Evolution of Ideas

Frank Legge speaking on the issue of the Pentagon Plane.

As ideas evolve, strategies should adjust

At times we wonder about the strategy the promoters of 9/11 Truth should adopt. At such times it is normal to weigh up various aspects of the campaign in order to determine priorities. It is right to recognize the great importance of controlled demolition in the campaign for 9/11 truth. Also of great importance is the collection of information about improper official actions, and improper lack of action, as we see in valuable collections by many researchers. The pursuit of contradictory statements by authorities is also of value.

It is also important to continue to pay attention to the divisions within the 9/11 truth movement as they are a distraction to activists and damaging to our credibility in the eyes of the main target, the public. The most troublesome division is of course the disagreement about what happened at the Pentagon. One wonders whether our understanding of the cause and nature of the division has evolved over time. If so, we should consider whether our response should also change.

There was little concern about the Pentagon attack until two websites started to push the idea that the official description of the event was a deception. Citizen Investigation Team (CIT) started promoting the idea that the plane approached the Pentagon from a point north of the Citgo service station. This would place the plane too far to the north to permit the plane to do the observed long straight line of damage outside and inside the Pentagon. CIT therefore claimed the plane must have flown over the top of the building and that the damage was done by other means. Pilots for 9/11 Truth (PFT) started presenting a calculation showing that the topography was such that the plane could not have survived the pull-up on approach, thus providing support to CIT.

It was easy to show that the calculation by PFT was grossly in error.[1] More difficult to handle was the claim by CIT because it was based on the video-recorded interviews of a number of witnesses who clearly showed where they believed the plane had flown as it approached the Pentagon. This was contradicted by many other witnesses who stated that the plane did not fly over the Pentagon but hit near ground level. Initially the difference of opinion could be attributed to the way in which different people focused on different parts of the evidence and came to different conclusions about what the evidence indicates. That seemed very reasonable at the time and many people concluded that the discussion of the Pentagon would be never-ending and hence should be set aside. Unfortunately, however, people were intrigued by the question and would not put it aside – activists with good intentions were presenting both sides of the argument to the public, causing loss of credibility.

Then David Ray Griffin presented the idea that we could come to a consensus on the Pentagon by changing the question. Instead of asking whether the plane hit or flew over the Pentagon we should ask whether a plane under the control of al Qaeda could have hit the Pentagon. We could all agree that al Qaeda could not have arranged a stand down of the normal intercept procedures, could not have arranged protection against arrest of the suspicious characters ineptly learning to fly in US flying schools, and would not have chosen to hit the Pentagon in the recently reinforced section with few occupants. This is an persuasive proposal and may help the truth movement to avoid damaging itself through divisive arguments. It will serve those who are uncertain very well until the evidence about the Pentagon has been properly digested and they have clarified the case.

One of the important parts of the evidence is analysis of the investigative methods of those who make assertions about whether the plane hit or flew over the Pentagon. It is now clear that the methods of CIT are far from scientific. They appear to be skillfully crafted to deceive. The first glaring observation that shows CIT is not an unbiased reporter is that they have not provided a random selection of witnesses whose testimonies we can compare. Instead they have reported just those few they could find who described the path of the plane as being north of the Citgo service station.

The debate continues to be damaging to the movement but it does not have to be never-ending. When people examine the evidence that CIT is using deception, most move on and the debate ceases.

What is the evidence that CIT deceives? Chris Sarns has done a great job collecting evidence that all CIT’s north-path people who were in a position to see the Pentagon reported that the plane hit the Pentagon.[2] As they reported the impact during their initial interview, CIT must have been aware of this contradiction of the flyover theory right from the start. They chose to cherry-pick the witnesses’ words to present the north-path statement but exclude the impact statement.

CIT argues that the people who reported seeing the plane hit the Pentagon were deceived. They say they didn’t really see the plane hit but assumed it hit when they saw the explosion, which CIT asserts was caused by planted explosives. This explanation is blatantly false: many people observed the plane approaching the Pentagon at a level which was too low to miss, and none of them could have been deceived by the explosion as it had not yet occurred.

As CIT was aware of the contradiction at the time, the deception they perpetrated by suppression of contrary evidence was clearly deliberate.

The next thing to note is that if the plane had deviated round the Citgo service station, as CIT claims, it would have been at a very steep bank angle, so steep as to amaze observers and be unforgettable. The sight of a passenger plane at such an angle would have generated a great deal of discussion, much of which would have been recorded. This is set out in a paper by David Chandler and myself. The image at the head of this page shows what the scene would have looked like if the north of Citgo deviation had occurred.

The number of witnesses to the plane hitting the Pentagon, or flying too low to miss, outweigh the north-path witnesses by about 10 to 1. In addition to these impact witnesses there were hundreds of people caught in traffic jams around the Pentagon, who were in an excellent position to observe the plane flying over the Pentagon if it had happened.

The fact that not one of them reported seeing a flyover should be a red flag to the overfly theory. The fact that the entire body of observers of the plane failed to report that it was flying at an extreme angle of bank, clinches it: a plane flying wings level must be flying straight and could not deviate around the Citgo service station. What a ratio: over 100 to zero. The plane did not fly over the Pentagon. As Robert Turcios said “It collided”.

Simple logic destroys the CIT overfly theory.

How about the possibility that the plane hit the Pentagon from the north path? The missing bank angle rules this out. It is also ruled out by the fact that it would be impossible for a plane travelling at over 550 mph to stop in its own length to avoid causing damage in the wrong direction. The north-path impact theory is contradicted by the lack of damage in the north path direction inside the Pentagon.

Without an overfly theory and without a north path impact theory, CIT has nothing.

The only possible conclusion is that the plane travelled on the south path and hit the Pentagon, as reported by the vast majority of witnesses, as confirmed by the long straight damage trail through the light poles and inside the Pentagon and the absence of damage along the north path. The witness testimony is supported by the new decoding of the FDR data and the radar data from 4 separate agencies. The straightness of the flight path is confirmed by the majority of witnesses who found nothing unusual to comment on about the bank angle.

If the reader has just come across these arguments that seem clear and convincing, there might occur a sensation of surprise. The question might arise, if it is so obvious, how come it was not apparent long ago? I believe the answer is to be found by looking under the surface of the methods of CIT. A magician’s trick may be discerned. One just has to solve the trick. See if you think this is a satisfactory solution:

The stage magician draws attention to something, let’s say it is his right hand, while his left hand sets up the trick, unnoticed.

CIT draws attention repeatedly to the question of whether the path of the plane was north or south. That is the right hand. While you are thinking about that at length, disputing the “evidence” with your colleagues for page after page, you do not think about the real question, which is whether the plane flew high or low. That is the left hand.

Let us overcome the charisma of the magician and look at the left hand. If you sort the witnesses into high or low, what do you find? There are many witnesses for “low” and no witnesses for “high” whatsoever! Not one witness said the plane was too high to hit the Pentagon. What a ratio! Many witnesses were following the plane as it approached – they said it was low. They couldn’t have been deceived by the explosion because it hadn’t happened yet.

This refutes the overfly theory without even touching on the fact that nobody in the surrounding area reported seeing the plane fly over the Pentagon and nobody reported seeing the plane at a steep bank angle. At the same time we have solved the problem of how so many people were deceived by CIT.

Far better to deal with this distraction by showing clearly that it is false than by arguing that it should be ignored, as we used to do. Widespread understanding and acceptance of the evidence that CIT is deliberately creating a concept they must know to be flawed will put an end to the distracting and demoralizing debate about the Pentagon. This has been set out in detail in my “Consensus” paper.


[1] Clinger, W., http://www.cesura17.net/~will/Ephemera/Sept11/Balsamo/balsamo2.html#finalseconds

[2] Sarns, C., http://csarnsblog.blogspot.com/

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