By Craig McKee
It has been a very good year for the small but relentless group that wants evidence of a faked plane crash at the Pentagon on 9/11 taken off the table.
The group has scored a series of victories in recent months that have hurt the Truth movement and created a “lowest-common-denominator” approach to evidence and to building the case against the official story.
The clique in question includes Kevin Ryan, David Chandler, Jonathan Cole, Frank Legge, Jim Hoffman, Victoria Ashley, Chris Sarns, Justin Keogh, Michael Wolsey, Gregg Roberts, Erik Larson, and several others who have become “respectable” members of the movement (we know they are because they regularly endorse each other and cite each other’s “research”).
For a decade, we’ve seen an orchestrated and determined effort by this small clique to steer the 9/11 Truth movement away from the overwhelming evidence that no 757 ever hit the Pentagon.
The focal point of these orchestrated attacks in recent years has been the research by Aldo Marquis and Craig Ranke of Citizen Investigation Team (as well as Rob Balsamo of Pilots for 9/11 Truth). CIT takes the position that a large plane approached the Pentagon on 9/11 but did not hit.
CIT’s critics claim that focusing on whether a plane hit the Pentagon has split the movement, but it is their attacks on CIT and Pilots that have done just that. Along with their CIT-bashing minions (Snowcrash, jimd3100, Arabesque, Brian Good, kdub, Jon Gold, YT, Jeff Hill, Adam Larson, and others), they have done much to poison the well of 9/11 truth.
Some of the CIT attackers have done credible research on the science of the World Trade Center destruction, some have attained trusted positions within major Truth movement organizations (including Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth), and some are just mean-spirited disrupters who do everything possible to inject venom into the debate while ridiculing “conspiracy theorists” at every turn.
In the last year or so, this anti-CIT “propaganda team” has succeeded in getting the two most visible leaders in the movement – David Ray Griffin and Richard Gage – to announce major direction changes. Griffin unveiled his “consensus approach” while Gage withdrew his previous support for CIT.
By creating a false controversy about whether a large plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11 the group has applied enormous pressure to these and other prominent members of the truth movement to get them to back away from supposedly “contentious” points in favour of those “we can all agree on.”
These less contentious points include the idea that no plane should have been able to hit the Pentagon, that Hani Hanjour could not have successfully flown the plane into the target, that Cheney and Rumsfeld lied about their whereabouts, etc. All of that is true, but evidence that no plane crashed is the most telling, the most powerful, AND the most likely to hit home with members of the public who are beginning to explore doubts about the official story.
The 9/11 Commission Report contends that Flight 77 flew on the south side of the Citgo gas station, knocking over five light poles and hitting the outer wall of the Pentagon without damaging the lawn and without causing significant damage where the wings and tail section would have hit. Leaving no major pieces of wreckage outside, the plane is then supposed to have ploughed through three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a round exit hole.
In their film National Security Alert, CIT effectively shows that the large plane that approached the Pentagon actually flew on the north side of the gas station, meaning that it could not have accounted for the damage path, including the five downed poles. Pilots supports this with research showing that a 757 could not have leveled out after the necessary descent and hit on ground level, nor could a plane flying on the north path have banked to hit the light poles and then the building.
In his latest book, 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed, Griffin writes: “Unfortunately, this consensus has often been overshadowed by battles on secondary matters, especially the question of what hit the Pentagon. This battle allows the press to portray the 9/11 Movement as absurd, with members being more concerned with their battles against other “truthers” than with their differences from the government’s account.”
But who is starting the fights? Who has made this dispute so obvious and visible? It’s those who push the idea that a 757 really hit the Pentagon. Therein lies the real hypocrisy; they don’t want the movement to look bad, so they loudly and publicly attack anyone who doesn’t think a plane hit.
Griffin understands that the in-fighting in the movement has been detrimental, but he seems to see the disagreements as genuine differences of opinion rather than as a strategy by a small but vocal group to sink some of the strongest evidence that 9/11 was an inside job.
As outlined in Chapter 7 of his newest book, Griffin now says it is relatively unimportant whether a plane hit the Pentagon because it is clear that Flight 77 under the control of al-Qaeda could not have.
To his credit, Griffin has not withdrawn his support for CIT or the no-plane-impact position. While this must frustrate the small clique, they can at least celebrate the creation of Griffin’s Consensus 9/11 Panel, which has so far steered clear of the contentious Pentagon evidence.
So, why are these researchers so determined to steer us all away from the Pentagon? Is it because the Pentagon offers the weakest evidence or the strongest? Is it because some of them are operatives? Dupes? Or just misguided? We can all draw our own conclusions. One conclusion I find inescapable is that their efforts are co-ordinated.
They’ve also gone after any other evidence that supports the faked plane crash scenario. The evidence that the data from the Flight Data Recorder was faked and planted, the ridiculous story of taxi driver Lloyde England and the impaled windshield that no one saw, and the account of April Gallop who climbed out through the hole supposedly made by the plane without seeing any evidence of a plane.
In short, they have accumulated a reason-challenged collection of arguments that comes down to the claim that we can’t PROVE a 757 didn’t hit. Legge, for example, says it’s perfectly reasonable that the default position should be that the official claims of a 757 impact are correct. Incredible.
Victoria Ashley in “To Con a Movement: Exposing CIT’s PentaCon ‘Magic Show‘ , says it’s far-fetched to believe that it was all faked. Imagine, the light poles, the debris, the exit hole – all faked! But didn’t the perpetrators fake the destruction by plane impact and fire of two of the largest buildings in the world? That’s apparently not too elaborate but five light poles being left on the grass is too much to pull off.
Chris Sarns comes up with the brilliant position that faked evidence doesn’t mean a plane couldn’t have hit, too. In his piece “Summary and Analysis of “National Security Alert,” he writes:
“If the internal directional damage was caused by explosives in a flyover, then it could be caused by explosives if the plane hit the Pentagon. … A plane could fly over or to the side of the light poles and still hit the Pentagon.”
Some of these people think it’s crazy to think so much evidence could have been faked, while others think it might have been faked even if the plane was going to hit the building anyway.
Legge writes, in an email to Griffin (quoted in 9/11 Ten Years Later): “[There is] a massive amount [of debris] inside the Pentagon and ample outside for the light parts, as seen in videos immediately after the impact, and no evidence whatsoever for truck loads of this material being carted to the site.”
He thinks we’d have seen truckloads of material being carted to the site if the debris was not genuine? Is he serious?
Legge says that any focus on the absence of airplane parts with serial numbers tying them to Flight 77 could backfire because the government might pull them out years later and make us all look stupid. Griffin rightly dismisses this suggestion, pointing out that holding back important evidence for years would harm the government’s credibility, not that of the Truth movement.
Jim Hoffman suggests in his 2006 paper “The Pentagon Attack: What the Physical Evidence Shows” that the reason we don’t see major damage to the Pentagon facade where the wings and tail section should have hit might be because explosives were planted in the plane and were detonated right before impact or a “surface-to-air missile exploded on the aft starboard side of the jetliner just as the nose was beginning to impact the façade.”
The anti-CIT group has congregated at the fully compromised web site 911blogger. That’s where Chandler, Cole, Legge, Ryan, Hoffman, Ashley, and others have published papers attacking CIT and the no-757-impact position.
Other sites where their wisdom appears include 911oz.com and the laughable truthaction.org, which amounts to little more than Snowcrash and jimd3100 snickering and patting each other on the back every time they post an especially juicy and vicious attack on those who see them for the shills they are.
If those who appear more respectable were to occasionally condemn these more obvious disrupters, it might be possible to give them some benefit of the doubt. But they don’t. Ironically, even Gage and Griffin are attacked on these sites.
Griffin has carried this position over to his Consensus 9/11 Panel, which has stayed well away from any consideration of whether there was no plane impact. This fact is one major reason for the departure of members Paul Zaremka (dismissed), Barrie Zwicker and Shelton Lankford (both resigned in protest).
Here are events over the past year-and-a-half that show how this determined group has hijacked the agenda of the movement by deliberately splitting it over this issue:
- October 2010: Kevin Ryan writes a piece entitled, “A dozen questions about Flight 77 and the Pentagon that might lead to justice, and one that won’t.” Ryan (who refers to the 9/11 “terrorist attacks” in a more recent paper) writes that the issue of what hit the Pentagon is the one question that won’t get us any closer to the truth.
- January 2011: 9/11blogger posts, “The Pentagon: a Joint Statement by David Chandler and Jonathan Cole.” This paper attacks CIT and their research while stating that the Pentagon is a dead end for research because the government holds all the cards and the public acknowledges the military’s right to keep secrets.
- February 2011: Richard Gage follows the Chandler/Cole statement with his similarly themed “Complete Withdrawal of Support” for CIT and their film National Security Alert. He later states that he wrote the paper “with guidance from others.”
- February 2011: The Toronto Hearings into the Events of Sept. 11, 2001 are announced. Organizers announce that their intention is to avoid “controversial” subjects and stick primarily to the “safe” evidence of controlled demolition of the towers. Some Pentagon evidence is to be permitted but none from CIT.
- March 2011: The Consensus 9/11 Panel is created (founded by Griffin and colleague Elizabeth Woodworth). It seeks to overcome the “controversy” that has split the movement by seeking an academic “consensus.” The object is to create a bank of points to counter the official story that can serve as a resource for the public and media.
- September 2011: David Chandler and Frank Legge post a paper on 911blogger denouncing the flyover idea favoured by CIT.
- September 2011: The Toronto Hearings almost entirely keep Pentagon research out. Barbara Honegger gets 25 minutes to review her position that explosives were set off in the Pentagon and that this happened several minutes earlier than what the official story says. Griffin gives a disturbing talk on the Pentagon which is devoted almost entirely to quoting Chandler, Cole, and Legge.
- September 2011: Griffin releases his book 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed. Chapter 7 of the book presents the evidence for and against a plane impact at the Pentagon. It quotes Chandler, Cole, Legge, and Hoffman liberally, although Griffin then makes his own very strong case for why a plane did not hit. CIT is not mentioned at all and Pilots for 9/11 Truth is only mentioned in a footnote. Zarembka, editor of The Hidden History of 9-11 calls these omissions “unforgiveable.”
- January 2012: First-time screenwriter Howard Cohen announces that he is going to stay away from the most controversial 9/11 evidence so that mainstream media like Fox News will have less to attack once his film comes out. A mission statement for the film is released a month later that shifts the focus of the film to themes of “healing” and “forgiveness.” Cohen received pressure from Gregg Roberts (in emails I was shown by a reliable source) to leave out the issue of whether anything hit the Pentagon. Cohen was forthcoming about his approach to the film until after my interview with him was posted in March. Now he says there will be no more updates (although he contends that the reason has nothing to do with my article).
- April 2012: Richard Gage of AE911Truth tours Canada, stating in the Edmonton Q & A session that the Pentagon was “attacked by a plane,” and the CIT’s approach was “not very scientific.” In my interview with him he praised the work of Frank Legge and his “extensive” research. He also admitted he wished he’d never gotten involved in the Pentagon issue in the first place.
In spite of the steps taken to marginalize the strongest Pentagon evidence there have been some bright spots. The site 911blogger was denounced in April 2011 by the 9/11 Truth Teleconference for its systematic banning of CIT supporters. Gage was strongly taken to task in a letter signed by 27 truthers for his withdrawal of support for CIT. And just last month, Gage told me in an interview that the withdrawal had caused dissension in the movement and that he would have been better to have stayed out of the Pentagon debate altogether.
Zarembka, Zwicker, and Lankford departed the Consensus Panel, questioning its shutting out of CIT and its “top-down” structure and “authoritarian” process. While this development brought attention to potential problems within the Panel, it also left it without three of its strongest voices on the Pentagon and 9/11 in general.
Several months back, I wrote that the Consensus Panel could not be timid in approving points that show the falsity of the official story. The cautious optimism I expressed then about what this body might achieve is waning quickly. They have a third set of points coming out soon, but expectations are likely to be low.
The challenge now is for the vast majority of the Truth movement to get the momentum back from the anti-CIT cabal. We have to decide whether to ignore them or go on the offensive. The accommodations made by Gage – and especially Griffin – won’t make this any easier.