Elias Davidsson, an Icelandic, activist, researcher and author, currently living in Germany, has written five books on the 9/11 and post – 9/11 terror attacks, including one each on the terror attacks of London 7/7 and the Mumbai, India, attacks of 2008. Davidsson’s work is inspired by the anomalies in the official accounts of these episodes, pointing in each case to government organized conspiracies, false flags every one, blaming radical Islamic terrorists, while shielding the actual perpetrators.
I have chosen excerpts from Davidsson’s latest not yet published book on the terror events of 9/11, The Betrayal of America: Revisiting the 9/11 Evidence, focusing on the lack of evidence for hijackers and the absence of evidence of airliner crashes; specifically the lack of credible evidence of the wreckage that should have resulted if four passenger planes had crashed on that day.
Davidsson undertook thorough original research on these incidents, searching out the details, and seeking information from specific airlines, the U.S. government, etc.
When I asked Davidsson via email, his views on the theory of no planes on 9/11, he agreed that there were no passenger plane crashes. He wrote that crashes of passenger planes on 9/11 “can safely be excluded” largely because of the “lack of evidence for such crashes.” Similarly, he found that there was no credible evidence of hijackings or hijackers. These are “definite and unassailable facts.”
As to what caused the apparent crashes, Davidsson wrote that he believed that it was likely that some airborne object (remotely controlled military aircraft, drone or missile) impacted the Twin Towers and the Pentagon,” but that he was “open to other views.” Similarly, he wrote that he is “convinced that no aircraft crashed at Shanksville, PA.”
The primary purpose of his research, he explained, has been to determine whether 9/11 was an Islamic operation (involving Al Qaeda and Bin Laden). The conclusion, which he says he has held for ten years is that that “9/11 was an operation led by the Pentagon whose main authors were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. This is also the conclusion of many others.”
In the excerpts below, I have made a few tiny emendations for clarity and likewise I have not included his footnotes. Davidsson’s book contains nearly a thousand footnotes.
9/11, The Betrayal of America
By Elias Davidsson
No Evidence of 19 Muslim Hijackers
(from Betrayal of America, Chapter 3)
The official account of 9/11 is based on a hijacking narrative according to which 19 individuals, whose names and photographs have been posted on the website of the FBI, boarded aircraft assigned to American Airlines flights 11 (AA11), and 77 (AA77),and United Airlines flights 175 (UA175) and 93 (UA93) on the morning of 11 September 2001. These individuals are said to have then hijacked those aircraft in flight and crashed the aircraft in suicide attacks into three symbolic landmarks in the United States.
According to the official account, an aircraft assigned to flight AA11 was flown into the North Tower of the WTC in New York; shortly thereafter an aircraft assigned to flight UA175 was flown into the South Tower of the WTC. At 9:37 a.m. an aircraft assigned to flight AA77 impacted the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth aircraft, assigned to flight UA93, crashed in an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the passengers had risen up against the alleged hijackers and attempted to retake control of the aircraft. It was later surmised that the pilot of the aircraft had intended to crash into the White House.
Within hours of the operation, the FBI began to interview airline and airport employees who could provide information about what they had experienced that morning before and during the boarding of these flights. It must therefore be assumed that all relevant evidence about the boarding of the four aircraft has been obtained by the FBI.
Did the individuals designated by the US government as the hijackers of 9/11 board the designated flights?
Shortly after the FBI released the names and photographs of the alleged hijackers, questions about their identities began to emerge.
--The family of Hamza al-Ghamdi, one of the alleged hijackers, said the photo released by the FBI "has no resemblance to him at all".
--CNN broadcast a picture of another alleged hijacker, identified as Saeed al-Ghamdi. That man, a pilot, was from Tunisia and was apparently still alive.
-- The photograph of a Saudi pilot by the name of Waleed al-Shehri was released by the FBI as one of the alleged hijackers: he protested his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco.
-- Two people with the name of Abdulaziz Alomari presented themselves, surprised to see their names on the FBI list of suspected hijackers. One of them, a Saudi engineer, said he lost his passport while studying in Denver, Colorado, in 1995. Of the FBI list, he said: "The name is my name and the birth date is the same as mine. But I am not the one who bombed the World Trade Center in New York.
-- Another Abdulaziz Alomari was found working as a pilot with Saudi Airlines.
--Salem al-Hazmi, also listed by the FBI as an alleged hijacker, was indignant at being named as a suspect for a mass murder. He said he worked in petrochemical plant in Yanbu (Saudi Arabia).
-- Abdul Rahman al-Haznawi, brother of another suspect, said “There is no similarity between the photo published [on Thursday] and my brother.” He said he did not believe his brother was involved in the crime: “He never had any such intention.
-- Gaafar al-Lagany, the Saudi government’s chief spokesman in the United States, said that the hijackers probably stole the identities of legitimate Saudi pilots. These findings have been corroborated independently by Jay Kolar.The FBI disregarded these stories and maintained the names and photographs it originally posted on its website as those "believed to be the hijackers" of 9/11, including those of living individuals.
The 9/11 Commission (see Chapter 13) did not address these conflicting identifications. One basic goal of a criminal investigation is to identify the perpetrators. In order to prove that particular individuals could have hijacked an aircraft, it must be first demonstrated that they boarded that particular aircraft.
In order to demonstrate this fact, at least some of the following four classes of evidence should have been produced by the U.S. authorities in September 2001 or shortly thereafter:
1. Authenticated passenger lists (also called flight manifests), listing the names of all the passengers and crew members, including those suspected of hijacking
2. Authenticated security videos from the airports, which depict the passengers (and the alleged hijackers)
3. Sworn testimonies of personnel who attended the boarding of the aircraft
4. Formal identification of the bodily remains from the crash sites, accompanied by chain-of custody reports
The selection from The Betrayal of America below takes up evidence regarding the passenger lists. Davidsson believes that if the evidence of such lists does not exist or is “deemed to lack credibility, it is likely that these individuals did not board the aircraft and that, consequently, no "Islamic hijackings" had taken place.”
No authenticated passenger lists
The primary source used by airlines to identify the victims of aircraft crashes is the passenger list (sometimes designated as the flight manifest). A passenger list is a legal document proving – also for insurance purposes - that particular individuals boarded an aircraft. To ensure the reliability of passenger lists airlines check the identities of passengers who board the aircraft. In order to serve as legal documents, passenger lists must be duly authenticated by those responsible for their accuracy.
With regard to the four 9/11 flights, American and United Airlines have consistently refused to demonstrate that they possess authenticated passenger lists of these flights. Surprisingly, neither the corporate media nor the 9/11 Commission demanded the release of these authenticated documents.
FBI and Airlines' Refusal to Release Authentic Lists
In 2004 I attempted to obtain from American Airlines copies of authenticated passenger lists for the two American Airlines flights of 9/11. Karen Temmerman, Customer Relations, American Airlines, responded to me on 9 September 2004:
At the time of the incidents we released the actual passenger manifests to the appropriate government agencies who in turn released certain information to the media. These lists were published in many major periodicals and are now considered public record. At this time we are not in a position to release further information or to republish what the government agencies provided to the media.
The airline did not explain why it was not in a position to confirm what had already been for a long time in the public domain. On November 29, 2005, I tried again to obtain the passenger list of flight AA77 from American Airlines.
Sean Bentel of American Airlines first sent me a typed list that consisted of nothing more than the first and last names of 53 passengers from that flight. The list did not include Arab names. Asking again for “something more authentic,” Sean Bentel responded that ”the names I sent you are accurate… There may have been a formatting problem.”
In turn I responded that the problem was not the formatting of the data. Here is what I wrote:
What I am asking is a replica of the original passenger list (either a scan of the original, or at least a document faithfully reflecting the contents of that list)... [namely] the list of the paying passengers who boarded AA77. Can I take it that the list you sent me faithfully reflects the names of the paying passengers who boarded AA77?
Within hours Sean Bentel answered in the most laconic manner: "Mr. Davidsson, Names of terrorists were redacted. Sean Bentel."
Asked in return “[w]hy can’t you sent me a facsimile copy of the passenger lists, including the names of the terrorists,” Sean Bental answered, “This is the information we have for public release.” This was the end of this exchange.
I also turned to United Airlines. On October 21, 2004, I asked per email why the original flight manifests have not yet been publicized and whether United Airlines had provided some media with a copy of the original flight manifests.
The airline answered that “[a]ll matters pertaining to the September 11th terrorist attacks are under the investigation of the U.S. Federal Authorities. Please contact the FBI.”
That was it. Numerous individuals have attempted without success to obtain authentic passenger lists from the airlines, among them Thomas R. Olmsted, M.D. He wrote, for example:
I attempted on three occasions to obtain a final passenger list from American Airlines. They refuse to give a list and in fact won't even verify that they gave the first list to CNN. Since the [unauthenticated] list is in the public domain, I find it curious that they would not take ownership nor provide a current, 'correct list'.
I did not give up. In February 2012, I requested on the base of the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) from the FBI the release of Document 302, serial 7134, which contains “flight manifests for hijacked flights” and “information related to manifests.” The request was denied.
As the names of all victims and alleged hijackers were publicized within days after 9/11, I could not fathom any plausible reason for the refusal of the airlines and the FBI to confirm the accuracy and authenticity of information that already exists in the public domain. Authenticated passenger lists were neither provided to the Congressional Joint Inquiry of 2002 nor to the 9/11 Commission. It must therefore be presumed that no genuine passenger lists for the four 9/11 flights exist or that whatever the airlines and the FBI do possess does not correspond with the official allegations.
To sum up: No document has been produced by the airlines or the U.S. government proving that anyone, let alone the alleged terrorists, had boarded any of the four flights that were allegedly hijacked on 9/11.
No Validated Passenger Plane Wreckage Found
-- Implausible crash sites
(from Betrayal of America Chapter 9)
In this section, Davidsson limits his discussion to whether the aircraft assigned to flights AA11, UA175, AA77 and UA93 crashed at the locations assigned by the official narrative. In the preceding chapter it was shown that the FBI, the agency responsible for investigating the crime of 9/11, did not attempt to link the wreckage found at the reported crash sites to specific aircraft.
The evidence Davidsson produces is consistent with the likelihood that there were no passenger aircraft crashes on September 11, 2001. Davidsson’s insistence in the selection below is limited to the “paucity or complete absence of physical evidence that would be expected after crashes of commercial airliners.”
The Strange Crash Site at Ground Zero
The only official document containing photographs of debris attributed to the aircraft that allegedly crashed into the Twin Towers of the WTC is FEMA's WTC Building Performance Study (BPAT).
"Piece of Flight 11 gear" "Piece of Flight 175 fuselage"
One photograph depicts an alleged "piece of Flight 11 landing gear" and one depicts an alleged "piece of Flight 175 fuselage." That is all. No known attempts were made by the FBI to forensically identify these parts.
The so-called photographic evidence, that is, these two photographs, do not permit the determination of the origin of the photographed objects, the type of aircraft to which they belonged, the aircraft's identity, or the circumstances that brought these objects to the location where they were photographed. It is inconceivable that these parts are all that remained from two Boeing 767-200 aircraft (flights AA11 and UA175), whose combined empty weight is 350,000 pounds. The dearth of photographed aircraft debris suggests that these two photographs do not depict debris from the Boeing 767-200 aircraft that allegedly crashed there.
According the “Final Report of the 9/11 Commission,” the four "black boxes" of the aircraft designated as belonging to flights AA11 and UA175 (two in each aircraft) were not found. This may appear plausible at first due to the complete destruction of the buildings. Yet Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said, “It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders.”
The claim by the FBI that the "black boxes" were not found stretches credulity because numerous hard computer disks were reportedly found in the WTC rubble with information that could later be recovered. In addition, the rubble was later sifted in order to look for far smaller objects, including human nails and teeth.
Incredibly, as of the spring of 2002, no passenger remains from flights AA11 and UA175 had been found at Ground Zero.
The Strange Crash Site at the Pentagon
According to the official account, a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon. Such an aircraft weighs well over 100,000 pounds. Dave McCowan, quoted by David Ray Griffin, notes that the debris found within the Pentagon represents at most one percent of that weight, thus raising the question what happened to 99% of the plane.
Lee Evey, the Pentagon Renovation Manager, said on 15 September 2001, however, that "[t]here are other parts of the plane that are scattered about outside the building. None of these parts are very large, however. You don't see big pieces of the airplane sitting there extending up into the air. But there are many small pieces. And the few larger pieces there look like they are veins out of the aircraft engine. They're circular."
It has not been explained why plane parts would be scattered outside the Pentagon. On 20 September 2001, a press conference was held by Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Van Harp, Chief Ed Flynn of the Arlington County Police Department and Major General James Jackson of the Military District of Washington.
Asked by journalists about the wreckage of the plane that reportedly crashed on the Pentagon, Harp answered, “Well, at the outset, I should have stated, I cannot get into the details of the investigation nor the so-called crime scene.” [Harp’s first comment, days earlier, was an expression of bafflement that no significant plane wreckage was visible in the aftermath of the attack.] To a similar question Harp answered, “All I can say is there has been some evidence already recovered with no more specificity.” The reluctance of the FBI to provide even minimal information about the wreckage, even refusing to acknowledge the finding of the “black boxes,” is surprising.
Photographic evidence of debris
At the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui [the alleged 20th hijacker] the following single blurred photograph was presented as evidence that a commercial aircraft had crashed into the Pentagon. This photograph is entitled "airplane parts in the Pentagon after Flight 77 crashed into the building." Zacarias Moussaoui was induced by the prosecution and by his defenders to confirm the authenticity of this photograph “without any further foundation.”
Another photograph, circulated on the internet, purports to depict a fuselage piece from an American Airlines aircraft lying on the lawn outside the Pentagon. It is attributed to photographer Mark Faram, a long-time staff-photographer of the Military Times. The photograph, presented below, has not been authenticated by
the FBI as belonging to a specific aircraft and was not presented as evidence at the Moussaoui trial.
The evidence from the Pentagon crash site suggests, nevertheless, that some airborne object may have crashed at the Pentagon but does not permit us to determine the type of object, its identity and the exact circumstances that led that object into the building.
Captain Daniel Davis, former U.S. Army Air Defense Officer and NORAD Tac Director, as well as the founder and former CEO of Turbine Technology Services Corp., made the following statement: “As a former General Electric Turbine engineering specialist and manager and then CEO of a turbine engineering company, I can guarantee that none of the high-tech, high temperature alloy engines on any of the four planes that crashed on 9/11 would be completely destroyed, burned, shattered or melted in any crash or fire. Wrecked, yes, but not destroyed. Where are all those engines, particularly at the Pentagon? If jet powered aircraft crashed on 9/11, those engines, plus wings and tail assembly, would be there.”
Here is a photograph of a Boeing 757 engine. Each such aircraft carries two such huge engines.
Barry and son, Brian in front of a B-757 engine on the occasion of his retirement flight, June 21, 1998 (Karlene Petitt)
It stretches credulity that both of these engines were “vaporized” in the crash and that the contents of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) were destroyed "by the intense heat it had been subjected to," while the bodily remains of virtually all those who died there could be identified, and, most incredibly of all, two pieces of a Virginia Driver’s License were reportedly recovered from the site bearing the following readable information about one of the alleged hijackers:
Name: Majed M GH Moqed Address: 5913 Leesburg Pike, Apartment #08 Falls Church, Virginia 22041-2210 Customer Number: A69-60-0405; Height: 5’7”
Was this driver’s license made out of steel more fire-resistant than the two Boeing engines?
Video footage of an aircraft impact
The Pentagon is surrounded by dozens of security cameras, but the Department of Defense has not been able (or willing) to produce credible footage that would document the approaching airborne object. The single video sequence released by the Pentagon after much prodding does not show anything resembling an aircraft. Below are the two first frames of this sequence. The experts who created these stills claimed that due to a software bug, the computer stamped the date and time when the stills were extracted from the footage rather than the actual time of impact.
FBI Special Agent Jacqueline Maguire declared in a court statement made under penalty of perjury that she was tasked by her supervisor “to determine whether the FBI possessed any videotapes that may have captured the impact of Flight 77 into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.” She stated that the above sequence “shows Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon” and that this footage “would be used as evidence in the case of U.S. v. Zacarias Moussaoui.”
Asked whether this was the only footage “concerning Flight 77 in the possession of the FBI,” she responded that “although the FBI possessed other videotapes that depicted the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, those videotapes depicted only post-impact scenes, and therefore, did not show the impact of Flight 77 into the Pentagon.”
Note that Maguire did not refer only to footage made by the Pentagon closed-circuit security cameras but generally to “videotapes,” a designation that may include footage made by reporters. Indeed, she said that the other videotapes depicted only “post-impact scenes”, which evidently did not originate from security cameras.
On 9 November 2006, Brian Austin and Steve Pennington were interviewed by Diane Putney in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Arlington, Virginia. These two men were responsible for the operation of the security cameras of the Pentagon. Brian Austin said he was employed by Radeon Corporation. His employer at the time of the attacks was Radian Inc., which in 2006 became DRS Radian. None of these companies could be located.
Austin’s job, he said, was to keep the cameras, the AMAG security system, and the Loronix video recording system in working order. When the Pentagon event on 9/11 occurred, Austin said he was located at the PFPA (The Pentagon police department) at Federal Office Building 2, across the street from the Pentagon. He said he and colleagues were doing maintenance work, but “can’t elaborate exactly.”
Steve Pennington said to the interviewer that he is one of the two partners that own Cheaspeake Marketing Associates. That company is actually called Chesapeake & Midlantic Marketing, in short MIDCHES. The company is located at Abingdon, Maryland. He said he was acting “more or less” as a consultant to Radeon [sic] and the Pentagon Force Protection people, “mainly for security cameras and some of the infrastructure for some of their systems...We design the connectivity of the systems.”
Pennington said that two security cameras captured the approaching aircraft. One of these is on YouTube captioned “Pentagon 9/11 Plane Crash Video 1.” It does not allow a determination of the nature of the object that appears to approach the Pentagon. Pennington told the interviewer that he was the person who created the famous stills of an “approaching aircraft” shown in these pages, which display a wrong date and time. He said:
[T]he system records date and time, and we actually searched the event by date and time when we were looking at the event and capturing information. Unfortunately the software had a bug in it and when a still image was saved it captured the time on the computer at the time you were capturing the image or saving the image from the video to becoming a still picture...That has long since been corrected, but that is the reason that the time and date are wrong.
Assuming that the aforementioned software bug could not be corrected at the time, that stills from a video could not have been taken by different means and that the FBI did not mind disseminating stills with a wrong date and time, what explains the lack of a date and time on the video clip that was released? Was there a second bug? And if so, how could Pennington search the event “by date and time”?
Asked about the unusually slow rate of the recording, Pennington said that “at that time they were being recorded at one image per second, [because] the system was a new system and wasn’t even government property. It was installed at the facility but it had not yet been tested and turned over. That’s why the images were being captured at a lower than normal rate.”
Pennington furthermore revealed that due to renovation, many or most security cameras on that side of the Pentagon were inoperative. Other cameras would normally look at that area, but because that area was being renovated, a lot of the connectivity of these cameras and the infrastructure that allowed those cameras to be connected back to the building had been removed or destroyed, so they weren’t capturing images and offering fields of view,” he said. In fact, “every camera on that side of the building was disconnected during the construction project and it was purely happenstance that the system happened to be running, because it wasn’t supposed to be running for another month.”
According to the above account, those responsible for security at the Pentagon authorized the disconnection of video surveillance of that side of the building for an entire month. Since this episode at the Pentagon, dysfunction of surveillance cameras has become a regular pattern when terrorists are at work. This happened during the London attacks of 7 July 2005, during the Mumbai attacks of 26 November 2008 and in other terrorist attacks. This mysterious phenomenon begs for a scientific explanation.
In sum, there is no reliable visual evidence that an aircraft, a missile, or anything at all crashed into the Pentagon. If it was an aircraft, it is not clear what aircraft it was. And to crown all these questions, it is not even clear when the event occurred.
The Strange Crash Site at Somerset County, PA
No visible aircraft wreckage
Many of those who rushed to the reported crash site of flight UA93 at Somerset County near Shanksville, were surprised to see no plane wreckage, nothing but a hole in the ground. Here are a series of observations from local people and journalists who arrived at the scene shortly after what they were told was a plane crash:
-- Mark Stahl of Somerset, a salesman, arrived at the site 15 minutes after an explosion. He told the Tribune-Review that he didn't realize a passenger jet had crashed until a firefighter told him. "It's unbelievable" he said. To CNN he said, "the plane is pretty much disintegrated. There's nothing left but scorched trees." Yet, on 12 September 2001, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Mark had "snapped pictures of the downed plane [and] showed color photos of wreckage surrounded by a crater and flames." No one apparently has ever seen these pictures.
-- Homer Barron, a worker at Stoystown Auto Wreckers, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he and his coworker, Jeff Phillips, drove to the “crash scene” and found there a smoky hole in the ground: "It didn't look like a plane crash because there was nothing that looked like a plane," he said. His colleague, however, said, "There was one part of a seat burning up there. That was something you could recognize."
-- Scott Spangler, a photographer with a local newspaper, was quoted in the book Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11: "I didn't think I was in the right place. I was looking for a wing or a tail. There was nothing, just this pit.... I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing."
--Frank Monaco of the Pennsylvania State Police commented, "If you would go down there, it would look like a trash heap. There's nothing but tiny pieces of debris. It's just littered with small pieces."
-- Jon Meyer, a reporter with WJAC-TV, said, "I was able to get right up to the edge of the crater.... All I saw was a crater filled with small, charred plane parts. Nothing that would even tell you that it was the plane.... There were no suitcases, no recognizable plane parts, no body parts. The crater was about 30 to 35 feet deep."
-- Ron Delano, a local who rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash, said, "If they hadn't told us a plane had wrecked, you wouldn't have known. It looked like it hit and disintegrated."
• Gabrielle DeRose, a news anchor with KDKA-TV, viewed the crash site from a hill overlooking it and said, "It was very disturbing to think all the remains just disintegrated.... There were no large pieces of airplane, no human remains, no baggage."
• Rick King, a local assistant volunteer fire chief, who saw the crater at the crash site, said, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think half the plane was down there." King sent his men into the woods to search for the plane's fuselage, but they kept coming back, telling him, "Rick. There's nothing."
• Wells Morrison, a local FBI agent, told author Glenn Kashurba that after arriving at the crash site his first thought was, "Where is the plane?" because "what I saw was this honeycomb looking stuff, which I believe is insulation or something like that. I was not seeing anything that was distinguishable either as human remains or aircraft debris."
• Faye Hahn, an emergency medical technician (EMT), who arrived at the crash site, stated: "Several trees were burned badly and there were papers everywhere. We searched...I was told that there were 224 passengers, but later found out that there were actually forty. I was stunned. There was nothing there."
• Joe Little, a 10 News reporter was working less than four miles from the crash site on the morning of 9/11 for an ABC/FOX affiliate. He said he and a photographer arrived on the crash scene within 30 minutes and were able to walk right up to the crater. He said there was nothing there other than a crater, some smoke and a few charred trees. In a report he filed he wrote: "I still can't see a fire let alone a plane."
• Nina Lensbouer, the wife of a local former volunteer firefighter, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that after seeing a mushroom flame rising, her first instinct was to run toward it, to try to help. "But I got there and there was nothing, nothing there but charcoal. Instantly, it was charcoal."
• Thomas Spallone, a state police spokesman, said "everything just disintegrated. There are just shreds of metal. The longest piece I saw was 2 feet long."
• Nick Tweardy of Stonycreek Township, who came to help with the rescue effort said "You couldn't see nothing. We couldn't tell what we were looking at. There's just a huge crater in the woods."
• Brad Reiman, a young man from Berlin in Somerset County, said "the tail was a short distance from the rest of the wreckage. It looked like the plane hit once and flopped down into the woods." The largest piece of wreckage he could identify looked like a section of the plane's tail, he said.
No one else, apparently, saw this tail section. On 13 September 2001, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a self-piloting helicopter developed by Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute was sent to Somerset County to photograph the scene. According to the Post-Gazette, the 14-foot-long helicopter "can quickly produce a highly detailed, three-dimensional map of the impact crater and the surrounding spread of debris." Chuck Torpe, director of the Robotics Institute was cited by the newspaper saying that the "aerial map can include objects as small as one or two inches in diameter." Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher said: "The aerial map may help identify key evidence faster than it might be found by physically canvassing the area." Where is that aerial map?
The legend of the buried aircraft
The absence of visible debris led some reporters to conjecture that the plane did not disintegrate, but that the 155-foot-long fuselage had completely vanished into the spongy ground and was buried deep in the crater, hidden from view. Thus Tom Gibb of the Post-Gazette speculated on 15 October 2001 that the "fuselage disintegrated in a crater that collapsed on itself."
This story reappeared in force a year after 9/11 and remained the official explanation for the lack of debris. Robb Frederick of Tribune-Review purported to know how it all happened. He wrote on 11 September 2002: "The plane pitched, then rolled, belly up. It hit nose-first, like a lawn dart...digging more than 30 feet into the earth, which was spongy from the old mine work.”
The Australian paper, The Age, wrote that the "rest of the 757 continued its downward passage, the sandy loam closing behind it like the door of a tomb."
Wes Allison of the St. Petersburg Times wrote on 10 September 2003 that "the site had been mined for coal, then refilled with dirt. It was still soft when flight 93 crashed, and firefighters said the Boeing 757 tunneled right in. They had to dig 15 feet to find it."
Mary Jo Dangel of the St. Anthony Messenger Online explained in 2006 why the wreckage was not visible: "The ground had swallowed up much of the wreckage."
State police Major Frank Monaco from New Kensington told the Post-Gazette in 2006 that the plane had "burrowed into the soft, reclaimed earth of the former strip mine and crumpled like an accordion."
According to WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, of 14 September 2001, citing FBI spokeswoman Linda Vizi, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from the aircraft assigned to flight UA93 was found "about 25 feet within the crater" at 8:25 p.m. on that day.
No independent observer was present, however, during the excavation. Blogger Killtown compiled an archive of reports that included the claim that most of the aircraft assigned to flight UA93 had been buried in the ground.
This compilation includes only a few eyewitness testimonies in support of that claim and are either couched in passive language or attributed to unnamed sources. Killtown then made the following very perceptive observation: “[T]here is absolutely no logical reason for the news not to have reported right away that most of the 155 ft-long, 60-ton [sic] Boeing 757 was found.
Contents of the plane that would have been found down in the ground along with the black boxes and engine that were reported would be: 44 passengers, their luggage, hundreds of passenger seats, 3 huge landing gears, 10 huge tires and rim, and possibly sections of the tail (since both black boxes located in the tail section supposedly burrowed far underground and there is no evidence of the tail section above ground), among tons and tons of other plane debris.”
No such reports exist, so we may wonder, like Blogger “Dave,” at the seemingly miraculous nature of the flight UA93 crash:
As we all know, 11 September 2001 was “the day that everything changed.” Enormous office buildings, for example, suddenly and inexplicably acquired the ability to drop into their own footprints with no assistance from demolitions experts. Five-story masonry buildings [the Pentagon] suddenly acquired the extraordinary ability to swallow enormous airliners without leaving behind an appropriate entry hole or any trace of aircraft wreckage. And now we find, perhaps most amazingly of all, that the ground itself somehow also acquired the ability to swallow commercial aircraft. On that fateful day, and only on that day, a 100+ ton [sic] airplane measuring 155 feet long, 125 feet wide and 45 feet tall disappeared into a crater measuring, at most, "about 30 to 40 feet long, 15 to 20 feet wide and 18 feet deep." Any skilled magician, I suppose, could make an airplane disappear into a building. But making an entire airplane disappear without a trace in an empty field? I have to admit that that is pretty impressive.
Is it physically possible that a Boeing 757 could disappear totally into the ground when crashing, at any speed whatsoever? A comparison with a similar aircraft crash, that of Helios Airways flight 522, suggests an answer. That aircraft, a Boeing 737-300, hit a mountain in Greece on 14 August 2005 and plunged to the ground from the altitude of 34,000 feet. Yet the following photograph from that crash site shows that a large part of the tail section remained recognizable. Nothing similar was seen at the crash site of flight UA93.
The invisible recovery of the wreckage
Despite the apparent absence of wreckage from an aircraft, as reported by witnesses, FBI agent Bill Crowley announced on 24 September 2001 - merely 13 days after 9/11 - that "95 percent of the plane was recovered...and the pieces of United Airlines Flight 93 that had been recovered were turned over Sunday to the airline..." He said that the biggest piece recovered was a 6 by-7-foot piece of the fuselage skin, including four windows. The heaviest piece, he said, was part of an engine fan, weighing about 1,000 pounds.
None of the eyewitnesses had mentioned having observed these objects at the crash site. With the exception of the two black boxes, all wreckage was reportedly passed on to United Airlines. Asked what United Airlines would do with the wreckage, an airline spokeswoman said, "I don't think a decision has been made... but we're not commenting." According to Jeff Plantz, senior investigator of flight safety at United Airlines, eight of the dumpsters that "contain the wreckage of United Flight 93 … are currently [May 31, 2002] in an hangar in Somerset, Pennsylvania… The wreckage is the property of United Airlines' insurance company."
Although the FBI ended its reported recovery work, the site remained surrounded by a chain-link fence. Wallace Miller warned: "If anybody is caught penetrating that perimeter and disregarding [the no-trespassing] signs, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Michael Renz of the German public television station ZDF tried to film the wreckage of the aircraft that allegedly crashed at Somerset County for a documentary. After asking for permission from United Airlines, he and his team were told that an insurance company had custody of the wreckage. The insurance company said it could not provide any information: The responsible individual was in a meeting, then on a three-day business trip, then on intercontinental trip that would take weeks. During this time he could not be reached by email or cell-phone, or "so we were told by the secretary of one of the largest airline-insurance companies in the United States."
After weeks and countless phone calls, a brief answer came: "We do not have the wreckage. The FBI in Washington is in charge." The FBI press officer refused an interview but said he would certainly give permission to film the wreckage, though not immediately. But alas! The FBI no longer had the wreckage. It has been returned to United Airlines. Back to square one! The producer returned to Germany without any evidence of the wreckage. The film producer described similar difficulties when he tried to obtain permission to film inside a Boeing flight simulator or when he approached New York officials to ask them about the fireproofing in the WTC. "But when we talk with officials off-the-record, many say a gag-order has been handed from the top."
In 2006, after the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the U.S. Government released a set of photographs purporting to depict items found at the Pennsylvania crash site. These mostly low-quality photographs do not permit us to determine whether they relate to a Boeing 757, or whether they were found at the alleged crash site. In addition, no chain-of-custody reports accompanied these photographs.
Extreme secrecy surrounding the crash site
According to the Tribune-Review, the authorities "cordoned off the area within a 4-mile radius of the crash site" within hours after the incident. Later the FBI and state police confirmed that they had cordoned off a second area about six to eight miles away from the crater, where further debris were found.
On 13 September 2001, State Police Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hickes said that 280 state troopers were protecting the site. Using horses and helicopters, state police created a double ring of security around the area, spanning several miles. John M. Eller, police chief in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, reported that approximately 600 troopers were utilized at the site in Shanksville, including 16 mounted troopers. In order to prevent unauthorized people from seeing the site, "inside and outside perimeters were established" and "checkpoints were established along ... roadways" leading to the site.
Initially, "the news media were staged in an area around the outer perimeter… The Major instructed that the news media be transported to the crash site in two busses. They were permitted to photograph the site for one half-hour and then returned to the staging area." Paul Falavolito was working as a paramedic in Pittsburgh and followed the events of 9/11 as part of an on-site medical support team for rescue workers and family members who traveled to the Shanksville site.
Among his impressions:
Upon arrival at the site, we are greeted by a barrier of state police cars on a rural road in this town… At the checkpoint, we show our IDs and are allowed through. For the next two miles, I cannot believe my eyes. Down this country road, police cars and troopers are everywhere. Horseback troopers are patrolling the area… Checkpoints are everywhere… This is a scary feeling: I feel like I am in another country.
The FBI strictly prevented journalists and members of the public from photographing the site. As an example, a township supervisor from Blair County by the name of Terence Claar was physically subdued by state troopers for trying to sneak into the site. As a result he was hospitalized. He was the seventh person charged with trying to enter what was designated as a crime scene.
As a result of this secrecy, no photographs are available showing the recovery of the aircraft’s wreckage. Few photos exist of the operations around the site. Among those is the following photograph showing a Penn State Police Mobile Command Post "during operation at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville."
Were personal items planted at the crash site?
As mentioned previously, eyewitnesses who came immediately to the site did not see anything there that suggested the wreckage of an aircraft. Yet the FBI claimed later to have found there an amazing collection of recognizable personal items that belonged to passengers, crew members and alleged hijackers, some of them in good condition. According to the FBI, the following items were recovered from the alleged crash site of flight UA 93 at Somerset County:
• Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ID card of alleged hijacker Ahmed Alnami (item Q1) • Saudi Arabian Youth Hostels Association ID Card for same (item Q2) • Three small color photographs, two strips of negatives and an enlarged photocopy of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ID Card (items Q3) • Handwritten letter with possible Arabic writing (item Q45) • A "five page Arabic document [with] details regarding the strategy and preparation required to conduct a hijacking.”
• Personal effects belonging to passengers Christian Adams, Lorraine Bay, Todd Beamer, Alan Beaven, Mark Bingham, Deora Bodley, Sandra Bradshaw, Marion Britton, Thomas Burnett, Bill Cashman, Georgine Corrigan, Patricia Cushing, Donald Greene, Linda Grondlund, Richard Guadagno, Jason Dahl, Patrick Driscoll, Edward Felt, Jane Folger, Colleen Fraser, Andrew Garcia, Jeremy Glick, Louis Nacke, Nicole Miller, John Talignani and Leroy Homer.
Another FBI document, released among the 9/11 Commission's papers in 2009, lists in addition the following knives or knife parts found at the site:
-- Q17 Black knife handle (your item #2)
-- Q18 Silver colored blade and piece of black handle (your item #3)
-- Q44 Possible handmade knife (your item #20)
-- Q362 Pocket knife (Item 7, 1B26, Barcode E01991643)
--Q363 Multi-purpose utility tool with knife blade exposed (Item 29, 1B286, Barcode E01991317)
--Q377 Pocket knife (1B675, Barcode E01991305) Q380
[Several more such items are listed.]
The above FBI documents do not mention CeeCee Lyles' driving license, the passport of alleged hijacker Al Ghamdi,501 alleged hijacker Alnami's Florida Driver's License and a visa page from alleged hijacker Ziad Jarrah's passport, all of which were also allegedly found at the site.
Jerry and Beatrice Guadagno of Ewing, New Jersey, the parents of Richard Guadagno, a passenger aboard flight UA93, received Richard's credentials and his badge from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that were reportedly found at the Shanksville site. Richard's sister Lori said of the credentials, which were returned in their wallet: "It was practically intact. It just looked like it wasn't damaged or hadn't gone through much of anything at all, which is so bizarre and ironic." Apart from some expressions of surprise by families who received intact personal effects - such as those of the Guadagnos - no one seemed to raise the question of how these items could be found in good condition while their owners did not leave a trace.
Planting aircraft parts in order to fake a crash site was actually envisaged by the U.S. military as part of Operation Northwoods (discussed in chapter 10):
It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack... (c) At precisely the same time that the aircraft was presumably shot down, a submarine or small surface craft would disburse F-101 parts, parachute, etc., at approximately 15 to 20 miles off the Cuban coast and depart. The pilots returning to Homestead would have a true story as far as they knew. Search ships and aircraft could be dispatched and parts of aircraft found.
This plan, seriously considered by the U.S. military, demonstrates that planting incriminating evidence to fake an aircraft crash has been previously considered by U.S. public officials in support of what they regarded as overriding foreign policy objectives. The nature, number and condition of the items found at the alleged crash site of flight UA93 - as reported above - especially in the light of Operation Northwoods, support the view that the aforementioned personal items could have been planted to fake the crash of flight UA93.
Concluding observations about the Somerset County crash site
The alleged crash site in Somerset County and the events that occurred there on the morning of 9/11 remain a mystery that the U.S. authorities clearly do not wish to reveal. Did an aircraft crash there at all? Was the site prepared in advance? Was a bomb detonated there to fake a crash? Were body parts actually found, and how were they identified? How can we reconcile the contradictions between the testimony of the local eyewitness and the official account? These questions need to be answered.
How did the 9/11 Commission address the testimony of the eyewitnesses? It simply ignored them. This site is mentioned only a few times in the 9/11 Commission's Final Report and mainly to emphasize two points: that "no evidence of firearms or of their identifiable remains was found at the aircraft's crash site" and that "[t]he FBI collected 14 knives or portions of knives at the Flight 93 crash site."510
None of the eyewitnesses from Shanksville, whose testimony might have undermined the official account, was invited to testify before the 9/11 Commission. The Commission did not demand from the FBI any hard evidence proving that flight UA93 crashed at Shanksville.
Conclusions to Chapter 9
The main findings of this chapter are:
• Photographic evidence of aircraft wreckage from the three alleged crash sites is sparse and inconclusive.
• At none of the three locations designated as aircraft crash sites did eyewitnesses observe wreckage that could plausibly come from a Boeing 757 or 767 aircraft.
• No bodies or blood were sighted at the UA93 crash site, but numerous paper documents belonging to flight UA93 passengers and crew members were reportedly found there.