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Last updated: Sep. 11, 2001

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 11:31:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sreenath Sreenivasan <ss221@columbia.edu>

Dear Friends:

I have received several e-mail and phone inquiries asking about the NYC
situation. This is just a note to let you know that I am well and am
checking in with as many of my friends as possible. There are still dozens
of people I know who work in the WTC area and am awaiting word on their
safety.

Below are six items that might interest you.

1. Part of a note I sent to my family this morning. My wife, Roopa, and I
were in Bermuda this weekend and were stuck there because of Hurricane
Erin -- we came back on one of the last flights into JFK this morning (an
American Airlines flight, no less)... See below...

2. A link to a story by a first-hand account of MSNBC reporter Martin Wolk
who was in the WTC area at the time:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/627064_asp.htm

3. The Poynter Institute has built an excellent Web site with suggestions
for reporters covering the story from around the world:
http://www.poynter.org -- especially compelling is the collection of
newspaper frontpages from around the country that has been gathered there
in PDF format.

The American Press Institute has built Web resources for journalists as
well: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org

4. A 1997 NYT report about the start of the trial of the 1993 WTC bombers.
The description of an FBI agent's conversation with a WTC bomber as they
flew by the WTC is chilling indeed. See below...

5. Two older online stories done by students of mine about the WTC. One,
"Securing the Big Apple" from April 2001 about security at the Center:
http://www.nyc24.com/2001/issue08/story01
The other is "The Skyscraper Shimmy" from March 2000 about the WTC's
structure: http://www.nyc24.com/2000/issue08/story01/

6. A collection of links I have made for WABC-TV in NYC (as part of my on-air work there about the tech aspects of the crisis).

We are praying for the people affected by all this mayhem.

regards, sree | http://www.sree.net

o o o o o


From SREE at 11:53 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001

we flew into NYC around 8:10 this morning on an american airlines and as
we came close to the city, i saw the familiar skyline from my window seat.
roopa and i looked at the world trade center towers clearly visible in the
beautiful clear sky (we were about two miles away). we even talked about
how nice it all looked -- the citibank building and the WTC were the two
most visible landmarks (the empire state building, which is taller than
the citibank building) was somehow not as "shiny" as those two landmarks.

we landed, got into a cab and neared the triboro bridge into manhattan, we
were able to see dark smoke billowing from one of the WTC towers. at that
point, we started listening to the radio and watched as emergency crews
drove past us. the rest, you know.

o o o o o

The New York Times
Aug. 4, 1997

Trial begins today for alleged leader of Trade Center attack;
February '93 bombing killed 6, injured more than 1,000

NEW YORK CITY--One February night two years ago, a helicopter carrying
Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the man accused of masterminding the World Trade
Center bombing, sped along the East River on the last leg of Yousef's
journey from Pakistan. He was on his way to detention and trial in the
United States. As the helicopter flew over mid-Manhattan, William Gavin,
a senior official in the FBI's New York office, pushed up his captive's
blindfold.

Yousef squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light. Then Gavin pointed at
the Trade Center towers below, their lights glowing in the clear, cold
night. "Look down there," Gavin said he told Yousef. "They're still
standing."

Yousef replied, "They wouldn't be if I had had enough money and
explosives," recalled Gavin, who has since retired.

Yousef may have boasted of his role in the Trade Center blast, which
killed six people and injured more than 1,000 on Feb. 26, 1993. But as his
trial begins in federal court today, important questions remain about
Yousef and the extent of his participation in what at the time was the
worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

For example, did any country, group or person - beyond Yousef - sponsor
the Trade Center blast? Evidence in previous trials showed that the
bombing cost less than $20,000 to carry out, but it is uncertain where the
money came from.

Is there any connection between Yousef's trial and the arrest last week of
two men who have been accused of plotting suicide-bomb attacks in the
subways of New York City? The judge in Yousef's case, Kevin Duffy, has
agreed to ask prospective jurors individually whether they would be
prejudiced by the recent arrests in New York or by last week's deadly
suicide bombings in Jerusalem.

In Yousef's trial, which is likely to last three to four months,
prosecutors are expected to focus not on the larger mysteries surrounding
the defendant but on proving his guilt in the Trade Center blast. A second
defendant, Eyad Ismoil, also is on trial, accused of conspiracy.

Yousef fled the country on the night of the Trade Center bombing and was
not present at the first trial, which ended with the convictions of four
lower-level defendants. After Yousef's arrest in Islamabad, Pakistan, he
was tried last year in federal court and convicted of a second conspiracy:
a plot in Manila, not carried out, to blow up 12 U.S. airliners. For that,
he faces a mandatory life prison term.

Now, for the first time, he will stand trial directly for his alleged role
in the Trade Center blast.


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