largely steer clear of commenting on either issue (like the
aforementioned From the Wilderness). A new 9-11 film making the rounds,
In Plane Sight, also links 'pod' theories and alternative Pentagon
There is a key difference, however, between theories concerning the
crash at the Pentagon and theories concerning the crashes into the Twin
Towers: everyone has seen, more times than they care to remember, video
footage of airplanes crashing rather spectacularly into the WTC towers;
no one, on the other hand, has ever seen any footage of an airplane, or
anything else, crashing into the Pentagon. Tens of millions of people
feel as though they were eyewitnesses to the tragedy in Manhattan. Only
a few locals witnessed the Pentagon 'crash.'
If theories involving what hit the Pentagon can be successfully tied to
theories proclaiming that it was really missiles, military jets, and
holograms that hit the WorldTradeCenter towers, then the general
public, which bore witness to the tower attacks, will certainly not
bother to take an objective look at the evidence concerning the attack
that they didn't see -- which just happens to be the one that didn't
involve an airplane crash.
With the Pentagon evidence thus marginalized, and the Air Force
stand-down evidence explained away, the best remaining evidence will be
the controlled demolitions of the TwinTowers and WTC7. And sure enough
- wouldn't you know it? - there are indications that a campaign may be
underway to explain that evidence away as well. The 'theory' being
developed seems to involve an acknowledgment that the towers were
indeed brought down deliberately, but that acknowledgment is coupled with a
cover story about the necessity of avoiding the extensive damage and
mass casualties that would have resulted if the towers had toppled
over. It was, you see, a choice of the lesser of two evils, and our leaders,
God bless 'em, chose to sacrifice the few for the benefit of the many.
Of course - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - Washington has to officially deny
it, just as they have to officially deny downing Flight 93.
The obvious problem with this not-so-clever 'theory' is that very few
buildings, as far as I know, come pre-packed with explosive charges and
pre-wired for an implosion. Most people, I would think, would not feel
completely safe living or working in a building that might, at any
time, self-destruct into a pile of rubble. I myself would, at the very least,
look into getting renters' insurance before occupying such a building.
To compensate for the tiny little gap in the 'theory,' we can look
forward to the incorporation of some kind of futuristic, top-secret,
laser-assisted pulsed energy weapon (or something like that). As I
recall, the seeds were sown long ago in the skeptics' literature.
The campaign to neutralize the most compelling evidence in the 9-11
skeptics' case is not the only disturbing trend in the '9-11 Truth
Movement.' Also of concern are the concerted efforts (which I think I
may have commented on previously) to co-opt the movement and rename it
the 'Peak Oil Movement.' And then there is the insistence by many
researchers on continuing to devote an inordinate amount of time
dwelling on the issue of 'forewarnings.'
The American people have had more than enough time to draw conclusions
about attack 'forewarnings,' since that is the only aspect of the skeptics' case that has received mainstream media coverage. For the most part, we have divided into four camps: those who choose to believe that the 'forewarnings' were simply lost in a sea of intelligence 'chatter'; those who believe that the 'forewarnings' weren't acted upon due to incompetence; those who believe that the 'forewarnings' weren't acted upon due to embarrassing ties between the Bush family and the Saudis; and those who believe that the 'forewarnings' were deliberately ignored.
The truth, however, is that all of those positions, sold by various
avenues of the mainstream and alternative media, are incorrect, and all
of them ultimately lend support to the official lie that states that the
attacks of September 11 were a plot cooked up by, and carried out by,
Islamic 'terrorists.'And that is precisely why the 'forewarnings' issue
has received extensive media coverage, while other, far more
incriminating, avenues of investigation have been entirely ignored.
The real issue is not 'forewarnings'; it is foreknowledge. They are not
the same thing. Simply stated, those who are complicit in the planning
and execution of an event do not generally need to be 'forewarned' that
that event is on the horizon. They already know. And continuing to focus
on 'forewarnings,' three full years after the fact, serves only to obscure that fact.
[For another view of what is wrong with the '9-11 Truth Movement,' go
Well, folks, now that there is an excellent chance that I have already
successfully pissed off the vast majority of 9-11 researchers out
there, I think we are ready to begin our stroll down memory lane. The goal
here will be to focus attention on the most critical evidence of direct U.S.
government complicity in the attacks of September 11, and while doing
so, to construct a reasonably comprehensive, semi-coherent theory of
what really happened on that infamous day. Specifically, we will
speculate about what went wrong, and how that lead to damning evidence
being left behind.
When I just said "we," by the way, I really meant "I," since I am really
doing most of the theorizing, while you are primarily just doing the
eye-rolling and guffawing. Nevertheless, I use the collective "we" in
case this theory, for whatever reason, turns out to be really stupid, in
which case you can be pretty sure that I will try to blame the whole
thing on you.
We will begin with a timeline of the key events of that fateful morning.
As visual aides, we will be using graphics that were provided three
years ago by the ever-helpful folks at the Washington Post and at Time
magazine. Note that in both of the graphics, the departure time listed
for each flight is the scheduled departure time, not the actual departure time.
The theory that will be presented here assumes that the plot initially
called for the four identified passenger airplanes to be used in the
attacks. It also assumes that those four flights were in fact hijacked,
likely by human actors. Remote control theories, as we all know, have
been circulating since shortly after the attacks took place. I've never
been a big fan of them, however.
It should be clarified here that endorsing the notion that the planes
were hijacked is not the same thing as endorsing the government fairy
tale that says that they were hijacked by 19 positively identified
Islamic 'terrorists' who snuck box cutters through airport security.
The real hijackers were undoubtedly very well-trained teams that were
allowed to board the planes armed with more than just box cutters.
Their ethnicity, while largely unimportant, is anyone's guess.
At 7:59 AM, on the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines
Flight 11, a morning commuter flight from Boston to Los Angeles, lifts
off from Boston's Logan International Airport. Curiously, and
fortuitously for any potential hijackers, nearly 3/4 of the plane's
seats are empty. Fifteen minutes later, at 8:14 AM, United Airlines
Flight 175, another morning commuter flight from Boston to Los Angeles,
takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport.Curiously, and
fortuitously for any potential hijackers, over 80% of the plane's seats
are empty. The United flight is about 16 minutes late getting off the
At the very same time that Flight 175 is getting airborne, someone
aboard Flight 11 shuts off the plane's radio and transponder, cutting
off all communications to the aircraft. At this time, 8:14 AM,
longstanding procedures call for air traffic controllers to notify
NORAD. Established and routinely followed procedures call for NORAD to
be notified of any potential trouble in America's airspace. NORAD's
responsibility, upon notification, is to issue scramble orders for
These procedures are followed to deal not just with hijackings, which
are obviously quite rare, but with routine air emergencies such as when
an aircraft departs from its approved route, or fails to respond to
radio requests, or switches off its transponder, or experiences serious
mechanical difficulties. Interceptor aircraft, on call 24/7 at military
bases all across the country, deal with all of those situations and
more. They are, in a very real sense, the policemen of the skies. And
like their counterparts on land, they use varying levels of force
depending upon the situation they are confronted with. The vast
majority of errant aircraft, as with the vast majority of police calls, do not
warrant a hostile response.
The initial goal is merely to reestablish communications with the
Errant plane, first by radio, and, failing that, by establishing visual
contact, typically by flying into the other plane's field of view and
rocking the interceptor's wings to see if the errant craft responds. If
necessary, the pilot of the interceptor can fly up close enough to take
a look in the cockpit of the other plane and attempt to assess the
situation. If all attempts at contact are rebuffed, available options
include attempting to force the plane to land, and firing warning
volleys of tracer fire in the targeted plane's flight path. If all other
options have been exhausted, and if it is deemed necessary, then downing
the aircraft is an option, but one that will be undertaken only as a last resort.
Unfortunately, this needs to be rehashed here to illustrate that the
argument that is frequently offered in response to criticism of the
failure to dispatch interceptors on September 11 - the argument that
says that the government can't just go around shooting down airplanes
full of innocent people - is an entirely false argument, because the
skeptics' argument has never been that the planes should have been
summarily shot down; the argument has always been that standard,
non-lethal procedures were not followed to deal with errant aircraft.
Imagine, if you will, that there is a hostage situation on the ground
somewhere in America. Let's say that a bank robbery attempt has gone
bad and a band of armed thugs are holding employees and patrons hostage. An hour or more has passed since the hostage ordeal began. The police know that the hostages are being held, and they know where they are being
held. In fact, everyone with a television or a radio knows that the
hostages are being held. And yet, curiously enough, police have not
responded and there are no officers at the scene. When questioned, the
police chief says: "Well, we can't very well just go in there and shoot
up the place! They have hostages!"
The chief would be right, of course; you can't just go in guns blazing.
But his response fails to address the fact that what they could have
done was have officers on the scene, attempting, in every way possible,
to gain control of the situation and minimize the loss of innocent life.
And so it is with the policemen of the skies as well -- on every day
other than September 11, 2001. Once a scramble order is issued, by the
way, it takes just minutes to get aircraft off the ground. And once in
the air, F-15 and F-16 interceptors can hit 1,500+ mph in just a few
more minutes. Keep that in mind as we proceed. Meanwhile, back to our
At , six minutes after the first sign of trouble, Flight 11 veers
off course, heading not toward Manhattan, but toward upstate New York,
as if possibly stalling for time (see graphics). At this time, the FAA
strongly suspects that Flight 11 has been hijacked. At the very same
time, American Airlines Flight 77, a morning commuter flight from
Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, takes off from Dulles International
Airport.Curiously, and fortuitously for any potential hijackers, over
3/4 of the plane's seats are empty. The flight lifts off approximately
ten minutes after its scheduled departure time.
At 8:21 AM, a stewardess reportedly calls to report that Flight 11 has
definitely been hijacked. There is now no question that this is not just
a relatively routine case of an errant aircraft. Seven minutes later, at
8:28 AM, Flight 11 changes course yet again. It is now headed for New
York City. Two minutes later, Flight 175 veers off course as well. Both
flights are now off their approved routes and headed for New York City.
One of them has been confirmed as a hijacked flight. Military
interceptors are noticeably missing-in-action.
At 8:42 AM, United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark
International Airport bound for San Francisco, California. Curiously,
and fortuitously for any potential hijackers, nearly 85% of the plane's
seats are empty. The flight is 41 minutes late taking off from Newark.
This poses serious problems for the plan of attack, as we shall see. By
the time Flight 93 is in the air, Flight 175's transponder and radio
have been shut off.
Twenty-eight minutes have now elapsed since the first sign of trouble
In the air. Twenty-one minutes have elapsed since a hijacking was
confirmed. Two flights are wildly off course and cut off from
communications. According to the official story, NORAD is notified a
minute later, at 8:43 AM (another version of the official story claims
the time of notification was a bit earlier, at 8:38 AM). It is inconceivable, however, that notification would not have been made at
least twenty minutes earlier, when the first hijacking was confirmed.
But even if we accept this aspect of the official timeline, the events
that follow are still inexplicable.
At 8:46 AM, thirty-two minutes after the first signs of trouble, Flight
11 plows into the side of the north World Trade Center tower. At that
same time, Flight 77 suddenly veers north, possibly preparing to turn
back toward the D.C. area. But it is, alas, already too late. By 8:50,
Flight 77 is back on course as if nothing had happened, but radio
contact is not reestablished.
This graphic, also published circa 9-11-01, placed much greater
Emphasis on Flight 77's brief side trip than did the Washington Post or Time
graphics. What caused the pilot's change of heart? Why did the hijacked
flight return to its approved route? As I first proposed in Newsletter
#16 (posted on the first anniversary of the attacks, more or less), it
seems entirely plausible that the original plan called for Flights 77
and 93 to strike simultaneously, or nearly so, at targets in the D.C.
area -- likely at the Pentagon and the White House, for maximum
psychological impact and to allow the administration to claim that the
nation'sdefenses were crippled in the initial surprise attack, thus
preventing a response.
Had Flight 93 got off the ground on time, it could have reached its
target at or before the time that Flight 11 was smashing into the World
Trade Center. Flight 77, scheduled to depart at 8:10, was only 23 miles
from its target when it left the ground at about 8:20 AM. It merely
needed to kill time until Flight 93 was in position. When Flight 93
failed to get off the ground, however, Flight 77 opted to proceed along
its scheduled route -- until Flight 93 finally got off the ground at
8:42 AM, at which time Flight 77 almost immediately changed course.
But, as I previously indicated, it was too late. Flight 93 was still
some distance from its target, while Flight 11 had already found its
target in New York City, and Flight 175 wasn't far behind. The New York
attacks were most likely supposed to coincide with, or follow shortly
after, the attacks on the political and military nerve centers. Had
things played out that way, there would not now be questions raised
about the failure to muster a timely military response.
At approximately , Flight 77, with its transponder shut off,
reportedly disappeared from radar. Some reports have claimed,
erroneously and likely deliberately so, that disabling a plane's
transponder will cause it to disappear from radar. That is a patently
absurd claim. Shutting off the transponder will certainly make positive
identification more difficult, but it hardly renders an aircraft
invisible to radar. If that were the case, foreign bombers could slip
pastU.S. radar at any time merely by switching off their transponders.
At about the same time that Flight 77 became a phantom plane, George
Bush, purported President of the United States and commander-in-chief
Of the armed forces, arrived at the BookerSchool in Sarasota, Florida for
a planned, and well publicized, photo-op. At that time, one commercial
airliner had already crashed into WTC1, killing and gravely injuring
hundreds of innocent victims. A second airliner, wildly off course and
cut off from communications, was just minutes away from a second
spectacular crash. A third airliner had cut off communications, was
flying erratically, and had just disappeared from radar. There was
clearly a massive, coordinated, unprecedented attack upon the country
It should go without saying that only those who were involved in the
planning of the operation had any idea, at that time, what the full
scope of the attacks would be. No non-conspirator could have known, for
example, whether any bombings on the ground were planned. But one thing
could certainly have been assumed: George Bush was at serious risk of
being targeted, especially since he was scheduled to be in an unsecured
location that had been announced in advance and that was located,
amazingly enough, less than five miles from an international airport.
Upon arrival at the school, Bush reportedly told the principal that
although "a commercial plane has hit the WorldTradeCenter," they were
going to "do the reading thing anyway." Bush and his entourage
proceeded into the unprotected school. No one mentioned that the plane that had crashed had been hijacked, or that a second hijacked flight was
screaming toward Manhattan, or that a third hijacked plane was allegedly
At 9:, just as Flight 175 was plowing into the south World Trade
Center tower in a telegenic pyrotechnic show, and just as Flight 93
became the fourth commercial airliner that morning to veer off its
approved route, George Bush began his extended photo-op in an elementary
school classroom. Forty-nine minutes after the first danger signs, and
seventeen minutes after the first crash, the skies were free of
interceptor aircraft and the commander-in-chief was quietly sitting in
an extremely vulnerable location reading a book about a pet goat.
Just a few minutes into the reading, presidential adviser Andrew Card
approached Bush to inform him of the second crash. My guess is that he
added something along these lines: "The attacks in Washington have not
taken place yet. We're not sure what went wrong. Sit tight while we
figure out what to do." And that, of course, is exactly what Bush
proceeds to do.
[As a brief aside, I should mention here that when Michael Moore opted
to present (incomplete) footage of Bush at the BookerSchool in his
film "Fahrenheit 911," the filmmaker felt compelled to add a narrative track
that is clearly intended to shape the audience's perception of Bush's
actions. According to Moore, Bush's actions revealed incompetence and
dereliction of duties. In truth, however, Bush's actions were more
indicative of specific foreknowledge and consciousness of guilt.]
At about , with Bush still practicing his reading skills, there
are reports of a plane crash in a remote area along the
Ohio/Kentucky/West Virginia border. According to several published
versions of its flight path, that is exactly where Flight 77 is at the
time of the reports. These crash reports will later disappear down the
memory hole. Flight 77 will, as if by magic, reappear on radar later,
nearly a half-hour after it disappeared.
Meanwhile, at , Bush leaves the Florida classroom and - after
taking time out for questions and photos, as if he has nothing better
to do - meets with his staff. More than an hour has now passed since the
hijackings began, and there is still no sign of a military response,
even though Manhattan is in flames and at least two hijacked aircraft
are known to be still in the air. With the nation under attack, Bush and
his Secret Service detail had been sitting for some twenty minutes in a
location that could not be defended against an organized attack and
that had been publicized in advance.
At , 'Flight 77' appears on radar at Dulles International, but
the plane is moving very fast and air traffic controllers quickly ascertain that it is not maneuvering like your run-of-the-mill commercial airliner. Two minutes later, according to reports, a passenger reports the hijacking of Flight 93. Three minutes after that, at , Bush delivers an address to the nation, at a time and location scheduled, and publicized, in advance.
Seventy-six minutes have now passed since the first sign of trouble
emerged, sixty-nine minutes have passed since the first hijacking was
confirmed, at least forty-seven minutes have passed since NORAD was
notified, forty-four minutes have passed since the first crash, and
twenty-seven minutes have passed since the second crash -- and two
errant, and presumably hijacked, aircraft are still at large. No
interceptors have been scrambled and the commander-in-chief still sits
at an unsecured location that had been advertised in advance. Following
the speech, Bush and his entourage head to the airport, following a
scheduled route and with no added security.
At , Flight 93 turns toward Washington (see graphics).
Approximately two minutes later, 'Flight 77,' cruising along unhindered,
despite flying through the most closely monitored, secure airspace in
the world, and doing so during the highest possible state of alert,
purportedlyplows into the side of a newly refurbished portion of the
Notice that in all the graphics, it is only the return portion of Flight
77's route that is shown as a broken line, indicating, supposedly, that
the aircraft's transponder had been shut off. But as everyone knows, the
transponders on all four flights were actually disabled. Why then aren't
portions of all four routes depicted with a broken line? One reason for
the use of the broken line is surely to create the impression that it
was not possible to track that particular flight, thus hopefully defraying questions concerning how an enormous commercial airliner could
freely violate the Pentagon's airspace during a national emergency. But
there is another reason for the broken line as well: for most of the
return route depicted by the dashed line, Flight 77 did not exist, at
least on radar.
The most likely explanation is that Flight 77, having missed the window
of opportunity to launch its intended attack, was shot down in some
unpopulated area along the Ohio/Kentucky border. The only shred of
evidence that Flight 77 ever made it any further than that is an
extremely dubious report from Bush Administration insider Theodore
Olsen, who claimed that he was the recipient of an unlikely, and
unrecorded, phone call from his wife, Bush Administration insider Susan
Olsen, who happened to be, conveniently enough, an alleged passenger on
the plane, and the only passenger, coincidentally, who was able to
allegedly make a phone call, even though, according to Ted Olsen, who
is the only witness to the alleged call, all the passengers were
encouraged by the hijackers to phone home.
Not only did Flight 77 fly without registering on radar, it crashed
without leaving behind any aircraft debris (as we shall see in Act II).
As I previously suggested, it is entirely possible that someone, in a
misguided attempt to create a retroactive explanation for the complete
lack of a military response, and to provide some political cover, made
a decision to attack the Pentagon by other means after Flight 77 was shot
If the attacks had gone according to plans, in other words, Flight 77
very likely would have crashed into the Pentagon. There would have been
physical evidence of the crash of a commercial airliner at the scene,
and we probably would have been treated to endless replays of video
footage of yet another spectacular plane crash. Instead, what we have
is some very incriminating photographic evidence that strongly suggests
that Flight 77 never made it to the Pentagon.
At , Air Force 1, with Bush and his entourage aboard, lifts off
with no military escort. For an entire hour, with the country under
attack, Bush has stuck to his prearranged, and publicized, schedule. No
effort has been made to protect the life of the President and
commander-in-chief. And at no time has the commander-in-chief made any
effort to take control of the situation. Neither has Vice-President
Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, or anyone else in a position of
authority in the Bush administration or the military establishment.
At , the south WorldTradeCenter tower inexplicably suffered a
total, and perfectly symmetrical, collapse. Just minutes later, Flight
93 reportedly crashed in Pennsylvania. At 10:10 AM, the damaged portion
of the Pentagon suffered a partial collapse. Eighteen minutes later,
the north WorldTradeCenter tower inexplicably suffered a total, and
perfectly symmetrical, collapse. The show was officially over.
Flight 93 was almost certainly shot down. Just as at the Pentagon,
There was nothing at the purported 'crash' site that indicated that it had
been hit by a 100 ton aircraft. Wreckage from the aircraft, notably
absent at the 'crash' site, was scattered as far as eight miles away,
indicating that the plane had exploded in the air, and not on the
ground. Witness statements, media reports, and even statements by
Washington officials, indicated that Flight 93 was being shadowed by
military aircraft just before it 'crashed.'
It is possible that Flight 93, now seared into the collective American
memory as the "Let's Roll" flight, was shot down precisely because
passengers had taken control of the aircraft, or were attempting to.
While recently reading an online version of David Ray Griffin's new
Book on the attacks, I was surprised to find that that is the theory that he
is floating. I was even more surprised to find that Griffin credits that
theory to "9-11 Timeline" assembler Paul Thompson. Before reading that,
I had foolishly believed that that theory first appeared on my own
website, under the title "What Really Happened to Flight 93," posted on
November 7, 2001, just eight weeks after the attacks.
Looking back now, however, three years after the fact, it occurs to me
that my initial theory may have been off the mark. There is little
doubt that Flight 93 was shot down, and it most likely was shot down because, like Flight 77, it had become a liability rather than an asset. But it
had become a liability regardless of whether there really was a
passenger revolt, so it is possible that the tale of passenger heroics
was fabricated to explain the 'crash' of the aircraft -- and to provide
a patriotic, feel-good story. Whether the heroics were real or scripted,
one thing seems clear: Flight 93 would have been downed either way. How
else were all those witnesses, and hijackers, going to be silenced?
The response to the attacks - by NORAD, by the U.S. Air Force, by the
President, by his security detail, and by all his cronies and underlings
- looked nothing like the response that would have greeted any real
'terrorists' brazen enough to attempt an ambitious attack on the home
turf of the world's most feared military machine. It looked, instead,
like a deliberate non-response. But it was a strange non-response,
entirely lacking in consistency, credibility and plausibility.
Much of the cover story had a decidedly improvised feel to it. Critics
of the skeptics' case have asked why, if this was an inside job, a
better cover story wasn't scripted in advance. Why were there so many
contradictory, and at time incriminating, statements by key players?
Why did elements of the official story change over time (e.g., "there were
no aircraft scrambled" changed to "they were scrambled but they arrived
late.")? Why stage an obvious stand-down of the nation's air defenses?
And why risk hitting the Pentagon with something other than Flight 77?
All of these questions, and many similar ones, have been posed by
critics of alternative 9-11 theories. We (there's that "we" again) have
suggested here that the answers to such questions may be found in the
fact that the attacks of September 11 were, in reality, a botched
operation. Had things gone according to plans, there would have been no
extended stand-down and no incriminating lack of evidence at the
Pentagon, and all the key players would likely have followed their
According to this scenario, those scripts went out the window when
Flight 93 and Flight 77 failed to successfully coordinate their initial
attacks. In other words, many of the inconsistencies and obvious
cover-ups that plague the official story may very well be due to the
lack of improvisational skills of various key members of the Bush
administration and the military and intelligence establishments.
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