Xymphora blog has very interesting 9/11 details
July 23, 2002 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Xymphora blog has very interesting 9/11 details The links here suggest that the govt had more information than was initially released, and that only through piecing together various reports (here) do we get a fuller picture which seems at odds with what we had previously been told. Important: this is not a conspiracy theory but rather what seems a clarification.
posted by Postroad (25 comments total)
Since Day 1 (9.11), I found it hard to believe that the hijackers had only boxcutters to take over an aircraft of more than a hundred people. This "box cutter" theory works well to shield airlines and the gov from lawsuits and more bad PR.

Off topic:

Is it just me, or is the security at LAX increasingly lax? Not a week goes by (or so it seems) that we don't here of another evacuation due to a "suspicious" package.
posted by ( .)(. ) at 9:56 AM on July 23, 2002

Does this mean I can take my wooden knitting needles back on flights with me? Only a very cruel government separates a white-knuckle flyer from her knitting.
posted by kristin at 10:02 AM on July 23, 2002

Why the "this is not a conspiracy theory" caveat, Postroad? It's a clear example of the kind of site that builds a case for a detailed conspiracy by looking for holes in various official versions of what happened. The June 24 entry makes it clear:

The classic article supporting a conspiracy theory about the events of September 11 is Michael Ruppert's "Oh Lucy! - You Gotta Lotta 'Splainin To Do", originally published November 2, 2001, and updated since. Everyone should just read it, and see what all the fuss is about.

Also see whatreallyhappened.com, of course. It goes heavy on the Israeli spy ring story, one of the most actively underplayed elements of 9/11.
posted by mediareport at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2002


I also like the details of the crap with Harken that the press is so nicely covering up.
posted by SpecialK at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2002

Does this mean I can take my wooden knitting needles back on flights with me?

I'm sorry, no. Your knitting needles must be constructed of either sheer willpower or, in certain states, very soft cheese.
posted by Skot at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2002

Isn't constantly evacuating the airport because of a suspicious package the exact oppisite of lax security?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2002

This guy is on par the with the Jesuit-hater from a few threads down. No conspiracy is too wacky (or easily disproved) for him to spout forth on. Just on a quick scan, I see that he doesn't believe Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, that John Doe No. 2 worked security at Logan, and that the Howard Stern-fan crank call on July 4 was actually part of the plot to cover up the fact that the LAX shooter really was a white man with a pony tail.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
posted by yhbc at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2002

Watch out, yhbc. There's an awful lot of baby with that bathwater you're tossing out the window. I've always found the "midair plane switch" element of some conspiracy tales unconvincing, to say the least, but I do think there's decent evidence for the idea that, say, Flight 93 was actually shot down by U.S. military planes. And I no longer have any doubt that warnings about 9/11 were deliberately ignored by some people in the U.S. government. How high it went and what specific reasons they had remain open questions, I suppose, but the general outline of a "conspiracy" is very clear here.
posted by mediareport at 10:14 AM on July 23, 2002

Yhbc is right. This is the same sort of nonsense that you're seeing from the Frenchman who write that silly book "L'effroyable imposture."

Luckily, cooler heads have largely prevailed. The folks at snopes.com have also done a fairly extensive page on the subject.

Moreover, nobody seems to have a coherent theory about what was actually done and why, even if what they claim is true. Was the government aware of the WTC attacks and decided to destroy its own building too, just for the hell of it? Were they behind the WTC attacks as well? Come on.
posted by lackutrol at 10:28 AM on July 23, 2002

Wow. Where to start...

While there may have been more time to shoot down Flight 93 than the other planes, there should have been sufficient time to intercept all of them, and especially Flight 77.

That's just silly. I can't think of a single hijacked plane that has ever been shot out of the air so there's no reason to think that would have been the first course of action on 9/11. I also can't think of how even the people on the ground who knew right away that terrorists had hijacked the planes could have had any idea what was planned for them. I'll wager the thought "shit, we're being attacked" didn't enter most people's mind until the second plane hit the towers. That's two planes that got through his logic right there. And even if some high level government baddies did have advanced knowledge and did nothing about it, I submit to you that anyone evil enough to let something like that happen for whatever nefarious political goal would be more than evil enough to just go ahead and let the planes crash into the towers without worrying about intercepting them.

If the hijackers managed to have weapons on the planes it raises the issue of corruption in the airport security systems.

Possibly. But he seems to be treating it as a foregone conclusion. Hijackings by passengers who smuggled weapons on to planes with no outside help have happened before and despite the fact that I can no longer cut my nails on the plane, probably will again.
posted by Cyrano at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2002

Regarding Flight 77 people saw it happen! Lots of people on I-395 a major highway going into DC which has a clear view of the Pentagon. How could anyone deny this invalidates the rest of his theories by simple lack of credibility and intelligence.
posted by stbalbach at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2002

Regarding Flight 77 people saw it happen! Lots of people on I-395 a major highway going into DC which has a clear view of the Pentagon. How could anyone deny this invalidates the rest of his theories by simple lack of credibility and intelligence.

Easily. That is not a logical conclusion. Credibility and intelligence have nothing to do with the truth. For example, even Shrub can tell the truth on occasion.

The eyewitnesses refute only one portion of the argument and not the entire thing. The rest simply lacks evidence either way.
posted by srboisvert at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2002

What I don't get about the theory that a plane didn't hit the Pentagon is that there's no explanation for the missing plane and missing people. Is American Airlines missing an airplane or not? If the plane didn't hit the Pentagon, what happened to the flight crew and passengers?
posted by kirkaracha at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2002

I'm trying to be careful here, b/c we all know how easy it is to go overboard with this stuff and leave the facts in the dust. Many folks have claimed that the large deviations from normal flight paths that morning should have been enough to quickly trigger scrambled jets. They also claim that normal FAA, NORAD and military procedures were not followed.

It is true that chaos and inefficiency are generally good explanations for delay, but a look at the Flight 93 timeline makes it difficult to believe that there wasn't time for fighter jets to react. In fact, here's a Sept. 13 report that quotes an FAA employee saying that an F-16 fighter closely pursued Flight 93 until it crashed. Is it really kneejerk nutcase theorizing to say there's a plausible pattern in the evidence that suggests Flight 93 was shot down? The fact that the FBI has still refused to release the full cockpit tape sure doesn't put speculation to rest.

Basic rules of conspiracy-mongering apply here, of course: 1) Don't trust any one source to give you the whole story, 2) Don't let the presence of a claim that seems absurd prevent you from carefully considering the others and 3) Decide for yourself what's plausible, what's proven and what's stupid. Simple, really.
posted by mediareport at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2002

Why go to the trouble of faking a plane hitting the Pentagon?

What does it achieve?

Surely there are less troublesome ways for the conspirators to achieve their nefarious goals?
posted by fullerine at 12:07 PM on July 23, 2002

Just to clarify, since there are multiple threadlets here, I'm talking about the flight that crashed into the field in Pennsylvania, not the one that hit the Pentagon, which is Flight 77.

If the plane didn't hit the Pentagon, what happened to the flight crew and passengers?

Oboy, kirkaracha, you are in for a treat. Unfortunately, the mix of good stuff and wilder speculations probably hurts more than helps.
posted by mediareport at 12:13 PM on July 23, 2002

mediareport, you missed some important rules of "conspiracy-mongering":
4) You need to have a reasonable motive for your conspiracies.
5) Never attribute to conspiracy anything that can be explained by incompetence, bureaucracy, and/or stupidity.

Which effectively tanks most of this, along with most other conspiracy theories.
posted by malphigian at 12:24 PM on July 23, 2002

Occam had something to say about theories, too. And yes, mixing in completely wild speculations (and letting your biases show) also makes me feel just fine about completely disregarding the theories in toto.

And just to bring him up again, if Mr. The-Jesuits-Are-Coming had one bit on his site claiming to have found ASTONISHING AND INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF that the sun rises in the East, I would tend to doubt him simply by the taint of his other stuff. It is even so with the "we did it to ourselves" school of conspiracy.
posted by yhbc at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2002

Actually, malphigian, a version of your #5 is one of my favorite rules; I mention it before the CNN link above. "Never" is far too strong a word, though. Speaking generally, it's entirely possible that a given conspiracy can be covered up by planted evidence that points to simple incompetence, and reasonable observers will keep that in mind. You've "effectively tanked" nothing.

As to #4, I don't "need" anything to demand answers to questions about the failure to scramble military jets.

Or about this, from unanswered questions.org's list of the 11 top questions:

682 hijackings have occurred worldwide since 1972. All were thoroughly investigated. Nearly a year has passed and the four hijackings of 9-11 have neither been investigated by the FAA nor the subject of pubic hearings...Why is this so vehemently blocked and resisted by the Administration and others? Why, according to Senator Daschle, did both the President and the Vice-president lobby him for no investigation whatsoever?
posted by mediareport at 12:45 PM on July 23, 2002

Why is this so vehemently blocked and resisted by the Administration and others?

That's a good question, but the burden of proof now rests on you to provide an answer. Just asking "why" and feeling vindicated when those who disagree don't have an answer is pretty standard conspiracy theorist fare. And proves nothing to boot
posted by Cyrano at 12:57 PM on July 23, 2002

I just realized that the link I gave kirkaracha didn't really address the question asked. What I was looking for was a link to one of the folks who claim that a high percentage of the names released on the flight lists were people with intelligence connections who were given new identities elsewhere, along with the innocent victims. Oookay... It's that kind of thing that really makes it hard to keep digging into this stuff.

yhbc: Cavalier dismissals of all 9/11 questions by lumping them in with more absurd elements is a completely illogical strategy for finding the truth. I do understand how you'd be less inclined to trust a source if they include idiotic, unsupported claims. Just don't dismiss other claims that might be better supported elsewhere *just because* they also show up on a site you deem untrustworthy. Does that make sense?

malphigian: it's not clear to me which elements of the discussion you're singling out. Are you suggesting there's no "reasonable motive" for officials to cover up a possible downing of Flight 93? Again, I'm trying to be very careful here. This kind of discussion can turn into quicksand very easily.
posted by mediareport at 1:02 PM on July 23, 2002

I dislike just about any and every conspiracy theory. If you do searching through Google for flight 93, you will find many folks who believe that 3 planes crashed on 9/11 and that the 4th, down in Pa., was shot out of the sky by our scrambled plane. The "theory" on this is that it was heading for the White House and that the ealier planes had already crashed into targets.
Which rasies the question: why would the govt shoot down the plane and soon after say heroes aboard rushed the bad guys and the plane crashed?
Here is one link to play with. Don't yell at me. I am sensitive and frail.
Flight 93
posted by Postroad at 1:21 PM on July 23, 2002

Are you suggesting there's no "reasonable motive" for officials to cover up a possible downing of Flight 93?

There is a weak motive, sure, but one that would be pretty easy to explain (we had to shoot it down to save more lives). For that weak motive they involve X number of people in a conspiracy in the military and FAA.

The alternate explanation: Somebody in the military screwed up and failed to scramble the jets in time... that's VERY easy to see happening, and doesn't require conspiracy. I'd say the burden is on you folks to explain how it couldn't possibly be incompetance and must be a far fetched cover up.

So much of the other stuff, like the "claims" you mention above, have poor support (a journalist with no reputation reporting barely attributed quotes to un-named sources in various organizations).

Honestly, conspiracy theory in general (not you mediareport, since you're plenty level headed) seems like religion to me. People who refuse to accept that bad things might happen out of stupidity and random chance, and so must attribute everything bad to supercompetant malevolent forces.
posted by malphigian at 1:32 PM on July 23, 2002

My favorite Flight 93-related conspiracy theory is the one where Flights 11, 175, and 77 were all diverted to the same place and all the passengers and crew from those flights were loaded onto Flight 93 with the passengers and crew from that flight...the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were flown either robotically or by remote control (I think it was remote control) and Flight 93 took off and was shot down by the government. Anyone remember that one?

(I tried to find a link to it but couldn't...if someone else can find it, go ahead and post it. It was much more elaborate and detailed.)
posted by SisterHavana at 1:53 PM on July 23, 2002

That's the one I was thinking of, SisterHavana. I've had people explain it to me in detail, napkin drawings and all. It's quite involved and, to me, not very believable.

Btw, here's a take on the "simple incompetence" theory that's considered a must-read by conspiratorial types. It claims that when golfer Payne Stewart's plane failed to respond to instructions back in 1999, it took all of 4.5 minutes for the controller to call in the military, and 16 minutes after that for an F-16 to fly by and see Stewart frozen in the cockpit: "It's standard procedure, followed routinely, to call in the Air Force when radio contact with a commercial passenger jet is lost, or the plane departs from its flight path, or anything along those lines occurs." Agree with the more extreme conspiracies or not, I think a reasonable person can be forgiven for wondering why no one seems to have followed that procedure on 9/11.

Also, Reed Irvine's conservative Accuracy in Media filed a FOI request for Flight 93's cockpit voice recording and has a good summary of the problems with the FBI's various explanations.

There is a weak motive, sure

We'll just disagree here, malphigian. On that day, preserving the notion of heroic Americans taking down Flight 93 would hardly have seemed like a "weak motive." And knowing what we do about the lies Ari Fleischer was telling immediately after the crashes makes it easy for me to accept that the administration's immediate reaction would be to launch a cover-up. I see very little difference in simplicity or plausibility in the two explanations you cite.
posted by mediareport at 3:58 PM on July 23, 2002

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