Monday, January 25, 2010

What Didn't Happen at the Pentagon

Since Thiery Meyssan first posted his web-site study, "Hunt the Boeing!", the absence of evidence that a 757 crashed there has become a source of almost endless speculation. Even Jamie McIntyre, the CNN correspondent, reported that, based upon his own personal inspection, there were no indications that a large plane had crashed anywhere near the Pentagon! If you listen very carefully, you will see that, during the first part of the interview, he talks about small pieces from a plane. But starting around 2:44, he denies that there is any evidence that a large plane hit the building. That--like his odd description of a piece that was silver with red and green markings--would seem to be consistent with a small plane having hit the Pentagon.

A paper of mine by the same title recently appeared on, but it included several introductory paragraphs about those who appear intent upon misleading or confounding the 9/11 movement about what happened there. So I deleted those paragraphs, where anyone who wants to read them, too, can find them there. Meyssan's two books, PENTAGATE (2003) and 9/11: THE BIG LIE (2003), were among my earliest encounters with serious research on 9/11, which left the indelible impression upon me that serious research could expose falsehoods and reveal truths about the events of 9/11, for which I shall always be indebted to him. I therefore dedicate this bog to Thierry Meyssan for his courage and integrity in speaking the truth when others remained silent.

The Pentacon

Questions about what happened at the Pentagon, of course, fall into the area of uncertainty as a complex and complicated issue many in the community dislike. There is a body of evidence, much of which is photographic, however, to which scientific reasoning can be applied to resolve that uncertainty. As I have elsewhere explained, the basic measure of the strength with which evidence e supports hypothesis h is provided by the likelihood, L, of h, if e were true. That, in turn, is equal to the probability, P, of e if h were true, where L(h/e) = P(e/h). Approximately speaking, this involves treating the evidence as an "effect" of the "cause" described by various hypotheses, where an hypothesis hi with higher likelihood on evidence e is better supported and is therefore "preferable" to an hypothesis hj with lower likelihood.

As a simple example, we find likelihoods employed in everyday life and in criminal investigations. The discovery of a body with bruising around the neck but no bullet holes or knife wounds makes it more likely that the deceased was killed by strangulation than by shooting or stabbing. After all, the probability of no bullet holes (knife wounds, and so on) if the victim was shot (stabbed, and so forth) is zero, while the probability of bruising about the neck as the result of strangulation is very high. Since the evidence (no bullet holes or knife wounds but bruising around the neck) is more probable if the death was caused by strangulation than by shooting or stabbing, that hypothesis has a higher likelihood and is therefore better supported by the evidence.

When the evidence has "settled down" and tends to point in the same direction, then that hypothesis is also acceptable in the tentative and fallible fashion of science. The introduction of new alternatives and the acquisition of new evidence, including the discovery that evidence that has been taken to be authentic in the past has been fabricated, can lead to the rejection of hypotheses previously accepted and the acceptance of hypotheses previously rejected-or to the suspension of belief in cases previously thought to be resolved. There appear to be more than a half-dozen arguments against the official account that a 757 hit the Pentagon, which appears to be a fantasy. To begin with, consider the alleged "hit point" at the Pentagon on the ground floor:

Figure 1. The Ground Floor "Hit Point"

This "hit point" was too small to accommodate a 100-ton airliner with a 125' wingspan and a tail that stands 44' above the ground. The debris is wrong for a Boeing 757: no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage, no tail! Not even the engines, which are made of titanium and steel, were recovered. The probability that a real Boeing 757 would leave no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage and no tail at the point of impact approximates zero. The probability that an absent plane would leave no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies and such at the point of impact approximates one-although, of course, planted evidence is not ruled out. As long as one is greater than zero, the hypothesis there was no real Boeing 757 has the higher likelihood.

Indeed, this conclusion is further reinforced by the discovery of unbroken windows in the immediate vicinity of the purported "hit point". Jack White, a legendary student of the photos and films in the assassination of JFK, has created a web site devoted to 9/11 and a pdf, which includes many important observations, such as this one. I have greatly benefited in my own research from exchanges with Jack, just as I have from exchanges with Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds. It is a pity that more students of 9/11 are not devoting attention to Judy's web site and Morgan's web site as well as to Jack's. If we really want to discover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about 9/11, we cannot allow ourselves to be bound by the confines of our own imagination and experiences.

Figure 2. Before and After the Upper-Floors Collapsed

The Pentagon's own videotapes do not show a Boeing 757 hitting the building, as even Bill O'Reilly admitted when one was shown on "The O'Reilly Factor". At 155 feet, the plane was more than twice as long as the 77-foot Pentagon is high and should have been present and easily visible; it was not, which means that the video evidence also contradicts the official account. The tail of what appears to be a far smaller plane, however, is visible just above the guard mechanism. In this graphic, Jack White has sized the image of a Boeing 757 to that of the tail, which vividly displays the inconsistency of supposing that it might be the tail of a Boeing 757. If a plane of its dimensions were present, it should have been visible, but is not. Yet it is consistent with a smaller--and slower--plane having hit the building.

Figure 3. Sizing a Boeing 757 to the Pentagon Frame.

The aerodynamics of flight, including "ground effect", would have made the official trajectory-flying at high speed barely above ground level-physically impossible, because a Boeing 757 flying over 500 mph could not have come closer than about 60 feet to the ground, which means that the official account is not even aerodynamically possible. Russ Wittenburg in the DVD "Zero", an experienced pilot who flew the planes alleged to have been used on 9/11, states that the Boeing 757 can't go 500 mph hour at sea level because the air is too dense. Robin Hordon, an air traffic controller, in the same film, explains that the Boeing 757 cannot do the maneuvers attributed to it. The official story thus appears to entail violations of laws of physics, of engineering, and of aerodynamics, insofar as the damage to the building, the absence of debris, the clear, smooth, unblemished lawn and now its alleged performance are incompatible with a Boeing 757.

Figure 4. The Unblemished Lawn Post-Impact

Moreover, if a Boeing 757 could have traveled at 500 mph at ground level, it would have caused enormous damage to the grass and the ground, including producing substantial furrows from the low hanging engines, yet photos taken immediately after the alleged impact show the grass surface as smooth and unblemished as a putting green, where I expect Tiger Woods to show up and practice his game. The purported debris began showing up later, including especially a piece of fuselage torn from a commercial carrier, which was photographed in several locations. James Hanson, a lawyer from Columbus, OH, has traced this piece to a crash that occurred on 20 December 1995 in Cali, Columbia, where a vine common there ripped it off the plane. I am going to include Jim's paper in THE 9/11 CONTROVERSIES (forthcoming), which will be the second book from Scholars that I publish.

This is far from the only case of the fabrication of evidence at the Pentagon. Jamie McIntyre, the CNN reporter at the scene, reported that there were no indications that a plane had crashed: "From my close-up inspection, there is no evidence of any plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. . . . There are no large tail sections, wing sections, a fuselage-nothing like that-anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane had crashed into the side of the Pentagon". He would subsequently contradict his report, no doubt under intense pressure from his employer to take back anything that might be considered to undermine the official account. He now states that, "For anyone with any common sense . . . there is not going to be any doubt that a plane hit the building". But that is just what we would expect (with high probability) if no Boeing 757 actually hit the building.

Even more stunning, therefore, is that, even though the lime-green civilian fire trucks that arrived first at the scene had extinguished the fires at the Pentagon in around fifteen minutes, vast volumes of black smoke would later appear that were easily visible across the Potomac from the steps of the Capitol, where members of the House and the Senate had congregated as a safety precaution due to threats that the Capitol Building itself might be the next target. What we have here is a demonstration of the use of "special effects" of the kind that Hollywood has patented. The smoke is coming, not from the Pentagon itself, but from a series of enormous dumpsters in front of the building. It is hard to imagine any more damning proof of fakery:

Figure 5. Smoke and Flames Emanating from Dumpsters

At this point, it appears to be "pilling on" to observe that data from a flight recorder provided to Pilots for 9/11 Truth by the National Transportation Safety Board corresponds to a plane with a different approach and higher altitude, which would have precluded its hitting lampposts or even the building itself, which means that, if the NTSB's own data corresponds to the Boeing 757 that is alleged to have been flown toward the building, it would have flow over the Pentagon rather than hit it. Those who remain unconvinced by the evidence that has been presented here, therefore, are encouraged to view the 9/11 DVD's "Pandora's Black Box" and "Pentacon", which offer additional substantiation. The evidence thus appears to have "settled down".

Pandora's Black Box - Chapter Two - Flight Of American 77

The probability that a real Boeing 757 could have hit the Pentagon and not left debris from its wings and tail or even its engines-not to mention bodies, seats, and luggage-is zero. The probability that the alleged trajectory could have been flown in violation of the laws of aerodynamics is even less than zero-since violations of these laws is not physically possible. The probability that the trajectory, if it were possible, could have left a smooth, green, unblemished lawn is zero. The probability that debris would have been planted or that smoke would have been simulated, had this event involved the crash of a real Boeing 757, is likewise extremely low. That all of these things would have occurred if the alleged impact were contrived, however, is very high. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any reasonable alternative.

The PentaCon

When no alternative explanation is reasonable, then an explanation has been established beyond a reasonable doubt. The conclusion that no Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon appears to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt. The problems being generated within the 9/11 community over the quality of research, as this case illustrates, appear to be rooted in the lack of commitment to logic and evidence by individuals like Dick Eastman, who has demonstrated that he is not competent to evaluate research on 9/11. Ironically, our conclusions about the Pentagon apparently converge, which means that he ought to be regarding me as an ally rather than as an enemy. Fortunately, progress can be made as long as others of greater ability are allowed to pursue the search for truth, which confronts enormous obstacles from without and would certainly benefit by greater tolerance from within the research community itself.

Jim Fetzer, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. He maintains its web site at