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On Oct. 11, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, an aggressive young reporter for The New York Journal News of Westchester County, N.Y., published an article that tracked the story to New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. Shapiro identified a teacher who witnessed a freshman in her class saying the week prior to the World Trade Center attacks: “Do you see those two buildings? They won’t be standing there next week.”
The police say they have been working closely with two of the three mosques in the area. One is run by an Irishman who converted to Islam and became an imam, the other by a baggage handler for American Airlines. This latter fact, not surprisingly, aroused a great interest at first. His friends in the community thought he might lose his job. But the imam is backed by the airline and remains close to the police in the area. “I feel sorry for the dark-skinned people in the neighborhood,” says a police officer. “They’ve done nothing wrong, and most have been cooperative.”
It’s that context that makes the story of the Pakistani freshman so strange. I can’t tell you who filled in the details for me; the heat is on, and the FBI is particularly jumpy. Both teacher and student have, with the help of the school, successfully ducked all efforts to contact them. But here’s what I’ve pieced together:
On Sept. 6—five days before the attack—Antoinette DiLorenzo, who teaches English as a second language to a class of Pakistani immigrants, led a class discussion about world events. She asked a freshman (his name has been withheld): “What are you looking at?” The youth was peering out the third-floor window toward lower Manhattan. After he made the remark about the World Trade Center not being there next week, the teacher didn’t immediately think much of it, though it stuck in her mind.
On Sept. 11, school was canceled after the attack and again the following day. On Thursday, Sept. 13, a clearly agitated DiLorenzo, saying she had been afraid to come forward, reported the incident to the principal’s office. “It scared the hell out of everyone,” according to a source at the school.
Moreover, according to police, the youth confirmed having made the Sept. 6 statement about the towers. At the moment he did so, his older brother elbowed him, said he had been “kidding,” and the youth in question agreed. The younger brother seemed upset and said he was “having a bad day.” When asked why, he said that his father was supposed to come back from Pakistan that day. Further details of the interrogation are unclear, in part because the FBI is not discussing it.
On Sept. 10, 2001, a sixth-grade student of Middle Eastern descent in Jersey City, N.J., said something that alarmed his teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. "Essentially, he warned her to stay away from lower Manhattan because something bad was going to happen," said Sgt. Edgar Martinez, deputy director of police services for the Jersey City Police Department. Initially, the Jersey City rumor was met with some controversy. The New York Times called it an unsubstantiated rumor, and both the Daily News and the Jersey Journal quoted a board of education official who denied that the boy had made any reference to the Sept. 11 attacks at all. Despite their reports, Martinez said the FBI-JTTF took over the matter for further investigation.
On Sept. 11, NYPD school-safety officers interrogated a Middle Eastern boy at Health Opportunities High School in the Bronx who had made similar comments that alarmed his teacher. Catie Marshall said the boy told his peers something as the school was being evacuated on Sept. 11.
"He warned them not to ride any city buses because he had been told at his mosque the week before to stay off all public transportation for a while," said one NYPD officer from the investigating 40th Precinct. "He said it wouldn't be safe." The FBI-JTTF since has taken over the matter.
One New Utrecht official told me that of the 509 Arab-American students who attend the school, many have come forward with their own stories about having prior knowledge. "Kids are telling us that the attacks didn't surprise them," she told me. "This was a nicely protected little secret that circulated in the community around here. I guess they were talking about it among themselves, but they didn't share it with us - at least not before the attacks."
According to students, many of their Arab-American peers were seen taking photographs of the crumbling twin towers from New Utrecht on Sept. 11. "Don't you think it's strange so many of them happened to take their cameras to school that particular day?" one student asked me.
“Some men were dancing, some held kids on their shoulders,” said retired Jersey City police Capt. Peter Gallagher, who responded to the scene after numerous 911 calls from outraged residents.
“The women were shouting in Arabic and keening in the high-pitched wail of Arabic fashion. They were told to go back to their apartments since a crowd of non-Muslims was gathering on the sidewalk below and we feared for their safety.”
Gallagher said he cleared a rooftop celebration of up to 30 people at 6 Tonnele Ave., a four-story apartment building with a view of Lower Manhattan, after the second tower fell.
Another witness said he saw a celebration on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in the city.
“When I saw they were happy, I was pissed,” said Ron Knight, 56, who also heard cheers of “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” — from a crowd of about 20 people that morning.
Residents also placed numerous 911 calls complaining about Muslims partying on a rooftop at a third location, three cops told the website.
originally posted by: slapjacks
Interesting read, One thing that stands out to me is, why, of all people, a bunch of school students be in the know of what's to come. It doesn't make any sense to me.
Confused, is an understatement.
originally posted by: damwel
But I heard it was the Jews that didn't show up for work that day in the wtc
originally posted by: FamCore
a reply to: real_one
Very well said!
The higher-levels who enabled & profited off of this attack sit in their Ivory towers, untouchable, and helping to fund campaigns that discredit anyone who questions the official story.