"Events [at Shanksville] were probably exactly as you describe." —Rowland Morgan, author, Flight 93 Revealed
Black 9/11: Money, Motive and Technologyby Mark H. Gaffney
The weeks following the attacks of September 11, 2001, were traumatic for nearly every American, but for some, the answers they received from the media and the government to explain the horrific events was not satisfactory. Accusations of cover-ups, internal plots, and sabotage from within the ranks of the U.S. government wereand continue to benot
The weeks following the attacks of September 11, 2001, were traumatic for nearly every American, but for some, the answers they received from the media and the government to explain the horrific events was not satisfactory. Accusations of cover-ups, internal plots, and sabotage from within the ranks of the U.S. government wereand continue to benot uncommon. But compelling evidence contrary to the accepted narrative has, for some skeptics, been lacking. This investigation into the events of that day reveals dark secrets about United Statessponsored terrorism. Taking highly complex technical and scientific information, and distilling it for the consumption of the lay person, this inquiry attempts to reveal the truth behind that infamous day.
"Events [at Shanksville] were probably exactly as you describe." —Rowland Morgan, author, Flight 93 Revealed
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Money, Motive & Technology
By Mark H. Gaffney
Trine Day LLCCopyright © 2012 Mark H. Gaffney
All rights reserved.
Of the four allegedly hijacked airliners on September 11, United Airlines Flight 93 is the most intriguing. There are a number of reasons for this, but primarily because UAL 93 was the plane that went astray. It appears that, for whatever reason, this fourth aircraft was unable to complete its mission, whether to impact the US Capitol, as many believe, or perhaps to target World Trade Center Building 7, as some have suggested.
The 9/11 attacks involved an extremely complex set of operations, and because their success depended on timing, it is not surprising that problems would arise. The belated collapse of WTC-7, which was not impacted by an aircraft, is one likely example. Some believe the original plan was to drop WTC-7 immediately after the collapse of the North Tower, when the immense dust cloud would have provided concealment, obscuring what appeared to be a classic demolition.
Something went wrong however, which meant dropping this building in plain view shortly after 5 p.m. on the afternoon of September 11. The perpetrators got away with it by exercising near total control over the mainstream media, which kept the shocking collapse footage of WTC-7 out of the news.
Although UAL 93's intended target remains unknown, whatever went wrong in-flight evidently compelled the forces behind the curtain (possibly elements of the US intelligence community) to resort to a back -up contingency plan. If this reasoning is valid, it means they felt it necessary to take extraordinary measures that involved major risks to themselves. It follows that the crash of UAL 93 could hold one of the keys to exposing the plot.
UAL 93 was late departing from Newark International on the morning of September 11, 2001. The flight was scheduled to leave at 8 a.m. but was delayed on the runway for approximately 42 minutes. Some skeptics reject the "late factor" as too obvious to account for UAL 93's failure to reach its target. Surely, they argue, the plotters would have been well aware that flights out of Newark are subject to frequent delays. Some even believe they factored the delayed take-off into the attack plan.
But I seriously doubt this. UAL 93 departed Newark just minutes before American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower. If the flight had been delayed much longer, UAL 93 might have been grounded before it could leave. This ought to tell us that the delay was not part of the planning. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Newark was simply a poor choice in an attack plan where everything depended on timing.
So, why Newark? I suggest that the masterminds of the attack did not exercise control over every planning decision. The selection of Newark may indicate that Mohamed Atta & company not only hijacked the planes, but were actively involved in planning various details of the operation.
If they were being used in someone else's larger plan, it would nonetheless be essential for the hijackers to believe that they were in total control of the operation. They had to be free to make some of the planning decisions, at the risk of making bad ones.
With regard to UAL 93's failure to reach a target: something may have gone wrong, requiring a drastic "clean up" intervention. We do not know what happened, but the case may illustrate just how ill-prepared the terrorist pilots were, when left to their own devices.
According to the official story, five hijackers boarded flights AA 11, UAL 175, and AA 77, but only four boarded UAL 93. Were the terrorists undermanned on the last flight? Perhaps, and if so this supports the likelihood that heroic passengers may indeed have taken matters into their own hands in the flight's last minutes.
Nearly everyone knows the story of heroism aboard United Flight 93, how, in the plane's last desperate moments, passengers stormed the cockpit in an attempt to wrest control from the hijackers. The narrative is familiar because, within days of September 11, the government and the media began to spin the UAL 93 tragedy into a national legend. In 2006, two Hollywood productions, United 93 for theaters and Flight 93 for television, played upon our collective pain, grief and loss, while helping to deliver continued popular support for President Bush's so-called War on Terror. The script for that production included blank checks for war -without-end against an almost invisible adversary.
While it is right to celebrate the heroism of our fellow Americans, there is good reason to doubt the official explanation, which is that hijack pilot Ziad Jarrah crashed the plane before the passengers could gain control of the cockpit.
Before examining the UAL 93 story in further detail, however, other anomalies deserve consideration.
What happened, and where?
It is not surprising that so many Americans initially questioned whether UAL 93 actually crashed at Shanksville, in western Pennsylvania. Even as the 9/11 attacks were unfolding, CBS News reported that UAL 93 had crashed near Camp David, Maryland, which is located about 90 miles east of Shanksville.
The network identified the source as an FBI official in Washington. In its report, CBS also noted the significance of the timing and the presumed target. Camp David is the presidential retreat where, on September 11, 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the historic Camp David Peace Accords, ending decades of on-and-off warfare between the two states. Yet, even if the network was wrong about the presumed target, the date chosen for the attacks signaled the jihadists' disdain for that agreement.
It is also noteworthy that the CBS report about Camp David aired immediately after the network reported that "a large plane crashed in western Pennsylvania, at Somerset," not far from Shanksville, which is in Somerset County. The ambiguous coverage reflected the day's fluid state of affairs, as Americans, including journalists, attempted to piece together what was happening in real time. Another network, CNN, likewise briefly mentioned a crash at Camp David during its coverage of rescue efforts at the collapsed World Trade Center.
Bush administration officials also referred to a Camp David crash. During a midair press briefing as he flew to Washington from Peru, Secretary of State Colin Powell told journalists, "One [plane] crashed near Camp David and the other crashed out in western Pennsylvania." Powell's wording resembles the ambiguous CBS report, which suggests that Powell may have been watching the CBS coverage of 9/11 while en route and simply repeated what he had heard from a source presumed to be reliable.
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also mentioned a Camp David crash, while participating in a 9/11 commemoration event on September 11, 2006. Fleischer had been with President Bush in Sarasota, Florida on the morning of 9/11. At the commemoration, responding to a question from CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien, he reminisced about his experience: "We heard about the Pentagon on the way to Air Force One in the motorcade. We boarded Air Force One and went straight into the president's cabinet to start taking notes. That's when we heard about the fourth plane. The first report being ... it went down near Camp David [my emphasis]. That was the first report the president got."
In the confusion there was also a false report that UAL 93 had landed in Cleveland. On September 11, WCPO TV, an ABC-affiliated television station based in Cincinnati, Ohio, reported that "a Boeing 767 out of Boston" landed in Cleveland amidst concerns about a possible bomb on board. According to the WCPO report: "United identified the plane as UAL 93." As you may already have noticed, the report includes other incorrect information: UAL 93 was a Boeing 757, not a 767, and was out of Newark, not Boston. Later in the day, USA Today correctly identified the aircraft that landed at Cleveland as Delta Flight 1989.
Nonetheless, as a result of such reports, and because of the paucity of wreckage at the alleged UAL 93 crash site, many Americans remained skeptical about the official version of events. Nor was the matter resolved in 2002 when the National Transportation Safety Board released the transcript of UAL 93's cockpit voice recorder (CVR), along with its own official flight path study of UAL 93, based on the aircraft's recovered flight data recorder. Serious questions have lingered about the authenticity of this evidence.
This book, of course, will not resolve all outstanding issues. But Freedom of Information Act requests have led to the release of some highly relevant information. The release of the RADES (Radar Evaluation Squadron) 9/11 radar data in October 2007 and the subsequent release of many air traffic control (ATC) audiotapes from 9/11 have made it possible to resolve some of the important issues without relying either upon the plane's CVR or a possibly dubious NTSB study.
First and foremost: The radar data and ATC tapes confirm that UAL 93 crashed near Shanksville. Multiple radar towers tracked UAL 93 continuously from the moment the flight departed Newark, and the radar tracks end several miles north of Shanksville. Also, the readily available ATC tapes from 9/11 now make it possible for anyone to review what happened, and to follow the air traffic controllers as they grappled with a midair disaster. The radar data and the ATC tapes are mutually corroborative, and both strongly support a crash near Shanksville.
Even so, I must confess, I was not fully convinced myself until I paid a visit in March 2011 to the crash site in western Pennsylvania. The surrounding countryside is quite beautiful, at least where the land has not been ruined by strip mining. The little burgh of Shanksville is both a blue-collar town and picturesque, with a fine river running through it. I was reminded of postcards of New England.
I was no less impressed by the residents, who without exception were friendly and helpful. Fortunately, many were also willing to talk about 9/11, including Nevin Lambert, whom I interviewed at his farm overlooking the UAL 93 crash site, presently administered by the US Park Service.
Lambert has lived and worked in the area all of his life. A local country road and a nearby borough bear his family's name. He told me how, on the morning of 9/11, he was shoveling coal outside his home when he heard the roar of jet engines. Lambert looked up and chanced to witness the death throes of UAL 93. He said the wings tipped back and forth several times just before the airliner plunged nose-down into a field about a quarter mile from where we stood.
The horrendous impact scattered debris across his farm. As I listened, Lambert fell silent and struggled with his feelings. When he spoke again about the people who died, his voice cracked. The man has no doubt recounted the same story numerous times over the years. But the trauma of that fateful day was still an open wound. Before my trip, I had read an account by Lambert on the Internet. But it is a very different thing to meet a witness in the flesh and hear about it firsthand. Nothing had prepared me for the depth of his emotions.
Incident at Camp David?
Of course, the fact that UAL 93 crashed at Shanksville does not rule out the possibility of another separate incident at Camp David. It is not a matter of either/or.
In fact, there is substantial evidence that something did occur in the vicinity of Catoctin Mountain Park, where Camp David is located. In addition to the press reports and official statements already cited, the Northwestern Chronicle, a campus newspaper associated with Northwestern University, also posted a story about Camp David on September 11.
The brief text reads as follows: "Air Force officials say an airliner has been forced down by F-16 fighter jets near Camp David."
A glance at the link shows that the reporter at Northwestern Chronicle posted his story at 10:50 a.m. on September 11, 2001. The timing is significant, because a dossier of Secret Service files from 9/11 made public in 2010 includes a timeline document stating that a "plane crashed at Camp David" at 10:38 a.m. This tallies closely with the news report, as it is quite plausible that a crash occurring at 10:38 would be reported at 10:50. The two pieces of data are quite compatible. Judging from this, it would appear that something did happen at Camp David on 9/11. The question is, What?
On September 12, however, the Baltimore Daily Record printed a "correction" under the headline "Camp David crash rumor proves false": "Early reports that an airliner had crashed on or near Camp David, the presidential retreat in Western Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, proved unfounded." The paper cited J. Mel Poole, the Catoctin Park superintendent, who flatly denied that there had been any crash.
Yet the article also contains other contradictory information which to my knowledge has not been reported anywhere else and which challenges the apparently blanket denial in the Record. As we will later see, here the devil is indeed in the details.
The article quoted a restaurant manager in Thurmont, Maryland, who "heard that a plane went down ... in the Catoctin Mountain Park," which is about three miles east of Thurmont. This would place the crash at, or very close to, Camp David. The same source told the paper that first responders were on the scene: "Lots of fire trucks were on the road," she said on September 11, "and no one can get up there." Park superintendent Poole, however, was insistent: "All the [fire] trucks here in the park are still in station."
With the passage of time, this story was almost forgotten. But there is, in fact, another excellent reason to believe the restaurant manager's account. Surprisingly, The 9/11 Commission Report of 2004 also makes reference to a crash at Camp David, in an excerpt from an exchange between an FAA official in Washington DC and someone at the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) headquarters in Rome, New York:
NEADS: I also want to give you a heads-up, Washington.
FAA (DC): Go ahead.
NEADS: United nine three, have you got information on that yet?
FAA: Yeah, he's down.
NEADS: He's down?
NEADS: When did he land? 'Cause we have got confirmation-
FAA: He did not land.
NEADS: Oh, he's down? Down?
FAA: Yes. Somewhere up northeast of Camp David [my emphasis].
NEADS: Northeast of Camp David.
FAA: That's the last report. They don't know exactly where.
The phrase "somewhere northeast of Camp David" is telling, because this is the wrong direction. Shanksville is located about 90 miles west and slightly north of Camp David, not to the northeast. It seems that whoever made the decision to include this transcript in the Commission's report was unfamiliar with the actual geography of the region, and may also have been unaware of the several reports of a crash at Camp David.
If this reasoning is correct, it could indicate that the authorities hushed up the reports of a Camp David incident so thoroughly that not even the 9/11 Commission and its staff knew about them. The matter is made even more mysterious because when radar expert John Farmer checked the 9/11 radar data in his computer at my request, he found that no airliners or military aircraft were anywhere near Camp David during the relevant timeframe. The radar coverage in the area is excellent, so there is no chance that an incident occurred below radar.
I first learned about an "incident at Camp David" from Ken Jenkins, a well-known 9/11 activist (and video producer) who heard about it from a close friend who lived in Maryland at the time of the attacks. The friend was acquainted with a man who claimed to have witnessed a midair explosion near Camp David that morning. As the story goes, the man was working on his roof with several helpers when they saw a plane explode high above. Although I succeeded in contacting this witness, he declined to be interviewed.
To sum up, we are left with multiple reports of an air disaster, including a possible sighting, yet no radar evidence that any aircraft was in the vicinity. If something did happen on 9/11 at Camp David, authorities somehow covered it up.
Before I offer my thoughts about what that "something" may have been, some other relevant matters that may seem unrelated to the events of 9/11 need discussion.
Excerpted from Black 9/11 by Mark H. Gaffney. Copyright © 2012 Mark H. Gaffney. Excerpted by permission of Trine Day LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Mark H. Gaffney is an author, an environmentalist, and a peace activist. His essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Atlantis Rising Magazine. He lives in Chiloquin, Oregon.
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Very interesting book, I have read it several times and give copies away.