warner's cable channels,
like TBS and TNT, were carrying CNN; Viacom's CBS News feed was being
carried by Viacom's music channels, VH1 and MTV; and Peter Jennings of ABC
News was appearing not just on his network, but on Disney's ESPN channel
and all ABC radio stations.

Most of the networks used variations of the title adopted by CNN: America
Under Attack.

Images of billowing smoke from lower Manhattan and the low, smoldering
profile of the Pentagon, hit, like the Trade Center towers, by a hijacked
commercial jetliner, were dominant on all networks. Referring to the
unusual agreement to share images among the bitterly competitive news
divisions of the networks and CNN, the Fox News president, Roger Ailes,
said: "All the networks decided that this is a national emergency. We're
not keeping score today." Nor were they making much money, as they largely
scrapped commercial advertising.

In Washington, where the downtown had become a ghost town after the
federal government was shut down, delivery trucks for The Washington Post
headed for suburban 7- Eleven stores carrying a special edition dominated
by a two-inch headline, "Terror Hits Pentagon, World Trade Center," with a
lead editorial headlined "War." Special editions were also published by
The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Newark Star-Ledger, The
Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, The Austin American-Statesman in
Texas, not to mention small dailies like The LaCrosse Tribune in

Traffic at news Web sites soared, with 10 times or more the usual number
of users trying to log on, clogging the Internet and slowing response

Because New York was not just ground zero of the opening attack but also
the heartland of the media industry, some of the most dramatic early
accounts were from correspondents working at or near their homes. Don
Dahler, an ABC News correspondent who covered recent civil wars in Africa,
was getting dressed for work in his third-floor apartment in Tribeca,
perhaps half a mile from the World Trade Center, when he heard the first
plane hit.

"I heard what is a very familiar sound anywhere else in the world, in war
zones," Mr. Dahler said. "It sounded to me like a missile, a high- pitched
scream and a roar followed by an explosion, my mind was telling me it's a
missile. Then I saw this gaping wound in the World Trade Center. I called
into `Good Morning' immediately and started reporting," standing on his
sixth-floor rooftop with a cellular telephone.

Mr. Dahler, just one of the network's sources, was not on the air when he
felt the first of the two towers collapse. "When it collapsed I could feel
a rumble, and I tried to interrupt to say that something was happening
right before my eyes," he said. "The building collapsed. I was telling
them it looks like its coming down, it looks like it's coming down. They
switched to me right after it had fallen."

If there were a few stutter-steps like that, it was not surprising. It was
one of the rare instances when television brought disaster into American
homes in real time.

The radical changes in the technology of news delivery, however, along
with the quality of video imagery gave most of the day's news broadcasts
the feeling of an epic disaster movie.

The only genuinely grainy imagery came from the most advanced and portable
equipment: CNN's satellite video phones, which allowed that network alone
to televise a news conference with the spiritual leader of the Taliban
government in Afghanistan, the country that harbors the headquarters of
the accused terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. By evening, the same equipment was
showing tracer fire and explosions in Kabul.

Beyond the vivid pictures, the reporting included a number of mistakes
borne of rumors that sprang up throughout the day. CNN reported that
another plane was headed for the Pentagon. Fox News reported that the
State Department was on fire. CBS News reported that a second airplane
tried to attack the Pentagon. All the reports were later corrected.

The closest major news organization to the scene was The Wall Street
Journal, whose main offices nearby were evacuated at 9:15 a.m. Reporters
and editors worked from home or other Dow Jones offices from New Jersey to
Hong Kong to prepare a Wednesday issue.

Talk radio shows, which sometimes feed on inflammatory commentary, were
unusually low key yesterday, with hosts sympathizing or eliciting
information from eyewitnesses rather than goading.

On the New York radio dial, reporters at news stations struggled to
describe the breadth of the destruction. And talk radio hosts - sometimes
after ominous music played in the background - covered subjects from
airport security to retaliation.

The radio reports played a larger role than usual in bringing news to the
city, since the antennas that broadcast the signals of WABC and WNBC were
destroyed along with the twin towers. New Yorkers without cable television
- about 30 percent to 35 percent of the city's viewers - could only get
WCBS, whose antenna is on the Empire State Building.

The radio journalists reverted to the techniques of Edward R. Murrow's
wartime broadcasts from London to make the story visual. On WCBS-AM, the
journalist Peter Haskell reported that ambulances were lined up "as far as
the eye can see on both sides of the West Side Highway." On WINS, the
reporter Steve Kastenbaum said: "It looks like the entire city is just
walking home. The Brooklyn Bridge is a sea of people coming off the F.D.R.
Drive, walking down from Midtown, walking across the East River to their

Elsewhere in the country, some stations used the event to set up a
dialogue with listeners. A Christian radio station in Los Angeles, KFSG-
FM, canceled commercial advertising yesterday until 6 p.m. and used its
afternoon hours to take calls from listeners who wanted to talk about the


Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:16:08 +0200
From: folks {AT} arthide.de (folks)
Subject: WTC/Pentagon attac

Historically speaking, THIS is the beginning of the new century,

Those who believe in something like humanity, whether the word has been
misused or not, whether someone is fighting against US policy or not,
feels with the innocent people who died and those who now bitterly miss



Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:16:24 -0500
From: Andrew Ross <andrew.ross {AT} nyu.edu>
Subject: Re: <nettime> New York City

 As someone who's been moving around downtown New York yesterday and this
morning, I'm struck by how many paramilitary vehicles there are on the
streets. The National Guard is here, of course, but there are also all
sorts of very strange-looking vehicles (with unfamiliar acronyms on the
side, if they are identified at all) that you never see on civilian
streets, but which clearly belong to the relevant civil authorities. All
other things aside (which, I realize, is a large proviso), the atmosphere
is neo-martial, and reminds one of how quickly a dense First World metro
area can and could be commandeered under other circumstances that one is
only left to imagine.



Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:22:14 -0400
From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Subject: It was supposed to be such a beautiful day

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful sunny September day in New York city
that the only cloud in the sky was the one raising from the rubble of the
World Trade Center.

I don't think we can be sure as of yet who did it. Osama bin Laden and his
group are obvious suspects - because they already attacked WTC, and maybe
they just came back to finish the job.  Hezbollah on the other hand has
the history of trying to crash a hijacked passenger plane in a building.
And nobody even mentions the non-Arab, non-Palestine related options,
because they are simply to scary to contemplate: like what if this is
'domestic' terrorism?

Regardless, of who did it, however, this was an act of war. This was the
single largest atrocity committed against the U.S. on its soil since the
Declaration of Independence. It is also important to note that the DoD's
beloved Space Shield would do absolutely nothing to protect the U.S. from
such an attack that came from inside and was executed by the tools of
American corporate business (2 passenger jets owned by the American
Airlines and 2 passenger jets owned by the United Airlines), used against
the symbols of American economic and military might. Doesn't it look
improbable that Pentagon got a direct hit? That was sure enough to humble
American arrogance. Yet, that was not enough for the terrorists.

That's why I agree with Ruth Wedgwood, a Yale University law professor and
terrorism expert, that this is not only an act of war, but also a war
crime. Crashing a plane full of passengers in a busy city district at the
beginning of a workday should classify clearly as a war crime, on pair
with what people in former Yugoslavia or Rwanda did to each other. New
York yesterday and today feels like Sarajevo felt after shelling the
markeplace. Public transportation did not run, exits from the city were
closed down, schools are closed, markets are closed, all airports around
the country are shut down, 4000 daily flights are grounded, hospitals in
the city are overwhelmed with hundreds, thousands of injured, and we don't
even know yet the number of victims. People are eerily calm. Black
teenagers here on my corner are unusually quiet and still. It seems that
all passengers in subways got a few more wrinkles on their faces than they
had yesterday, and everybody is paying the fare, regardless of the service
doors being left wide open. The 'hyper- power' is on its knees. UN, World
Bank, Capitol, White House, Treasury, State Department and Pentagon are
evacuated. And New York will probably never be the same again. I feel the
same emptiness as I felt when Mostar lost the Old Bridge. Holy shit - UPS
just this moment delivered a package to me - functioning parcel service
suggests return to 'normalcy', that's encouraging.

About the perpetrators, there are several technical things that are kind
of clear: some of them had to be trained pilots capable of driving most
modern US passenger jets precisely (Iraqis?). The research of the US
flight schedules was done meticulously, as to get a couple of wide
fuselage planes, well filled with fuel (intended to fly accross the
continent), hitting the twin towers from various points of origins within
half an hour. Everything points to terrorists being well rehearsed and
well informed.

I don't see any other way but to have perpetrators and their supporters
brought to justice. Nobody quite expected such a massive, well
co-ordinated (4 airliners hijacked simultaneously at 4 different airports)
and, unfortunately, highly succesfull attack on the land of the law, such
as happened yesterday morning. September 11th will perhaps be remembered
in the world's history, because I can't imagine world ever be the same
after today in regards to fighting terrorism. I am obviously afraid that
citizens will have to put up with even more curtailing of their freedoms
to assure their safety. I am just thinking of what nightmare it is going
to be to fly inside the US now, with all the increased security that would
be put in place to prevent of this happening again - that's why,
obviously, I would prefer that the perpetrators are caught sonner than

As for the reasons - for quite a while we were all aware of how the rule
of American law may convey injustice to some people. It is this feeling of
injustice and the feeling of helplessness to prevent that injustice, that
breeds anger, rage and hate, and ultimately it breaks out in irreversible
acts of horrific terrorism. It is true that Palestinians were and still
are victims at the hands of the world.  And the routes for them to obtain
redress are clogged on purpose for a long time. So, for a quite a while
they resort to terrorism, including suicidal terrorism. It is true that
during NATO's bombing campaign over Yugoslavia, many innocent Yugoslav
citizens died.  And it is also true that during the Gulf War a much larger
number of innocent Iraqis died. Judging by the celebratory mood on streets
of Gaza (and even some e-mail messages that came from Belgrade), there are
people who do feel a sense of poetic justice in using American passenger
planes as cruise missiles to 'punish' the cruise missiles makers. There is
no doubt that in some people's minds the U.S. 'deserved' such a reckoning.
I hope the U.S. would take this into consideration in its search for the
perpetrators and in whatever action it choses to take against them.

>From Manhattan:
ivo skoric

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