This essay examines the work of the Citizen Investigation Team (CIT),
a team of two people who claim to prove that a complicated "magic show"
occurred during the Pentagon attack on 9/11/01,
fooling all of the witnesses and
surviving victims of the event into believing that American Airlines
Flight 77 (AA77) hit the Pentagon, when instead,
it flew just over the building,
obscured by a simultaneous explosion,
and then somehow flew away, unnoticed by anyone in the area
(the "flyover" theory). CIT took their camcorders and went to
Washington, DC, where they interviewed a select group of Pentagon attack
eye witnesses whom they believe, indicate a different flightpath from the
accepted flightpath (the one described by a trail of damage leading
up to the building). These interviews, it is claimed,
provide the primary "evidence" for the flyover theory.
Or so we are led to believe.
The general conclusion that "no plane" or "no Boeing" could have
hit the Pentagon -- widely accepted by skeptics of the
official version of events of the Pentagon attack,
even as it is generally not carefully examined --
is based on a series of erroneous physical
evidence claims. The details of these common errors made by
investigators of the Pentagon attack are not
the purpose of this essay, but have already been described in
What the Physical Evidence Shows.
The purpose of this essay is to critically examine the claims, methods
and themes employed by CIT in their attempts to make the case for
the flyover theory. This essay will show that CIT's claims about what happened
in the Pentagon attack on 9/11/01 are without a meaningful scientific process
and are reliant on biased interpretations of broad statements
made by less than 20 witnesses to the attack, 8 years after the event.
The witness recordings made by CIT are sometimes
muddled, are significantly edited, and at times appear to have almost
nothing to do with what CIT interprets from them, leaving many video
viewers and forum readers, told they would see "proofs",
frustrated and perplexed about what is going on.
At the heart of it, what CIT has really
created from the witness accounts is an elaborate historical
fictional drama focused around the narrow theme of witnesses
appearing to describe a different flightpath for the plane that day.
Without any viable corroborating evidence for the claim that the
plane never hit, but instead flew over the building, the filmmakers
instead offer up a fascinating premise:
"Everything was faked!"
So what began as an innocent sounding
exploration of discrepancies in eye witness testimony, moves on to
"proofs" of how the existing damage incurred during the attack
could not have happened from the impact of a large Boeing.
A summary of the many "it was faked" claims indicates
a somewhat daunting if not entirely ridiculous premise for the "flyover":
And at this point, the doubts are just
beginning. Given the complexity of such fakery and sleight of hand,
most who attempt to confirm the full story end up at one of several
dead ends in the scenario. The claim that so much evidence at the
scene of the Pentagon was staged in advance, so precisely and amidst
hundreds of people in all directions, simply to make it appear that
the plane which approached the building had actually impacted it,
strains credulity and logic.
Because as most readers and viewers
quickly surmise, far easier than all of the elaborate fakery, would
have been to simply ram a plane into the building, just as was done
in NYC. That would be one part of the official story. While CIT
claims that anyone who believes the plane hit the building is
endorsing the official story, in reality, there is a overwhelming
case for insider involvement in the Pentagon attack consistent with
the impact of Flight 77.
it is important to have a look at another possibility, another
reality, in which the "no Boeing impact" claims had never
happened in the first place, and instead -- rather than endless
internal sqabbles of what that hit the Pentagon and easy media
attacks about "conspiracy theorists" who think the plane never
hit and the passengers were dumped into the ocean -- the many other
glaring questions, anomalies and absurdities of the Pentagon attack
story, essentially ignored by media and the 9/11 Commission, had had
even a fraction of as much energy devoted to them as "no Boeing
What is that story, and what are those questions?
What CIT and many other
no-Boeing-impact focused efforts have created is essentially a
historical vacuum in which readers and viewers are disconnected from
the original larger context of the attack and its aftermath, in favor
of the hyped soap opera mystery in which an elderly cab driver's
apparent role in the attack is central, rather than officials in Bush
Administration who were in charge that day.
According to the
official story, at about 9:37 AM, American Airlines Flight 77 flew
toward the western face of the Pentagon and exploded as it smashed
through the the facade, primarily on the first floor. The jetliner
approached the capital from the northwest and executed a 320-degree
descending spiral, losing seven thousand feet before leveling out at
nearly tree-top height as it made its final approach to the Pentagon
to hit the section of the building containing mostly unoccupied
offices under renovation. The crash damaged the building, caused a
partial collapse, and ignited a large fire which took days to
completely extinguish. All 64 people on the airliner and 125 Pentagon
workers were killed (55 military personnel and 70 civilians) and over
150 were treated for injuries at local hospitals. The medical
examiner's office initially identified remains belonging to 179 of
the victims, but in November of 2001, using DNA analysis, a team of
more than 50 forensic specialists identified 184 of the 189 killed.
Dozens of people witnessed the approach and or crash of AA77,
including drivers on Washington Boulevard, Interstate 395, and
Columbia Pike, as well as others located in Pentagon City and Crystal
City. News sources began reporting on the incident within minutes.
However, almost entirely ignored by
news sources, or whitewashed in official reports, have been these
How was it possible that the
Pentagon was hit 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began?
Why was there
no response from Andrews Air Force Base,
just over 10 miles away and home to Air National
Guard units charged with defending the skies above the nation's capital?
Why did F-16s fail to protect Washington on 9/11?
Was the Langley emergency response sabotaged?
Why did Flight 77
hit a part of the building opposite from the high command
and mostly empty and under renovation,
with majority of victims being civilian accountants?
Why were Pentagon workers not
evacuated or warned that Flight 77 was approaching,
despite those in the bunker tracking the attack plane
as it closed the final 50 miles to the Pentagon?
How could Flight 77 have been
piloted through its extreme aerobatic final maneuvers
by Hani Hanjour,
a failed Cessna pilot who had never flown a jet?
Why did the flight instructor who
certified Hani Hanjour, a former Israeli paratrooper,
disappear a few days after his 9/11 Commission interview?
a war game drill
used to vacate the National Reconnaissance Office for the duration of the
How was a C-130 pilot able to intercept the plane incoming to the Pentagon while NORAD was not?
Did the Pentagon, the nerve center
of the US military, really have no missile or anti-aircraft defenses?
What were Vice-president Cheney's
orders when Norman Mineta described him speaking to a young man in
the presidential bunker as the plane approached, saying,
"Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary?"
It isn't hard to see how these points have been easily eclipsed by the
mystery and intrigue of the "no-Boeing-impact" scenarios, which
read as though scripted from the pages of a best-selling fictional
Tom Clancy novel:
Breathless cherry-picked recorded excerpts of
eyewitness accounts suggesting missiles, drones and flyovers, slick
video and flash presentations depicting the impossibility of the
engine parts and debris being that of a Boeing, government officials
in dark suits rushing around to confiscate everything they could
carry off the lawn just moments after the attack, planes flying above
and "seeding" the area with fake plane crash debris, screaming headlines
about the "virtual confession" of a mild mannered witness who is
"in on it" . . . without really knowing he is . . . This,
we are told, was all part of the "magic show" necessary
to confuse and deceive everyone for miles around the
Pentagon to achieve the ultimate "It was all faked!" scenario.
Such enticing best-selling hype would overshadow the comparably mundane
points listed above and essentially redirect those interested in what
happened at the Pentagon into a house of mirrors and labyrinth of dead ends.
Absurdities of endless scenarios of fakery arise,
capped by the famous "conspiracy theorist" response
to every reporter's favorite question:
"Maybe the passengers were dumped into the ocean,
how should I know what happened to them?!"
The claims of fakery are particularly
useful to lure those who have decided that AA77 could not have hit
the building but do not have the time to closely examine the evidence
-- because when everything is fake, anything becomes possible.
Importantly, any "no Boeing"
operation would have been left highly vulnerable to exposure
by even a single camcorder or photograph of the missile,
military jet, A-3 Skywarrior, Global Hawk, etc.
But with the flyover claim, there are the additional vulnerabilities
of someone seeing the plane flying away or the lampposts toppling
without being hit, among all of the other allegedly staged fakery at scene.
Further, issues like the DNA being
falsified, the passengers being disposed of, the radar data being
tampered with, etc., begins to feed into the "vast conspiracy"
debunker claims -- that there would have been no way to hide a
conspiracy consciously involving hundreds or more --
repeatedly brought forth to make the "conspiracy theories" appear impossible.
Finally, this essay is not the
production of one person, but includes the contributions by many,
through numerous quotes and excerpts from a variety of forums and
essays on the Web where many individuals have debated what happened
at the Pentagon during the attack of 9/11/01. Because the work of CIT
is so voluminous - some conclude that they must work full-time on it
-- any one individual cannot adequately respond to so many detailed
points. Researcher 'Arabesque' has come closest to providing the most
comprehensive critiques, and continues to.
But for that work he has been repeatedly labeled as an "agent",
has been told, "we are coming for you", and other such offenses.
Responses like these are
not uncommon when one attempts to engage in coherent critique and
debate over CIT's work.
all of us who learn anything from this essay -- and myself in the
writing of it -- are indebted to the many activists and researchers
who took the time to examine the claims critically and to engage in
what often amounted to a vicious online battle. While the Citizen
Investigation Team appears to be a "grassroots" team,
it actually consists of Aldo Marquis and Craig Ranke and is the
"Citizen Investigation Team LLC".
Indeed, the formation of a limited liability corporation
would seem to be necessary given the methods engaged in by CIT
of recording individuals without their knowledge
and reframing witness statements to fit a conclusion opposite to what
they believe themselves to be describing.
The obvious outcome of claiming that
witnesses are proving a point which they themselves object to, is
shown in a communication from a witness and Pentagon Police Sgt.
William Lagasse, who wrote to a website which published claims he had
described a flyover (before CIT made the same claims) in 2003:
I live with what I
saw everyday of my life, It has taken a long time to deal with the
images, screams and anger I felt that day, to be honest your website
angered me to the point I wanted to just curse and rant and rave but
I decided this would be much more helpful in quelling misconceptions.
To some extent, perhaps Sgt Lagasse
speaks for many of us, who feel exactly the same way.
THE OPPOSITE OF SCIENCE
Several themes emerge when one examines
the dialog, work and methods of CIT as they attempt to protect and
advocate the flyover theory -- erasing history, claiming an
omniscient viewpoint of reality, and using excessive detail and
overwhelming amounts of information.
In order to establish their paradigm,
CIT must erase any history that contradicts it. The best example of
this is the central method of their work, in which their personal
interviews of witnesses to the attack are implied to uncover a
"real" story beneath the myth, somehow missed by everyone before them.
This automatically ejects the entire history of existing eyewitness accounts
as invalid and unreliable.
Indeed CIT even claims that statements by all previous witnesses
are not to be considered.
In films like the
'Pentagon Attack Cab Driver Lloyde England's Virtual Confession',
only witnesses whom CIT has interviewed are ever mentioned
and are referred to as "the witnesses,"
as though no other witness accounts exist.
Those new to analysis of the Pentagon attack might automatically assume
that all other witnesses must not be worthy of examining.
The idea that CIT has an omniscient viewpoint in which they possess the
ability to read minds and infer thoughts which others cannot, is
common throughout the work and often serves as a primary basis for
their claims. Other descriptors for these abilities would be ESP, the
use of a Crystal Ball, and Mind Reading. For example, their
interpretations of a series of broad statements by the famous and
unfortunate cab driver, now elderly, whose car was impaled with a
lamp post during the attack, are presented by CIT as a clandestine
"virtual confession" to being an accomplice in the Pentagon
attack. Along these lines, all evidence that does not agree with the
flyover is also labelled as "fake" -- as though CIT has special
knowledge that a video, witness viewpoint, or other evidence was
secretly manipulated on purpose and so in effect, does not exist.
Avalanche of Detail
Finally, by diverting their
analysis into a vortex of increasingly detailed claims presented as
visually complex satellite photographs of flight paths covered in
colored lines, arrows, and other text; post after post of moving GIFs
of witnesses; careful transcriptions of each word in murky
conversations, numerous and long personal interactions on film
leading witnesses into asserting the same points repeatedly,
the CIT work serves to paralyze and intimidate typical viewers
Viewers automatically assume that with so much detail,
the filmmakers must be right.
Additionally, the tendency of excessive information
to result in cognitive distortions by participants has
been shown in psychology research.
Each of these techniques,
executed in numerous ways in the broad body of work by CIT,
functions to undermine coherent scientific analysis
and rational conclusions by readers and viewers attempting to understand
what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11/01. In this way, overall,
CIT's work is the opposite of scientific analysis.
Example: A Scientific Investigation
Although CIT claims to “prove" their claims, their methods are not
scientific nor are their claims proven in any sense of the word. The
involves the proposal of a hypothesis, testing of the hypothesis
and documentation of the process in order for independent bodies
to replicate and evaluate the investigation.
What CIT has proposed is a hypothesis, but only the appearance
of testing and evaluation has occurred. WIthout a scientific
basis, the project is not an investigation, but rather,
is a series of melodramatic
theater pieces about a speculative claim that
AA77 flew away from the building and no one noticed.
Interviewing witnesses closely in order
to understand criminal actions or events can be
a crucial instrument in exposing a cover-up or confusing event.
However, the method used to investigate the
witness statements must utilize the scientific method
in order to be considered viable.
An interesting example of manipulation of eyewitness accounts
for the purpose of forcing a desired hypothesis about an event
can be seen in the investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996:
At approximately 8:30 PM (EDT), on July 17, 1996,
at an altitude of 13,800 feet,
TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, exploded and crashed into the
Atlantic Ocean about eight miles south of Long Island, NY.
The jetliner was on a regularly scheduled flight from
John F. Kennedy International Airport to
Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France.
Good weather and high summertime populations allowed
hundreds to observe the crash. Officially, no less than
736 witnesses were interviewed in the immediate aftermath. . . .
Moments before the crash, witnesses observed a streak of
light rise from the ocean surface.
These observations initially caused FBI agents
"to suspect that a missile might have been used against flight 800".
Ultimately however, the NTSB concluded that the witnesses
mistook the aircraft itself for a missile.
In this case, the existence of a large database of
eyewitness statements allowed independent investigators
to examine the data, the hypothesis, and the analysis
used by the NTSB and FBI, and to reach conclusions
which differed from the official reports based on these accounts.
A detailed statistical examination of the database is
presented that shows a majority of the witnesses who
reported seeing a rising "streak of light" moments before
the crash contradict the NTSB's explanation of the streak
and clearly establish that the NTSB theory is untenable.
Rather than asserting that witnesses who did not see a
streak were "fake" or "lying" or "confused",
the independent investigators simply examined the full body of accounts
for consistent observations across them
and reported which ones appeared consistent with a "streak"
and which did not.
They did not try to eliminate each person who did not see a streak,
but merely reported that they did not see one.
more witness reports indicated a streak than didn't.
The investigators showed that the difference was statistically significant:
A statistical study of a recently released FBI database of
736 witness interview summaries refutes the NTSB's conclusion.
Most significantly, eighty-six percent of the witnesses
who described the motion and/or origin of the rising
streak reject the NTSB's explanation. These witnesses
observed the streak emanate from the surface when
Flight 800 was 2.6 miles (approximately 4 km) above it.
Others reported seeing the streak moving along a different
trajectory from that of Flight 800 and/or seeing the
streak collide with Flight 800 (see "FIRO Witness Statistics" on page 8).
The remaining fourteen percent offer no information
concerning the streak's origin.
Note that in this investigation, which follows the scientific method,
the investigators also reported inconsistencies --
that some reported the streak differently --
but did not then throw out or claim these reports to be "not credible".
They merely reported them.
Also note who was manipulating and
attempting to hide and reduce the witness reports:
The FBI withheld the accounts of 278 witnesses from the NTSB
for more than one year after the crash.
All witness accounts with descriptions of a "streak"
colliding with an aircraft were concealed
from the NTSB in this withheld data. . .
At the final public hearing on the crash in August 2000,
the NTSB dramatically under-reported the number
of witness accounts that conflicted with their proposed crash scenario.
Interestingly, in the case of the Pentagon attack,
it is the no-Boeing-impact advocates who claim reasons to
under-report and remove -- essentially hide --
the many witness accounts that refute the
assertion that AA77 could not have hit there.
There are significant differences between these catastrophic events:
the 9/11/01 attacks were likely staged,
while the potential missile hit on Flight 800 did not
indicate evidence of planning but seemed to
require a cover-up after the fact.
Hence, in the case of the Pentagon attack,
it is not inconceivable that some witnesses could have been coached
ahead of time to help provide a scenario for the public,
if the event was in fact staged and did not involve AA77.
However, there is no evidence for this claim of planted witnesses,
CIT asserts that at least 4 witnesses are "plants"
but provides no hard evidence to establish such a claim
except to find inconsistencies in their reports,
not unlike the previous claims of Gerard Holmgren,
Dick Eastman, and other Pentagon researchers.
None of these researchers seem to be aware that
there are nearly always inconsistencies within and between eyewitness
reports of any crime or major event.
Professional investigators know to take into account
the nature and proportion of the inconsistencies before declaring
to themselves -- much less anyone else -- that a witness lied.
And more importantly, even if the planners of the attack
had managed to place dozens of witnesses on the ground --
this being only a fraction of the
over 200 witnesses found online describing the incident --
they could not have controlled every person for miles
around without blockading the area and evacuating all people for miles,
which would have been known to people in the area and the news stations.
This would involve more than a mile of I-395,
a six-lane highway flanked by multiple access roads,
as well as the four- to six-lane state routes 27 and 110.
Pentagon City, which includes several highrise apartments and hotels,
would also have had to have been evacuated,
since many of its rooms had a full view of the Pentagon's airspace.
If a flyover had occurred,
a single witness reporting it
or just one photograph or video recording it
would risk exposing the entire fraud.
Thus it can be seen that the role of the interviewee,
and the behavior of those in control of the raw data,
are as critically important as the witnesses being interviewed.
If the person conducting the interview
has a particular viewpoint on what should have happened
and uses leading questions or rephrasing of the witnesses' responses,
then the objectivity of the testimony is lost.
HISTORY OF THE FLYOVER THEORY
The "flyover" theory of the
Pentagon attack implicitly advocated by CIT --
essentially postulating that a "magic show"
involving explosions and, perhaps, some other plane hitting the building,
caused every witness to believe the
commercial jet had hit the building when it had actually flown over
the building and away somewhere . . . and no one noticed --
was first introduced by Richard Eastman in 2003
and later revived by Russell/Stanley in 2004 with
"The Five-Sided Fantasy Island".
Jim Hoffman describes Richard Eastman's theory on 9-11 Research:
A theory of the
Pentagon attack by researcher Richard Eastman attempts to reconcile
conclusions that a 757 did not hit the building with eyewitness
accounts of such an aircraft apparently flying into it.
Many other skeptics of the official story of Flight 77's crash,
such as Thierry Meyssan, Eric Hufschmid, and Gerard Holmgren,
have tended to minimize eyewitness accounts,
highlighting inconsistencies and suggesting that people mistook
a painted drone for an American Airlines jetliner.
In contrast, the two-plane theory accommodates most portions
of the eyewitness accounts except those relating to the moment of impact.
Eastman corresponded with some witnesses about their recollections.
According to the theory,
the attack combined a hit by a small attack jet with an overflight
by Flight 77.
The attack jet, likely an F-16 single-engine supersonic fighter,
flew in at treetop level, clipping lamp-posts on the highway overpass,
and smashing into the Pentagon's west wall,
with the engine penetrating the C-ring and producing the
eight-foot-diameter punch-out hole.
Meanwhile Flight 77 approached on a slightly more northerly trajectory,
diving down over the Naval Annex and leveling out
as it approached the Pentagon. Before reaching the huge building,
the 757 disappeared behind a blinding flash and fireball,
overflew the Pentagon, and blended
into traffic landing at Reagan National Airport.
Dick Eastman also attempted to use witness accounts to support his claims:
"WITNESS ACCOUNTS REPORTING ONLY ONE PLANE
DIVIDE INTO TWO MUTUALLY CONTRADICTING GROUPS --
No conspiracy would hire (or trust) that many liars,
so both groups must be telling the truth --
there must have been two planes. Judge for yourself:
Witnesses who claim to have seen only one plane break into two groups.
Those who describe, 1) an airliner, shiny, red and blue markings,
with two engines, in a dive, and flying "low"
in terms of one or two hundred feet, and silent (engines idle);
and, 2) a plane that came in at tree-top level, at "20 feet" all the way,
hitting lamp posts in perfect low level flight that must have been established
and stabilized well before the lamp posts were reached; engines roaring;
pouring on speed; smaller than a mid-sized airliner. . . .
But if the witnesses testimony is inconclusive
the actual video recording of the attack is not.
The killer jet was not a Boeing and it did not dive.
Adam Larson, author of The Frustrating Fraud Blog,
examined Eastman's method and noted the avoided reference of the C-130:
If we combine the two descriptions
we get a composite of the one plane official story.
Conversely, by fragmenting the descriptors and creating
two piles he creates two jets.
. . . Eastman was aware of the C-130, and mentioned it once in the paper.
He noted the cargo plane could have aerially planted the 757 debris
indicating impact, especially the “wheel in the parking lot,"
as it passed "just 30 seconds later."
It is never mentioned in connection with two-planes accounts
despite at least one that was quite clear on being a C-130 witness.
Later, in 2004, Richard Stanley &
Jerry Russell created a similar theory in their essay, 'Five Sided
Fantasy Island', but with shaped charge explosives instead of the
military fighter jet:
indicates that in reality, sophisticated shaped-charge explosive
technology was used to create a scene comporting with the appearance
of an jetliner crash, while simultaneously a 757 overflew the area
and landed at nearby Reagan National Airport. If this scenario is
correct, it shows that US intelligence agencies have developed an
extraordinary capability to create elaborate magic shows on the world
stage, generate false testimony and false evidence, and control and
manipulate not only the "official story" but also its
dialectical opposition among the critics.
The PentaCon website states:
We demonstrate how
the plane flew over Washington DC skies and came from the east side
of the Potomac River. We explain how the C-130 and white E4B or
"mystery plane" were used as cover for the decoy jet that
was meant to fool people into believing it hit the building. We
expose the methodology behind the operation and demonstrate how they
were able to successfully pull off this military deception in broad
The Eastman and Stanley/Russell claims
never got much traction and over time, were virtually ignored.
Hoffman describes a core issue with the theory:
If the overflight
element of the two-plane theory seems bizarre, it illustrates the
difficulty in reconciling the eyewitness evidence with the conclusion
that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon.
Indeed, one of the primary purposes of
the CIT version of the flyover theory was to attempt to force out of
the witnesses some type of support for the flyover by re-interpreting
accounts which often are transparently describing a different plane
than CIT claims, in most cases the C-130.
As blogger Arabesque states:
The CIT flyover
(what I correctly rename to the "mass hallucination theory")
largely depends on dismissing hundreds of witness accounts, and
deceptively insinuating that the widespread and unanimous reports of
the plane hitting the Pentagon do not count as evidence of the
Interestingly, the flyover theories had been relatively forgotten,
replaced by the more palatable claims that a smaller plane
had hit the building,
before CIT resurrected them.
However, in common with all theories of "no Boeing impact" at the Pentagon,
the flyover theory must generate a rationale to remove witnesses
who contradict its claims.
The first well-known 9/11 researcher to try to
"whittle away" the credibility of "undesirable" witnesses
was Gerard Holmgren, who, in 2002,
wrote a long essay to wipe away all witnesses to a Boeing
hitting the Pentagon.
Holmgren used the same techniques which have been used repeatedly
ever since then: cast doubt on the veracity of the witness claims through
an ever-changing application made to fit each witness of how
their experience could not possibly have happened as
reported -- they must be confused or lying.
There's a big problem with this account. McGraw says that the plane
passed directly over his car at power pole hight [sic] but that he didn't hear
anything until it was directly above.Totally impossible if it was a 757. He
says he had the window closed, which is like wearing a t-shirt to protect
against a machine gun. If a 757 was passing 20 ft over your car, you
would be deafened by it before you saw it.
Was it really "totally impossible" for McGraw not to have noticed an
approaching plane moving at hundreds of miles per hour while he was
driving a car? How would Holmgren know what another individual's
personal experience of this traumatic event could be?
Later, in 2006, Holmgren used the same method to challenge
witness accounts of the planes at the World Trade Center:
Once again, the studio reporter saw the plane on the monitor,
the witness on the spot did not see a plane.
Before anything can be reasonably discussed, the witness
who thinks there was no plane gets a replay shoved in his face.
Understandably enough, he assumes that
it must have been obscured from his view. What else would he think?
This is the *exact scenario* which I mention in the
"why they didn't use planes" scenario. They didn't need to.
It was seen live on TV, and anybody who didn't see
a large jet was convinced that they just
missed it or didn't see it properly.
Unfortunately, David Ray Griffin relied on Holmgren's research for his
chapter on the Pentagon in his book,
The New Pearl Harbor, and in 2004, during a debate
with Chip Berlet on DemocracyNow!,
Berlet was able to cast doubt on Griffin's research using Holmgren:
CHIP BERLET: . . . One of the people that Griffin relies on
is this—is a researcher named Holmgren,
who goes into great lengths say that he can’t find this witness,
He went on to say that Dave Winslow probably doesn’t exist and if he does,
he should come forward. Dave Winslow is an A.P. Radio reporter.
If you pick up the “Washingtonian magazine" for September, 2002,
there’s a picture of Dave Winslow and an interview of what he saw.
That’s the substandard research being relied on here.
These examples of the type of reasoning being used to attempt
to whittle away the veracity of each witness account --
which have nothing to do with a scientific approach,
but everything to do with convincing an audience of a claim --
speak for themselves in the outcome. Indeed, just as
Berlet was able to cast doubt on all the rest of Griffin's work with
a single glaring error, the screaming claims about
how a plane never hit the Pentagon,
the hundreds of videos and news articles asserting the
broad belief by the "conspiracy theories"
of this event as "impossible", have the power to
cast doubt on all of the points which challenge the
official story of the 9/11/01 attack if the actual video
showing AA77 hitting the building is ever released.
ONE FIFTH OF A THEORY AT BEST
Just as Eastman
and Russell/Stanley before them, CIT also cannot address the elephant
in the room: why didn't people on the other sides of the Pentagon
report seeing the plane flying away?
Indeed, as we look
a little closer, we discover that the flyover theory only works
if humans on all of the other sides of the Pentagon do not exist.
The hand-waving explanations attempting to account for how all of the
people on the other sides could also have not noticed a large
commercial jet roaring away over the top of the largest office
building in the world, just no longer suffice, and the cloud of a
dark mystery begins to fade like fog in sunlight, as the flyover
theory falls apart before our eyes.
The Pentagon from the north, showing Pentagon City to the south.
The foreshortened runway seen in the upper left of the photograph
is only 5,210 feet long -- too short to accomodate jetliners.
Most air traffic uses the main, 6,869-foot, runway
whose north approach follows the river about 3,500 feet to the east
of the Pentagon.
flyover advocates must claim that two different realities exist on
either side of the Pentagon. On one side, witnesses are worthy of
being interviewed and can report the flyover implicitly, even if they
actually believe they saw the plane hit the building. On the other
side, witnesses would have been too confused to be taken seriously by
any media interviewing them, and would have also been too confused by
all the planes in the air. As a blogger on the Above Top Secret forum
notes, even the plane itself changes on each side of the building:
A noisy, fast, low flying jet that attracts the attention of dozens
of people on the west side of the Pentagon turns into a quiet, slow,
normal jet on the east side of the Pentagon.
CIT attempts to
reason why it wasn't worth looking into those witnesses, and why none
of them would have shown up in media reports. Again, they fall back
on the catch-all C-130:
Anybody on the other side that saw a plane flyover would not be
published as an eyewitness and their report of what they saw would be
confused with the C-130 and blown off as unimportant and therefore
However, as Arabesque points out:
Video evidence captured the C-130 on I-395, about 15 seconds after
the alleged impact, high in the sky, showing the clear absurdity of
confusing it with the plane alleged to hit the Pentagon.
attempts to claim that there are so many planes in the area -- a
veritable blizzard of planes, too confusing to have sorted out.
Notice how this is not an issue on the side of the Pentagon viewed by
CIT witnesses, who apparently would not have been confused.
There are low flying planes making fast ascents over the Pentagon all
day long every 2 to 4 minutes!
One blogger on the Above Top Secret forum
did an analysis of the potential viewers of the alleged flyover
on the other side of the Pentagon:
I'm going to take a look at CIT's claim of a "flyover" from a realistic
perspective by showing a View Shed analysis of the topography
around the Pentagon to demonstrate the visibility of any aircraft
flying over the Pentagon from any location in the area. . . . The
observation comes immediately to mind that if a flyover took place
whose flight path would take the jet over and within view of a
densely populated geographic area as it flew away from the Pentagon -
and the explosion that took place - including heavily-travelled
freeways and bridges, should there not be eyewitness reports from a
wide geographic area on the other side of the Pentagon in which no
topographical obstructions existed? CIT has been asked that
question repeatedly and the response has either been that those
eyewitnesses are not needed or, "do your own investigation."
John Doraemi, creator of the blog
Crimes of the State
, wrote a thread responding to Ranke's assertions,
titled, 'C.I.T. and the "PentaCon", Half a Theory at Best':
Zero of his
witnesses were on the EAST side of the Pentagon, where they would
have seen a low flying jetliner buzz the building and continue
flying. This was in broad daylight, and a crowded highway would have
been overflown by this jetliner that no one has seen. . . . and no
one at all has claimed they saw or heard a jetliner scream low over
the Pentagon and continue on its merry way. That's a big zero, a very
big zero indeed. Far from being "independently confirmed,"
the utter lack of a single witness seeing the event Ranke claims
happened is stark and telling. Low flying 757s are not subtle, quiet,
But perhaps one of the most difficult
aspects to explain is brought by a blogger on the Above Top Secret
even fooled the air traffic controller at Reagan National Airport
who watched it approach while he was in the tower.
To imagine that Air Traffic Controllers
at Reagan National Airport could not have seen the plane flying away
-- despite reporting seeing the AA77 approach and observing the crash
event explosion and fireball -- is a difficult stretch to imagine and
consequently must add another group to the "in on it" list. In
fact, as HistoryCommons.org reports:
Washington’s Reagan National Airport air traffic control instructs a military
C-130 cargo plane that has just departed Andrews Air Force Base to
intercept Flight 77 and identify it. [New York Times, 10/16/2001;
Would the same air traffic controllers
who ordered the C-130 to intercept AA77 have then gotten mixed up as
AA77 flew over the Pentagon in front of their eyes and the C-130 also
flew by a moment later? As John Doraemi also points out,
then there's the C-130 pilot:
Now, you have a
witness that you need to refute, the guy flying the C130 who was
tasked by flight controllers to follow the rogue plane.
"Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir."
He was above the scene, and in perfect position to see if the plane
continued on. You'll probably just say he's lying too. Okay.
The flyover, consequently, is no longer a tenable scenario.
As HistoryCommons.org reports, descriptions of
the responses of the controllers put the flyover theory to rest:
After seeing the
explosion from the attack on the Pentagon, air traffic controllers at
Washington’s Reagan National Airport promptly alert others to the
crash, with a supervisor reporting that the crashed aircraft was an
American Airlines 757. [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/18/2001;
Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159] Reagan Airport is less than a mile from
the Pentagon. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/19/2001] In its control tower,
supervisor Chris Stephenson had looked out the window and seen
Flight 77 approaching (see (9:36 a.m.) September 11, 2001). He
watched it flying a full circle and disappearing behind a building in
nearby Crystal City, before crashing into the Pentagon. Stephenson
sees the resulting fireball and a mass of paper debris that fills the
air. He calls the airport’s Terminal Radar Approach Control
(TRACON) and reports: "It was an American 757! It hit the Pentagon.
It was a 757 and it hit the Pentagon. American!" [USA Today,
8/11/2002; Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159] Other controllers see the
fireball from the crash. One of them, David Walsh, activates the
crash phone, which instantly connects the control tower to
airport operations, as well as fire and police departments. He yells
down the line: "Aircraft down at the Pentagon! Aircraft down at the
Pentagon!" [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/18/2001; McDonnell,
2004, pp. 19-20 pdf file; Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159]
Although CIT's likely response to these facts
would be to assert that the air traffic controllers were "in on it"
or were controlled in some other way, it is not known if CIT
attempted to interview them,
as these people would have had a clear view of the events that day.
However, even if the ATCs quoted above were "in on it",
and even if all the witnesses on the Pentagon's west side
were fooled by the "magic show",
it woul not begin to explain the silence of everyone
on the other sides of the building who would have had
a clear view of the flyover.
And, contrary to CIT's assertion that witnesses were confused by the C-130,
a cursory examination of the evidence shows that
eyewitnesses reported the differences between the two planes with clarity.
Furthermore, the C-130, which was significantly behind the jetliner,
turned around and did not fly over the Pentagon.
Nor is it plausible that reporters would have thrown out
all the interviews with numerous witnesses who repeated,
"I saw the American Airlines jet flying away!"
Every way the scenario is examined, the claim that no one
would have seen the plane flying away is found to be baseless.
Nick Schou's unfortunate conclusion now seems apt:
In fact, other than
a few interesting interviews with people who saw a plane fly on one
side of a gas station when the official data places it on the other,
ThePentaCon includes no evidence of anything whatsoever, just a lot
of questions and innuendo set to an ominous hip-hop beat.
IN SEARCH OF A FLYOVER WITNESS
Although CIT claims it has conclusive
testimonies by witnesses who prove that a flyover occurred, the
reality of these accounts is often far from what is claimed.
Pentagon Eyewitness Erik Dihle
I was intrigued to read this claim on a
forum that 'another' flyover witness had been found:
We even have ANOTHER flyover witness.
Erik Dihle was at Arlington Cemetery in his
office right across from the Citgo station.
He told the Center for Military History only weeks after the event
that just after the explosion,
he ran outside and the first thing he heard people say was that,
"...a bomb hit the Pentagon and that a jet kept on going!"
You can hear the 2001 interview here:
Somewhat deflating for the informed
listener, clicking on the link and sitting back to listen for a
while, one finds that Dihle provides no such confirmation of a
flyover. Instead, what we actually hear is a vague reference to what
Dihle heard other people saying immediately after the attack.
The first few
seconds it was very confusing, we couldn't even tell . . some people
were yelling that a bomb had hit the Pentagon and the jet kept on
going, somebody else was yelling no, no, no, the jet ran into the
building . . . the smoke was so black, we couldn't really see the
hole or anything.
The stretch needed to call this account "evidence" makes it highly dubious.
But it also serves as an interesting example of one of the telltale signs
of bias in the PentaCon effort and by its supporters -- witnesses
are treated differently depending on whether they reported a plane
impacting the building or something else.
Interestingly, the account by Dihle
also includes his description of seeing the C-130 turboprop plane
approach the Pentagon which he describes as coming in like a "very
steep kind of dive-bombing" as he and others were standing talking
outside the burning Pentagon building, an event also described by
numerous other witnesses online and confirmed in news articles:
And then as we're
talking, the first few seconds, another plane is coming in, very
steep kind of dive-bombing, right down just to this, the south end of
the cemetery . . . I recognized it as being the 4-engine overhead
wing Turbo-prop plane, and I even called on the radio and I said,
this may - "Here comes another one!", 'cause we thought it was
another terrorist jet or something . . .
However, CIT appears to take every
opportunity to confuse listeners and viewers into conflating the
planes at the scene. The Dihle account demonstrates this in the
mixing of his descriptions of the commercial jet and the C-130. A
listener unaware of the confirmed presence of a second plane, a
"4-engine overhead wing Turbo-prop" might automatically assume
that Dihle was actually claiming he saw AA77 flying away.
Additionally, the order in which the Dihle describes the events
directly conflates the two, bouncing back and forth between the
commercial jet event and the Turboprop event, so that someone
unfamiliar with the events that day can easily begin to fill in the
gaps. Finally, the use of the word "flyover" could be a trigger
for the CIT admirer, supporting a belief that indeed, Dihle thinks a
I thought it was just a regular flyover . . .
I thought, gee I'm missing another
flyover, I love those things . . .
Yet, Dihle continues:
Then a split second
later I'm thinking, that doesn't sound like a regular flyover, it's
way too low and it's really whining and you know, sounded different,
and then the big Boom! Boom! . . .
Dihle, like everyone else in PentaCon,
is merely confirming events that are already documented that day, but
the excerpts are mixed and conflated to result in a subtle suggestion
that he witnessed a real flyover. His side account of hearing someone
in the crowd who appeared to be momentarily confused -- and was
corrected by others at the time -- is now re-interpreted by CIT
advocates as a "witness to a flyover".
Importantly, it's also worth
reiterating that Erik Dihle, like everyone else, never says anything
like, "I'd like to know what ever happened to that commercial jet
because I saw it fly away!" or, "None of it happened like they
said, I saw that jet fly away, it never hit the building." He turns
out to be just another person at the scene who heard the attack occur
and came outside to experience the chaos immediately after, as well
as witness the approach of the C-130.
Pentagon Eyewitness Roosevelt Roberts Jr.
CIT has also claimed, in numerous posts
all over internet forums, that witness Roosevelt Roberts Jr. is a
confirmed "flyover" witness. Craig Ranke states:
In addition we have
a confirmed account from yet another witness, Pentagon police officer
Roosevelt Roberts Jr, who saw the plane flying away from the building
immediately after the explosion. This is definitive validation that
the 13 corroborated North side of the gas station accounts are 100%
valid and correct and that the plane did not hit the building as
these accounts inexorably suggest.
Here's some of the interview in which
Roberts describes what he saw (full audio
ALDO: -did it look like it went out over the river,
and- and kind of turned around?
ROOSEVELT: Um, it
looked like it went over on the mall entrance side and turned around;
because you've got. . . the mall there, and then- where I was,
was south; and the plane,. . . from the direction it was
sitting, was facing west; so it went. . . southwest away from the
ALDO: Sou-southwest away from the Pentagon, okay;
so kind of doing a U-turn, in
ALDO: Okay. Okay.
ROOSEVELT: 'Cause it banked out, and it was like U-turning and
coming around and coming
It looked like, uh. . . for those brief seconds it looked
like it- it- it, um. . . uh, how do I want to say this, uh. . . it
missed the wrong target, and it was going, like. . . out of the way,
like back to the airport, or something like that.
ALDO: Oh, like- so
it was headed towards the airport, it looked like.
no, not heading towards the airport; it's almost like if a. . .
if a pilot misses good he'll try to do a banking and come around,
because he missed the target: he missed the landing zone.
Anyone familiar with the attack will
recognize what Mr. Roberts is describing: not AA77, which had already
hit the building by then, but the C-130 that flew over the area,
diving and low enough to scare people on the ground into thinking it
was a second attack. While his specific descriptions of the plane
suggest AA77, the movements he describes are those of the C-130,
consistently described by numerous witnesses --
a sharp dive and a banking turn.
Roberts' description of the banking turn and timing of the
cargo plane's arrival,
just after AA77,
fits closely with many other accounts of the C-130:
Scott P. Cook --
As we watched the
black plume gather strength, less than a minute after the explosion,
we saw an odd sight that no one else has yet commented on. Directly
in back of the plume, which would place it almost due west from our
office, a four-engine propeller plane, which Ray later said resembled
a C-130, started a steep decent towards the Pentagon. It was
coming from an odd direction (planes don't go east-west in the area),
and it was descending at a much steeper angle than most aircraft.
Trailing a thin, diffuse black trail from its engines, the plane
reached the Pentagon at a low altitude and made a sharp left turn,
passing just north of the plume, and headed straight for the White
John O'Keefe --
The first thing I did was pull over onto the shoulder, and when I got
out of the car I saw another plane flying over my head.… Then the
plane—it looked like a C-130 cargo plane—started turning away
from the Pentagon, it did a complete turnaround.
[New York Law Journal, 9/12/2001]
Keith Wheelhouse says the second plane is a C-130; two other
witnesses are not certain. [Daily Press (Newport News), 9/15/2001] .
. . As Flight 77 descends toward the Pentagon, the second plane
veers off west.[Daily Press (Newport News), 9/14/2001]
is even similar to CIT's own interview of their other "flyover"
witness, Erik Dihle, describing the C-130:
And then as we're
talking, the first few seconds, another plane is coming in, very
steep kind of dive-bombing, right down just to this, the south end of
the cemetery . . . I recognized it as being the 4-engine overhead
wing Turbo-prop plane, and I even called on the radio and I
said, this may - "Here comes another one!", 'cause we thought
it was another terrorist jet or something . . .
like Roberts', also describe the C-130 as arriving "seconds"
Kelly Knowles says that seconds after seeing Flight 77 pass, she
sees a "second plane that seemed to be chasing the first
[pass] over at a slightly different angle."
9:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Military Cargo Plane near
Flight 77; Pilot Later Implies He Is Far Away
[Daily Press (Newport News), 9/15/2001]
Additionally, Roosevelt Roberts Jr.,
like Erik Dihle and everyone else, said nothing to indicate a flyover
in his statement describing what he saw, taken in an interview just a
couple of months after the event:
So after I
thought about it, I looked again, and they said that there was
another plane coming on the television, and then my Sargent, Sargent
Woolrich, Woody, he called and he said, "Hey Rob, listen, we're
going to Threat Con Delta." As I hang up the phone, the plane
hit the building. It all came at the same time. Watching the TV, it's
like it was almost timed for preciseness. So, as I hung up the phone
and I ran to the center of the dock and I looked up and I saw another
plane flying around the South Parking lot, about like 9:12, 9:11 in
the morning, and then there was dust and stuff coming from the
ceilings, and you could hear people screaming, so what I did was I
turned around I drew out my weapon, I didn't know what was going on,
I thought we was being invaded, I didn't know what was happening.
Lloyd's Wife, FBI Employee Shirley Hughes
Craig Ranke also cites Shirley Hughes,
Lloyd's wife, as a supporter of the flyover theory. He says that
Shirley "did express to us that she knows why the cab wasn't taken
into evidence" and that later, she agreed with them that the plane
did not hit the building but flew over. Once again come Craig's
confident and unwavering assertion that Shirley "literally agreed"
with the flyover:
We told her,
'Listen, because of the evidence we have, we know that the plane did
not hit the building and continued on'. Now her response was 'Yes.'
My response back to her was, 'Excuse me!?' And she said, 'What you
said.' So she literally agreed with us that the plane did not hit the
Mysteriously, however, a moment later,
Ranke says that she would no longer talk about it. Ranke interprets
this to suggest that she must have accidentally let out that she too,
knows about the flyover, and decides to then shut up.
Perhaps conveniently, the recording of
this conversation is so noisy -- as though a mic were dropped into
the middle of a house party -- that it cannot be discerned what she
appeared to have agreed to. Could it possibly have been the case that
Shirley, too, could not hear what they were saying to her? Here's the
CIT: Listen, because of the evidence we
have, we know that the plane did not hit the building
and continued on.
CIT: Excuse me?! Yeah what?
SHIRLEY: What you said.
CIT: What did I say?
At this point, Shirley appears to say
nothing and Lloyd intervenes in the conversation on a different
track. Then the recoding ends. Could Shirley have just been being
polite in saying, as many people do, "Yeah", simply to go along
with a conversation she couldn't quite hear? This would be a fairly
Like all the other "witnesses",
Shirley never says, "The plane didn't hit!" But these muddled
conversations, fed in controlled segments to a listener, provide the
allure of a mystery that CIT works so hard to create. That CIT makes
such confident proclamations about such poor recordings should be a
huge red flag.
Other 'North of the Citgo' Path Witnesses
Hundreds if not thousands of forum posts
and hours of film and video have been devoted to debating
the details of the witnesses statements
that CIT cites as supporting a North-of-the-Citgo-Station flight path.
However, as Arabesque notes, the north flight path can survive
only if one disposes of contradictory evidence,
that locates the plane south of the Citgo.
Here, he describes the inherent problem with this methodology:
The film tries to
make the case that four eyewitness statements are enough evidence to
counter all other physical evidence (and implicitly, all other
contradictory eyewitness statements). One of the main defects of the
PentaCon is that it only considers four eyewitness
statements—ignoring a very large body of eyewitness statements and
previous research into the testimony. Why is this significant?
"Citing only evidence that is favorable to one side as if no
contrary evidence exists is known as SPECIAL PLEADING. Special
Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards,
principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she
has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate
justification for the exemption."
Blogger jimd3100, in a post on
911blogger, describes the method which leads to the disposal of
witnesses, and what he thinks of it:
. . . Other
witnesses they interviewed indicate a different flightpath consistent
with where "it should be". i.e. Father McGraw, Mike Walter,
and Lloyd the cabbie to name three. However Mike Walter is a reporter
for USA Today and therfore a "plant", I find that to be
unreasonable. Father Mcgraw is a priest and has ties to the Vatican
and is a former DOJ attorney and is therefore "compromised",
I find that to be unreasonable, and Lloyd the cabbie, doesn't jive
with Laggasee's [sic] flight path and therefore is "in on it",
I find that to be unreasonable. I was simply asking for any explanation
for how this Mr Birdwell could have almost died from jet fuel in his
lungs if the plane these witnesses are all seeing didn't hit the Pentagon?
John Farmer, posting as 'spcengineer' on a LooseChange forum,
describes a similar situation:
. . . [CIT] also
are selective in which witnesses they see as "credible" and
those they do not. Edward Paik is a prime example. He, as well as a
VDOT employee across the street, had exactly the same experience. For
a fraction of a second, each state that a low altitude plane
traveling at high speed flew over their heads. Both reacted normally
and ducked. During that fraction of a second, Paik sees all kinds of
flight path details which sound great, but they [CIT] don't like
those of the VDOT witness, and [so] she is deemed not "credible".
I would be so bold as to say neither saw much since they were too
busy ducking for cover!
These examples illustrate two key
problems with the method which has been the same method used all
along in both the other flyover theories -- Eastman and
Stanley/Russell -- and by many advocates of the "no Boeing"
theories in general:
witnesses who describe details that call into question the impact of AA77
are considered "credible",
while those who describe AA77 impacting the building are "confused",
"plants", or "could not have seen it from their vantage point."
The most extreme example of these methods can be found in Gerard
Holmgren's original essay
in which, one by one, he attempted to
exclude each witness based on new and unique criteria.
A scientific analysis of witness
statements would use the opposite method, and would make every effort
to include, rather than exclude, witness data. It would establish
broad criteria -- before embarking on a detailed analysis -- to
determine when any testimony must be removed. Such an analysis would
primarily examine the body of reports as a whole, while also
investigating individual discrepancies and anomalies to determine if
other consistent observations could be found.
Finally, we do not know how many
witnesses object to the claims made by "no-Boeing-impact"
advocates, but we do know that some do. For example, Pentagon Police
Officer, William Lagasse, described by CIT as a North of the Citgo
flightpath witness, openly objected to claims of the original flyover
advocate -- Dick Eastman -- by writing in to the site which published it:
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 13:11:40 -0400
From: "Lagasse, William" <...@...>
Dear Sir rest assured it was a Boeing 757
that flew into the building that day,
I was on duty as a pentagon police sgt. I was refueling my vehicle at
the barraks k gas station that day adjacent to the aircrafts flight
path. It was close enough that i could see the windows had the shades
pulled down, it struck several light poles next to rt 27 and struck a
trailer used to store construction equipment for the renovation of
the pentagon that was to the right of the fueselage impact point.
The fact that you are insinuating that this was staged and a fraud is
unbelievable. You ask were the debris is...well it was in the
building..I saw it everywhere. I swear to god you people piss me off
to no end. I invite you and you come down and I will walk you through
it step by step. I have more than a few hours in general aviation
aircraft and can identify commercial airliners. Have you ever seen
photos of other aircraft accident photos...there usually isnt huge
amounts of debris left...how much did you see from the WTC?...are
those fake aircraft flying into the building.
I know that this will make no diffrence to you because to even have a
websight like this you are obviously a diffrent sort of thinker.
"Accomplice" Cabbie Lloyd England
Craig Ranke describes the unfortunate cabbie whose taxi was hit
by a lamppost at the Pentagon, as an "accomplice" to the attack:
It's done people.
We have proven 9/11 was an inside job. . .
has been proven to be the first known accomplice (willing or not) to
Claiming that witnesses to the events
of 9/11/01 are accomplices in the crime crosses a line.
Like Glenn Beck, the CIT filmmakers
show time and again that they are not capable of understanding basic
social or legal boundaries, such as the relevance of making public
baseless defamatory statements about individuals they have secretly
taped. This is perhaps one of the strongest reasons for
broad and public rejection of CIT, PentaCon, and any groups, radio
hosts, event organizers or others who are promoting them.
Although CIT claims that they are exposing the "inside job"
by attempting to show how AA77 never could have hit the Pentagon,
their focus on witnesses, such as an elderly cabbie,
as a supposed accomplice in the crime, amounts to little more
than a soap opera drama which transparently
leads viewers down a dead-end path of analysis of
each phrase uttered by the cabbie,
while the roles of actual officials and decision-making at the
highest levels are ignored.
A post by "Charlie" on the OCWeekly
article, Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets, states:
Here is what the
CIT thugs say about him: "This means that Lloyd England has now
been shown beyond a reasonable doubt to have been directly involved
with this black operation of mass murder." Pathetic. Beyond
pathetic, in my opinion. But Aldo and Craig, why have you not
approached the DA with your "evidence" with a view to
getting this poor old man hauled in for questioning? His guilt is
beyond reasonable doubt, right?
Another person posting on the Loose Change forum
counters Craig's speculations about the exact meaning of each of
Lloyd's broad statements, with several logical responses. Here,
he adds his feelings about the assertions:
CRAIG: Here is the damning virtual confession as seen in the
video. I call it a 'virtual confession' because he basically admits
involvement while maintaining innocence.
BBS: This is sounding dangerously like a witch trial - ‘if
she sinks she’s a witch’. Are you really suggesting that if he
maintains innocence it is a virtual confession? You need to take
a step back and reconsider this. It is absolute folly. You are
running an extremely dangerous path here, it will be very easy for
people to accuse you of ‘virtual harassment’ if you pursue this
Finally, a summary on the TruthAction forum captures the response by many to the claims about Lloyd:
It's a display that is not only painfully embarrassing
but downright nauseating:
The highly ambiguous and craftily edited words
of a not-so-lucid elderly cab driver -
recorded on hidden camera - are presented as a "virtual confession"
of complicity in the 9/11 false flag attack.
This material is then seized upon by zealous believers
who herald it as a smoking gun and imply that anyone challenging it
is part of a disinformation campaign against the so-called
Citizens Investigation Team.
A PATTERN OF DISRUPTION
Many are unaware of one aspect of the
work of CIT that has gone on behind the scenes, an aspect that many
9/11 internet activists know all too well--- PentaCon filmmakers are
long-time disruptors, banned from some of the main 9/11 discussion
forums, such as 911Blogger.com and TruthAction.org, as well others
like TruthMove.org and STJ911.org.
Is this really only because people just
cannot agree on the issues brought up in the PentaCon film?
As it turns out, almost all of these
forums do host discussions about issues in the film – and debate
occurs – but the filmmakers themselves are no longer allowed there.
A quick glance at locked threads where the filmmakers have
participated before being removed, shows why:
they are unwilling to hear any critique and respond to it rationally.
Instead, they plaster discussions with stills
from their films and statements that repeatedly insist that they are correct,
typically demeaning others so intensely in the process that
the discussion becomes unmanageable and is shut down.
Researcher Arabesque, after spending some time in debate with CIT,
put together a summary of his observations:
The CIT researchers frequently and falsely interpret criticism
of their theory as a personal attack along with accusations of
government sponsored “neutralization". As the flyover theory is
clearly unsupported by any credible evidence, the CIT theorists
frequently rely on vicious, slanderous, and libelous ad hominem
attacks and antagonism to those who dare to question their flyover theory.
Any disagreement with the “smoking gun" evidence is derided with
hostility on internet forums, while any criticism of the theory
is largely interpreted as an “attack" or “spook operation".
Pentagon researchers in particular,
are highlighted for accusations including “treason",
“supporting the official story", “COINTELPRO", and “brainwashed".
Similarly, any witnesses who contradict the north claim
are called “propaganda", “agents", and in the case of a taxi cab driver,
“the devil". Aside from the weakly supported flyover hypothesis,
whether intentional or not, the ridiculous antics and
outrageous behavior of the CIT researchers are
damaging and destructive to the credibility of the 9/11 truth movement.
Not surprisingly, almost anyone who
disagrees with CIT is eventually labeled as "disinfo" or an
agent. For example, Ranke even has claimed on public forums that
Dylan Avery deliberately covers up information:
"The bad news is that people are still refusing to accept it or
insisting on minimizing the relevance of this groundbreaking
evidence. Or even worse; they are deliberately covering it up as has
just been done by Dylan Avery."
Ranke would have to have ESP to
actually "know" that Avery were doing anything deliberately, yet
he states it rs though it were fact.
Here, CIT's Aldo Marquis describes
researcher Arabesque, a blogger who has posted numerous analytical
essays refuting the work of CIT:
You are an anonymous DISINFO agent. You fix your blog yet? How many times did
Craig and I call you out and you still haven't fixed it. You are
F____ disinfo. . . . You are such a disgusting entity. Call him you
coward. Call him. WE HAVE TOLD YOU A MILLION TIMES. You can't see the
poles from there. . . .You are a joke and we're coming for you. . . .
Marquis also describes this writer on
the 911blogger forum this way:
Victoria Ashley . .
. You are a do nothing, antagonist snob. You come in and lose the
debate every time. You know why? Because YOU NEVER debate. Shoud we
add your name to the list of subversives? It seems this is all you
come to any Pentagon related topics as.
Even Phil Jayhan, owner of the Letsroll Forum, who asserts that pods
and missiles were used in the WTC attack and who appeared to even
agree with the CIT theory, finally got fed up with the treatment
dished out by CIT. Jayhan wrote:
Just got done reading your extremely harsh words against
both me and the forum members here at the loose change forums.
I left a reply there, my first in months, and the first time
I have taken the time to search over there what people
like you and Aldo the asshole speak about me
and the great people at the forums here.
Neither of you guys are welcome here, ever again,
until you make complete and total retractions,
declaring that the biggest reason that "Jayhan" didn't look into
any of your "pet theories" was because Aldo the asshole kept coming
here declaring himself and you the "motherfucking authorities" and that we,
as a forum were nothing but asstard gumwads....
To have thought that I made peace with you two retards, and then to go to the
loose change forums and see all your harsh words against both myself
and all the very good and honorable people of this forums,
nearly 7000 of them, made me want to puke.
Marquis interprets his own behavior as simple but harsh truth-telling:
I tell people like
it is. I get in people's faces. I get banned because people can't
stand hearing the truth so harshly. . . . Show people why I"VE
been banned. Show them. Document it. I can, because I was there.
Meanwhile Ranke intervenes to redefine reality for readers:
We merely defend ourselves with facts, logic, and direct evidence.
As researcher John Farmer notes on a Loose Change forum post:
If you guys would
spend a little less time attacking those working the evidence and a
little more working the problem, then we might all benefit. Yet I
think your worst nightmare might be that AA77 did indeed hit the
This sad but
clever observation by Farmer cuts through much of the rhetoric
underlying the divisiveness and illogic in the debates -- the
advocates of "no plane", "no Boeing" and "no-Boeing-impact"
are attempting to explain away such highly contradictory evidence
that they typically adopt aggressively defensive and often
nonsensical methods and claims to account for the opposing bodies of
evidence. Consequently, numerous different theories -- missiles,
drones, flyover, etc -- abound, each to try to account for the many
contradictions and ultimately revealing the underlying weakness of the
basic premise that AA77 could not have hit the building.
In the end, most
of the discussions on the topic of PentaCon end up with posters
claiming that someone else is deliberately lying, is an agent, is
"disinfo", etc., and things get worse and worse until the thread
has to be locked, posts are voted down, or participants blocked.
CIT Support From Pilots for 9/11 Truth
The primary organization advocating CIT is
Pilots for 9/11 Truth,
a group whose most prominent member is
-- a retired airline captain and son of Bill Lear
(inventor of the Lear Jet) who flew secret missions for the CIA
between 1966 and 1983 and is a UFOlogist who believes
that none of the four planes used in the 9/11 attack were commercial jets.
The Pilots for 9/11 Truth website has extremely limited information
on the 9/11/01 attack aside from their investigation into the
NTSB flight data recorder in 2006, and questions about what the
planes were that hit the buildings, or whether real planes were used at all.
For example, on the
page for American 11 (North Tower)
only a single news story is posted about the tape destroyed by the FAA,
and nothing more, except a link to the forum to read anything more.
One would have thought that at least the basic facts
would have been posted there.
Clicking on the link to the forum, one finds topics such as:
Fake Passenger Lists FL11
The James Woods Connection to ATTA
Flight 11 / Flight 175 Serial Number?
A further look at a forum thread -- a post called
My Questions About Flight 11,
which sounds reasonable enough -- brings up a response
to the questions with numerous links to disruptors and
(real planes never hit the WTC), and even the
(planes were holograms).
It is unlikely that a pilot who considered himself a professional
would decide to stay very long at a forum where most people
are asking about "what" hit the World Trade Center and
recommending sites which suggest that all video fakery
was used and that none of the planes used on 9/11/01 were real.
A regular forum poster to the TruthAction forum, Erik Larson,
noticing that Pilots for 9/11 Truth spokesperson Rob Balsamo was
on the TruthAction Forum, asked him why the Pilots group
has not looked at any of the questions below,
but instead, appear to focus almost
entirely on the "what" that hit the buildings:
Mr. Balsamo, as long as you're here, I'm curious as to
why your organization has not publicized info re:
1) NORAD's mission- for decades prior to 9/11- of
sovereignty over North American air space
2) Failure of the chain of command in the FAA to
notify the NMCC of each confirmed air emergency,
then each confirmed hijacking- it seems some ATCs and CPCs
and supervisors were doing their job- and Herndon,
WOC and the military liaisons dropped the ball.
3) Failure of the NMCC to be involved in setting
ANY of the scramble orders in motion during the
crisis involving the 4 hijacked flights, by passing orders on to NORAD
4) Failure of NORAD/NEADS to get the Otis scrambled jets-
and the Otis jets that took off on a routine training mission
around the same time- over Manhattan before UA 175 arrived.
5) The 'phantom' AA 11
6) Failure of DCANG to protect the nation's capital-
nearly an HOUR after the first tower was hit- and an
HOUR AND A HALF after the first sign of hijacking-
which came AFTER a 'summer of threat',
which included a PDB that warned of 'preparations consistent
with hijacking' and 'surveillance of federal buildings in
New York' and noted 70 bin Laden-related FBI field investigations
7) The fact that fighters from Langley were sent
out over the Atlantic and after a 'phantom' AA 11,
and were unavailable to to respond to AA 77,
or defend the nation's capital
No response was posted by Balsamo and given the tone of the post,
it was soon locked.
By focusing almost entirely on "what" hit the buildings,
Pilots for 9/11 Truth does not appear to reflect
the amount of experience and serious investigations which
could be conducted by some of its members.
Although the Pilots group did a meaningful analysis of Flight 77's
flight data recorder and submitted a FOIA request,
little more appears on the site for those
investigating the role of the planes and pilots without having to
navigate a forum clogged with dis-and mis-information.
Members are listed on the site, and a
handful of radio interviews
are included (i.e., Rob Balsamo, several times, John Lear and Dan Govatos),
but no other contributions or writings by members are provided
which are easily accessible.
Pilots member Ted Muga gave a presentation
about the extreme improbability of the official hijacking account
from a pilot's viewpoint for the
2007 San Diego Citizens Grand Jury
VIDEO: Pilot Ted Muga's Presentation for the San Diego Citicens Grand Jury
Muga is a retired flight engineer and first officer with experience on
Boeing 707s and 727s. However, videos or interviews like these
are hard to find on Pilots for 9/11 Truth,
where primarily videos of CIT's flyover claims
and the video "Pandora's Black Box" are
promoted for sale.
In August of 2008, Orange County
Weekly reporter Nick Schou wrote a hit piece about The Citizen
Investigation Team titled, 'Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the
Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You've Been 'PentaConned!''.
Having so much information to work with, Schou's story spread out to
5 pages in length. But as we will see in this essay, despite CIT
having traveled to DC to film several witnesses to the attack, the
claims that CIT extrapolates from these interviews serve mainly to
provide a easy target for debunkers and mainstream media reporters
like Schou to smear in just a few sentences.
Here is Schou's summary of CIT's work:
Investigation Team claims to have obtained undeniable evidence that
what happened at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 . . . [was] a magic trick
in which a military plane painted to resemble an American Airlines
jet flew low over the Pentagon while explosives took down a wall of
the structure in a convenient cloud of smoke, thus allowing the plane
to fly away and secretly land somewhere, presumably at nearby Reagan
National Airport. Unfortunately, their film, The PentaCon, doesn't
provide any evidence of this. . . . The fact that all those
eyewitnesses and many more believe they saw the jet hit the
Pentagon—which happens to be both the official version of what
happened that day as well as the accepted truth among most conspiracy
theorists—doesn't bother Ranke and Marquis. The "evidence,"
they say, proves all those witnesses actually saw something else.
Schou essentially lays out for
readers the behind-the-scenes look at how PentaCon filmmakers
manipulated the outcome of what they called an investigation, often
harassing and offending eyewitnesses in the process.
Craig Ranke describes his film this way:
CIT did much better
than that by providing first-hand, on-location, video-taped
interviews from actual witnesses to the event in real life! Not
merely people who supposedly saw a grainy security video. So now we
know what people really saw. Now we know there was a plane and we
know that it could not have hit the building. This is exactly what we
needed to end the speculation. The witnesses were there and their
Ranke doesn’t mention that the
stories of far more witnesses, interviewed by numerous different news
sources on the day of the event, matched quite well before the CIT
team came to re-interpret the statements of the people they
interviewed – nearly 100 witnesses described a large jet approach,
bank, impact the building and explode, describing the sounds, the
images and the smells of the destruction. That the CIT witness
stories didn’t match their claims – but were made to appear to
all match by CIT – is shown in the interviews by reporter Shou:
One of their
first stops was [Pentagon eyewitness Mike] Walter's Fairfax,
Virginia, home. After noticing Ranke's not-so-subtle effort to
secretly tape-record their conversation—and realizing that Ranke
and Marquis weren't interested in hearing anything that contradicted
their notion that a plane didn't actually hit the building—he
refused to submit to an interview. "They thought they were
really going to uncover this thing, and I tried to set them
straight," Walter says. "The next day, I told them I wasn't
going to talk to them, and later, I found out they were really
hammering on me on the Internet."
How many others were left out of the film
when they realized their views could not be heard?
Schou further notes the level of
manipulation going on in what is billed as objective interviews:
" . . . Ranke and
Marquis appeared to be on a mission to prove that the Pentagon plane
crash never happened. They wouldn't listen to anything that
contradicted this notion.
why people have certain feelings about this government," Walter
says. "There are things this administration did that I'm not
pleased with, but facts are facts. I was on the road that day and saw
what I saw. The plane was in my line of sight. You could see the 'AA'
on the tail. You knew it was American Airlines."
Marquis and Ranke simply refused to believe Walter saw what he saw.
"They were saying things like, 'Are you sure the plane didn't land
[at Reagan airport] and they set off a bomb?'
They kept coming up with all these scenarios.
Later, Shou exposes what CIT actually
says about Walter and other employees of USA Today who were on their
way to work when the crash occurred:
of your co-workers all in the same place, and you're there to sell
this event," Marquis continues. "What the fuck? All these
people were allegedly in that area on the way to work. Trust me, when
you take all their accounts and examine them individually as a
researcher, you realize all these motherfuckers are lying."
"We can prove
[Walter] is a liar," Ranke says.
"You want me
to cut to the chase?" Marquis interrupts. "He's an
operative. One hundred percent, without a doubt. A deep-cover
operative or asset."
In reality, CIT cannot prove that
Walter or any other employee of USA Today is an operative and asset,
so the claim hangs out in the public article as speculation,
making one wonder why the filmmakers would make such assertions to the
writer without evidence. Shou also points out another example where
CIT re-frame the witness statements:
Edition of The PentaCon also includes an interview with Keith
Wheelhouse, who was at Arlington National Cemetery on 9/11 to bury
his brother-in-law. In the interview, Wheelhouse tells Marquis and
Ranke that he saw an American Airlines jet crash into the Pentagon. .
. . But Marquis and Ranke apparently don't believe Wheelhouse saw the
crash because, their film notes, a line of trees partially obscures
the view of the building from the location where he claimed to have
Did Keith Wheelhouse hallucinate during
the burial of his brother-in-law? We don’t know, but apparently
since CIT has decided that he did, his view of the crash is not
What is relevant about Schou's
reporting on the film is primarily that he contacted people CIT had
interviewed and asked them questions, and the responses were somewhat
surprising. He cites a good example of the vulgarity used by CIT and
presents it directly to the public in his article:
quickly soured. E-mails posted on conspiracy chat rooms show that
what started as a professional disagreement about how to prove that
the U.S. government was behind 9/11 had become a highly personal
grudge match. Here's a typical e-mail from Ranke to Pickering:
irrelevant, Pickering. . . . You can keep on sucking official story
dick, and we'll keep proving 9/11 was an inside job."
And from Pickering
to Ranke: "You are a mentally ill little man, and until you get
some help, you always will be. A disgrace to truth . . . Fuck
yourself. . . . Fuck you."
Is it any surprise that Russell Pickering and his significant website,
PentagonResearch.com are gone from the 9/11 research scene?
CIT has no real defense of their dialog with Russell Pickering,
and so effectively declare him non-existant,
much as they wipe away the Pentagon witnesses who don't fit their theory.
So that leaves
Pickering as the sole person we are not on speaking terms with.
Given the fact that Pickering publicly quit the movement after spiraling
out of control in a flurry of personal attacks against us means that
he is no longer a "conspiracy theorist"
or member of the 9/11 truth movement so now Schou's claim of "many"
that we are "no longer on speaking terms with"
has been reduced to zero.
Putting aside the veracity of the
claims of not being disruptors, this excerpt also provides a nice
example of the logic engaged in by CIT: since Pickering left the
movement at some point, he now no longer exists as someone Schou can
mention, despite the fact that Pickering was actively researching the
Pentagon attack and hosting a significant website when he was
involved in debate with CIT.
In other words, history must now be
revised to erase Pickering.
The importance of this reasoning is
that it neatly parallels that of the more broad reasoning engaged in
by CIT: all of the eyewitnesses at the Pentagon attack whom CIT did
not interview, and whom, in many cases, contradict CIT's claims that
the plane flew over the building, are erased from history. (Arabesque
has preserved an excellent collection of witness statements
Another example of disappearing
historical evidence is shown when CIT implies that, until CIT came
along, no one had ever debunked "missile at the Pentagon" with
hard evidence -- again the same reasoning that everything that
happened before CIT, simply never happened:
theorists" certainly do not believe a plane hit! Most believe a
missile hit the building. That has
been the widely held theory since day one that we are
responsible for debunking with hard evidence.
In reality, the views about what
happened at the Pentagon have been diverse and often in disagreement
with each other, and numerous websites and researchers have debunked
the missile claim over the years. The suggestion that most 9/11
researchers believe that a missile hit did not originate within the
movement, as is implied by Ranke, but primarily with mainstream
media, as Jim Hoffman states:
Only a few Pentagon
attack theorists have suggested that a missile alone was involved in
the attack, yet mainstream media attacks on 9/11 "conspiracy
theorists" have implied that the Pentagon missile theory is the
centerpiece of all skepticism of the official story.
While a massive initial effort was made
by Thierry Meyssan and Voltaire Network to spread the missile and
truck bomb claims early on by publishing the book
Le Pentagate (2002)
and translating it into numerous languages (with resources that very
few grassroots activists have), the theory mainly died off in later
years after the misrepresentations of witness statements became clear
-- that the commercial jet which witnesses said they saw "sounded
like" a missile, had been cleverly manipulated into claims that
witnesses said they heard a missile. Later, the idea that a different
plane or drone had hit the building, with or without a missile and or
and that bombs went off inside the building (Griffin) The New Pearl
Harbor Revisited), were more popular.
Hoffman has documented the various
Pentagon theories and their elements at 9-11 Research:
We provide a rather
detailed review of Pentagon attack theories mainly for historical
interest, since, in our view, most of these theories are based on an
unscientific analysis of the available evidence. The number of
different theories makes a full accounting of them difficult. Rather
than attempting to provide an exhaustive rundown of all of them, we
provide a short history of the more popular theories, followed by an
enumeration of elements constituting them. Finally we describe some
scenarios consistent with Flight 77's crash. These theories and the
substantial evidence supporting them have been eclipsed the
Hoffman also notes the basis for many of the theories:
examination of the evidence shows it to be consistent with a 757, the
Pentagon's evidence vacuum created the conditions for a seemingly
endless proliferation of theories about what hit the Pentagon. Most
of these theories ignore or grossly misrepresent the body of
This is also true of PentaCon, which
ignores or grossly misrepresents the body of eyewitness evidence.
Interestingly, CIT rejects the missile
claim as though it were a transparently obvious hoax, when in
reality, there is actually no more evidence for a flyover than there
is for a missile. By grandstanding about debunking a similarly
baseless claim, like the missile claim, CIT attempts to gain
unwarranted credibility and to implicity suggest their own theory has
much more merit. CIT's basic premise -- that the witnesses were
fooled by the magic show -- could in fact have had any number of
magic show 'elements' inserted: missile, drone, flyover, pre-planted
bombs, etc. using the same method of an omniscient viewer who "knows"
how all the witnesses were fooled, and carefully interprets their
statements to reveal the alledged underlying magic event.
The larger problem of the work of CIT
is that it broadly smears and discredits the entire community of
individuals researching the 9/11/01 attacks -- it lures in and tricks
those who aren't paying close enough attention, and it discredits
those who are doing serious research and outreach. This is
exemplified by a comment on Nick Schou's article by user 'jthomas':
You did a great job
illustrating the workings of a fringe, conspiracy-obsessed movement
that has been shown to have no respect for, much less any concept of,
thoroughly-researched, unbiased evidence.
How many others hold the same view as jthomas,
that CIT is representative of the movement overall?
And what are the consequences? If a person unaware of the many
unanswered questions comes across CIT's videos accusing a witness of
a "virtual confession", and other absurdities, it is likely that
person may turn away and never look back.
Hence the necessity of
doing what for so many seems a massive waste of time: refuting
the endless stream of baseless claims and nonsense
permeating the movement
of individuals seeking a full investigation into the 9/11/01 attacks.
Whether these are claims
that real jetliners never hit the WTC,
that pods on the planes fired filles at the buildings,
or that the plane at the Pentagon flew away and no one noticed,
the efforts to refute these
are an unfortunate necessity of the work to bring
and hidden facts of the attacks to the public.
despite the broad rejection of CIT by much of the 9/11 activist community,
event organizers are all too willing to feature hyped
"mysteries" like PentaCon --
seemingly regardless of the absurdity of the films' methods,
the demonstrable falseness of their claims,
their effectiveness in polarizing activists,
or the history of disruption by the filmmakers themselves.
Whether such promotions reflect a misguided belief
that such films help "grow the movement" because of the "excitement"
or whether they reflect a more deliberate form of "false flag 9/11 truth"
the effect is the same:
damaging the credibility and viability of 9/11 activist efforts
by giving center stage to hoax material.
Pentagon Flyover Theory: RIP
How the Double Tree video released in 2006
conclusively debunks CIT's flyover theory
by Arabesque, November 14, 2007
CIT, Craig Ranke, Aldo Marquis, and the PentaCon Flyover Theory:
Origin, Debate, and the ‘Smoking-Gun’ Anti-Controversy
by Arabesque, November 24, 2007
The Pentagon Flight Path Misinformation, Stand-Down, War Games,
and the Three Mysterious Planes
by Arabesque, July 23, 2007
A Critical Review of ‘The PentaCon - Smoking Gun Version’
by Arabesque, May 25, 2007
9/11 and the Pentagon Attack: What Eyewitnesses Described
by Arabesque, April 2, 2007
Google Earth Exposes Pentagon Flyover Farce
by Jim Hoffman, July 25, 2009