The Alliance Journal began as a news aggregator and occasional blog for The Twin Towers Alliance. Going forward, with far less WTC-related news to share, we will focus on — and from time to time comment on — a wider scope of issues. But they will all relate back to what we learned over fourteen years as dedicated observers and a recognized watchdog over the rebuiling of the WTC site.
People wonder what went wrong at the World Trade Center site. Why was the world deprived of the inspiration and healing new Twin Towers would have presented? Most assume that what did take place was honorable and respectful. Certainly, the labors of the men and women who actually built the new buildings were dedicated and idealistic. But the process was deeply corrupt.
The evidence shows that a powerful clique of devious, self-serving individuals chose a path that compounded a terrible tragedy with a terrible mistake. A private agenda was disguised and promoted as a tribute to the democratic process, when it was the antithesis of democratic. It was fueled almost entirely by public funds, which amounted to a massive misappropriation that succeeded only because the public was kept in the dark by a compromised press. As savvy as the American people are, they still assumed that, when it came to the WTC, they could trust officials to do the right thing — and that the public had guardians in the media they could trust to alert us if they did not.
When we started The Twin Towers [Alliance] Journal back in 2012, it provided weekly documentation of rebuilding news, in an effort to add perspective to the established bias that prevailed. It was the next generation of the Twin Towers Alliance Bulletins, where we offered a running commentary going back to 2006. Even though it became clear in recent years that the WTC site was shockingly mismanaged and the public was burdened with billions of dollars of debt it never needed to assume, the dots are still rarely connected.
The abuses of power and lack of transparency that robbed the nation of the World Trade Center most of us wanted — and had a right to expect — have never been fully addressed. The public was not just misinformed. It was malinformed — malnourished by a steady stream of phony baloney — often by well-meaning journalists who didn’t realize how aggressively information was being filtered before it reached them.
The result of the engineered and manufactured coverage was that our democracy was undermined just where it most needed to be affirmed. Considering that the thousands of our fellow citizens who died on 9/11 were slaughtered simply for being Americans, the devious, autocratic rebuilding process was an appalling charade.
Now that the site has been mostly rebuilt, our activities at the Twin Towers Alliance have also developed. What our many years of observation and investigation taught us is that the Swindle at Ground Zero is just the most prominent consequence of a systemic failure to responsibly inform Americans and the widespread abuse of power that failure fosters.
History should be built upon the fullest, most trustworthy accounts possible. Our three sites — The Twin Towers Alliance, The Alliance Journal, and the TTA Institute for Responsive Government — comprise our small effort to set a crooked record straight:
The Twin Towers Alliance dot-com is a repository of our involvement in the movement to rebuild the Twin Towers and presents what we believe can and should yet be done to make the World Trade Center all that it can and could yet be.
The [Twin Towers] Alliance Journal will go beyond WTC-related news, of which there is relatively little, to provide links to publications, blogs, and opinions (including our own) that focus on the breakdown of our democracy and promote solutions. The implicit flip-side of the quote in our heading cautions that the country will not be safe if the people are not given the facts — “the whole truth”. But the widespread editorializing that is embedded in so much that passes for news is constantly selling America short and could hobble us permanently.
The first two pillars in “The Elements of Journalism” — the media’s presumed bible — state: “Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth” and “Its first loyalty is to citizens.” If only that were the prevailing ethic in the newsrooms of New York in the years after 9/11, the Twin Towers’ banishment would never have succeeded. That kind of power needs to be checked.
Finally, the [Twin Towers Alliance] Institute for Responsive Government is where we will build on all that we have learned about the Freedom of Information laws. And it is where we will encourage the civic renaissance required to secure responsive government. We will report on our ongoing efforts to explore and expose, through the Freedom of Information Law, what actually transpired in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center. We will advance legislative initiatives to strengthen current Sunshine Laws. And we will promote civic awareness and social discipline.
The last fourteen years have taught us that unaccountable government, an unreliable press, and disengaged citizens are the only real problems the American people have. Citizens have to hold government officials and the media to account if our country is to thrive. Responsive government, an objective press, and enlightened citizens are all vital to the success of our republic.
The Court of Public Opinion should be governed by the same rigorous standard as any other judicial body. We can’t weigh facts we never hear or or responsibly lend credence to beliefs we can’t defend. When people are unwilling to examine their beliefs and insist on holding opinions they aren’t prepared to justify — the very definition of prejudice — our democracy is in trouble and only engaged citizens can fix it.
Unfortunately, the last fifty years have seen our society go into a destructive, indulgent, emotional spiral. Primed by the media, many people will only tolerate or credit the facts they agree with and adamantly shut out the rest. If that continues, an entire generation of future leaders and citizens will be ineligible to serve as fair-minded jurors deciding the fate of the nation. In actual courtrooms there are no “safe spaces” and jurors who can’t be impartial are excused from serving. But when it comes to the future of the country anything goes.
It doesn’t matter how much either side of the divide knows if there is no willingness to listen and to learn from the other — and from the lessons of our history going back to the Founders. If we are not rooted in their founding vision and wisdom, we lack integrity — and if we stop striving for that more perfect union, we could find ourselves, as George Washington warned, with no union at all. And what partisans fail to recognize is that without a union, neither side will enjoy the security and advantages we all take for granted.
Sometimes it seems that we are already too far gone to reclaim the unity of purpose that defines a union. But anyone who remembers the wondrous spirit that swept our nation in September, 2001, knows how powerfully it can reemerge when we are attacked from without. The challenge we face is to unite just as forcefully against the mortal enemies that threaten to permanently divide and disable our nation from within. That’s everyone’s calling and duty. E Pluribus Unum — one out of many — means that above all our various priorities and self-interests, Americans have one overriding duty: to preserve our Union — a blessing that too few of us have done anything to deserve.
The American novelist Edith Wharton once said: ‘There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” The Twin Towers Alliance, The Alliance Journal, and The TTA Institute for Responsive Government are the platform on which we hope to do our part to rebuild the American dream — of which the World Trade Center is a symbol — and hope to encourage and assist others to do theirs.