New York City activist

April 18, 2008

No-hijacker theories (to realitydesign)

Filed under: 9/11,9/11 Truth,no-hijacker theories — Diane @ 1:04 pm

In my recent post My current views on 9/11 – brief summary, I wrote:

I’m an activist against religion-based bigotry, but I strongly disagree with the idea that, in order to oppose anti-Muslim bigotry, one must deny that there were any live human hijackers on 9/11. There is not enough evidence for the pure “MIHOP” view (see What is your HOP level? Ten 9/11 paradigms by Nicholas Levis), whereas there is, alas, plenty of evidence that there were indeed live human hijackers on 9/11, although one may legitimately question some of the specifics.

We then got into a discussion about Hani Hanjour’s flying skills or lack thereof. In this comment, I also pointed out that there are some difficulties with the remote-controlled planes idea.

In this comment, realitydesign wrote:

In terms of phone calls- we learn now that the olson calls never actually happened- NEVER happened, the FBI has 1 call for them at 0 seconds- it never connected. This info is new and is in DRG’s new book which contains NO theory, just facts and contradictions.

I haven’t yet read this particular book. Could you please tell us what DRG’s main evidence is for his claim that the Olson call never happened?

Looking around on the web to find some discussion of this issue, I find this page on the 911myths site and this JREF thread. The JREF thread is, as usual, full of ad hominems and other distractions, but does contain a few substantive posts, including this one and this one, which refer to the Moussauoi trial evidence, to which there is a link in this post. Various other relevant issues are discussed on the 911myths page I referred to above.

Since I don’t know your reasons for believing that the Olson call never happened, I don’t know whether the above pages adequately address them.

However, I would like to ask you one question: Before you concluded, on whatever grounds, that the Olson call was fake, did you look around on the web for counter-arguments, to see if there were any good counter-arguments? Or did you just immediately believe that Griffin must be right?

I would say that before you believe something so unlikely as a no-hijacker scenario, you should research and weigh carefully the arguments and counterarguments. Perhaps you don’t understand why a no-hijacker scenario is prima facie unlikely?

Yes, we do know that high officials in the U.S. government once contemplated the idea of doing a fake hijacking as part of Operation Northwoods, but we also know that JFK decided not to carry out Operation Northwoods. Perhaps it wasn’t carried out because it would have been way too complicated?

Anyhow, we then got into a discussion about the sharp turn alleged to have been made by Flight 77 before it hit the Pentagon.

You also wrote:

On another note, John Lear of Lear Jet also said he thought 911 was a scam the moment he saw it because he and his buddies would have problems hitting the twin towers on a first try at 500 mph.

I found some statements by John Lear on this page.

But I’ve also come across other stuff, allegedly by other pilots, making contrary claims not only about the amount of skill required to hit the WTC buildings but also about the amount of skill required for Hani Hanjour’s loop maneuver. I don’t remember where I originally read these, but here is what I was able to dig up offhand:

  • Ask the pilot by Patrick Smith, Salon.com, May 19, 2006
  • Oh no! Not another expert! (PDF) by Giulio Bernacchia (said to be a Boeing pilot and flight simulation instructor) – confusingly organized; you’ll have to read carefully to figure out who is saying what
  • JREF post quoting an Air & Space magazine article (JPG) about an alleged instance in which ordinary commercial pilots had to make tight corkscrew turns prior to landing at an airport

I don’t know what to make of the fact that some pilots are claiming these maneuvers are impossibly difficult, while other pilots are claiming that’s not true. As I said, I’ll have to talk to a pilot myself sometime.

In the meantime, regarding various claims by members of Pilots for 9/11 Truth, here’s a JREF post listing a bunch of relevant threads in the JREF forum.

As I said, to me the idea of no live human hijackers is extremely unlikely, because it would require both (1) the faking of a bunch of phone calls and (2) the prevention of any contrary true phone calls. These are not simple matters at all, it seems to me.

Various “9/11 debunkers” have objected to the idea of any kind of government complicity whatsoever on the alleged grounds that it would be logistically too complicated. I don’t think this objection is valid for all conceivable kinds of government complicity hypotheses. I don’t think it’s necessarily valid for WTC demolition hypotheses or for NORAD-interference hypotheses, for example. But I do think it’s valid for no-hijackers hypotheses, which, in my opinion, can’t help but be at least several orders of magnitude more complicated, logistically, than either a WTC demolition hypothesis or a NORAD-interference hypotheses. See my posts about a priori objections.

Note: If anyone here wants to debate with me about the a priori logistics argument for either WTC demolition hypotheses or NORAD interference hypotheses, please do so in response to relevant posts listed at the above link, NOT here in response to this current post. (See my comment policy.)

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37 Comments »

  1. I never said I didn’t think there were hijackers- I just have my doubts about their flying abilities. The ideas of remote control and live hi-jackers are not mutually exclusive.

    I’ll get to the Olson call later when I have more time.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 18, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  2. 3 denials of the call.

    [Comment by realitydesign, edited by Diane Vera to HTML-ize and shorten link.]

    Comment by realitydesign — April 18, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  3. So, if not a no-hijackers scenario, what kind of scenario do you envision? A hijacking-the-hijackers scenario? Do you believe that the hijackers took over the plane initially, and that the plane was then later taken over by remote control?

    This would still require modifying four particular passengers planes so that they could be steered by remote control. This would require the cooperation of relevant people in two different airlines.

    There’s also the question of how the hijackers would react upon discovering that the plane had been taken over by remote control. Somehow, it must be ensured that no sign of their reaction leaks out to the public.

    Jim Hoffman’s Attack Scenario 404 tries to solve this problem via “Rendering unconscious the flight crew and passengers, preventing any communications from them about events in the cabin,” which he says can be achieved via “aerosol bombs of decapacitating gas hidden in luggage.”

    However, this would still require the faking of phone calls. And that’s extremely complicated. Insofar as voice-morphing technology were used, it would have required both (1) the collection of extensive voice samples and (2) quite a bit of pre-flight spying on some of the passengers and crew to determine how they talked to their loved ones and/or co-workers.

    Jim Hoffman suggests the use of autopilot rather than remote control. He says that taking over the plane could be “accomplished with an autopilot program in an upgrade package, disguised as a high-altitude stall-recovery program. The instrument-triggered program is started by the flight computer when the plane passes through 30,000 feet and proceeds to fly the aircraft into its target with down-to-the-meter accuracy.”

    I’m not sure whether the autopilot idea could have been accomplished with just a software “upgrade,” as Jim Hoffman suggests, but at least it would require less modification to the plane than the remote-control idea, since the planes already had autopilot. Another reason why autopilot would be more feasible than remote control is that remote control inherently introduces extra delays, which would make the plane harder to control.

    But there would still be the need to fake the phone calls. And that’s still immensely complicated.

    P.S.: I’ll reply later regarding the Olson call.

    Comment by Diane — April 18, 2008 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  4. realitydesign called my attention to Ted Olson’s Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials by David Ray Griffin.

    Griffin says:

    Late in the day on 9/11, CNN put out a story that began: “Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and attorney, alerted her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson, that the plane she was on was being hijacked Tuesday morning, Ted Olson told CNN.” According to this story, Olson reported that his wife had “called him twice on a cell phone from American Airlines Flight 77,” saying that “all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by armed hijackers. The only weapons she mentioned were knives and cardboard cutters.”2

    Ted Olson’s report was very important. It provided the only evidence that American 77, which was said to have struck the Pentagon, had still been aloft after it had disappeared from FAA radar around 9:00 AM (there had been reports, after this disappearance, that an airliner had crashed on the Ohio-Kentucky border).

    David Ray Griffin apparently believes that the Pentagon was hit by something other than a 757. See my old post about Pentagon no-757 theories, containing links to critiques by Jim Hoffman.

    Griffin then says:

    Olson’s Self-Contradictions

    … He first told CNN, as we have seen, that his wife had “called him twice on a cell phone.” But he contradicted this claim on September 14, telling Hannity and Colmes that she had reached him by calling the Department of Justice collect. Therefore, she must have been using the “airplane phone,” he surmised, because “she somehow didn’t have access to her credit cards.”4 However, this version of Olson’s story, besides contradicting his first version, was even self-contradictory, because a credit card is needed to activate a passenger-seat phone.

    Later that same day, moreover, Olson told Larry King Live that the second call from his wife suddenly went dead because “the signals from cell phones coming from airplanes don’t work that well.”5 After that return to his first version, he finally settled on the second version, saying that his wife had called collect and hence must have used “the phone in the passengers’ seats” because she did not have her purse.6

    By finally settling on this story, Olson avoided a technological pitfall. Given the cell phone system employed in 2001, high-altitude cell phone calls from airliners were impossible, or at least virtually so (Olson’s statement that “the signals from cell phones coming from airplanes don’t work that well” was a considerable understatement). The technology to enable cell phone calls from high-altitude airline flights was not created until 2004.

    These self-contradictions could mean merely that Ted Olson was confused. He didn’t really know whether he had been called from a cell phone or an Airfone, so he made different guesses at different times. Besides, I’m sure he had plenty of other, more urgent things to worry about than pinning down exactly what kind of phone his wife had called him from and why.

    Back to Griffin:

    A 9/11 researcher, knowing that AA Flight 77 was a Boeing 757, noticed that AA’s website indicated that its 757s do not have passenger-seat phones. After he wrote to ask if that had been the case on September 11, 2001, an AA customer service representative replied: “That is correct; we do not have phones on our Boeing 757. The passengers on flight 77 used their own personal cellular phones to make out calls during the terrorist attack.

    A customer service representative might not have had accurate knowledge of such details. Mike Williams, of the 911myths site, contacted someone else at American Airlines and claims to have gotten a different answer, as reported on this page. About other issues pertaining to phone calls from airplanes, see also this page.

    Griffen then says:

    Olson’s Story Contradicted by the FBI

    The most serious official contradiction of Ted Olson’s story came in 2006 at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker. The evidence presented to this trial by the FBI included a report on phone calls from all four 9/11 flights. In its report on American Flight 77, the FBI report attributed only one call to Barbara Olson and it was an “unconnected call,” which (of course) lasted “0 seconds.”9 According to the FBI, therefore, Ted Olson did not receive a single call from his wife using either a cell phone or an onboard phone.

    As mentioned in my post, above, I looked up some relevant JREF posts quoting or referring to the Moussaoui trial evidence. These are:

    a post by ElMondoHummus
    a post by boloboffin
    a post by Walter Ego

    A summary of details about the phone calls from the Moussaoui trial can also be found here, on Jim Hoffman’s 9-11 Research site.

    Apparently there were four “unknown” calls from Flight 77, all of which are fairly long. One of them could have been Barbara Olson calling from the Airfone.

    Back to Griffin:

    Ted Olson’s story has also been quietly rejected by the historians who wrote Pentagon 9/11, a treatment of the Pentagon attack put out by the Department of Defense.11

    According to Olson, his wife had said that “all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by armed hijackers.”12 This is an inherently implausible scenario. We are supposed to believe that 60-some people, including the two pilots, were held at bay by three or four men (one or two of the hijackers would have been in the cockpit) with knives and boxcutters. This scenario becomes even more absurd when we realize that the alleged hijackers were all small, unathletic men (the 9/11 Commission pointed out that even “[t]he so-called muscle hijackers actually were not physically imposing, as the majority of them were between 5’5” and 5’7” in height and slender in build”13), and that the pilot, Charles “Chic” Burlingame, was a weightlifter and a boxer, who was described as “really tough” by one of his erstwhile opponents.14 Also, the idea that Burlingame would have turned over the plane to hijackers was rejected by his brother, who said: “I don’t know what happened in that cockpit, but I’m sure that they would have had to incapacitate him or kill him because he would have done anything to prevent the kind of tragedy that befell that airplane.”15

    The Pentagon historians, in any case, did not accept the Olson story, according to which Burlingame and his co-pilot did give up their plane and were in the back with the passengers and other crew members. They instead wrote that “the attackers either incapacitated or murdered the two pilots.”

    Perhaps Barbara Olson mistook a couple of passengers, or a couple of male flight attendants, for the pilots? Given her situation, I wouldn’t expect her to be accurate about every detail. Then again, I also wouldn’t expect her husband to remember accurately every detail of what his wife told him, either.

    As for Griffin’s other objections, I came across the following here:

    How do you know that the hijackers were not well-trained in hand to hand combat and knife fighting?
    How do you know they didn’t rehearse their attacks ?
    How much could the pilots have done from their seats to ward off the hijackers?

    Have you ever sat in the cockpit of a 767 or 757? You can’t stand up from your seat. You actually have to physically move the seat back and to the outboard side. It’s still isn’t the easiest thing in the world to get out of that seat. You have to swivel your body around to the inside, duck your head and standup, stepping back sideways….it’s not the best place to be when someone is trying to kill you.

    Also, according to the Wikipedia article on Aircraft hijacking,: “Prior to September, 2001, the policy of most airlines was for the pilot to comply with hijackers’ demands in the hope of a peaceful outcome. Since then, policies have reversed course, in favor of arming and armoring the cockpit.” This is consistent with what I remember reading in various mass media sources back in September 2001.

    Back to Griffin:

    Conclusion

    This rejection of Ted Olson’s story by American Airlines, the Pentagon, and especially the FBI is a development of utmost importance. Without the alleged calls from Barbara Olson, there is no evidence that Flight 77 returned to Washington. Also, if Ted Olson’s claim was false, then there are only two possibilities: Either he lied or he was duped by someone using voice-morphing technology to pretend to be his wife.

    Why does Griffin omit the possibility that either Barbara or Ted Olson might have been a bit confused about some of the details? Such confusion seems far more likely to me than either (1) the possibility of fooling Ted Olson via voice-morphing technology or (2) the possibility that he was convinced to lie about the death/disappearance of his wife.

    Comment by Diane — April 18, 2008 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  5. “So, if not a no-hijackers scenario, what kind of scenario do you envision? A hijacking-the-hijackers scenario? Do you believe that the hijackers took over the plane initially, and that the plane was then later taken over by remote control?”

    I do envision a scenario where the planes were rigged whether by remote or autopilot GPS directional navigation or other black tech … whether or not there were patsy hi-jackers on board who may or may not have known the next step once they took over the planes- for example they may have been told that the planes would respond once they got in and did some initial takeover…who knows. Ultimately I don’t want to pretend to know every detail of this complex criminal operation. I just need to know that the official conspiracy is way too shallow to account for everything that happened. I feel it is a distraction sometimes for us to try and formulate what really happened in terms of the details- it’s not our responsibility either. It IS our responsibility as a planetary citizen (at least mine) to reject the cover up, omission-laden, nonsense-based explanation and to EXPOSE the contradictions/falsehoods/impossibilities.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 20, 2008 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  6. “Why does Griffin omit the possibility that either Barbara or Ted Olson might have been a bit confused about some of the details? Such confusion seems far more likely to me than either (1) the possibility of fooling Ted Olson via voice-morphing technology or (2) the possibility that he was convinced to lie about the death/disappearance of his wife.”

    I think it’s pretty neat that many questioned Ted’s changing stories from the get go and now we have evidence that the call never happened- reinforcing their suspicions. Secondly, Ted Olson is a hardcore BUSH insider- (gave bush the 2000 election). So, I would not put lying to aid sectors of the establishment that is his lifeblood past him. Worse things have been done in the name of team playing.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 20, 2008 @ 8:48 am | Reply

  7. realitydesign wrote:

    It IS our responsibility as a planetary citizen (at least mine) to reject the cover up, omission-laden, nonsense-based explanation and to EXPOSE the contradictions/falsehoods/impossibilities.

    I agree that it’s our responsibility to question the official story, and to expose things that are really wrong with it. However, some aspects of the official story are more likely to be false than others, and I think some things are more likely to be lied about than others.

    Ted Olson is a hardcore BUSH insider- (gave bush the 2000 election). So, I would not put lying to aid sectors of the establishment that is his lifeblood past him.

    I too wouuldn’t put it past Ted Olson to lie in the service of Bush’s agenda. However, it’s one thing for him to lie about things that don’t affect him personally (such as, for example, alleged WMD’s in Iraq), but it would be quite another thing for him to lie about the death and disappearance of his own wife, and to do that for political (rather than personal/familial) reasons. That strikes me as highly improbable. It’s not completely impossible, but, to believe it, I would need much more evidence than just the contradictions in his accounts of his wife’s phone calls, contradictions which can be easily explained in terms of perfectly understandable confusion under the circumstances of the day.

    now we have evidence that the call never happened

    As I’ve pointed out above, that evidence is highly questionable.

    I feel it is a distraction sometimes for us to try and formulate what really happened in terms of the details- it’s not our responsibility either.

    Of course it’s not possible to know the details of what happened. However, if you can’t formulate, in detail, at least one reasonably likely scenario consistent with your overall hypothesis, then chances are there’s something wrong with your overall hypothesis.

    Analogy from the other side: It’s not impossible that WTC 7 could have collapsed just due to structural damage plus naturally occurring. However, both FEMA and NIST have had a great deal of difficulty figuring out the specifics of how this could possibly have happened. (As the FEMA report put it, their “best hypothesis” had “only a low probability of occurrence”.) And that (together with other things, such as the very close-to-free-fall acceleration of the final global collapse) is, in my opinion, valid reason to be suspicious of the idea that WTC 7 collapsed just due to structural damage plus naturally-occurring fire.

    Similarly, if you have a hypothesis that the four hijacked planes were taken over either by remote control and/or by some automated means, an inability to come up with a specific possible hypothetical scenario along those lines does cast doubt on the overall hypothesis.

    Furthermore, are you aware of any evidence for any such hypothesis, other than discrepancies in stories about the alleged hijackers? Such discrepancies are not, by themselves, sufficient evidence for the idea that the four hijacked planes were taken over either by remote control and/or by some automated means, especially given that most of those discrepancies do have other, simpler possible explanations.

    Comment by Diane — April 20, 2008 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  8. Well, in terms of Ted, I wouldn’t say ‘political gains’- this goes way beyond politics imo.

    In terms of the flights- I would say that it is enough to show that their account isn’t reasonable based the information we have been given- it has not been demonstrated to me that Hani Hanjour is a capable pilot not even close to pilot a commercial jet and do military turns that stress the plane to its limits and hit the empty part of the pentagon at the first floor milimeters above the ground- he couldn’t even fly a Cessna satisfactorilly and they will not produce the details regarding his ‘commercial license’ There is a HUGE paper trail in getting a commercial license- you just don’t ‘get’ one.And that’s just Hani. Furthermore Pilots for Truth has analyzed the flight info from the black boxes and the results are stunning with result to flight 77 especially. That to me is hard data.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 20, 2008 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

  9. realitydesign wrote:

    Well, in terms of Ted, I wouldn’t say ‘political gains’- this goes way beyond politics imo.

    Could you elaborate? Why do you think it likely that he would lie about the death of his own wife, specifically?

    In terms of the flights- I would say that it is enough to show that their account isn’t reasonable based the information we have been given

    Not when the proposed alternative is something so wildly improbable as a combination of (1) the secret custom-modification of four passenger planes plus (2) a bunch of faked phone calls, faked either via voice-morphing (requiring extensive voice samples and intimate spying on a bunch of passengers and crew before the flights, after first determining who the passengers and crew were going to be on the four affected flights) or by getting a bunch of different people to lie about their loved ones, co-workers, etc.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    it has not been demonstrated to me that Hani Hanjour is a capable pilot not even close to pilot a commercial jet and do military turns that stress the plane to its limits

    Hanjour apparently did manage to obtain a commercial pilot’s license. And, as I mentioned earlier, different pilots seem to have different opinions as to whether those “military turns” required skill or just recklessness.

    and they will not produce the details regarding his ‘commercial license’

    What details are missing? Can you provide a (non-video) link on this?

    Looking this up myself via Google, I found this copy of a news story dated October 21, 2001. Can you point me to any subsequent information on this matter? In particular, I’m wondering if these details continued to be withheld from the public after the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.

    and hit the empty part of the pentagon

    You mean the relatively empty part. Hundreds of people did get killed there, though fewer than would have gotten killed if he had hit a different wedge. My guess is that he didn’t know which wedges were relatively empty and which were relatively full.

    at the first floor milimeters above the ground

    There is a dip in the Pentagon lawn right near where the Pentagon was hit, so this isn’t as impossible as some have made it out to be.

    Furthermore Pilots for Truth has analyzed the flight info from the black boxes and the results are stunning with result to flight 77 especially. That to me is hard data.

    What specific aspects of their analysis do you find “stunning”?

    Comment by Diane — April 20, 2008 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  10. “Could you elaborate? Why do you think it likely that he would lie about the death of his own wife, specifically?”
    Well, he wouldn’t have lied about her death theoretically- just about a phone call. And I would speculate that this would have been done after an ad hoc request- to enhance the marketing campaign that was unfolding that morning. Which side would Barbara have wanted to be on?
    In my opinion 911 was a line drawn in the sand. It set up a new paradigm for life in the 21st century. If you are an elite insider with connections- you have a chance to be on the safe side of that line- a guarantee of protection and security in the times to come. This may require a sacrifice or two along the way to keep in good standing.
    “Not when the proposed alternative is something so wildly improbable as a combination of (1) the secret custom-modification of four passenger planes plus (2) a bunch of faked phone calls, faked either via voice-morphing (requiring extensive voice samples and intimate spying on a bunch of passengers and crew before the flights, after first determining who the passengers and crew were going to be on the four affected flights) or by getting a bunch of different people to lie about their loved ones, co-workers, etc.”
    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
    I don’t feel the modification or upload of a Trojan to at minimum 1 plane is ‘wildly improbable.’ I do feel that Hani getting denied to rent a Cessna a few weeks before the attacks and then doing what he did in a commercial jet is wildly improbable. Do you know what the ground effect would be like flying a commercial jet at 500 mph even at 50 ft over land- let alone a few feet? It takes so much precise control even in a landing at 150 mph- imagine 500 mph? That’s so totally wildly improbable.

    “What details are missing? Can you provide a (non-video) link on this?”
    Here is some basic info about obtaining a commercial license- keep in mind there is a whole separate criteria set for obtaining an instrument rating. Also keep in mind Hani’s poor English….
    A commercial pilot may be compensated for flying. Training for the certificate focuses on a better understanding of aircraft systems and a higher standard of airmanship. The commercial certificate itself does not allow a pilot to fly in instrument meteorological conditions, and commercial pilots without an instrument rating are restricted to daytime flight within 50 nautical miles (93 km) when flying for hire.
    A commercial airplane pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane, as a specific number of hours of complex (or turbine-powered) aircraft time are among the prerequisites, and at least a portion of the practical examination is performed in a complex aircraft.
    The requirements are:
    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Hold a private pilot certificate
    • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
    • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience; the following are part of the airplane single-engine land class rating requirements:
    o If training under Part 61, at least 250 hours of piloting time including 20 hours of training with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight, and other requirements including several “cross-country” flights, i.e. more than 50 nautical miles (93 km) from the departure airport and both solo and instructor-accompanied night flights
    o If training under Part 141, at least 190 hours of training time including 55 hours with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight, and other requirements including several cross-country, solo, and night flights
    • Pass a 100-question aeronautical knowledge test
    • Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an FAA inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor (Part 141 only)

    Shouldn’t we be able to see all of these records and talk with all the people involved in Hani’s ascent into the halls of America’s airborne commercial class? All of his instructors and all the schools where he logged his times, the aircraft? Instead we are TOLD he ‘had gotten’ his license and we get a photocopy of his license and everyone is satisfied???

    “You mean the relatively empty part. Hundreds of people did get killed there, though fewer than would have gotten killed if he had hit a different wedge. My guess is that he didn’t know which wedges were relatively empty and which were relatively full.”

    Yes relatively. Out of the 30,000 that work there he hit the newly renovated section where only 120 people were killed. AND he did one hell of an airborne set up to come in to that specific part.

    “There is a dip in the Pentagon lawn right near where the Pentagon was hit, so this isn’t as impossible as some have made it out to be.”
    A dip? At 500 mph can you imagine the ground effect? A dip is not going to keep your jet from shredding.
    “What specific aspects of their analysis do you find “stunning”?”
    I find their analysis of the NTSB’s 2006 report of flight 77’s altitude being 480 ft. above sea level at the last second before the reported crash. At 480 ft it’s pretty hard to take out 4 light poles no?

    Comment by realitydesign — April 21, 2008 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  11. I sent in a post/reply but maybe it got spammed?

    Comment by realitydesign — April 21, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  12. To realitydesign:

    Indeed your comment ended up in the spam area for whatever reason. I’ve unspammed it, so it now appears above. Anyhow, you wrote:

    Well, he wouldn’t have lied about her death theoretically- just about a phone call.

    The phone call was directly relevant to the manner in which she is alleged to have died, so, yes, a lie about that phone call would indeed be a lie about her death.

    And I would speculate that this would have been done after an ad hoc request- to enhance the marketing campaign that was unfolding that morning. Which side would Barbara have wanted to be on?
    In my opinion 911 was a line drawn in the sand. It set up a new paradigm for life in the 21st century. If you are an elite insider with connections- you have a chance to be on the safe side of that line- a guarantee of protection and security in the times to come. This may require a sacrifice or two along the way to keep in good standing.

    Asking for that kind of “sacrifice,” on an “ad hoc” basis, would be taking an inordinantly high risk of exposing the conspiracy. Sooner or later he would most likely want to know and expose the truth about how his wife died.

    Unless, of course, the Olsons had a very bad marriage and Ted wanted to kill Barbara anyway. But how would the other conspirators know that it would be just fine with Ted if his wife died as part of the plot? Lots of men grumble to their pals about their wives, but this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t mind if their wives got murdered.

    So, how could Ted Olson be reliably counted on to cover up for the murder of his wife? This would make sense only if Ted Olson himself were one of the masterminds and decided to kill two birds with one stone. Ted Olson himself would have to have been the one to make the decision that the plane on which his wife had booked a flight would be one of the four planes to which the following was done: (1) a custom-modification for remote control and/or automated flight; (2) getting a bunch of terrorist “patsies” to book a flight on that exact same plane; (3) determining who the flight attendants would be, and somehow faking a phone call from one of the flight attendants (Renee May) to her mother; and (4) ensuring that no other passengers or crew made phone calls describing the real situation.

    Besides being enormously complicated, this would also mean that at least a few other people in on the conspiracy would know that Ted Olson had chosen to murder his own wife as part of the operation.

    In any case, whether or not Ted Olson was one of the masterminds, it seems to me that the kind of plot you’re suggesting would require a very high degree of coordination and thus would be extremely difficult to pull off successfully.

    Or do you mean to suggest that the passengers and crew didn’t really get killed, that the plane really landed somewhere, secretly, and that the passengers and crew all just disappeared and got their identities changed, or something?

    That would be even more complicated, and would involve an even greater risk of discovery.

    I don’t feel the modification or upload of a Trojan to at minimum 1 plane is ‘wildly improbable.’

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be “wildly improbable” if that were the only thing that the plot required. But, as we have seen, a whole bunch of other things would have been required too, plus the secret coordination of all those things regarding the exact same set of four planes.

    I do feel that Hani getting denied to rent a Cessna a few weeks before the attacks and then doing what he did in a commercial jet is wildly improbable.

    He might have managed to get some further training that we don’t know about, elsewhere, perhaps under an assumed name and fake credentials, and perhaps with an instructor who was lousy at recognizing faces (and who therefore didn’t report the sessions later, after Hanjour’s picture was published).

    This is just speculation on my part, but it seems to me a helluva lot simpler and more likely than the alternative you’re proposing.

    Do you know what the ground effect would be like flying a commercial jet at 500 mph even at 50 ft over land- let alone a few feet?

    As I said earlier, there’s a dip in the lawn right near the part of the Pentagon that he hit, so he was higher above the actual ground level than one might think.

    It takes so much precise control even in a landing at 150 mph- imagine 500 mph?

    He wasn’t trying to land the plane, he was trying to crash it. Big difference. Landing a plane is much more difficult than crashing it.

    Furthermore, we don’t know that he was aiming precisely for the first floor. He might not have cared what part of the Pentagon he hit.

    Regarding Hani Hanjour’s commercial pilot license:

    Shouldn’t we be able to see all of these records and talk with all the people involved in Hani’s ascent into the halls of America’s airborne commercial class? All of his instructors and all the schools where he logged his times, the aircraft?

    Are you aware of anyone who has tried to obtain this information and failed to get it? What is the source of your information that these details are not available? In my previous comment I cited a relevant newspeaper article that I had found, but that was a very early report. Do you have evidence that the information is still unavailable?

    Regarding the analysis by Pilots for 9/11 Truth:

    I find their analysis of the NTSB’s 2006 report of flight 77’s altitude being 480 ft. above sea level at the last second before the reported crash. At 480 ft it’s pretty hard to take out 4 light poles no?

    That would depend on the altitude of the highway. Does the report say how high the highway was above sea level?

    Comment by Diane — April 21, 2008 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  13. “He wasn’t trying to land the plane, he was trying to crash it. Big difference. Landing a plane is much more difficult than crashing it.”

    I just used the landing example to demonstrate the slow speed. Do you know how difficult it would be to hand control a commercial airliner going 500 MPH over the ground like that even at 100 feet…no novice could do it. I think you are overlooking 500 miles per hour in a commercial jet- hand controls.

    I think you missed my point on Barbara and Ted. I believe she died in the manner she was said to have. I just doubt the phone call. he could have made up the phone call- doesn’t change anything else if he made up the call- about her fate. Ted absolutely didn’t know anything other than hi-jackers he was nowhere near the planning for this event- and had no knowledge of it in my opinion- but like I said could have been asked to step up the marketing campaign for ‘national security’ reasons.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 21, 2008 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  14. Oh, and that highway is 40 feet above sea level.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 21, 2008 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  15. realitydesign wrote:

    Do you know how difficult it would be to hand control a commercial airliner going 500 MPH over the ground like that even at 100 feet…no novice could do it. I think you are overlooking 500 miles per hour in a commercial jet- hand controls.

    I don’t know how difficult this would be. As I said earlier, I’ll have to talk to a pilot about this myself sometime. Different people online, claiming to be pilots, have had very different things to say about this.

    I think you missed my point on Barbara and Ted. I believe she died in the manner she was said to have. I just doubt the phone call. he could have made up the phone call- doesn’t change anything else if he made up the call- about her fate. Ted absolutely didn’t know anything other than hi-jackers he was nowhere near the planning for this event- and had no knowledge of it in my opinion- but like I said could have been asked to step up the marketing campaign for ‘national security’ reasons.

    I think it very unlikely that the conspirators (or anyone else in the Bush administration) would have dared to ask Ted Olson to do such a thing on a matter which struck so close to home (literally) for him.

    Comment by Diane — April 21, 2008 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  16. P.S. If indeed it should turn out that there really is something to this whole “flying skills” issue, then the conclusion I would be inclined to draw is not that the planes were taken over in some “black tech” way, but rather that the hijackers must have received some very intensive training, during the last few weeks before 9/11, from someone whom the FBI never found out about — or, perhaps, from someone whom the FBI has been deliberately covering up for. (FBI whistleblowers have revealed that the FBI has covered up for various people, so one more such coverup wouldn’t be a huge surprise.)

    Comment by Diane — April 22, 2008 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  17. > Ted absolutely didn’t know anything other than hi-jackers he was nowhere near the planning for this event- and had no knowledge of it in my opinion- but like I said could have been asked to step up the marketing campaign for ‘national security’ reasons.

    That might have been a plausible expectation 5 or 6 years ago, but surely by now Ted Olson has heard of all of the various 911 conspiracy theories? If he had been induced into lying at the time over something which he was not a willful partner to then he must now be burning with suspicion, correct? Imagine if you were asked to tell some odd lies about the murder of your spouse and then suddenly several years later began hearing about a Truther community which was circulating stories suggesting that your spouse’s murder was something other than what you’d been led to believe. Wouldn’t you have many suspicions at that point? Would this be a reliable methodology for the real conspirators to want to depend upon it? Particularly if we allow for the assumption that certain types of fake 911-Truther groups are somehow set up by the CIA with the intent of circulating odd suspicions about the event? Even if some of the stories circulated by the alleged CIA-fakes were a bit strange with the intent of putting off the majority of the public, wouldn’t there still be a high risk that the person whose spouse was murdered would react with high suspicions and begin questioning the motive behind their faked call?

    This doesn’t sound very plausible today at this point. I can see how someone who was just beginning to look at 911 in 2003 could run through such hypotheses (I did, at one point long ago). But it seems much more improbable in our present climate.

    Comment by patricksmcnally — April 22, 2008 @ 1:23 am | Reply

  18. What do you guys think about the light pole/altitude discrepancy?

    Comment by realitydesign — April 22, 2008 @ 3:49 am | Reply

  19. “I think it very unlikely that the conspirators (or anyone else in the Bush administration) would have dared to ask Ted Olson to do such a thing on a matter which struck so close to home (literally) for him.”

    “Even if some of the stories circulated by the alleged CIA-fakes were a bit strange with the intent of putting off the majority of the public, wouldn’t there still be a high risk that the person whose spouse was murdered would react with high suspicions and begin questioning the motive behind their faked call?”

    Well, there is always the idea that Ted could wind up face down in his soup if they want him to no? Or he could ‘commit’ suicide’ out of sadness. You know. You heard about how Marvin Bush’s Nanny got killed in his driveway because her parked car mysteriously pinned her against a concrete wall after the e-brake failed???
    Ted knows better. And besides I could think of a million stories to switch up his understanding/perception of that days’ events, without changing his allegiance. It’s in his best interest to ALWAYS play ball.

    Patrick talk to me about the light poles.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 22, 2008 @ 6:08 am | Reply

  20. “P.S. If indeed it should turn out that there really is something to this whole “flying skills” issue, then the conclusion I would be inclined to draw is not that the planes were taken over in some “black tech” way, but rather that the hijackers must have received some very intensive training, during the last few weeks before 9/11, from someone whom the FBI never found out about — or, perhaps, from someone whom the FBI has been deliberately covering up for.”

    Comment by realitydesign — April 22, 2008 @ 7:14 am | Reply

  21. About the “light pole/altitude discrepancy”: First, can you provide a good source for this claim?

    Comment by Diane — April 22, 2008 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  22. realitydesign wrote:

    Well, there is always the idea that Ted could wind up face down in his soup if they want him to no? Or he could ‘commit’ suicide’ out of sadness. You know. You heard about how Marvin Bush’s Nanny got killed in his driveway because her parked car mysteriously pinned her against a concrete wall after the e-brake failed???

    So you’re suggesting that he went along due to an implied threat?

    It still seems to me that a conspiracy which abuses its own strongest supporters in such a manner, e.g. by requiring them to lie about the deaths of their loved ones, is thereby taking an inordinant risk of exposure.

    And besides I could think of a million stories to switch up his understanding/perception of that days’ events, without changing his allegiance.

    For example?

    In a subsequent comment, you posted a link to this graphic without giving its source or telling us exactly what it is. Anyhow, it shows a plane in a horizontal position, whereas the plane that hit the Pentagon would have been tilting downward, I would think.

    Comment by Diane — April 22, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  23. “About the “light pole/altitude discrepancy”: First, can you provide a good source for this claim?”

    http://www.pilotsfor911truth.org/

    Check it out! You can go right to flight 77 if you want.

    On to Ted – I don’t think he is one of the biggest supporters of the conspiracy as I don’t believe he knew about it otherwise he probably wouldn’t have wanted his wife to fly that day- unless he didn’t want her around anymore???. He may have been asked to fabricate for national security- and then told another BS story about new info that came out but that he still needed to uphold his story. “Ted listen, we’ve got a situation here where some people in the media are trying making a mess of this and reporting on some insane scenarios here with the flights are you able to let us know that Barb called you and told you about the hi-jackers- it’ll really quiet this panic, in fact it would corroborate this situation and we need to clarify to the public so we can move forward…we know who did this and we are going after them. We need this Ted- it would really sooth the nation right now…coming from you”

    If he were to ever slip up on this – after the details were sorted, we all could figure out what would happen. And there is no risk for them because they off people at will.

    P.S: This is all hypothetical and I’m only theorizing because it seems clear at least to me that the calls didn’t occur. I’m satisfied with the evidence- but don’t have a crystal ball as to what actually happened.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 22, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  24. To realitydesign:

    About the altitude issue: Have you looked at counterarguments? Here are some relevant JREF threads:

    AA77 FDR Data, Explained
    9/11 on Google Earth
    Pilots for Truth animation – What is it?

    While looking for such threads, I also found this one: You Can’t Fly A 757 Like That!. Alas, these threads contain quite a few ad hominems and other distracting annoyances, but they do contain substantive objections too.

    Regarding your latest hypothesis about Ted Olson, he nade his statements very soon after 9/11. At that point, “conspiracy theories” were not yet very popular, so what you’ve suggested still does not seem to me like a likely motive for lying about circumstances pertaining to his wife’s death. It still seems to me far more likely that he and/or his wife were honestly confused and mistaken about some of the details.

    Comment by Diane — April 22, 2008 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  25. “At that point, “conspiracy theories” were not yet very popular, so what you’ve suggested still does not seem to me like a likely motive for lying about circumstances pertaining to his wife’s death.”

    I wasn’t suggesting he made the statements with any conspircay theory in mind, (of course it was too early for conspiracy but it wasn’t to early for all sorts of confusion and desperate questioning throughout the country/media( for example all the sightings of the E4B plane that morning over the whitehouse etc….how did that fit in?) but just to solidify/fully clarify the marketing campaign underway- you know via a nice tangible example.

    “I also found this one: You Can’t Fly A 757 Like That!.”

    This thread just supports the idea that Hani couldn’t have been the pilot that day. They miss the point by attacking the idea that that plane couldn’t be flown that way instead.

    And as far as the other threads, I’ll dig in but to be honest it’s really hard for me. The people over there are so immature and what I would (sadly) characterize as ‘part of the larger problem with dialogue/debate/discourse in the USA’- lots of anger, nuerosis, attempted character assassination, aggression, ad hominem and just rudeness- very uncouth. As an example, as I started reading about the pilots analysis of the data- they just kept referring to ‘conspiracy theorists’ as if the people aren’t pilots with VERY considerable background (i.e. John Lear of Lear Jet).

    It’s just a scary place for me. Your blog is better.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 23, 2008 @ 6:36 am | Reply

  26. “Is there a hypothetical scenario you would propose which does not involve both “remote control/computer control and fake phone calls”? (Note: by “fake phone calls” I mean faking via either voice-morphing or via lying, or via any other means.) What kinds of hypothetical scenarios do you consider likely?”

    Well, the theory of Mark Rabinowitz (oilempire) for example and to some degree Mike Ruppert(FTW and now MikeRuppertblogspot via Jenna Orkin). That the Hi-jackings took place as we heard about via phone calls and the fact that those guys were on the planes and such and did their little box cutter horse and pony bullying routine…but that ultimately they were not ACTUALLY controlling the planes in the critical moments- hence the buttery flying and precision ‘hits’ TOTALLY impossible for these bumbling amatuers.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 23, 2008 @ 6:49 am | Reply

  27. BTW…here is what is probably the flying command center that did the technical coordination of the aircraft on 911.

    http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/Gaffney_911Mystery%20Plane.pdf

    Comment by realitydesign — April 23, 2008 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  28. realitydesign wrote:

    I wasn’t suggesting he made the statements with any conspircay theory in mind, (of course it was too early for conspiracy but it wasn’t to early for all sorts of confusion and desperate questioning throughout the country/media( for example all the sightings of the E4B plane that morning over the whitehouse etc….how did that fit in?) but just to solidify/fully clarify the marketing campaign underway- you know via a nice tangible example.

    I still think it unlikely that anyone would have dared to ask him to lie about the circumstances of his wife’s death.

    By the way, another possible explanation for the contradictions and inaccuracies in his accounts might simply be that he was misquoted in one or more of the news stories. Even in the most reputable newspapers, news stories are often inaccurate in one way or another, simply because reporters work under tight deadlines and don’t have enough time to double-check every last detail. Every time I’ve ever seen a news story on any topic of which I’ve had independent knowledge, the story has always contained at least a few minor errors, sometimes major bloopers.

    That’s one reason why we have to be careful about using news stories as evidence. A single news story, by itself, is not strong evidence of anything. To have good documentation of any point, it is desirable to have multiple independent sources plus follow-up stories.

    “I also found this one: You Can’t Fly A 757 Like That!.”

    This thread just supports the idea that Hani couldn’t have been the pilot that day. They miss the point by attacking the idea that that plane couldn’t be flown that way instead.

    As I said earlier, I think it’s possible that Hanjour could have gotten some further training, during the last few weeks, that we don’t know about. Of course that’s just speculation on my part, but it’s a simpler hypothesis than the remote-control or automated takeover idea.

    And as far as the other threads, I’ll dig in but to be honest it’s really hard for me. The people over there are so immature and what I would (sadly) characterize as ‘part of the larger problem with dialogue/debate/discourse in the USA’- lots of anger, nuerosis, attempted character assassination, aggression, ad hominem and just rudeness- very uncouth.

    I agree. The JREF forum is extremely annoying in that regard. Much better is the 911myths site, which manages to avoid ad hominmens and other distractions most of the time. But there are important issues that the 911myths site doesn’t cover.

    However, if one is going to take a public stand on a controversial issue, I think it’s important to be familiar with the counterarguments.

    Well, the theory of Mark Rabinowitz (oilempire) for example and to some degree Mike Ruppert(FTW and now MikeRuppertblogspot via Jenna Orkin). That the Hi-jackings took place as we heard about via phone calls and the fact that those guys were on the planes and such and did their little box cutter horse and pony bullying routine…but that ultimately they were not ACTUALLY controlling the planes in the critical moments- hence the buttery flying and precision ‘hits’ TOTALLY impossible for these bumbling amatuers.

    So here you’re conceding, at least, that the phone calls may have been real?

    Comment by Diane — April 23, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  29. “So here you’re conceding, at least, that the phone calls may have been real?”

    The only phone call I ever looked into doubting was the Olson call because:

    1. Ted’s reports changed back and forth and I would think with an event like that, the memories would be crystal clear, razor sharp.

    2. And then the FBI turned up that 0 seconds call from her as well.

    3. AA said that there were no passenger phones on sept 11 on that plane and all calls were via cell.

    At the time that I evaluated these clains- they seemed more than reasonable to doubt the call.

    Anyway I never really was invested in the idea that the phone calls didn’t happen, I never spent much time on that concept at all. But I am invested in the idea that Hanjour’s piloting ablilities were 100% fraudulent.

    I mean now you are suggesting that although he had a COMMERCIAL license, he was denied renting a Cessna weeks before the attacks- but then got super duper commercial training in the weeks before the attacks? That to me sounds unbelievable. Remember how much English is required to pass a commercial pilot’s test and the workers at one flight school were baffled as to how he got his license because his English was so bad that they were considering getting him a translator.

    Comment by realitydesign — April 23, 2008 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  30. realitydesign wrote:

    I mean now you are suggesting that although he had a COMMERCIAL license, he was denied renting a Cessna weeks before the attacks

    Perhaps he hadn’t gotten any practice since getting his commercial license and was very rusty.

    but then got super duper commercial training in the weeks before the attacks?

    Or perhaps just the review/practice he needed?

    As for his lack of proficiency in English, there’s also the question of how said proficiency is measured. In an entirely different context, I’ve known people who apparently were able to pass the TOEFL yet who still could barely speak English.

    Comment by Diane — April 23, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  31. Came across an interesting article about Ted and the phone call. Here is a quote by him:

    Addressing the Supreme Court of the United States of America, US Solicitor General Theodore Olson said it is “easy to imagine an infinite number of situations . . . where government officials might quite legitimately have reasons to give false information out.”

    http://www.vialls.com/lies911/lies.htm

    Furthermore I had a dream about the Olson phone call the other night- she said everyone was huddled at the back of the plane by the hi-jackers- pilots and all. That image came to me: 62 Americans, some of them ex-military…being held at bay in the back of a plane by 3 very small (5’7″) Arabs with boxcutters and knives…62 people…totally ludicrous, unthinkable. Grab 62 of your friends and box them in a corner- see what that looks like.

    This Olson thing is turning into a huge incriminating instance. I also heard Ted re-married after 6 months.

    Comment by realitydesign — May 15, 2008 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  32. > she said everyone was huddled at the back of the plane by the hi-jackers- pilots and all. That image came to me: 62 Americans, some of them ex-military…being held at bay in the back of a plane

    A phrase like “back of the plane” is a bit nebulous. If we were told some physical dimensions then one might have a better basis for comparing with the volume of 62 people. But there’s nothing odd about the decision of such people to initially go towards the back half or third of the plane. Before 911 the regular practice in the event of hijackings was that one didn’t resist but followed directions from the hijackers with the expectation that they put forward demands. No one had any reason to expect a suicide flight.

    Comment by patricksmcnally — May 15, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  33. I call bullshit.

    62 to 3- something stinks in Denmark.

    Comment by realitydesign — May 15, 2008 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  34. All that would have been needed was for the 3 to get close enough to where they could threaten the pilot and take control of the flight. After that, the regular practice followed by trained crews and passengers would have been to avoid conflict and wait for the hijackers to submit political demands. It would not have come to a bare-knuckle fight between 62 and 3.

    Comment by patricksmcnally — May 15, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  35. According to this phone call, Olson said everyone “including the pilot” WAS in the back. So, you have this huddle of 62 people, a boxer and a bunch of military guys all cowering to the site of 3 shrimpy rejects with box cutters- yelling demands in poor English. Sounds like a loony conspiracy theory to me. I just don’t buy it.

    Comment by realitydesign — May 15, 2008 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  36. Any crew members still alive would have acted on their training and advised the passengers not to resist but just to do what the hijackers wanted.

    Of course, things are different now, post-9/11. But what Patrick describes was indeed the accepted practice back then. Back then, the airlines assumed that hijackers wanted either to take hostages or just to go somewhere, not crash the plane.

    Comment by Diane — May 15, 2008 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  37. Well, I for one see way more evidence in favor of this phone call having not occurred. If it were just one or two things fine- but every single aspect of it stinks.

    Moreover if it were some random person making the claim you could almost give them the benefit- but it is THE man who put Bush in power and who has since said he can think of ‘an infinite number of reasons for governments to give out false info to the public’

    Comment by realitydesign — May 16, 2008 @ 7:37 am | Reply


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