However, while the paper has now appeared in various places on the net, we have not been surprised to see numerous comments by anonymous, online personae warning of the "dubious" nature of SOTT's intentions and research. One of these comments, found on the popular website 9/11 Blogger, decries our coverage of UFOs. After all, if the 9/11 Truth Movement is to retain its "credibility" it should avoid being associated with other so-called "fringe conspiracists". Ironically, many UFO researchers avoid 9/11 research for the selfsame reason.
Our approach is radically different. The mainstream media rarely cover 9/11 Truth sincerely. Neither do they cover UFOs without a tone of ridicule. And yet in both cases, where there is smoke, there is fire. 9/11 is a real issue, a real conspiracy, as is the reality of UFOs. SOTT devotes itself to covering the truth no matter where it lies. As we demonstrate in our monthly Connecting the Dots series, SOTT asserts the reality that consciousness and matter are inextricably linked, that individuals, events, and realities are all connected in ways our present science can only begin to fathom.
Of course, this approach inevitably leads to accusations of being a "cult", another defamatory label applied to SOTT in responses to our publication of Rousseau's paper. One comment links to this ridiculous thread at truthaction.org. Our research stands on its own, which is the truth that ad hominem attacks are designed to subvert.
The same above commentator finds fault in our position on the research of Jim Hoffman, one of whose articles was referenced in Rousseau's study. Many have accused SOTT of ad hominem attacks for our views on COINTELPRO in the 9/11 Truth Movement, such as Daniel Hopsicker, Mike Ruppert, Christopher Bollyn, and Jim Hoffman. However, such statements are not ad hominem attacks. We base our conclusions on the validity of others' research in a field that has, by definition, a high probability of being infiltrated by government agents. Some of their research may very well be sound (and often is, as all good disinformation contains seeds of truth), but other lines of research may betray an important vectoring of information away from areas where critical research may prove too "sensitive". One such area is the Pentagon Strike.
Joe Quinn's analysis of Hoffman's position on Flight 77 and the Pentagon is still relevant. And as David Ray Griffin, arguably one of the most respected 9/11 researchers, wrote in his recent book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, "the case against the official account of Flight 77 and the Pentagon has become considerably stronger since the publication of NPH [The New Pearl Harbor, 2004].
Since the original article was written, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis of Citizen Investigation Team have investigated many of the claims by eyewitnesses to the Pentagon strike. Along with a paper recently published by Pilots for 911 Truth, they have shown conclusively that the flight path suggested by the damaged light poles and generator trailer was physically impossible.
Jim Hoffman - Booby Trap For 9/11 Truth Seekers
9/11 researchers seem to be a dime a dozen these days. After investigating Mike Ruppert and Daniel Hopsicker's motives and methods, we happened to come across an article by another 9/11 researcher, Jim Hoffman. Like Hopsicker, Hoffman seems to believe that the "no 757 at the Pentagon" crowd are disinfo artists. We found Hoffman's arguments and conclusions in the following article to be based on anything but facts or reason. In fact, in making his case, Hoffman even resorts to using the same twisted logic employed by the Bush administration to justify the war on terror.
From magical disintegrating airplanes to mysterious "detonation waves", it seems COINTELPRO is in full swing when it comes to the 9/11 Truth Movement. Below, we present a paragraph by paragraph rebuttal of Hoffman's thesis.
The Pentagon No-757-Crash Theory: Booby Trap for 9/11 SkepticsMr Hoffman is correct in asserting that the idea that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon is the most divisive issue among 9/11 researchers. The divisiveness is a deliberate ploy by COINTELPRO agents to attempt to rob genuine 9/11 truth seekers of the singularly strongest piece of evidence pointing to US government complicity in the attacks. Mr Hoffman is however incorrect in his assertion that the "no plane at the pentagon" theory is incompatible with eyewitness accounts of the event. Indeed, the fact that many of the eyewitness reports in question suggest that something akin to a missile struck the Pentagon on 9/11, and that Mr Hoffman studiously ignores them, suggests that he should be counted among the conscious agents of COINTELPRO. Hoffman continues:
by Jim Hoffman
November 15, 2004
The idea that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon is easily the most controversial and divisive issue among researchers of the 9/11/01 attacks. Effectively promoted since early 2002, this idea has enjoyed an increasing acceptance in the 9/11 Truth Movement, despite its blatant incompatibility with the extensive body of eyewitness evidence that a 757-like twin-engine jetliner flew into the Pentagon and exploded.
Many researchers have ignored or dismissed this eyewitness evidence in favor of a seemingly overwhelming physical evidence case that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon, based on photographs of the crash site. As I show below, however, each of the pieces of evidence adduced in favor of the no-757-crash theory can be reconciled with the crash of a 757.Some researchers may indeed have ignored or dismissed the eyewitness evidence. The problem is that the reports are so conflicting that their usefulness as evidence is largely negated. That said, if we all agree that the government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks and attempted to cover up that complicity, then those "eyewitnesses" whose testimony tends to back the official version of events become much more suspect than the testimony of eyewitnesses whose claims of having seen a "missile" or "small jet" are unlikely to be part of any disinformation campaign - unless of course one wants to suggest that some shadowy group of conspiracy theorists had foreknowledge that Arab terrorists were going to attack the Pentagon with a 757 and decided to place their operatives at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11 and have them falsely testify that they saw a missile in order to unjustly implicate the US government.
Kind of far fetched...
corroborated the "missile theory", to sort out the disparity between eyewitness reports we must ask ourselves a question: Which is more likely, that someone would mistake a 757 for a missile or that a drone craft with a wingspan of 117 feet could be altered in such a way as to successfully fool an eyewitness into thinking it was a commercial passenger plane?
The controversy over this issue has eclipsed the many documented facts linking the 9/11/01 attacks to insiders. Defenders of the official story have seized on this issue as representative of the gullibility and incompetence of 9/11 "conspiracy theorists."Is Hoffman really making the point that because "defenders of the official story" (the White House) are attempting to ridicule the "no plane at the Pentagon" people that we should therefore drop the issue? Let's get this straight. The US government dismisses allegations of a conspiracy on 9/11, highlighting the "conspiratorial nature" of any allegation that a 757 plane did not hit the Pentagon as a way to ridicule the "conspiracy theorists", and Hoffman thinks that this provides grounds for dropping the whole issue?
The Allure of the Unsolved MysteryAgain, all eyewitness reports were not consistent with the crash of a 757. If Hoffman is unaware of the reports consistent with something other than a 757, then he is a very poor researcher. If he is aware, then he is attempting to con his readers. Despite what Hoffman claims, there is therefore no ambiguity between eyewitness reports and the physical evidence (or lack thereof) at the Pentagon. The simple fact is that the impact damage and debris along with the eyewitness reports of either a "missile" or a "small jet" lend credence to the "no plane at the Pentagon" theory.
The question of what hit the Pentagon has remained a source of intense interest and debate for almost three years now, overshadowing many other issues of the 9/11/01 attack. The controversy has thrived in the evidence vacuum created by official actions in the wake of the attack, which included the following:
* Minutes after the attack, the FBI seized from businesses adjacent to the Pentagon videos that likely recorded the event.
* On the day of the attack, Pentagon personnel participated in a rapid mop-up of the crime scene, moving and removing evidence before it could be documented.
* In the weeks following the attack, authorities controlled the crime scene, destroying or suppressing nearly all the physical evidence inside the building.
This left primarily two kinds of evidence: eyewitness reports consistent with the crash of a 757, and post-crash photographs taken by passers-by showing neither large aircraft debris nor an impact damage pattern expected from such a crash. The ambiguous and seemingly contradictory evidence made the event a kind of Rorschach, spawning many competing theories but offering no basis for definitive conclusions.
The mystery of the attack has lured researchers into endless debates, much to the detriment of public outreach around easily proved issues. Such issues include aspects of the Pentagon attack other than the question of what hit it. For example:These above questions are fully compatible, and even dependent upon, the idea that something other than a plane hit the Pentagon. It is highly likely that a drone craft or "missile" was used and targeted an unoccupied part of the Pentagon specifically because the damage from a 757 was not controllable. The nature of the approach and "attack dive" itself is consistent with something other than a 757 as the air traffic controller stated:
* The portion of the Pentagon targeted was mostly unoccupied due to a renovation program.
* The attack plane executed an extreme spiral dive maneuver to hit that portion of the building rather than the part housing high-level officials.
* The alleged pilot of Flight 77 was not competent to pilot a Cessna, let alone pilot a 757 through a maneuver that may have exceeded the skills of even the best test pilot.
"We started moving the planes as quickly as we could," she told ABC's Brian Ross. "Then I noticed the aircraft. It was an unidentified plane to the southwest of Dulles, moving at a very high rate of speed... I had literally a blip (on my radar screen) and nothing more."For Hoffman to dismiss Meyssan's sterling investigative work in exposing the obvious holes in the official Pentagon story by citing that Meyssan understated the hole in the Pentagon facade is utterly disingenuous of Hoffman. It is no less unbelievable for a 757 to have completely disappeared into a 90 foot hole, than a 16 foot hole. The fact is that the main impact hole at the Pentagon was 16 feet wide, and a close examination of the damage either side of that hole is not consistent with aircraft the size of a 757. The government commissioned "Pentagon Building Performance Report" itself acknowledges that there is no damage to the building from either the wings or the tail of the plane, which would have reached up to the fourth floor of the building. The Pentagon report subtly suggests that the wings and tail somehow "folded up" and followed the nose and fuselage of the plane into the building.
O'Brien brought the unidentified blip to the attention of her Dulles colleague, Tom Howell.
He recalled the moment for ABC News.
"Oh my God, it looks like he's headed to the White House," Howells remembers yelling. "We've got a target headed right for the White House!"
At 500 miles per hour, Flight 77 was rocketing toward what is known as P-56, protected air space 56, which covers the White House and the Capitol.
"The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane," O'Brien said. "You don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe."
History of the Issue
The Pentagon no-757-crash theory first came to prominence in early 2002 when French author Thierry Meyssan published "The Frightening Fraud," which theorized that a truck bomb was responsible for the damage to the Pentagon, and then "Le Pentagate," which held that the damage was produced by a missile. These well-marketed books sold millions of copies in Europe. Meyssan's analysis is notable for wild inaccuracies in characterizing the damage to the Pentagon's facade. He suggests the impact hole was 15-18 feet in diameter, and that there was no damage on either side of that hole. That description completely ignores the first floor damage, in which walls were punctured over a width of about 90 feet, a fact that is easily determined from analysis of photographs available on the web in early 2002.
Meyssan also states that the piece of hull photographed by Mark Faram does not correspond to any part of a Boeing 757, when in fact it matches the hull just aft of the forward starboard door, as shown by Dick Eastman.Let's have a look at the "piece of hull" to which Hoffman is referring:
Meyssan's "Le Pentagate" was published shortly after five frames of video from a Pentagon security camera were leaked. Meyssan and other theorists jumped on the fact that the first frame seems to show a much smaller plane than a 757 approaching the Pentagon, without asking if the video frames were authentic. In fact they bear clear signs of forgery.Indeed. There is clear evidence that the only video that the US government released of the "757" appears to be missing frames, but who are the forgers? Did the US government, which insists that a 757 hit the Pentagon, deliberately remove footage of the 757 in order to fuel conspiracy theories and thereby undermine its own argument??
Meyssan's conclusions were echoed by Gerard Holmgren, who published the lengthy Physical and Mathematical Analysis of the Pentagon Crash in October of 2002. Like Meyssan, Holmgren relied on photographs in which obstructions hide large regions of first-floor damage. Holmgren's unwieldy manifesto-sized analysis was widely embraced by no-757-crash theorists.Again Hoffman seeks to con his readers. Holmgren's argument does not rest on "photographs in which obstructions hide large regions of first-floor damage" but rather, in his own words, on the fact that:
"the object which penetrated the Pentagon went in at about a 45-degree angle, punching a neat circular hole of about a 12-foot diameter through three rings (six walls). A little later a section of wall about 65 ft wide collapsed in the outer ring. Since the plane which the conspiracy theorists claim to be responsible for the impact had a wing span of 125 ft and a length of 155 ft, and there was no wreckage of the plane, either inside or outside the building, and the lawns outside were still smooth and green enough to play golf on..."See our previous comment. There is nothing sloppy about the analysis of Meyssan or Holmgren. They, like so many others, can see clearly that the claim that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon is the weakest link in the official version of the events of 9/11.
The sloppy analysis of Meyssan and certain other Pentagon researchers (such as their reliance on photographs in which jets of fire retardant foam and smoke obscure damaged areas) leaves these researchers, and by association the entire 9/11 Truth Movement, open to attack by detractors.
Other work by skeptics of the 757 crash was far more careful. In mid-2002, an anonymous author produced a detailed damage assessment in an article concluding that the damage was consistent with the crash of a large plane, but not of a 757.We fail to see Hoffman's point. The evidence is so extensive that there are many ways to prove almost conclusively that a 757 did not hit the Pentagon. The bottom line is, however, the same.
In early 2003 Dick Eastman developed a "two plane" theory, which holds that the damage to the Pentagon was done by a small killer jet, such as an F-16, while Flight 77 merely appeared to crash, clearing the facade behind a pyrotechnic display and overflying the Pentagon in a kind of magician's trick. Eastman was unique among the no-757-crash theorists in at least attempting to accommodate much of the eyewitness evidence.
In September of 2003, I assisted Jeff Strahl in developing a slide presentation which concluded that "whatever struck the Pentagon was not a Boeing 757." This talk, which borrowed from the work of Eric Hufschmid and said anonymous author, further popularized the notion that a 757 was not involved in the attack.Hoffman is obviously referring to our own Pentagon Strike Flash presentation here. While there are certainly some problems with the "In Plane Site" DVD, specifically the idea that Flight 11 and Flight 175 were not the planes that hit the WTC (when they most likely were) our Pentagon Strike video simply presented the available evidence which pointed to something other Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon. As we have stated before, it is not our job to prove that Flight 77 did hit the Pentagon; that task lies squarely with those members of the US government who insist on the official version of events.
In early 2004, Richard Stanley and Jerry Russell added yet another variation to the mix of no-757-crash theories in The Five-Sided Fantasy Island, advancing a scenario that combines Eastman's Flight 77 overflight theory with the idea that demolition charges were used to produce the damage to the Pentagon.
In late 2004 two new videos promoting no-757-crash theory appeared. Both combine slick production values with highly selective presentations of evidence. In Plane Site, a DVD, advances the no-757-impact along with the Building 6 explosion myth and highly dubious theories that the towers were hit by objects other than Flights 11 and 175. The obvious propagandistic quality of these pieces was one factor in persuading me to re-examine my own endorsement of the no-757-crash theory.
Ignoring the Eyewitness EvidenceIt is natural for eyewitnesses to refer to the aircraft that they saw hitting the Pentagon as "an American Airlines jet" or even "Flight 77" because we have all been repeatedly exposed to endless news reports and government officials talking about "Flight 77" hitting the Pentagon (with the exception of Rumsfeld of course). The crucial point here is the fact that Mike Walter defined a massive Boeing 757 as a "cruise missile with wings"!
Proponents of the no-757-crash theory have tended to minimize the many eyewitness accounts that a 757-like aircraft flew into the Pentagon and exploded. Many simply cherry-pick one or two accounts that seem to indicate a much smaller plane, and ignore the larger body of eyewitness evidence.
This selective presentation of witness accounts is exemplified by a tendency to quote only a single phrase from a single witness: Mike Walter's use of "a cruise missile with wings." In context, it's clear that Walter was only using the cruise missile description metaphorically:
"I looked out my window and I saw this plane, this jet, an American Airlines jet, coming. And I thought, 'This doesn't add up, it's really low'. I mean it was like a cruise missile with wings."
Another eyewitness account frequently cited as evidence that the attack plane was not an airliner is that of air traffic controller Danielle O'Brien:We wonder what "simple calculations" Hoffman is speaking of? For Hoffman, the complicated subject of "detonation waves" constitutes much more "substantial evidence" than the fact that a massive 757 plane completely disappeared into a 16 foot hole in the Pentagon leaving no trace other than a mangled but otherwise pristine piece of metal.
"The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air-traffic controllers, that that was a military plane."
That the controllers observed a plane being flown in a manner not normal for jetliner does not mean the plane was not a jetliner. Simple calculations show that the spiral dive attack maneuver was well within the capabilities of a Boeing 757. In fact, the body of eyewitness evidence provides almost no support for the no-757 theories, but does indicate that the event involved more than a simple plane crash, such as a sharp detonation wave not explainable by the crash of a jetliner. Once again, such substantial evidence that contradicts the official story has been eclipsed by the no-757-crash theory.
The "Physical Evidence" CaseWe were wondering when he would pull this one out of the bag. Hoffman has joined the deluded masses of obedient Americans in attempting to counter the damning evidence that he himself outlines in points 1-7 above with the assertion that the entire plane (minus the pristine mangled piece of metal on the lawn) simply "disintegrated" on impact. Most readers will have at some time in their lives seen the results of a head on car crash. Imagine that two cars, each traveling at 80 mph, hit each other head on at a combined speed of 160 mph. The likely result is that much of the body of both cars will be crumpled beyond recognition. It is not unlikely, however, that the back ends of both cars will be relatively unscathed. There is a reason for this. The kinetic energy of the cars is transferred to the initial point of impact - the fronts. After the initial impact the kinetic energy is progressively reduced, which is reflected in the lessening damage to the rest of the car, until finally all of it has been absorbed by the bodies of the cars and is exhausted. This is the reason for the relative lack of damage to the backs of cars in a controlled head-on collision.
Many apparent features of the crash that are documented by the photographs of the crash site -- and especially by photos taken before the overhanging section collapsed -- seem to support an overwhelming case against the crash of a 757. These features include the following.
1. The lawn shows no signs of gouging from a 757's low-hanging engines, despite eyewitness claims that the plane hit the ground before the facade.
2. The impact hole dimensions are not large enough to accommodate the entire profile of a 757.
3. The lawn shows almost no signs of crash debris immediately following the crash.
4. Photos from inside and outside the building during the recovery operation show very little aircraft debris.
5. Damaged columns remain standing where dense parts of the plane, such as the starboard engine, would have hit.
6. Unscored limestone and unbroken windows are visible in areas of the facade where the outer wings and vertical tail section of a 757 would have hit.
7. There are obstacles in the plane's alleged flight path, such as cable spools.
This list is far from exhaustive. Many other features are often cited as evidence against a 757 crash, such as the positions of downed lamp-posts, the orientation of the damaged generator, and the position and shape of the C-ring punch-out hole. The number of no-757-crash arguments based on these features, and the logical independence of many of them, seem to many to constitute an overwhelming cumulative case against the crash of a 757. Whereas a deductive case is only as strong as its weakest argument, a cumulative case is as strong as the sum of its arguments. However, a cumulative case may appear strong without actually being so if it is composed entirely of arguments that evaporate under scrutiny. Let's examine four of the more persuasive arguments, which I've given the following labels:
* The missing wings and tail
* The vanishing jetliner
* The incorrect impact imprint
* The obstacle dodge
The Missing Wings and Tail
This argument, based on features 1, 2, and 3, holds that since the outer expanses of the wings and most of the vertical tail section of a 757 could not have fit through the facade's impact punctures, they should have been visible in the post-crash photographs of the building's exterior.
The argument makes the error of assuming that large pieces of the wings and tail should have remained intact. A crash study suggests that the over-300-mph impact of a jetliner with the Pentagon's heavy masonry facade would have reduced the entire aircraft -- and certainly its relatively light wings and tail -- to confetti.
We can apply the same logic to the Pentagon crash. The bulk of the kinetic energy of the fast moving plane is absorbed both by the front of the building and the nose of the plane. It is reasonable to suggest then that the impact point at the Pentagon and the nose, and some of the fuselage of the plane, would have disintegrated, but to suggest that all of the plane would be subjected to the same forces as that experienced by the part of the plane that makes initial contact with the Pentagon wall is to suggest that when we throw a steel rod at a wall, the damage at the end that impacts the wall should be the same all along the length of the rod. Clearly, such a suggestion contradicts elementary laws of physics.
Another error in this argument is its implicit assumption that the photographs of the Pentagon's lawn show it to be debris-free. In fact, the photographs have pronounced foreshortening of regions near the building, which, together with variations in the terrain, may hide significant debris fields."May hide significant debris"? Is Hoffman really presenting this as an argument as to why we should dispense with the "no plane" argument? Should we also wait for the US government to allow us access to this "debris" so that we can prove that the offcial story that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon is true? We won't hold our breath.
The Vanishing JetlinerNot only could they have been planted, but the circular rim of the landing gear wheel that is presented as evidence by the US government is too small to be part of the landing gear of a Boeing 757, but bears a startling likeness to the rim of the wheel of the landing gear of a Global Hawk.
This argument, based on features 3 and 4, holds that since there are no photographs showing large aircraft debris at the Pentagon, no jetliner could have crashed there. Recognizable pieces that were photographed, such as landing gear and engine parts, are few enough that they could have been planted.
This argument makes the error of the negative proof: the lack of evidence showing something's existence is taken as proof of its non-existence. The seeming disappearance of the 80-ton plane becomes much less mysterious when one considers two facts.So the fact that there is no evidence of a 757 having crashed at the Pentagon is by no means proof that no 757 hit the Pentagon.
* As noted above, in similar crashes, the entire aircraft is converted to small confetti, most of which would be unrecognizable.
* There are few publicly available photographs of the interior of the building shortly after the crash. FEMA's investigative team was not allowed on the site until after all the debris had been removed.
So what would Mr Hoffman accept as evidence?
It is rather curious that the "error of the negative proof" is exactly the argument used by Bush and the Neocons before the invasion of Iraq. Administration officials argued that the lack of evidence of WMD's in Iraq cannot be used as proof that those weapons don't exist.
As another example, Bush can declare someone an enemy combatant and throw that person in jail even if there is no evidence proving the individual's involvement in terrorist activity, because the lack of evidence doesn't necessarily prove innocence.
The Incorrect Impact ImprintHoffman is forced to resort to ever more fantastic hypotheses to deny the evidence that is before his eyes. Now we are asked to contemplate that somehow Flight 77's wings and tail were "disintegrated" before the plane actually hit the building and then presumably blew away in the breeze.
This argument, based on features 5 and 6, holds that, since there is no impact imprint of a 757 on the Pentagon's facade, no such plane could have crashed there. In a crash at such a speed (over 300 mph) the wings and tail had too much momentum to deviate much from their trajectory even as the plane crashed into the facade. Therefore, even these relatively light parts should have at least scored the facade's rather soft limestone facing, and perhaps broken windows.
Even admitting that there are uncertainties about just how much damage the wing ends and tail of a 757 should have done to the Pentagon's facade, this argument is difficult to reconcile with the simple crash of a 757 -- at least of an intact 757. However, if the wing ends and tail were destroyed before impact, they might not have left impact impressions. That possibility is explored in the Unexamined Explanations section.
The Obstacle DodgeHoffman is happy to dismiss the strongest evidence showing that Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon and argue "significant" details about whether or not a Boeing 757 was able to clear a metal spool or not.
This argument, based on feature 7, holds that the flightpath determined by downed light poles and eyewitness accounts takes the plane too low to have cleared obstacles near the building, such as several cable spools.
The spool that appears most problematic for the plane's supposed flightpath is the large upright one nearest the building. In most photographs it appears to be just a few feet from the building. However, appearances are deceiving given the foreshortening in the photographs. One article supporting the no-757-crash theory estimates that the large spool is about 28 feet from the facade. It also states that the diameter of the spool is 6 feet, 6 inches.
Given those coordinates and dimensions, and assuming the plane's trajectory was such that it was losing one foot of altitude for every ten feet of distance traveled, then the bottom of the plane's fuselage could have cleared the spool by a foot and crashed into the facade at an elevation of five feet, placing the bottoms of the engines at ground level. Contentions that turbulence from such a near miss would have toppled the spool are difficult to evaluate without knowing the weight of the spool, whether it was secured to the ground, and whether the spools rolled following the crash.
Unexamined ExplanationsAgain, the strength of the evidence that Hoffman is attempting to refute requires that he resort to increasingly outlandish theories to make his point.
The last two arguments in the previous section illustrate just how easy it is to accept a pre-conceived conclusion from evidence while failing to consider other equally plausible explanations. I became convinced that the attack plane was not a 757 based primarily on those two arguments, and only later re-evaluated my conclusions in light of other possibilities.
An alternative explanation for the incorrect impact imprint consistent with the crash of a 757 was proposed by French researcher Eric Bart. He suggests that the jetliner was progressively shredded by explosives starting just as its nose was beginning to impact the wall. This theory explains the lack of impact impressions of the jetliner's extremities, since they would have been reduced to confetti before impact. It also accounts for the large punctures in the facade, since the remains of the plane's heaviest portions could have retained enough momentum to breach the walls and enter the building.
Bart's theory may sound far-fetched, and some detractors have compared it to the aggressively promoted idea that the South Tower was hit by a pod-equipped cargo jet that fired a missile just before impact. However, the comparison is not deserved. Whereas the pod-plane idea is based on imaginative interpretations of artifacts in blurry video images, Bart's theory reconciles the lack of imprint of the tail and wing ends with the overwhelming eyewitness evidence that a jetliner flew into the Pentagon and exploded. Several eyewitnesses even recalled details that seem to be explainable only by the plane being shredded before impact.Again, the strength of the evidence that Hoffman is attempting to refute requires that he resort to increasingly outlandish theories to make his point.
Bart's theory is consistent with the crash of Flight 77 at the Pentagon, but not with the official story that it was hijacked by Muslim terrorists, since it assumes the plane was prepared prior to the attack.Now Hoffman wants us to believe that the perpetrators of 9/11 deliberately inserted the embryo of the conspiracy theory into their planning of the Pentagon attack for the purpose of...
Other researchers, such as Stanley and Russell, have proposed that the Pentagon attack was engineered to make it appear that a 757 crashed when none had. Bart's theory reverses this, suggesting that the crash of a 757 was engineered to make it appear that no such plane had crashed.
The apparent motive for such a deception will likely escape 9/11 skeptics on both sides of the controversy about what hit the Pentagon. Most adherents to no-757-crash theories have ignored Bart's theory and the body of eyewitness evidence supporting it. Most opponents of no-757-crash theories have not looked closely enough at the impact damage pattern to see a problem reconciling it with the simple crash of a 757. This is exactly the conflict that the engineered crash may have been designed to create. Experts at psychological operations, the perpetrators could have anticipated that skeptics would divide into two groups: those persuaded by eyewitness evidence that a 757 had crashed, and those persuaded by physical evidence that one had not. The ongoing controversy could then be exploited by the perpetrators to several ends:And here we get to the core of Hoffman's argument. The idea that Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon was seeded by the conspirators themselves in order to confuse the issue and keep conspiracy theorists divided. Yet we notice that rather than refusing to succumb to such manipulation and cutting through the lies and sticking to the facts, Hoffman is adding his voice to the cacophony and loudly arguing against the core evidence which strongly suggests that Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon.
* to keep the skeptics divided
* to divert skeptics' resources from other more productive lines of inquiry
* to provide a bizarre-sounding theory with which to tar the entire 9/11 Truth Movement
If you accept the premise that the crash of a 757 was engineered to create seemingly contradictory bodies of evidence in order to seed truth-obfuscating conflicts, it is easy to explain crash-site anomalies beyond the facade impact imprint. For example, the spool that is arguably a problem for the plane's approach could have been stood up immediately after the crash to bolster the anticipated no-757-crash theory. While this may seem far-fetched, it is much less far-fetched than suppositions of no-757-crash theorists, such as that the downing of the highway lamp-posts was engineered independent of the attack plane.Even if the Pentagon attack was set up to create seemingly contradictory bodies of evidence in order to confuse truth seekers, the fact still remains that something hit the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, and evidence exists to prove more or less conclusively what it was. At present that evidence suggests that Flight 77 was not involved. It is indeed far-fetched to think that the conspirators would deliberately attempt to sow the seeds of the argument that a Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon when the US government's entire "war on terror" is predicated upon the argument that Arab terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into American landmarks on 9/11.
PropagandaDarren Williams Pentagon Strike video, produced by Signs of the Times, did not "de-contextualise" the events of that day. It simply drew on available evidence to show that it was highly unlikely that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon and presented "the case for the prosecution" as it were. If the US government as the defendant wants to make a counter case, then all that is required is that it release the confiscated video tapes that would prove conclusively that the official story is correct.
In 2004 two videos promoting the no-757-crash theory were released: the Pentagon Strike Flash animation by Darren Williams, and the In Plane Site DVD by David von Kleist. While different in format, both share the following characteristics:
* Both cherry-pick and de-contextualize eyewitness statements while ignoring the eyewitness consensus that a jetliner crashed.
* Both advance several of the faulty interpretations of photographic evidence that I debunk in the Pentagon Attack Errors section of 911review.com.
* Both use a kind of shock-and-awe presentation style to engage people emotionally rather than critically.
Whereas the much shorter Pentagon Strike functions primarily by selective and misleading presentation of evidence, In Plane Site presents patently ludicrous claims as fact. For example, von Kleist quotes a supposed expert from the Environmental Assessment Association as saying:Here, Hoffman does exactly that which he accuses others of doing. Snopes.com links to our Pentagon Strike Flash presentation only after attempting to completely debunk the arguments therein. As such, the link is hardly a "promotion".
"Looking at the total weight of this aircraft in conjunction with its velocity, the Pentagon should have been reduced to the thickness of a pancake."
The logical fallacies, misrepresentations of evidence, and propagandistic style of In Plane Site and Pentagon Strike contrast with a far more rational approach by other videos, websites, and books by 9/11 skeptics that use physical evidence to refute elements of the official story. Yet the no-757-crash videos have enjoyed a wider exposure than the other far more credible efforts. Snopes.com, an urban-legend debunking website, provides four links to the Pentagon Strike animation on its Hunt the Boeing! page. Why are apologists for the official story promoting this video (if in a backhanded way)? Perhaps because the no-757-crash theory is more effective at bolstering the official story than undermining it.
An Opening For AttackersPerhaps there is some "sour grapes" on the part of Hoffman here that the editors of this page were interviewed by the Washington Post and not 9/11review.com. The simple fact is that, if it were not for the initiative that we took in creating the "Pentagon Strike" Flash presentation, there would have been NO coverage of 9/11 "conspiracy theories" at all. Thanks to the efforts of Darren Williams, an estimated 300 million people around the world, most of them previously unaware of the truth of 9/11, have been given the opportunity to consider the truth of our reality and the people that control it.
Before 2004, the mainstream and alternative media were virtually free of any mention of the existence of a community of skeptics challenging the core tenets of official story of '9/11'. While there were numerous reports of warnings of the attacks, there was only minimal coverage of the spectacular failures of the air defense network, and there was virtually no mention of the physical evidence of the demolition of Building 7 and the Twin Towers. That changed on May 26, 2004, when Amy Goodman interviewed David Ray Griffin on Democracy Now about his book The New Pearl Harbor on the show The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks. Although Griffin mentions an array of compelling evidence that the attack was an inside job, the majority of the interview revolves around the issue of what hit the Pentagon, as Chip Berlet, whom Goodman invited on the program to debate Griffin, zeroes in on the weakest part of The New Pearl Harbor. As a result, almost no time is spent discussing the much stronger parts of Griffin's argument.
On September 13, The Nation magazine published Executive Secrecy: Conspiracy or Failure? by CIA agent Robert Baer. Baer ridicules "conspiracy theories" that 9/11/01 was an inside job, suggesting that this "monstrous proposition" and Griffin's choice to "recycle some of the wilder conspiracy theories" is driven by the evasions and lies of the Bush administration. First on Baer's list of these wilder theories is "that the Pentagon was hit by a missile rather than by American Airlines Flight 77."
On October 7, The Washington Post published Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Internet, which describes Pentagon Strike and its popularization in some detail, and then uses it to deride 9/11 "conspiracy theories." The article makes no mention of other areas of research by skeptics of the official story. Instead, it implies that the idea that "something other than a commercial airliner hit the Pentagon" is the only proposition advanced by skeptics to challenge the official story.
On November 8, The New York Times published A Hidden Story Behind Sept. 11? One Man's Ad Campaign Says So, to describe the campaign of millionaire Jimmy Walter to publicize skepticism about the official story of '9/11'. The second sentence of the article introduces Walter's suggestion that "no plane flew into the Pentagon," and the third sentence that Building 7 was "detonated from within." While the striking similarity of the implosion of Building 7 to other building implosions produced by controlled demolition is one of the most compelling pieces of physical evidence that the 9/11/01 attack was an inside job, the juxtaposition of the idea that Building 7 was detonated next to the idea that no plane crashed into the Pentagon is an effective tool for discrediting the former. The New York Times article provides no links to the video evidence of the demolition of Building 7, such as that on wtc7.net, but it gives an explanation for the collapse by fire science professor Glenn P. Corbett -- an explanation that people who have not seen the videos are likely to accept.We do not agree with Hoffman's claim that seriously considering the "no plane at the Pentagon" theory opens the door to joining the "pod people". The important difference between the Pentagon attack and the WTC attacks is that a reasonable argument backed by clear evidence can be made for the "no plane at the Pentagon" theory. This is not true of the "pod" theory.
On November 10, Air America broadcast a segment featuring David Von Kleist, producer of In Plane Site, which promoted the two central memes of his video: the Pentagon no-757-crash idea and the South Tower pod-plane idea. Because the no-757-crash idea is taken seriously by a substantial portion of serious 9/11 researchers -- an acceptance not shared by the pod-plane idea -- disinformationists can use the Pentagon no-jetliner idea to leverage the more ridiculous WTC crash theories, such as pod-planes, missile attacks, holograms, etc.
With these and other articles and broadcasts, millions of people are being introduced to the idea that the attack was an inside job via theories that have no support in evidence, sound ludicrous, and are easily discredited. Unfortunately, first impressions are difficult to reverse.See the last comment above. There is nothing "ludicrous" about the fact that there is no trace of a 757 at the Pentagon.
How the Issue PlaysHoffman clearly does not understand the controlled nature of the mainstream media which dictates what the average person believes as truth. The fact is that the mainstream press would cast ANY evidence of government complicity in the 9/11 attacks as a "loony construct of conspiracy theorists", and as a result ANY evidence of government complicity in the 9/11 attacks would sound ludicrous to most people who encounter it for the first time. As we have already stated, we do not use "faulty analysis or manipulative techniques", we simply present the evidence in a manner that best conveys the message. As for Hoffman's statement that: "the popular videos and supporting web sites are dead-ends, providing no links to responsible 9/11 research sites", we can only take this to mean that Hoffman does not approve of the information on "Signs of the Times", which is linked at the end of the "Pentagon Strike" Flash Presentation or any of its affiliated sites. He is, of course, entitled to his opinion. We shall let history decide who was "responsible" in their efforts to bring the truth to those seeking it.
I frequently encounter the opinion that, regardless of the errors underlying the Pentagon no-757-crash theory, its recent popularization and press attention can only be helpful to the cause of truth exposure because it gets more people to question the official story and explore evidence contradicting other facets of that story. Indeed, many active skeptics were introduced to the issue through material on the Pentagon crash.
However, it is more likely that the prominence of the no-757-crash theory will damage the cause, particularly as it reaches a wider audience less inclined to research the issue. People introduced to 9/11 skepticism through the no-757-crash theory will either be stimulated to examine evidence that the attack was an inside job, or will continue to ignore such ideas as the delusions of conspiracy theorists. The vast majority of such people will likely fall into the second group for several reasons.
* The mainstream press is casting the no-757-crash theory as a loony construct of conspiracy theorists, and representative of all 9/11 skepticism.
* The theory sounds ludicrous to most people who encounter it for the first time.
* The videos promoting it use faulty analysis and manipulative techniques that will alienate the discerning viewer.
* The popular videos and supporting websites are dead-ends, providing no links to responsible 9/11 research sites.
My conclusion is borne out by the evidence. According to the Washington Post article, millions of people have viewed Pentagon Strike. Yet the visits to investigative websites, such as those listed on 911truth.org, have not skyrocketed into hundreds of thousands of visits per day.The 300 million people who viewed the "Pentagon Strike" Flash Presentation were mostly average citizens who received the video in their email from friends. Such people are not inclined to change their entire world view in an instant.
Some have suggested that, regardless of the relative factual merits, similar dynamics would be in play if the Twin Towers' demolition was being promoted with the same vigor as the Pentagon no-757-crash theory. Isn't the idea that the Twin Towers were demolished with explosives as incredible as the idea that no jetliner crashed at the Pentagon? Yes and no. There is a huge psychological barrier to accepting the conclusion that controlled demolition brought down the towers, and that conclusion supposes a conspiracy far beyond the 19 hijackers. However, there are fundamental qualitative differences.Hoffman comments again belie his lack of awareness of the true magnitude of what we are dealing with and the extent of the control exerted by government over what the population believes. The psychological barrier is not found in the details of the conspiracy but in the very idea of conspiracy itself. It would be as difficult for the average citizen to believe that no plane hit the Pentagon as to believe that the US government demolished the WTC towers. Both scenarios require an acceptance that their government would willingly involve itself in the murder of American citizens. Both scenarios involve the opening of flood gates that cannot be closed afterward.
* The no-757-crash theory supposes that something asserted by the official story and witnessed by hundreds of people (the crash of a jetliner) didn't happen; whereas the towers' demolition supposes that something beyond the official story and supported by witness accounts (explosive detonations) did happen. Using the JFK assassination as an analogy, the no-757-crash theory is like saying that Kennedy was not shot at all, whereas the towers' demolition is like saying that there were additional gunmen beyond Lee Harvey Oswald.
* The no-757-crash theory requires accounting for a missing Flight 77 and the fates of its passengers and crew; whereas the towers' demolition requires no additional theories to account for the fates of Flights 11 and 175.
* Millions of people are aware, if subconsciously, of evidence of the demolition of the Twin Towers, such as the fine dust that blanketed lower Manhattan, and the explosive nature of the collapses; whereas no one has direct evidence that something other than a 757 crashed into the Pentagon. The lack of photographic evidence that a 757 crashed into the Pentagon should not be construed as evidence that none did.
ConclusionThe evidence that Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon remains the strongest aspect of the 9/11 conspiracy argument. There is little or no doubt that both Flight 11 and Flight 175 hit the WTC. Government officials have already presented the plausible lie that WTC 7 was so badly damaged that they had to "pull it". Government and military commanders can and have presented the plausible lie that there was simply a catastrophic failure of intelligence and communication that lead to the events of 9/11 and the failure to protect America from the "terrorists". All of these arguments can be presented by real live people to an audience that is only too willing to believe the official story, and that their leaders don't lie and that they have nothing to fear from the people that are entrusted with their welfare. The crucial point about the Pentagon attack is that missing planes cannot talk and no one can stand up and explain away a missing plane.
The idea that no 757-sized airliner crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11/01 is attractive to many skeptics because it contradicts a fundamental tenet of the official story, is supported by common-sense interpretations of photographs of the crash scene, and provides an explanation for the suspicious lack of physical evidence supporting the official account. Additionally, there is a substantial body of literature by no-757-crash theorists that appears to thoroughly examine the evidence. The complexity of some of this analysis may discourage other skeptics from evaluating the evidence for themselves.
As I show in this essay, many common errors in no-757-crash theories are easily exposed. Most of the no-757-crash arguments evaporate when scrutinized with attention to empirical data about the behavior of airframes in high-speed crashes, and the geometry of the Pentagon crash scene and vantage points of post-crash photographs. The remaining arguments are easily disposed of by assuming the crash was engineered, consistent with the presumed motives of the perpetrators to discredit the skeptics. Conversely, the abundant eyewitness accounts provide strong evidence for the crash of a 757 or similar aircraft.
In recent high-profile attacks on the work of 9/11 skeptics, defenders of the official story have consistently focused on the no-757-crash theory as indicative of the gullibility and incompetence of the 9/11 "conspiracy theorists." Researchers including myself have contributed to this vulnerability by endorsing this theory without either weighing all the available evidence (such as the eyewitness accounts) or considering less obvious interpretations for the paucity of physical evidence of a 757 crash. The Pentagon crash is an intriguing area of research because of its many unresolved mysteries. The promotion of theories about what hit the Pentagon in highly visible media do not advance that research but instead provide our detractors with ammunition with which to discredit us, and eclipse easily established and highly incriminating facts such as where the Pentagon was hit, the astounding failures to defend the 9/11 targets, and the obvious controlled demolition of Building 7.
Despite Hoffman's claim to being an honest 9/11 researcher and his apparent interest in getting to the "real truth" of 9/11, we see that the final result of his efforts is to lead people away from the idea that a Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon. We are under no illusions about the manipulative skills of COINTELPRO. After all, they have had many decades of real time experience to learn the intricacies of how best to deceive the public. Having spent considerable time and resources in researching the matter, we have become convinced that, regardless of appearances, the agenda of COINTELPRO is ultimately always served. As such, we can only conclude that the success of the efforts to divert attention away from investigation of the "missing Boeing" is serving the agenda of The Powers That Be.
It is truly interesting that since our Pentagon Strike video was released in September 2004, several high profile 9/11 researchers have mounted a campaign to convince their "comrades" that we should all reject the "no Boeing at the Pentagon" argument. We have already commented on people such as Mike Ruppert and Daniel Hopsicker who form the backbone of this movement, despite their infighting. Now Hoffman has joined their ranks. Who will be next, we wonder? The entire operation stinks of damage control, and damage control is only conducted because damage has been done.
In fact, we shall take it as a compliment that our work has provoked such a strong reaction from those who use lies and manipulation to control the masses and use it to motivate us to redouble our efforts to expose the truth for all those who seek it.