#2481: Serco’s Long Range 8(a) Group – Goose Bay SitCen Clock – Libranos’ Hotel 9/11
1. AD ASSERTS THAT SERCO – FORMERLY RCA GB 1929 – SET UP THE LONG RANGE 8(A) GROUP in the Privy Council Office in Ottawa in 1949-1951 as the late Pierre Trudeau was preparing his fellow Communists for a global war on Christianity.
2. AD ASSERTS THAT TRUDEAU PRIVY COUNCILLORS EQUIPPED GOOSE BAY AND OTTAWA SITUATION CENTRES (SITCEN) WITH SERCO DEATH-POOL CLOCKS to time-stamp images of the deaths of Christians around the world.
3. AD ASSERTS THAT OTTAWA’S LIBRANO CRIME GROUP LINKED ITT SHERATON HOTELS WITH SITCEN CLOCKS BEFORE THE 9/11 ATTACKS so guests and Serco’s 8(a) assassins could impute ad hoc way points into hijacked planes and spot fix the deaths of targeted Christians.
United States Marine Field McConnell (https://abeldanger.blogspot.com/2010/01/field-mcconnell-bio.html) is writing an e-book “Shaking Hands With the Devil’s Clocks” and invites readers to e-mail him images (examples below) for a proof by contradiction of the three assertions above.
Tower, as told by people who had escaped from the hotel.“
“Education and the Second World War
degree at the Université de Montréal in 1943. During his studies he was conscripted into the Canadian Army as part of the National Resources Mobilization Act. When conscripted, he decided to join the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps, and he then served with the other conscripts in Canada, since they were not assigned to overseas military service until after the Conscription Crisis of 1944 after the Invasion of Normandy that June. Before this, all Canadians serving overseas were volunteers, and not conscripts.
Trudeau said he was
willing to fight during World War II, but he believed that to do so would be to turn his back on the population of Quebec that he believed had been betrayed by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King. Trudeau reflected on his opposition to conscription and his doubts about the war in his Memoirs (1993): “So there was a war? Tough … if you were a French Canadian in Montreal in the early 1940s, you did not automatically believe that this was a just war … we tended to think of this war as a settling of scores among
In an Outremont by-election in 1942 he campaigned for
the anticonscription candidate Jean Drapeau (later the Mayor of Montreal), and he was thenceforth expelled from the Officers’ Training Corps for lack of discipline. After the war Trudeau continued his studies, first taking a master’s degree in political economy at Harvard University‘s Graduate School of Public Administration. He then studied in Paris, France in 1947 at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. Finally, he enrolled for a doctorate at the London
School of Economics, but did not finish his dissertation.
changed. Despite this, Trudeau found himself an outsider – a French Catholic living for the first time outside of Quebec in the predominantly Protestant American Harvard University. This isolation deepened finally into despair, and led to Trudeau’s decision to continue his Harvard studies abroad.
In 1947 Trudeau travelled to Paris to continue his dissertation work. Over a five-week period he attended many lectures and became a follower of personalism
after being influenced most notably by Emmanuel Mounier. He also was influenced by Nicolas Berdyaev, particularly his
book Slavery and Freedom.Max and Monique Nemni argue that Berdyaev’s book influenced Trudeau’s rejection of nationalism and separatism. The Harvard dissertation remained unfinished when Trudeau entered a doctoral program to study under the renowned socialist economist Harold Laski in the London
School of Economics. This cemented Trudeau’s belief that Keynesian economics and social science
were essential to the creation of the “good life” in democratic society.
From the late 1940s
through the mid-1960s, Trudeau was primarily based in Montreal and was seen by
many as an intellectual. In 1949 he was an active supporter of workers in
the Asbestos Strike. In 1956 he edited an important book on the
subject, La grève de l’amiante, which argued that the strike was a seminal
event in Quebec’s history, marking the beginning of resistance to the
conservative, Francophone clerical establishment and Anglophone business class that had long ruled the province. Throughout the 1950s Trudeau was a leading figure in the
opposition to the repressive rule of Premier of QuebecMaurice Duplessis as the founder and editor of Cité
Libre, a dissident journal that helped provide the intellectual basis for
the Quiet Revolution.
Trudeau worked briefly in Ottawa, in the Privy
Council Office of the Liberal
Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent as an economic policy advisor. He
wrote in his memoirs that he found this period very useful later on, when he
entered politics, and that senior civil servant Norman Robertson tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to stay on.”
“DRAWN & QUARTERED: THE TRUDEAU YEARS
cartoons by Roy Peterson; introduction by Peter Newman
appeared out of nowhere…. He was the product of a crammed, precisely plotted
education… He entered active politics at the age of forty-six….Trudeau
travelled the world in solitary quest to taste new cultures and languages.
The exact chronology of that time is unclear….His known ports of call
included Belgrade, Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, Warsaw, much of the Middle East,
India and Pakistan. He was expelled from Yugoslavia as an Israeli spy and penetrated
Palestine aboard a truck of renegade Arabs, just before Partition in 1948.
Trudeau returned to Canada in 1949….joined the Privy Council office in Ottawa,
under Louis St Laurent…Most French Canadians at that time occupied
token positions within the fedreal bureaucracy and French was used
mainly be elevator operators and maitre d’s….During the 1950s, Trudeau founded
the intellectual review Cite Libre, and resumed his globe-trotting. Once
again, his Montreal publishing activities and travels would be retroactively
condemned by critics….
* The Charge & Facts: …as editor of Cite Libre he
featured works of Professor Raymond Boyer (convicted of Soviet espionage in the
Gouzenko case)….; and Pierre Gelinas, the Quebec director of the
Communist Party’s agitation and propaganda section…. Raymond Boyer did
contribute two articles to Cite Libre — in December 1952 and May 1955, one
dealing with a study of the death penalty…and another with a history of
torture through the ages; as well, he wrote some literary reviews….The
Gelinas article was published in 1952 as part of a review of a recent
provincial election campaign in which he described Communist Party
* The Charge & Facts: …In 1952 Trudeau [joined] a
delegation of Communists to the International Economic Conference in
Moscow… He caused a minor riot in Moscow’s Red Square when he
started to heave snowballs at the then-hallowed statue of Joseph Stalin….
* The Charge & Facts: …In 1960 Trudeau [joined] a
Communist delegation to Peking for a Red victory celebration….in the company
of Jacques Hebert, the Montreal publisher. The story of their journey was
published in a benign travel book, Deux Innocens en Chine Rouge [Two
Innocents in Red China]…
* The Charge & Facts: …In 1952 Trudeau was barred entry
into the United States as an inadmissable person….Under USA immigration
regulation, all individuals who had travelled behind the Iron Curtain later
than 1946 were barred entry….
During the mid-1950s, Trudeau’s Cite Libre became an important agent in
rallying intellectual dissent….He also founded a pseudo-political
movement named Le Rassemblement….
Drawn-Quartered: Trudeau Years”
of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada use
the title The Honourable if
they are ordinary members. Prime Ministers, Governors General and Chief
Justices automatically are given the title The Right Honourable. While Governors General have the right to
the title Right Honourable upon being sworn into office they are not inducted
into the Privy Council until the end of their term unless they were previously
members of the council by virtue of another office. Other eminent individuals such
as prominent former Cabinet ministers are sometimes also given the title Right
Honourable. Leaders of opposition
parties and provincial premiers are not
automatically inducted into the Privy Council. Opposition leaders are brought
in from time to time either to commemorate a special event such as the Canadian
Centennial in 1967, the
patriation of the Constitution or, in order to allow them to be advised on
sensitive issues of national security under the Security
of Information Act. Paul Martininaugurated a practice of inducting parliamentary
secretaries into the Privy
Council but this has not been continued by his successor, Stephen Harper. [HRH
The Duke of Edinburgh (1957)
… HRH The
Prince of Wales (2014)]
“Four Days in September
The Environment Canada
forecast for September 11 called for sunny skies and seasonably mild
A labour dispute
between the Government of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of
Canada (PSAC) had been simmering since July. PSAC called a
one-day national strike for the 11th. In downtown Ottawa, Transport Canada
was an obvious location for strike action. Tower C of Place de Ville is
the head office for Transport Canada and home to thousands of employees.
It also happens to be the tallest building in Ottawa. Union members encircled
Tower C with a picket line.
planned PSAC strike action brought François Marion and his team of
staff relations and other human resources managers to Tower C early that
morning, around 5:30 a.m. They met to finalize plans for the day ahead.
There were ongoing discussions with the union about issues that had arisen,
including the entry of employees into the building. “Everything was going
well until about 7:30 or 8 o’clock,” Marion says. “Then the
picket line hardened and people started having trouble entering the
Place de Ville,
strike, some Transport Canada staff made a point of getting to work early.
People like Jean LeCours, Director of Preventive Security, and
Jean Barrette, Director of Security Operations, who was busy poring over a
report of a bomb threat at an airport the night before.
beginning his second day of on-the-job training in the Communications Group. A
veteran of more than 20 years at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Smith
had been told that he would find Transport Canada a relatively quiet place
where things ran pretty smoothly and he shouldn’t expect any overtime. The
irony of that advice would soon become dramatically clear in the long days and
Diana MacTier, a
regional Employee Assistance Program counsellor with Transport Canada, was
busy getting ready to hold an information session to promote a six-week
employee course entitled “Preventing Burnout.”
The strike disrupted
operations at Transport Canada but it did not completely bring them to a
Transport Minister David Collenette was in
Montreal, delivering a speech to a conference of airport executives from around
the world. Then Deputy
Minister, Margaret Bloodworth, was one block away from Tower C, at
meetings at Industry Canada. Then Associate Deputy Minister, Louis Ranger,
was in Montreal with the Minister. The Assistant Deputy
Minister for Safety and Security, Bill Elliott, was at a conference in
Beijing. A group of Civil Aviation managers was at meetings in Edmonton.
And Julie Mah, then Manager, Policy & Consultation, Explosives
Detection Systems (EDS) Project, was beginning her day just over an hour’s
drive east of Ottawa, in Rigaud, Quebec, where she was participating in a
This air of relative
normalcy was punctured at 8:45 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 11
slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in
New York. Eighteen minutes later, a second passenger plane, United
Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Two
staff relations advisors, Pat McCauley and Eric Daoust, were
monitoring the strike from the Situation Centre on the 14th floor. They stared in stunned disbelief at the
live pictures being flashed across two giant television screens of the second
plane knifing through the South Tower. “You knew that the second
plane was not a replay and it wasn’t a movie, although
it could have been,” Lyne Landriault, Chief, Staff Relations,
recalled later. “We realized then that what had been the obsession of
our work lives for quite some time [the labour dispute] suddenly… seemed
The horrible news
spread with lightning speed through Tower C down to the concourse below
and the picketers. Once union leaders and members understood the magnitude of
the events, they were also obviously shaken. Without hesitation, they
immediately stopped the picket lines and went back to work to offer whatever
assistance was necessary.
Jean Barrette was
still reading a bomb threat report when he glanced up at the pictures on the
giant TV screens in the Civil Aviation Contingency Operations centre.
Although the second
plane had not struck yet, he knew that this was no accident. Barrette had been
in the aviation business for 28 years and his gut told him that in broad
daylight and with today’s anti-collision equipment, he doubted very much that
this was an accident. “My hunch was that it was a terrorist act.”
Transport Canada’s staff members design disaster scenarios. Prior to
September 11, if one of the team had prepared a scenario where suicidal
hijackers would crash their planes into tall buildings, it would have seemed
At the training centre
in Rigaud, Julie Mah could not believe that a plane had actually flown
into the World Trade Center. It was only after turning on CNN in her
room during the break that she realized it was all too tragically real.
Manager of Security Planning and Legislation, says she will always remember
watching the attack on the second World Trade Center tower, live, in
her Director General’s office. Thinking back over the years as part of the
security team, she instinctively knew that the implications were huge and that
if she had time, she would call home and tell her family not to expect to see
her for a while.
Director General of Air Policy, heard the bulletin on her car radio as she was
driving to work. Her background is not in emergency response; she is a policy
person. But Dufour wanted to help out in any way she could and she just had to
get to the Situation Centre. She would spend 16 to 18 hours a day there
for the next several days.
Louis Ranger will
never forget the two hours he spent in a van with Minister Collenette, as
they rushed from Montreal back to Ottawa. Their driver for the day was Robert
Rivard, a Security Inspector from Transport Canada’s Quebec Region.
Marie-Hélène Lévesque, Special Assistant to the Minister, was also with
“Of course we had the radio on, but had not seen the horrible pictures. The
Minister was on the phone with the Deputy Minister and with Sue Ronald,
his Executive Assistant. I was calling all over the place. So was Marie-Hélène.
By the time we had reached Casselman [about 30 minutes east of Ottawa],
most of our cell phone batteries were dead. Maybe that was a good thing. That
gave the Minister time to reflect on the situation. By the time we got to
Ottawa, he knew what he had to do. And so did I.”
On September 11
and for the following three weeks, the Situation Centre — or SitCen as it’s
known around Tower C — became the nerve centre for everyone involved in
the response to the crisis.
for all decisions and actions taken by Transport Canada and its many
on the 14th floor of Tower C in the fall of 1994. It’s an
ultra-modern facility, equipped with state-of-the-art computer hardware and
custom software, advanced communications, mapping and audio visual equipment,
rows of work stations, and is dominated by two massive projection screens
which, when lowered from the ceiling, take up entire window panels and block
out the daylight.
The SitCen was
designed as a communications centre, capable of coordinating an emergency
response to a huge earthquake on the west coast. The quake, which many experts
believe is inevitable, hasn’t happened. However, the SitCen has been
activated many times over the years, including during the ice storm in Ontario
and Quebec and the Swissair disaster near Peggy’s Cove.
answering the phones
September 11, 2001, it was activated again, only this time in
response to a scenario that no one had previously imagined possible.
The SitCen was
buzzing with people in no time. People from security, from air policy, and from
communications. Several critical departments and agencies quickly had staff in
the SitCen to lend support to their Transport Canada colleagues.
These included NAV CANADA, National Defence,
the RCMPand CSIS. In addition, telephone links were established with
key staff in other departments including Citizenship and Immigration Canada,
the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration
in the United States. A representative from the United States embassy
was also on hand to help the two countries coordinate their activities. Even
people whose job did not require them to be there insisted on pitching in —
people like Tania Lambert and Anouk Landry, two program officers in
the Security Awareness Division.
crisis response for Transport Canada was Dr. John Read, who was
filling in as the Acting Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security
while Bill Elliott was in Beijing, China where he was attending a maritime
safety forum. Read was a logical choice, a cool and decisive public service
manager with considerable experience handling emergencies involving dangerous
The early moments
after the SitCen was activated were somewhat chaotic. And with good
reason. Rumours of further terrorist attacks began proliferating. One had a
bomb going off at the Washington Mall; another reported that the State
Department had been bombed.
These rumours, along
with the constant televised replays of the attacks, helped to feed the
atmosphere of growing fear and uncertainty.
With the attack on the
Pentagon confirmed and the report of a fourth hijacked plane in the skies over
Pennsylvania, the U.S. announced it was sealing off its airspace to all
incoming international flights.
Minister Collenette ordered all civil aviation traffic in Canada grounded.
For John Read and
his response team in the SitCen, this would present just the first of many
“We had roughly
500 trans-Atlantic flights and 90 trans-Pacific flights heading our
way,” Read recalls. “One to two planes entering Canadian airspace
every minute. With U.S. airspace shut down, we had to decide what to do with
those planes. We had NAV CANADA contact all flights and instruct those
with enough fuel to turn back. The rest would continue flying to
North America and would be diverted to airports primarily on Canada’s east
coast, starting with Goose Bay. This process took five minutes to
The impact of these critical decisions was felt across government. In practical terms, these actions instantly generated a new, heavier workload for several departments and agencies, such as Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, National Defence, the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
John Read, for
one, can’t say enough about the work ethic and the great contribution of these
organizations. “It was truly instructive to see how the other departments
and agencies very willingly accepted the roles assigned to them without
question, when there was no time to question decisions,” Read recalls.
“In my entire career as a public servant, I think this ranks as the finest
example of the government working together as a team, as one seamless unit with
a common sense of purpose.”
the 224 diverted flights fast approaching Canadian airports. The actions
of all those in the SitCen were governed by thoughts such as, ‘what
if the terrorist attacks weren’t over?’ ‘Tens of thousands of strangers were
about to land on Canadian soil.’ ‘Could it be possible that any of those planes
might be hijacked as they neared North America?’ ‘Could they too be turned
into destructive missiles?’ Jean LeCours, one of Read’s right-hand aides,
called it a “kind of Armageddon scenario”.
They code-named it
Operation Yellow Ribbon. It was the system hastily set up to keep track of the
224 diverted planes and the more than 33,000 displaced passengers on
One by one, the planes
landed in places with names unfamiliar to many of the unexpected guests —
Goose Bay, Gander, and Stephenville, and larger centres such as Moncton,
St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
The smaller airports had not been built to accommodate such large numbers of
additional aircraft. So the planes were directed away from the terminal
buildings and onto the runways where they were stacked up — almost
soft-spoken man who is Chief of Preventive Security Programs, found himself
conscripted into Operation Yellow Ribbon when he walked into the SitCen.
Drummond still remembers his marching orders as if he received them yesterday.
“I was instructed to get in touch with all the airports where these planes
had landed, maintain contact with them and report back to the Deputy Minister
every hour.” Drummond says his assignment had its own stresses. “It
was difficult dealing with some of the people at the airports,” he says.
“They sounded very harried and were obviously very busy and didn’t
appreciate being bothered by us for these status reports.”
Airport handled large amounts of diverted flights and passengers.
Yellow Ribbon was being coordinated from the Situation Centre on the
14th floor of Tower C in Ottawa, the men and women working in
Transport Canada’s regions also bore the burden of this massive security
effort. Regional Situation Centres across the country went into high gear as
employees worked night and day to help manage the situation as it unfolded, and
communities opened their arms to passengers as they arrived.
Brian Bramah, Regional Director of Security and Emergency Preparedness,
recalls in particular how everyone worked together, including processing over
8,500 passengers from the 33 diverted flights which came to
Vancouver. “I am proud to be part of an organization that worked so well
with other government departments and airport operators. Staff all stepped
forward to get the job done as the planes came in,” he says. Bramah also
remembers that the whole community pulled together too. For example, cruise
ships in the port of Vancouver became hotels for passengers who couldn’t fly
Perhaps the largest
impact on Transport Canada’s regional operations occurred in Atlantic
Canada, as airports there accepted more than half of the diverted flights.
Regional Director of Security and Emergency Preparedness in the Atlantic
Region, puts the magnitude of the job in stark context. “On
September 11, a total of 126 unexpected aircrafts suddenly landed in
the Atlantic Region, carrying thousands of passengers from all over the
international flights carrying 8,800 passengers were diverted to Halifax
Inspector Garry Noel, who arrived in the small Newfoundland community of
Stephenville the day after the terrorist attacks, stayed to help out until the
last diverted plane left five days later. “In normal times, the security
staff at the Stephenville Airport screens about 37 passengers per
day,” says Noel. “When I got there on the 12th, there were more
than 1,700 passengers who had landed aboard eight wide-bodied aircraft who
had to be screened. That’s almost 50 times the usual volume of people
passing through the Stephenville Airport.”
Tracking where the
flights had landed was only one part of this formidable security operation. All
passengers were to be confined to their aircraft, assessed and searched. That’s
tens of thousands of passengers. Every piece of baggage had to be searched and
matched against its owner. It was only once this process was completed that
passengers were free to leave the planes. For many travellers, it meant being
cooped up for 16 hours or more.
Passengers were not
allowed off the planes at Halifax International Airport until the evening of
September 11th. That morning, 40 international flights were diverted
to Halifax carrying about 8,800 passengers. Senior Communications Officer
Paul Doucet says that electronic communications complications with the aircraft
compounded the wait for the stranded travellers. “Before they could
deplane, we needed an accurate head count and so we went from plane to plane to
get the tally directly from the crew,” Doucet recalls. “The count was
necessary to ease the customs clearance bottleneck and to enable local
authorities to arrange transportation and accommodation for the
was a long day for Doucet — as it was for Transport Canada employees
across the country — and there would be little respite in the days to follow.
“I arrived at the airport at about 1:00 p.m. and didn’t leave for
home until 3:00 a.m. the next morning. At about 8 a.m., I returned to
the airport and a changed world.”
Needless to say, the
totally unfamiliar surroundings and the confusing news reports from the
disaster sites in the U.S. caused some emotional moments. In Gander, Civil
Aviation Inspector Rick McGregor described the scene as tensions were
running high at a meeting to brief crew members on the situation in the U.S.
“At one point, a young aircraft commander stood up and began talking to
the crews, to explain the gravity of the situation. As he was talking, he kept
breaking down in tears. He had lost some friends in the
World Trade Center. At that point, the horrible reality set in,
everyone calmed down and returned their focus to the situation at hand.”
Canada, those dark days of September 2001 were partly offset by the many
poignant displays of peace and friendship. In the communities that received
diverted flights, there were spontaneous acts of generosity and compassion toward
the thousands of stunned strangers who had suddenly arrived out of the heavens.
The people of Gander
gained an international reputation for gracious hospitality overnight.
Normally, the town has a population of about 10,000. As one local resident
put it, “On September 11th, we had 38 aircraft with a total of
6,656 people drop by for coffee, then stay for three or four days.”
Claude Elliott says he’ll forever be proud of how quickly the people of
Gander mobilized to reach out to the stranded passengers and make them feel at
home. “Even in the beginning… we didn’t know who was on those planes and
we tried to discourage people from taking them into their homes, but
Newfoundlanders being Newfoundlanders, a lot of people didn’t listen. They just
took them into their homes anyway.”
stacked up at Gander Airport.
Inspector Roger Auffrey spent several days during the crisis lending a
hand to the thinly-stretched security team in Gander. Auffrey says the genuine
generosity that he saw Atlantic Canadians show perfect strangers has left
a rich legacy that will last a long time. “Gander is only one
example,” he says. “A Web site called www.thankstogander.de was created
so the passengers could share their experiences with others. The site is still
going strong. Many passengers have also returned to Gander to savour
Newfoundland and Labrador hospitality again and to renew friendships made
during very trying times.”
expressions of gratitude came from the German air carrier, Lufthansa. The
airline renamed one of its planes Gander-Halifax, in recognition of how the two
Canadian cities took care of passengers stranded by the September 11th
terrorist attacks. To help celebrate the event, Lufthansa flew 20 people,
including airport and municipal staff, to Germany.
There is no question
that September 11 placed enormous demands on the people responding to the
crisis. The job of reopening Canadian airspace would be equally, if not more,
Pressure was building
to get commercial aviation airborne again. But before the planes could take
off, new and enhanced security procedures had to be drafted and put into
effect. That responsibility fell to Hal Whiteman, then Director General of
Security and Emergency Preparedness, who led a team of experts in rewriting the
rulebook for aviation security so that the country’s skies would be safe from
potential terrorist threats in the future.
The new rules would
also be totally different from the package of regulations that governed
Canadian airspace before September 11. And they would have to be
compatible with the corresponding new regulations being developed by American
Usually, it takes two
years to process one set of new security regulations. The people in
the SitCendidn’t have two years. The government wanted air traffic resumed
in a matter of days. The time lines would have to be compressed significantly,
the process would have to become a lot more flexible to get the job done. In
the two weeks following September 11, Transport Canada processed ten
sets of new security regulations at a rate of about six hours per regulation.
There were scores of
new regulations, including new restrictions on certain items that could no
longer be taken on board aircraft.
remembers hours of debate about whether to ban all knives, including steak
knives. “We had a discussion about the definition of a steak knife. Then
another discussion about the definition of a plastic steak knife, but not a
plastic butter knife.”
Read says flexibility
was key to getting the job done. He says people kept turning up in
the SitCenoffering to help and they were flexible enough to step in and do
a particular job.
“Sometimes, people were mismatched with respect to their
status within the department as to who was in charge.” Read’s favourite
example was having a junior assistant requesting assistance from a senior
manager from a non-security area of the department who had volunteered to help.
The senior manager completed the task and came back and asked if there was
anything else that needed to be done.
As if the pace inside
the Situation Centre was not frenetic enough, somebody gave out, on national
television, the phone number that was being used to answer questions from air
operators on the raft of new security enhancements.
The number served
several lines and once it was released, it triggered an avalanche of calls. At
its peak, there were an estimated 5,000 calls a day. They were coming in
so fast they almost overwhelmed the staff. Everyone, it seemed, had a phone
glued to each ear.
There were hundreds of
media calls, asking about new security enhancements and plans to reopen
airspace. There were calls from concerned members of the public, wondering
about the location and condition of grounded friends and family members.
Some calls were of the
bizarre breed, like the 20 or so from angry dog owners who were told that
the initial ban on air cargo meant that they would not be permitted to fly
their animals to a dog show in London, Ontario.
Perhaps the most
off-beat call of all was fielded by communications officer Peter Coyles.
He remembers speaking to an elderly woman who suggested that all passengers
show up for their flights naked so they would not be able to conceal weapons.
There was also a very
tender moment when a call came in for Jean LeCours. LeCours had two phones
going at the same time and couldn’t take the call. So, Valerie Dufour took
it instead. LeCours’ wife was on the other end of the line. September 11
was his wedding anniversary. Dufour slipped the message to her colleague.
“It’s your wife. She just wants you to know she loves you.”
One of the more
interesting subtexts to the story about the fallout from September 11 was
the emotional and psychological impact the disaster was having on the people
responding to it.
the SitCen, they were too focused on managing a crisis to indulge their
emotions. So, what happens to those emotions? “They get parked,” says
John Read. “Because from the moment we walked in there, we were
likens it to the “fog of war.” “I have seen TV coverage of
September 11 subsequently and it’s like I’m watching it for the first time
because we were too busy to watch TV.”
has a similar take. “We were just dealing with stuff. I think people are
‘copers’. I’ve had my share of crises in life and I know that when you are busy
just trying to cope, you can’t be busy indulging your own personal emotions at
the same time.”
Then Deputy Minister
Margaret Bloodworth remembers asking someone to turn off the TV during the
first week or two when the shocking images from New York were being played
over and over. “I can’t afford to watch this, can’t afford to let yourself
be drawn into this huge tragedy. There was too much to do to let it affect you
but you can not escape that forever.”
the SitCen and away from Tower C, some people were able to feel
the emotional aftershocks.
Karyn Curtis felt physically drained when she got home around midnight
after a full day on the 11th in the SitCen. She was out like a
light. She got up at 5:00 a.m., made herself a coffee, turned on CNN and
opened the paper. The paper had a photo of people holding hands,
100 floors up in the Twin Towers, and jumping to their deaths to
avoid being burned to death. That’s when the full scale of the terrorist
attacks sunk in for Curtis. “I thought that could have been anyone, it
could have been us and our building, it could have been my brother or somebody
I know. I just lost it, I simply dissolved. I sat on my sofa and cried for
about 20 minutes. Then I went off to work and another day in the SitCen.”
The implications of
September 11 came to Jim Drummond in a haunting kind of way as he was
heading home the day after the attacks. The drive takes him by Ottawa
International Airport. On that particular day, Drummond was paying more
attention to the sounds of the airport than he had done before. “I never
really noticed the noise before, but I sure noticed the quiet,” he
remembers. “Nothing was flying, everything was shut down. It was truly
amongst many 9/11 researchers is that the hijacked planes should not have been
able to reach their destinations. The air defence system would have stopped
them under normal circumstances, they claim, therefore perhaps those defences
had been ordered to stand down. And they point to the account of Norman
Mineta as possible evidence. Here’s David Ray
Griffin in the updated
second edition of The New
… An interview with The Daily Californian confirms that Jane Garvey stayed in Mineta‘s conference room until after the second impact at the WTC, and included the detail that “the White House is only 7 minutes away” from Mineta’s office:
DC: What was your day like on September 11?
NM: That morning, I
was having breakfast with the Deputy Prime minister of Belgium Isabelle Durant.
Mrs. Durant is also the minister of transport for Belgium. So Jane Garvey, the
administrator of the FAA and I were having breakfast with her in my conference
My chief of staff then
came in and said, ‘Mr. Secretary, can I see you?’ The television was on and
obviously it was the World Trade Center with all this black smoke coming out of
it. So I asked John, ‘What the heck is that?.’ And he said, ‘Well we don’t
know. We have heard explosion, we have heard the possibility of an airplane
that went into the building.’ And so I said, ‘Keep me posted,’ and I went back
into my breakfast meeting. I explained to Mrs. Durant what was going on.
Then in about five or
six minutes, the chief of staff came back in and said, ‘Mr. Secretary, may I
see you again?’ He said at that point that it has been confirmed it was a
commercial airliner that went into the World Trade Center. And as I was
standing there watching the television set, all of a sudden from the right side
of the screen came a gray object and then it sort of disappeared and the next
thing, from the left of the screen was this white yellow orangey billow of
cloud coming out of the left side of the screen, so I ran into the conference room
and told Mrs. Durant I was going to have to leave and take care of whatever
this was about.
I told Jane to come
back in with me, and soon after that, I got a call from the White House saying
for me to get over there right away. So I grabbed some papers, grabbed some
stuff and went to the garage. I got in my car and went over to the White House.
Its only seven minutes away. I drove into the White House grounds, and everyone
was running out of the White House, running out of the Executive Office Building.
And I said to the
people with me, ‘Is there something wrong with this picture? We are driving
into the White House and everyone else is running out of it. So I went into the
White House and was briefed by Dick Clark of the National Security Council and
he said, ‘You have to get over to the Presidential Emergency Operation Center
to be with the vice president.’ …
We started to monitor
what was going on. We knew that there were now two airplanes that had gone into
World Trade Center 1 and World Trade Center 2, and I had a direct line set up
with the FAA.
said, ‘Mr. Vice President, there is a plane 50 miles out.’ I asked our FAA
people, ‘Can you see an aircraft coming in 50 miles out?’ and they said, ‘Yeah,
we’re tracking it, but the transponder is off, so we don’t know what the
identification of that airplane is.’ Pretty soon the same person came in and
informed the vice president, sitting right across from me at the conference
table, that the airplane is 30 miles out. I asked the FAA about it and they
said, ‘Yeah, we know where the plane is, but we don’t know who it is.’
Then they came in and
said it was 10 miles out. Soon after that, I was talking to the deputy director
of the FAA, and he told me they had lost the target off the screen. Soon after
that, then, the vice president was informed that there was an explosion at the
Pentagon. So I was trying to relate with the air traffic controllers where that
plane went to see whether it was close to the Pentagon. The radar is very
difficult to pinpoint it to a ground location.
But while I was
talking to the FAA, someone broke into the conversation and said, ‘Mr.
Secretary, we have just had confirmation from the Arlington County Police
Department that they saw a commercial airliner-an American airline-go into the
Well, its like
anything else, if you see one of something occur you consider that an accident.
But when you see two of the same thing occur then you know that there is a
pattern or a trend. In this instant we had three of the same thing occur, and
that is a program or a plan. So I then informed the FAA to bring all the
I said, ‘Any airplanes
coming into the Eastern seaboard, turn them around and get them out of the
Eastern seaboard heading west. Any planes heading west, have them go on to
their destination if they are close by. But in any event bring all the
At that point we had
something like 4,836 airplanes in the air and with the skill of the air traffic
controllers and the professionalism of the flight deck crew, the pilots and
co-pilots and the professionalism of the flight cabin crews, they were able to
bring those 4,836 airplanes down in about two hours time, safely and without
Later on that morning,
I talked to the Minister of Transport in Canada, David Collenette, and said, ‘I
have over 200 airplanes coming in from overseas points, and I need you take in
these airplanes.’ And they did. They took in over 200 airplanes that day. Their
population went up by over 19,000 people and they very graciously and
generously accommodated those airplanes and passengers. A lot of people were
stuck there until Saturday.
“David Collenette on 9/11
minister on deciding who to ground and who could fly on Sept. 11, 2001
There has been a tragedy.” This hastily handwritten note, placed on the lectern
as I delivered the keynote address at a conference of international airport
executives, heralded the longest day of my political life. It was Sept. 11,
I had gotten up at 5
a.m. to take a Transport Canada Citation jet to Montreal, a groggy start to
another long ministerial day. The conference should have been routine. But just
after 9 a.m., the audience became restless. This was not unusual for a
politician giving a speech; still I was puzzled. For the most part, people had
appeared quite interested.
I continued to speak
while reading the note, which instructed me to talk to assistant deputy
minister Louis Ranger and avoid the media. I feared the worst, probably a
serious accident, which Louis did confirm: at 8:45 a.m. a plane had flown into
the World Trade Center in New York. I immediately sensed some type of terrorist
act had occurred, since passenger jets just don’t crash into tall buildings if
they are in trouble. There are all kinds of emergency procedures for pilots:
landing at the nearest airport or ditching in water around Manhattan.
I left the hall and
was besieged by journalists. Then I gave one of the most incoherent media
scrums of my career. I groped for words because I did not have the facts and
could not say what was really going through my mind. I managed to excuse
myself, saying I had to catch a plane to Toronto.
As we made our way to
the van waiting to take us to the airport, we learned from our deputy minister
in Ottawa, Margaret Bloodworth, that a second plane had hit the other tower.
Before too long there would be confirmation of two more crashes, at the
Pentagon and a field in eastern Pennsylvania. Departmental contacts in
Washington said all airports may be closed. We knew this was a crisis and
agreed to head back to Ottawa, about a two-hour drive.
Within a matter of
minutes we heard again from the deputy: my U.S. counterpart, Norman Mineta, had
grounded all flights. Those in U.S. airspace were required to land at the
nearest airport, and any planes attempting to fly across the border would be
forced to land, or possibly shot down by the U.S. Air Force. Within minutes an
aerial wall had been erected around the United States of America, and Canada
found itself on the front line.
unprecedented, and I had a sinking feeling. Should we follow the American lead?
What should we do about the flights in international air space that were now
approaching Canada? It was a logistical nightmare: Mineta’s order was issued at
9.45 Eastern Daylight Time—”rush hour” over the Atlantic. More than 500 planes
with an estimated 75,000 people on board were en route to North America.
The U.S. decision was
made, naturally, with great haste, and was apparently oblivious to a key fact.
The International Civil Aviation Organization allocated jurisdiction over the
western portion of the North Atlantic to NavCanada, our air traffic control
organization, and over the eastern section to the U.K. The United States
actually has no jurisdiction over the area most transatlantic flights traverse;
it only controls the 12 nautical miles directly off its coast.
was no time to ponder the finer points of aviation jurisdiction: every 90
seconds an aircraft was entering Canadian airspace seeking clearance to land.
Under the Aeronautics Act the transport minister is the only person with the
statutory authority to issue emergency orders, but I was in a van barrelling
along Highway 417 toward Ottawa, alone except for Louis and my assistant,
Marie-Helen Levesque. There was fear in their eyes, and I knew then I had to
set the tone and provide leadership. I was a political veteran with a lot of
cabinet experience and at that point had been minister of transport for four
years, yet nothing had prepared me for the ordeal we now faced.
We could only
communicate with Ottawa via the three mobile phones we had between us (the
BlackBerry was still a future technology), which meant that Margaret and others
at headquarters were forced to come up with options, explain the ramifications
to me, then get my decision, all within minutes. Under the authority of the
Aeronautics Act we agreed that I would order a number of measures. All flights
that had yet to take off were grounded, but unlike the U.S., we granted
permission for all flights already in the air to proceed to their final
destination. This provided minimum disruption to passengers.
But what about flights
over the Atlantic, most originally destined for the United States and now
approaching Canadian airspace? We instructed NavCanada, in conjunction with the
British Civil Aviation Authority, to ascertain the geographical position of
each plane to determine how many could be ordered to return to Europe.
Evaluations were made with astounding speed. In little more than five minutes,
more than 250 planes, most at 40,000 feet, were ordered to make a U-turn
mid-ocean. But this still left another 224 that were past the point of no
The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration had decided they were too risky to allow into American airspace.
We had no way of knowing who was on the planes, although we had started to
receive intelligence reports of the possibility of terrorists on board some of
them. In addition, as news of the attacks in New York was broadcast, there were
bomb threats at Canadian airports. Were these real, or just coming from those
playing sinister games? We could not assume anything other than the worst.
Accepting these aircraft might put Canadian lives at risk, but the alternative
was unthinkable: planes running out of fuel and crashing. Canada had to accept
them and the risks.
As the van sped along
the highway, we had to decide where these planes would land. In the east,
Montreal and Toronto were the largest airports with the best infrastructure,
but the possibility of more terrorists on board raised the spectre of crashes
into the downtown towers of Canada’s two largest cities. Another concern was
that once planes were given the direction to land at Montreal or Toronto, any
hijackers on board could easily take them off course and approach nearby
American cities such as Boston, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland or
Detroit before fighter jets could intercept the planes.
Our only option was to
land most flights at designated airports in Atlantic Canada, where the security
risk was lower. Throughout the Second World War, the Maritime provinces and
Newfoundland and Labrador, then a British colony, were major staging areas for
troops and supplies going to Britain. There was an abundance of airports with
long runways ideal for receiving a large number of planes.
We also had to deal
with the Pacific. The volume of air traffic at that time of day was not as high
but there were still 90 flights en route to North America and many did not have
the fuel to get back to Asia. There was significant risk to landing planes in
Vancouver, given the population density and the proximity of the airport to the
downtown area. But other West Coast airports had relatively short runways and
minimal infrastructure. Vancouver that day took in 33 planes, the third-largest
number next to Gander and Halifax, which received 38 and 40 respectively.
The decisions I took
that morning were arbitrary and without reference to my colleagues or the prime
minister, an extreme oddity given the normally turgid “machinery of
government.” The context was bizarre, to say the least—thousands of lives were
being turned upside down by the one person with authority to act, who was
communicating these decisions via cellular phone while travelling past the
gentle foothills of the Laurentians! At one point I looked out at the beautiful
countryside and thought, “This is surreal, what is going on here? Who was
behind these attacks, and why?”
When I arrived in
Ottawa, I was briefed by the deputy, who asked me to meet with the crisis team.
At the time, Transport Canada and National Defence were the only two government
ministries with operations centres. In 1994, Transport Canada also opened a
state-of-the-art Situation Centre to provide emergency communications and
coordination of disaster response. It had been deployed after the 1997 Swissair
crash off the coast of Nova Scotia and the ice storm of 1998. Usually “Sit Cen”
had minimal staff, but within the past two hours Margaret had seconded a number
of key officials from the aviation and security branches of Transport Canada.
They were joined by staff from NavCanada, National Defence, the RCMP and the
Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.
Telephone links had been set up
with Immigration and Citizenship Canada, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency,
and the Federal Aviation Authority in Washington. An observer from the U.S.
Embassy was present. The Sit Cen’s mission had quickly been named Operation
I was amazed at the orderly, efficient buzz of activity, yet there was tension,
too, and strained looks. My message was brief: we were all part of one team
facing an enormous challenge, the government counted on their professionalism,
and they had my full support.
Just before 1 p.m. I
went back to my office. My executive assistant, Sue Ronald, said I should watch
the news. As the first crash appeared on the screen, my chest tightened at the
sight of the impact, followed by the unbelievable belching up of fire and
smoke. Then the second tower was hit, followed by the image of both towers
crumbling in one last gasp to the ground. I looked out the window of my office
toward the Parliament Buildings and the majestic Peace Tower and tears welled
up. I abruptly switched the television off. It would be wrong to be caught up
in the emotion. I needed to make dispassionate, reasoned judgments. There would
be time to grieve later.
We had closed Canadian airspace to all but emergency and humanitarian flights, but officials in the Sit Cen were called upon to authorize exceptions. In most cases, such as enabling medivac flights or those required to transport federal government personnel to Atlantic communities to assist with the processing of thousands of stranded passengers, the decisions were straightforward. Others were not.
The head of a Chicago-based company whose responsibilities included supplying grief counsellors to those affected by aviation tragedies, was grounded in Newfoundland. Canadian permission for his company plane to fly was granted, but the U.S. was making no exceptions. Flights crossing into American air space would be shot down, no questions asked. So we cleared his plane to Sarnia, where he took a car to Chicago. Later we learned 200 of the company’s staff in its World Trade Center office had died in the attacks.
A number of requests ended up on my desk. Some were from those in the business community trying to work political connections. Others were from colleagues on both sides of the House of Commons who wanted to get back to Ottawa using chartered aircraft. One senior Liberal wanted permission for a chartered jet to land at Montreal; it was carrying the body of a close family member from New York City who had died unexpectedly in Israel. The Americans refused permission to land at Newark and my friend wanted to take the casket by car from Montreal to New York. Despite the family’s anguish, I had to say no.
But I also made some exceptions. Foreign minister John Manley, who was on an Air Canada flight en route from Frankfurt to Toronto, would be needed to deal with the wider issues that were coming into play.
Robert Milton, CEO of Air Canada, was stranded in London at a critical time, when more than 300 of the airline’s planes were grounded, many overseas. My instinct was to grant permission.
At about 1:20 p.m., the prime minister called. He was supportive of the difficult decisions we were making, but did surprise me with his assumption that flights could be running later in the day. I told him it was going to be no easy task to restart things. First, we had to examine all of our safety and security measures to determine if the calamitous events warranted immediate rule changes. Second, we would have to reopen the skies in concert with the U.S. A number of Canadian aircraft were locked down at American airports; in addition, some long-haul domestic flights to Eastern and Western Canada routinely fly over U.S. territory. I am not sure the PM liked my answer, but said I should do my best to return to normal schedules.
I asked if he was going to have a cabinet meeting. He said no. Events were moving too fast and I had the authority to continue making transportation decisions. Besides, there were not enough ministers in Ottawa to have a quorum, something he was not too happy about and something that he would deal with in the future. I told him I had approved John Manley’s return as well as that of Lawrence MacAulay, the solicitor general, who was coming back to Ottawa from Nova Scotia on an RCMP aircraft. Jean Chrétien was always businesslike, so he ended the conversation quickly, saying I should get back to work.
At about 4 p.m. an emotional Norman Mineta called. He and his colleagues, including president George W. Bush, were acting with lightning speed. The stress was easy to detect in his voice. He thanked me for the efforts of the Canadian government and was
deeply grateful to the thousands of Canadians who had turned their lives inside out by welcoming so many strangers stuck at our airports. I felt an immense pride in what Canada was doing to help our American friends.
But the stranded passengers, many of whom were confined to aircraft for up to 16 hours or more, created a huge logistical challenge. They could not be allowed off the aircraft until normal immigration and customs procedures were followed; given the security concerns, this entailed more stringent screening, including more extensive interrogation and searches. Large numbers of immigration, customs, RCMP and security intelligence officers had to be transported to Atlantic Canada—in most cases via DND and Transport Canada, which had the largest fleets. The stress placed on communities and on various provincial governments forced to accept thousands of unexpected visitors was enormous, yet no one complained or argued about financial compensation. Canadians were pulling together in a remarkable way.
As the afternoon wore on I became concerned that there had been no official reaction from the government. When the prime minister did give a news scrum he expressed sympathy to our American friends for the horror that had taken place, but the situation was evolving so quickly that questions became more technical than he was briefed to answer. Unfortunately, the general nature of his comments drew unfair criticism from some quarters.
At Transport Canada, we were being inundated with calls from media outlets. We argued with the communications people in the Prime Minister’s Office that someone needed to give a detailed response not only to the media but to families of stranded travellers. There was considerable push back. By 6 p.m., we had received more than 225 requests, and we needed to get answers out. Finally, we told them we were going ahead and sent out a news release in time for evening newscasts and morning newspapers.
Looking back at the Canadian response, I continue to be amazed at how the behemoth that is government acted so nimbly. Experts, notwithstanding their rank, gave orders to top brass and were obeyed. In a culture that invented the “paper trail,” we adopted a paperless model. Nothing was written down. All briefings were oral. We relied on personal relationships to get things done. Everyone shared knowledge. No one held back. The informal relationships and comradeship developed and nurtured over the years carried the day.
At the time of the attacks, Transport Canada had a solid organizational structure, with well-tested rules and reporting relationships. Yet within minutes we were in unknown territory, where decisions had to be made quickly. To paraphrase former U.S. president Harry Truman, the buck on that day did stop with us.
Thank God we got it
“David Michael Collenette, PC (born June 24, 1946) was a Canadian politician from
1974 to 2004, and a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. A graduate from York University‘s Glendon College in 1969, he subsequently
received his MA from in 2004. He was first elected in
the York East riding of Toronto to the House
of Commons on July 8, 1974,
in the Pierre Trudeau government.
Member of the Canadian House of Commons for more than 20 years. He was elected
five times and defeated twice. He served in the Cabinet under three prime
ministers – Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chrétien. He held several portfolios:
During the constitutional debates of the early 1980s, he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House leader and was assigned by the government to Westminster to represent Canada’s interests.”
Serco bulldozes ahead
UPDATED: 23:00 GMT, 1 September 2004
way since the 1960s when it ran the ‘four-minute warning’ system to alert the
nation to a ballistic missile attack.
Today its £10.3bn
order book is bigger than many countries’ defence budgets. It is bidding for a
further £8bn worth of contracts and sees £16bn of ‘opportunities’.
Profit growth is less
ballistic. The first-half pre-tax surplus rose 4% to £28.1m, net profits just
1% to £18m. Stripping out goodwill, the rise was 17%, with dividends up 12.5%
Docklands Light Railway, five UK prisons, airport radar and forest bulldozers
Chairman Kevin Beeston
said: ‘We have virtually no debt and more than 600 contracts.’
years ago, rose 8 1/4p to 207 1/4p, valuing Serco at £880m or nearly 17 times
Michael Morris, at
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