By Greg Szymanski
What happened to William Rodriguez the morning of 9/11 is a miracle. What happened to his story after-the-fact is a tragedy.
But with miracles and tragedies comes truth. And truth is exactly what Rodriguez brings to the whole mystery surrounding 9/11.
Declared a hero for saving numerous lives at Ground Zero, he was the janitor on duty the morning of 9/11 who heard and felt explosions rock the basement sub-levels of the north tower just seconds before the jetliner struck the top floors.
He not only claims he felt explosions coming from below the first sub-level while working in the basement, he says the walls were cracking around him and he pulled a man to safety by the name of Felipe David, who was severely burned from the basement explosions.
All these events occurred only seconds before and during the jetliner strike above. And through it all, he now asks a simple question everybody should be asking? How could a jetliner hit 90 floors above and burn a manís arms and face to a crisp in the basement below within seconds of impact?
Rodriguez claims this was impossible and clearly demonstrates a controlled demolition brought down the WTC, saying "Letís see them (the government) try to wiggle out of this one."
Well, they havenít wiggled out of it because the government continues to act like Rodriguez doesnít exist, basically ignoring his statements and the fact he rescued a man burnt and bleeding from the basement explosions.
His eye witness account, ignored by the media and the government, points the finger squarely on an official cover-up at the highest levels since the government contends the WTC fell only from burning jet fuel. And after listening to Rodriguez, itís easy to see why the Bush administration wants him kept quiet.
Bush wants him quiet because Rodriguezís account is Ďproof positiveí the WTC was brought down by a controlled demolition, not burning jet fuel. And Bush knows if heís caught lying about this or caught in a cover-up, itís just a matter of time before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
In fact, Rodriguezís story is so damaging Ė so damning Ė it literally blows the lid off the government story, literally exposing the whole 9/11 investigation as a sham and a cover-up of the worst kind.
And it appears the cover-up also extends to the media.
NBC news knew about his story several years ago, even spending a full day at his house taping his comments. But when push came to shove, his story was never aired. Why?
His eyewitness account, backed up by at least 14 people at the scene with him, isnít speculation or conjecture. It isnít a story that takes a network out on a journalistic limb. Itís a story that can be backed up, a story that can be verified with hospital records and testimony from many others.
Itís a story about 14 people who felt and heard the same explosion and even saw Rodriguez, moments after the airplane hit, take David to safety, after he was burnt so bad from the basement explosion flesh was hanging from his face and both arms
So why didnít NBC or any other major news outlets cover the story? They didnít run it because it shot the government story to hell and back. They didnít run it because "the powers that be" wouldnít allow it.
Since 9/11, Rodriguez has stuck to his guns, never wavering from what he said from day one. Left homeless at times, warned to keep quiet and subtly harassed, he nevertheless has continued trying to tell get his message out in the face of a country not willing to listen.
Here is his story:
Itís a miracle Rodriguez, 44, who worked at the WTC for 20 years, is even alive. Usually arriving to work at 8:00am, the morning of 9/11 he reported 30 minutes late. If heíd arrived on time, it would have put him at the top floors just about the same time the jetliner hit the north tower.
"It was a miracle. If I arrived on time, like always, Iíd probably be dead. I would have been up at the top floors like every morning," said Rodriguez about the quirk of fate that saved his life.
But since he was late, Rodriguez found himself checking into work in an office on sub-level 1 when the north tower was hit, seemingly out of harms way. However, the sound and concussion of a massive explosion in the sub-levels right below his feet changed that.
"When I heard the sound of the explosion, the floor beneath my feet vibrated, the walls started cracking and it everything started shaking," said Rodriguez, who was huddled together with at least 14 other people in the office.
Rodriguez said Anthony Saltamachia, supervisor for the American Maintenance Co., was one of the people in the room who stands ready to verify his story.
"Seconds after the first massive explosion below in the basement still rattled the floor, I hear another explosion from way above," said Rodriguez. "Although I was unaware at the time, this was the airplane hitting the tower, it occurred moments after the first explosion."
But before Rodriguez had time to think, co-worker Felipe David stormed into the basement office with severe burns on his face and arms, screaming for help and yelling "explosion! explosion! explosion!"
David had been in front of a nearby freight elevator on sub-level 1 about 400 feet from the office when fire burst out of the elevator shaft, causing his injuries.
"He was burned terribly," said Rodriguez. "The skin was hanging off his hands and arms. His injuries couldnít have come from the airplane above, but only from a massive explosion below. I donít care what the government says, what scientists say. I saw a man burned terribly from a fire that was caused from an explosion below.
"I know there were explosives placed below the trade center. I helped a man to safety who is living proof, living proof the government story is a lie and a cover-up.
"I have tried to tell my story to everybody, but nobody wants to listen. It is very strange what is going on here in supposedly the most democratic country in the world. In my home country of Puerto Rico and all the other Latin American countries, I have been allowed to tell my story uncensored. But here, I canít even say a word."
After Rodriguez escorted David to safety outside the WTC, he returned to lead the others in the basement to safety as well. While there, he also helped two other men trapped and drowning in the basement elevator shaft, another result he says of the explosives placed below the tower.
In fact, after leading these men to safety, he even made another trip back into the north tower, against police orders, in order to rescue people from the top floors.
"I never could make it to the top, but I got up to the 33rd floor after getting some of my equipment and a face mask out of the janitorís closet," said Rodriguez, adding he heard a series of small explosions going off between the 20th and 30th floors, unrelated to the airplane strike, while making his way through the stairwell to the top floors.
"Also, when I was on the 33rd floor, I heard strange sounds coming form the 34th floor, loud noises like someone moving and thumping heavy equipment and furniture. I knew this floor was empty and stripped due to construction work so I avoided it and continued to make my way up the stairs."
Rodriguez said he finally reached the 39th floor before being turned back by fire fighters and then, reluctantly, started his descent back down and his own flight to safety while, at the same time, hearing explosions coming from the South Tower.
The concerted effort by the media and the government to silence Rodriguez is the tragedy behind this American heroís story. And there is no question, Rodriguez is a "silent hero" for saving so many lives and for having the courage to continue telling his story against tremendous odds.
In an effort to open a fair and honest investigation as to why the WTC collapsed, Rodriguez has been ignored by government officials, the 9/11 Commission and the National Institute of Safety and Technology (NIST).
NIST, an independent investigative group funded by the government, put the finishing touches this week on its 2 year $35 million 9/11 investigation. This week Rodriguez made his final plea to have his story heard while testifying at the final public hearing held in New York.
" I disagree 100%with the government story," said Rodriguez. "I met with the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors and they essentially discounted everything I said regarding the use of explosives to bring down the north tower.
"And I contacted NIST previously four times without a response. Finally, this week I asked them before they came up with their conclusion that jet fuel brought down the towers, if they ever considered my statements or the statements of any of the other survivors who heard the explosions. They just stared at me with blank faces and didnít have any answers.
"Also, The FBI never followed up on my claims or on the other part of my story when I told them before 9/11, I encountered one of the hijackers casing the north tower."
Besides the explosions, Rodriguez also has provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission that he stumbled across one of the supposed 19 Arab hijackers inside the WTC several months before 9/11
"I had just finished cleaning the bathroom and this guy asks me, 'Excuse me, how many public bathrooms are in this area?'" Rodriguez told the 9/11 Commission. "Coming from the school of the 1993 [Trade Center] bombing, I found it very strange. I didn't forget about it"
Rodriguez, claims he saw United Airlines Flight 175 hijacker Mohand Alshehri in June 2001, telling an FBI agent about the incident a month after the attacks. Never hearing back from the bureau, he later learned agents never followed up on the story.
"I'm very certain, I'll give it 90%" that Alshehri was casing the towers before the attacks," said Rodriguez.
Regarding the mediaís apathetic approach to his story, Rodriguez said immediately after 9/11 some newspapers picked it up but his words were never taken seriously and quickly forgotten.
"During the 9/11 hearings, NBC brought a crew out to my house and spent a day taping my story but they never did air a word of it," said Rodriguez. "Since then, some reporters and commentators have subtly warned me to keep quiet, told me my life could be in jeopardy and warned me that I really didnít understand who I was dealing with.
"I have been receiving this type of subtle harassment for years, but I keep telling everybody I canít be intimidated because I am on a mission. Whenever someone asks why I keep talking or warns me that I could be killed, I just tell them I have nothing to lose.
"I tell them I lost 200 friends and I am their voice now. I tell them I will do everything in my power to find out the truth since I am living on borrowed time since I probably should be dead anyway."
Besides trying to tell his explosive story, Rodriguez has been active raising money for 9/11victims, being involved with charity groups that have raised more than $122 million. He says he has used over $60,000 of his own money, originally earmarked to buy a new house, in order to get at the truth behind 9/11.
Also seeking justice at the highest level, Rodriguez is the lead plaintiff in a federal RICO lawsuit filed against President Bush and others, alleging conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes in the deaths of more than 3,000 at the WTC.
The case, filed last November in a Philadelphia federal district court, recently was moved to New York in a change of venue after a governmentís motion to dismiss was overruled, allowing legal discovery to continue.
"Even if the case goes no farther, I feel we have scored a victory by winning this first battle," said Rodriguez. "At least the judge seems willing to listen which is a victory of sorts. However, I sincerely hope we can eventually take the case all the way to trial and reveal the truth to the American people about 9/11."