“David and Nelson’s twin tombstones” is what Jack Newfield called the Twin Towers, which were rising steadily in the winter of 1970/71. They cast rectangular shadows over more and more of Lower Manhattan in the late afternoons.
David Rockefeller, the head of Chase Manhattan Bank, was in charge of the family’s business interests. Brother Nelson was the governor of New York State whose “Edifice Complex” Newfield had written about in the Village Voice. In Albany “Rocky” had taken 98 acres by eminent domain to build a plaza full of government buildings with supposedly arty exteriors. It was the early 1960s, the time of “urban renewal,” also known as “Negro removal,” and sure enough, African Americans were 14% of those evicted.
Meanwhile in NYC, where most of the major office buildings were in midtown, Brother David was heavily invested in Lower Manhattan real estate. In the late 1950s he had financed the construction of One Chase Plaza, 60 stories of glass and steel, the first high-rise office built in the financial district since before World War 2. It involved creation of what planners call a “superblock.” As explained by Eric Darton in Divided We Stand, “The elimination of a single block of Cedar Street between Nassau and William Streets provided a platform upon which David Rockefeller’s 60-story bank headquarters could rise. A decade later, the pedestal for the World Trade Center engulfed 16 blocks to the northwest. The combined force of these two projects opened the floodgates to a tidal wave of office and residential superblock developments in Lower Manhattan.”
For the World Trade Center David would hire Minoru Yamasaki, who shared his goal of extracting maximum value from the land. “Yamasaki concluded,” writes Darnton, “you must abandon the anachronistic structure of the old skyscraper. Instead, emulate the hollow, fibrous structure of the bamboo stalk. Shape your tube into a square. Then you can build prairie upon prairie of columnless stories, as high as you want to go. No limit.”
A Forgotten Scandal
Bernie Kerick was an NYPD narc who rose to be Police Commissioner under Rudolph Giuliani. As reported by Charles Bagli in the New York Times in 2004, “An apartment in Battery Park City that former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik secured for his personal use after Sept. 11 was originally donated for the use of weary police and rescue workers who were helping at ground zero, according to a real estate executive who has been briefed about the apartment...
“During his use of the apartment, Mr. Kerik and Judith Regan engaged in an extramarital affair there, according to someone who spoke to Mr. Kerik about the relationship. Ms. Regan published his best-selling autobiography in 2001.”
Was Kerik’s career derailed by the revelation that he was schtupping this broad in an apartment needed by the exhausted, heroic clean-up crew? Not according to Wikipedia:
“After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush appointed Kerik as the interior minister of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority. In 2004, Bush nominated Kerik to lead the Department of Homeland Security. However, Kerik soon withdrew his candidacy, explaining that he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a nanny. His admission touched off state and federal investigations. In 2006, Kerik pleaded guilty in the Bronx Supreme Court to two unrelated misdemeanor ethics violations and was ordered to pay $221,000 in fines. In 2009, Kerik pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to eight federal felony charges; in February 2010, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison. On February 18, 2020, President Donald Trump granted Kerik a full pardon. On November 7, 2020, Kerik stood behind Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, during the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
9/12 and 9/13
In the days after the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, an audacious display of ruling-class solidarity — an airlift to safety of numerous Bin Laden family members — was carried out. It was scarcely covered at the time. The scope of the operation was described in April 2004, in an LA Times op-ed by Craig Unger, author of “House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties.” Unger wrote:
“When the 9/11 commission resumes its hearings Tuesday, it will be fascinating to see whether it addresses what may be the most serious security failure related to the attacks: the evacuation of about 140 Saudis almost immediately after 9/11.
“Think about it: U.S. intelligence knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Analysts also knew that Saudi money was a major force behind Al Qaeda. And, of course, Osama bin Laden, the perpetrator of the worst crime on American soil, was Saudi.
“It is standard practice in murder investigations to interview friends and relatives of the primary suspect. One of the highest U.S. security priorities should have been the interrogation of Bin Laden’s relatives and other Saudis who, inadvertently or not, may have funded him.
“‘Certainly it would be my expectation that they would do that,’ says Oliver “Buck” Revell, former associate deputy director of the FBI. And it should not have been difficult. U.S. airspace was almost entirely locked down. Virtually no one could fly. Nevertheless, the Saudi Arabian Embassy was able to organize a massive operation to evacuate these citizens from the U.S.
“It began with a chartered flight from Tampa, Fla., to Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 13. Soon there were at least eight planes stopping in 12 U.S. cities to fly Saudis out. About two dozen passengers were related to Bin Laden. Because of the lockdown, the initial flight required authorization from the highest levels of government —and specifically from the White House. Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke said he was a party to such conversations in the White House.
“Except for Clarke’s brief testimony before the 9/11 commission, however, the issue has received scant attention. The FBI has said ‘unequivocally’ that it played no role in facilitating any flights. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the White House claim the Sept. 13 flight did not take place.
“But it did —as did the subsequent flights. How do I know? For my book, I interviewed two men, Dan Grossi and Manuel Perez, who were on the plane that took off from Tampa as security guards. I spoke with FBI agents who identified Saudi passengers boarding the flights but said they did not have lengthy interviews with them. I talked to sources who helped orchestrate the operation. And I obtained passenger lists for four of the flights...
“The Bush family has a long, close relationship with the House of Saud. I have traced at least $1.4 billion in investments and contracts over the last 20 years from Saudis to companies in which the Bushes and their allies have had prominent positions — among them, Harken Energy, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group. Did these relationships persuade the Bush White House to turn a blind eye to the Saudi role in terror? At a time when millions of Americans were numb with terror, was the Bush administration delivering favors to its Saudi friend.