Friday, September 9, 2011

On 9/11, the Destruction of Corporate and Government Documents, Especially in Building 7 and the Pentagon, Had Its Antecedent in the Equitable Fire of 1912.

Covering up the evidence of previous crimes was clearly a central motive and opportunity in both of these cases of banking and insurance terrorism---the one ten years ago, and the other 100 years ago---with legal proofs established by "documentation," or developed by its lack. That is---if we lived in a nation under law. But unfortunately, to various degrees, most elected officials in New York City and State, as well as Federal Legislators were co-conspirators before the fact, to plots ranging over three centuries, leaving us little else now but the probability of future chaos.

January 23, 1912, New York Times, "Equitable Blaze Entered Two Safes,"Page 6, Columns 1 & 2,
Destroyed Contents of Union Pacific Vaults, but Nothing of Value Was Lost.


Some Fear That Heat Penetrated Mercantile Safe Deposit Vaults---Vain Search for Body.
Steeplejacks and men who understand safes were at work all day in the ruins of the Equitable Building yesterday and toward evening succeeded in opening two vaults of the Union Pacific Railroad Company on the fourth floor. To the surprise of every one, even of the inspectors in charge of the work, hardly a thing remained intact in these vaults and in one of them a fire was still smoldering.

They tackled first the big eight by six foot vault on the fourth floor, above the Cedar Street entrance to the building. The big safe was on the top of a heap of wreakage which has its foundations on the ground floor, and the only way to get to the safe's door was to swing aloft with ropes and then make the last part of the ascent by climbing the length of a discarded gas pipe. This is perilous climbing.

With the use of heavy crowbars the front door of the vault was jerked from its hinges with the aid of force applied on ropes from below. The inside of the vault was a mass of charred paper. The vault had never been considered fireproof, however, and had been filled with books of the old records of the company which had no pecuniary value.

The second vault was located on the same floor near the Broadway side of the building. It was a regular steel-lined safety vault, even larger than the first vault that had been opened. Inside the vault there was a four by four steel safe. The inflammable contents of the greater vault, also consisting of books and old records, it was said, were entirely destroyed and three-fourths of the contents of the interior safe were charred beyond identification.

It was here that the fire was found still smoldering. The interior of the little safe was so hot that water had to be applieed to extinguish the fire and cool the steel. The safe bore the name of Andrew K. Van Deventer, one of the New York officiers of the railroad company. A heavy steel girder had been wedged against the door of the vault and had forced it in sufficiently to permit the fire to enter. Otherwise, it was thought, fire would not have reached the inside.

"The vault contained nothing of importance," said William V. S. Thorne, one of the Directors of the Union Pacific, in the new offices of the company at 165 Broadway. "The inner safe was filled with matured bonds and these had no money value. Two more safes of the company fell to the bottom when the fourth floor gave way. They were absolutely fireproof and we have no fear whatever that their contents will be destroyed. They contained all the valuables."

Other evidence of unextinguished fire in the ice-logged building was found on the ground floor near the Cedar Street side. Workingmen tunnelled all day from this entrance in the hope of finding the body of Frederick J. Neider, a watchman. They came upon one small safe which was found to be intact, but which will probably require dynamite to be opened. From behind the safe red-hot steel girders removed. The excavation led the workmen around and near the big vaults of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, and now it is feared that the heat may have penetrated these vaults also. In any event, according to John B. Russell, Treasurer of the company, these vaults will not be opened for a week or ten days. He expressed the opinion that the vaults would be found to be in first-class condition. A cursory examination made yesterday morning, he said, had given no cause for alarm.

E.E. Rittenhouse, Conservation Commissioner of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, said that the excavation around the Equitable vaults on the second floor of the building was progressing so well that entrance to the vaults would probably be attempted this morning.

The Bankers' Trust Company has two vaults on the third floor which will be opened to-day by the same expert steeplejacks and safe crackers who opened the vaults of the Union Pacific Railway Company.
Coincidentally, included in the pdf format document which maintains a hardcopy scan of the Times article on the destruction of safes in the Equitable fire, are other articles, one of which publicized a conflict between fraternal Masons and judicial Magistrates in the city. For a very long time, the entire New York Times historical news archive was only available in this frankly limited format, which restricts copy and paste, forcing anyone constructing a utilizable academic record to make transcriptions by hand---if not quill pen.

Quite recently, the Times introduced their "timesmachine" browser online, which facilitates viewing large numbers of pages and issues, over decades-long runs, and allowing for the first time the average reader to know the page and column placement in the "newspaper of record." Alas, this format also prevents the copy and pasting of these one-hundred-year-old-news-reports, unlike the Library of Congress' similar online newspaper archive, which does allows those tools, if only poorly.

January 23, 1912, New York Times, Page 6, Column 2,
To Punish For Contempt,
Magistrates Want Their Court Made One of Record for This Purpose.

When the Board of Magistrates meets this afternoon in the old Police Headquarters building, 400 Mulberry Street, Magistrate Butts of the Essex Market Court will bring up the question of having the Magistrates' courts made courts of record. He said yesterday that he hoped by that means to put an end to attempts at undue influence to thwart justice, and these attempts, he added, have been numerous.

At present, Magistrate Butts explained, the Magistrates are powerless to effectively punish these offenders. They can reprimand the guilty one if he happens to be in court, but have not the legal authority to demand his appearance by subpoena. Should the Magistrates' courts be made courts of record, however, the presiding Magistrate would have the power to hold an offender for contempt of court, extortion, or attempted bribery with intent to defeat justice.

Magistrate Butts refused yesterday to hear the case of John Silverman, an Inspector in the Bureau of Licenses, who is being held under $1,000 bail on the charge of extortion made by Louis Katz, a dance hall proprietor of 56 Cannon Street. In adjourning the case "until some other Magistrate may be sitting,' he made public this letter, received shortly after court opened yesterday afternoon from Louis L. Krauss, Master of Piatt Lodge, No. 194, F. & A. M., referring to it as "another attempt to thwart justice":

"Hon. Judge Butts:

"The case of Katz against Silverman will come before you on Monday, Jan. 22. I have read all the testimony in the case as tried before Commissioner Wallace of the License Bureau, and the complainant in his testimony admits being a criminal, and the statements therein are, to my mind, grounds enough for making a charge of perjury against Katz.

"I have known Mr. Silverman for twenty years, and he has been for seventeen years in the employ of the city and has a clean record. He is a member of my lodge of Masons, and has asked me to help him get justice. And I ask you to look into this case thoroughly, and you will find that this man Silverman is innocent."

The full-page view of the "TimesMachine" provided for yet another article on page 6 of the January 23, 1912, on Column 4, which bears a synchronous newsworthiness:

January 1, 1912, New York Times, Thinks Americans Selfish,
And the Rev. Dr. Campbell of the City Temple of London, England, told a congregation in the Old John Street Church here yesterday that in his trip through this country he found the people intensely selfish.

"Throughout the Western States," said he, "selfishness is the keynote in every circle. I want to say right here something which will sound very strange from a man who has spent as much time working for democracy as I have. I am no believer in democracy, any more than I am in plutocracy. Thus far its results have been very disappointing, and the average member of the masses is in a state of angry hopelessness."
Compare that sentiment with the Masonic version of reality:

New-York Daily Tribune, Sunday, January 1, 1899, Page 8, Column 1, Masonic Department,
Secretaries will kindly examine the names of the respective officers to the cards and send corrections, if required, to the Masonic Department of The Tribune. The Masonic Directory in published every Sunday.

Conservatism In Freemasonry,
The New-Orleans Bulletin, remarks, concerning the fraternity of the United States: Here is a body of men composed of all classes and professions, entertaining every kind of opinion upon religion and politics, and existing in every State of the Union, who come together and exhibit among themselves the utmost harmony of freedom and action. No word of opprobrium escapes from the lips of any one to insult and wound the feelings of another. No fierce anathema of sections is heard. No extravagance is Indulged in. Everything is quiet, gentlemanly, respectful, dignified. The bitterest political enemies meet face to face, and you shall never know by their actions or words that they do not belong to the same party. Religionists the most opposite embrace each other in the arms of an exalted charity. Fanaticism finds no entrance into the society of the brotherhood. Not a wave of discord disturbs the waters of the Inner temple, no plunge into the abyss of atheism, rant or lawlessness. But what is the secret of their unanimity, of their harmony, of their brotherly love, of the conservative front which, without tremor, they maintain, amid the general commotion, hatred and fanaticism existing around them? It is found, it seems to strike us, in one word—toleration.

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