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John Doe II Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-20-04 04:56 PM
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Flight 93: Too many contradictions
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What the family members heard:

On April 18, 2002 family members were finally allowed to listen to the cockpit voice recorder. The FBI initially declined to play the tape, saying it was too disturbing, and it was evidence that might be used in criminal prosecutions related to the attacks of September 11. (Among the Heroes, p. 374). The family members were forbidden from recording the tape or from taking notes (p. 375).
Family members agreed that the passengers managed to enter the cockpit. Also Assistant United States Attorney David Novak theorizes that the passengers had advanced into the cockpit. (Among the Heroes, p. 376). And the Guardian writes
a group of passengers overpowered the hijackers.,11209,687...

This is what according to family members can be heard at the end of the recording:
One of the hijackers spoke about finishing off the flight, though the transcript suggested he could have been referring to the woman who had pleaded earlier for her life. Not yet, another terrorist cautioned.
Near the end of the tape, muted voices seemed to grow louder, closer. The scuffing continued. I'm injured, someone said in English. More shouting: roll it and pull it up or lift it up or turn up. A final rushing sound could be heard and, about three minutes after ten, the tape went silent.

(Among the Heroes, p. 377)

So: No intention of the hijackers to crash the plane is heard. The last shoutings even indicate the intention to lift up the plane.

What the Commission heard:

The Commission stated that the hijackers remained at controls (p. 14) and that the passengers didn't manage to enter the cockpit. Here is the account of the last minutes:

At 10:00:08 Jarrah asked, Is that it? Shall we finish it off. A hijacker responded, No. Not yet. When they all come we finish it off. The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. (...) At 10:01:00 Jarrah said, Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest! He then asked the hijacker in the cockpit,
Is that it? I mean shall we put it down? To which the other replied, Yes, put it in, and pull it down.
The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, Pull it down! Pull it down! (...) With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field.

There are two huge differences between the two statements:
Jarrah's first question to crash the plane appears in both accounts. But his second question that is answered with the order to crash the plane only appears in the Commission Report:
Is that it? I mean shall we put it down? To which the other replied, Yes, put it in, and pull it down.
Moreover more than a minute later (!) the hijacker repeats his order according to the Commission (this is not mentioned by family members neither):
Pull it down! Pull it down!

On the other hand: the advice to lift up the plane (heard by family members) is not noticed by the Commission. But this was according to family members the last words to be heard on the recording!
(AP, 08/08/03)

"The families listened to the tape through headphones while transcripts, including English translations of Arabic words, were displayed on screens." /
(Among the Heroes, p. 376)

So, why then, if the "English translation of Arabic words, were displayed on screens" did no family member realize that the hijackers decided to crash the plane although the hijacker discussed it according to the Commission?

How are the two completely different accounts are to be explained?
Why doesnt the Commission loose even one word about this contradiction?

1. The continuing counterattack:

The Commission Report describes the crash of Flight 93 as follows:

"The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down.; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest." With sounds of the passengers counterattacking continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville".

(p. 14)

The hijackers are intentionally crashing the airplane. The airplane heads down, full speed (it crashed with 580 mph, see p. 14) and rolls once on its back during the flight (eyewitness agree on that). And the hijackers were under much pressure because the passengers were obviously only seconds away from entering the cockpit therefore they would have tried to crash the plane as fast as possible. (An eyewitness observed that Flight 93 hit the ground at almost a 90-degree angle - USA Today, 9/12/01) According to the Report the counterattack lasted till the crash (counterattack continuing).
But is it physically possible to continue the counterattack given the violent movements of the airplane?
It should even be impossible in a plane that's going to crash head on and rolling on its back to remain standing on one's feet.

Apparently the family members of the victims who listened to the cockpit recordings had the impression that at the very end of the tape the passengers managed to gain control. That means that till the end of the tape the sound of the counterattack are audible. But if the counterattack is physically impossible the only thing that is proven by the family member's impression is that they weren't listening to the same recordings the Commission is talking about.

2. The absence of screams at the end:

Is this just about semantics? Does it matter if the Commission called it counterattack or people screaming of pain?
Yes, it does. Because the Report hides a strange absence. A certain noise is suspiciously absent from the recording that family members heard as well: The family members don't mentioned that at the end of the recordings there are neither screams of people that are in pain (as the plane heads down and rolls on its back) nor screams of people that know that the plane will crash within seconds.
How come they don't hear anything that indicates that people in the cockpit and elsewhere see and know there are dying within the next seconds??

3. No sound of impact

There is something else strangely missing on the recordings:
"There is no sound of the impact".

Why is there no sound of impact to be heard on the recordings?

4. But sound of wind!

Several people who had been on the phone with passengers of Flight 93 witness another bizarre sound before the connection ended abruptly (e. g. Lorne Lyles, Among the Heroes, p. 253): The sound of wind. This sound is heard by family members as well when they listened to the recordings:

"according to sources, the last seconds of the cockpit voice recorder are the loud sounds of wind, hinting at a possible hole somewhere in the fuselage". ...

Yet, the Commission Report fails to answer the question of "The Mirror":

Why the wind sounds? ...

Why is there no sound of the impact but the sound of wind at the end of the recording?
And why does the Commission Report not mention things audible for the family members?

Eyewitnesses of the crash:

The Report describes the crash of Flight 93 as the intentional crash of the hijackers:

The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down.

(p. 14)

The hijackers obviously tried to crash the plane as fast as possible (this corresponds as well to the speed of 580mph with which UA 93 crashed). So I think the last seconds of Flight 93 seen from the outside are quite easy to imagine:
head down, roll at one point onto its back and plow into the field as fast as possible.

Strangely the eyewitnesses recalled that the airplane didn't behave like this. Moreover several eyewitnesses alos hear something bizarre:

He (Rob Kimmel, several miles away) sees it fly overhead, banking hard to the right . It was only 100 or 200 feet or less off the ground as it crests a hill to the southeast.
(Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, p. 295)

It dropped out of the clouds,
too low for a commercial flight, (Terry) Butler said.
The plane rose slightly, trying to gain altitude , then
it just went flip to the right and then straight down. ...

Linda Shepley, said she had an unobstructed view of Flight 93's final two minutes (). She recalls seeing the plane wobbling right and left , at a low altitude of roughly 2,500 feet, when suddenly the right wing abruptly dipped straight down, and the Boeing 757 plunged into the earth.
(Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01)

Lee Purbaugh, 270 metres away: There was an incredibly loud rumbling sound and there it was, right there, right above my head maybe 50 feet up (....) I saw it rock from side to side then, suddenly, it dipped and dived, nose first, with a huge explosion, into the ground.

And like Lee Purbaugh some hear strange noises:

Laura Temyer: I heard like a boom and the engine sounded funny. I heard two more booms -- and then I did not hear anything.
(Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01)

Michael Merringer, two miles away: I heard the engine gun two different times
and then I heard a loud bang ...

Linda Shepley, told television station KDKA in Pittsburgh that she heard
a loud bang and saw the plane bank to the side before crashing.
(ABC, 9/11/01)

Do the eyewitness' accounts correspond to the Commission's description that the hijackers deliberately crashed the plane as fast as possible?
How can one explain the strange sound that some witnesses heard?

How many hijackers were onboard Flight 93?

The Commission Reports states vaguely:

several passengers on United 93 described three hijackers not four
(p. 12)

Well, this is not really precise because actually none of the passengers saw four hijackers and all passengers giving a number said that there are three hijackers onboard.

The Report refuses the idea of jumpseating as an explanation.

We have found no evidence indicating that one of the hijackers, or anyone else, sat there (jumpseat) on this flight. All the hijackers had assigned seats in first class, and they seem to have used them.

(p. 12)

Moreover jumpseating makes no sense as all hijackers had seats assigned to them and therefore boarding cards.
The Commission report states that there have been 37 passengers onboard. "Among the Heroes" precises that 10 passengers were seated first class and 27 in coach. (Among the Heroes, p. xvi)

All hijackers were in first class. 1B, 3C, 3D and 6B.

There is a passenger who sees ALL four hijackers (without knowing): Todd Beamer.

At 9:45 Beamer calls Lisa Jefferson and according to Longman he gives her the following information:
"There were ten passengers in first class, twenty-seven in coach" (p. 279).

So conclusively all the hijackers are to be seen in first class at the beginning of the flight. And how many hijackers are there according to Beamer: three! (p. 279)

Why doesn't he see the fourth one?

But it's becoming even stranger:

Beamer describes:
"Two with knives went into the cockpit and locked the door. The third person stood in first class with what appeared to be a bomb strapped around his waist with a red belt. He ordered everyone to sit down, then he closed the curtain that separated first class from couch"
(p. 279)

Maybe Beamer being seated in coach didn't see a hijacker who didn't do a move yet.
Let's see what all passengers from first class have to say:

Joseph DeLuca and Linda Gronlund (seats 2B and 2D) just sitting between Jarrah and Nami and Ghamdi (1B, 3C and 3D): No mentioning of the number of hijackers nor any characteristics of them.

Edward Felt: (2D) sitting very close to three hijackers. "Ed Felt did not describe the hijackers or mention any attempt to regain control of the plane" (Among the Heroes, p. 275)

Thomas Burnett Jr.: (4B) sees three hijackers. No special characteristics of hijackers are mentioned. (ABC, 9/12/01)

Mark Bingham: (4D): states that there are "three guys" . No characteristics of hijackers are mentioned. (p. 186)

Mark Rothenberg: (5B) made no call.

So although all four hijackers have been sitting in first class when Flight 93 took off none of the passengers sitting very close to them see the four of them. Even stranger none of the passengers gave as special characteristic of the hijackers that apparently they were Arab and the only Arab-looking passengers on the plane. (The only one doing so is Jeremy Glick who is seating in the coach section).

Why don't they see the four hijackers.
Where is the fourth hijacker??
And why does none of the passengers give the obvious description of the hijackers so FBI would know who they were?

So maybe, maybe the simple explanation is that Todd Beamer miscounted and there have been only nine person in the first class when the flight took off. (Although this again poses the problem that the hijackers had boarding cards)

"about midway through the tape, one of the hijackers said to another, "Let the guys in now," apparently referring to other terrorists entering the cockpit". (Among the Heroes, p. 291)

This clearly says that two hijackers are in the cockpit and two are still outside the cockpit door. But Todd Beamer only saw one hijacker standing in first class. This hijacker with a bomb is seen by other passengers as well. But no one saw the second hijacker. So where is he? Where is the fourth hijacker?

Jere Longman comes up with this explanation:
Perhaps one of the terrorists got cold feet when told that this flight would be a suicide mission. Perhaps he did not identify himself, remaining anonymously among the passengers to assist his partners in the event of a revolt (p. 169)

This highly speculative explanation seems very unlikely as one hijacker was supposed to get the guy in.

Is it believable that he wouldn't have asked the fourth hijacker to come in?
How could the hijacker then have remained anonymously among the passengers?
If mysteriously he stayed outside then why didn't he try to hinder the passengers from their revolt? Why didn't he worn his friend?

Why remain seated?

Flight attendent Sandy Bradshaw said that "most of the passengers had been herded to the rear of the plane". (Among the Heroes, p. 247). And Jeremy Glick said "they send passengers to the back of the plane" (p. 202). The Commission Report agrees on that (p. 13)
This must have happened before 9:37 as Glick's phone call began at that time (Among the Heroes, p. 201).
According to the Commission Report two minutes later the following occured:

At 9:39, the FAA's Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center overheard a second announcement indicating that there was a bomb on board, that the plane was returning to the airport,
and that they should remain seated . While it apparently was not heard by the passengers, this announcement, like those on Flight 11 and Flight 77, was intended to deceive them. Jarrah, like Atta earlier, may have inadvertently broadcasted the message because he did not knowhow to operate the radio and the intercom. (p. 12)

But what's the sense of herding passengers to the rear of the back and then a few minutes later to tell them that they shall REMAIN seated??

According to the Commission Report Jarrah wanted to deceive the passengers. But how could he. Since around 9:45 the passengers were completely left alone. With an airplane equiped with airfones it's quite forseeable that passengers do phone and get to know of other attacks (as Flight 93 had a 41 minute delay Jarrah must have known that the other three flights already had hit their target or finished in another way). The Report comments on this not convincingly:

If Jarrah did know that passengers were making calls, it might not have occured to him that they were certain to learn what had happened in New York, thereby defeating his attempts at deception.
(p. 12)

I mean is Jarrah completely dumb?
How could the passengers not learn of the other attacks and become convinced that they have to start a counterattack if the hijackers let them phone?

How many attacks were there?

There are two indications that from about 9:45 the passengers were left alone when the hijacker(s) entered the cockpit to join Jarrah.

About midway through the tape, one of the hijackers said to another Let the guys in now, apparently referring to other terrorists entering the cockpit.

(Among the Heroes, p. 291)

It fits that no passenger who was reflecting about their plan of entering the cockpit refers to a hijacker who was still standing in first class. Moreover no sound of a fight with this hijacker is to be heard on any phone call. So I think its rather save to assume that from around 9:45 the passengers were alone.
A small group around Burnett are in the first class. The rest of the passengers was herded in coach and forms a group around Beamer. Apparently there seems to have been no communication between theses two groups. In not a single phone call it is mentioned that theses two groups wanted to attack together or were even aware of the others. (The curtain that one hijacker closed in order to separate theses two sections shouldn't have been an obstacle as there was no more hijacker out there)
Paul Thompson assumes in his timeline that the attack started in first class at 9:57 and was followed by a second attack from coach at 9:58. (Observer, 12/2/01). This chronological order corresponds also to Beamers phone call:

Then, in the background, she could hear an awful commotion, mens voices raised and hollering and women screaming Oh my God, and God help us, and Help us Jesus.
Todd seemed to turn away from the phone to speak with someone else.
You ready? He said. Okay. Lets roll.

(p. 285f)

So first the attack in first class then following the passengers from coach.
But why didnt they communicate before if there was nobody preventing them anymore? Why didn't they attack together?
And why is there no surprise in Beamers reaction when he hears that the attack started already?

The cockpit door:

Jere Longman states in "Among the Heroes":
Although the cockpit door remained locked during flight, it provided only flimsy protection on September 11. The door was designed to withstand no more than one hundred and fifty pounds of pressure, so that it could be forced open in emergencies, allowing thepilots to escape outward
or passengers to escape inward to climb out of a cockpit window. A heavy shoulder would dislodge the door. (p. 8)

According to the Commission Report the passengers didn't manage to enter the cockpit during a fight of six minutes.

How is it possible that a minimum of six passengers (all known to have been very athletic) didn't manage with the help of a foot cart to open the cockpit door that only provided flimsy protection?

The absence of the saviour:

A lot of passengers decided to overcome the hijackers and they discussed together a plan. There was a pilot onboard, Donald F. Greene, which was the very person all hope was put on. Certainly it must have been a big concern for the passengers what to do after they overcame the hijackers. Certainly this would have been something they wanted to tell their beloved ones on the phone to comfort them.
But in not a single phone call (and there have been many) the very existence of Donald F. Greene is mentioned.
Or to put it into the word of Greene's wife:
"I have just found it so unusual that no one mentioned the pilot among them. If these guys were trying to reassure their wives on the phone, that everything was going to be okay, wouldn't you say, 'We've got a guy who can fly a plane' There was never any mention of that. Don was a provocative guy. He would have been in these guys' faces"
(Among the Heroes, p. 255).

One of the few passengers not to make a phone call was Greene himself.
Why is Greene so absent?

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