MISSING IN FICTION
The all-too-frequent-fliers of a planeless plan
by Simon Shack - August 2010
No planes crashed on 9/11. No hijackings took place and there were no hijackers. No planes also means that no passengers were flying inside them. No people flew to their death out of the empty WTC towers - since empty buildings do not contain people. Yet, we all fell for the computer imagery aired on TV. Planes? Fliers? No. The only real fliers of that day turned up elsewhere - in the tens of thousands - plastered on the walls of Manhattan.
On the evening of 9/11 all around “Ground Zero”, candle vigils were being held for the “thousands of casualties” while clusters of fliers appeared all over the city walls: xeroxed portraits of men and women with big “MISSING” headings. A typical flier would read: “MISSING: My husband John Brown, height (so and so) hair (so and so) eyes (so and so) and a contact number. Lower Manhattan was literally blanketed with those Xerox copies - an allegedly "spontaneous effort by family members to trace their lost loved ones". The world was left silently watching, sharing the human grief. This was no time to ponder over the possible purpose of those flimsy fliers pleading for help to recover lost loved ones - much as one might do for errant cats and dogs.
"Everybody Tells A Story"
Naturally, those intensely emotional hours allowed no space for rational - and much less - cynical thought. To most people, at the time, these fliers covering the city walls seemed like the most natural thing in the world. But this was civilized New York City - not some barren beachfront washed away by a tsunami. What sort of results were these fliers supposed to achieve? Were they the carriers of some desperate, irrational hope? Wait - perhaps a widow's expectation was to receive a call from some sharp-eyed NYC shopkeeper...“Hello ma’am, an errant gentleman that looks like your missing husband just walked into my grocery-store in a daze. He’s covered in dust and looks hungry. Come over and pick him up!“
So what was the deal with those fliers? What sort of collective phenomena would have caused hundreds of families to reach for downtown Manhattan, on the evening of the tragedy, to plaster the city with “MISSING” fliers? If we are to have a rational discourse about this matter, we must first tackle one basic, elementary question: is this what people usually do when buildings collapse ? or even in the aftermath of earthquakes or other calamities? No. It is something you might (possibly) do when a stray kid is feared abducted, kidnapped or on the run. Even in such circumstances, families will prefer to rely on the authorities - not on fliers. Such neighborhood pamphlets are usually reserved for pets gone astray.
This issue merits serious consideration and needs to be resolved once and for all: we cannot keep on pretending that it was all part of the natural order of things. Let’s face it, the whole idea of these “MISSING” fliers is preposterous in the extreme. It was one thing to swallow the “spontaneous” nature of this bizarre, collective behavior in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. It is another to accept it as such today. So do we have any lead to follow as to finding out who might have been behind this manifestly staged operation?
"A New Comedy Series"
It would seem so. And - lo and behold! - it leads us straight to the website of Steven Rosenbaum - the boss of Camera Planet. It so happens that his friend and fellow 'curator' Louis Nevaer, apparently, saved 5200 of those fliers from destruction just in time before the rains set in a few days later. But before we get to know Dr. Nevaer, let me first remind you about Rosenbaum and his vast 9/11 video collection he purportedly acquired...by putting up fliers all around NYC...
STEVEN ROSENBAUM - of 'Camera Planet'
As the story goes, in the aftermath of 9/11, Rosenbaum put up posters and fliers in NYC and placed an ad in The Village Voice “urgently requesting images that captured the attack, its aftermath and the mood of the city”. That effort seems to have worked out nicely. His 1,700 video clips of 9/11 constitute, he says, “the largest archive of my now dormant television production company, CameraPlanet”. His website tells us that seventy-six people contributed to these “500 hours of videos”, which are owned by Mr. Rosenbaum and his wife, Pamela Yoder. Mr. Rosenbaum happily boasts that two appraisers have valued his archive in excess of $1 million. In fact, he explains, he is working out an agreement with Bank of America, the company's primary lender. He wants to structure a deal with a donor or a buyer that would keep the collection from being sold piecemeal, repay his company's debt of more than $500,000 and make the videos available to researchers, filmmakers and the public.
But Mr. Rosenbaum hastens to point out: "It's not about money. This collection is about five years of my life. We don't have the resources to make it available to researchers and other documentarians, and we are very selective in giving approval to use our video." Too bad. Mr. Rosenbaum apparently cares about documentarians and researchers; he just doesn’t have the “resources” to lend them his videos. What a crying shame. Inexplicably, his website mentions nothing about the history of the videos themselves. Not a single author of the 1,700 clips is cited anywhere. It appears that “the Best Documented Catastrophe in History” has a little problem; no one has a clue about WHO EXACTLY documented the unique, defining piece of history which Mr. Rosenbaum keeps in his custody.
We also learn from Mr. Rosenbaum’s website that his company, BNN TV, employs over 80 people and occupies five floors of a Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan. The proud slogan of his company is “BNN TV Changes the Way Stories Are Told”. His clients include CNN, CBS News, MSNBC, HBO and Court TV. His state-of-the-art video studio was among the first to adopt the advanced “Avid Media Composer nonlinear editing system”. Here’s an extract of Mr. Rosenbaum’s biography:
“Steve Rosenbaum is passionate about telling authentic visual stories. Raised in a family of storytellers (his mother was a writer; his uncle a White House correspondent), Rosenbaum was a filmmaker and magician before he began his career as an intern in an edit room at CBS News over 20 years ago. It was in this rarefied news environment that Rosenbaum discovered an unexpected gap between visual storytellers and the tools needed to produce a broadcast news story.”
But let's return to the "MISSING" fliers stuck all over Manhattan. Rosenbaum's Camera Planet website also mentions this different and curious 9/11 collection. Its curator, Dr. Nevaer, apparently collected 5,200 of those “MISSING” fliers which covered the walls of New York City in the aftermath of the disaster. He then neatly restored them, framed them and took them on tour ? an 18-month travelling exhibition around the world. Here is Dr. Nevaer’s story, as narrated on the Camera Planet website:
“Dr.Louis Nevaer is also seeking a home for his collection. He is curator of an archive that contains 5,200 missing-persons fliers and related artifacts from the days after the attack in Lower Manhattan. An exhibition derived from it, "Missing: Last Seen at the World Trade Center," travelled for 18 months to 17 American cities, to Mexico City and Milan."These fliers were going to be discarded as litter, and if we didn't save them, then they'd be lost," Dr. Nevaer said. The flier collection has been catalogued and stored in climate-controlled warehouses in New York and Miami, "and we're negotiating with several museums," he said."We won't permit it to go to any institution that charges admission," Dr. Nevaer said. That rules out the 9/11 National Memorial & Museum planned for ground zero.”
What Dr. Nevaer fails to tell us is that his “flier-tour” was prematurely cancelled, after being repeatedly slashed by critics for its tackiness and bad taste. Dr. Nevaer is apparently an expert on Hispanic immigration in the US - and is rumored to have been a CIA informer. It would seem like an odd, sentimental hobby for such a character to arrange exhibits of “climate-controlled” xerox copies... On the website listing the venues of Dr. Nevaer’s bizarre, travelling exhibition. we may read:
The Fliers in New York For New Yorkers the fliers were a constant and powerful reminder of their lost neighbors. Although only 500-700 families could get to New York to create fliers, approximately 90,000 were hung. These fliers covered walls, lampposts, subway stops and phone booths all over the city. It was nearly impossible to go about life without encountering them.”
We can only marvel over Dr. Nevaer’s acuteness. Did he come to that “90,000” figure by estimating the city areas covered by the fliers? Did he ask each of the 700 families how many they had xeroxed? Did he stroll around Manhattan, counting them one by one? Or could he possibly have had any role in the gigantic "MISSING" fliers propaganda operation? In any case, the man who plausibly created the hypnotic 9/11 "amateur videos" and the man who plausibly directed the "MISSING" flier mass-hypnosis are no strangers to each other.
9/11 was but a foul skullduggery played out by a gang of quack magicians with friends in - very - high places. The ploy was as vile as can be: to distort reality using the full clout of the mass media. It aimed to convey the perception of loss: the loss of planes, the loss of lives, the loss of freedoms. On LIVE TV, animated imagery replaced the real-life events of the morning; a handful of frames simulating a digital airplane exploding in a digital tower sufficed to convey 'the loss of planes'. The 'loss of lives' was stage-managed in the streets for public consumption - and the stage was Manhattan itself. Behind a smokey stage curtain, a redundant building complex was bombed to oblivion - and went missing in action. People and planes went missing on fliers: missing in fiction.
^^The Black Box Treasure Hunt "Flier"^^