To Con a Movement: Exposing CIT’s PentaCon ‘Magic Show’

To Con a Movement:  Exposing CIT’s PentaCon ‘Magic Show’
by Victoria Ashley
Version 1.1, Aug 1, 2009

Table of Contents

* The Opposite of Science
* History of the Flyover Theory
* One Fifth of a Theory at Best
* In Search of a Flyover Witness
* A Pattern of Disruption
* Pentaconned!
* Consequences
* Recommended Reading


This essay examines the work of the Citizen Investigation Team (CIT), a team of two people who claim to prove that a complicated “magic show” occurred during the Pentagon attack on 9/11/01, fooling all of the witnesses and surviving victims of the event into believing that American Airlines Flight 77 (AA77) hit the Pentagon, when instead, it flew just over the building, obscured by a simultaneous explosion, and then somehow flew away, unnoticed by anyone in the area (the “flyover” theory). CIT took their camcorders and went to Washington, DC, where they interviewed a select group of Pentagon attack eye witnesses whom they believe, indicate a different flightpath from the accepted flightpath (the one described by a trail of damage leading up to the building). These interviews, it is claimed, provide the primary “evidence” for the flyover theory.

Or so we are led to believe.

The general conclusion that “no plane” or “no Boeing” could have hit the Pentagon — widely accepted by skeptics of the official version of events of the Pentagon attack, even as it is generally not carefully examined — is based on a series of erroneous physical evidence claims. The details of these common errors made by investigators of the Pentagon attack are not the purpose of this essay, but have already been described in What the Physical Evidence Shows.

The purpose of this essay is to critically examine the claims, methods and themes employed by CIT in their attempts to make the case for the flyover theory. This essay will show that CIT’s claims about what happened in the Pentagon attack on 9/11/01 are without a meaningful scientific process and are reliant on biased interpretations of broad statements made by less than 20 witnesses to the attack, 8 years after the event. The witness recordings made by CIT are sometimes muddled, are significantly edited, and at times appear to have almost nothing to do with what CIT interprets from them, leaving many video viewers and forum readers, told they would see “proofs”, frustrated and perplexed about what is going on.

At the heart of it, what CIT has really created from the witness accounts is an elaborate historical fictional drama focused around the narrow theme of witnesses appearing to describe a different flightpath for the plane that day. Without any viable corroborating evidence for the claim that the plane never hit, but instead flew over the building, the filmmakers instead offer up a fascinating premise:

“Everything was faked!”

So what began as an innocent sounding exploration of discrepancies in eye witness testimony, moves on to “proofs” of how the existing damage incurred during the attack could not have happened from the impact of a large Boeing. A summary of the many “it was faked” claims indicates a somewhat daunting if not entirely ridiculous premise for the “flyover”:

* Lamp posts downed by plane impact: faked* Generator damage by engine impact: faked
* Boeing parts on the ground and inside the building: faked
* Impact hole cutout in the Pentagon matching a 757-sized jetliner: faked
* Recovered DNA identifying Flight 77 passengers and crew: faked
* Recovered victim personal effects provided to family members: faked
* All witnesses to the plane impact: plants or confused about what they saw plane crash damage and debris

And at this point, the doubts are just beginning. Given the complexity of such fakery and sleight of hand, most who attempt to confirm the full story end up at one of several dead ends in the scenario. The claim that so much evidence at the scene of the Pentagon was staged in advance, so precisely and amidst hundreds of people in all directions, simply to make it appear that the plane which approached the building had actually impacted it, strains credulity and logic.

Because as most readers and viewers quickly surmise, far easier than all of the elaborate fakery, would have been to simply ram a plane into the building, just as was done in NYC. That would be one part of the official story. While CIT claims that anyone who believes the plane hit the building is endorsing the official story, in reality, there is a overwhelming case for insider involvement in the Pentagon attack consistent with the impact of Flight 77.

Thus, it is important to have a look at another possibility, another reality, in which the “no Boeing impact” claims had never happened in the first place, and instead — rather than endless internal sqabbles of what that hit the Pentagon and easy media attacks about “conspiracy theorists” who think the plane never hit and the passengers were dumped into the ocean — the many other glaring questions, anomalies and absurdities of the Pentagon attack story, essentially ignored by media and the 9/11 Commission, had had even a fraction of as much energy devoted to them as “no Boeing impact” claims.

What is that story, and what are those questions?

What CIT and many other no-Boeing-impact focused efforts have created is essentially a historical vacuum in which readers and viewers are disconnected from the original larger context of the attack and its aftermath, in favor of the hyped soap opera mystery in which an elderly cab driver’s apparent role in the attack is central, rather than officials in Bush Administration who were in charge that day.

According to the official story, at about 9:37 AM, American Airlines Flight 77 flew toward the western face of the Pentagon and exploded as it smashed through the the facade, primarily on the first floor. The jetliner approached the capital from the northwest and executed a 320-degree descending spiral, losing seven thousand feet before leveling out at nearly tree-top height as it made its final approach to the Pentagon to hit the section of the building containing mostly unoccupied offices under renovation. The crash damaged the building, caused a partial collapse, and ignited a large fire which took days to completely extinguish. All 64 people on the airliner and 125 Pentagon workers were killed (55 military personnel and 70 civilians) and over 150 were treated for injuries at local hospitals. The medical examiner’s office initially identified remains belonging to 179 of the victims, but in November of 2001, using DNA analysis, a team of more than 50 forensic specialists identified 184 of the 189 killed. Dozens of people witnessed the approach and or crash of AA77, including drivers on Washington Boulevard, Interstate 395, and Columbia Pike, as well as others located in Pentagon City and Crystal City. News sources began reporting on the incident within minutes.

However, almost entirely ignored by news sources, or whitewashed in official reports, have been these persistent questions:

* How was it possible that the Pentagon was hit 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began?

* Why was there no response from Andrews Air Force Base, just over 10 miles away and home to Air National Guard units charged with defending the skies above the nation’s capital?

* Why did F-16s fail to protect Washington on 9/11? Was the Langley emergency response sabotaged?

* Why did Flight 77 hit a part of the building opposite from the high command and mostly empty and under renovation, with majority of victims being civilian accountants?

* Why were Pentagon workers not evacuated or warned that Flight 77 was approaching, despite those in the bunker tracking the attack plane as it closed the final 50 miles to the Pentagon?

* How could Flight 77 have been piloted through its extreme aerobatic final maneuvers by Hani Hanjour, a failed Cessna pilot who had never flown a jet?

* Why did the flight instructor who certified Hani Hanjour, a former Israeli paratrooper, disappear a few days after his 9/11 Commission interview?

* Why was a war game drill used to vacate the National Reconnaissance Office for the duration of the attack?

* How was a C-130 pilot able to intercept the plane incoming to the Pentagon while NORAD was not?

* Did the Pentagon, the nerve center of the US military, really have no missile or anti-aircraft defenses?

* What were Vice-president Cheney’s orders when Norman Mineta described him speaking to a young man in the presidential bunker as the plane approached, saying, “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary?

It isn’t hard to see how these points have been easily eclipsed by the mystery and intrigue of the “no-Boeing-impact” scenarios, which read as though scripted from the pages of a best-selling fictional Tom Clancy novel:

Breathless cherry-picked recorded excerpts of eyewitness accounts suggesting missiles, drones and flyovers, slick video and flash presentations depicting the impossibility of the engine parts and debris being that of a Boeing, government officials in dark suits rushing around to confiscate everything they could carry off the lawn just moments after the attack, planes flying above and “seeding” the area with fake plane crash debris, screaming headlines about the “virtual confession” of a mild mannered witness who is “in on it” . . . without really knowing he is . . . This, we are told, was all part of the “magic show” necessary to confuse and deceive everyone for miles around the Pentagon to achieve the ultimate “It was all faked!” scenario.

Such enticing best-selling hype would overshadow the comparably mundane points listed above and essentially redirect those interested in what happened at the Pentagon into a house of mirrors and labyrinth of dead ends. Absurdities of endless scenarios of fakery arise, capped by the famous “conspiracy theorist” response to every reporter’s favorite question:

“Maybe the passengers were dumped into the ocean, how should I know what happened to them?!”

The claims of fakery are particularly useful to lure those who have decided that AA77 could not have hit the building but do not have the time to closely examine the evidence — because when everything is fake, anything becomes possible.

Importantly, any “no Boeing” operation would have been left highly vulnerable to exposure by even a single camcorder or photograph of the missile, military jet, A-3 Skywarrior, Global Hawk, etc. But with the flyover claim, there are the additional vulnerabilities of someone seeing the plane flying away or the lampposts toppling without being hit, among all of the other allegedly staged fakery at scene.

Further, issues like the DNA being falsified, the passengers being disposed of, the radar data being tampered with, etc., begins to feed into the “vast conspiracy” debunker claims — that there would have been no way to hide a conspiracy consciously involving hundreds or more — repeatedly brought forth to make the “conspiracy theories” appear impossible.

Finally, this essay is not the production of one person, but includes the contributions by many, through numerous quotes and excerpts from a variety of forums and essays on the Web where many individuals have debated what happened at the Pentagon during the attack of 9/11/01. Because the work of CIT is so voluminous – some conclude that they must work full-time on it — any one individual cannot adequately respond to so many detailed points. Researcher ‘Arabesque’ has come closest to providing the most comprehensive critiques, and continues to. But for that work he has been repeatedly labeled as an “agent”, has been told, “we are coming for you”, and other such offenses. Responses like these are not uncommon when one attempts to engage in coherent critique and debate over CIT’s work.

Hence, all of us who learn anything from this essay — and myself in the writing of it — are indebted to the many activists and researchers who took the time to examine the claims critically and to engage in what often amounted to a vicious online battle. While the Citizen Investigation Team appears to be a “grassroots” team, it actually consists of Aldo Marquis and Craig Ranke and is the “Citizen Investigation Team LLC”. Indeed, the formation of a limited liability corporation would seem to be necessary given the methods engaged in by CIT of recording individuals without their knowledge and reframing witness statements to fit a conclusion opposite to what they believe themselves to be describing.

The obvious outcome of claiming that witnesses are proving a point which they themselves object to, is shown in a communication from a witness and Pentagon Police Sgt. William Lagasse, who wrote to a website which published claims he had described a flyover (before CIT made the same claims) in 2003:

I live with what I saw everyday of my life, It has taken a long time to deal with the images, screams and anger I felt that day, to be honest your website angered me to the point I wanted to just curse and rant and rave but I decided this would be much more helpful in quelling misconceptions.
The Statements of Sgt. William Lagasse AFPN; June 24, 2003

To some extent, perhaps Sgt Lagasse speaks for many of us, who feel exactly the same way.

Several themes emerge when one examines the dialog, work and methods of CIT as they attempt to protect and advocate the flyover theory — erasing history, claiming an omniscient viewpoint of reality, and using excessive detail and overwhelming amounts of information.
Erasing History

In order to establish their paradigm, CIT must erase any history that contradicts it. The best example of this is the central method of their work, in which their personal interviews of witnesses to the attack are implied to uncover a “real” story beneath the myth, somehow missed by everyone before them. This automatically ejects the entire history of existing eyewitness accounts as invalid and unreliable. Indeed CIT even claims that statements by all previous witnesses are not to be considered. In films like the ‘Pentagon Attack Cab Driver Lloyde England’s Virtual Confession’, only witnesses whom CIT has interviewed are ever mentioned and are referred to as “the witnesses,” as though no other witness accounts exist. Those new to analysis of the Pentagon attack might automatically assume that all other witnesses must not be worthy of examining.
Omniscient Viewpoint

The idea that CIT has an omniscient viewpoint in which they possess the ability to read minds and infer thoughts which others cannot, is common throughout the work and often serves as a primary basis for their claims. Other descriptors for these abilities would be ESP, the use of a Crystal Ball, and Mind Reading. For example, their interpretations of a series of broad statements by the famous and unfortunate cab driver, now elderly, whose car was impaled with a lamp post during the attack, are presented by CIT as a clandestine “virtual confession” to being an accomplice in the Pentagon attack. Along these lines, all evidence that does not agree with the flyover is also labelled as “fake” — as though CIT has special knowledge that a video, witness viewpoint, or other evidence was secretly manipulated on purpose and so in effect, does not exist.

Avalanche of Detail

Finally, by diverting their analysis into a vortex of increasingly detailed claims presented as visually complex satellite photographs of flight paths covered in colored lines, arrows, and other text; post after post of moving GIFs of witnesses; careful transcriptions of each word in murky conversations, numerous and long personal interactions on film leading witnesses into asserting the same points repeatedly, the CIT work serves to paralyze and intimidate typical viewers and researchers. Viewers automatically assume that with so much detail, the filmmakers must be right. Additionally, the tendency of excessive information to result in cognitive distortions by participants has been shown in psychology research.

Each of these techniques, executed in numerous ways in the broad body of work by CIT, functions to undermine coherent scientific analysis and rational conclusions by readers and viewers attempting to understand what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11/01. In this way, overall, CIT’s work is the opposite of scientific analysis.

Example: A Scientific Investigation

Although CIT claims to “prove” their claims, their methods are not scientific nor are their claims proven in any sense of the word. The scientific method involves the proposal of a hypothesis, testing of the hypothesis and documentation of the process in order for independent bodies to replicate and evaluate the investigation.

What CIT has proposed is a hypothesis, but only the appearance of testing and evaluation has occurred. WIthout a scientific basis, the project is not an investigation, but rather, is a series of melodramatic theater pieces about a speculative claim that AA77 flew away from the building and no one noticed. Interviewing witnesses closely in order to understand criminal actions or events can be a crucial instrument in exposing a cover-up or confusing event. However, the method used to investigate the witness statements must utilize the scientific method in order to be considered viable.

An interesting example of manipulation of eyewitness accounts for the purpose of forcing a desired hypothesis about an event can be seen in the investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996:
TWA Flight 800

At approximately 8:30 PM (EDT), on July 17, 1996, at an altitude of 13,800 feet, TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about eight miles south of Long Island, NY. The jetliner was on a regularly scheduled flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France. Good weather and high summertime populations allowed hundreds to observe the crash. Officially, no less than 736 witnesses were interviewed in the immediate aftermath. . . . Moments before the crash, witnesses observed a streak of light rise from the ocean surface. These observations initially caused FBI agents “to suspect that a missile might have been used against flight 800”. Ultimately however, the NTSB concluded that the witnesses mistook the aircraft itself for a missile.
Review of the Official TWA Flight 800 Witness Reports Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization; May 30, 2001

In this case, the existence of a large database of eyewitness statements allowed independent investigators to examine the data, the hypothesis, and the analysis used by the NTSB and FBI, and to reach conclusions which differed from the official reports based on these accounts.

A detailed statistical examination of the database is presented that shows a majority of the witnesses who reported seeing a rising “streak of light” moments before the crash contradict the NTSB’s explanation of the streak and clearly establish that the NTSB theory is untenable.
Review of the Official TWA Flight 800 Witness Reports Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization; May 30, 2001

Rather than asserting that witnesses who did not see a streak were “fake” or “lying” or “confused”, the independent investigators simply examined the full body of accounts for consistent observations across them and reported which ones appeared consistent with a “streak” and which did not. They did not try to eliminate each person who did not see a streak, but merely reported that they did not see one. Additionally, more witness reports indicated a streak than didn’t. The investigators showed that the difference was statistically significant:

A statistical study of a recently released FBI database of 736 witness interview summaries refutes the NTSB’s conclusion. Most significantly, eighty-six percent of the witnesses who described the motion and/or origin of the rising streak reject the NTSB’s explanation. These witnesses observed the streak emanate from the surface when Flight 800 was 2.6 miles (approximately 4 km) above it. Others reported seeing the streak moving along a different trajectory from that of Flight 800 and/or seeing the streak collide with Flight 800 (see “FIRO Witness Statistics” on page 8). The remaining fourteen percent offer no information concerning the streak’s origin.
Review of the Official TWA Flight 800 Witness Reports Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization; May 30, 2001

Note that in this investigation, which follows the scientific method, the investigators also reported inconsistencies — that some reported the streak differently — but did not then throw out or claim these reports to be “not credible”. They merely reported them.

Also note who was manipulating and attempting to hide and reduce the witness reports:

The FBI withheld the accounts of 278 witnesses from the NTSB for more than one year after the crash. All witness accounts with descriptions of a “streak” colliding with an aircraft were concealed from the NTSB in this withheld data. . . At the final public hearing on the crash in August 2000, the NTSB dramatically under-reported the number of witness accounts that conflicted with their proposed crash scenario.
Review of the Official TWA Flight 800 Witness Reports Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization; May 30, 2001

Interestingly, in the case of the Pentagon attack, it is the no-Boeing-impact advocates who claim reasons to under-report and remove — essentially hide — the many witness accounts that refute the assertion that AA77 could not have hit there.

There are significant differences between these catastrophic events: the 9/11/01 attacks were likely staged, while the potential missile hit on Flight 800 did not indicate evidence of planning but seemed to require a cover-up after the fact.

Hence, in the case of the Pentagon attack, it is not inconceivable that some witnesses could have been coached ahead of time to help provide a scenario for the public, if the event was in fact staged and did not involve AA77. However, there is no evidence for this claim of planted witnesses, only speculation.

CIT asserts that at least 4 witnesses are “plants” but provides no hard evidence to establish such a claim except to find inconsistencies in their reports, not unlike the previous claims of Gerard Holmgren, Dick Eastman, and other Pentagon researchers. None of these researchers seem to be aware that there are nearly always inconsistencies within and between eyewitness reports of any crime or major event. Professional investigators know to take into account the nature and proportion of the inconsistencies before declaring to themselves — much less anyone else — that a witness lied.

And more importantly, even if the planners of the attack had managed to place dozens of witnesses on the ground — this being only a fraction of the over 200 witnesses found online describing the incident — they could not have controlled every person for miles around without blockading the area and evacuating all people for miles, which would have been known to people in the area and the news stations. This would involve more than a mile of I-395, a six-lane highway flanked by multiple access roads, as well as the four- to six-lane state routes 27 and 110. Pentagon City, which includes several highrise apartments and hotels, would also have had to have been evacuated, since many of its rooms had a full view of the Pentagon’s airspace. If a flyover had occurred, a single witness reporting it or just one photograph or video recording it would risk exposing the entire fraud.

Thus it can be seen that the role of the interviewee, and the behavior of those in control of the raw data, are as critically important as the witnesses being interviewed. If the person conducting the interview has a particular viewpoint on what should have happened and uses leading questions or rephrasing of the witnesses’ responses, then the objectivity of the testimony is lost.

The “flyover” theory of the Pentagon attack implicitly advocated by CIT — essentially postulating that a “magic show” involving explosions and, perhaps, some other plane hitting the building, caused every witness to believe the commercial jet had hit the building when it had actually flown over the building and away somewhere . . . and no one noticed — was first introduced by Richard Eastman in 2003 and later revived by Russell/Stanley in 2004 with “The Five-Sided Fantasy Island”.

Jim Hoffman describes Richard Eastman’s theory on 9-11 Research:

A theory of the Pentagon attack by researcher Richard Eastman attempts to reconcile conclusions that a 757 did not hit the building with eyewitness accounts of such an aircraft apparently flying into it. Many other skeptics of the official story of Flight 77’s crash, such as Thierry Meyssan, Eric Hufschmid, and Gerard Holmgren, have tended to minimize eyewitness accounts, highlighting inconsistencies and suggesting that people mistook a painted drone for an American Airlines jetliner. In contrast, the two-plane theory accommodates most portions of the eyewitness accounts except those relating to the moment of impact. Eastman corresponded with some witnesses about their recollections.

According to the theory, the attack combined a hit by a small attack jet with an overflight by Flight 77. The attack jet, likely an F-16 single-engine supersonic fighter, flew in at treetop level, clipping lamp-posts on the highway overpass, and smashing into the Pentagon’s west wall, with the engine penetrating the C-ring and producing the eight-foot-diameter punch-out hole. Meanwhile Flight 77 approached on a slightly more northerly trajectory, diving down over the Naval Annex and leveling out as it approached the Pentagon. Before reaching the huge building, the 757 disappeared behind a blinding flash and fireball, overflew the Pentagon, and blended into traffic landing at Reagan National Airport.
The Two-Plane Theory: Surgical Strike by Fighter Combined with Overflight by Flight 77 9-11 Research

Dick Eastman also attempted to use witness accounts to support his claims:

“WITNESS ACCOUNTS REPORTING ONLY ONE PLANE DIVIDE INTO TWO MUTUALLY CONTRADICTING GROUPS — No conspiracy would hire (or trust) that many liars, so both groups must be telling the truth — there must have been two planes. Judge for yourself: Witnesses who claim to have seen only one plane break into two groups. Those who describe, 1) an airliner, shiny, red and blue markings, with two engines, in a dive, and flying “low” in terms of one or two hundred feet, and silent (engines idle); and, 2) a plane that came in at tree-top level, at “20 feet” all the way, hitting lamp posts in perfect low level flight that must have been established and stabilized well before the lamp posts were reached; engines roaring; pouring on speed; smaller than a mid-sized airliner. . . . But if the witnesses testimony is inconclusive the actual video recording of the attack is not. The killer jet was not a Boeing and it did not dive.
For APFN: What convinced me that Flight 77 was not the Killer Jet APFN

Adam Larson, author of The Frustrating Fraud Blog, examined Eastman’s method and noted the avoided reference of the C-130:

If we combine the two descriptions we get a composite of the one plane official story. Conversely, by fragmenting the descriptors and creating two piles he creates two jets. . . . Eastman was aware of the C-130, and mentioned it once in the paper. He noted the cargo plane could have aerially planted the 757 debris indicating impact, especially the “wheel in the parking lot,” as it passed “just 30 seconds later.” It is never mentioned in connection with two-planes accounts despite at least one that was quite clear on being a C-130 witness.
EASTMAN AND THE DECOY THEORY The Frustrating Fraud; February 3, 2008

Later, in 2004, Richard Stanley & Jerry Russell created a similar theory in their essay, ‘Five Sided Fantasy Island’, but with shaped charge explosives instead of the military fighter jet:

Our analysis indicates that in reality, sophisticated shaped-charge explosive technology was used to create a scene comporting with the appearance of an jetliner crash, while simultaneously a 757 overflew the area and landed at nearby Reagan National Airport. If this scenario is correct, it shows that US intelligence agencies have developed an extraordinary capability to create elaborate magic shows on the world stage, generate false testimony and false evidence, and control and manipulate not only the “official story” but also its dialectical opposition among the critics.
The Five-Sided Fantasy Island: An analysis of the Pentagon explosion on 9-11; March 12, 2004

The PentaCon website states:

We demonstrate how the plane flew over Washington DC skies and came from the east side of the Potomac River. We explain how the C-130 and white E4B or “mystery plane” were used as cover for the decoy jet that was meant to fool people into believing it hit the building. We expose the methodology behind the operation and demonstrate how they were able to successfully pull off this military deception in broad daylight.
The Pentagon Flyover: How They Pulled It Off

The Eastman and Stanley/Russell claims never got much traction and over time, were virtually ignored. Hoffman describes a core issue with the theory:

If the overflight element of the two-plane theory seems bizarre, it illustrates the difficulty in reconciling the eyewitness evidence with the conclusion that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon.
The Two-Plane Theory 9-11 Research

Indeed, one of the primary purposes of the CIT version of the flyover theory was to attempt to force out of the witnesses some type of support for the flyover by re-interpreting accounts which often are transparently describing a different plane than CIT claims, in most cases the C-130.

As blogger Arabesque states:

The CIT flyover (what I correctly rename to the “mass hallucination theory”) largely depends on dismissing hundreds of witness accounts, and deceptively insinuating that the widespread and unanimous reports of the plane hitting the Pentagon do not count as evidence of the “flight path”.
CIT’s Deceptive Flight Path Argument: “North” or “South”? What about “Hit the Pentagon”? Arabesque 9/11 Truth; July 9, 2009

Interestingly, the flyover theories had been relatively forgotten, replaced by the more palatable claims that a smaller plane had hit the building, before CIT resurrected them.

However, in common with all theories of “no Boeing impact” at the Pentagon, the flyover theory must generate a rationale to remove witnesses who contradict its claims.

The first well-known 9/11 researcher to try to “whittle away” the credibility of “undesirable” witnesses was Gerard Holmgren, who, in 2002, wrote a long essay to wipe away all witnesses to a Boeing hitting the Pentagon. Holmgren used the same techniques which have been used repeatedly ever since then: cast doubt on the veracity of the witness claims through an ever-changing application made to fit each witness of how their experience could not possibly have happened as reported — they must be confused or lying.

There’s a big problem with this account. McGraw says that the plane passed directly over his car at power pole hight [sic] but that he didn’t hear anything until it was directly above.Totally impossible if it was a 757. He says he had the window closed, which is like wearing a t-shirt to protect against a machine gun. If a 757 was passing 20 ft over your car, you would be deafened by it before you saw it.

Was it really “totally impossible” for McGraw not to have noticed an approaching plane moving at hundreds of miles per hour while he was driving a car? How would Holmgren know what another individual’s personal experience of this traumatic event could be?

Later, in 2006, Holmgren used the same method to challenge witness accounts of the planes at the World Trade Center:

Once again, the studio reporter saw the plane on the monitor, the witness on the spot did not see a plane. Before anything can be reasonably discussed, the witness who thinks there was no plane gets a replay shoved in his face. Understandably enough, he assumes that it must have been obscured from his view. What else would he think? This is the *exact scenario* which I mention in the “why they didn’t use planes” scenario. They didn’t need to. It was seen live on TV, and anybody who didn’t see a large jet was convinced that they just missed it or didn’t see it properly.

Unfortunately, David Ray Griffin relied on Holmgren’s research for his chapter on the Pentagon in his book, The New Pearl Harbor, and in 2004, during a debate with Chip Berlet on DemocracyNow!, Berlet was able to cast doubt on Griffin’s research using Holmgren:

CHIP BERLET: . . . One of the people that Griffin relies on is this—is a researcher named Holmgren, who goes into great lengths say that he can’t find this witness, Dave Winslow. He went on to say that Dave Winslow probably doesn’t exist and if he does, he should come forward. Dave Winslow is an A.P. Radio reporter. If you pick up the “Washingtonian magazine” for September, 2002, there’s a picture of Dave Winslow and an interview of what he saw. That’s the substandard research being relied on here.
The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks; May 5, 2004

These examples of the type of reasoning being used to attempt to whittle away the veracity of each witness account — which have nothing to do with a scientific approach, but everything to do with convincing an audience of a claim — speak for themselves in the outcome. Indeed, just as Berlet was able to cast doubt on all the rest of Griffin’s work with a single glaring error, the screaming claims about how a plane never hit the Pentagon, the hundreds of videos and news articles asserting the broad belief by the “conspiracy theories” of this event as “impossible”, have the power to cast doubt on all of the points which challenge the official story of the 9/11/01 attack if the actual video showing AA77 hitting the building is ever released.

Just as Eastman and Russell/Stanley before them, CIT also cannot address the elephant in the room: why didn’t people on the other sides of the Pentagon report seeing the plane flying away?

Indeed, as we look a little closer, we discover that the flyover theory only works if humans on all of the other sides of the Pentagon do not exist. The hand-waving explanations attempting to account for how all of the people on the other sides could also have not noticed a large commercial jet roaring away over the top of the largest office building in the world, just no longer suffice, and the cloud of a dark mystery begins to fade like fog in sunlight, as the flyover theory falls apart before our eyes.

The Pentagon from the north, showing Pentagon City to the south. The foreshortened runway seen in the upper left of the photograph is only 5,210 feet long — too short to accomodate jetliners. Most air traffic uses the main, 6,869-foot, runway whose north approach follows the river about 3,500 feet to the east of the Pentagon.

Consequently, flyover advocates must claim that two different realities exist on either side of the Pentagon. On one side, witnesses are worthy of being interviewed and can report the flyover implicitly, even if they actually believe they saw the plane hit the building. On the other side, witnesses would have been too confused to be taken seriously by any media interviewing them, and would have also been too confused by all the planes in the air. As a blogger on the Above Top Secret forum notes, even the plane itself changes on each side of the building:

A noisy, fast, low flying jet that attracts the attention of dozens of people on the west side of the Pentagon turns into a quiet, slow, normal jet on the east side of the Pentagon.
The North Side Flyover – Officially Documented, Independently Confirmed; June 8, 2008

CIT attempts to reason why it wasn’t worth looking into those witnesses, and why none of them would have shown up in media reports. Again, they fall back on the catch-all C-130:

Anybody on the other side that saw a plane flyover would not be published as an eyewitness and their report of what they saw would be confused with the C-130 and blown off as unimportant and therefore never published.  If A 757 Hit The Pentagon… LooseChangeForum; October 19, 2006

However, as Arabesque points out:

Video evidence captured the C-130 on I-395, about 15 seconds after the alleged impact, high in the sky, showing the clear absurdity of confusing it with the plane alleged to hit the Pentagon.
CIT, Craig Ranke, Aldo Marquis, and the PentaCon Flyover Theory: Origin, Debate, and the ‘Smoking-Gun’ Anti-Controversy Arabesque: 9/11 Truth Nov 24, 2007

Ranke also attempts to claim that there are so many planes in the area — a veritable blizzard of planes, too confusing to have sorted out. Notice how this is not an issue on the side of the Pentagon viewed by CIT witnesses, who apparently would not have been confused.

There are low flying planes making fast ascents over the Pentagon all day long every 2 to 4 minutes!
C.I.T. and the “PentaCon”, Half a Theory at Best TruthAction Forum; September 1, 2008

One blogger on the Above Top Secret forum did an analysis of the potential viewers of the alleged flyover on the other side of the Pentagon:

I’m going to take a look at CIT’s claim of a “flyover” from a realistic perspective by showing a View Shed analysis of the topography around the Pentagon to demonstrate the visibility of any aircraft flying over the Pentagon from any location in the area. . . . The observation comes immediately to mind that if a flyover took place whose flight path would take the jet over and within view of a densely populated geographic area as it flew away from the Pentagon – and the explosion that took place – including heavily-travelled freeways and bridges, should there not be eyewitness reports from a wide geographic area on the other side of the Pentagon in which no topographical obstructions existed? CIT has been asked that question repeatedly and the response has either been that those eyewitnesses are not needed or, “do your own investigation.”
The North Side Flyover – Officially Documented, Independently Confirmed; June 8, 2008

John Doraemi, creator of the blog Crimes of the State , wrote a thread responding to Ranke’s assertions, titled, ‘C.I.T. and the “PentaCon”, Half a Theory at Best’:

Zero of his witnesses were on the EAST side of the Pentagon, where they would have seen a low flying jetliner buzz the building and continue flying. This was in broad daylight, and a crowded highway would have been overflown by this jetliner that no one has seen. . . . and no one at all has claimed they saw or heard a jetliner scream low over the Pentagon and continue on its merry way. That’s a big zero, a very big zero indeed. Far from being “independently confirmed,” the utter lack of a single witness seeing the event Ranke claims happened is stark and telling. Low flying 757s are not subtle, quiet, or invisible.
C.I.T. and the “PentaCon”, Half a Theory at Best TruthAction Forum; September 1, 2008

But perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to explain is brought by a blogger on the Above Top Secret forum:

The conspirators even fooled the air traffic controller at Reagan National Airport who watched it approach while he was in the tower.
The North Side Flyover – Officially Documented, Independently Confirmed; June 8, 2008

To imagine that Air Traffic Controllers at Reagan National Airport could not have seen the plane flying away — despite reporting seeing the AA77 approach and observing the crash event explosion and fireball — is a difficult stretch to imagine and consequently must add another group to the “in on it” list. In fact, as reports:

Washington’s Reagan National Airport air traffic control instructs a military C-130 cargo plane that has just departed Andrews Air Force Base to intercept Flight 77 and identify it. [New York Times, 10/16/2001; Guardian, 10/17/2001]  9.36 a.m. September 11, 2001: Military Cargo Plane Asked to Identify Flight 77;

Would the same air traffic controllers who ordered the C-130 to intercept AA77 have then gotten mixed up as AA77 flew over the Pentagon in front of their eyes and the C-130 also flew by a moment later? As John Doraemi also points out, then there’s the C-130 pilot:

Now, you have a witness that you need to refute, the guy flying the C130 who was tasked by flight controllers to follow the rogue plane. “Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir.” He was above the scene, and in perfect position to see if the plane continued on. You’ll probably just say he’s lying too. Okay.
C.I.T. and the “PentaCon”, Half a Theory at Best TruthAction Forum; September 1, 2008

The flyover, consequently, is no longer a tenable scenario. As reports, descriptions of the responses of the controllers put the flyover theory to rest:

After seeing the explosion from the attack on the Pentagon, air traffic controllers at Washington’s Reagan National Airport promptly alert others to the crash, with a supervisor reporting that the crashed aircraft was an American Airlines 757. [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/18/2001; Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159] Reagan Airport is less than a mile from the Pentagon. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/19/2001] In its control tower, supervisor Chris Stephenson had looked out the window and seen Flight 77 approaching (see (9:36 a.m.) September 11, 2001). He watched it flying a full circle and disappearing behind a building in nearby Crystal City, before crashing into the Pentagon. Stephenson sees the resulting fireball and a mass of paper debris that fills the air. He calls the airport’s Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and reports: “It was an American 757! It hit the Pentagon. It was a 757 and it hit the Pentagon. American!” [USA Today, 8/11/2002; Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159] Other controllers see the fireball from the crash. One of them, David Walsh, activates the crash phone, which instantly connects the control tower to airport operations, as well as fire and police departments. He yells down the line: “Aircraft down at the Pentagon! Aircraft down at the Pentagon!” [Federal Aviation Administration, 9/18/2001; McDonnell, 2004, pp. 19-20 pdf file; Spencer, 2008, pp. 158-159]
9.36 a.m. September 11, 2001: Military Cargo Plane Asked to Identify Flight 77;

Although CIT’s likely response to these facts would be to assert that the air traffic controllers were “in on it” or were controlled in some other way, it is not known if CIT attempted to interview them, as these people would have had a clear view of the events that day.

However, even if the ATCs quoted above were “in on it”, and even if all the witnesses on the Pentagon’s west side were fooled by the “magic show”, it woul not begin to explain the silence of everyone on the other sides of the building who would have had a clear view of the flyover. And, contrary to CIT’s assertion that witnesses were confused by the C-130, a cursory examination of the evidence shows that eyewitnesses reported the differences between the two planes with clarity. Furthermore, the C-130, which was significantly behind the jetliner, turned around and did not fly over the Pentagon. Nor is it plausible that reporters would have thrown out all the interviews with numerous witnesses who repeated, “I saw the American Airlines jet flying away!” Every way the scenario is examined, the claim that no one would have seen the plane flying away is found to be baseless.

Nick Schou’s unfortunate conclusion now seems apt:

In fact, other than a few interesting interviews with people who saw a plane fly on one side of a gas station when the official data places it on the other, ThePentaCon includes no evidence of anything whatsoever, just a lot of questions and innuendo set to an ominous hip-hop beat.
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008


Although CIT claims it has conclusive testimonies by witnesses who prove that a flyover occurred, the reality of these accounts is often far from what is claimed.
Pentagon Eyewitness Erik Dihle

I was intrigued to read this claim on a forum that ‘another’ flyover witness had been found:

We even have ANOTHER flyover witness. Erik Dihle was at Arlington Cemetery in his office right across from the Citgo station. He told the Center for Military History only weeks after the event that just after the explosion, he ran outside and the first thing he heard people say was that, “…a bomb hit the Pentagon and that a jet kept on going!” You can hear the 2001 interview here:
Cab Driver Accused of 9/11 Complicity TruthAction Forum; May 16, 2009

Somewhat deflating for the informed listener, clicking on the link and sitting back to listen for a while, one finds that Dihle provides no such confirmation of a flyover. Instead, what we actually hear is a vague reference to what Dihle heard other people saying immediately after the attack. Dihle says:

The first few seconds it was very confusing, we couldn’t even tell . . some people were yelling that a bomb had hit the Pentagon and the jet kept on going, somebody else was yelling no, no, no, the jet ran into the building . . . the smoke was so black, we couldn’t really see the hole or anything.

The stretch needed to call this account “evidence” makes it highly dubious. But it also serves as an interesting example of one of the telltale signs of bias in the PentaCon effort and by its supporters — witnesses are treated differently depending on whether they reported a plane impacting the building or something else.

Interestingly, the account by Dihle also includes his description of seeing the C-130 turboprop plane approach the Pentagon which he describes as coming in like a “very steep kind of dive-bombing” as he and others were standing talking outside the burning Pentagon building, an event also described by numerous other witnesses online and confirmed in news articles:

And then as we’re talking, the first few seconds, another plane is coming in, very steep kind of dive-bombing, right down just to this, the south end of the cemetery . . . I recognized it as being the 4-engine overhead wing Turbo-prop plane, and I even called on the radio and I said, this may – “Here comes another one!”, ’cause we thought it was another terrorist jet or something . . .

However, CIT appears to take every opportunity to confuse listeners and viewers into conflating the planes at the scene. The Dihle account demonstrates this in the mixing of his descriptions of the commercial jet and the C-130. A listener unaware of the confirmed presence of a second plane, a “4-engine overhead wing Turbo-prop” might automatically assume that Dihle was actually claiming he saw AA77 flying away. Additionally, the order in which the Dihle describes the events directly conflates the two, bouncing back and forth between the commercial jet event and the Turboprop event, so that someone unfamiliar with the events that day can easily begin to fill in the gaps. Finally, the use of the word “flyover” could be a trigger for the CIT admirer, supporting a belief that indeed, Dihle thinks a flyover happened:

I thought it was just a regular flyover . . . I thought, gee I’m missing another flyover, I love those things…

Yet, Dihle continues:

Then a split second later I’m thinking, that doesn’t sound like a regular flyover, it’s way too low and it’s really whining and you know, sounded different, and then the big Boom! Boom! . . .

Dihle, like everyone else in PentaCon, is merely confirming events that are already documented that day, but the excerpts are mixed and conflated to result in a subtle suggestion that he witnessed a real flyover. His side account of hearing someone in the crowd who appeared to be momentarily confused — and was corrected by others at the time — is now re-interpreted by CIT advocates as a “witness to a flyover”.

Importantly, it’s also worth reiterating that Erik Dihle, like everyone else, never says anything like, “I’d like to know what ever happened to that commercial jet because I saw it fly away!” or, “None of it happened like they said, I saw that jet fly away, it never hit the building.” He turns out to be just another person at the scene who heard the attack occur and came outside to experience the chaos immediately after, as well as witness the approach of the C-130.
Pentagon Eyewitness Roosevelt Roberts Jr.

CIT has also claimed, in numerous posts all over internet forums, that witness Roosevelt Roberts Jr. is a confirmed “flyover” witness. Craig Ranke states:

In addition we have a confirmed account from yet another witness, Pentagon police officer Roosevelt Roberts Jr, who saw the plane flying away from the building immediately after the explosion. This is definitive validation that the 13 corroborated North side of the gas station accounts are 100% valid and correct and that the plane did not hit the building as these accounts inexorably suggest.
Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets Orange County Weekly; August 19 2008

Here’s some of the interview in which Roberts describes what he saw (full audio here ):

ALDO: -did it look like it went out over the river, and- and kind of turned around?
ROOSEVELT: Um, it looked like it went over on the mall entrance side and turned around; because you’ve got. . . the mall there, and then- where I was, was south; and the plane,. . . from the direction it was sitting, was facing west; so it went. . . southwest away from the Pentagon.
ALDO: Sou-southwest away from the Pentagon, okay; so kind of doing a U-turn, in a way?
ALDO: Okay. Okay.
ROOSEVELT: ‘Cause it banked out, and it was like U-turning and coming around and coming out. It looked like, uh. . . for those brief seconds it looked like it- it- it, um. . . uh, how do I want to say this, uh. . . it missed the wrong target, and it was going, like. . . out of the way, like back to the airport, or something like that.
ALDO: Oh, like- so it was headed towards the airport, it looked like.
ROOSEVELT: Well, no, not heading towards the airport; it’s almost like if a. . . if a pilot misses good he’ll try to do a banking and come around, because he missed the target: he missed the landing zone.
Roosevelt Roberts AboveTopSecret Forum; August 16, 2008

Anyone familiar with the attack will recognize what Mr. Roberts is describing: not AA77, which had already hit the building by then, but the C-130 that flew over the area, diving and low enough to scare people on the ground into thinking it was a second attack. While his specific descriptions of the plane suggest AA77, the movements he describes are those of the C-130, consistently described by numerous witnesses — a sharp dive and a banking turn. Roberts’ description of the banking turn and timing of the cargo plane’s arrival, just after AA77, fits closely with many other accounts of the C-130:

Scott P. Cook —
As we watched the black plume gather strength, less than a minute after the explosion, we saw an odd sight that no one else has yet commented on. Directly in back of the plume, which would place it almost due west from our office, a four-engine propeller plane, which Ray later said resembled a C-130, started a steep decent towards the Pentagon. It was coming from an odd direction (planes don’t go east-west in the area), and it was descending at a much steeper angle than most aircraft. Trailing a thin, diffuse black trail from its engines, the plane reached the Pentagon at a low altitude and made a sharp left turn, passing just north of the plume, and headed straight for the White House.
Cloth Monkey

John O’Keefe —
The first thing I did was pull over onto the shoulder, and when I got out of the car I saw another plane flying over my head.… Then the plane—it looked like a C-130 cargo plane—started turning away from the Pentagon, it did a complete turnaround.
[New York Law Journal, 9/12/2001]
At the Pentagon:Airplane as a Bomb New York Law Journal; September 12, 2001

Keith Wheelhouse says the second plane is a C-130; two other witnesses are not certain. [Daily Press (Newport News), 9/15/2001] . . . As Flight 77 descends toward the Pentagon, the second plane veers off west.[Daily Press (Newport News), 9/14/2001]
9:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Military Cargo Plane near Flight 77; Pilot Later Implies He Is Far Away

Robert’s account is even similar to CIT’s own interview of their other “flyover” witness, Erik Dihle, describing the C-130:

And then as we’re talking, the first few seconds, another plane is coming in, very steep kind of dive-bombing, right down just to this, the south end of the cemetery . . . I recognized it as being the 4-engine overhead wing Turbo-prop plane, and I even called on the radio and I said, this may – “Here comes another one!”, ’cause we thought it was another terrorist jet or something . . .

Other accounts, like Roberts’, also describe the C-130 as arriving “seconds” after AA77:

Kelly Knowles says that seconds after seeing Flight 77 pass, she sees a “second plane that seemed to be chasing the first [pass] over at a slightly different angle.”
9:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Military Cargo Plane near Flight 77; Pilot Later Implies He Is Far Away
[Daily Press (Newport News), 9/15/2001]
9:37 a.m. September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Military Cargo Plane near Flight 77; Pilot Later Implies He Is Far Away

Additionally, Roosevelt Roberts Jr., like Erik Dihle and everyone else, said nothing to indicate a flyover in his statement describing what he saw, taken in an interview just a couple of months after the event:

So after I thought about it, I looked again, and they said that there was another plane coming on the television, and then my Sargent, Sargent Woolrich, Woody, he called and he said, “Hey Rob, listen, we’re going to Threat Con Delta.” As I hang up the phone, the plane hit the building. It all came at the same time. Watching the TV, it’s like it was almost timed for preciseness. So, as I hung up the phone and I ran to the center of the dock and I looked up and I saw another plane flying around the South Parking lot, about like 9:12, 9:11 in the morning, and then there was dust and stuff coming from the ceilings, and you could hear people screaming, so what I did was I turned around I drew out my weapon, I didn’t know what was going on, I thought we was being invaded, I didn’t know what was happening.
September 11, 2001,Documentary Project
Interview with Roosevelt Roberts Jr., Waldorf, Maryland Library of Congress; November 30, 2001

Lloyd’s Wife, FBI Employee Shirley Hughes

Craig Ranke also cites Shirley Hughes, Lloyd’s wife, as a supporter of the flyover theory. He says that Shirley “did express to us that she knows why the cab wasn’t taken into evidence” and that later, she agreed with them that the plane did not hit the building but flew over. Once again come Craig’s confident and unwavering assertion that Shirley “literally agreed” with the flyover:

We told her, ‘Listen, because of the evidence we have, we know that the plane did not hit the building and continued on’. Now her response was ‘Yes.’ My response back to her was, ‘Excuse me!?’ And she said, ‘What you said.’ So she literally agreed with us that the plane did not hit the building.
Lloyd England ! First known accomplice ???? Pt 2 YouTube; May 26, 2009

Mysteriously, however, a moment later, Ranke says that she would no longer talk about it. Ranke interprets this to suggest that she must have accidentally let out that she too, knows about the flyover, and decides to then shut up.

Perhaps conveniently, the recording of this conversation is so noisy — as though a mic were dropped into the middle of a house party — that it cannot be discerned what she appeared to have agreed to. Could it possibly have been the case that Shirley, too, could not hear what they were saying to her? Here’s the entire conversation:

CIT: Listen, because of the evidence we have, we know that the plane did not hit the building and continued on.
CIT: Excuse me?! Yeah what?
SHIRLEY: What you said.
CIT: What did I say?
Lloyd England ! First known accomplice ???? Pt 2 YouTube; May 26, 2009

At this point, Shirley appears to say nothing and Lloyd intervenes in the conversation on a different track. Then the recoding ends. Could Shirley have just been being polite in saying, as many people do, “Yeah”, simply to go along with a conversation she couldn’t quite hear? This would be a fairly likely explanation.

Like all the other “witnesses”, Shirley never says, “The plane didn’t hit!” But these muddled conversations, fed in controlled segments to a listener, provide the allure of a mystery that CIT works so hard to create. That CIT makes such confident proclamations about such poor recordings should be a huge red flag.
Other ‘North of the Citgo’ Path Witnesses

Hundreds if not thousands of forum posts and hours of film and video have been devoted to debating the details of the witnesses statements that CIT cites as supporting a North-of-the-Citgo-Station flight path. However, as Arabesque notes, the north flight path can survive only if one disposes of contradictory evidence, that locates the plane south of the Citgo. Here, he describes the inherent problem with this methodology:

The film tries to make the case that four eyewitness statements are enough evidence to counter all other physical evidence (and implicitly, all other contradictory eyewitness statements). One of the main defects of the PentaCon is that it only considers four eyewitness statements—ignoring a very large body of eyewitness statements and previous research into the testimony. Why is this significant? “Citing only evidence that is favorable to one side as if no contrary evidence exists is known as SPECIAL PLEADING. Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption.”
A Critical Review of ‘The PentaCon – Smoking Gun Version’:Pentagon Flyover or “Left/Right” Straw-man Argument? Arabesque: 9/11 Truth; May 25, 2007

Blogger jimd3100, in a post on 911blogger, describes the method which leads to the disposal of witnesses, and what he thinks of it:

. . . Other witnesses they interviewed indicate a different flightpath consistent with where “it should be”. i.e. Father McGraw, Mike Walter, and Lloyd the cabbie to name three. However Mike Walter is a reporter for USA Today and therfore a “plant”, I find that to be unreasonable. Father Mcgraw is a priest and has ties to the Vatican and is a former DOJ attorney and is therefore “compromised”, I find that to be unreasonable, and Lloyd the cabbie, doesn’t jive with Laggasee’s [sic] flight path and therefore is “in on it”, I find that to be unreasonable. I was simply asking for any explanation for how this Mr Birdwell could have almost died from jet fuel in his lungs if the plane these witnesses are all seeing didn’t hit the Pentagon?
NATIONAL SECURITY ALERT – SENSITIVE INFORMATION from Citizen Investigation Team July 14, 2009

John Farmer, posting as ‘spcengineer’ on a LooseChange forum, describes a similar situation:

. . . [CIT] also are selective in which witnesses they see as “credible” and those they do not. Edward Paik is a prime example. He, as well as a VDOT employee across the street, had exactly the same experience. For a fraction of a second, each state that a low altitude plane traveling at high speed flew over their heads. Both reacted normally and ducked. During that fraction of a second, Paik sees all kinds of flight path details which sound great, but they [CIT] don’t like those of the VDOT witness, and [so] she is deemed not “credible”. I would be so bold as to say neither saw much since they were too busy ducking for cover!
Why Does The Citgo Video, contradict the North side claim? LooseChange Forum; August 14, 2007

These examples illustrate two key problems with the method which has been the same method used all along in both the other flyover theories — Eastman and Stanley/Russell — and by many advocates of the “no Boeing” theories in general: witnesses who describe details that call into question the impact of AA77 are considered “credible”, while those who describe AA77 impacting the building are “confused”, “plants”, or “could not have seen it from their vantage point.” The most extreme example of these methods can be found in Gerard Holmgren’s original essay in which, one by one, he attempted to exclude each witness based on new and unique criteria.

A scientific analysis of witness statements would use the opposite method, and would make every effort to include, rather than exclude, witness data. It would establish broad criteria — before embarking on a detailed analysis — to determine when any testimony must be removed. Such an analysis would primarily examine the body of reports as a whole, while also investigating individual discrepancies and anomalies to determine if other consistent observations could be found.

Finally, we do not know how many witnesses object to the claims made by “no-Boeing-impact” advocates, but we do know that some do. For example, Pentagon Police Officer, William Lagasse, described by CIT as a North of the Citgo flightpath witness, openly objected to claims of the original flyover advocate — Dick Eastman — by writing in to the site which published it:

Subject: 9-11
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 13:11:40 -0400
From: “Lagasse, William” <…@…>
To: “‘'”

Dear Sir rest assured it was a Boeing 757 that flew into the building that day, I was on duty as a pentagon police sgt. I was refueling my vehicle at the barraks k gas station that day adjacent to the aircrafts flight path. It was close enough that i could see the windows had the shades pulled down, it struck several light poles next to rt 27 and struck a trailer used to store construction equipment for the renovation of the pentagon that was to the right of the fueselage impact point. The fact that you are insinuating that this was staged and a fraud is unbelievable. You ask were the debris is…well it was in the building..I saw it everywhere. I swear to god you people piss me off to no end. I invite you and you come down and I will walk you through it step by step. I have more than a few hours in general aviation aircraft and can identify commercial airliners. Have you ever seen photos of other aircraft accident photos…there usually isnt huge amounts of debris left…how much did you see from the WTC?…are those fake aircraft flying into the building. I know that this will make no diffrence to you because to even have a websight like this you are obviously a diffrent sort of thinker.
The Statements of Sgt. William Lagasse AFPN; June 24, 2003

“Accomplice” Cabbie Lloyd England

Craig Ranke describes the unfortunate cabbie whose taxi was hit by a lamppost at the Pentagon, as an “accomplice” to the attack:

It’s done people.
We have proven 9/11 was an inside job. . .
Lloyd England has been proven to be the first known accomplice (willing or not) to the crime.
The Pentacon a HOAX? AboveTopSecret Forum; April 6, 2007

Claiming that witnesses to the events of 9/11/01 are accomplices in the crime crosses a line.

Like Glenn Beck, the CIT filmmakers show time and again that they are not capable of understanding basic social or legal boundaries, such as the relevance of making public baseless defamatory statements about individuals they have secretly taped. This is perhaps one of the strongest reasons for broad and public rejection of CIT, PentaCon, and any groups, radio hosts, event organizers or others who are promoting them.

Although CIT claims that they are exposing the “inside job” by attempting to show how AA77 never could have hit the Pentagon, their focus on witnesses, such as an elderly cabbie, as a supposed accomplice in the crime, amounts to little more than a soap opera drama which transparently leads viewers down a dead-end path of analysis of each phrase uttered by the cabbie, while the roles of actual officials and decision-making at the highest levels are ignored.

A post by “Charlie” on the OCWeekly article, Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets, states:

Here is what the CIT thugs say about him: “This means that Lloyd England has now been shown beyond a reasonable doubt to have been directly involved with this black operation of mass murder.” Pathetic. Beyond pathetic, in my opinion. But Aldo and Craig, why have you not approached the DA with your “evidence” with a view to getting this poor old man hauled in for questioning? His guilt is beyond reasonable doubt, right?
Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets The Orange County Weekly; Aug. 19 2008

Another person posting on the Loose Change forum counters Craig’s speculations about the exact meaning of each of Lloyd’s broad statements, with several logical responses. Here, he adds his feelings about the assertions:

CRAIG: Here is the damning virtual confession as seen in the video. I call it a ‘virtual confession’ because he basically admits involvement while maintaining innocence.

BBS: This is sounding dangerously like a witch trial – ‘if she sinks she’s a witch’. Are you really suggesting that if he maintains innocence it is a virtual confession? You need to take a step back and reconsider this. It is absolute folly. You are running an extremely dangerous path here, it will be very easy for people to accuse you of ‘virtual harassment’ if you pursue this line.
New short highlighting Lloyde’s virtual admission; excerpts from “National Security Alert” Loose Change Forums; May 1 2009

Finally, a summary on the TruthAction forum captures the response by many to the claims about Lloyd:

It’s a display that is not only painfully embarrassing but downright nauseating: The highly ambiguous and craftily edited words of a not-so-lucid elderly cab driver – recorded on hidden camera – are presented as a “virtual confession” of complicity in the 9/11 false flag attack. This material is then seized upon by zealous believers who herald it as a smoking gun and imply that anyone challenging it is part of a disinformation campaign against the so-called Citizens Investigation Team.
Cab Driver Accused of 9/11 Complicity TruthAction Forum; May 15, 2009


Many are unaware of one aspect of the work of CIT that has gone on behind the scenes, an aspect that many 9/11 internet activists know all too well— PentaCon filmmakers are long-time disruptors, banned from some of the main 9/11 discussion forums, such as and, as well others like and

Is this really only because people just cannot agree on the issues brought up in the PentaCon film?

As it turns out, almost all of these forums do host discussions about issues in the film – and debate occurs – but the filmmakers themselves are no longer allowed there. A quick glance at locked threads where the filmmakers have participated before being removed, shows why: they are unwilling to hear any critique and respond to it rationally. Instead, they plaster discussions with stills from their films and statements that repeatedly insist that they are correct, typically demeaning others so intensely in the process that the discussion becomes unmanageable and is shut down.

Researcher Arabesque, after spending some time in debate with CIT, put together a summary of his observations:

The CIT researchers frequently and falsely interpret criticism of their theory as a personal attack along with accusations of government sponsored “neutralization”. As the flyover theory is clearly unsupported by any credible evidence, the CIT theorists frequently rely on vicious, slanderous, and libelous ad hominem attacks and antagonism to those who dare to question their flyover theory. Any disagreement with the “smoking gun” evidence is derided with hostility on internet forums, while any criticism of the theory is largely interpreted as an “attack” or “spook operation”. Pentagon researchers in particular, are highlighted for accusations including “treason”, “supporting the official story”, “COINTELPRO”, and “brainwashed”. Similarly, any witnesses who contradict the north claim are called “propaganda”, “agents”, and in the case of a taxi cab driver, “the devil”. Aside from the weakly supported flyover hypothesis, whether intentional or not, the ridiculous antics and outrageous behavior of the CIT researchers are damaging and destructive to the credibility of the 9/11 truth movement.
CIT, Craig Ranke, Aldo Marquis, and the PentaCon Flyover Theory: Origin, Debate, and the ‘Smoking-Gun’ Anti-Controversy Arabesque: 9/11 Truth; November 24, 2007

Not surprisingly, almost anyone who disagrees with CIT is eventually labeled as “disinfo” or an agent. For example, Ranke even has claimed on public forums that Dylan Avery deliberately covers up information:

“The bad news is that people are still refusing to accept it or insisting on minimizing the relevance of this groundbreaking evidence. Or even worse; they are deliberately covering it up as has just been done by Dylan Avery.”
Interview w/cab driver Lloyd England in: “The First Known Accomplice?” Cassiopaea; November 14, 2007

Ranke would have to have ESP to actually “know” that Avery were doing anything deliberately, yet he states it rs though it were fact.

Here, CIT’s Aldo Marquis describes researcher Arabesque, a blogger who has posted numerous analytical essays refuting the work of CIT:

You are an anonymous DISINFO agent. You fix your blog yet? How many times did Craig and I call you out and you still haven’t fixed it. You are F____ disinfo. . . . You are such a disgusting entity. Call him you coward. Call him. WE HAVE TOLD YOU A MILLION TIMES. You can’t see the poles from there. . . .You are a joke and we’re coming for you. . . .
‘Flight 77’s’ Shadow in Citgo video? 911blogger; Nov 9, 2007

Marquis also describes this writer on the 911blogger forum this way:

Victoria Ashley . . . You are a do nothing, antagonist snob. You come in and lose the debate every time. You know why? Because YOU NEVER debate. Shoud we add your name to the list of subversives? It seems this is all you come to any Pentagon related topics as.
‘Flight 77’s’ Shadow in Citgo video?; Nov 9, 2007

Even Phil Jayhan, owner of the Letsroll Forum, who asserts that pods and missiles were used in the WTC attack and who appeared to even agree with the CIT theory, finally got fed up with the treatment dished out by CIT. Jayhan wrote:

Just got done reading your extremely harsh words against both me and the forum members here at the loose change forums. I left a reply there, my first in months, and the first time I have taken the time to search over there what people like you and Aldo the asshole speak about me and the great people at the forums here.
Neither of you guys are welcome here, ever again, until you make complete and total retractions, declaring that the biggest reason that “Jayhan” didn’t look into any of your “pet theories” was because Aldo the asshole kept coming here declaring himself and you the “motherfucking authorities” and that we, as a forum were nothing but asstard gumwads…. To have thought that I made peace with you two retards, and then to go to the loose change forums and see all your harsh words against both myself and all the very good and honorable people of this forums, nearly 7000 of them, made me want to puke.
‘Flight 77’s’ Shadow in Citgo video? LetsRoll Forums; June 13, 2008

Marquis interprets his own behavior as simple but harsh truth-telling:

I tell people like it is. I get in people’s faces. I get banned because people can’t stand hearing the truth so harshly. . . . Show people why I”VE been banned. Show them. Document it. I can, because I was there.
‘Flight 77’s’ Shadow in Citgo video?; Nov 9, 2007

Meanwhile Ranke intervenes to redefine reality for readers:

We merely defend ourselves with facts, logic, and direct evidence.
‘Flight 77’s’ Shadow in Citgo video?; Nov 9, 2007

As researcher John Farmer notes on a Loose Change forum post:

If you guys would spend a little less time attacking those working the evidence and a little more working the problem, then we might all benefit. Yet I think your worst nightmare might be that AA77 did indeed hit the Pentagon.
Why Does The Citgo Video, contradict the North side claim? LooseChange Forum; Aug 9, 2007

This sad but clever observation by Farmer cuts through much of the rhetoric underlying the divisiveness and illogic in the debates — the advocates of “no plane”, “no Boeing” and “no-Boeing-impact” are attempting to explain away such highly contradictory evidence that they typically adopt aggressively defensive and often nonsensical methods and claims to account for the opposing bodies of evidence. Consequently, numerous different theories — missiles, drones, flyover, etc — abound, each to try to account for the many contradictions and ultimately revealing the underlying weakness of the basic premise that AA77 could not have hit the building.

In the end, most of the discussions on the topic of PentaCon end up with posters claiming that someone else is deliberately lying, is an agent, is “disinfo”, etc., and things get worse and worse until the thread has to be locked, posts are voted down, or participants blocked.
CIT Support From Pilots for 9/11 Truth

The primary organization advocating CIT is Pilots for 9/11 Truth, a group whose most prominent member is John Lear — a retired airline captain and son of Bill Lear (inventor of the Lear Jet) who flew secret missions for the CIA between 1966 and 1983 and is a UFOlogist who believes that none of the four planes used in the 9/11 attack were commercial jets.

The Pilots for 9/11 Truth website has extremely limited information on the 9/11/01 attack aside from their investigation into the NTSB flight data recorder in 2006, and questions about what the planes were that hit the buildings, or whether real planes were used at all. For example, on the page for American 11 (North Tower) , only a single news story is posted about the tape destroyed by the FAA, and nothing more, except a link to the forum to read anything more. One would have thought that at least the basic facts would have been posted there.

Clicking on the link to the forum, one finds topics such as:

Fake Passenger Lists FL11

The James Woods Connection to ATTA

Flight 11 / Flight 175 Serial Number?

A further look at a forum thread — a post called My Questions About Flight 11, which sounds reasonable enough — brings up a response to the questions with numerous links to disruptors and hoax advocates like Serendipty , Gerard Holmgren (real planes never hit the WTC), and even the Webfairy (planes were holograms). It is unlikely that a pilot who considered himself a professional would decide to stay very long at a forum where most people are asking about “what” hit the World Trade Center and recommending sites which suggest that all video fakery was used and that none of the planes used on 9/11/01 were real.

A regular forum poster to the TruthAction forum, Erik Larson, noticing that Pilots for 9/11 Truth spokesperson Rob Balsamo was posting on the TruthAction Forum, asked him why the Pilots group has not looked at any of the questions below, but instead, appear to focus almost entirely on the “what” that hit the buildings:

Mr. Balsamo, as long as you’re here, I’m curious as to why your organization has not publicized info re:

1) NORAD’s mission- for decades prior to 9/11- of sovereignty over North American air space

2) Failure of the chain of command in the FAA to notify the NMCC of each confirmed air emergency, then each confirmed hijacking- it seems some ATCs and CPCs and supervisors were doing their job- and Herndon, WOC and the military liaisons dropped the ball.

3) Failure of the NMCC to be involved in setting ANY of the scramble orders in motion during the crisis involving the 4 hijacked flights, by passing orders on to NORAD

4) Failure of NORAD/NEADS to get the Otis scrambled jets- and the Otis jets that took off on a routine training mission around the same time- over Manhattan before UA 175 arrived.

5) The ‘phantom’ AA 11

6) Failure of DCANG to protect the nation’s capital- nearly an HOUR after the first tower was hit- and an HOUR AND A HALF after the first sign of hijacking- which came AFTER a ‘summer of threat’, which included a PDB that warned of ‘preparations consistent with hijacking’ and ‘surveillance of federal buildings in New York’ and noted 70 bin Laden-related FBI field investigations

7) The fact that fighters from Langley were sent out over the Atlantic and after a ‘phantom’ AA 11, and were unavailable to to respond to AA 77, or defend the nation’s capital
Rob Balsamo responds to concerns about John Lear TruthAction Forum; Jul 22, 2009

No response was posted by Balsamo and given the tone of the post, it was soon locked.

By focusing almost entirely on “what” hit the buildings, Pilots for 9/11 Truth does not appear to reflect the amount of experience and serious investigations which could be conducted by some of its members. Although the Pilots group did a meaningful analysis of Flight 77’s flight data recorder and submitted a FOIA request, little more appears on the site for those investigating the role of the planes and pilots without having to navigate a forum clogged with dis-and mis-information. Members are listed on the site, and a handful of radio interviews are included (i.e., Rob Balsamo, several times, John Lear and Dan Govatos), but no other contributions or writings by members are provided which are easily accessible. Pilots member Ted Muga gave a presentation about the extreme improbability of the official hijacking account from a pilot’s viewpoint for the 2007 San Diego Citizens Grand Jury :

VIDEO: Pilot Ted Muga’s Presentation for the San Diego Citicens Grand Jury

Muga is a retired flight engineer and first officer with experience on Boeing 707s and 727s. However, videos or interviews like these are hard to find on Pilots for 9/11 Truth, where primarily videos of CIT’s flyover claims and the video “Pandora’s Black Box” are promoted for sale.

In August of 2008, Orange County Weekly reporter Nick Schou wrote a hit piece about The Citizen Investigation Team titled, ‘Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!”. Having so much information to work with, Schou’s story spread out to 5 pages in length. But as we will see in this essay, despite CIT having traveled to DC to film several witnesses to the attack, the claims that CIT extrapolates from these interviews serve mainly to provide a easy target for debunkers and mainstream media reporters like Schou to smear in just a few sentences.

Here is Schou’s summary of CIT’s work:

The Citizen Investigation Team claims to have obtained undeniable evidence that what happened at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 . . . [was] a magic trick in which a military plane painted to resemble an American Airlines jet flew low over the Pentagon while explosives took down a wall of the structure in a convenient cloud of smoke, thus allowing the plane to fly away and secretly land somewhere, presumably at nearby Reagan National Airport. Unfortunately, their film, The PentaCon, doesn’t provide any evidence of this. . . . The fact that all those eyewitnesses and many more believe they saw the jet hit the Pentagon—which happens to be both the official version of what happened that day as well as the accepted truth among most conspiracy theorists—doesn’t bother Ranke and Marquis. The “evidence,” they say, proves all those witnesses actually saw something else.
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

Schou essentially lays out for readers the behind-the-scenes look at how PentaCon filmmakers manipulated the outcome of what they called an investigation, often harassing and offending eyewitnesses in the process.

Craig Ranke describes his film this way:

CIT did much better than that by providing first-hand, on-location, video-taped interviews from actual witnesses to the event in real life! Not merely people who supposedly saw a grainy security video. So now we know what people really saw. Now we know there was a plane and we know that it could not have hit the building. This is exactly what we needed to end the speculation. The witnesses were there and their stories match!
There Was No Missile At the Pentagon – But the Plane Did Not Hit February 26, 2009

Ranke doesn’t mention that the stories of far more witnesses, interviewed by numerous different news sources on the day of the event, matched quite well before the CIT team came to re-interpret the statements of the people they interviewed – nearly 100 witnesses described a large jet approach, bank, impact the building and explode, describing the sounds, the images and the smells of the destruction. That the CIT witness stories didn’t match their claims – but were made to appear to all match by CIT – is shown in the interviews by reporter Shou:

“One of their first stops was [Pentagon eyewitness Mike] Walter’s Fairfax, Virginia, home. After noticing Ranke’s not-so-subtle effort to secretly tape-record their conversation—and realizing that Ranke and Marquis weren’t interested in hearing anything that contradicted their notion that a plane didn’t actually hit the building—he refused to submit to an interview. “They thought they were really going to uncover this thing, and I tried to set them straight,” Walter says. “The next day, I told them I wasn’t going to talk to them, and later, I found out they were really hammering on me on the Internet.”
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

How many others were left out of the film when they realized their views could not be heard?

Schou further notes the level of manipulation going on in what is billed as objective interviews:

” . . . Ranke and Marquis appeared to be on a mission to prove that the Pentagon plane crash never happened. They wouldn’t listen to anything that contradicted this notion. “I understand why people have certain feelings about this government,” Walter says. “There are things this administration did that I’m not pleased with, but facts are facts. I was on the road that day and saw what I saw. The plane was in my line of sight. You could see the ‘AA’ on the tail. You knew it was American Airlines.” Marquis and Ranke simply refused to believe Walter saw what he saw. “They were saying things like, ‘Are you sure the plane didn’t land [at Reagan airport] and they set off a bomb?’ They kept coming up with all these scenarios.
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

Later, Shou exposes what CIT actually says about Walter and other employees of USA Today who were on their way to work when the crash occurred:

“Imagine six of your co-workers all in the same place, and you’re there to sell this event,” Marquis continues. “What the fuck? All these people were allegedly in that area on the way to work. Trust me, when you take all their accounts and examine them individually as a researcher, you realize all these motherfuckers are lying.”

“We can prove [Walter] is a liar,” Ranke says.

“You want me to cut to the chase?” Marquis interrupts. “He’s an operative. One hundred percent, without a doubt. A deep-cover operative or asset.”
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

In reality, CIT cannot prove that Walter or any other employee of USA Today is an operative and asset, so the claim hangs out in the public article as speculation, making one wonder why the filmmakers would make such assertions to the writer without evidence. Shou also points out another example where CIT re-frame the witness statements:

The Researcher’s Edition of The PentaCon also includes an interview with Keith Wheelhouse, who was at Arlington National Cemetery on 9/11 to bury his brother-in-law. In the interview, Wheelhouse tells Marquis and Ranke that he saw an American Airlines jet crash into the Pentagon. . . . But Marquis and Ranke apparently don’t believe Wheelhouse saw the crash because, their film notes, a line of trees partially obscures the view of the building from the location where he claimed to have been standing.
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

Did Keith Wheelhouse hallucinate during the burial of his brother-in-law? We don’t know, but apparently since CIT has decided that he did, his view of the crash is not included.

What is relevant about Schou’s reporting on the film is primarily that he contacted people CIT had interviewed and asked them questions, and the responses were somewhat surprising. He cites a good example of the vulgarity used by CIT and presents it directly to the public in his article:

Their relationship quickly soured. E-mails posted on conspiracy chat rooms show that what started as a professional disagreement about how to prove that the U.S. government was behind 9/11 had become a highly personal grudge match. Here’s a typical e-mail from Ranke to Pickering:

“You are irrelevant, Pickering. . . . You can keep on sucking official story dick, and we’ll keep proving 9/11 was an inside job.”

And from Pickering to Ranke: “You are a mentally ill little man, and until you get some help, you always will be. A disgrace to truth . . . Fuck yourself. . . . Fuck you.”
Do You Believe a Passenger Jet Hit the Pentagon on 9/11? These Men Say You’ve Been ‘PentaConned!’ Orange County Weekly; August 13, 2008

Is it any surprise that Russell Pickering and his significant website, are gone from the 9/11 research scene? CIT has no real defense of their dialog with Russell Pickering, and so effectively declare him non-existant, much as they wipe away the Pentagon witnesses who don’t fit their theory.

So that leaves Pickering as the sole person we are not on speaking terms with. Given the fact that Pickering publicly quit the movement after spiraling out of control in a flurry of personal attacks against us means that he is no longer a “conspiracy theorist” or member of the 9/11 truth movement so now Schou’s claim of “many” that we are “no longer on speaking terms with” has been reduced to zero.
Nick Schou, OC Weekly reporter, Lies About 9/11 Evidence & Libels Citizen Investigation Team

Putting aside the veracity of the claims of not being disruptors, this excerpt also provides a nice example of the logic engaged in by CIT: since Pickering left the movement at some point, he now no longer exists as someone Schou can mention, despite the fact that Pickering was actively researching the Pentagon attack and hosting a significant website when he was involved in debate with CIT.

In other words, history must now be revised to erase Pickering.

The importance of this reasoning is that it neatly parallels that of the more broad reasoning engaged in by CIT: all of the eyewitnesses at the Pentagon attack whom CIT did not interview, and whom, in many cases, contradict CIT’s claims that the plane flew over the building, are erased from history. (Arabesque has preserved an excellent collection of witness statements here.)

Another example of disappearing historical evidence is shown when CIT implies that, until CIT came along, no one had ever debunked “missile at the Pentagon” with hard evidence — again the same reasoning that everything that happened before CIT, simply never happened:

Most “conspiracy theorists” certainly do not believe a plane hit! Most believe a missile hit the building. That has been the widely held theory since day one that we are responsible for debunking with hard evidence.
Nick Schou, OC Weekly reporter, Lies About 9/11 Evidence & Libels Citizen Investigation Team

In reality, the views about what happened at the Pentagon have been diverse and often in disagreement with each other, and numerous websites and researchers have debunked the missile claim over the years. The suggestion that most 9/11 researchers believe that a missile hit did not originate within the movement, as is implied by Ranke, but primarily with mainstream media, as Jim Hoffman states:

Only a few Pentagon attack theorists have suggested that a missile alone was involved in the attack, yet mainstream media attacks on 9/11 “conspiracy theorists” have implied that the Pentagon missile theory is the centerpiece of all skepticism of the official story.
Pentagon Strike Theories: Ambiguous Evidence Spawns Proliferation of Theories

While a massive initial effort was made by Thierry Meyssan and Voltaire Network to spread the missile and truck bomb claims early on by publishing the book Le Pentagate (2002) and translating it into numerous languages (with resources that very few grassroots activists have), the theory mainly died off in later years after the misrepresentations of witness statements became clear — that the commercial jet which witnesses said they saw “sounded like” a missile, had been cleverly manipulated into claims that witnesses said they heard a missile. Later, the idea that a different plane or drone had hit the building, with or without a missile and or and that bombs went off inside the building (Griffin) The New Pearl Harbor Revisited), were more popular.

Hoffman has documented the various Pentagon theories and their elements at 9-11 Research:

We provide a rather detailed review of Pentagon attack theories mainly for historical interest, since, in our view, most of these theories are based on an unscientific analysis of the available evidence. The number of different theories makes a full accounting of them difficult. Rather than attempting to provide an exhaustive rundown of all of them, we provide a short history of the more popular theories, followed by an enumeration of elements constituting them. Finally we describe some scenarios consistent with Flight 77’s crash. These theories and the substantial evidence supporting them have been eclipsed the no-jetliner theories.
Pentagon Strike Theories: Ambiguous Evidence Spawns Proliferation of Theories

Hoffman also notes the basis for many of the theories:

Although close examination of the evidence shows it to be consistent with a 757, the Pentagon’s evidence vacuum created the conditions for a seemingly endless proliferation of theories about what hit the Pentagon. Most of these theories ignore or grossly misrepresent the body of eyewitness evidence.
Pentagon Strike Theories: Ambiguous Evidence Spawns Proliferation of Theories

This is also true of PentaCon, which ignores or grossly misrepresents the body of eyewitness evidence.

Interestingly, CIT rejects the missile claim as though it were a transparently obvious hoax, when in reality, there is actually no more evidence for a flyover than there is for a missile. By grandstanding about debunking a similarly baseless claim, like the missile claim, CIT attempts to gain unwarranted credibility and to implicity suggest their own theory has much more merit. CIT’s basic premise — that the witnesses were fooled by the magic show — could in fact have had any number of magic show ‘elements’ inserted: missile, drone, flyover, pre-planted bombs, etc. using the same method of an omniscient viewer who “knows” how all the witnesses were fooled, and carefully interprets their statements to reveal the alledged underlying magic event.

The larger problem of the work of CIT is that it broadly smears and discredits the entire community of individuals researching the 9/11/01 attacks — it lures in and tricks those who aren’t paying close enough attention, and it discredits those who are doing serious research and outreach. This is exemplified by a comment on Nick Schou’s article by user ‘jthomas’:

You did a great job illustrating the workings of a fringe, conspiracy-obsessed movement that has been shown to have no respect for, much less any concept of, thoroughly-researched, unbiased evidence.
Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets Orange County Weekly; August 19 2008

How many others hold the same view as jthomas, that CIT is representative of the movement overall? And what are the consequences? If a person unaware of the many unanswered questions comes across CIT’s videos accusing a witness of a “virtual confession”, and other absurdities, it is likely that person may turn away and never look back.

Hence the necessity of doing what for so many seems a massive waste of time: refuting the endless stream of baseless claims and nonsense permeating the movement of individuals seeking a full investigation into the 9/11/01 attacks. Whether these are claims that real jetliners never hit the WTC, that pods on the planes fired filles at the buildings, or that the plane at the Pentagon flew away and no one noticed, the efforts to refute these are an unfortunate necessity of the work to bring and hidden facts of the attacks to the public.

Unfortunately, despite the broad rejection of CIT by much of the 9/11 activist community, event organizers are all too willing to feature hyped “mysteries” like PentaCon — seemingly regardless of the absurdity of the films’ methods, the demonstrable falsness of their claims, their effectiveness in polarizing activists, or the history of disruption by the filmmakers themselves. Whether such promotions reflect a misguided belief that such films help “grow the movement” because of the “excitement” they engender or whether they reflect a more deliberate form of “false flag 9/11 truth” the effect is the same: damaging the credibility and viability of 9/11 activist efforts by giving center stage to hoax material.

* Pentagon Flyover Theory: RIP
How the Double Tree video released in 2006 conclusively debunks CIT’s flyover theory
by Arabesque, November 14, 2007

* CIT, Craig Ranke, Aldo Marquis, and the PentaCon Flyover Theory:
Origin, Debate, and the ‘Smoking-Gun’ Anti-Controversy

by Arabesque, November 24, 2007

* The Pentagon Flight Path Misinformation, Stand-Down, War Games, and the Three Mysterious Planes
by Arabesque, July 23, 2007

* A Critical Review of ‘The PentaCon – Smoking Gun Version’
by Arabesque, May 25, 2007

* 9/11 and the Pentagon Attack: What Eyewitnesses Described
by Arabesque, April 2, 2007

* Google Earth Exposes Pentagon Flyover Farce
by Jim Hoffman, July 25, 2009

Copyright (c) and Victoria Ashley 2009

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