Wednesday, April 13, 2005

JINSA: Al-Qaeda Redux (with Nukes) Ad Infinitum
You really have to hand it to the JINSAites for beating a dead horse, namely

THE BRAD BLOG: "Conyers to Carter: James Baker 'Inappropriate' for Blue-Ribbon Election Commission!"

THE BRAD BLOG: "Conyers to Carter: James Baker 'Inappropriate' for Blue-Ribbon Election Commission!": "Conyers to Carter: James Baker 'Inappropriate' for Blue-Ribbon Election Commission!"

Newsletter #68E

Date: 04/12/05 20:15:46
Subject: Newsletter #68E

Greetings from the Center for an Informed America
( Please forward this newsletter widely.
If this was forwarded to you and you would like to receive future
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April 12, 2005
September 11, 2001 Revisited


[Editor's Note: A popular hobby of late among some 9-11 researchers
seems to involve disparaging the efforts of, and questioning the motives
of, those researchers who refuse to ignore the fact that the available
evidence is entirely inconsistent with the crash of a jetliner at the
Pentagon. These individuals generally refer to certain other Pentagon
investigators as "no-plane" theorists. For the purposes of this article,
I have adopted a name for them as well: Tattoo theorists. This
appellation is, of course, an homage to the "Fantasy Island" character
best known for the tag line, "Ze plane! Ze plane!"
Two of the most aggressive of the Tattoo theorists, by the way, are Jim
Hoffman and Brian Salter, both of whom were on the other side of the
fence, so to speak, until fairly recently. If you have ever known
someone who quit smoking and thereafter embarked on a mission to
browbeat and berate every other smoker on the planet, then you have a
pretty good idea of how the Tattoo theorists operate.]

On February 24, Brian Salter ( posted a
histrionic denunciation of Pentagon "no-plane" theorists that included
the bizarre claim that any efforts to "keep the unnecessary no-plane
speculation alive just helps to smear 9-11 Truth activists as hateful
maniacs. Maybe that's the idea."

Well, I guess the jig is up. Mr. Salter, it seems, has figured out our
diabolical plot. All along, the real goal has been to cast 9-11
researchers as - dare I say it? - hateful maniacs. In fact, the 'talking
points' that I receive from my secret CIA backers routinely contain such
notations as: "Operation Hateful Maniacs is, as you know, proceeding on
schedule; prepare to shift into the next phase of the program, Operation
Deranged Psychopaths."

Of course, it could also be that those of us who continue to focus on
the glaring inconsistencies in the official story of what happened at
the Pentagon are actually pursuing the truth, which is what a "Truth
activist" is supposed to do, rather than peddling entirely speculative
drivel about a mythical 'plane bomb,' which is what the Tattoo theorists
choose to do.

The primary strong-arm tactic of the Tattoo theorists is to cast
"no-plane" theorists as part of a Cointelpro-type operation aimed at
undermining the 9-11 skeptics' case. The "no-plane" theories, it is
claimed, are "straw man" arguments, propped up specifically so that they
can be easily brushed aside by "debunkers," thus discrediting the 9-11
movement in its entirety by attacking at points of greatest

In his blog, Salter claims "media debunkers have shown maximum
enthusiasm for portraying [Pentagon no-plane theories] as the heart and
soul of 9/11 skepticism and making it the centerpiece of practically
every hit piece." ( Hoffman has
written that "the prominence of the no-757-crash theory will damage the
cause, particularly as it reaches a wider audience less inclined to
research the issue ... The mainstream press is casting the no-757-crash
theory as a loony construct of conspiracy theorists, and representative
of all 9/11 skepticism."
( Mark Robinowitz
has joined the chorus by claiming "'No Planes' has been the most
effective means to discredit issues of complicity inside the Beltway."

Obviously then, everyone is in agreement (as if they were all reading
the same 'talking points') that we must immediately drop all support for
the "no-plane" theories, because if we don't, we will continue to
furnish the enemy with useful ammunition with which to attack and
discredit us. Sounds like a good plan -- except for the fact that it is
based on a false premise.

The reality is that there have been almost no mainstream media
'debunkings' of the 9-11 skeptics' case, and there is a very good reason
for that: the cumulative case that has been painstakingly compiled is
(despite the spirited efforts of people like the Tattoo theorists) a
formidable one that major media outlets, along with most so-called
'alternative' media outlets, have wisely chosen not to confront.

By far the most ambitious, high-profile media 'debunking' of the claims
made by 9-11 skeptics has been the hit piece that graced the cover of
the March 2005 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine
( Since it
is known that this article was co-written by Benjamin Chertoff,
reportedly a cousin of our very own Director of Homeland Security,
Michael Chertoff, then it is probably safe to assume that a primary
objective was to knock down all the 'straw men' arguments that had been
carefully planted and nurtured by government operatives. That is, after
all, how this game is played, as the Tattoo theorists readily

We should, therefore, expect to find that the Popular Mechanics article
focuses considerable attention on the Pentagon "no-plane" theories, and
on the Pentagon attack in general. But what we find instead is quite the
opposite; instead of emphasizing questions about the Pentagon, the issue
is downplayed and given very little attention -- which isn't really
surprising given that the attack on the Pentagon has always been, from
day one, relegated to the status of a relatively insignificant footnote.

The PM article presents what it says are the top sixteen claims made by
9-11 skeptics, coupled with what are supposed to be 'debunkings' of each
of those claims. The claims are grouped into four categories, which are
presented in the following order: "The Planes" (the ones that hit the
towers); "The World Trade Center" (the collapse of the towers); "The
Pentagon"; and "Flight 93." Five of the sixteen claims examined concern
the collapse of the WTC towers, four concern Flights 11 and 175, four
concern Flight 93, and just three concern the Pentagon attack. In terms
of word count, the article runs (minus the introduction) about 5,200
words, and it breaks down roughly as follows: collapse of towers - 2,050
words; WTC planes - 1250 words; Flight 93 - 1150 words; and the Pentagon
- a paltry 750 words.

So if we are to use the focus of mainstream media attacks to gauge the
points of greatest vulnerability in the 9-11 skeptics' case, then, in
terms of both word count and number of claims examined, the collapse of
the Twin Towers would be, by far, the weakest leak in the chain (which
is kind of ironic, when you think about it, considering that most, if
not all of the Tattoo theorists actively promote the theory that the
towers were brought down with explosives). As for Pentagon "no-plane"
theories, they are, according to the given criteria, the point of least

If we use the criteria of prominence of placement on the list, then the
point of greatest vulnerability would be theories concerning the planes
that hit the towers. Indeed, the very first claim that is examined
concerns the notorious "pod plane" theories, and the third delves into
the equally inane issue of 'windowless jets.' These are, of course, some
of the real areas of vulnerability in the 9-11 skeptics' case. And
though they are frequently linked to Pentagon theories, they are
entirely separate issues.

Claims concerning the Pentagon attack don't make an appearance on the
Popular Mechanics list until well into the second half of the article.
And once they do appear, they are given very little print space. The
three claims 'debunked' in the PM piece barely scratch the surface of
the cumulative case that has been built to challenge the official
version of the Pentagon attack. And the 'debunking' of even these
cherry-picked 'claims' is pathetically inept. The undeniable lack of
aircraft debris from the alleged crash, for example, is brushed aside
with nothing more than this ludicrous emotional appeal from an alleged
blast expert and witness to the aftermath of the attack: "I saw the
marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts
of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the
tail section of the plane, and I found the black box ... I held parts of
uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"

You would think that if the Pentagon attack theories were the 'straw
men' that the Tattoo theorists claim, then the 'debunkers' would be
better prepared to knock those straw men down, and they would devote
more print space to doing so. Instead, we find the Pentagon attack being
downplayed in a major media attack on the 9-11 skeptics movement -- at
the very same time, curiously enough, that a number of 9-11 skeptics
have begun aggressively demanding that all "unnecessary speculation"
about the Pentagon attack be dropped, and at the very same time that a
new purported Pentagon skeptics' site suddenly appeared, professionally
designed and complete with new interviews and photos (from insider
sources), numerous omissions, copious amounts of spin and
disinformation, a new DVD for sale, and, of course, enthusiastic backing
from the Tattoo theorists and other 9-11 skeptics.

I have to say, quite frankly, that all of this just seems too well
choreographed for my tastes. And, I have to also say that the Tattoo
theorists' recent efforts to bury the Pentagon "no-plane speculation"
seem rather desperate and overreaching. Consider, for example, the
opening lines of the Salter post that I referenced at the beginning of
this rant:

The latest escapade in the frantic effort to "keep the faith" amongst
the Pentagon no-plane cult is the announcement of a great new "smoking
gun". It turns out that a key figure in the Gannon scandal,
president Bobby Eberle, who was a key White House go-between, testified
that he witnessed the Pentagon strike on 9/11. Well, there's only one
logical conclusion that anyone could draw from this -- that all of the
witness testimony supporting the crash of a 757 airliner into the
Pentagon is all part of a vast fraudulent conspiracy masterminded by
Bobby Eberle! As the Xymphora blog tells it, with breathless drama:

"Forget about Gannon. The only reason he has been interesting is the
prurient part of his story. I'm reading more and more about how everyone
in the White House, up to and including Rove and Bush, is as gay as Paul
Lynde, which just reflects the deep homophobia in the coverage of
Gannongate. The gay aspect is a red herring. The deep politics aspect of
the story is the connection between the White House, conservative e-mail
harvester and fundraiser Bruce W. Eberle, and GOPUSA President Bobby
Eberle. Bobby Eberle's eyewitness testimony of Flight 77 crashing into
the Pentagon is the big break we've been waiting for, the first tiny
window into the American conspiracy behind 9-11."

While I certainly do not agree with everything that Xymphora has written
here concerning the Gannon scandal, it is immediately apparent that
Salter is grossly misrepresenting the situation. Specifically, no one
that I know of, and certainly no one cited by Salter, has claimed that
Bobby Eberle "masterminded" a vast conspiracy. Indeed, Xymphora's actual
position is clearly stated in another excerpt that Salter has
thoughtfully posted:

"I have speculated that at least some of the witnesses to the crash of
Flight 77 into the Pentagon were ringers planted by the conspirators.
What are the chances that Eberle, whose name has come up prominently in
Gannongate, was an eyewitness to the crash? Those who are so certain
that the testimony of eyewitnesses means that Flight 77 must have
crashed into the Pentagon, despite the enormous amount of physical
evidence to the contrary, just might want to give their heads a shake
and rethink things. If the evidence of the crash of Flight 77 is so
goddamn clear, why did the operators in the Republican Party feel the
need to gild the lily?"

That is, I must say, a perfectly legitimate question -- although Salter
dismisses it by proclaiming that "there is no basis to claim that
Eberle's testimony represented an effort to 'gild the lily.'" Salter's
position might be a valid one if - and this is a very big "if" - Eberle
was the only political operative that stepped out of the shadows with an
unlikely account of the attack on the Pentagon. But he wasn't the only
one. Not by a long shot.

Of course, that fact might not be immediately apparent to anyone relying
upon the witness list assembled by French researcher Eric Bart, which is
the witness list that virtually all of the Tattoo theorists routinely
cite as the 'most complete' list (Salter calls it "the most extensive
available," Robinowitz touts it as "perhaps the best list of eyewitness
accounts," describes it as a "comprehensive witness
list," and Hoffman has paid tribute by re-posting the list). In truth,
however, Bart's list is not by any means a complete list, though it is
certainly the most imposingly long list. Most of that length, however,
is due to extensive padding. As it turns out, a substantial portion of
the entries on the list are not witness accounts at all; instead, they
fall into one of the following categories:

* News reports that retell the official story without citing any
specific witnesses.
* Statements by official government spokesmen who were not
themselves witnesses to the attack.
* Hearsay accounts.
* Reports that have nothing to do with what did or did not hit the
Pentagon (such as an air traffic control report, two seismic reports, a
Navy report on treating blast injuries, a Federation of American
Scientists report on blast effects, an engineer's report on the
reinforcement work done on the Pentagon, and, most bizarrely, a
Washington Post report on the creation of the Information Awareness
* Accounts of rescue workers who tended to the wounded.

As for the potential witnesses that are included on the Bart list,
roughly half of them offer no information that is useful for determining
what really happened at the Pentagon. About three dozen of the cited
witnesses were inside the building complex at the time of the attack;
their accounts describe only the explosion and/or the smoke and fire,
offering no clue as to what caused that explosion and fire (although
there are numerous reports of multiple explosions, and a few reports of
the smell of cordite, none of which lend much weight to the official
legend). Similarly, many of the outside witnesses could be described as
'earwitnesses'; these individuals heard something fly by, and/or they
heard (or felt) an explosion at the Pentagon, but they did not actually
see anything. Other witnesses saw the fireball or smoke cloud, but not
what caused it.

After editing the Bart list to eliminate all the non-witnesses and all
the irrelevant witnesses, what is left is, at most, 70 witnesses who
claim to have seen something flying in the vicinity of, approaching, or
actually crashing into, the Pentagon. So much for the endlessly cited
"hundreds of witnesses" that the Tattoo theorists can't seem to stop
talking about (even the brazen liars at Popular Mechanics, by the way,
acknowledge that there were "dozens of witnesses," not hundreds) ...

Something else, by the way, that the Tattoo theorists love to talk about
is how the dastardly "no-planers" like to pluck portions of witness
statements out of context, particularly in the case of oft-cited USA
Today reporter/witness Mike Walter. Given the manner in which Mr. Bart
presents the testimony of 'witnesses' like Scott Cook, I'm sure that
those in the opposing camp will understand why I say: "pot, meet
kettle." According to Bart (and, by extension, all the Tattoo theorists
who have endorsed and/or re-posted his list), this is Cook's account of
the Pentagon attack:

It was a 757 out of Dulles, which had come up the river in back of our
building, turned sharply over the Capitol, ran past the White House and
the Washington Monument, up the river to Rosslyn, then dropped to
treetop level and ran down Washington Boulevard to the Pentagon (...) As
we watched the black plume gather strength, less than a minute after the
explosion ...

As presented, Cook's recollection appears to be a very specific account
of the approach and crash of a 757 aircraft into the Pentagon. In fact,
it appears to be an impossibly specific account, since no witness at the
scene could have know, at the time of the alleged crash, that the plane
had flown out of Dulles. But Mr. Cook never actually made such a claim.
For the record, here is how Scott Cook's 'witness' account read before
it was deceptively (and apparently quite deliberately) edited by Eric

We didn't know what kind of plane had hit the Pentagon, or where it had
hit. Later, we were told that it was a 757 out of Dulles, which had come
up the river in back of our building, turned sharply over the Capitol,
ran past the White House and the Washington Monument, up the river to
Rosslyn, then dropped to treetop level and ran down Washington Boulevard
to the Pentagon. I cannot fathom why neither myself nor Ray, a former
Air Force officer, missed a big 757, going 400 miles an hour, as it
crossed in front of our window in its last 10 seconds of flight. (The
more I’ve thought about it since, the odder the choice of the Pentagon
as a target appeared. The Pentagon is a huge pile of concrete, the walls
over a foot thick, and no plane is big enough to do more than
superficial damage to it. Had the hijackers chosen to dive into the
Capitol or the White House, much smaller sandstone buildings with little
internal framework, the damage and the death toll would have been
infinitely higher. Both houses of Congress were in session, and in
addition Laura Bush was in the building, preparing to testify to some
committee about school reading programs. I guess the symbolism of the
Pentagon was more important to the terrorists, who blamed the US
military for everything, much like Chomskyites blame everything on the
CIA. As horrible as it sounds, the hit on the Pentagon may have been a
blessing.) As we watched the black plume gather strength, less than a
minute after the explosion ...

It is quite obvious that what Cook actually said was that even though
both he and his partner were positioned to witness the alleged plane and
the alleged crash, and therefore should have witnessed the alleged plane
and the alleged crash, neither one of them actually saw anything of the
sort. Far from confirming the official account of the alleged crash, Mr.
Cook appears to have been somewhat bewildered by it. Of course, you
would never know that from reading through Eric Bart's 'witness' list --
which raises the question of why, if the 'witness' evidence is so
compelling, Eric Bart felt the need to gild the lily.

Scott Cook, by the way, wasn't the only one who missed seeing the plane
that day. One of the non-witnesses on Bart's list, Tom Hovis, had these
thoughts to share: "Strangely, no one at the Reagan Tower noticed the
aircraft. Andrews AFB radar should have also picked up the aircraft I
would think." Well ... yeah ... I would tend to think so as well -- but
I guess those terr'ists were just real sneaky or something, stealthily
flying that large aircraft into Washington without it registering either
visually or on radar.

But then again, maybe not, since I see that, according to the very same
Tom Hovis, "The plane had been seen making a lazy pattern in the no-fly
zone over the White House and US Cap." According to witness Clyde
Vaughn, "There wasn't anything in the air, except for one airplane, and
it looked like it was loitering over Georgetown …" And journalist Bob
Hunt claimed that he "talked to a number of average people in route who
said they saw the plane hovering over the Washington Mall Area ..."

I have to confess my ignorance here, since, to be perfectly honest, I
didn't even know that it was possible for a passenger plane to hover.
Despite the fact that I have the good fortune of living under the
approach path of the local airport, and have therefore seen more than my
share of airplanes, I have personally never seen one hover, even
briefly. But since this information is not only included on Pentagon
witness lists, but is attributed to average people, then I know it must
be true (just as it must be true that the plane actually dive-bombed
into the Pentagon, as at least five witnesses saw it do, and it must
simultaneously be true that the plane actually hit or scraped the ground
before impacting the building, as at least five other witnesses have
claimed, and it must also be true that there was a second plane, since
at least nine witnesses saw it).

So, this is apparently the situation that existed at around 9:30 AM the
morning of September 11, 2001: both World Trade Center towers had been
attacked and hundreds of people were already dead or dying; not just the
nation, but the entire world was watching and knew that America was
being attacked by hijacked aircraft, some of which were reportedly still
in the air and still very much a threat; the nation's defenses were,
presumably, on the highest state of alert; and, in the midst of it all,
a hijacked aircraft was - as would be expected, I suppose - leisurely
cruising through the most secure airspace in the known world, over the
most sensitive political and military installations in the country, with
nary a military jet in sight.

Now, some may find this pre-suicide sightseeing by the terr'ists to be
somewhat odd, but my guess is that they were probably stalling to allow
time for all the news crews to get set up so that they could capture all
the nonexistent photographs and video footage that we are still waiting
to see. Either that, or those ballsy terr'ists were actually taunting
the U.S. military, daring the fighter jets to come out and play, knowing
full well that a squadron of F-16s are no match for an unarmed 757. But
here I digress ...

In the interest of compiling a more complete (and accurate) list of
witnesses than that presented by Bart, I went searching elsewhere and
found that there are actually many more purported witnesses of the
Pentagon attack. Some of the names that Bart has conveniently chosen to
leave off are painfully obvious lily-gilders. Others have told stories
that are, I have to say, laughably absurd. Consider, for example, the
tale told by purported witness Dennis Smith, who was supposedly "smoking
a cigarette in the center courtyard [of the Pentagon] when he heard the
roar of engines and looked up in time to see the tail of a plane seconds
before it exploded into the building."

Now, I obviously can't say for sure what was in that 'cigarette' that
Dennis was smoking, but according to my trusty high school geometry
book, it would have been very difficult for him to peer over a structure
77 feet high and 200 feet wide and see something that was, according to
legend, some 50 feet off the ground -- unless, of course, Mr. Smith
happens to be about 100 feet tall, or to have x-ray vision. I'm going to
go on record here as saying that neither seems very likely.

In any event, the point here is that Eric Bart has prepared a very
selective presentation of the available Pentagon witness testimony. Some
of the testimony that Bart has opted to omit from his list can be found
here (, and
yet more can be found here

Although these two lists mercifully omit many of the non-witness
accounts that Bart has used to pad his list, and include many purported
accounts that Bart has left off, both of the additional lists are
plagued by problems of their own. Probably the biggest problem is that a
good number of entries are credited to what amount to anonymous sources
(people identified by only first name, or by initials, or by pseudonym).
Some listings are, incredibly enough, unverified pseudonymous postings
to internet discussion groups that appeared months, and even years,
after the fact. I would hope that we can all agree here that anonymous,
belated boasts of having witnessed one of the most significant events in
modern American history do not exactly qualify as actual witness

By combining the three lists, minus all the filler, I came up with a
list of roughly 110 named individuals who have claimed, at one time or
another, to have witnessed something flying near, headed towards, and/or
crashing into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001.
However, nearly three dozen of these individuals held off telling their
tales until long after the official version of events had thoroughly
penetrated the American psyche, leaving roughly 75 people who claimed,
in the hours and days immediately following the attack, that they had
witnessed the event. With this more complete witness list in hand, it is
time to return to the original question being examined here (as posed by
Xymphora): "If the evidence of the crash of Flight 77 is so goddamn
clear, why did the operators in the Republican Party feel the need to
gild the lily?"

As it turns out, it was actually more of a 'bipartisan' affair, with
operatives of both alleged political persuasions joining the
lily-gilding party. Consider the following list of self-described
witnesses: Gary Bauer, Paul Begala, Bobby Eberle, Mike Gerson, Alfred
Regnery, and Greta Van Susteren. Many of them need no introduction, but
let's run through the list anyway:

* Gary Bauer: Talking head and former Republican presidential
candidate who has been linked to the notorious Project for a New
American Century.
* Paul Begala: Democratic Party operative and nominally liberal
punching bag on CNN's "Crossfire."
* Bobby Eberle: President and CEO of GOPUSA, a portal of right-wing
* Mike Gerson: Director of George W. Bush's speech writing staff.
* Alfred Regnery: President of Regnery Publishing, another portal of
right-wing propaganda -- one that has seen fit to bestow upon the world
the literary stylings of Ann Coulter, the Swift Boat Veterans, and
numerous other accomplished liars.
* Greta Van Susteren: Nominally liberal legal analyst for Fox News.

I don't know if the Tattoo theorists are aware of this, but all of the
people on that list share at least one thing in common: they are all
professional liars. It is their job, individually and collectively, to
lie to the American people. On a daily basis. They are, by any objective
appraisal, propagandists for the state. So if all of them are selling
the same story, in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary, it
is probably best to assume that they might not be telling the truth.

Let's take a look now at some of the other people that are hawking the
same story: Dennis Clem, Penny Elgas, Albert Hemphill, Lincoln Leibner,
Stephen McGraw, Mitch Mitchell, Patty Murray, Rick Renzi, James Robbins,
Meseidy Rodriguez, Darb Ryan, Elizabeth Smiley, and Clyde Vaughn. And
who are they? Allow me to handle the introductions:

* Dennis Clem is a Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence
* Penny Elgas sits on the FDIC Advisory Committee on Banking Policy,
alongside of Jean Baker, who just happens to be the Chief of Staff at
the Office of President George H.W. Bush.
* Albert Hemphill is a Lt. General with the Ballistic Missile
Defense Organization.
* Captain (now Major) Lincoln Leibner is a communications officer
for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
* Stephen McGraw is a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney
reborn as an Opus Dei priest.
* Colonel Mitch Mitchell serves as a CBS News war spinner military
* Patty Murray is a United States Senator (D-Washington).
* Rick Renzi is a United States Congressman (R-Arizona).
* James Robbins is a contributor to National Review, a national
security analyst, and a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy
Council (I, by the way, have decided that I should refer to myself as a
Senior Fellow at the Center for an Informed America).
* I'm not sure exactly who Meseidy Rodriguez is, but his name
appears in legal filings concerning Dick Cheney's top-secret energy
policy meetings, which probably isn't a good sign.
* Vice Admiral Darb Ryan is the Chief of U.S. Naval Personnel.
* Elizabeth Smiley is an intelligence operations specialist with
Civil Aviation Security at FAA headquarters -- which means that she is
one of the people who inexplicably failed to perform their jobs on
September 11, 2001, possibly because she was busy watching phantom
jetliners crashing into the Pentagon.
* Brig. General Clyde A. Vaughn is the deputy director of military
support to civil authorities -- which means that he is another one of
the people who inexplicably failed to perform their jobs on September
11, 2001, possibly because he was also busy watching phantom jetliners
crashing into the Pentagon.

Anybody see anyone on that list that they would want to buy a used car
from? No? How about Colonel Bruce Elliot or Major Joseph Candelario? Or
Lt. Cols. Stuart Artman or Frank "Had I not hit the deck, the plane
would have taken off my head" Probst? Still no? Then how about Elaine
McCusker, a Co-Chairman of the Coalition for National Security Research?
Or retired Naval Commanders Donald Bouchoux or Lesley Kelly? How about
Shari Taylor, a finance manager at the Defense Intelligence Agency, or
Philip Sheuerman, the Associate General Counsel for the U.S. Air Force?

How about any of the names on this list: Bob Dubill, Mary Ann Owens,
Richard Benedetto, Christopher Munsey, Vin Narayanan, Joel Sucherman,
Mike Walter, Steve Anderson, Fred Gaskins and Mark Faram? Aside from
claiming to have witnessed the attack on the Pentagon, what do these ten
people have in common? We'll get to that in just a moment, but first
let's hear from Mr. Faram, who is, it will be recalled, the gentleman
who captured the two famous shots of the alleged aircraft debris that
many investigators have inexplicably spent countless hours trying to
match up with images of various American Airlines aircraft fuselages:

I hate to disappoint anyone, but here is the story behind the
photograph. At the time, I was a senior writer with Navy Times
newspaper. It is an independent weekly that is owned by the Gannett
Corporation (same owners as USA Today). I was at the Navy Annex, up the
hill from the Pentagon when I heard the explosion. I always keep a
digital camera in my backpack briefcase just as a matter of habit. When
the explosion happened I ran down the hill to the site and arrived there
approximately 10 minutes after the explosion. I saw the piece, that was
near the heliport pad and had to work around to get a shot of it with
the building in the background. Because the situation was still fluid, I
was able to get in close and make that image within fifteen minutes of
the explosion because security had yet to shut off the area. I
photographed it twice, with the newly arrived fire trucks pouring water
into the building in the background ... Right after photographing that
piece of wreckage, I also photographed a triage area where medical
personnel were tending to a seriously burned man. A priest knelt in the
middle of the area and started to pray. I took that image and left
immediately ... I was out of the immediate area photographing other
things within 20 minutes of the crash.

To say that Mr. Faram's account of his actions that morning strains
credibility would be a gross understatement. Imagine this scenario: you
are a reporter for a major news service, and you happen to find
yourself, purely by chance, among the first on the scene of the most
significant news story in decades -- one that would occupy all of the
media's time for weeks to come. Would you be at all surprised to find a
triage area already set up and staffed by medical personnel and a
priest? And, more importantly, would you just take a quick look around,
snap off a few quick photos, and then hurriedly leave the scene, because
there was apparently something else to photograph on the other side of
town -- like maybe a really important dog show?

Despite the dubious nature of Mr. Faram's account, he did at least
provide us with some useful important information -- specifically, that
USA Today and Navy Times are both part of the Gannett family of news
outlets. Actually, if Faram weren't so modest, he would have noted that
Gannett also publishes Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corp Times,
Armed Forces Journal, Military Market, Military City, and Defense News.
In other words, it's just your typical independent, civilian media

Having established that, let's now take a look at who our group of
mystery witnesses are (or who they were at the time of the Pentagon

* Bob Dubill was the executive editor for USA Today.
* Mary Ann Owens was a journalist for Gannett.
* Richard Benedetto was a reporter for USA Today.
* Christopher Munsey was a reporter for Navy Times.
* Vin Narayanan was a reporter for USA Today.
* Joel Sucherman was a multimedia editor for USA Today.
* Mike Walter was a reporter for USA Today.
* Steve Anderson was the director of communications for USA Today.
* Fred Gaskins was the national editor for USA Today.
* Mark Faram was a reporter for Navy Times.

Is it just me, or does anyone else detect a pattern here?

Now, it is my understanding that the Tattoo theorists claim, for the
most part, not to be 'coincidence theorists.' So, I guess that the
question that I have is this: exactly how many Gannett reporters and
editors does it take to make a conspiracy? I could accept that maybe two
or three of them might have been, purely by chance, in position to
witness the attack on the Pentagon. Hell, being an open-minded kind of
guy, I might even be willing to go as high as four or five. But ten?!
Ten?! What are the odds that ten of the alleged Pentagon witnesses would
be from the same news organization?

Perhaps some readers are thinking that maybe there is a simple
explanation for this statistical aberration -- like maybe the Gannett
building is ideally located to provide a view of the attack, or maybe
everyone was riding together on a Gannett ride-sharing bus. But neither
of those appear to be the case, since only one of the ten Gannett
journalists claims to have witnessed the attack from his office, while
all the rest maintain that they just happened to be positioned in
various strategic locations near the Pentagon. So unless USA Today staff
was holding its annual company picnic on the Pentagon lawn that morning,
it seems to me that there is something seriously wrong with this story.

Amazingly enough, no fewer than five of those ten Gannett reporters and
editors (Benedetto, Munsey, Narayanan, Sucherman and Walter) were able
to specifically identify the plane that they saw as an American Airlines
jet, and a sixth (Faram) managed to capture the only known photographic
images of something vaguely resembling a twisted piece of wreckage from
an American Airlines jet! I have to note here that it's a damn good
thing that we had proactive and incredibly observant reporters like the
USA Today staff swarming all over the scene of a pending national
tragedy. I guess that when you're a seasoned professional, you just have
a sixth sense about where to be and when to be there. That's probably
why Eugenio Hernandez and Dave Winslow, two Associated Press reporters,
were also on the scene to witness the attack. Hernandez, by the way, is
a video journalist -- but not the kind of video journalist who shot any
actual video footage.

According to Dave Winslow, an AP radio reporter, his being on the scene
to witness the attack and then quickly call in a report ensured that "AP
members were first to know." I guess he didn't notice that nearly the
entire staff of USA Today was loitering around the scene and calling in
reports as well.

According to the 'witness' compilations, it wasn't just major media
outlets that knew immediately what had happened at the Pentagon. Witness
Mark Bright, a Defense Protective Service officer who was manning a
guard booth, claims that, "As soon as it struck the building, I just
called in an attack, because I knew it couldn't be accidental." If true,
then I guess his call must have come in right after that of fellow
witness and Defense Protective Service officer William Lagasse, who said
on ABC's "Nightline" program: "It was close enough that I could see the
windows and the blinds had been pulled down. I read American Airlines on
it … I got on the radio and broadcast. I said a plane is, is heading
toward the Heliport side of the building."

The Christian Science Monitor reported that Fred Hey, a congressional
staff attorney and yet another purported witness, had the following
reaction to the attack: "'I can't believe it! This plane is going down
into the Pentagon!' he shouted into his cell phone. On the other end of
the line was his boss, Rep. Bob Ney (R) of Ohio. Representative Ney
immediately phoned the news to House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood,
who ordered an immediate evacuation of the Capitol itself." And
according to the Seattle Times, Senator Patty Murray was meeting with
other Senate Leaders when, "From a window in the meeting room, she saw a
plane hit the Pentagon."

The Birmington Post Herald held that Pentagon firefighter/witness Alan
Wallace "switched on the truck's radio. 'Foam 61 to Fort Myer,' he said.
'We have had a commercial carrier crash into the west side of the
Pentagon at the heliport, Washington Boulevard side. The crew is OK. The
airplane was a 757 Boeing or a 320 Airbus." According to another report,
local Engine Company 101 also witnessed the attack and immediately
radioed in this report: "Engine 101--emergency traffic, a plane has gone
down into the Pentagon."

According to yet another report, "Barry Frost and Officer Richard Cox,
on patrol in south Arlington County, saw a large American Airlines
aircraft in steep descent on a collision course with the Pentagon. They
immediately radioed the Arlington County Emergency Communications
Center. ACPD Headquarters issued a simultaneous page to all members of
the ACFD with instructions to report for duty." In addition, a purported
transcription of an Arlington County Police Department log tape reads as
follows: "Motor 14, it was an American Airlines plane. Uh. Headed
eastbound over the Pike (Columbia Pike highway), possibly toward the

So what we can safely conclude, after reviewing these various accounts,
is that - within mere moments of the attack/explosion - all of the
following entities knew exactly what had happened at the Pentagon on the
morning of September 11: the Pentagon's own police force; the Pentagon's
own fire department; the Arlington County Police Department; the
Arlington County Fire Department; the Arlington County Emergency
Communications Center; the leadership of the United States House of
Representatives; the leadership of the United States Senate; the
country's national newspaper; and the nation's largest newswire service.
In addition, there were, according to the Tattoo theorists, literally
hundreds of witnesses on the scene who knew exactly what had happened.
And according to John Judge (perhaps the least credible of the Tattoo
theorists, with the possible exception of Jean-Pierre Desmoulins),
"local news immediately interviewed and broadcast eyewitness accounts of
the plane going in."

In other words, there was never any doubt about what hit the Pentagon on
the morning of September 11, 2001. From the very moment of impact, it
was perfectly clear to everyone exactly what had happened. We know this
because the accounts contained on the 'witness' lists of various Tattoo
theorists tell us that it is so. And we should, I suppose, believe these
accounts even though the objective reality is that - despite the alleged
presence of hundreds of eyewitnesses, including numerous local and
national media figures, prominent politicians, police and fire
personnel, and military and intelligence personnel, and despite the fact
that it was widely known that hijacked commercial aircraft were being
used as weapons that day, and that a hijacked plane had allegedly been
heading toward Washington - no one initially seemed to know what had
happened at the Pentagon.

According to Assistant Secretary of Defense Torie Clarke, it was none
other then Donald Rumsfeld who first determined that the Pentagon had
been struck by an airplane -- half an hour after the attack had
occurred: "[Rumsfeld] was in his office, really not that far away from
the side of the building that got hit by the plane. He and another
person immediately ran down the hallway and went outside and helped some
of the people, some of the casualties getting off the stretchers, etc.
When he came back in the building about half an hour later, he was the
first one that told us he was quite sure it was a plane. Based on the
wreckage and based on the thousands and thousands of pieces of metal. He
was the one that told us, the staff that was in the room. So he was
really the first one who told us that it was most likely a plane."

It wasn't until later that it was declared that the alleged aircraft was
an American Airlines passenger plane. As David Ray Griffin recounted in
The New Pearl Harbor, "At 10:32, ABC News reported that Flight 77 had
been hijacked, but there was no suggestion that it had returned to
Washington and hit the Pentagon. Indeed, Fox TV shortly thereafter said
that the Pentagon had been hit by a US Air Force flight."
(You can read the relevant chapter from Griffin's book here, along with
some amusing criticism from Jean-Pierre Desmoulins:

So it appears that, nearly a full hour after the attack had occurred, no
one had yet begun to flesh out the official story of what happened at
the Pentagon. "Only sometime in the afternoon did it become generally
accepted that the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was Flight 77," writes
Griffin. "The first move toward the identification was made by a
statement on the website of the Pentagon announcing that it had been hit
by a 'commercial airliner, possibly hijacked.'"

That statement, we can safely assume, was likely based on the assessment
of Donald Rumsfeld. Griffin continues: "Then that afternoon the story
that this airliner was Flight 77 spread quickly through the media. The
source of this story, the Los Angeles Times reported, was some military
officials speaking on condition of anonymity. The media also started
reporting that Flight 77, just before it disappeared from view, had made
a U-turn and headed back toward Washington. But, argues Meyssan, since
the civilian air controllers were, according to the official account, no
longer receiving information from either radar or the transponder, this
'information must also have come from military sources.'"

There was, of course, one other person who played a key role in fleshing
out the official story: Theodore Olson, U.S. Solicitor General and
right-wing conspirator extraordinaire. It was Olson, it will be
recalled, who single-handedly verified the 'hijacked by Arabs and flown
back to Washington' story through his inconsistent accounts of
unverified cellphone calls that he supposedly received from his wife,
yet another right-wing propagandist and talking-head.

The truth of the matter is that the "American Airlines 757 Crashes Into
The Pentagon!" story did not spontaneously arise from the eyewitness
accounts of rank-and-file citizens. To the contrary, it was a product of
the work of Donald Rumsfeld, Ted Olson and unnamed Pentagon officials,
and it was reinforced by the media largely through the words of the
political operatives and media whores we have already gotten acquainted
with -- and people like reputed Navy pilot Tim Timmerman, who spoke on
the air with CNN correspondent Bob Franken on the afternoon of September
11 (some four-and-a-half hours after the incident at the Pentagon).
Timmerman was seemingly on a mission to unequivocally establish what it
was that had allegedly struck the Pentagon:

Bob Franken: What can you tell us about the plane itself?
Tim Timmerman: It was a Boeing 757, American Airlines, no question.
Franken: You say it was a Boeing, and you say it was a 757 or 767?
Timmerman: 7-5-7.
Franken: 757, which, of course …
Timmerman: American Airlines.
Franken: American Airlines ...

And who exactly was this witness who was so cocksure of his
identification of the plane? No one seems to know. Two researchers
(Gerard Holmgren and Jerry Russell) have failed in their efforts to
verify that he is an actual person. Maybe he is the Tim Timmerman
mentioned in this story out of Michigan
( and, which seems
to carry the distinct stench of black operations. Or maybe he doesn't
even exist at all.

In any event, the American Airlines 757 story was further embellished
through the notorious photographs of Mark Faram of the infamous Gannett
Ten, and through the fragment of indeterminate metal lovingly and
patriotically preserved and donated to the National Museum of American
History by a woman who just happens - coincidentally, of course - to sit
on a board with George Bush, Sr.'s Chief of Staff, and through various
other images of supposed aircraft debris, virtually all of which are
credited to "anonymous" or "unknown" photographers.

* * * * * * * * * *

In the beginning, nobody talked much about the Pentagon attack. Most of
the internet chatter was about advance warnings and put options. A few
brave souls questioned the collapse of the Twin Towers, the appearance
of an air defense stand-down, and the fate of Flight 93, but no one
really talked about what happened at the Pentagon.

We never saw any footage that verified the official story, nor did we
initially see or hear anything that contradicted that story. And so it
was until Thierry Meyssan, working from thousands of miles away, alerted
the world to the fact that the official story of what happened at the
Pentagon was at serious odds with the available photographic evidence.

In retrospect, it seems odd that we had to look to France for answers to
what happened in this nation's capitol. After all, don't we have any
real investigative journalists of our own? Don't we have our own
'conspiracy researchers'? And aren't many of them based right there in
Washington, DC? Weren't some of them in an ideal position to blow the
whistle on the various Pentagon anomalies?

John Judge is one name that immediately comes to mind here. Judge is, as
most readers are probably aware, a veteran researcher who is revered in
many 'conspiracy' circles. He is not only a current resident of the
nation's capitol, but a native son as well. In fact, he literally grew
up in the Pentagon, as he is fond of telling people. If any alternative
journalist knows his way around the Pentagon, it is John Judge.

Perhaps more so than anyone else, John Judge was in a position to serve
as a whistleblower. But John Judge was also ideally positioned to fill
another role: upholder of the official story within the so-called 'truth
movement,' and denouncer of anyone who dared to question the veracity of
that official story. Ever since questions first began to arise about
what really happened at the Pentagon, John Judge has filled the latter

Judge is smart enough to realize that he can't possibly come out on the
winning end of any arguments over the merits of the available evidence,
so he has, for some three years now, studiously avoided debating the
actual evidence. Instead, he quickly created an apparently fictional
entity, in the form of an unidentified, but supposedly dear friend of
his who just happens to be a flight attendant for American Airlines, and
just happens to regularly fly the route flown by Flight 77 that fateful
day, but just happened to have taken that particular day off so that she
survived and now has insider information, unavailable to anyone else,
that Flight 77 really did crash into the Pentagon that day.

This mythical person has served Judge well for the past three years,
enabling him to sidestep any and all substantive questions concerning
the evidence anomalies with a pat answer that goes something like this:
"Well, you know, there were hundreds of witnesses, and my friend says
that it really did happen the way the government says, so it must be

Judge's phantom friend, it should be noted, is not your average flight
attendant. In a post dated February 21, 2004, Judge told the latest
fanciful, and unintentionally hilarious, version of his friend's story,
which has grown more and more elaborate, and more and more ridiculous,
over the past three years:

A dear friend and fellow researcher had been working as a flight
attendant for American for many years, and that was her regular route,
several times a week ... As it turned out, my friend had not been on
Flight 77, having taken the day off work to care for her sick father ...
When questions arose about Flight 77, I contacted her to raise the
issues that concerned me and the speculation of others who denied the
plane hit the Pentagon. She was adamant in saying it had, and told me
she had been to the crash site and had seen parts of the plane. I asked
her about the speculation that the plane would have made a larger hole
due to the wingspan. She informed me that the fuel was stored in the
wings and that they would have exploded and broken off, as the fuselage
slammed through the building walls.

Already we see that not only is this person a flight attendant, but also
a fellow researcher and, apparently, an expert on airplane crashes. As
we return to the story, Judge's mystery friend has been "approached by
another flight attendant to assist in support work for the rescue crews
at the site." Let's see what happens next:

The Pentagon was seeking people with security clearances that they could
trust to be near the site and all the airline attendants qualified for
that level of clearance ... [My friend] and her mother signed up for an
overnight shift on Friday, September 21st. She and her mother spent the
entire night continuously providing drinks to rescuers ... At the end of
her shift on Saturday morning, September 22nd, she was approached along
with other attendants to visit the crash site. One declined, but she and
two others took a van driven by the Salvation Army to the area.

I have to interrupt here briefly to ask a couple of silly questions that
come to mind. First, how is it that someone who is supposedly a
conspiracy researcher, and a dear friend of a very well known conspiracy
researcher, obtains a security clearance that allows them to roam about
the Pentagon? And second, if the mystery friend had just spent the
entire night tending to the rescue teams working at the Pentagon crash
site, why did she then have to be driven to the crash site? Where did
that Salvation Army van take her -- across the Pentagon lawn?

Memo to John Judge: lying isn't as easy as it may appear to be. If
you're going to completely fabricate a story, you have to be careful
that that story is consistent. And with that out of the way, let's get
back to the story, which is about to veer off into bizarro world:

The area was covered with rescue equipment, fire trucks, small carts,
and ambulances. They were still hoping to find survivors. Small jeeps
with wagons attached were being used to transport workers and others at
the site. One flight attendant was driving one of these around the site.
Once inside the fence, she was unable to clearly discern where the
original wall had been. There was just a gaping hole. She got off the
van and walked inside the crash site. The other attendants broke down
crying once they were inside. But my friend went in further than the
others and kept her emotions in check as she has been trained to do and
usually does in emergency situations.

How do I even begin to dissect out all the absurdities present in this
one brief passage? I suppose I could begin by pointing out that the
mystery friend couldn't possibly have seen a "gaping hole" since any
entry hole was buried in rubble shortly after the alleged crash, when
the Pentagon was afflicted with that curious September 11 malady known
as Collapsing Building Syndrome. I also have to point out how extremely
unlikely it is that a group of flight attendants would be invited to
freely tour a site that was: (1) one of the world's most secure military
installations; (2) ground zero of an investigation into what was
supposedly the deadliest act of 'terrorism' ever on American soil; and
(3) a badly damaged, unsafe, partially-collapsed structure that
obviously would have been off-limits to anyone who didn't need to be in

I was also going to comment on the scenario of the unnamed flight
attendant cruising around the site in a jeep-and-wagon set-up, but, to
be perfectly honest, every time the visual flashes through my mind I
find myself too convulsed with laughter to think of anything to say.

At this point, you are probably wondering what the phantom
stewardess/researcher/crash expert/rescue worker saw when she entered
the building. Quite a bit, as it turns out. Certainly far more evidence
of a plane crash than anyone else has ever claimed to have seen. And
much of what she saw, believe it or not, was wreckage that could be
positively identified as wreckage of an American Airlines Boeing 757,
which she was, of course, an expert at identifying

She saw parts of the fuselage of an American Airlines plane, a Boeing
757 plane. She identified the charred wreckage in several ways. She
recognized the polished aluminum outer shell ... and the red and blue
trim that is used to decorate the fuselage. She saw parts of the inside
of the plane ... The soft carpeting and padding of the inner walls had a
cloud design and color she recognized ... The blue coloring of the
drapes and carpet were also specific to the 757 or 767 larger planes ...
Seating upholstery also matched the AA 757 planes ... She saw other
parts of the plane and engine parts at a distance but they were familiar
to her ... One area of fuselage had remaining window sections and the
shape of the windows ... was also distinct to the 757's she had flown.
She also saw parts with the A/A logo, including parts of the tail of the
plane. Smaller A/A logos and "American" logos are also on the planes and
she saw parts of those.

Who knew there was so much identifiable aircraft wreckage? Wreckage that
was apparently never photographed and never shown to anyone other than
John Judge's friend? Am I the only one here who is wondering whether Mr.
Judge has maybe been watching too many reruns of old Saturday Night Live
skits featuring Jon Lovitz. "Yeah, John, that's it ... that's the

The anonymous friend "also saw," we are to believe, "charred human bones
but not any flesh or full body parts." So the bodies were apparently
reduced to charred bones, but the upholstery, carpet and drapes were, of
course, still looking factory fresh.

In an earlier version of the flight attendant story, posted on October
30, 2002, Judge claimed that his friend was also "shown autopsy photos
of her fellow crew members, including the severed arm of her best friend
at work, which she recognized from the bracelet she wore." I have to
confess here that I never realized how much access flight attendants
have. I now find myself wondering what kind of access commercial pilots
must have. I'm guessing they could probably sit in on the President's
morning briefings if they really wanted to.

Anyhow, getting back to the story, we aren't quite through yet being
subjected to outlandish claims. The next one goes something like this:

The crew of Flight 77 who died in the crash included her personal friend
Renee May. She had spoken to Renee's mother after the crash, and Renee
had used a cell phone to call her mother during the hijacking.

It sounds like the phantom stewardess has this case all wrapped up. She
has, single-handedly, gathered more evidence that AA Flight 77 crashed
into the Pentagon than the entire federal government and all of its
media mouthpieces combined. I, for one, am impressed. She has seen and
positively identified wreckage of Flight 77. She has seen and positively
identified the remains of actual humans who were supposed to be on the
flight. She has seen the gaping entry wound. She has spoken to someone
who can personally vouch for the hijacking story.

And that's not all! Judge has other phantom witnesses as well, and they
can verify other portions of the official fairy tale:

Other American ground crew workers saw some of the suspects board
American Airlines Flight 77 and recognized them from published photos
.... My attendant friend knows and has put me in touch with other
American Airlines employees and pilots who were at the site and took
photographs. We are busy locating these, as well as another attendant
who was at the site with her that day.

Well, you keep working on that, John. Let us know just as soon as you
can produce a single one of these alleged witnesses, or any of their
alleged photographs. But, really, there's no rush. We understand that
these things take time, and you've only had three-and-a-half years to
locate these witnesses that you claim to have already been in touch

By the way, what were they all doing stomping around the Pentagon crash
site? Was it open to all American Airlines employees? How about United
Airlines employees? Were Boeing employees allowed to tour the site as
well? How about employees of Dulles International Airport? How about
employees of the company that catered the meals for Flight 77? Did the
baggage handlers get to take a peek? I don't mean to sound snide here;
I'm really just trying to determine what the criteria were for deciding
who was allowed to tour this very sensitive site, because, truth be
told, I would have liked to take a look for myself, but my invite must
have gotten lost in the mail or something.

Moving on, it's time for Mr. Judge to abruptly segue into the conclusion
of his formidable case:

My friend is therefore a credible and very knowledgeable eyewitness to
the fact that American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on
September 11, 2001. She has been vilified by those who refuse to believe
the obvious ... My friend is herself a researcher for many years into
government misdeeds and cover-ups. If she did not see the parts, she
would say so. She has no reason to lie about it. Nor is she confused
about what she saw. She is a professional and is used to looking at

Let it never be said that I participated in the vilification of a
nonexistent person. That just wouldn't be right. For the record, the
argument here is not that Judge's friend is a liar. No, the argument
here is that John Judge is a liar. And not a particularly good one --
but certainly a very ambitious one. Lest there be any lingering doubt
about that, Judge saves his best for last. In the final paragraph of his
missive, he actually makes the following claim:

One employee saw the nose of the plane crash through her office wall.

No shit? I hope she didn't receive any serious injuries.

In that same paragraph, Judge claims that Flight 77 "flew dangerously
close to the ground, skidding into the ground floor of the Pentagon." In
yet another Pentagon rant, this one from October 23, 2002, Judge made a
similar claim: "the plane bottomed out just short of contact with the
building and bounced into it." That scenario, of course, was long ago
discredited, owing to the fact that it is quite apparent that there was
no damage to the Pentagon lawn consistent with an airplane crash. And
yet, more than three years after the events of September 11, Judge is
still hawking the same story.

The bottom line here is that Judge has quite obviously fabricated an
elaborate tale - allegedly, but not actually, based on the testimony of
unnamed witnesses - and he has used that story to shield himself from
having to deal with the very real evidence anomalies uncovered by
legitimate researchers. For three years, he has asked that we take him
at his word, because he is, after all, the great John Judge. And that,
my friends, is what legend building is all about.

After reviewing Judge's various Pentagon rants, I have a few final
questions for the Tattoo theorists: why did the 'powers that be' feel
the need to call on the services of an established 'conspiracy theorist'
to further gild this lily? Why is John Judge so obviously lying? Or, if
he is isn't lying, then why do all you Tattoo theorists shy away from
referencing his 'work'? After all, he has obviously presented more
evidence in support of your Tattoo theories than anyone else. Isn't the
fact that you choose to ignore his contributions a tacit admission that
you know full well that he is lying his ass off?

So, again I must ask: if the evidence of the crash of Flight 77 is so
persuasive, then why is John Judge gilding the lily?

(Permission is hereby granted for this material to be widely distributed
and reposted, in whole or in part, provided that the content is not

BG: Taranto is a Prick!
Monday, April 11, 2005 2:46 p.m.

Trickery Dickory Dock
John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam*, showed up yesterday at a Boston event, where he was "using crutches as he recovers from knee surgery," reports the Associated Press. He was also using emotional crutches as he recovers from last year's election:
"Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters. . . .
Kerry also cited examples Sunday of how people were duped into not voting.
"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.
Where did Kerry come up with that idea about leaflets saying "Democrats on Wednesday"? Probably from this story, which appeared a week before the election:
With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in the upcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3. . . .
"You can't walk through a black neighborhood here in Miami without seeing our 'Don't Forget Big Wednesday!' message up on a billboard, tacked to a phone booth, or taped to a bus shelter," Monreal added. "The Republican Party has spared no expense in this endeavor."
Before Kerry embarrasses himself further, someone ought to take him aside and explain to him that the Onion is a satirical publication--as is , which came up with the idea first.
* And who by the way promised 71 days ago to release his military records.
Facts Be Damned, I Want a Pulitzer!
Los Angeles Times media columnist Tim Rutten weighs in with a Saturday column bewailing the paucity of Pulitzer Prizes for Iraq reporting:
Three years into the occupation of Iraq by the United States and its allies, this most intensely covered of wars has produced just one Pulitzer Prize for print reporting, three for photojournalism and none for commentary or editorial writing.
"Three years into the occupation of Iraq"? Actually, Iraq has been formally free of occupation since last June, when the coalition turned over sovereignty to the interim government. One could argue that the presence of foreign troops in defense of a friendly regime amounts to a sort of de facto occupation, though by this definition Germany and Japan have been under U.S. occupation for almost 60 years.
In any case, Rutten's column ran on April 9, the second anniversary of Baghdad's fall, so it was not three years into the "occupation," however defined. You'd think someone complaining about the absence of award-winning reporting from Iraq would bother getting the most basic facts straight.
What a Difference a Year Makes
"The U.S. military campaign across Iraq this week infuriated Arabs in the region and brought strident calls for Muslim solidarity against the American-led occupation," reports the April 10 Washington Post:
Throughout the week, Arabic-language television networks have repeatedly aired images of U.S. tanks rumbling through Fallujah, a mosque damaged by a U.S. bomb and the corpses of Iraqis killed in the heaviest fighting in almost a year.
Arab commentators have compared the U.S. offensive to Israel's tactics against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, reinforcing long-standing Arab fears that the United States has no intention of leaving the region.
Leading Arab newspapers and clerics have praised Iraqi insurgents and the emerging anti-U.S. alliance among Sunni and Shiite Muslims as a turning point in the fight against the occupation.
Don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds. That's because this article appeared in the Post on April 10, 2004, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the liberation of Baghdad. The second anniversary, by contrast, has even the Shiite "insurgents" expressing their anti-Americanism the way anti-American Americans do, by taking to the streets in protest. From yesterday's Post :
Tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims loyal to the militant cleric Moqtada Sadr on Saturday surged into the Baghdad square where the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled two years ago, demanding a timetable for the U.S. military's withdrawal from Iraq, release of their leaders jailed by American forces and a speedy trial for Hussein. . . .
Sadr's followers had predicted a million people would turn out, but the actual number, while substantial, fell short. The crowd appeared to be overwhelmingly Shiite, despite a call by a leading Sunni cleric in Baghdad for his followers to join protests.
Today's New York Times , meanwhile, reports that "senior commanders and Pentagon officials say" that the U.S. may be able to begin withdrawing some troops from Iraq within a year as the enemy weakens:
Attacks on allied forces have dropped to 30 to 40 a day, down from an average daily peak of 140 in the prelude to the Jan. 30 elections but still roughly at the levels of a year ago. Only about half the attacks cause casualties or damage, but on average one or more Americans die in Iraq every day, often from roadside bombs. Thirty-six American troops died there in March, the lowest monthly death toll since 21 died in February 2004.
The Washington Times reports that top terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi "is on the run in an undeveloped western border region where he was nearly caught in recent weeks." So says Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, who adds: "He's going from brush pile to brush pile just like a wet rat."
Unpatriotic Dissent Watch
On Friday we noted a refreshing quote from 46-year-old "antiwar activist" Connie Harris, who was participating in an anti-Iraq "die-in" at Ohio University: "I was born in America, and I can honestly say I'm not proud to be an American." (In that item, since corrected, we misstated the name of the student newspaper. It is the Post, not the Ohio Daily.)
A reader calls our attention to another quote from an openly unpatriotic American, Robert Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, who at a March 19 "antiwar rally" in Austin declared: "These challenges can be condensed into a simple choice: We can be Americans, or we can be human beings."
Jensen also said: "Our immediate message is clear: U.S. out of Iraq now. The U.S. occupation of Iraq cannot bring security and democracy in Iraq. It is an impediment to security and democracy." This was just under seven weeks after the Iraqi elections--elections Jensen didn't even mention in his speech. Perhaps the news is slow to reach Texas' capital.
Metaphor Alert
From a column by Robert L. Jamieson Jr. in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ("intelligent as a post!"):
The Republican Red Scare is on the loose. Again.
The swirling forces of smear and sneer are now looking to a skeletal graybeard to legitimize their cause: Slade Gorton.
The former U.S. senator from Washington has slithered back into the politics pool. Gorton says King County "has the worst elections administration of any county in the United States." . . .
One would have hoped the éminence grise of Evergreen State politics would be above shooting hyperbole from the hip to stir up the masses. . . .
Gorton's splash was about partisan puffery, not a fleshing of meaningful facts.
Pretty much the whole article is like this, but respect for intellectual property prevents our giving you more than a taste.
Too Much Tolerance Watch
"A sixth-grader and two of his friends were suspended after being accused of using phony dollar bills made on a home computer to buy food in the school cafeteria," the Associated Press reports from West Seattle, Wash.:
On Monday, a cafeteria worker at James Madison Middle School found a dollar bill that didn't look or feel like the real thing. . . .
Seattle Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said the boy made 20 fake dollar bills on his aunt's computer, brought them to school and shared them with his friends.
The King County Prosecutors' Office is reviewing the case and deciding whether to file charges. School officials suspended the three boys for several days.
So if you bring a penknife to school, you're liable to get expelled. Commit a federal felony, though, and "several days" suspension will suffice.
The Clinton Legacy
Do you know what the "down low" is? We sure didn't, but the Collegian, the world-famous student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, gave us the lowdown:
The "down low," a term that is now being used to describe men who are in relationships with women, while secretly having sex with other men is a myth perpetuated by the media said a speaker at the University of Massachusetts Thursday evening.
Keith Boykin, a former Clinton aide and author of the book, "Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies and Denial in Black America," was the keynote speaker for the Stonewall Center's Gaypril events.
According to the Collegian, Boykin said, in the paper's words, that "men having sex with other men even while they are in relationships with women has been happening for a long time." But it is a myth perpetuated by the media.
"Boykin also stated that being on the down low was 'not a Black thing,' " citing the case of Jim McGreevey, former governor of New Jersey. But it is a myth perpetuated by the media.
"Another misconception that Boykin says King's book perpetuated, is that the down low is 'a gay thing,' " the paper reports. "Men who cheat on their girlfriends/wives with other women are on the down low too." But ladies, if you're afraid your boyfriend/husband is fooling around, don't worry. It is a myth perpetuated by the media!
Commie Comestibles
Another triumph in collegiate journalism is an article called "The Real Communists Party III." Jim Cavan, writing in the New Hampshire, the student newspaper at the University of New Hampshire, opines that health food is a commie plot:
If, for instance, a group of four people is confronted with a decision between eating at McDonald's or dining at the local organic sandwich shop, chances are good that in the decision-making process, arguments as to why McDonald's is an evil, unsustainable drug-peddler will tend to (hopefully) carry the day. However, four individuals deciding individually where to eat will tend to rely on their own past behaviors and present opinions and conviction, and will act without much self-critical thought.
From that day forward, the four involved in the collective decision-making process, with any luck, given the same or similar choice in restaurants, will choose the organic sandwich shop.
So, it is with the "communist" revolution: Our ability to create and maintain a more just, sustainable society depends on our ability to step outside our individual interests and figure out, through communicative action, what is objectively right.
Where we went to college there supposedly was an Ayn Rand club that would hold pizza parties. Everyone was required to have his own individual-size pizza, because the normal practice of sharing a large pie was "collectivist."
Lady Fingers
"The woman who claims she bit into a human finger while eating chili at a Wendy's restaurant has a history of filing lawsuits--including a claim against another fast-food restaurant," reports the Associated Press. It seems 39-year-old Anna Ayala "has been involved in at least half a dozen legal battles in the San Francisco Bay area," including a sexual-harassment case and a suit against a car dealer:
Speaking through the front door of her Las Vegas home Friday, Ayala claimed police are out to get her and were unnecessarily rough as they executed a search warrant at her home on Wednesday.
"Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing," she said. "They should look at Wendy's. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?"
Ayala acknowledged, however, that her family received a settlement for their medical expenses about a year ago after reporting that her daughter, Genesis, got sick from food at an El Pollo Loco restaurant in Las Vegas. She declined to provide any further details.
Apparently her sons, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, ate somewhere else. Oh, and Homer nods: Our item Friday on this subject stated there was "no word" if the chili finger had been checked for prints; in fact the article to which we linked said it had, and no match turned up.
What Would Fungi Do Without Experts?
"Expert: Airport Shoe Removal Invites Fungus"--headline, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), April 9
Why Doesn't HER Give It Back Then?
"Woman Says ME Took Her Brother's Brain"--headline, Associated Press, April 8
This Just In
"More than three-quarters of Germans want the successor of Pope John Paul II to be less 'rigid' about sexual morality and end the Church's ban on contraception, according to a poll published Saturday," Deutsche Welle reports:
About 78 percent of those surveyed said they were in favor of the Catholic Church ending its ban on contraception, and 76 percent wanted the next pope to authorize the use of condoms as part of the fight against the spread of AIDS, the poll said.
In addition, 77 percent of respondents said they wanted to see the ordination of women as priests and 74 percent think that imposing celibacy and chastity on priests is no longer expedient.
So, the Germans think the Roman Catholic Church is too conservative? Isn't DW about 487 years late on this story? Coming next: Germany's low-carb weight-loss craze, the Diet of Worms!
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Today on OpinionJournal:
Review & Outlook : Do Dems want a U.N. ambassador who represents America or Kofi Annan?
John Fund : More funny business in the Washington governor's race. Will there be a new election this year?
Arthur Chrenkoff : A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq.
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