The Boeing Company says it will cut up to 2,300 jobs by the end of 2013 in line with plans to mainly downsize the production line of its cutting-edge 787 Dreamliner jets.
According to a statement released by the Chicago-based company on Friday, the cuts will also target the production line of Boeing’s 747 aircraft.
The 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since mid-January due to a battery problem.
A Boeing representative said that out of those job cuts, about 800 workers will be laid off in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes division, with the rest of the cutbacks coming through attrition and redeployment.
The job cuts are aimed at improving corporate governance during a development phase of new airplanes, the company stated.
Analysts say it is too early to estimate the financial effect of the job cuts particularly in light of the 787 Dreamliner grounding, with worldwide orders for the jetliner pushing the company revenue to over $80 billion.
The planned job cuts at Boeing comes as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it was being forced to cut about 637 million dollars from its current budget and it would close air-traffic control towers at 149 airports across the United States due to Washington’s latest spending cuts.
Earlier in March, a report issued by the US Department of Labor showed that the unemployment rate was increasing in half of the US states, with employers adding the fewest jobs in seven months.
The nationwide unemployment rate increased in January to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December 2012, with the rate of job increases remaining far below what economists recommend to maintain healthy employment rates.
The US economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, casting doubt on the strength of economic recovery in the country.
Boeing crisis threatens US economy: Bill Jones
Press TV – January 18, 2013
Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Military Drone Flights in the United States
While the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace (which is almost everywhere else in the US). And, as we’ve learned from these records, the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country. This is problematic, given a recent New York Times report that the Air Force’s drone operators sometimes practice surveillance missions by tracking civilian cars along the highway adjacent to the base.
The records show that the Air Force has been testing out a bunch of different drone types, from the smaller, hand-launched Raven, Puma and Wasp drones designed by Aerovironment in Southern California, to the much larger Predator and Reaper drones responsible for civilian and foreign military deaths abroad. The Marine Corps is also testing drones, though it chose to redact so much of the text from its records that we still don’t know much about its programs.
The capabilities of these drones can be astounding. According to a recent Gizmodo article, the Puma AE (“All Environment”) drone can land anywhere, “either in tight city streets or onto a water surface if the mission dictates, even after a near-vertical ‘deep stall’ final approach.” Another drone, Insitu’s ScanEagle, which the Air Force has flown near Virginia Beach, sports an “inertial-stabilized camera turret, [that] allows for the tracking of a target of interest for extended periods of time, even when the target is moving and the aircraft nose is seldom pointed at the target.” Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird, which the Air Force has flown near Victorville, California, is capable of staying in the air for 16-24 hours at a time and carries a gigapixel camera and a “Forester foliage-penetration radar” system designed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Apparently, the Army has had a bunch of problems with the Hummingbird crashing and may not continue the program.)
Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.
On a possibly lighter note, DARPA’s 2008 drone looks more like a modified flying lawnchair than an advanced piece of technology. As DARPA notes in its application, this drone has been used recreationally, though probably with someone sitting in it.
Law Enforcement Drones—Some Agencies Release Information While Others Arbitrarily Withhold it
Once again, we see in these records that law enforcement agencies want to use drones to support a whole host of police work. However, many of the agencies are most interested in using drones in drug investigations. For example, the Queen Anne County, Maryland Sheriff’s Department, which is partnering with the federal Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and the Navy, applied for a drone license to search farm fields for pot, “surveil people of interest” (including “watching open drug market transactions before initiating an arrest”), and to perform “aerial observation of houses when serving warrants.”
The Gadsden Alabama Police Department also wanted to use its drone for drug enforcement purposes like conducting covert surveillance of drug transactions, while Montgomery County, Texas wanted to use the camera and “FLIR systems” (thermal imaging) on its ShadowHawk drone to support SWAT and narcotics operations by providing “real time area surveillance of the target during high risk operations.” Another Texas law enforcement agency—the Arlington Police Department—also wanted to fly its “Leptron Avenger” drone for narcotics and police missions. Interestingly, the Leptron Avenger can be outfitted with LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology. While LIDAR can be used to create high-resolution images of the earth’s surface, it is also used in high tech police speed guns—begging the question of whether drones will soon be used for minor traffic violations.
More disturbing than these proposed uses is the fact that some law enforcement agencies, like the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Department and Mesa County, Colorado Sheriff, have chosen arbitrarily to withhold some or—in Orange County’s case—almost all information about their drone flights—including what type of drone they’re flying, where they’re flying it, and what they want to use it for—claiming that releasing this information would pose a threat to police work. This risk seems extremely far-fetched, given that other agencies mentioned above and in prior posts have been forthcoming and that even the US Air Force feels comfortable releasing information about where it’s flying drones around the country.
Interesting Drone Uses
Universities and state and local agencies are finding new and creative uses for drones. For example, the Washington State Department of Transportation requested a drone license to help with avalanche control, while the U.S. Department of Energy in Wyoming wanted to use a drone to “monitor fugitive methane emissions.” The University of Michigan requested one license for its “Flying Fish” drone—essentially a buoy that floats on open water but that can reposition itself via flight—and another license for its “YellowTail” drone, which is designed to study “persistent solar-powered flight.”
And while some proposed uses seem unequivocally positive—several agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry want to use drones to help in fighting forest fires—other uses raise the problem of mission creep. For example, the University of Colorado (which the FAA said has received over 200 drone licenses) requested a license in 2008, not just to study meteorological conditions but also to aid “in the study of ad hoc wireless networks with [the drone] acting as communication relays.” And Otter Tail County, Minnesota wanted to use its drone, not only for “engineering and mapping” but also “as requested for law enforcement needs such as search warrant and search and rescue.”
Records Show FAA is Still Concerned About Safety but Reinforce Need for Greater Transparency
Luckily, these records show the FAA is still vigilant about safety. The agency denied Otter Tail’s license application because the county couldn’t meet the FAA’s minimum requirements for pilots and observers and presented an “unacceptable risk” to the National Airspace System. The FAA also denied the Georgia Tech Police Department’s application because its drone—the Hornet Micro—was not equipped with an approved sense-and avoid system, even though Georgia Tech wanted to fly it in the middle of a major helicopter flight route.
However, once again, the records do not show that the FAA had any concerns about drone flights’ impact on privacy and civil liberties. This is especially problematic when drone programs like Otter Tail’s appear on first glance to be benign but later turn out to support the same problematic law enforcement uses that EFF has been increasingly concerned about. The FAA recently announced it wants to slow down drone integration into US skies due to privacy concerns. We are hopeful this indicates the agency is finally changing its views.
In the meantime, these records further support the need for full transparency in drone licensing. Before the public can properly assess privacy issues raised by drone flights, it must have access to the FAA’s records as a whole. It’s been over a year and a half since we first filed our FOIA request with the FAA, and we’re still waiting for more than half of the agency’s drone records. This is unacceptable. Also, law enforcement agencies with active drone licenses like the Orange County Sheriff’s Department should not be able to withhold all important information about their drone flights under a specious claim that revealing the information could interfere with a law enforcement investigation. If a huge federal agency like the US Air Force can be up front about when and how it’s using drones, so too should the large and small law enforcement agencies and other public entities around the country. Without this information it’s impossible to fully assess the issues raised by drone surveillance.
To download and review any of the documents, follow this link and click on the “FOIA Documents” tab in the middle of the page.
View EFF’s new Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations.
The FAA has been adopting new rules to expand the use of small drones domestically, and by 2012 UAVs are expected to dominate the country’s airspace. Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation brings his take on whether Americans should worry about what law enforcement is doing.
- EFF Obtains FAA Documents Detailing Domestic Drone Use (blacklistednews.com)
- Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil (wired.com)
In our drones report, we discuss the coming onslaught of domestic drones and the weak state of the privacy laws that should protect us, and we outline our recommendations for protections that Congress and local governments should put in place.
But if nothing is done, how might things go? Let’s take a look at how police drone use could unfold:
- The FAA’s new rules go into effect. Acting under orders from Congress, the FAA in coming months and years will significantly loosen the regulations that have been holding back broader deployment of drones. Starting later this year, for example, the FAA must allow any “government public safety agency” to operate any small drone (under 4.4 pounds) as long as certain conditions are met.
- More and more police departments begin using them. The FAA’s new rules allow for the release of pent-up demand among police departments for cheap aerial surveillance. Ownership of drones quickly becomes common among departments large and small. Organizations are formed by police drone operators, who exchange tips and advice. We also begin to hear about their deployment by federal agencies, other than on the border.
- We start to hear stories about how they’re being used. Most departments and agencies are relatively careful at first, and we begin to hear stories about drones being put to use in specific, mostly unobjectionable police operations such as raids, chases, and searches supported by warrants.
- Drone use broadens. Fairly quickly, however, we begin to hear about a few departments deploying drones for broader, more general uses: drug surveillance, marches and rallies, and generalized monitoring of troubled neighborhoods.
- Private use is banned. A terrorist like the pilot who crashed his plane into an IRS building in Texas uses an explosives-laden drone to try to attack a public facility. In response, the government clamps down on private use of the technology. The net result is that the government can use it for surveillance but individuals cannot use it to watch the government.
- Drones become able to mutually coordinate. Multiple drones deployed over neighborhoods can be linked together, and communicate and coordinate with each other (see this video for an early taste of what that could look like). This allows a swarm of craft to form a single, distributed wide-area surveillance system such as that envisioned by the “Gorgon Stare” program.
- The analytics gets better. At the same time, drones and the computers behind them become more intelligent and capable of analyzing the video feeds they are generating. They gain the ability to automatically track multiple vehicles and bodies as they move around a city or town, with different drones handing off the tracking to each other just as a mobile phone network passes a signal from one cell to another as a user rides down the highway.
- Flight durations grow. Technology improvements (involving blimps, perhaps, or solar-power innovations) allow for drones to stay aloft for longer periods more cheaply, which becomes key in permitting their use for persistent surveillance.
- The cycle accelerates. The advancing technology incentivizes agencies to buy even more drones, which in turn spurs more technology development, and the cycle becomes self-perpetuating.
- Laws are further loosened. As drones get smarter and more reliable and very good at sensing and avoiding other aircraft, FAA restrictions are further loosened, permitting even autonomous flight.
- Pervasive tracking becomes common. Despite opposition, a few police departments begin deploying drones 24/7 over certain areas. The media covers the controversy but Congress takes no action, and eventually it becomes old news, and the practice spreads until many or most American towns and cities are subject to the practice.
- Technologies are combined. Drone video cameras and tracking analytics are combined or synched up with other technologies such as face recognition, gait recognition, license-plate scanners, and cell phone location data.
- The data is mined. With individuals’ comings and goings routinely monitored, databases are able build up records of where people live, work, and play—what friends they visit, bars they drink at, doctors they visit, what houses of worship, or political events, or sexually oriented establishments they go to—and who else is at those places at the same time. Computers comb through this data looking for “suspicious patterns,” and when the algorithms kick up an alarm, the person involved becomes the subject of much more extensive surveillance.
Ultimately, such surveillance leads to an oppressive atmosphere where people learn to think twice about everything they do, knowing that it will be recorded, charted, scrutinized by increasingly intelligent computers, and possibly used to target them.
I’m not sure how realistic this scenario is. Perhaps it is far-fetched (I hope so). But the questions to ask are: which of the above steps is unlikely to take place, and why? And if we don’t end up in the situation described, how close will we get?
- FAA approves spy drones to fly US skies (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US: Congress Trying to Fast-Track Domestic Drone Use, Sideline Privacy (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- An Alabama Police Department Has No Idea Why It Owns Two Drones [Drones] (gizmodo.com)
- Drones invade campus (salon.com)
- FAA To Rule On Domestic Drone Guidelines By May 14 (inquisitr.com)
US law enforcement agencies have received the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use unmanned aircraft known as drones for mass surveillance.
More than 50 non-military organizations within the United States have received approval to fly drones, according to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act requests by the advocacy group, Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Major agencies like the FBI, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice had been cleared to launch drones, US President Barack Obama administration’s favorite weapon of war which is being used in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation civil liberty group warned that the use of drones poses a serious threat to personal privacy.
The documents revealed that individual city police forces are also drawing up plans to use the reconnaissance aircraft.
In February, the US Congress passed a bill which approved the government’s deployment of up to 30,000 spy drones in American airspace by 2020.
The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also ordered the FAA to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of drones by 2015.
According to some estimates, the commercial drone market in the United States will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently almost 50 companies are developing some 150 different drone systems.
The US has been using the unmanned vehicles for its spy operations and assassination missions worldwide and the strikes have intensified since Obama took office three years ago.
9/11 was the day steel-framed buildings fell like sandcastles, the law of physics worked in reverse and the United States Air Force went missing in action. So what is the real story?
Before attempting to identify “nine hundred and eleven reasons why 9/11 was an inside job”, I would like to briefly mention my own “where-were-you-on-9/11-moment” since it has a lot to do with my reasons for rejecting the official version of events that fateful day.
On the evening of September 11, 2001, as fate would have it, I was sitting inside of Uncle Sam’s restaurant in the heart of Moscow, enjoying dinner with a Russian friend. In the middle of our now-forgotten conversation, some commotion on the overhead television caught my friend’s attention. I turned around just in time to see an airplane careening into the World Trade Center in a magnificent ball of fire.
And that was it: in that split second, a dividing line had been crudely carved down the middle of the world’s mind between “Before 9/11” and “After 9/11.” For the majority of people who saw those horrific images from various time zones around the planet, the world suddenly felt like a very different, even unrecognizable place. But thanks to the availability of those raw video images, as well as new-found physical and chemical evidence, the truth may finally rise up from the ashes of Ground Zero.
A group of diners that had gathered around the television heard the CNN anchor say that “the South Tower has just collapsed.” I asked one of the people standing close to the screen: “How much of the building is still standing?” He responded with barely a trace of emotion, “Nothing. It’s completely gone.”
In hindsight, news of the total collapse of the South Tower represented the first seed of doubt in my mind concerning 9/11. It seemed unfathomable that the seemingly indestructible North and South Towers, which I had just toured the summer before, had been reduced to a pile of dust and rubble level with the horizon line. Surely at least part of the building was left standing!
For many “9/11 truthers” that seed of doubt has grown into an oak tree that can no longer be ignored. If Internet traffic is any real indication, the movement is quickly outgrowing its electronic borders and eventually some serious questions will have to be answered by some serious people in the real world.
I excused myself from my dinner companion, who somehow failed to appreciate the global ramifications of two commercial jets slamming into America’s financial heart, and headed to yet another popular hangout for Moscow expatriates. I took a seat at the corner of the bar at the American Bar & Grill and watched until well past midnight as one analyst after another tried to make some sense of the wreckage still smoldering on the ground in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Not surprisingly, the only suspect that was mentioned, before any investigation had begun, was Osama bin Laden. This announcement, predictable though it may have been, sparked a heated bar stool debate between me and my neighbor, who couldn’t understand how I could question the news that bin Laden was the culprit. “It’s too early to say anything with certainty,” was my only reply. The premature blame that was heaped on this admittedly evil guy (bin Laden) represented the second seed of doubt.
As it turned out, those red flags that popped up in my mind concerning the events as explained by “the experts” in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 were shared by many other individuals around the world. In fact, the only things that really added up on 9/11, for those who were keeping score, were the incredible number of inconsistencies.
Today, researchers from various walks of life are demonstrating that it was highly improbable that the upper sections of the North and South Towers were able to topple the massive, largely undamaged structures below without some sort of other variables in the equation. Meanwhile, large traces of thermite, an extremely rare and dangerous material used by the military and professional demolitionists, have been found in dust samples taken from the WTC buildings. This discovery itself warrants a criminal investigation.
But this is undoubtedly the greatest irony of them all: Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, does not even appear on the FBI’s most wanted list. Why? Officials at the Bureau admit that there is simply not enough evidence to arrest him! So if the FBI is not satisfied with the US government’s explanation for the events that transpired on 9/11, why should the public be satisfied?
The 9/11 Omission Commission
In short, 9/11 represented the world’s largest crime scene of modern times, but was never treated as one. In fact, the crime scenes at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and a patch of woods in Pennsylvania were cordoned off and scrubbed clean before any forensic work could occur. The steel from the WTC towers was quickly hauled to Asia and melted down, while photographs show workers hauling away large crates from the Pentagon site, the contents of which were never revealed to the public.
Meanwhile, US politicians assumed that by simply uttering the name “Osama bin Laden” 9/11 was a shut and closed case. After all, who would dare defend such a villainous creature? Not a criminal lawyer in the entire world, that’s for sure, especially given the paranoid, code-orange mindset that gripped the United States in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, which precluded any hope for investigating other plausible explanations.
Given the information as we have collected it, and researched by various parties, we can only conclude that the “investigative work” conducted on this crime scene – performed by government agencies, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST), as well as the 9/11 Commission – seems to have actually obstructed and derailed any real efforts at unraveling the true story behind 9/11. That is the real purpose of this article: to assist in the efforts to open a real criminal investigation and eventual trial for the culprits who were responsible for 9/11.
For those who think that such an article is a waste of time, or some sort of propaganda aimed at the United States, you need only consider the following: The 9/11 Commission (a government investigative committee that George W. Bush was forced to assemble) told reporters during their deliberations that the individuals who were responsible for protecting America continually provided false information.
According to an article in The Washington Post, “For more than two years after the attacks, officials with NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) provided inaccurate information about the response to the hijackings in media and testimony appearances.”
“Some of the panel’s staff members,” the paper continued, “believe that authorities sought to mislead the Commission and the public about what happened on Sept. 11.”
“To this day we don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us,” said Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor who led the Commission. “It was just so far from the truth… It’s one of those loose ends that never got tied.”
Meanwhile, senior officials at the FAA deliberately destroyed air traffic controllers’ tapes made just hours after 9/11.
According to the Washington Post, “Six air traffic controllers provided accounts of their communications with hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001, on a tape recording that was later destroyed by a Federal Aviation Administration manager…But months after the recording was made… another FAA manager decided on his own to destroy the tape, crushing it with his hands, cutting it into small pieces and depositing the pieces into several trash cans.”
The article, which was published on May 7, 2004, went on to say that the manager who had the initiative to record the air traffic controllers, one Mike McCormick, had been reassigned to Iraq where he is “helping to set up an air traffic control system.” So much for contacting Mr. McCormick.
Finally, the families of the 9/11 victims called for the resignation of Executive Director Philip Zelikow, a Bush insider, and were duly snubbed. Commission member Max Cleland resigned, calling the entire exercise a “scam” and a “whitewash.”
If everything was so straightforward and transparent on 9/11, why would anybody need to twist the truth and destroy all of the available evidence? This is called obstruction of justice, which ranks as a federal offense in the United States. It should be little wonder, then, that the esteemed members of the 9/11 Commission wanted to wrap up their proceedings as fast as possible because, to quote a Republican senator participant, “the system needs fixed and another terrorist attack could happen at any moment.”
The bottom line is, if the public cannot place its trust in the very 9/11 Commission that was supposed to investigate the attacks, then how is it supposed to trust the official version of 9/11? But for most individuals, expressing any sort of doubt about the official version as to what occurred on 9/11 would mean confronting demons that few people are prepared for.
The Neoconservatives get their “Pearl Harbor”
Any discussion about the events of 9/11 must include those individuals who were responsible for preventing those attacks from occurring in the first place, namely, the neoconservatives who served under former president George W. Bush.
The neoconservative faction of the Republican Party, which believes it is America’s duty to police the planet and spread its own democratic values, out of the barrel of a gun if necessary, is a radical new political animal in the United States. In the aftermath of 9/11, that philosophy achieved a stranglehold on US politics that will be very hard to shake off in the years to come.
Based largely on the philosophy of a Washington-based neoconservative think tank known as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), more than one commentator has made a direct link between 9/11 and the administration of George W. Bush
PNAC, which was in existence from 1997 to 2006, enthusiastically trumpeted the idea that “American leadership is both good for America and the world.”
William Kristol, one of the founding fathers of PNAC, betrayed the zeal and passion that his group had for the use of military force in resolving foreign policy problems in his numerous publications.
“Saddam Hussein must go,” was the blunt opening line of Kristol’s op-ed piece in The New York Times (“Bombing Iraq Isn’t Enough,” Jan. 30, 1998, co-written with Robert Kagan).
“This imperative may seem too simple for some experts and too daunting for the Clinton administration,” Kristol continued. “But if the United States is committed… to insuring that the Iraqi leader never again uses weapons of mass destruction, the only way to achieve that goal is to remove Mr. Hussein and his regime from power. Any policy short of that will fail.”
It should be remembered that, following Operation Desert Storm (a military campaign by coalition forces to oust Iraq from Kuwait, opened by Bush the Elder on August 2, 1990 and lasting until February 28, 1991) Iraq went from being one of the most advanced Arab nations to one of the most primitive.
In the course of that war, massive Allied bombing campaigns inflicted severe damage on the country, destroying power stations, major dams, even sewage treatment facilities. Indeed, Iraqi fighter pilots and troops, understanding that engaging “the enemy” meant certain death, abandoned their positions and fled to Iran. In other words, there were many more threshold nations to worry about than one that had already been pulverized several years earlier.
Despite overwhelming evidence (supported by UN weapons inspectors on the ground) that Iraq was not stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, the PNAC continued to beat the war drum for the use of military force against Saddam Hussein. Eventually the PNAC, whose members went on to fill top positions in the Bush administration (Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld, to name just a few), got exactly what it wanted with 9/11 when the “if you aren’t with us, you’re against us” mentality kicked in full throttle and “full spectrum dominance” was given a chance.
In fact, the PNAC prior to 9/11 actually seemed to be anticipating another catastrophic event when it wrote in a treatise (Rebuilding America’s Defenses) that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Many commentators point to this passage, as well as the inexplicable attack on Iraq, as proof that the neoconservatives must have had their fingerprints all over the events that transpired on 9/11. This article will not go that far. With that said, however, it is suggestive, at the very least, that the very individuals who fantasized over “another Pearl Harbor” just happened to find themselves in power when that once-in-a-lifetime event broke on 9/11.
Furthermore, the Bush administration will never win accolades for its outstanding moral behavior. Indeed, the crimes it has been found guilty of committing while pursuing its “war on terror” had the actual effect of creating some degree of sympathy for the enemy – no small task when we are talking about Osama bin Laden. Although it is reasonable to expect that the American military would be a bit overenthusiastic after what occurred on 9/11, this cannot excuse the transgressions of international law that followed in its wake.
America and the world are still grappling with the consequences of: attacking Iraq without a UN mandate; hauling suspected terrorists off to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the detainees were “sensorily deprived” and stripped of all legal rights; black hole prisons that the US secret services operated somewhere in Eastern Europe (interesting that the locations of concentration camps and GULAGs are well known, but the site of these democratic dungeons remain veiled in a shroud of total secrecy) with the purpose of torturing prisoners shattered America’s hard-earned reputation as a country that stands for human rights and decency. Finally, the pure breakdown of discipline that was revealed inside the walls of Abu Ghraib prison at the hands of the US guardians appeared to be so systemic that some suggested it was reflective of the new atmosphere of immorality and decadence “that reigns in ‘The West.’”
With the events of 9/11 as the great justifier for anything and everything that follows, members of the Bush administration began to dream up the most deranged Orwellian schemes for “protecting America,” at the same time they were actually destroying civil rights and freedom. The Patriot Act, for example, rammed through by the Bush administration on October 26, 2001 after America blinked, greatly increases the power of the law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mails, and even library book withdrawals.
But this blatant disregard for any sort of limits to power cut in the other direction too. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, an “executive assassination ring,” called the Joint Special Operations Command, was cooked up by the Bush administration.
“It’s a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” Hersh said. “They do not report to anybody. Except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office.”
And then there was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Office of Strategic Influence, which “was created,” according to a report by the American Forces Press Service … “to aid U.S. efforts to influence countries overseas to help or at least support the war against global terrorism.”
Rumsfeld decided to ax the program after a report in The New York Times discovered evidence that the office was designed to “plant false press releases in foreign media outlets to manipulate public opinion.” So much for spreading democracy.
None of the above-mentioned things, however, proves that the Bush administration was somehow complicit with what occurred on 9/11. But it does provide us a strong clue as to their thought processes: how they responded to a crisis, how they craved secrecy, and how they managed to condone some of the most inhumane military practices – in complete violation of the Geneva Convention – in American history.
Pre-9/11, the neoconservatives were silently hoping for some kind of “Pearl Harbor”, while post-9/11, they managed quickly to forfeit the global support and sympathy that the world had awarded the United States by ushering in an epoch of fear, arrogance and incredibly poor judgment. Despite a growing mountain of evidence that suggests the public has been deceived as to the true nature of events on 9/11, politicians are now expending a lot of time and energy debating whether or not it was morally ethical or strategically expedient for the United States to authorize the use of torture against suspected terrorists. This debate only camouflages the real debate: The real debate and investigation should focus on 9/11, that watershed event that is responsible for getting our troops mixed up in the Middle East to begin with.
Getting back to PNAC, that shady organization eventually fell by the wayside, but the ideas that it nurtured and promoted continue to this day. Indeed, it is too early to say whether irreversible damage has been inflicted on the central tenets of the Republican Party.
Finally, individuals who reject alternative versions of events to the official one are accused of either “distorting the memory of the victims of 9/11,” or being “conspiracy theorists”. Personally, had I been a passenger on one of those ill-fated airplanes, I would probably be sitting in some faraway place, anxiously waiting for an honest investigation that would finally put my soul to rest; after all, there can be no greater tribute to the memory of the deceased than the truth.
As far as accusations of being “conspiracy theorists” goes, it seems that the real conspiracy, given the emerging facts, was concocted on the other side of the debate. Even the FBI has found no reason to arrest Osama bin Laden, yet our military is now fighting on two bloody fronts as a result of his purported crime.
I would like briefly to mention two individuals who have given me permission to quote and cite their exhaustive research for this article: First, Giulietto Chiesa, an Italian journalist and politician who produced the unmatched documentary film on 9/11 entitled Zero, which has thus far failed to reach large audiences in the United States; Niels Harrit, a Professor from the University of Copenhagen whose patient emails helped me to understand chemistry a bit better. Finally, special thanks to the courageous work of David Chandler, a physics teacher who could certainly teach the government a lesson on how to construct viable mathematical models on a shoestring budget.
Never before or after 9/11 have steel-framed skyscrapers collapsed due to fire.
In February 2005, the 32-storey Windsor Building in the financial district of Madrid, Spain was completely engulfed by flames for 20 consecutive hours. I repeat: 20 consecutive hours. The structure did not collapse. In fact, after the fire was finally extinguished, a huge construction crane was seen perched on the roof of the building as raw testimony to the practical indestructibility of steel as a construction material.
Now compare the fire in Madrid that burned continuously for 20 hours, without compromising the structure, to two relatively low-temperature fires inside the formidably constructed WTC buildings. As the investigators would have us believe, those fires caused both structures to disappear, in mirror-image collapses, into their own footprints in less than one hour.
On October 18, 2004, an inferno gutted the top 20 floors of the 50-storey Parque Central Tower in Caracas, Venezuela. The fire burned for 17 consecutive hours, but the steel structure did not collapse.
By contrast, the fires burning inside of the World Trade Center buildings were textbook examples of oxygen-starved fires, visible by the dark gray smoke that emitted from both structures. Indeed, very few flames were visible at all. Furthermore, many tenants of the stricken buildings were able to walk down the emergency steps past the point of impact where the planes had struck.
Brian Clark, a South Tower survivor, was working in his office at Euro Brokers Inc. when, at 9:03am, United Airlines 175 crashed into the 78th Floor. Euro Brokers’ office was situated on the 84th floor, 6 storeys above the impact of the jetliner. Yet Clark, together with other fellow employees, managed to escape from the South Tower, walking down the building’s inside stairwell and past the point of impact.
“When I looked down there, I didn’t see flames,” Clark said in an interview for the film Zero. “We decided to go as far as we could until we would be stopped by flames. When we came to the 78th floor (the point of impact), there were flames licking up the other side of the wall… It wasn’t a roaring inferno. I sensed that the flames were maybe starved for oxygen right there. We kept going, and when we got to the 74th floor… normal conditions: the lights were on, and there was fresh air coming up from below.”
Another indication that the WTC fires were far below the temperatures needed for a catastrophic collapse was evident by the tragic image of office workers who were filmed standing inside the gaping mouth of the airplanes’ point of entry, desperately waiting to be rescued. Indeed, much of the jet fuel that both airplanes were carrying was immediately blown out of the buildings upon impact in magnificent orange fireballs.
Kevin Ryan is a former engineer from Underwriters Laboratory (UL), a highly reputable company that was subcontracted to test the hypothesis of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as to how the WTC towers collapsed. Ryan and his colleagues used model replicas of the WTC towers to test the ability of the structures to remain standing in the event of a fire.
“We did test the floor models in August 2004,” Ryan said, “and those tests disproved the primary theory behind the collapse of the buildings.”
“The floor models didn’t collapse in the tests,” Ryan said, “and these (models) were in furnaces in much hotter temperatures, for a longer period of time (as compared with the temperature and endurance of the fires on 9-11). Yet, they still did not collapse.”
According to Ryan, in order for NIST to get the results they were looking for, they “manipulated the test parameters. They doubled one thing, and cut something else in half. They doubled the time their computer model exposed the columns to fire – 90 minutes, as opposed to 50 minutes.”
Eventually, NIST was forced to substitute the “pancake theory” (which wrongly hypothesized that the combined force of the upper floors began a domino effect downward) for the “inward bowing theory,” which argues that the floors and walls of the WTC buildings buckled to the point where they could no longer support the weight of the structure – an equally implausible explanation for the collapses, given the low temperatures inside the structures.
Ryan was fired from his job with Underwriters Laboratory one week after he challenged the results of the NIST report, the US government’s official version of the reasons for the WTC collapses.
It is important to remember that the WTC was specifically designed to withstand the impact of not one, but several airplanes crashing into it, as well as powerful winds that the architects understood would regularly pummel the structure.
The inner “core” of the World Trade Center towers, a mixture of steel and concrete that housed the elevator shafts and stairwells, can best be described as formidable. This inner supporting section, which measured an area of 87 by 135 feet (27 by 41 m), was composed of 47 steel columns packed in cement that ran the entire length of the structures. If left untouched, the towers were constructed to “outlive the pyramids,” as one engineer told me.
“We designed the buildings to resist the impact of one or more airliners,” said Frank De Martini, WTC construction manager.
Free-fall collapse time of the structures
One of the most perplexing aspects about the collapse of the WTC structures is that they tumbled to the ground in almost free-fall time. Researchers say this is a physical impossibility.
“One of the things that particularly struck me was the incredible speed in which the towers came down,” said Paolo Marini, a metallurgy researcher at the Italian Center for Materials Development.
“There was something truly inexplicable about the speed of the collapse. If we drop a weight from a height of around 400 meters, which was the height of the towers, the time it would take to reach the ground… would take approximately 9 seconds.”
“The impact (of the airliner) was about two-thirds of the way up the tower,” Marini continued. “But even if the section above collapsed suddenly due to the structure giving way, and even considering that the impact of the section above was enormous, and therefore somewhat weakened the resistance of the structure below, it’s clear that, due to the resistance of the undamaged part below, this tower should not have fallen at such a speed. But it fell as if there was nothing below it.”
David Chandler, a member of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, has created a video presentation that blows a gaping in hole in the official version of events.
Chandler focuses on the top 32 meters (equivalent to eight floors) of World Trade Center I, also known as the North Tower, which collapses and drops on top of the massive undamaged section below. It has been argued that the downward force of the upper section onto the lower section was what brought down the entire building into a mountain of dust and rubble.
Chandler tracks the rate of fall of the upper 32 meters at 64 per cent of free fall speed. In other words, once the upper structure begins to fall, the upward resistive force (that is, the undamaged section below) must be only 36 per cent of the weight of the falling section of the building, i.e. the difference in percentage (if the math seems fuzzy to some readers, you may want to find Chandler’s visual models, which are easily accessible over the Internet).
“So far, so good,” says Chandler, who has a knack for making physics sound simple. “But… Newton’s Third Law says that interaction between objects work both ways. The forces that two objects exert on each other are always equal and opposite. If the upward force acting on the falling block is 36 percent of the weight of the falling block, the downward force exerted by the falling block must be exactly the same: 36 percent of the weight of the falling block.”
“In other words,” Chandlers continues, “the top section of the building is exerting less force on the lower, stronger, undamaged structure than it would if it were simply sitting motionless.”
Chandler’s scientific conclusion: “The top section of the building, whatever its condition, cannot possibly be destroying the lower section of the building. The destruction of the building must be caused by something else.”
To summarize: Even if we accept the official explanation that fires from the jet fuel weakened the steel girders to the point that made the upper section collapse on to the bottom section, the free-fall speed that is clear for all to see cannot have happened by itself; something else must have been destroying the lower floors at the same time that the upper “block” was coming down. The force of the smaller 8-storey section of building above was not significant enough to bring down the entire North and South Towers as it allegedly did.
The inexplicable (and ignored) collapse of WTC 7
If the destruction of the World Trade Center’s North and South towers was nothing more than magicians pulling fluffy white rabbits out of silk black hats, World Trade Center 7 is where the cards tumbled out of their sleeves, revealing the invisible strings that brought this great illusion to life.
The horrifying images of two commercial jets slamming into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center largely dominate our memories of 9/11. Yet many people forget about, or never heard of, World Trade Center 7, which was a 47-storey, 200-meter-high skyscraper that was never hit by a jet, yet crumpled to the ground like a house of cards a full 7 hours after the collapse of the North Tower. So let us reiterate: there were three destroyed skyscrapers on 9/11, but just two commercial jets.
And just like the first two towers, WTC 7 dropped at almost free-fall speed. Although this building was damaged by falling debris from the collapse of WTC North tower (a large gash was visible on the building’s exposed side), and was on fire in isolated sections for several hours, the extent of the physical damage seems entirely inconsistent with the final catastrophic result.
An increasing number of researchers are arriving at the conclusion that Building 7, like the towers, was brought down with thermitic material. Indeed, at the base of the WTC 7 towers, as was the case with the North and South towers, the presence of molten metal in large quantities was found. But more on that “theory” later.
David Chandler, a humble physics teacher armed with nothing more than inexpensive software and a zero budget, provided a far more realistic analysis of the collapse of the WTC 7 building than NIST did with its multimillion-dollar government budget.
Basically, Chandler accuses NIST of not only doing a “sloppy job” in its analysis of the collapse of WTC 7, but goes so far as calling it “beyond incompetence; it is a… blatant lie.”
“NIST’s method tells us nothing about the nature of the motion itself,” says the physicist. “They merely assume uniform acceleration over a time interval in which it is clear that the acceleration is not uniform. Mislabeling their assumption to be constant speed indicates sloppy work. But asserting uniform acceleration for an interval where the building sits nearly motionless for several seconds and then drops for several seconds in free fall is beyond incompetence, it is a… blatant lie.”
“The average acceleration is a meaningless quantity,” Chandler explains. “It is the instantaneous acceleration that is significant because the acceleration at any moment is an indication of the forces at work. To measure and publish a meaningless average acceleration, when sufficient data and a multimillion dollar budget are available… constitutes either gross incompetence or an attempt to obfuscate the issue.”
But even if we accept the official version, which says that WTC 7 was “compromised by falling debris” from the North and South Towers, as Popular Mechanics mechanically argued, how is it possible that the building came down in “elegant” (as one demolition expert put it to me) controlled-demolition fashion?
Demolishing a building is a veritable science that requires the precise placement of explosive charges at carefully selected points so that the targeted structure drops into its own footprint without damaging any other buildings in the vicinity. This is exactly what WTC 7, as well as the monstrous North and South towers, politely did with tremendous respect for their surroundings.
Having a large building drop in textbook fashion without the assistance of professionals must be to demolitionists what a monkey that sat down to a typewriter and hammered out perfect Shakespeare in a fortnight would be to literary agents. In other words, highly unlikely.
Compounding the mystery behind the inexplicable collapse of the 47-storey WTC 7 building, which housed Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Office of Emergency Management, this major event (the collapse) is never mentioned once in the government’s 9/11 Commission report.
If anybody holds out hope that somebody someday will analyze the steel columns from the collapse for evidence of explosives, better not hold your breath: the wreckage was quickly whisked out of the United States to Asia where it was melted down. Indeed, we are probably buying Chinese-made toys made out of WTC evidence without even knowing it. Thus, NIST’s threadbare investigative efforts have been compared to “conducting an autopsy without the corpse.”
“Anyone serious about solving a crime,” comments Chandler, “knows the importance of physical evidence. Yet here (at Ground Zero), the crime scene has been scrubbed, the evidence destroyed, and the investigation delayed for years.”
“Destroying a crime scene is itself a criminal act,” Chandler concludes. “Destroying the steel has absolutely no justification except to cover up the cause of the collapse.”
The presence of molten metal
According to numerous witnesses, molten metal was clearly visible on the salvaged steel girders, as well as at Ground Zero. These claims are supported by video footage of the burning towers on 9/11, which clearly shows images of white-hot metal oozing out of the towers like volcanic lava shortly before catastrophic collapse occurs.
In the weeks and months after 9/11, there were many reports of “pools of molten metal” in the remains of the World Trade Center. In fact, the presence of these intensely hot pockets hampered the cleanup efforts until December 20 – over three months after the collapses!
“As of 21 days after the attack,” said Leslie Robertson, structural engineer responsible for the design of the WTC, speaking at the National Conference of Structural Engineers on Oct. 5, 2001, “the fires were still burning and the molten steel was still running.”
“The fires got very intense down there,” Richard Riggs, a debris removal specialist, told the History Channel. “It was actually melted beams, molten steel that was being dug up.”
Ken Holden, who was involved with the organizing of demolition, excavation and debris removal operations at Ground Zero told the 9/11 Investigative Committee, “Underground, it was still so hot that molten metal dripped down the sides of the walls from the (WTC) buildings.”
To the uninitiated in the murky field of chemistry, such phenomena (intensely burning fires that continue to burn for weeks and months) may seem somehow plausible given the extent of the damage at Ground Zero. But for (some) trained chemists and engineers, such physical phenomena are nothing short of a scientific impossibility without some degree of human trifling. Why? Because steel must be heated to 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit before it will melt, simple as that. Not even the planet Venus gets that hot. Yet researchers are practically unanimous in their belief that the temperatures inside of the buildings never got above 800 degrees.
So what was responsible for slicing through the steel columns like a hot knife through butter?
One of the unforgettable images of 9/11 was the amount of white soot that covered everything, making the stunned survivors resemble a menagerie of lost ghosts walking down the streets of New York City in the middle of a snowstorm.
Thousands of pounds of this dust clogged every nook and cranny of the Big Apple for weeks. And for the residents of New York, who were forced to cope with tiny mountains of white ash throughout their downtown apartments, this dust became a morbid keepsake, a grim souvenir of the day that shook the world. New Yorkers scooped up the fine powder and saved it, not knowing how important this act would turn out to be, because what researchers discovered in that dust has proven to be the single most disturbing discovery to date about 9/11.
The devil is in… the dust
“At the microscopic level, if you examine the granular structure of the steel, one can detect the presence of an element that is not normally present,” said Marini. “And it is there in substantial qualities. It is sulfur.”
Professor Steven Jones, a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, after examining samples of the dust collected from residents (from different locations around the city), provided the shocking reason for the high levels of sulfur found in the steel beams: the existence of thermite, a powerful material that is often employed in detonations.
“We are quite certain where this molten metal comes from,” the physicist explained in the documentary film Zero. “It comes from a material called thermite, which is made up of aluminum powder, iron oxide and sulfur.”
According to Jones, “the presence of thermite in the dust samples implies that someone had to place the thermite near the steel columns in order to cut through them.”
In other words, Jones is describing what is commonly known as a controlled demolition.
In addition to thermite, Jones said that his team detected large amounts of barium in the dust particles as well.
“This is very interesting,” he said, “because barium nitrate and sulfur are part of the military patent on what is known as thermate (thermite with sulfur and barium nitrate added). Barium is a very toxic metal, so one would not expect it to be present in the large concentrations that we see.”
In several of the available photos from Ground Zero, some of the protruding steel columns that survived the collapse have straight downward cuts that seem to lend credence to Jones’s chilling theory.
Danish scientists confirm presence of nano-thermite
In a separate study, Neils Harrit from the University of Copenhagen, together with eight of his fellow colleagues, provides conclusive evidence for the prevalence of explosive material in dust samples from 9/11.
The study (entitled “Active Thermite Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”), draws the conclusion that “the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nano-technology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.”
During an interview with RT in July, Harrit said he also believed that “conventional explosives were used in abundance” in the collapse of the buildings.
“We suggested… to the National Institute of Standards and Technology that they should look for traces of explosives and they have refused to do so every time,” said Harrit. “They have not investigated it.”
The simple question must be: why? After all, 9/11 represented the largest crime scene in modern history; should not all of the possibilities be thoroughly examined? Why is NIST not interested in knowing if explosives were used in combination with the suicide missions of the hijackers? After all, is it not plausible that the terrorists rigged the building with explosives just in case the airliners missed, or failed, to bring down their targets? Rigging a building with explosives, although certainly no simple feat, would not have been any more challenging than hijacking four aircraft with worse than amateur pilots suddenly in charge of navigating the aircraft.
Moreover, conventional explosives were tried once before. It could not have escaped NIST’s attention that on February 26, 1993, a 1,500 lb (680 kg) bomb was detonated in the underground garage section of the North Tower. The terrorists had anticipated that the force of the bomb would topple the North Tower onto the South Tower. The crude attempt failed, of course, but given the testimony of hundreds of witnesses who reported feeling explosions below the buildings during the attacks of 9/11, it seems incredible, and even suspicious, that this angle was never explored by the government agency.
Harrit then goes on to discuss the presence of molten iron in the collapse site.
“The thermite reaction produced molten iron. Now the molten iron was pouring out of one of the towers. Molten iron was in pools in the rubble after 9/11. For weeks and months the surface temperature was 735 degrees after three days of showers. It took them three months to put out the fire, which was declared officially extinguished on December 20. Now this is some kind of fire. This was a witch’s brew of nano-thermite chemistry for three months!”
Meanwhile, eyewitness accounts of pre-crash explosions inside of the buildings seems to lend credence to the theory that nano-thermite, perhaps, mixed with other explosives, may have been used to bring down both structures.
“It turns out that literally dozens of firefighters and emergency medical workers had given testimony that they had heard one, two, three, seven, eight, some said 10 explosions going off in the building,” said Professor David Ray Griffin, the author of “9-11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.”
“Some of the people inside the buildings reported that they were banged around, knocked downstairs by explosions. Other people testified to seeing flashes. And many of them said: ‘It looked just like on TV when we see them bring down buildings with explosions.’”
RT asked Professor Niels Harrit in an exclusive interview (in fact, his first for an English-language media syndicate) what motivated him to research the collapse of the WTC buildings.
“I accidentally saw Building 7,” Harrit began. “And for those who do not know this… there were two airliners, but there were three skyscrapers (that were destroyed). Most people associate the World Trade Center with the twin towers… but Building 7 was a huge building, close to 200 meters high, 47 stories, with a footprint the size of a soccer field. And it came down 20 minutes after 5 in the afternoon; this was 7 hours after the North tower had collapsed.
“I saw this accidentally, and I said, ‘What is this?‘ “This is World Trade Center 7,’ I was told. ‘What?!’
“And it’s going down completely symmetrically, in 6.5 seconds,” says Harrit, gesticulating with his hands to demonstrate the movement. “It’s going down – zoop! And as a scientist, you are trained to watch your environment in an analytical fashion. You are always thinking ‘how does this happen, how does this happen.’ And this, I just could not understand it.
“It took me weeks actually to digest this… But once you have realized this, there is no way back. So you can either speak out, or you can live in shame. And from then on, I got more and more interested, and I found that the evidence for controlled demolition is overwhelming… ‘“
Andrews Air Force Base is a mere 10 miles away from the Pentagon, yet 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began not a single fighter jet had been activated to intercept American Airlines Flight 77.
Consider the following: On October 25, 1999, a tiny Learjet 35 departed from Orlando, Florida that was carrying Payne Stewart, a professional American golfer. About 14 minutes after departing from the airport, the control tower lost contact with his plane. The air-traffic controllers, following rigid protocol regarding lost aircraft, immediately notified the US Air Force.
According to FAA official transcripts, “At 9:52 a U.S. Air Force F-16 from the 40th Flight Test Squadron at the Englin Air Force was vectored toward the aircraft.”
At 9:54 – just two minutes after the command to intercept had been ordered – the fighter jet had already spotted Payne Stewart’s wayward aircraft.
The pilot of the F-16 reported that both engines on the plane were working, but the cockpit windows were covered with condensation or frost, a sign that the cabin had depressurized without the necessary oxygen reserves. Things looked very bad for the occupants of the aircraft.
Both the Learjet and the F-16 were now over the state of Illinois, many miles from the departing point. The F-16 from Englin stopped pursuing the Learjet and landed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois for refueling and probably a cigarette.
At this point, two Oklahoma F-16s (Codenamed, TULSA 13) were then vectored to intercept the “accident airplane” by the Minneapolis ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Center). Neither pilots of those two planes, which flew within meters of the disabled aircraft, noticed anything mechanically wrong with the tiny aircraft. But still the pilot of the Learjet did not respond.
Minutes later, the TULSA 13 jets handed off the plane to two F-16s stationed in North Dakota (Codenamed, NODAK 32). One of the pilots from this new sortie reported, “We’ve got two visuals on it… the cockpit window is iced over and there’s no displacement in any of the control surfaces…”
Twenty minutes later, one of the jets from the NODAK 32 team remained to the west of the Learjet, while the TULSA 13 F-16 followed the Learjet down.
“The target is descending and he is doing multiple aileron rolls, looks like he is out of control,” the TULSA 13 pilot radioed back to his command station. “It’s soon to impact the ground he is in a descending spiral.”
The plane crashes and all of the passengers, who probably died long before the plane had hit the ground, were killed.
Compare: On Sept. 11 at 9:37 a.m., one hour and twenty minutes after the hijackings were reported, American Airlines Flight 77 slams into the west wall of the Pentagon without ever being followed, intercepted or shot down by US fighter jets.
How does NORAD account for the fact that five (5) state-of-the-art F-16 fighter jets, activated from various air force bases, trailed a tiny wayward Learjet halfway across the United States, yet failed to vector a single aircraft to inspect four commercial jets that were carrying hundreds of passengers across many miles of heavily populated, strategically sensitive territory? It does not compute.
Despite possessing highly sophisticated aircraft that can fly faster than the speed of sound (2,400 km per hour), and shoot down targets from many miles away, the U.S. Air Force opted not to activate a single fighter jet to intercept, tag, or at least investigate, four lumbering commercial jets that had wandered off their courses for periods ranging from 20 to 90 minutes.
“Anytime an airliner goes off course,” says Robert Bowman, a pilot and decorated Vietnam veteran, “or loses radio communication, or loses its transponder signal – anytime any one of those three things happen, the aircraft is supposed to be intercepted.”
“On 9/11, all three of those things happen,” continues Bowman in the film Zero, “and still there was no intercept. Those planes flew for 20 minutes to an hour-and-a-half without ever being intercepted.”
But there was no shortage of fighter jets available, we must assume, since there are sixteen (16) Air Force bases located in the northeast of the United States. So why weren’t the large, slow-moving Boeing jets intercepted?
The official version of the story says that NORAD was notified too late; in other words, the air traffic controllers were not on the ball on 9/11. This argument seems equally implausible. John Judge, a 9/11 investigator for former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, said that 9/11 was the first time in the year 2001 that an air emergency went ignored.
“Sixty-seven times in that year, 2001,” says Judge, “there had been air emergencies. They can get a plane up in 6 to 10 minutes, and scrambled 67 times that year in air emergencies, but there was not an instance where an air emergency went ignored for long periods of time – until 9/11.”
One good explanation for the eerily empty skies over New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 9/11 had a lot to do with a bizarre memorandum (entitled “Aircraft Piracy and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects”) that former Vice President Dick Cheney rammed through the Defense Department on June 1, 2001, exactly three months before 9/11.
Despite warnings from intelligence-collecting agencies that a terrorist strike was becoming an increasing threat (a presidential brief, for example, entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” landed on George W. Bush’s desk from the FBI on August 6 that makes direct mention of the Al-Qaeda leader wanting to “hijack a US aircraft to… gain release of US-held extremists”), Cheney inexplicably relieves NORAD of its long-standing responsibility to intercept and shoot down hijacked airplanes that pose a major threat on the ground.
In other words, the U.S. generals had their hands tied on 9/11, and could not even scramble jets without a direct order from the Pentagon. That command, of course, never came.
It should be no surprise as to who failed to pick up the telephone at the Pentagon on the morning of Sept. 11. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld. Where was he? Strangely, nobody could find him. Indeed, the official 9/11 Commission report states that the Defense Secretary “was untraceable until 10:30a.m.”
Eventually, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was caught on film shortly after the crash of Flight 77, assisting with the rescue efforts on the lawn of the Pentagon. Although this humanly gesture must be commended, it seems to be completely at odds with Rumsfeld’s most critical job duty, which was to give clearance for NORAD to shoot down or intercept hijacked aircraft according to Cheney’s updated (and short-lived) memorandum mentioned above.
On the lawn of the Pentagon, tending to the wounded was not the right place for the Defense Secretary who should have been sitting near the phone, coordinating our national defenses. And how did Rumsfeld know for certain that another plane might not drop out of the sky, indeed as had been wildly rumored? Wouldn’t his expertise and command have been much more helpful inside of the Pentagon?
Or maybe the absence of any aircraft in America’s skies besides hijacked ones had something to do with a secret exercise that was based upon “the fiction” of a hijacked plane crashing into a building. When did that military exercise occur? Yes, on the very morning of Sept. 11.
“In what the government describes as a bizarre coincidence,” reports the Associated Press exactly one year after 9/11, “one US intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings”
“Officials at the… National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise that morning in which a small corporate jet would crash into one of the four towers at the agency’s headquarters…,” the AP article revealed.
Is what follows just another coincidence? You be the judge: The National Reconnaissance Office, which operates many of the nation’s spy satellites, sits just four miles away from Washington’s Dulles International Airport. And it was from Dulles Airport where American Airlines Flight 77 – the Boeing 757 that was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon – departed at 8:10 a.m. on Sept. 11, fifty minutes before the crash exercise at the intelligence agency was scheduled to begin.
If there was a better way to obfuscate the already high level of pandemonium that existed on Sept. 11 than to plan a terrorist hijacking exercise similar to the “real-world” one in progress, I personally cannot imagine it. Indeed, precious minutes were wasted as the agency and the air traffic controllers debated if it was the exercise they were witnessing on their radar screens, or “the real thing.”
Alright, so one of the most elite air forces in the world allowed a large, lumbering commercial jet to strike one of the world’s best protected military installations in the world. Fine, mistakes happen, even impossible mistakes, we could say with a shrug. But what about the batteries of surface-to-air missiles that reportedly surround the Pentagon? Surely the Pentagon’s defense ring would have intercepted American Airlines Flight 77 (Thierry Meyssan, the French journalist who caused a sensation with his book entitled “9/11: The Big Lie,” stated that the Pentagon is protected by “five missile batteries.” Some commentators refute that claim, saying there are no such batteries on the grounds of the Pentagon. Meyssan, however, defends his source of information: “The presence of these anti-missile batteries was testified to me by French officers to whom they were shown during an official visit to the Pentagon. This was later confirmed to me by a Saudi officer”).
April Gallop, a US Army administrative specialist, was working inside the Pentagon on 9/11. In response to a question presented by George Washington’s blog, Gallop responded that the real question is, “what is the probability or likelihood that no anti-aircraft defense, warning alarms or additional security mechanism functioned on that particular day?”
Gallop has since retired from the Pentagon due to her injuries sustained on 9/11.
Missing-in-action video camera footage
Although we may never know for sure if the Pentagon is surrounded with a surface-to-air missile defense system, we do know that the building employs a small contingency of video cameras – 85 to be exact – that dutifully capture every conceivable angle of the hallowed grounds. And according to a senior journalist from the US Department of Defense, the FBI collected all of the footage from these cameras shortly after the attacks.
“The FBI was immediately at the scene and took the surveillance tapes and confiscated 85 videotapes,” said Barbara Honegger, a senior journalist with the Department of Defense (DoD).
Although collecting the videos may be considered “routine intelligence gathering,” failing to share the footage with your fellow citizens for no apparent reason seems a bit odd, if not outright scandalous. But in yet another inexplicable move, that is exactly what the FBI did. Not until 2006 did the Department of Defense (DoD) back down to freedom of information requests, handing over four tapes from their stash of 85 available. Isn’t that being a bit stingy with the vintage video collection? Beggars can’t be choosers, apparently.
Anyways, two of the tapes released by the DoD show only a vague plume of smoke in the distance and so are of absolutely no use to researchers. The remaining two tapes, taken from the Pentagon’s parking lot entrance, show what appears to be the tip of some sort of approaching vehicle – and that is all – before a huge fireball is seen erupting against the wall of the building. Nothing remotely resembling a Boeing 757, or even the smallest airplane for that matter, is evident in the released video clip.
“Quite frankly, there’s not enough in those photographs to tell exactly what it was,” says Captain Russ Wittemberg, a pilot with 30 years experience in military and civilian aviation. “But you can tell what it wasn’t. It didn’t have the size… If it was a real 757-200 it would be much bigger than the vehicle we do see in the picture.”
The Pentagon explained that the lack of an airplane in the video clip was due to the speed of the aircraft; the lumbering commercial aircraft somehow managed to squeeze its formidable proportions right between the frames of the video! Yes, the Boeing 757-200 was just too tiny a target, it seems, to have been captured on those sophisticated surveillance cameras.
According to an affidavit by Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, “fifty-six (56) of these videotapes did not show either the Pentagon building, the Pentagon crash site, or the impact of Flight 77 into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.”
Maguire goes on to explain that “I personally viewed the remaining twenty-nine (29) videotapes.” Yet she concluded that there was “nothing of interest” for the public to gain from having access to those tapes.
Again, we are reduced to asking more silly “why” questions, which should have been provided from the beginning: If the Pentagon perimeter was ringed with security cameras, why were approximately three-fourths of the devices not aimed at the building itself? And if they were aimed away from the complex, as alleged, how could a Boeing 757-200 commercial jet fail to get captured by all of the video cameras? Finally, why did Maguire “personally view” just 29 of the available 85 tapes? Why did she not have privilege to all of them? Certainly she must have been curious. And if it was not Maguire who viewed the other 56 tapes, who did view them?
Boeing 757s (and amateur pilots) cannot perform acrobatic maneuvers
Perhaps the reason that the Pentagon’s army of video cameras failed to catch any sign of a commercial jet was because the hulking Boeing 757 was up in the air performing graceful acrobatic maneuvers before its final descent and crash. At least this is what the official version of the Pentagon crash would have us believe.
Before plowing into the Pentagon building, the Boeing 757 seems to have performed a death defying 270-degree turn at the speed of approximately 88 kilometers per hour, official data says. Experienced flight personnel, however, say “no way.”
“That is a really difficult maneuver,” commented Robin Hordon, a flight controller for 11 years at Boston Center. “And what I will say to you is that an experienced pilot with thousands of hours probably would have to take between 10 and 20 attempts… before they would be able to pull off that maneuver.”
“A 757 is not designed to do that,” Hordon continued. “The 757 is designed to be a cruise ship in the sky. It’s not acrobatic. So you just can’t do that with one of those big airplanes.”
“The speed, the maneuverability, the way that it turned,” commented Danielle O’Brien, air traffic controller from Dulles airport, “we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane.”
Then there is the assertion that the aircraft was flying at 6 meters above the ground at 580 kilometers per hour for one kilometer before hitting its target.
“The story is Flight 77 was going 530 miles per hour, 460 knots… it can’t go that fast down that low,” says Wittemberg. “The air is too dense at such low altitudes.”
“I challenge any pilot,” says Nila Sagadevan, a pilot and aeronautical engineer, “give him a Boeing 757 and tell him to do 400 knots 20 feet above the ground for half a mile. You can’t do it. It’s aerodynamically impossible.”
So given the extreme unlikelihood that even a seasoned pilot would be able to pull off such a maneuver, how could Hani Hanjour, who could not even negotiate a tiny Cessna 172, be the man who performed these next-to-impossible flying maneuvers before zeroing in on the Pentagon.
“I’m still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon,” said one of Hanjour’s past flight instructors in an interview with The New York Times. “He could not fly at all.”
“His instructor described him as a terrible pilot,” admitted the 9/11 Commission report, quoting an FBI memorandum. Another flight instructor went so far as to call Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Al-Omari, the alleged hijackers of Flight 11, “dumb and dumber in an airplane.”
“For a guy to just jump into the cockpit and fly like an ace is impossible,” says Wittenberg, in an interview with Lewis News. “There is not one chance in a thousand.”
The ex-commercial pilot then recalled that when he made the jump from Boeing’s 727 to the much more sophisticated 737’s and then on to the 767’s it took him “considerable time” to feel comfortable with the changes.
So it is little wonder that the 9/11 commission report says that “the President (George W. Bush) was struck by the apparent sophistication of the operation and some of the piloting, especially Hanjour’s high-speed dive into the Pentagon.”
Yes, almost unbelievable.
Disappearance of Flight 77 after hitting the Pentagon
Whenever an airplane crashes, we are only too familiar with grim television news reports that show close-up footage of physical wreckage, including engines, seats, luggage, and wheel assemblies. But this is the truly inexplicable thing about the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon: there is practically no sign of a wrecked aircraft after the crash. All that remains of Flight 77 is about a dozen small pieces, most of which can be lifted by hand.
On September 9, 1994, US Air Flight 427 crashed into a wooded area outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to data retrieved from the plane’s black box, the plane went into a vertical roll at a height of 3,600 feet just after the captain announced an emergency. Witnesses at the scene told investigators that the plane “dove into the ground at full speed.”
Despite slamming into the ground at a great speed and distance and exploding, large remains of the aircraft were nevertheless discovered over a wide area.
“The largest part of the plane… believed to be the tail,” reported the EmergencyNet news Service. “Bits of baggage, shredded parts of the plane, and severed limbs are reportedly strewn over a large area.”
Compare this routine crash scene with that reported (once) by a CNN anchor from his “close-up inspection” at the Pentagon:
“From my close-up inspection, there’s no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon,” he commented live from the scene. “The only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, a fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon.”
There was also a firsthand report from a fighter pilot who was ordered by Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of NORAD, the agency that is charged with protecting the airspace over North America.
According to Honegger, the senior journalist with the U.S. Department of Defense, the pilot made an overpass of the crash zone and reported back to command center that “there was no evidence, zero evidence, of an impact of a plane at the Pentagon.”
As questions over the whereabouts of the mysteriously disappearing aircraft began to mount, the Department of the Defense began to support the theory that Flight 77 simply “vaporized” due to the speed that it was traveling.
So, in addition to being forced to accept the new science that steel buildings collapse due to fire, we are also expected to swallow yet another “unprecedented event” that happened on that truly mysterious morning of September 11: all those practically indestructible components of an aircraft – engines, landing gear, tail and wings – just vaporized into thin air.
The engines of a Boeing 757-200 are about 9 feet long and composed of titanium, the strongest of metals that resists melting even at 3,000 degrees Celsius. So why was there no evidence of these engines against the wall of the Pentagon? The two big holes that we would expect to see are not there. There should have been a line of complete destruction before the collapse of the building’s external wall. It’s simply not there. Instead, where the wings of the aircraft should have struck the building, in cooperation with the mighty engines, there are unbroken windows clearly visible.
Only a small hole, 16 foot (5 meters) in diameter, was visible in the side of the Pentagon 45 minutes before the wall collapsed. Certainly, a Boeing 757-200, which weighs over 100 tons, carries a much larger footprint.
Boeing 757’s are 150 feet long. The engines of these monster aircraft are 9 feet long. The landing gear also contains huge metal components, made of titanium, that are virtually indestructible. How can 60 tons of airplane vanish into thin air with barely a trace?
“There’s no indication of the wings hitting anything at the Pentagon,” says Capt. Russ Wittemberg, a 30-year veteran of military and civilian aviation.
“Perhaps at a certain moment,” quipped Dario Fo, a Nobel Prize winner, “the airplane somehow closed up its wings, just as dragon flies do, and the plane entered the hole!”
“I look at the hole in the Pentagon,” said Maj. General Albert Stubblebine, whose former job was to measure pieces of Soviet equipment taken from photographs during the Cold War, “and I look at the size of the airplane that was supposed to have hit the Pentagon, and the plane does not fit in that hole.”
Stubblebine then asked, with no lack of emotion: “So what did hit the Pentagon? What’s going on?”
Whatever it was that hit the Pentagon on 9/11, it slammed through 6 massive walls before leaving a nearly perfect circular exit hole deep inside the military complex that measured approximately 12 feet across. In other words, nothing remotely resembling an airplane.
“With all the evidence readily available at the Pentagon crash site,” concludes Col. George Nelson, an aircraft accident investigator with the US Air Force, “any unbiased, rational investigator could only conclude that a Boeing 757 did not fly into the Pentagon.”
Not a single individual lost their job following the worst terrorist attacks to strike the United States; in fact, the military personnel directly responsible for protecting America’s skies all received promotions shortly after 9/11.
Osama bin Laden was suspect number one on 9/11, yet the U.S. authorities commit yet another inexplicable act: they release all members of the bin Laden family who were residing at the time in the US.
Let’s imagine that a mass murder has been committed in Smalltown, America and the suspect is at large. Where is the first place the investigators will invariably go to search for clues as to either the whereabouts of the killer or his or her motives? Yes, to the immediate families of the suspected killer.
So why did the US authorities let the immediate kin of bin Laden escape on planes out of Dodge?
“Even though American airspace had been shut down,” Sky News reported, “the Bush administration allowed a jet to fly around the US picking up family members from 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and Houston.”
“Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family were urgently evacuated from the United States in the first days following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington,” CBS reported.
“Most of bin Laden’s relatives were attending high school and college,” the article continued. “Many were terrified, fearing they would be lynched after hearing reports of violence against Muslims and Arab-Americans.”
The skies over America in the days following 9/11 were in lock-down mode yet the entire family of America’s number one enemy is released without due question. Furthermore, not only are these individuals duly released, they are released on commercial jets, the very mode of transport that bin Laden allegedly used to wreak havoc on the northeastern United States.
This is truly amazing, and bears repeating: not a single American citizen could fly after 9/11, yet we give permission to the family of the evil mastermind who allegedly used commercial jets to damage four buildings to escape from the United States on commercial jets! This sort of irrational behavior on the part of the authorities almost makes it look as if the Bush administration knew that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the attacks so releasing the bin Ladens would not mean much. Or maybe we are missing something here?
Let’s briefly imagine a reversal of roles: an American, who is believed to be hiding out in enemy territory overseas, is accused of killing thousands of innocent people in Jeddah one Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, dozens of his American relatives are attending university in Jeddah. How would the Saudi government, or any government for that matter, respond to that predicament? I think it would be a safe bet that the Saudi government might, at the very least, ask those Americans, who are probably innocent, of course, not to leave town until further notice. If nothing else, it seems to be normal protocol for any investigation, whatever the size. But the sheer size and brutal surprise of 9/11 allowed us to set aside our common sense and accept any explanation, however asinine.
Is there a better way to sabotage an in-depth investigation against the world’s premier evil mastermind than to release all of his family members before any in-depth question-and-answer session had taken place? Personally, I cannot imagine it. Think about it. What about possible phone calls to ( or from) bin Laden from family members that should have been examined? Or emails? (After all, bin Laden, despite spending most of his time in caves, is an allegedly tech-savvy guy). These take weeks to fully examine. Perhaps there was an incriminating clue somewhere, a hint, a code? There is even the possibility, despite the fact that the bin Ladens have apparently ostracized Osama, that at least one of them was sympathetic to his cause. But it would only have taken one to get mountains of valuable information. Finally, the decision seemed to be politically unattractive. Still, even that did not deter the authorities from giving the bin Ladens yet more frequent flier miles.
Moreover, the United States has proven itself to be somewhat adept at using “intense interrogation” techniques to extract information from co-conspirators. Did any official float the idea of applying a little bit of pressure, you know, in classic good cop, bad cop routines that we’ve seen a million times in Hollywood films, to one or two bin Laden family members in order to get one of the others to spill the beans? Apparently not.
Instead, former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who was supposedly one of the only individuals on the ball when it came to recognizing the terror threat sitting like a burning pile of manure on America’s doorstep, gave his stamp of approval to the White House initiative.
“Somebody brought to us for approval the decision to let an airplane filled with Saudis, including members of the bin laden family, leave the country,” Clarke told Vanity Fair magazine in an interview. “So I said, ‘Fine, let it happen.’”
Maybe this was simply Clarke’s last straw in attempting to focus the Bush administration’s attention on what appeared to be a major domestic threat. Clarke soon said his goodbyes to the dirty world of espionage and anti-terrorism to write books dedicated to the blundering Beltway.
So many videos, so little time
Another inexplicable thing about the morning of 9/11 involves yet more missing videotape evidence, this time involving the alleged leaders of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Al-Omari.
But in order to appreciate the full scenario, we must back up to Sept. 10 when Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Al-Omari depart from sunny Florida in a rental car and drive all the way to distant Portland, Maine. This in itself makes no sense. Why not drive straight to Boston, if you really must drive 1,500 miles, where the hijacking would take place? Once in Portland, investigators tell us that the two men (Islamic fundamentalists, remember, who are about to commit suicide) go wild at a night club, attract attention to themselves with their revelry, and pay with credit cards in their name. In short, they do everything possible to leave behind proof of their presence in Portland.
At 6 a.m. on Sept. 11, the two men fly from Portland to Boston. This is really cutting things close, since the plane they are accused of hijacking departs just 30 minutes after their connecting flight lands.
In the nervous days after 9/11, the public is presented CCTV photos of Atta and al-Omari passing through a security check before boarding the plane. This is the authorities’ definitive evidence that the two men were on board ill-fated America Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the WTC. The only problem is that the famous CCTV video shows the two men boarding at Portland, not Boston. In fact, there is no physical proof anywhere that Atta and al-Omari ever boarded the doomed planes from Dulles Airport.
“The Dulles airport video is unlike the Portland video in every way,” writes Paul Zarembka in his book, The Hidden History of 9-11-2001. “While the Portland video has sharp, clear resolution, the Dulles video’s resolution is poor and grainy. While the Portland video was released soon after 9/11, only heavily edited versions of the Dulles video with segments missing were not made available to the American public until almost three years later, on July 24, 2004, one day before the Commissions Report’s release. It took a lawsuit by families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to pry the video loose from the government’s grip…”
Just like the military exercises involving a hijacked plane that were staged to occur at the same time as the real attacks on 9/11, it could be argued that having these two men fly out of Portland, Maine only served to cloud the picture. Indeed, it strongly suggests that Atta and Al-Omari never boarded Flight 11.
“These missing data,” Zarembka says, “are just one of five major problems identifiable in the Dulles video.” For those interested in reading further on this particular subject, and others, may click here.
Perhaps the biggest hole in the fairy tale of the 19 terrorists, who were “armed with nothing more than box cutters,” involves the not-insignificant fact that at least 10 of them are still walking the earth today.
“After at least ten named on the FBI’s final list of 19 have been verified to be alive,” writes Zarembka, “with proof that least one other, Ziad Jarrah, had his identity doubled and therefore fabricated, the FBI has nevertheless refused to make the necessary corrections to exonerate those falsely accused.”
Of the 11 individuals who had “stolen identities,” most of them are pilots or work in some capacity for the airlines.
For example. On Sept. 17, 2001, The Independent reported that a ‘suicide hijacker’ is really an airline pilot “alive and well in Jeddah.”
“Abdulrahman al-Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines,” the British newspaper reported, “was astonished to find himself accused of hijacking as well as being dead and has visited the US consulate in Jeddah to demand an explanation.”
Then, five days later, another Saudi Arabian pilot, Waleed Al Shehri, protests his innocence from his home in Casablanca, Morocco.
Saudi Airlines was reported saying it is considering legal action against the FBI for seriously damaging its reputation.
Yet the incredible revelations of alleged hijackers turning up alive continue unabated.
“Saudi Airlines pilot Saeed Al-Ghamdi and Abdulaziz Al-Omari, an engineer from Riyadh, are furious that the hijackers’ “personal details” – including name, place, date of birth and occupation – matched their own,” the Telegraph reported.
Al-Ghamdi faced further humiliation when CNN, the American television news agency, flashed a photograph of him around the world, calling him a hijack suspect.
But perhaps the wildest pretense of proof to fall from the skies like manna post-9/11 was the miraculous discovery of hijacker Satam Al-Suqami’s passport, lying a few blocks away from the crash site. The World Trace Center fires were fierce enough, we are told, to melt steel and destroy both virtually indestructible black boxes from the airplanes. Yet a flimsy passport from one of the terrorists survives the inferno and lands gently on a side street for all to behold.
As The Guardian put it best: “The idea that (the) passport had escaped from the inferno unsinged (tests) the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI’s crackdown on terrorism.”
“We never saw this coming”
Finally, members of the Bush administration passionately defend themselves after 9/11, saying that the attacks had taken them completely by surprise. This is patently false.
“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile,” national security advisor Condeleezza Rice told reporters.
Yet an attack involving hijacked airplanes is precisely what NORAD, the agency that failed to protect America’s skies on 9/11, was practicing for in 1999.
“In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks,” reported USA Today (April, 2004), “the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.”
“NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred. It said the scenarios outlined were regional drills, not regularly scheduled continent-wide exercises,” the daily continued.
But there is no need to go all the way back to 1999 for proof that at least some individuals were preparing for an attack against highly sensitive strategic targets in the United States.
First, there is the already-mentioned presidential brief (“Bin Laden Determined to strike in US”) that had landed on George W. Bush’s desk on August 6, 2001.
Here is one part from that brief:
“We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a (—) service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of… U.S. held extremists.
“Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”
In addition to this red-hot potato that even Dan Quayle could have handled, members of the intelligence community had plans to hold a hijacking exercise on the very morning of 9/11, hosted by the National Reconnaissance Office.
“In what the government describes as a bizarre coincidence,” reported the Associated Press, “one U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings.”
Ultimately, as discussed elsewhere in this story, that mission was cancelled when news of 9/11 broke. Yet given the fact that the exercise was “coincidentally” held on 9/11 added much unnecessary fuel to a September morning that was already smoking in overload.
Despite public declarations to the opposite, certain individuals were certainly aware about the possibility of a terrorist attack against the United States using commercial jets as weapons, yet claimed nothing could have prepared them for such a thing. We “never could have imagined it!” After all, we are inherently good, the script seemed to scream, and they are inherently bad.
Moreover, despite numerous such exercises, allegedly to thwart a terrorist hijacking, the US Air Force, which US taxpayers spend billions a year slush-funding, remained landlocked on the second day in American history that will live in infamy.
Although we could easily write a thousand more pages on the “coincidences” and inconsistencies involving the official version of events of 9/11, perhaps we should end this story on that note, before forwarding a question tailor-made for the likes of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes: “Who did it?”
- The Bin Laden Delusion Continues… (alethonews.wordpress.com)