I’ve devoted my last three posts to the question of whether American Airlines Flight 77 could have hit the Pentagon on the morning of Sept. 11. Several facts have been established clearly:
- There was an almost total absence of plane wreckage outside (or even inside) the Pentagon after it was allegedly hit by the plane
- The hole in the building was far too small for the 757 to pass through it without leaving large pieces of wreckage outside
- There was no damage to the lawn despite the plane’s engines hanging 15 feet below the rest of the fuselage
- The Flight Data Recorder showed that the plane was too high to have knocked over lamp posts or hit the Pentagon (the last second of data before the “crash” was mysteriously absent), and the flight path would not have taken over the lamp posts in any case
So based on a careful analysis of what the building looked like from the outside, we have cast serious doubt on the official Flight 77 story. And we still haven’t looked at the hijackers (the unlikelihood they could have gained control of the plane with knives and box cutters, the unlikelihood Hani Hanjour could have pulled off the incredible manoeuvre to hit the west side of the Pentagon, and the fact that they did not appear on the passenger list) or the bizarre behaviour of military and political figures that day.
Still not convinced? How about the interior hole in the wall of the Pentagon’s “C Ring”? This is the middle of the Pentagon’s five concentric rings. The outside ring – which sustained the initial impact of whatever hit the building – is the E Ring, while the innermost ring is labelled A.
The damage to the outer E Ring is pretty clear from photographs. But for the interior hole (often referred to as the “punch out” hole, pictured at the top of this article) to have been caused by the plane (presumably from the nose, based on the shape of the hole) it would suggest that the front of the plane should still be visible in some form in the wreckage.
But it isn’t. No nose, no wreckage. And no indication what caused this round hole so far into the building. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated that it had been made by the nose of the plane and that the nose was still there.
Clearly false. Not only wasn’t it there, but the nose of an airliner is not nearly strong enough to pass through multiple rings of the Pentagon while remaining intact.
The hole is also clearly not large enough for the fuselage of the 757 to pass through and to continue causing damage to the building. In other words, because the hole is small, the damage should really have stopped there, shouldn’t it?
But according to reports from inside the Pentagon, it didn’t. In fact there were reports of explosions and deaths in the A and B rings. How can a plane have caused that?
David Ray Griffin’s excellent book The New Pearl Harbor Revisited offers intriguing information on how far in the damage went. Robert Andrews, who was acting assistant secretary of defence for special operations and low intensity conflict, said in an interview with former Reagan administration figure Barbara Honnegger that he was in the counterterrorism center in the Pentagon when he felt a violent shock in the building. When he got to the other side of the Pentagon where Rumsfeld was, in the A Ring, he found himself “climbing over dead bodies.”
In light of the small C Ring hole, how could people have been killed two rings further into the building? The Washington Post reported on its web site on Sept. 11 that they’d been told by a Marine major who asked to remain anonymous that he and others rushed to the section of the Pentagon that appeared to be the most heavily damaged – the B Ring between the 4th and 5th corridors. The article was written by Barbara Vobejda and sported the headline: “Extensive casualties in wake of Pentagon attack.”
According to the Post, the major said he was part of a make-shift rescue crew that tried to pull out a civilian who was pinned by fallen pipes and other debris. As the hot, thick, black smoke built up, the men passed wet t-shirts to one another and removed debris piece by piece in assembly-line fashion, he said, adding that the B Ring was “decimated.”
The same article quoted Steve Patterson, a graphic designer, as saying he saw what appeared to be a small silver commuter jet (big enough for 8-12 passengers) heading for the Pentagon about 20 feet above the ground “at a frightening rate.”
He said it sounded the “high-pitched squeal of a fighter jet.”
Also in the article, Pentagon employee Ervin Brown said he saw what appeared to be pieces of a small aircraft on the ground near the heliport. Tom Seibert, a network engineer at the Pentagon, said: “We heard what sounded like a missile, then we heard a loud boom. We just hit the dirt. We dived instinctively.”
Incidentally, it is revealing that no effort was made to evacuate the Pentagon until after the crash, despite the fact that two planes had hit the World Trade Center and two more were out of communication and believed to be hijacked. American Airlines Flight 77 had its transponder switched off at 8:56, and the alleged impact at the Pentagon didn’t happen until 9:37.
It seems that a lot of lives could have been saved if anyone had bothered to evacuate. And numerous witnesses have confirmed that no alarm rang in the building even after the crash.
No pun intended, but none of this rings true to me. How about you?