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What does Wille Brown's staff know that we don't?
September 13, 2001 9:31 AM   Subscribe

What does Wille Brown's staff know that we don't? Apparently, Mayor Brown got a warning 8 hours before the attack, and is still in SF because he heeded their advice. What did they know and how did they know it?
posted by mathowie (19 comments total)

 
As for other insider information, I heard from a friend in Long Island that some people in NY are quietly wondering why the plane loads were so light -- that normally they were packed commuter flights, and that a 200-seater normally doesn't fly with just 50 people, that this indicates insider information. I know that every cross-country flight I've ever taken has been full. I can't find any mentions of this in the media. Does anyone have real information on whether those flights were honestly unnaturally light?
posted by fotzepolitic at 9:44 AM on September 13, 2001


That's an excellent question, fotzepolitic, and one I haven't heard anyone else mention yet. It does seem odd that the total number of passengers on all four of the hijacked airliners is about the full capacity of just one of them.
posted by dnash at 9:54 AM on September 13, 2001


mathowie, yeah, I heard him say that on TV, and it made me wonder. Weird. As to why the planes used in the attacks were so light, one theory is the terrorists may have purchased many other seats so they'd be empty and have less people to worry about controlling mid-flight. Makes sense, but then I wonder if gate agents noticed an unusually high number of no-shows. (sorry I'm not citing a source, but passing along conjecture)
posted by msacheson at 9:55 AM on September 13, 2001


Don't know if it's at all related, but the FAA imposed travel restrictions on Salman Rushdie before the attacks, banning him from flights into and out of the U.S. The linked article omniously states that this reflects "a heightened state of alert." This article appeared on Tuesday morning.
posted by transient at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2001


Early morning flights on Tuesdays are mostly business trips -- and as everyone knows, business travel has been way, way down.

Overpurchasing tickets leaves a long, long paper trail. I think it is more likely that they had multiple criteria which day would be "strike day." Most important would be clear weather in the target zone, but low passenger loads might also have been one. You can easily check on the Internet how many seats are sold on a flight the night before.
posted by MattD at 10:02 AM on September 13, 2001


They were early AM flights. It is possible they weren't booked full. I recently was on an evening flight that had only 10 people on a 100 seat plane.
posted by LeiaS at 10:02 AM on September 13, 2001


Also unconfirmed, my son came home from school on Tuesday; two of his classmates have brothers in the Marines who were unexpectedly called in on alert status in the middle of the night before the attacks. Anybody know of anything similar? I too wonder if this is just paranoia looking for patterns in the background noice, or if there is something substantive here to discover. I hope I'm just paranoid.
posted by JParker at 10:10 AM on September 13, 2001


Sorry; I don't know what's up with the link I provided above. Search globeandmail.ca for "salman rushdie" and take a look at the fourth result.
posted by transient at 10:12 AM on September 13, 2001


I know that there was a train going through Albuquerque last night, heading east, carrying tanks. A friend of mine got video footage, but I didn't hear anything on any of the local news outlets. Not sure if it's even important.
posted by sugarfish at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2001


>and is still in SF because he heeded their advice.

Where did you read that? I thought the article said he was getting ready for his flight as scheduled tues. morning when he heard about the disaster.
posted by ericost at 10:45 AM on September 13, 2001


i have flown several near empty flights from dallas to san francisco and back. of course, i live in a hub city so those planes have to be moved around full or not. every flight i've ever had to or from any airport in the dc area has been packed though - regardless of the time of day/year.
posted by centrs at 11:03 AM on September 13, 2001


There had been a heightened military alert status, particularly in the Pacific theater, going back at least a week -- e.g. this threat warning for US forces in Japan, which obliquely mentions Osama bin Laden and the idea that his group was seeking a "public venue" to attack Americans, issued on September 7. It's still not clear whether this was due to specific threats, to intelligence findings, or what, particularly given the latest rumor there was a brief detainment last month of a trained pilot who may have been involved.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 AM on September 13, 2001


The last time I flew to L.A., a couple months ago (on, United Flight 175, I think, sigh), the plane was far from full.
posted by agaffin at 12:08 PM on September 13, 2001


so will amateur historians of the future compare Bush to FDR who supposedly had warning of the Pearl Harbor attack?

that seems bitterly funny somehow...
posted by mjane at 12:40 PM on September 13, 2001


>two of his classmates have brothers in the Marines who were unexpectedly called in on alert status in the middle of the night before the attacks. Anybody know of anything similar?

Sort of - My grandparents in Virginia Beach go to church every Sunday on Oceana Naval Air Station. Grandmother said this past Sunday, for the first time she remembers, the guard at the base gate had a rifle, and they actually checked people's I.D.'s instead of just waving them on. So my grandparents knew something was up cuz the base was on alert.
posted by dnash at 1:24 PM on September 13, 2001


Hard to know how to even Google for this, but I remember research from many years ago that suggested that planes that crash and/or are hijacked tended to have larger than normal numbers of "no shows". The implication was that those people had some form of low-grade ESP or other intuition that had kept them home. Anyone else remember this? Got linkage?
posted by ivey at 1:43 PM on September 13, 2001


ivey: I believe it's because that the no-shows had read of the flights impending doom in a Nostradomus propecy....

...or something.
posted by Dennis Hopper at 1:52 PM on September 13, 2001


It's not all that uncommon for those flights to be lightly booked. Early a.m. departures (06:00, 06:30) are pretty heavily booked because fares are lower and you can get more business done if you arrive earlier flying east to west. Business travel is WAY down, and the most expensive routes are always the ones that suffer first. SF is expensive to fly into, so is L.A. Logic would dictate those flights, which are late-morning by regular biztravel standards, might be lightly booked.
posted by TeamBilly at 2:32 PM on September 13, 2001


Ivey - I remember something similar. I searched for a lot of things in google, but "statistics passengers plane crash ESP no show" (LOL) came up with this link from a kundalini-tantra site which I excerpt: Some people perceive aspects of the future which are directly important to their welfare and sometimes people see events in the future which are remote from them involving the lives of others. Much of this type of information cannot have come from knowledge available to the individual and subsequent thought processes determining a future event. One of the better examples of this comes from the airline industry. In spite of their excellent safety record, airplanes do crash. Out of these sad statistics comes a small light of hope. Analysis of the seating population of airplanes that crash vs. airplanes that don't crash indicates 30 percent of the normal passengers decide not to go on that plane. In other words, planes that crash have about 30 percent fewer people on them than on planes that don't crash. People cancel on these death trips in a number of ways. Some planes just don't sell a full load of tickets. Other planes have large amounts of no-shows. Others cancel tickets at the last minute, change their flight plans, etc. The fact is that at some level, people are aware of the future of that plane and react to it, saving their lives. How many people get on the plane knowing it will crash and ignoring the information because we have been taught that to follow such a hunch is wrong. Now, no one on that plane from passenger to pilot can possibly know that a bolt is cracked and will fail this flight. Not even the chief mechanic, the F.A.A., nor the manufacturer may be aware of even the slightest problem. And yet, somehow, some way, some of the passengers get the message and save their lives. Actually, a fairly large statistical group, large enough that a half-empty plane should set up a red flag for all on board. Since it is clearly impossible to know about the mechanical failure or other random event about to happen, these planes should be as full as the average and not significantly emptier. Where does this information cone from? Science does not yet have a functional answer. They don't quote any numbers or sources, but it's the general idea of what I remember. (sorry its so long - LOL)
posted by thunder at 10:13 PM on September 13, 2001


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