Demographic, Environmental,
Security Issues Project

December 2006

Holmgren and Reynolds on No Planes on 911-

Exposing the Illusion

By Ronald Bleier


Like most people, on September 11th 2001, I believed the official story about the terror attacks. It took me almost three years to become a skeptic. The major issue that led me finally to question the official accounts was the manner of the collapse of the Twin Towers. After watching a one-hour critical video in the summer of 2004 (see below) I decided to look into the question of whether the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down by pre-planned demolition charges. In due course, as I researched the issue in books, video and the Internet, I become convinced that the terrible events of that day were planned and executed by the Bush administration. I saw no way out of Jim Hoffman’s theory that if the WTC Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, then Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have been responsible.[1]

Finally, to complete my conversion, about a year later, I read an article by Australian researcher Gerard Holmgren, called "Manufactured Terrorism,"[2] which propounded what seemed an incredible theory: that no large passenger jets were used in any of the 9/11 attacks, including New York City. Later I read yet another key article supporting the same No Planes Theory (NPT), this one by Morgan Reynolds[3], former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor 2001-2002. I soon became an advocate of the NPT, a tiny subset of the 9/11-truth movement.


On the day of 9/11 I experienced a heavy dose of the intended shock and awe when I watched in real time the collapses of the Twin Towers. Shortly after 9:03 a.m. I heard on the radio that there was video of a big passenger plane hitting the South Tower and I was glued to the TV for the next couple of hours.

Later I was relieved to learn that the government had quickly identified the perpetrators -– the story was that they were Islamic extremists[4]. It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to imagine that the motive for the attacks was revenge mainly for U.S./Israeli policies in the Middle East. The thought that my government, specifically the Bush-Cheney administration, might be the ones who planned and executed the attacks didn’t enter my mind, nor would such an outrageous unthinkable idea seem to me for many months within the realm of possibility.

As I watched the World Trade Center towers collapse, I couldn’t help thinking how surprising and fortunate it was that they came straight down in their own footprint instead of falling horizontally into the densely built up neighborhood of lower Manhattan when the destruction in lives and property would have been vastly magnified.

Years later, I realized that that was a very vulnerable moment. All that it might have required for me to become an instant 9/11 skeptic was learn that high rise steel framed buildings never come down at the speed of gravity and in their own footprints except during an earthquake or when previous arrangements have been made for them to collapse through controlled demolition. Dan Rather, CBS TV’s venerable news anchor as he watched the collapse of WTC Building 7 at 5:20 p.m. said it was "reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before when a building was destroyed by well placed dynamite to knock it down."[5] But I didn’t happen to be watching television at that hour and in course of the day’s traumatic events, I don’t recall paying much attention to Building 7. I’m not sure that I even knew that Building 7 collapsed until I began my research in 2004.

The strange collapse of the Twin Towers

There can’t simultaneously be both high resistance—causing grinding of the concrete into dust—and negligible resistance allowing a fall at the same speed as through air. Only the input of extra energy—an orchestrated demolition, explains the simultaneous presence of both factors. – Gerard Holmgren (emphasis added)

It wasn’t until the summer of 2004 that I saw video of some of the speakers at a 9/11 conference held some weeks earlier in Canada. At that conference, persuasive evidence was presented that contradicted the official story, which claims that the towers collapsed as a result of the combination of plane crashes and the resultant fires.

One talk that I found most compelling was by computer engineer Jim Hoffman who has written widely on the World Trade Center collapses. From Hoffman and others I learned that according to the laws of physics, even the combined impact of the "planes" and the resultant fires could not have caused the collapses and explosions.

The strongest smallest fire in history

In Hoffman’s presentation and in other videos, articles and books, it was pointed out that never before or since had steel framed buildings been brought down by fire, even in cases where the fires were much hotter and burned much longer.

For example, the One Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia in 1991 burned for 18 hours and was described by local officials as

the most significant fire in this century…The fire caused window breakage, cracking of granite, and failures of spandrel panel connections. Despite the severity and duration of the fire, as evidenced by the damage the building sustained, no part of the building collapsed… All other cases of large fires in steel framed buildings were characterized by extensive window breakage, large areas of emergent flames and went on for several hours. The fires in the WTC towers did none of these things.[6]

David Ray Griffin, retired professor of Religion and Theology, a popular 9/11 author, writes that even a supporter of the official story, Thomas Eager, professor of materials engineering at MIT, says that the impact of the planes would NOT have been sufficient to bring down the Towers because "the number of columns lost on the initial impact was not large and the loads were shifted to the remaining columns in this highly redundant structure."[7]

I also learned that airplane fuel burns at only 800 degrees F, not nearly hot enough to seriously stress steel, which melts at 2700 degrees F in optimum conditions. Hoffman notes that steel is an excellent conductor of heat so that even if the steel beams in the immediate area of the crash were stressed, the heat would have been spread throughout the vast heat sink that comprised the 236 steel beams in the perimeter and the 47 steel beams built into the core of the building.

Thomas Eager asserts that the steel in the Towers could have collapsed if it had lost only 80% of its strength. Eager believes this happened since the fires reached 1300 F. But Griffin argues that for this amount of heat, the fires would have to very big and it would have to be applied to a steel beam for a considerable amount of time. (NPH, p. 14) The available evidence suggests that the fires were small and didn’t burn for long. Griffin cites the photos in researcher Eric Hufschmid’s book, Painful Questions[8] of the small fires evident in the both Towers, which generated a great amount of heat but were not long lasting because the fuel was quickly burned up. Hufschmid’s photos show that the spectacular flames vanished quickly and then the fire remained restricted to one area of the Tower and slowly diminished. The fires were localized and of short duration. (NPH, pp. 14-15) Griffin cites Hufschmid‘s question: How could a fire produce such incredible quantities of heat that it could destroy a steel building, while incapable of spreading beyond its initial starting location? The photos show that not even one floor in the South Tower was above the ignition temperature of plastic and paper!" The fire was not even powerful enough to crack glass windows! (NPH, p. 211, fn. 52)

Griffin tackles one of the persistent misunderstandings about the Twin Tower fires. He writes that defenders of the official theory suggest that the Twin Towers were special in the sense that the fire did not have to heat all the steel by spreading throughout the floors. The culprits were the "angle clips" which "held the floor joists between the columns on the perimeter wall and the core structure," and which, he says, were not designed to hold five times their normal load. According to this "zipper" version of the truss theory, once angle clips failed in one area, it put extra load on other angle clips and then it unzipped around the building on that floor in a matter of seconds and led to a domino effect which caused the buildings to collapse within ten seconds. Something like this theory was endorsed in the FEMA report, which spoke of a "pancake-type of collapse of successive floors." (NPH, pp. 15-16)

But Griffin finds that there are problems with this account. First the amount of heat required to make the steel very hot would seem to require more heat than was present, especially in the South Tower.

2nd Griffin cites Hufschmid who writes, "In order for a floor to fall, hundreds of joints had to break almost simultaneously on 236 exterior columns and 47 core columns."

3rd Eagar’s theory of the speed of the collapse – nearly at free fall speed--doesn’t take into account the problem of resistance. "Can we really believe that the upper part of the buildings encountered virtually no resistance from the lower parts?" How "could the debris crush 100 steel and concrete floors while falling as fast as objects fall through air?"

4th Eager’s and other versions of the official account cannot do justice to the total collapse of the towers, resulting in a pile that "was only a few stories high." Such theories don’t explain the collapse of the steel core of the buildings.

5th The official story doesn’t explain why the South Tower collapsed first. Since it would take considerable time for fire to heat steel to its own temperature, all things equal, the South Tower, which was struck 17 minutes later than the North Tower, should have collapsed later, not 29 minutes earlier. This is even more surprising since the fires in the South Tower were much smaller. This "reversal of expectations suggests that the collapse of these buildings was caused by something other than the fires." (NPH, p. 17)

Controlled demolition accounts for all the facts discussed thus far. Peter Meyer, the author of a book on the WTC demolition, explained the reason the collapse was so total and so rapid. He theorized that the bases of the steel columns were shattered at the bedrock. "With those bases obliterated, and the supporting steel columns shattered by explosions at various levels…the upper floors lost all support and collapsed to ground level in about 10 seconds." (NPH, p. 18)

Griffin goes on to list additional facts that seem explainable only by the demolition theory.

Each collapse produced a lot of fine dust. Where does the energy come from to turn all this reinforced concrete into dust? Hufschmid adds that photos show only "a few small pieces of concrete" which means that virtually every piece of concrete "shattered into dust." Where did the energy come from? Similarly, by what means was very fine concrete dust ejected from the top of the building very early in the collapse. Hufschmid adds that even concrete slabs hitting the ground at free fall speed would not be pulverized. That would require explosives. (NPH, p. 18)

Explosion Not Collapse

Evidence of the use of explosives can be seen in that the Towers didn’t fall straight down, they exploded. Huge amounts of powder was "ejected horizontally from the building with such force that the buildings were surrounded by enormous dust clouds that were perhaps three times the width of the buildings themselves." Could any other power besides explosives turn concrete into powder and then eject it horizontally? And "some of the photographs show rather large pieces of the tower were thrown out 150 feet or more." (NPH, pp. 18-19)

Gerard Holmgren also points to the apparent floor-by-floor explosion (not collapse) of the Twin Towers and explains some of the physics involved. He finds that the conversion of the Towers into " a free falling collection of disconnected rubble," is possible only through "coordinated… demolition techniques." And:

As if that isn’t enough, we have the resistance paradox. This phrase has been coined to describe the fact that not only did the towers fall at a speed, which indicates negligible resistance, but at the same time they ground themselves into fine dust while still standing.

This is impossible under the law of conservation of energy. If one were to postulate that somehow the entire building was—without any planning—miraculously and symmetrically disembodied, enabling it to fall without resistance, then it leaves nothing to explain the pulverization of the concrete. Such pulverization can only come from a high resistance collision. On the other hand, if you postulate extreme collision forces within the falling building, grinding the falling concrete into fine dust on its way down, then there is nothing to explain the resistance free fall of the speed. There can’t simultaneously be both high resistance—causing grinding of the concrete into dust—and negligible resistance allowing a fall at the same speed as through air. Only the input of extra energy—an orchestrated demolition, explains the simultaneous presence of both factors.[9]

The Pentagon Strike

Among the dozens of anomalies and unanswered questions pertaining to the attack on the Pentagon, researchers emphasize the difficulty in believing that no positive action was taken before 9:37 a.m. to protect the most well guarded facility on the planet from an attack by a Boeing 757 passenger plane. Both Griffin and Holmgren point to the three different versions of the government’s official story, none of which explained why there were no timely interceptions of the four alleged passenger jets.[10]The official story might have gained far less currency if for example the media had informed the public that military jet interceptions of wayward aircraft are routine and occur more than a hundred times a year.[11]

Morgan Reynolds finds a "gaping hole in the government theory" of how the Pentagon was struck by a Boeing 757 and he reproduces a helpful diagram. Reynolds finds that

the Pentagon gash is too small both vertically and horizontally. A Boeing 757’s tail is 40 feet tall with landing gear up while the maximum height of the hole in the Pentagon could not have been 30 feet tall (two stories). The width of the hole was less than 20 feet before the façade collapsed, and windows above the impact hole were intact. The largest width claimed for the hole is 65 feet—more like 52 feet according to photographic expert Jack White—and that was after the façade collapsed, not upon impact. The 757wingspan is 125 feet, about twice the width of the post-façade-collapse hole. The Puny Pentagon Hole (PPH) falsifies the government’s "a-Boeing-757-hit-the-Pentagon" story. It is not a close call.

Reynolds also points to some of the impossible physics that would have had to transpire had flight AA77 struck the Pentagon in accord with the official story. Simply put, no passenger jet could have flown at ground level at top speed because the resultant air pressure acting on the wings would have thrown the plane wildly off course even with the most experienced of pilots.

A 757 flying a nearly flat flight profile (no dive) at 500+ mph as alleged could not hit the Pentagon’s ground floor because of an extremely powerful ground effect cushion beneath it. At high speeds, the highly energized wing-tip vortices and huge downwash sheet of a 200,000-lb. airliner make it physically impossible to get closer to the ground than one-half wingspan or about 60’ in this case. The physical forces of the compressible gas called air, in other words, stirred by a high-speed 757 traveling flat near the ground make it impossible to land it at high speed. An aeronautical engineer proves this proposition in an article at www.physics911.net, and he invites other engineers and pilots to prove him wrong. Very few pilots have experienced the aerodynamic effects in this rare flight domain because they normally only get this close to the ground during landing at low speeds. Highly wing-loaded aircraft like the Global Hawk or B1-B can land at high speed but not lightly wing-loaded aircraft like the 757. In addition, a ground-hugging 757 spewing a 100,000-lb. thrust jetblast behind it would have blown trailer trucks and people away, phenomena absent in the flight path (see the DVD "Loose Change" for an example). Irrefutable physics falsifies the Pentagon’s lies.

No Planes In D.C. or in PA?!

There are so many unanswered questions related to the alleged crash of a Boeing 757 flying into the Pentagon that perhaps a majority of the 9/11 research community don’t believe that a Big Boeing was involved in that attack. Many skeptics also don’t believe there is any evidence of a passenger jet plane at the alleged crash site in Shanksville, PA.[12] Thus for the NPT to be more favorably viewed by the 9/11 research community it remains only to rule out that passenger jets were used to crash into the Twin Towers. Morgan Reynolds helpfully sets the stage.

The one towering fact is that the 9-11 research community can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that professional demolition brought down the three trade center buildings—WTC 1, WTC 2 and WTC 7. These unprecedented collapses in steel-framed skyscrapers bear all the earmarks of demolition—virtual free fall speed of collapse, pulverization of concrete, eyewitness testimony of explosions, film and photographic evidence of explosions, and so on. The jetliner attacks, by contrast, might be described as diversions that facilitated and covered the primary attacks via demolition, a familiar tactic in terrorist attacks.[13]

Morgan Reynolds argues that it is important to address the No Planes Theory despite objections by many, evidently the majority of the 9/11-Truth movement, that such questions will prove a "sideshow" or a "distraction" from "an uncompromising focus on the WTC demolitions."

Reynolds reminds us that the official story that "young Arabs hijacked specific flights and crashed them is a vital component of the official fiction."

New, rational understanding about the plane stories would have great value, and that probably explains the intense resistance to such scrutiny. Questions and answers about each plane crash matter for at least three reasons:

* If the perpetrators get away with the plane hoaxes, it encourages more audacious, blood-soaked scams

* The key to acquiescence in the government’s war on terror and global domination project is public belief in Arab hi-jacked airliners and crashes

* Exposure of airplane lies expands the proof that government committed the 9/11 atrocities [14]

Gerard Holmgren: No planes, no hijackers

In order to provide meaningful context to his discussion of problems with the official story about 19 Arab hijackers, Holmgren discusses the inexplicable movements and the apparent inaction and disinterest of President Bush and Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, during the attacks; the almost instant naming of Osama bin Laden as the culprit despite claims by the U.S. that they were taken completely by surprise; the immediate threat to invade Afghanistan when it turned out the decision to do so had already been made by July 2001 and the plans were on Bush’s desk by Sept 9; and the urban myth that Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attacks.[15]

Among other things, Holmgren wonders how credible it can be that the FBI so quickly identified 19 Arab hijackers within only a few days. He also cites their difficult to believe allegation that some of hijackers’ passports and suicide notes were found at the crash scenes. "In another miraculous stroke of good luck," Holmgren writes, "the luggage of the supposed ringleader, Mohammad Atta, was "fortuitously left behind at Logan airport" with instructions to his fellow conspirators.

Holmgren opines that it must have been embarrassing for the FBI when some of the hijackers began turning up alive and protesting their innocence. "And even more embarrassing when the passenger lists provided by the airlines did not contain a single Arabic name," and he details other related impossibilities, improbabilities and coincidences, including an admission by the FBI (later apparently effectively recanted) that "they actually had no idea who hijackers were." To this day, the FBI list of the 19 hijackers remains unchanged.

Among the reasons that Holmgren concludes that there weren’t any hijackings or hijackers was that in not one of the four alleged hijackings did any of the crew punch in the four digit hijacking code to alert Air Traffic Control. Holmgren also wonders why there was no distress call from Flight AA 11 (North Tower hit) when there was an alleged 25-minute standoff, including shooting and stabbing of passengers. Another anomaly from that alleged flight is that "the timeline of the alleged phone call indicates that the plane had already turned off course before the hijackers got into the cockpit."

No verifiable wreckage at the Pentagon

Holmgren continues his line of argument by claiming that the plane that we saw on TV was "an elaborate illusion." Holmgren begins his analysis of the planes with AA77, the plane supposedly involved in the Pentagon attack. He suggests that the reason that the government has not produced clear and undisputable video evidence of a big passenger plane striking the Pentagon is because it never happened.[16] From photos of the aftermath he can find no evidence of wreckage of such a plane: "no wings, no tail, no protruding fuselage." Holmgren also reminds us that early reports on 9/11/01 said that a truck bomb caused the damage to the Pentagon. The "witness reports are confused and contradictory and provide no confirmation of a large plane hitting the building."[17] (Holmgren’s emphasis)


BTS Data reveal no Passenger Planes Destroyed on 9/11

If the subject were not so controversial, one might assume that a very powerful blow to the story of four hijacked airplanes on 9/11 would be Holmgren’s discovery that two of the four flights connected to that day’s events did not exist and the other two alleged participating aircraft were not destroyed until four years later. As Holmgren writes, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) keeps detailed records of flight times, tail numbers, taxi out times, wheels off times, and so on for every scheduled flight from a U.S. airport, in part for liability insurance considerations. Holmgren found that the original BTS records of take offs that day did not list flights for AA77 (Pentagon crash) and AA11 (North Tower, the first hit).[18]

Of the first hit on the WTC North Tower at 8:46, Holmgren notes that when one looks closely at the video (which wasn’t broadcast until 16 hours later "when the official story of four large planes had already been put into the public’s mind") all one can see is "a brief flash and then the explosion." Holmgren claims that whatever the object is, it "is certainly not a Boeing 767 or any kind of large passenger jet." The object is "way too small. It dive bombs into the tower in a manner which would appear to [be] impossible for a large airliner." Although, he writes, "the natural tendency is to think it is just too fast to see on the video…a frame by frame enlarged analysis…shows a very strange looking object, or possibly several objects flying in close formation. A pulsating blob or group of blobs is probably the best description."[19]

Holmgren argues that the passenger lists seem to be fabricated "because there are impossible contradictions between the lists published by different media outlets…." Nor, he claims, are there any reliable witnesses to support a large jet of the first strike. "All early reports say that it was a small plane or missile," and others who say they simply didn’t see any plane. According to Holmgren, the first strike became a "large plane after people saw the second strike live on TV, leading to the assumption that the first strike had been the same thing," and after American Airlines declared that it had lost AA11 in the crash.

The Illusion -- Live on TV?!

Holmgren then deconstructs the "the South Tower strike – the second hit, the one shown live on TV" and acknowledges that superficially it certainly appears to be a large jet." Yet, he argues, "a close examination reveals that it is not a real plane." To support this assertion Holmgren provides a score of links to the work of researchers Rosalee Grable (aka Webfairy), Nico Haupt, Morgan Reynolds, Ivan Amato[20] and his own supporting articles.[21]

Holmgren finds that the plane shown on TV is not real because it "shows impossible physical characteristics and behavior." The argument that I find most convincing and easiest to understand is his claim that one can see in a frame-by-frame analysis that the alleged plane "passes through the wall like a ghost without making a hole and without breaking off any parts." Holmgren concludes that the plane is "simply a cartoon, which has been animated into the footage."[22]

According to Holmgren, despite popular misconceptions that many real time videos of the plane striking the South Tower exist, there was only one live video of this plane and that video did not show it hitting the building, but rather it shows the plane passing behind the building "giving the impression that it impacted the hidden face," an effect easily achieved "with commercially available real time animation technology. The other videos, which seem… to show the plane actually hitting the building did not appear until hours later."

Holmgren makes short work of flight UA 93, the one alleged to have crashed in Shanksville, PA. This was also "a bona fide flight, but the plane –N591UA – was also still registered as valid for more than four years after Sept 11…The alleged crash site in Pennsylvania shows absolutely no evidence of a plane crash."

To drive home his point that no planes were involved in the 9/11 attacks, Holmgren makes much of the lack of evidence of any wreckage of any of the four planes. He suggests that if real planes had crashed, it would be an easy matter for the government to produce some portion of the tons of normally identifiable wreckage.

Likewise Morgan Reynolds finds that the most obvious defect of the official story is an absence or near absence of conventional airplane wreckage.

Government could have ended controversy over planes long ago by allowing independent investigators to examine part numbers and compare them to each plane’s maintenance logbook. This did not happen following the 9/11 crashes. Government has not produced a single airplane part by serial number for independent corroboration.

Of the two Boeing 767’s, which vanished into the Twin Towers, Reynolds asks:

How could two large wide-bodied aluminum jetliners penetrate massive steel towers and disappear with no deceleration visible, no plane wreckage visible in gashes and none knocked to the ground below the impact zone?

Reynolds finds a "stunning lack of evidence" that "no confirmed debris exists from two alleged 767 high speed crashes into skyscrapers within 17 minutes of each other. Furthermore Reynolds finds that

physics rejects any theory that posits an invincible airplane (a plane remaining intact after an abrupt collision with a steel skyscraper) that also disintegrates (flimsy) in the next instant in the same general physical environment (temperature, etc.)…. (my emphasis)

Another problem says Reynolds is that the maximum spread across the north tower hole is 126 feet and the south tower is only 103 feet, opening insufficient to accommodate a 767 wingspan of 156 feet." "Wings with momentum do not "fold back onto themselves" in order to slip through an undersized hole along with the fuselage." Summing up this line of argument, Reynolds writes:

defenders of the 767 theory want their cake and eat it too: supposedly powerful 767s easily penetrated steel walls and floors yet identically crumbled within a fraction of a second and vanished inside despite huge fuselage length and wingspan ¾ the length of a tower wall. Both 767s were never seen again from any side of either tower, a dazzling combination of imposing strength and fragility within a tenth of a second.

Holmgren – Why they didn’t use planes

In his article on "Why they didn’t use planes,"[23] Holmgren suggests that barring an independent investigation, it is impossible to do justice to the question. Yet he thinks it may be instructive to outline some of the thinking that could have gone into planning the operation. In Holmgren’s view, the perpetrators had to weigh the dangers inherent in their two main options: either use real passenger planes or use missiles (or some other similar method or combination of methods of creating an explosion) and convince people that the missiles were planes.

In the missile-not-planes scenario, Holmgren suggests that there are two things that could go wrong. The first problem is that witnesses would say (as they did in reality) that they didn’t see a plane involved in the first strike. Holmgren suggests that this problem was easily countered in part because there was only an 18-minute window between the first hit at 8:46 and the second at 9:03 when everyone saw "a big jet live on TV." Most witnesses who said they didn’t see a plane strike the North Tower were effectively intimidated or ignored.

According to Holmgren, in the brief period between the two strikes, there was only one witness who said he saw a large jet strike the North Tower, "and that just happened to be the vice prez of CNN…" Thus the problem of "contrary witnesses [turned out to be] a minor inconvenience…easily overcome with good planning."

The other problem that Holmgren imagines to the missile scenario is that someone "might look at the videos and see what’s actually there. Which is exactly what Rosalee [Grable, aka Webfairy] has done." Although the planners of the attack "wouldn’t be happy with the groundswell of awareness which Rosalee has kick-started" nevertheless this seems "easily manageable" compared to issues arising out of using real jets.

Problems with using real planes

Holmgren develops his discussion of the problems with using real jets with the two sub choices of piloting them with suicide pilots or piloting the jets by remote control. Some of the "obvious…and monstrous difficulties" of using real pilots are not difficult to imagine. What if, for example, the Arab pilots haven’t been trained to fly jets? Or if they haven’t been trained to fly jets without responding to ground control? What if they don’t wake up in time to make their flights? Eric Hufschmid, an advocate of the theory that the passenger jets were piloted by remote control, asks similar questions: "What if the hijackers decide to switch from hitting the World Trade Center to hitting the U.S. Capitol…or they miss the towers and hit some other building?"[24]

Holmgren takes up the many problems with the remote control theory. This theory he suggests splits into the two options of "crashing a plane with passengers aboard or with no passengers aboard." According to Holmgren, both "possibilities create potentially insurmountable problems with the cover up."

A remotely controlled plane might "hit some other building, just clip its wing on the tower and crash into the streets or cause a cascade of damage on other non-targeted buildings, miss altogether and finish up in the Hudson," etc.

Holmgren suggests that "Even the smallest increase in risk of the target not being hit properly would be completely unacceptable, given the easily manageable nature of any problems associated with the alternative [missile] scenario." According to Holmgren, "missing the target is only the beginning…What about the aftermath?"

For example, an unacceptable outcome would be if the plane missed or slightly missed its target and it was found that there were no passengers. Similarly if there were passengers and one or more survived to tell their story. Even if no passengers survived, innocent rescue workers might arrive before the cover up crew and discover and release forensic evidence inimical to the cover story. Any of these outcomes would be "Far worse than anything a few witnesses could say in the 18 minutes between the two tower strikes…. In addition, real planes leave real wreckage… which means real flight recorder boxes to be found and more stuff to hush up…"

Holmgren concludes with some of the common sense notions familiar to veterans of TV police procedurals.

In committing a crime, the idea is to leave as little mess as possible, because every bit of mess is a potential clue. Even in the event of a successfully targeted crash, real aircraft, scattering wreckage and bodies everywhere creates an enormous amount of mess to cover up compared to the relatively neat problem of a few witnesses and a few conspiracy nuts trying to tell people what the video shows.

The problems of the real plane scenario are enormously compounded by the possibility of a botched crash, which itself is a significantly increased risk when using big lumbering jets not specifically designed for that task as opposed to precision weaponry which is far more reliable.

Not many plane crash victims

A frequently asked and presently unanswerable question is: what happened to the passengers and crew of the four passenger jets that were supposed to have crashed? While very little information about their deaths has surfaced there is evidence that there were fewer victims than has been reported.

NY based researcher Vincent Sammartino claims that the government seems to have faked the number of plane victims and also faked the number who claimed victim compensation.[25] According to Sammartino, of the 266[26] official names of passengers and crew who were supposed to have died in the four passenger jets, only 52 names have appeared on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), a privately owned website not affiliated with the Social Security Administration. According to Sammartino, of the 52 listed as dead in the SSDI, which has an accuracy rate of about 83%, only 11 of the family members have claimed victim compensation (not counting 9/11 plane crash widow, Ellen Mariani, who has pointedly refused compensation).

Sammartino writes that his research was spurred in part because of a radio interview he heard with Ms. Mariani and her lawyer in which they spoke of their inability to locate other family members of the purported plane passengers.

If Sammartino’s figures are closer to reality than official reports, the discrepancies also go some way to advancing the NPT. If no planes were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and if Holmgren is right that Flights 11 and 77 did not fly that day (and Flights 93 and 175 did not crash that day), then it might have been easier for the terrorists to have diverted and perhaps disposed of merely 50-60 victims rather than many more bodies.

Thus the NPT helps us to advance, as Holmgren suggests, a combination missile, and preplanned explosives theory to explain the explosions and fires at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and the lack of any big passenger plane evidence at those sites. It also helps to explain why relatively few "plane crash" victims have come forward. Evidence also indicates that that no big passenger plane (or any other plane) crashed in Shanksville, PA. The episode may have been cooked up simply for purposes of distraction.

Occam’s Razor

As an independent researcher with little at stake in any particular theory, it has been relatively easy for me to follow the NPT evidence where it leads. I have joined the No Planes group because it seems to me most in conformity with Occam’s Razor, the least complex theory that accounts for the available data.

Over and above scores of non-passenger plane related 9/11 anomalies, the NPT seems to provide a common sense explanation for many of the unanswered questions and inconsistencies. For example, the NPT explains:

  1. why government BTS records show that two of the four planes never took off that day and two others were not decommissioned until four years later.
  2. why the government has refused (or been unable) to present "a single airplane part by serial number for independent corroboration," and why there is no confirmed debris of any of the alleged four planes, so that all of them have disappeared without a trace;
  3. why the passenger lists are phony; why no Arabic names are on any of the passenger lists; and why there are remarkably few alleged plane victims’ families requesting compensation
  4. why several of the purported hijackers have turned up alive and why the government apparently felt it necessary to produce such unpersuasive evidence as hijacker passports, training manuals, etc.
  5. why in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the government claimed that there were terror cells operating in at least 40 states but hasn’t produced even one untainted terror cell in the last five years.
  6. why there is no reliable video of the Pentagon and the NYC Twin Tower attacks. In the case of the Pentagon video released by the government first as photo stills and then as video, no plane is in evidence; nor would it be possible for a big passenger jet to come in at ground level at high speed.
  7. why there was no air cover in NYC or in Washington, D.C. until after the Pentagon attack at 9:37. If there were no hijacked planes there would have been no need for interceptions.
  8. why there are no credible witnesses to ANY of the alleged four planes.
  9. why the authorities destroyed the tapes of the flight controllers’ recollections of the events of that day. Those tapes might contain evidence that flights 11 and 77 did not take off that day and that 175 and 93 did not crash.
  10. why ALL the cell phone calls were fabricated including the iconic "Let’s Roll," call as well as the Ted Olson-Barbara Olson exchange.[27]

Arab extremists – A comfortable image

One reason for the success of the official story seems to be that many are comfortable with the meme[28] that Osama Bin Laden and 19 Islamic extremists were responsible for the terror on 9/11.

The cultural and political tropes induced by the half century long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict have conditioned many in the West to accept the notion of Muslim fanatics willing and capable of suicide attacks on the U.S. homeland. Pro Israeli sentiment reaches deep into the grassroots which is constantly fortified by powerful public relations campaigns of pro-Zionist pressure groups and their academic, political and media supporters. In addition, the security and intelligence services upon the demise of the Soviet Union, substituted Islamic terrorism as a means of justifying their existence and maintaining the national security state a la Orwell. Thus a perfect storm of dominant forces continues to impose the notion of Muslim responsibility for 9/11 terror. Once the government identified the perpetrators on the morning of 9/11[29], it became an uphill task to convince people to take contrary evidence seriously.

Much of the reluctance to give up on the notion of Muslim terrorists also seems to pervade elements of the 9/11-research community. Despite the lack of any independently verifiable evidence of Arab suicide bombers, many appear to prefer to hold onto this meme perhaps because they also find at least a grain of truth in the stereotype of Islamic fanatics.

But perhaps an even stronger motive for insisting on planes in NYC lies in the fear of many 9/11 skeptics that the image of a plane crashing into the South Tower is so convincing that advocating the NPT would bring discredit on the 911 Truth community. As Professor James Fetzer, a well known 9/11 activist has put it: Even if they (the advocates of NPT) are right, "it hurts the movement." Many feel that there is so much evidence of government complicity beyond the issue of big passenger jets that diverting attention to the one thing most people believe that they "saw" is not to our tactical and strategic advantage.

Yet, in one sense the battle has already been won: the inconsistencies and absurdities of the official story are such that a July 2006 poll by Scripps News Service indicated that 36% of Americans -– about 72 million people –- suspect that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop them.[30] Doubtless, as time goes on, more will gather to the cause as they learn of contrary evidence.

But to translate these millions of people into effective political action that would dramatically revise the official story would require a revolution – one that hasn’t yet happened, for example, with regard to the assassinations four decades ago of JFK, MLK, and RFK. Revolutions sometimes happen but they tend to be rare because they require a confluence of difficult to manufacture elements including inspired leadership, and extraordinary outside circumstances.

It’s hard to imagine the kind of revolution that would be necessary to pry open the files and reveal the "deep politics," the secret government, and their black operations and their false flags that are the staple of elements of the security and intelligence services. Elements of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and military intelligence have worked more or less closely with the various post-WWII U.S. administrations. On one extreme would be the case of JFK, who seems to have been assassinated by them and on the other the Reagan, Bush I and II administrations, which work closely with them.

Meanwhile, it may be better to view the struggle for justice as a long term one and coalesce on a strategy that places the evidence first and foremost. As Gerard Holmgren has emphasized, the 9/11-Truth movement should stand for truth above all. One notable advantage of concentrating on the evidence is that it will distinguish us from ideologues of all stripes. It’s also a comfort in a whirlwind to reflect that in the long run truth can sometimes be the strongest weapon.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld – Radical extremists

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

---President George W. Bush (2004)

Few in the 9/11-Truth community doubt that that the motive for the attacks was the Bush administration’s determination to create the pretext for the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and going forward perhaps new wars in 2007 against Syria and Iran. Many have pointed to the neoconservative Project for the New American Century document, "Rebuilding America’s Defenses," written or subscribed to by such figures as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz which outlined plans for an "aggressive imperialism" that could not be accomplished without the new Pearl Harbor that 9/11 provided.[31]

The 9/11 hoax in conjunction with the September 2001 anthrax attacks on Democratic Senators Daschle and Leahy enabled a bogus "war on terrorism," and an extremist attack on our constitution and civil liberties. The administration’s successfully completed agenda has so far included the Patriot Act, the rollback of habeas corpus, mass warrantless wiretapping and probable datamining, the routine torture of prisoners, hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to build "temporary detention facilities," the "unitary" presidency and much more.

In addition, 9/11 gave the Bush administration a raison d’etre and a legitimacy hitherto lacking. Before the September 2001 attacks, polls reflected widespread public disapproval for the new Bush administration in part because it was evident that they lacked a positive national or international agenda. They seemed bent on removing the government from any constructive role in the civic life of the country. They openly pushed for the removal of environmental and regulatory safeguards; they prized power over diplomacy, and they plunged this country into reckless and unsustainable budget busting fiscal and tax policies.

Year Zero

Activist and author Naomi Klein traveled to Baghdad in 2004 and published an article entitled "Baghdad Year Zero."[32] As her subtitle, "Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia," suggests, she attributes to one faction in the Bush administration the belief that "Iraq was so contaminated that it needed to be rubbed out and remade from scratch." She reports that she saw much rubbing out but little if any remaking.

Bush administration talk of creating a democratic Middle East fooled few although it served at the time and seems still to work well for many "talking heads." The purpose of the invasion of Iraq was to destroy the possibility of civil life there. The destruction of Iraq would also cohere with the fanatical pro-Israeli proclivities of the neocons who seek to ensure that a nationalist Iraqi challenge to Israeli domination of the Middle East will never be possible. Zionist interest in maintaining the U.S. occupation of Iraq goes a long way toward explaining why there is little discernable political will in Congress demanding an immediate and total withdrawal.

In addition, the consequences of Bush administration policies reflect the same counterintuitive purpose to bring on Year Zero to the United States and the rest of the world as well. They seem determined to remove the possibility of a positive role for government everywhere.

In the classic film "It’s a Wonderful Life," the James Stewart character is presented with a nightmare vision of what life in his town would have been like absent his beneficent work. Our current all-too-real nightmares, the ones ongoing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, Burma, Palestine, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Somalia, the underside of America, and elsewhere, are tragic testimonies to the power of ruthless men in high places bent on permanent war and destruction for its own sake.

The End


[1] Full disclosure: I’ve been a lifelong Democrat and a critic of the Bush administration from the moment they were selected by the Supreme Court in 2000.

[2] Gerard Holmgren, "Manufactured Terrorism – The Truth About Sept 11," (2004, revised 2006). www.911closeup.com/index.shtml?ID=51

[3] Morgan Reynolds, "We Have Some Holes in the Plane Stories," (March 2006). http://nomoregames.net/index.php?page=911&subpage1=we_have_holes

[4] According to Peter Dale Scott, the alleged hijackers were identified as early as 10 a.m. "JFK and 911," (December 2006). http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=SCO20061220&articleId=4207

[5] Quoted in David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004), [NPH] p. 177.

[6] See Jim Hoffman’s website: http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/compare/fires.html#ref1

The website includes details and photos of other large fires which did not result in the collapse of steel framed buildings such as: the First Interstate Fire (1988), the One New York Plaza Fire (1970), the Caracas Tower Fire (2004) and the even more severe Windsor Building Fire (2005).

Hoffman’s site also contains essays critically analyzing some of the reports, which have been produced to support the official version in Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and the NIST report on the collapse of the Twin Towers.

[7] Quoted in NPH, pp. 12-13.

[8] Eric Hufschmid, Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (2002).

[9] Gerard Holmgren, "Manufactured Terrorism: The Truth About Sept 11."

[10] The first official explanation, quickly discarded, was that there were no military jet interceptions until after the Pentagon was hit at 9:37. This explanation, apparently the truth, is consistent with the No Planes Theory.

[11] NPH, p. 6. Vice President Cheney did much to confuse the issue when he spoke of the requirement for Presidential authorization to shoot down a civilian aircraft. Interceptions without shoot downs, on the other hand are routine and don’t require high-level authorization. Griffin and others emphasize that in extreme emergencies even shoot downs are permitted without top-level authorization.

[12] See for example: "Did Flight 93 Crash in Shanksville?" http://killtown.911review.org/flight93.html

[13] Morgan Reynolds, "Revisiting the WTC Building Collapses, Part I." (July 2005)

[14] All references to Reynolds are to his article, "We Have Some Holes in the Plane Stories," (March 2006) unless otherwise indicated. http://nomoregames.net/index.php?page=911&subpage1=we_have_holes

[15] "Manufactured Terrorism – The Truth About Sept 11."

[16] Holmgren documents some of his assertions with links to the section of his website on the Pentagon: http://members.iinet.com.au/~holmgren/pentagon.html, which includes: A phantom plane.  June 2002; Hunt the Boeing; The amazing pentalawn; Killtown’s Pentagon research; Physical analysis of Pentagon crash. Oct  2002.

[17] See Gerard Holmgren’s essay arguing that not one single eyewitness to a large plane at the Pentagon can be trusted. "Did AA 77 Really Hit the Pentagon: (Eyewitness accounts examined," http://members.iinet.net.au/~holmgren/witness.html; see also: Gerard Holmgren, "What Witnesses? http://www.911closeup.com/index.shtml?ID=84

[18] See Gerard Holmgren, "What really happened to American Airlines Flights 11 and 77 on Sept 11, 2001," http://members.iinet.net.au/~holmgren/1177.html and "Manufactured Terrorism."

Both UA 175, plane number N612UA and UA 93, plane number N591UA, were "still registered and valid more than 4 years after [their] alleged destruction." Holmgren, "Manufactured Terrorism.

[19] See Holmgren’s documents page at: http://members.iinet.net.au/~holmgren/nthtower.html

[20] Ivan Amato explains how video can be manipulated in real time – as in the ability of TV technicians to lay down first down lines in real time in a football game.

[21] Gerard Holmgren, "The Videos of the Plane Hitting the South Tower are Faked. The Plane is a Cartoon. (http://members.iinet.com.au/~holmgren/sthtower.html)

[22] More claims that Holmgren makes about video of the second plane include:

*The hole in the South Tower only "appears well after the plane has entirely disappeared without disturbing the building."

*It exceeds the maximum speed of a Boeing 767 at low altitude while banked sharply and flying in the opposite direction to that which it’s banking.

*It hip hops across the screen regularly alternating, frame-by-frame, between supersonic speed and hovering motionless.

*It has a strange anomaly in the shape of the belly.

*Different videos of the plane contradict each other as to the flight path of the plane’s approach.

[23] Gerard Holmgren, "Why they didn't use planes" http://911closeup.com/index.shtml?ID=71

[24] Eric Hufschmid, Painful Questions, op. cit., note 6.

[25] Vincent Sammartino, "The 9-11 Passenger List Oddity," (undated, 2005?)

[26] NPR gives the total number of passengers and crew killed as 246 (All Things Considered, Nov 17, 2006). Yet, according to standdown.net, "when one adds up the 4 official death manifest lists published on CNN.com, there are only 229 names.

The total seating capacity of the four airliners "of September 11th, 2 Boeing 767s and 2 Boeing 757s" was 762 people." (standdown.net).

[27] See NPH, pp. 27-28. See also for example, "Those Fabricated Cellphone Calls," http://www.serendipity.li/wtc4.htm#cellphone_calls;  and, among others, "The Cellphone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93," http://physics911.net/cellphoneflight93.htm.

[28] A meme is a unit of cultural information that is transmitted by repetition and imitation.

[29] See note 4 above.

[30] Scripps Howard News Service (August 2006) http://www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_national_government/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19861_4894025,00.html

Yet these numbers need to be seen in context. Only 16% believe that explosives were used to bring down the WTC Towers and only 12% believe that a passenger jet didn’t crash into the Pentagon. And 38% believe that "the federal government is withholding proof of the existence of intelligent life from other planets."

[31] See David Ray Griffin’s discussion, NPH, pp. xi-xii.

[32] Naomi Klein, "Baghdad Year Zero," Harper’s Magazine, "September 2004.

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