By Sheila Casey / RCFP
Among 9/11 truth activists, there is little disagreement about what happened at the World Trade Center and at Shanksville. Although it’s not possible to know all the details of what transpired until there is an independent, impartial investigation, there is wide agreement among 9/11 researchers that World Trade Center buildings 1, 2 and 7 were brought down by controlled demolition and that the hole in the ground that was presented to us as the crash site of flight 93 in Shanksville does not contain the remnants of an airplane.
But when it comes to the Pentagon, the truth community has yet to reach a consensus, and 9/11 forums are filled with bitter arguments from proponents of one view or another. It is assumed by most savvy 9/11 activists that the truth movement has been infiltrated by intelligence agents tasked with crippling activists in any way possible, and that many of the most strident arguments come, not from sincere researchers, but from disinformation agents intent on spreading confusion and discord. These agents are in a position to know the truth about what happened and can be expected to mount vigorous arguments against that truth, the better to keep the movement divided and to prevent a clear, cogent message about the false flag attack at the Pentagon from reaching the masses.
To many activists, the Pentagon attack stands as the single most incriminating feature of 9/11. The official conspiracy theory (OCT) would have us believe that the world’s only superpower, with the most powerful military that has ever existed, was unable to defend its own headquarters 51 minutes after the north WTC tower had been hit, 34 minutes after the south WTC tower had been hit, and 41 minutes after the FAA knew that there was an emergency aboard flight 77 (the plane that supposedly hit the Pentagon). Regarding flight 77, Wikipedia states:
“By 08:56, the flight was turned around, and the transponder had been disabled. The FAA was aware at this point that there was an emergency aboard the plane. By this time, American Airlines Flight 11 had already crashed into the World Trade Center, and United Airlines Flight 175 was known to have been hijacked and within minutes of also striking the World Trade center.”
Where was America’s air defense during the 41 minutes after it was known that flight 77 was hijacked and before the Pentagon was attacked? In highly incriminating testimony given to the 9/11 Commission, then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta stated that while he was in the bunker with Dick Cheney:
“There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, ‘The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.’ And when it got down to, ‘The plane is 10 miles out,’ the young man also said to the vice president, ‘Do the orders still stand?’ And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, ‘Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?’”
A few minutes later, the Pentagon exploded in flames, killing 125 unsuspecting workers in the building. No evacuation order had been given.
Norman Mineta’s testimony was not included in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Given these facts, plus many other anomalies about the OCT, it is no surprise that millions of people have concluded that the government is lying about what happened at the Pentagon. With the scene of attack completely controlled by the military, and with all video of the attack confiscated from nearby businesses by the FBI within minutes of the attack, for years 9/11 researchers speculated about what had actually transpired at the Pentagon, with little hard evidence to guide them.
Frustrated with idle conjecture, two men from southern California, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis, joined forces to form Citizen Investigation Team (CIT). They traveled to the Pentagon and sought out eyewitnesses who saw the plane approach the Pentagon. They interviewed each eyewitness, on camera, at the exact location where he had been standing on the morning of 9/11 when he saw the plane, and had each eyewitness draw the plane’s flight path on a map and sign it.
A pattern began to emerge, and the more witnesses CIT interviewed, the clearer the pattern became: the plane had not taken the path claimed by the government, and the path that it did take proves that the plane did not hit the building.
CIT interviewed three Pentagon police officers (Officer William Lagasse, Officer Chadwick Brooks and Officer Roosevelt Roberts Jr.); five Arlington National Cemetery workers (Darrell Stafford, Darius Prather, Donald Carter, William Middleton Sr. and George Aman); auto mechanic Edward Paik; Citgo gas station attendant Robert Turcios; air traffic controller Sean Boger (who was at the Pentagon Heliport at the time of the attack); Terry Morin, a project manager for Sparta (saw the plane from the Navy Annex); courier Levi Stephens (saw the plane from the Pentagon’s south parking lot); and Maria de La Cerda, a career musician with the Army band, who saw the plane from Arlington National Cemetery.
Every one of these people clearly recalls seeing the plane take a path that disagrees with the government’s story. None of them report seeing the plane fly south of the Citgo station, where it would have had to have been to have caused the damage at the Pentagon.
One witness, Roosevelt Roberts Jr., saw the plane after the explosion, banking low over the parking lot.
There is a zone of destruction heading towards the Pentagon, and into the building, that corresponds with a south side flight path. Five light poles were destroyed, and the damage in the building lines up perfectly with those five light poles.
Under most circumstances, physical evidence would trump eyewitness testimony. But in this case, the crime scene was controlled by the primary suspect, tainting the credibility of the evidence under their control. In addition, there are many anomalies with the physical evidence.
Right from the beginning, questions arose. Where was the plane debris? Photos taken immediately after the attack show no wings, tail or fuselage. No luggage or bodies. No damage to the pristine green lawn, even though the Boeing 757 was supposedly piloted into the first floor of the Pentagon at 530 mph by rookie pilot Hani Hanjour, who could barely fly a small Cessna. The damage to the building is inconsistent with the crash of an airliner with a 44 foot tall tail and 125 foot wingspan, with unbroken panes of glass where the tail section should have hit.
Even the downed light poles are suspicious. Compared to a light pole that was knocked down by wind, and has a jagged edge where it broke at the base, the five downed light poles on 9/11 appear to have been cut, neatly and cleanly.
On top of this suspicious crash scene, we now have 14 eyewitnesses who have stated unequivocally on camera that the plane was not where it would have needed to be to down the light poles and hit the Pentagon.
CIT is not the only group concluding that the plane didn’t hit the Pentagon. Pilots for 9/11 Truth is a group of 200 aviation professionals who all agree that, according to the data released by the government, the government story is not correct.
In August 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the Flight Data Recorder data for flight 77. According to Rob Balsamo, founder of Pilots for 9/11 Truth, the last recorded altitude for the plane (one second before the alleged impact) shows an altitude of 480 feet above sea level. The top of the Pentagon is 112 feet above sea level. Given this data, the plane cleared the building with 368 feet to spare. The NTSB has repeatedly refused to comment on this.
For the contingent within the 9/11 truth movement that is convinced that a plane did hit the Pentagon, the most compelling evidence comes from the dozens of witnesses who believe they saw the plane hit the building. Six of these witnesses are editors or reporters for USA Today, and all claim to have been on the same quarter mile stretch of Rt. 27, heading the same way at the moment of the attack, late to work at the USA Today building in Rosslyn, three miles away.
In a ten minute clip available on Google video called “The USA Today Parade,” CIT has demonstrated that the Pentagon is not visible for most of that quarter mile stretch of Rt. 27. With video taken in a car driving that same route, it is clear that the Pentagon only becomes visible at the point at which the plane would have been over or behind the car. For much of the route, the Pentagon is obscured by large, bushy trees. CIT interviewed alleged witness to the Pentagon impact and USA Today editor Joel Sucherman on camera in his office. Sucherman insists that he saw the Pentagon at a location which CIT’s video clearly shows does not have a view of the Pentagon.
USA Today is owned by the Gannett company, which also owns Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times.
In the 9/11 truth movement, CIT’s work has been controversial. They are banned from posting on the largest 9/11 truth forum, 911blogger.com. Recent threads demonstrate that 911blogger has a pronounced preference for the “yes, a plane hit the Pentagon” version of events, with frequent anonymous contributors angrily defending that point of view.
The primary criticism of CIT’s work is that all of their witnesses believe the plane impacted the building. As I wrote in my story about CIT in the April 2009 Rock Creek Free Press:
“All of CIT’s witnesses also believe that the plane they saw hit the Pentagon, although this cannot be possible. This fact has been used to dismiss CIT’s work as irrelevant, but it’s not a compelling argument.
“Less than an hour earlier, America had been treated to the sight of the south tower of the World Trade Center being hit by a plane and exploding into a huge fireball. Most people were aware that an attack was underway. If they saw a jet heading directly towards the Pentagon, and next saw a massive fireball, it is doubtful that one person in a thousand would question whether the plane had crashed and caused the fireball. To conclude that the fireball was caused by explosives pre-planted in one of the most heavily guarded buildings on the planet, in an intentional false flag attack to justify war, would require observers to have a degree of perspicacity that was extremely rare in the pre 9/11 world, and only slightly less rare now.”
For those who actually saw the plane fly over the building, there was a convenient cover story: media reports of a second plane that came along 30 seconds after the first. Anyone who saw a plane still flying after the fireball would most likely conclude that they had seen that second plane.
The attack at the Pentagon is best understood as a gigantic magic show. How many of us have ever seen a fireball exploding hundreds of feet in diameter? I am sure that if I were to see one, my eyes would be riveted on it and for at least a few moments I’d be completely unaware of anything else in my environment. This is the essence of the magician’s trade – with flourishes and fanfare, he makes you look where he wants you to look, so you never see him slip the card behind his ear or up his sleeve. With the news media batting clean-up, only witnesses that confirmed the OCT were given airtime, and any doubters who were interviewed were simply edited out of the evening newscast.
In an effort to hold media and government officials responsible for their evidence, CIT has produced a new film, National Security Alert, which is available as a free download at citizeninvestigationteam.com. This video compresses all of the CIT interviews into a concise 80 minutes (sans music) that summarizes their evidence clearly and soberly. Their site will also contain a section where citizens can record which officials have received a copy of the DVD, and their response (or lack thereof).
CIT will be showing excerpts of National Security Alert and addressing the implications of their findings at a free conference in Arlington, VA called Deconstructing the Pentagon Attack. The conference will also feature Shelton Lankford, Lt. Col. USMC (retired), a fighter pilot with over 300 combat missions, 10,000 hours of flight time, and a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. As of publication, attendance by Rob Balsamo of Pilots for 9/11 Truth is unconfirmed.
Held at the NRECA Conference Center at 4301 Wilson Blvd, in Arlington, the event will run from 10 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday, July 11, and is sponsored by The Wisdom Fund. Both the conference and parking are free.
Sheila Casey is a DC based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Dissident Voice and Common Dreams. She blogs at http://www.sheilacasey.com