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Another* Cowardly Attack by "Victor Thorn"
by Jim Hoffman

This deceptive attack by Victor Thorn (whose real name is apparently Scott Makufka: See Michael Ruppert's response to an earlier attack by "Victor Thorn" ) misrepresents most of the points it mentions from my essay The Pentagon No-757-Crash Theory: Booby Trap for 9/11 Skeptics . The most telling feature of Makufka's article is the absence of any link to its subject: my essay. The article is plausible only if you haven't read my article or any small part of it.

This paragraph-by-paragraph exposure of "Victor Thorn"'s piece is based on a copy of the page from the WingTV website cached on 11/28/04. Added comments are in orange boxes.

* Victor Thorn recently wrote an attack against 9/11 researcher Michael Ruppert, whose response should disabuse anyone of the notion that Makufka is a journalist. In both that case and this Makufka exhibits the same modus operandi: he creates an attack piece full of allegations about and misrepresentations of the positions of his target, and makes no attempt to communicate with his target to give them an opportunity to respond to his allegations before publishing the piece. The attack piece is free of any links to material by the targeted author, making the reader search the web in order check the veracity of Makufka's charges.

Connecting the Dots

Jim Hoffman's Pentagon Put-on

by Victor Thorn

After reading Jim Hoffman’s flip-flop article on whether or not a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon on the morning of 9-11, I realized that this sly old prankster had pulled an elaborate reverse-psychology practical joke on all of us. Yes, you heard me correctly. And even though I won’t divulge his reasons for doing so until the end of this review, I knew my hunch was correct after being struck by not only his sudden lack of sound reasoning skills, but also his inflated concern with the views of debunkers and the mainstream media. Hoffman even went so far as to say that those who defend the “official version” of 9-11 may use the no-757-crash theory to mock truth-seekers as a whole. But aren’t such attacks expected from the disinformation crowd? That’s what they do --- it’s their modus operandi. In fact, I’ve always felt that when these individuals DO target a specific “conspiracy theory,” it’s precisely done so because the people and groups being attacked are getting too close to the truth. Thus, to pattern our behavior in accordance with their opinions is foolish at best; and downright absurd at worst.
Makufka would have the reader believe that disinformation operatives are fools, and would draw attention to the vulnerabilities of the perpetrators. A basic tenet of disinformation is the creation of distractions -- issues that will soak up the time of investigators, create conflicts, and divert attention from the important areas. In the simplified version of 9/11 skepticism presented by mass media the basis for questioning the official story has been reduced to a single issue -- the idea that no plane hit the Pentagon. The perpetrators would not risk focusing on an issue in which the official explanation can easily be proved false.

One aspect of Hoffman’s “false deconstruction put-on” that drips with irony is this: even though he now contends that a 757 actually did hit the Pentagon, he still presents much more evidence to the contrary that Flight 77 never did crash into this facility. I’m not sure if including this material was an unconscious reaction to his earlier research, but it certainly outweighed and overshadowed his counter-arguments, thus lending credence to the fact that he really isn’t convinced of his newfound stance.
The distortions in this paragraph include:
  • Saying that I contend that a 757 hit the Pentagon, when in fact I only attack arguments purporting to prove that one did not.
  • Saying that I present much more evidence that Flight 77 never did crash into this facility, when in fact I debunk all the common no-757-crash arguments, and don't address whether the crash involved Flight 77. Here Makufka conflates the issues of whether the crash involved Flight 77, any 757, or just any large jetliner.

Hoffman also fails to sway us when the subject of “eyewitness” testimony is broached. Not only have Richard Stanley and Jerry Russell “shredded every eyewitness on multiple accounts” (“the eyewitness testimony varies from bad to provably false”), but Professor A.K. Dewdney stated unequivocally on WING TV (November 17, 2004) that in a case such as this, physical scientific evidence far outweighs the unreliability and contradictory nature of eyewitness testimony.
Makufka dismisses the overwhelming eyewitness evidence that a jetliner crashed into the Pentagon by citing Stanley, Russell, and Dewdney, all of whom grossly misrepresent the eyewitness evidence. Makufka doesn't even provide links to articles by the supposed experts he quotes.

Another argument that Hoffman puts forth to seemingly disprove the no-Boeing 757 theory is one which absolutely holds no water; specifically, he dislikes two particular videos: 9/11 Pentagon Strike and 911 In Plane Site. But to cite an article, book, or video that one deems faulty is not reason enough to logically dismiss an entire phenomenon. Look at it this way: suppose somebody made a documentary contending that 2+2 does not equal 4. Then somebody else watched this video and deduced: since this video about 2+2=4 is inaccurate, that must mean that 2+2 actually doesn’t equal four. It’s faulty logic, and should not have even been included in this article.
Makufka states that I use my dislike for the 9/11 Pentagon Strike and 911 In Plane Site videos, to argue against the no-757-crash theory, when in fact I only use them to show how the issue is being used to discredit 9/11 skepticism. He then implies that my entire argument is based on these videos -- a blatant distortion exposed by just looking at my essay's table of contents.

Continuing his spoof, Hoffman confronts the issue of whether a Boeing 757 was capable of performing the highly complex Top Gun maneuvers that were credited to it that fateful morning (while at the same time failing to mention how Hani Hanjour has been 100% discredited as the supposed pilot of this craft). Anyway, Hoffman states, “The spiral dive attack maneuver was well within the capabilities of a Boeing 757.” Contradicting this supposition, though, is Air Force and commercial pilot Russ Wittenberg, who argued quite convincingly (WING TV, September 16, 2004) that there was no possibility that this jetliner could have descended 7,000 feet in two minutes, all the while performing a steep 270 degree banked turn before crashing into the Pentagon’s first floor wall without touching the lawn. It’s impossible, and I’ll take Wittenberg’s word over Hoffman’s, for during his career he flew the exact same airlinersi that were purportedly hijacked on the morning of September 11th. If anybody would know, this man would.
Here Makufka implies that I omit mention of the dubious piloting skills of alleged hijacker-pilot Hani Hanjour, when in fact my essay states:
The alleged pilot of Flight 77 was not competent to pilot a Cessna, let alone pilot a 757 through a maneuver that may have exceeded the skills of even the best test pilot.
Makufka states that pilot Russ Wittenberg contradicts my point that a 757 was capable of the alleged spiral dive maneuver, when Wittenberg's statement may ave been far less definitive. Unfortunately, Makufka provides no link to a transcript or recording of the Wittenberg interview that might allow us to verify his claim that Wittenberg stated that the maneuver is beyond the 757's capabilities. Other pilots, like Michael Dietrick, have stated that the final approach maneuver, while questionable by a plane under the control of any human pilot, was plausible for 757 under automated flight control.

The next area of contention that shows how Hoffman is pulling our leg is his approach to the lack of debris outside (and inside) the Pentagon immediately following this “event” (or was it actually a “staged magic show”). Now Hoffman should know better because I’ve researched airliner crashes and found numerous examples of the wreckage which results from a downed jumbo jetliner. It’s incredibly vast and messy and obvious, with deep skid marks in the ground; plus parts, wings, seats, wheels, aviation equipment, luggage, bodies, and God knows what else strewn in every direction. Where is this corresponding wreckage from an 80-100 ton aircraft at the Pentagon? It doesn’t exist, and volumes of un-confiscated photos are in existence to prove it. For crying out loud, Jim, look at this evidence because the pieces of the puzzle that you’ve laid on the table don’t fit together.
The false implications of this paragraph include:
  • The idea that numerous examples of the wreckage turned up by Makufka's alleged research are at all applicable to the Pentagon crash, when these other crashes presumably didn't involve fortified buildings or direct, intentional collisions.
  • That a 757 is a jumbo jetliner.
  • That the Pentagon crash should have left deep skid marks in the ground, when its descending trajectory and ground-floor impact may have avoided the lawn entirely.
  • That it is definitive that there were no such skid marks, when the available photographs don't show the areas near the facade.
  • That there were no crash debris outside the building, when some photos show debris fields.
  • That there was no aircraft debris inside the building, when no one (except, perhaps, for some government insiders) has a basis to make such a claim. The vast majority of a 757 would have passed through the extensive impact punctures into the building, and been buried by the subsequent collapse of the overhanging portion of the building. Crash debris was disposed of by DOD officials before the FEMA's investigative team was allowed access to the site.

But the most absurd element of Hoffman’s thesis (even more so than his conjecture-filled arguments concerning the large spools sitting in front of the Pentagon) was his reference to French researcher Eric Bart’s explanation for the lack of imprints on the Pentagon’s façade which would be consistent with a Boeing 757. According to Bart, this plane conveniently had bombs strapped to it which (yet again) conveniently exploded when Flight 77 began its impact with the wall. That’s why it was instantly transformed to confetti. Of course this version of events contradicts the military’s first explanation, which concluded that the plane in question was “vaporized” into thin air (while human flesh, trees, and books in the immediate vicinity weren’t vaporized).
The distortions in this paragraph include:
  • Asserting that I make conjecture-filled arguments about the cable spools, when in fact I show the use of the spools to argue against a 757 relies on a series of conjectures.
  • Misrepresenting Bart's theory as saying the plane had bombs strapped to it.
  • Implying that I state bombs turned the plane to confetti, when I point out that the impact alone would have done so.
  • Portraying my thesis as relying on Bart's theory, when I only introduce it to point to alternative explanations for the arguably incorrect impact imprint.

What most troubles me about Hoffman’s line of reasoning is that he says most people can’t handle the no-757 argument; then he turns around and lays-out a tale so ludicrous that it’s laughable. But hold on, folks, for there’s more --- he concludes that, according to Eric Bart, “the crash of a 757 was engineered to make it appear that no such plane had crashed.” Say what? Do these men want us to believe that the government DID crash a 757 into the Pentagon; then deliberately made it appear as if one hadn’t crashed there (a “complex reverse deception” as Richard Stanley calls it)? This reasoning is akin to Alice falling down the rabbit hole in Wonderland.
Here Makufka ridicules the idea that the crash could have been engineered as Bart theorizes, while obfuscating the tremendous advantage the perpetrators achieve by inserting the no-757-crash disinformation meme. The whole point of Makufka's attack is to back the truly ridiculous idea: that the Pentagon was attacked by someting other than a jetliner, such as a missile, despite the fact that dozens of eyewitness reported seeing a jetliner and not a single one reported seeing a missile or military jet.

Lastly, Hoffman proves once-and-for-all that he’s deliberately toying with us when he brings Left Gatekeepers such as Amy Goodman and Chip Berlet into the fray, along with a CIA agent, The Washington Post, and the New York Times. What does he expect these shysters to say? They’re disinformation specialists – and that’s what they do for a living – they debunk! But instead of trotting these bozos around the arena, why not introduce some real meat and potatoes evidence into this case? C’mon, Jim, you can come clean now and tell us that it’s all been a big joke.
Here Makufka misrepresents my reasons for trotting around Left Gatekeepers like Amy Goodman and Chip Berlet. Makufka implies I side with them, while concealing the reason I bring up their attacks: to show that the no-757-impact claims are easily debunked and successfully used to discredit the skeptics.

Makufka's assertion that I avoid real meat and potatoes evidence is exploded by reading The "Physical Evidence" Case section of the essay, a detailed deconstruction of erroneous physical evidence claims backed up by a dozen pages from

In the end, Hoffman almost seems to be saying: just because the no-757-theory is a difficult pill for many people to swallow, we should dismiss it completely lest we “damage the entire 9-11 cause.” But in all honesty, it is reports such as this which do the most harm, for not only are his arguments disingenuous, they’re also flimsy and lightweight beyond words. I mean, since when should “how the issue plays” affect our desire for the truth? It shouldn’t, and in all honesty, when I first heard about this article, I thought, “Y’know, I’ve always respected Jim Hoffman’s work. Maybe he’s onto something that everyone else missed.” But upon reading his thesis very closely, I was supremely disappointed, for there was nothing there. Zero. A complete wash. So, my only hope at this point is that maybe Hoffman wanted to bring more attention to the Pentagon case, so he wrote a completely ridiculous piece that he knew everyone would trash, thus ultimately showing how strong the no-757 case really is. Isn’t it obvious what Hoffman’s motives are? He purposefully wrote the lamest debunking paper possible to prove the inherent flaws and weaknesses of the government’s “official” explanation. It was all an exercise in reverse-psychology … a grand charade which pretended to debunk the no-757-theory, but in reality debunked the debunkers! Well done, Jim, and it was all worth a good laugh – but hey, no more of these crafty masquerades, okay ---- you had us worried there for awhile!
Makufka again grossly distorts my argument, which is:
  • The 'physical evidence' does not support the no-757-crash idea claimed by error-filled analyses of Meyssan, Holmgren, and others.
  • The few features of the impact site that are arguably difficult to reconcile with the crash of a 757 are easily explained by assuming the crash was engineered. Such engineering would be far simpler than the engineering required by the no-757-crash theorists to fool so many witnesses.
  • Defenders of the official story have consistently focused on the easily discredited no-757-crash idea, and have successfully identified that idea with the broad 9/11 Truth Movement in order to obscure the compelling evidence that the attack was an inside job.
Mafufka dishonestly states that my argument rests on people's unwillingness to accept the no-757-crash theory, when in fact it is based on a thorough review of the claims advanced in favor of that theory, and on the often ignored and maligned evidence against it. Mafufka's failure to link back to my essay is an implicit admission that his attack is dishonest and manipulative.