Category Archives: The four flights

Media not reporting when ‘Flight 93 found buried’ further proves it didn’t

Killtown

July 22, 2009


Media not reporting when ‘Flight 93 found buried’ further proves it didn’t

(Updated: 07/27/09)

Remember how suspicious it was that the media barely reported about the highly unusual collapse of the huge 47-story WTC 7 skyscraper? Well imagine if the media didn’t report about this collapse until a month later! What a smoking gun that would have been. But lo and behold, this is exactly what happened with a major claim about Flight 93 that we’ve missed all along.



Back in March, I issued The Boeing 757 Challenge! for anyone to prove the extraordinary official claim that most of Flight 93 was buried underground in Shanksville.




I issued this challenge because it’s hard to believe that tons and tons of plane wreckage was buried underneath that shallow Shanksville crater, yet even though officials were photographing the excavation, there just seemed to be an extraordinary lack of evidence coming out of that hole to support the extraordinary claim that 80% of Flight 93 was buried underground and the only visual evidence that any plane debris came out of the ground was only one photo of an un-submerged, dirt-free engine scrap that I showed was most likely planted by the backhoe bucket seen next to it.

Sometimes the lack of evidence is proof that a claim is false and just as with the lack of plane wreckage seen coming out of the excavated hole, another piece of evidence is severally lacking for a claim that most assuredly would be extremely newsworthy:

The media never reported when
most of Flight 93 was supposedly found!



Now be clear on something, the media eventually reported that most of Flight 93 had supposedly buried underground (shown below), but as far as I can tell, the media never reported when most of Flight 93 was supposedly found.

(Follow the timeline of news reports about the alleged crash.)

After the alleged crash, the news started reported about the first witnesses who arrived at the scene being stunned at what they saw, because they were told a plane just crashed there, but they said it didn’t look like it.


It didn’t look like a plane crash because there was nothing that looked like a plane,” Barron said.
“I never seen anything like it,” Barron said. “Just like a big pile of charcoal.”
…said Nina Lensbouer…”But I got there and there was nothing, nothing there but charcoal. Instantly, it was charcoal.” – post-gazette.com (09/12/01)

“[Mark] Stahl said…He didn’t realize a passenger jet had crashed until a firefighter told him.
If they hadn’t told us a plane had wrecked, you wouldn’t have known…” Delano said.” – pittsburghlive.com
(09/12/01)




The news also reported that officials said most of the plane must have bounced into the woods, presumably because it didn’t look like much of a plane was left in and around the crater.

“Officials told WTAE’s Marcie Cipriani that it looked like the plane was headed south when it hit the ground. Most of the plane’s debris kept traveling after the plane hit and landed in the woods past the mine. Most of the debris is small.” – thepittsburghchannel.com (09/11/01)

The news then reported that people thought that most of the plane must have disintegrated because apparently they didn’t find much of the plane in the woods.

the plane is pretty much disintegrated. There’s nothing left but scorched trees,” said Mark Stahl. – Daily American (09/12/01)

It looked like it hit and disintegrated,” Delano said. – PittsburghLive.com (09/12/01)

“Once it hit, everything just disintegrated,” said state police spokesman Trooper Thomas Spallone. – PittsburghLive.com (09/12/01)




The news also reported that not only that there were no survivors, but witnesses didn’t even see any bodies.


“Captain Frank Monaco, commanding officer of the Pennsylvania State Police, said nothing larger than a telephone book remained. There were no survivors.” – Boston Globe (09/12/01)

“[Eric] Peterson said he saw no bodies, but there also was no sign of life.” – post-gazette.com (09/12/01)


At this point, the accounts reported by the news made it seem like most of Flight 93 was essentially gone, along with most of the alleged 44 passengers, which would be quite a blow in being able to identify victims.

Then on 9/13, the news reported when officials said they found the Flight Data Recorder in the crater and thought that the finding of this black box was so newsworthy that they made it the headline of the article.


Investigators locate ‘black box’ from Flight 93
Thursday, September 13, 2001
“Investigators this afternoon discovered the “black box” containing flight data recordings from United Flight 93 at the crash site in rural Somerset County. Pittsburgh FBI spokesman Bill Crowley said the flight data recorder was found about 4:50 p.m. in the main crater at the crash site, located near Shanksville.” – post-gazette.com




The next day on 9/14, the news reported when the Cockpit Voice Recorder was supposedly found
and also felt it was newsworthy enough to make it the headline of the article. The news also mentioned it was supposedly found 25ft underground.


Second Black Box Found At Somerset Site
POSTED: 5:24 pm EDT September 14, 2001

“The cockpit voice recorder from the hijacked United Flight 93 that crashed in Somerset County was found late Friday…It was found at 8:25 p.m., about 25 feet within the crater created by the crash…” – thepittsburghchannel.com


(Note that, as far as I can tell, the news never reported right away how far crews supposedly had to dig down to find the FDR black box. It would be years later until it was reported they had to dig 15 feet to find it. See also where I show how obvious these black boxes were staged.)


But then 10 days later on 9/24, the news all of a sudden reported that almost all of the plane had been recovered when
officials announced they finished their investigation of the scene.
 

FBI finished with Pennsylvania crash site probe
September 24, 2001
“The FBI announced Monday that its investigation of the site where a hijacked jet slammed into a field here is complete and that 95 percent of the plane was recovered.” – cnn.com


And this is when things are so unbelievable.

The news had just reported how stunned the first witnesses to the scene were because it didn’t look like a plane had crashed, along with witnesses and officials there assuming that most of the plane must have disintegrated, and also that there looked to be no survivors or even bodies and now all of a sudden, the news reports that almost all of the plane has been recovered”??

Um, just when and where was most of Flight 93 found”! The news just got through reporting that essentially most of Flight 93 and its 44 passengers were gone!

Are you telling me the news didn’t find it newsworthy enough to report that most of Flight 93 wasn’t gone after all, but was found and not only that, was found buried underground and not only that, was buried so far underground that the recovery crews had to dig 15ft under the shallow crater to find it and not only that, no one knew it was buried because the hole closed in on itself and not only that, by finding where most of the plane was, they would have most likely found where most of the passengers were too and not only that, a large plane being buried like Flight 93 supposedly was would have been unprecendented! Talk about finding the “motherload” and the news not caring to report it.

Another thing interesting is when the news started reporting on the alleged passengers being identified that, as far as I can tell, it was only two days before the news reported that almost all of Flight 93 was found and again, the news never mentions where these alleged victims remains where found.

“[Dr. Dennis] Dirkmaat said, he is 100 percent certain that individuals will be identified. So far, none have been identified.” – Post-Gazette (09/16/01)

Four Flight 93 victims identified
“Investigators have identified remains of four of the 44 people aboard Flight 93, the jetliner that crashed here 11 days ago, the Somerset County coroner said yesterday.” – post-gazette.com (09/22/01)

Coroner identifies seven more victims of Flight 93 crash

“Seven victims of the Sept. 11 United Airlines Flight 93 crash in Somerset County were positively identified over the weekend, bringing the number of identified bodies to 11.” – Post-Gazette (09/24/01)

If most of Flight 93 was really buried underground where it was claimed, the media would have reported it when they reported that the Flight Data Recorder was supposedly found on 9/13 which was supposedly found after the recovery crews dig 15ft under the shallow crater.

But the funny thing is that the news did report about the recovery crew finding one other piece of plane debris supposedly found buried in the ground and that it was found on the same day the FDR black box was. So guess which one? That’s right, they reported about the piece in the only photo seen of plane debris supposedly being dug out of the hole that I mentioned above; the suspected planted engine scrap.


Black box recovered at Shanksville site
“FBI Agent William Crowley announced Thursday afternoon that investigators using heavy equipment found the recorder in a crater at the crash site near Lambertsville in Stonycreek Township.
Searchers yesterday also found one of the hijacked jetliner’s engines. But by evening, the cockpit voice recorder had not been recovered.” – Pittsburgh Live (09/14/01)

If the news reported when officials supposedly found the first black box after digging down in the ground and also reported they supposedly found part of one of the plane’s engines also while digging, there is absolutely no logical reason for the news not to have reported right away that most of the 155ft-long, 60ton Boeing 757 was found. Contents of the plane that would have been found down in the ground along with the black boxes and engine that were reported would be: 44 passengers, their luggage, hundreds of passenger seats, 3 huge landing gears 10 huge tires and rims, and possibly sections of the tail (since both black boxes located in the tail section supposedly burrowed far undergound and there is no evidence of the tailsection above ground), amongst tons and tons of other plane debris.


It would only be until a month later that the official story claiming most of Flight 93 buried itself was reported by the media, but it was just a vague little blurb in an article that wasn’t about what happened to most of the plane, but in an article about the local corner who was involved.



Coroner’s quiet unflappability helps him take charge of Somerset tragedy
“Even in the middle of it all, where trees were scorched and
the Boeing 757’s fuselage disintegrated in a crater that collapsed on itself to leave a gouge maybe 14 feet across, the destruction was so complete that it was hard to imagine what happened.” – Pittsburg Post Gazette (10/15/01)


The only other times the news reported that most of Flight 93 was buried was years later in anniversary reports of the alleged crash.


The day that changed America
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
“The plane pitched, then rolled, belly up. It hit nose-first, like a lawn dart. It disintegrated, digging more than 30 feet into the earth, which was spongy from the old mine work.” – pittsburghlive.com

Small town shoulders a nation’s grief
published September 10, 2003
“The site had been mined for coal, then refilled with dirt. It was still soft when Flight 93 crashed, and firefighters said the Boeing 757 tunneled right in. They had to dig 15 feet to find it.” – sptimes.com


There is only one logical reason why the media didn’t report when most of Flight 93 was supposedly found buried underground which is the most likely place where most of the 44 passengers would have been; because it never happened.

Documents recovered from the crash site of flight UA93 at Somerset County

Documents recovered from the crash site of flight UA93 at Somerset County

Compiled by Elias Davidsson

According to the FBI, the following items were recovered from the crash site of flight UA 93 at Somerset County, Pa.:

• Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ID card of alleged hijacker Ahmed Alnami (item Q1)

• Saudi Arabian Youth Hostels Association ID Card for same  (item Q2)

• Three small color photographs, two strips of negatives and an enlarged photocopy of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ID Card (items Q3)

• Handwritten letter with possible Arabic writing (item Q45)

• A “five page Arabic document [with] details regarding the strategy and preparation required to conduct a hijacking.1

For unexplained reasons, these FBI documents do not mention that a “business card in the name of Ziad Jarrah’s uncle, Assem Jarrah, was recovered at the crash site of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.”  In a Stipulation filed by the government in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui,2 it is even claimed that the “following handwriting appeared on the back of the partially torn card:

Rajh Moham

Billsteder Hauptstr, 14

22111 Hamburg

Germany”

 

How can such paper documents  belonging to “hijackers” be found when the bodies of their owners could not be found at the crash site?

It appears that most of these items were found after September 14, 2001, because as of September 15, 2001, the FBI had only found at the UA93 crash sites the following items: “A suitcase, a piece of plastic with Arabic writing, a hand written note, a knife (home made style), and a shirt.”3

A number of documents purporting to identify the suspects of flight UA93 were reportedly found at that flight’s crash site, though no aircraft wreckage was seen there and no drop of blood.4 The incriminating items included the passport of alleged hijacker Al Ghamdi,5 alleged hijacker Alnami’s Florida Driver’s License6, his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card7, a visa page from alleged hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s passport8, and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle, mentioned earlier.9 At the Pentagon crash site, a “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Student Identity Card” was discovered with alleged hijacker Majed Moqed’s name on it.10

 

END


1 FBI document 265A-NY-280350-HQ-4809

2 Stipulation, Exhibit ST00001,  supra n., p. 85

3 Communication from FBI Counterterrorism to all FBI Field Offices and Legats dated September 15, 2001 and approved by Thomas Pickard (Author’s document #452, p. 18)

4 Robb Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002. Cached at http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2263&Itemid=107

5 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00108.html

6 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00110.html

7 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00102.html

8 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00105-08.html

9 Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at http://www.rcfp.org/moussaoui/

10 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 132

Evidence that Ed Felt’s phone call was doctored

Evidence that Ed Felt’s phone call was doctored

By Elias Davidsson

One of the oddest phone calls allegedly made from Flight UA93 on 9/11 is attributed to passenger Edward Felt.

The present sub-section relies partly on an excellent analysis of anomalies surrounding Felt’s call discovered by blogger John Doe II1.

At 9:58 a.m. (September 11, 2001), a phone call was made by a person, later identified as Edward Felt, to Emergency (tel. 911), saying he was calling from flight UA93. The call was answered by John W. Shaw. The caller, who was said to be “hysterical”, said he had locked himself in one of the aircraft’s bathrooms. He repeatedly cried “hijack, hijack, hijack”, but did not describe the hijackers. He also said that there were “lots of individuals on the plane”. Shaw was interviewed three times by the FBI on the very day of 9/112 and again on March 25, 2002.3 Glenn Cramer, the emergency supervisor who monitored the call, told the Post-Gazette that the caller “was very distraught [and] believed the plane was going down. He did hear some sort of an explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane, but he didn’t know where.”4 Cramer confirmed to the FBI on September 12, 2001, that the caller spoke of “lots of passengers”, corroborating thereby what Shaw had told. In his FBI interview, Cramer added to what Shaw had told, that the caller had mentioned an explosion and smoke on board the aircraft.5 Felt’s call was recorded but the FBI immediately confiscated the tape.6 Glenn Cramer has since been gagged by the FBI7.

The released transcript of Felt’s phone call contradicts both Shaw’s and Cramer’s accounts. The transcript, released by the FBI as an attachment to document 302-4889, contains the following exchange:

911:  “Okay. How many peoples (sic) on the plane?”

Caller: “It was — it was pretty empty, maybe (unintelligible).”

In addition, the transcript does not include any mention of an explosion or smoke.

But it gets still stranger. In a communication from FBI Newark to FBI New York of March 22, 2002, the contents of which are for the most part redacted, the following sentence is left: “Under no circumstance is Newark to provide [the family of] FELT with a copy of the recording or a copy of the transcript.”  In a communication from FBI Counterterrorism to the FBI Newark office, of September 12, 2003 (Bates 375), the authors wrote that “[e]very effort should be taken by Newark Victim Witness Assistance personnel to ensure Sandra Felt is treated with the utmost respect. Although Sandra Felt has signed a non-disclosure letter, the possibility exists of negative media reporting…The Newark Division is requested, with Sandra Felt’s permission, to stay with the family while the tape is played.”

After obtaining from Felt’s attorney a non-disclosure signature from Sandra Felt,  FBI officials visited her at her residence on March 26, 2002 and allowed her and members of her immediate family to listen to “a 911 telephone call made by Edward Felt from United flight 93 on September 11, 2001”.8 This was the first time, since 9/11, she and her family were allowed to hear the tape, on which her husband was reporting the hijacking. But it gets still stranger.

Merely a month later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informed its readers that Felt’s family was among those invited by the FBI to listen to the recording of the cockpit voice recorder from flight UA93.  Before they joined the other relatives, Ed Felt’s widow, Sandra, his brother, Gordon, and his mother, Shirley, “were led to a small conference room (…) where they were joined by two FBI agents and a victim-assistance counselor. Sitting around a polished wood table, the agents handed each of the Felts a typed transcript of the 911 call, and then played it.  Ed’s call was made at 9:58 a.m. ..[H]e spoke in a quivering voice saying, ‘We are being hijacked. We are being hijacked.’ He went on to describe an “explosion” that he heard, and then white smoke on the plane from an undetermined location. Then the line went dead.”9

From the foregoing accounts, it appears that the FBI possessed two versions of Ed Felt’s call, one mentioning an explosion and white smoke and another without; one mentioning “lots of passengers” and another claiming that the plane was “pretty empty”. Glenn Cramer, who initially reported to have heard Felt mention an explosion and white smoke, was again interviewed by the FBI on April 12, 2002. He did not retract his initial testimony and stated that he was not given the opportunity to listen to the recording which was played to Felt’s family.10

As there could only be one authentic recording of Felt’s call, the other version was obviously a forgery.

1.  John Doe II, Edward Felt’s phone call, May 16, 2005, at http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=125×39827

2.  FBI Documents 265A-NY-280350-302-3725,  302-38710 and 302-107608 of September 11, 2001

3.  Source: FBI Newark from Pittsburgh Squad 4/JTTF to Counterterrorism, New York, March 26, 2002. Bates 344. PG 3585

4.  Jonathan Silver, et al, Day of Terror: Outside tiny Shanksville, a fourth deadly stroke, Post-Gazette, September 12, 2001, at http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010912crashnat2p2.asp

5.  FBI Document 265A-NY-280350-302-17823 of September 12, 2001

6.  William Bunch, We know it crashed, but not why, Philadelphia Daily News, November 15, 2001, at http://web.archive.org/web/20011116093836/http:/dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/local/2001/11/15/SHOT15c.htm

7.  Richard Wallace, What did happen to flight 93? Daily Mirror (UK), September 12, 2002, at http://web.archive.org/web/20030219235650/http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12192317&method=full

8.  FBI document OUT 2675 of September 28, 2002 from FBI Newark, Franklin Township Squad 1. Bates 346

9.  Steve Levin, “It hurts to listen”, Post-Gazette, April 21, 2002, at http://www.post-gazette.com/nation/20020421flight930421p1.asp

10.  FBI document 265A-NY-280350-302-[unreadable] of April 12, 2002

Evidence of fraud regarding flight UA93’s Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

Evidence of fraud regarding flight UA93’s Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

by Elias Davidsson

Each commercial aircraft carries two “black boxes”, a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).  The CVR is an extremely sturdy device that stores the last 30 minutes of sounds (including conversation) from the cockpit.   An aircraft’s “black boxes” are only analyzed in the case of aircraft crashes.  The only CVR found and deemed usable from 9/11 was that from flight UA93.

On 18 April 2002, the FBI invited victims’ families to listen to the CVR from Flight UA93. Department of Justice prosecutors “exhorted families not to describe the tapes’ contents because they will be played as evidence in the terrorism conspiracy trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.”1 FBI agents “asked the relatives to surrender all cell phones, palm pilots and pagers to prevent the recording of any of the day’s proceedings.”2 After the session, the family members left “under the escort of New Jersey state troopers and federal agents, who walked them to their cars and shielded them from reporters.”3 The CVR recording was played during the Moussaoui trial at the specific request of the prosecution in order to impress the jury.4 The trial judge decided, upon the request of an unidentified family member, to reseal the recording after it was played.5.

What secrets did the CVR recording hold that the FBI did not want to be widely known.

Here is what Philadelphia Daily News reported on 16 September 2002 about the contents of the CVR:

The final three minutes of hijacked United Flight 93 are still a mystery more than a year after it crashed in western Pennsylvania – even to grieving relatives who sought comfort in listening to its cockpit tapes in April. (…)

Several leading seismologists agree that Flight 93 crashed last Sept. 11 at 10:06:05 a.m., give or take a couple of seconds. Family members allowed to hear the cockpit voice recorder in Princeton, N.J., last spring were told it stopped just after 10:03. The FBI and other agencies refused repeated requests to explain the discrepancy.

But the relatives of Flight 93 passengers who heard the cockpit tape April 18 at a Princeton hotel said government officials laid out a timetable for the crash in a briefing and in a transcript that accompanied the recording. Relatives later reported they heard sounds of an on-board struggle beginning at 9:58 a.m., but there was a final “rushing sound” at 10:03, and the tape fell silent.

Vaughn Hoglan, the uncle of passenger Mark Bingham, said by phone from California that near the end there are shouts of “pull up, pull up,” but the end of the tape “is inferred – there’s no impact.”

Here is what CNN reported on 23 July 2004:

The passengers continued with their assault, trying to break through the cockpit door. At 10:02 a.m. and 23 seconds, 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 report concludes.

“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 the sounds of the passenger counter-attack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes’ flying time from Washington, D.C.”

The story has now completely changed:

• The 10:06 a.m. seismic event and the three missing minutes have disappeared from the later account.

• We are told that hijackers were on the verge of being overwhelmed by passengers while the plane was apparently flying upside down.

• The impact of the plane with the ground now occurs at 10:03 a.m.

• In the 2002 version a hijacker is claimed to have shouted “pull it up, pull it up”. Now the hijacker is said to have shouted “pull it town, pull it down.”

• On the new version one of the hijackers allegedly shouts: “Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest”. No relative who listened to the recording in 2002, mentioned these religious exclamations.

In 2006 the story changed again.  According to the San Francisco Gate of 13 April 2006:

Three minutes after 10 a.m., passengers seem to be breaking through the cockpit door, fighting with the hijackers in a futile effort to take back the throttle. “Go! Go!” they encourage one another. “Move! Move!” But the terrorists have flipped the plane upside down. They spin it downward.

“Shall we finish it off?” a hijacker asks in Arabic.

In its final plunge, the hijackers shout over and over in Arabic: “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!”

In this version not one but all of the hijackers are shouting “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!”

We have here three different versions of one and the same CVR.  As these versions contradict each other, either two of them or all three are a fraud.  It is, therefore, not surprising that the FBI has kept the CVR under seal.6

Beyond the discrepancies described above, the authenticity of the transcripts that have been released to the public must be questioned.

An example of a proper CVR analysis produced by the NTSB is Document DCA05MA003, Cockpit Voice Recorder – 12, of January 27, 2005. The first page names the members of the group that met on October 18, 2004 to analyze and transcribe the CVR, the aircraft type and tail number, the name of the airline and the flight number.  The next pages list the name of the CVR manufacturer, its model and its serial number; a description of the audio recording and the sound quality of the four audio channels; timing and correlation and a summary description of audio events.  Then follows a page explaining how audio quality is classified into five quality classes, a page with a legend explaining acronyms used throughout the transcript, and finally the transcript itself that includes the various sounds and spoken text recorded by the CVR, with the exact time they were recorded and whenever possible the identity of the speaker.  No such document was produced for the CVR from flight UA93.

A list of 29 transcripts from Cockpit Voice Recorders found at numerous aircraft crash sites around the world is posted on airdisaster.com.7 These transcripts date from 1972 to 2001. A genuine CVR transcript typically includes a code of a sound’s origin, its exact time and its contents (spoken message or equipment sound). CVR transcripts, such as from flight American 1420, that crashed in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 6, 1999,8 show what the transcript of flight UA93’s CVR should have looked like and how non-verbal sounds are mentioned.

The transcript of Flight UA93’s CVR does not mention ambient sounds9 and no crash sound at the end, as would be expected,10 meaning that the transcript does not faithfully reflect what is heard on the recording, or alternately that the recording itself is a fraud. German author Gerhard Wisnewski correctly observed that the released transcript differed significantly from authentic CVR transcripts by failing to mention the aircraft’s ID, the name of the person and the agency who issued the transcript and the date the transcript was issued.11

The only public document representing the CVR that was allegedly found at the Somerset County crash site is thus an undated and unsigned timeline of spoken phrases allegedly recorded on the CVR and typed on blank paper.  Such an unauthenticated piece of paper, lacking attribution, has no probative value and is rightly suspected as a fraud.

The explanation given by the FBI for the fact that the CVR does not provide any indication when and how the alleged hijackers entered the cockpit, is that the “aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder is on a 30 minute taping cycle, therefore the initial hijacker assault of Flight 93 was not captured on audio tape.”12 According to the 9/11 Commission, the assault of the cockpit occurred at 9:28,13 just in time not to be recorded.

END

1 Phil Hirschkorn and David Mattingly, ‘Families say Flight 93 tapes prove heroism’, CNN, 19 April 2002. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2002/US/04/19/rec.flight.93.families/

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui,  Government submission regarding relevance of cockpit voice recorders. Available at http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/moussaoui/usmouss92402gcvrsub.pdf

5 See, http://capitaldefenseweekly.com/library/moussaoui/1_01-cr-00455/docs/72176/0.pdf

6 Reuters News Service, ‘FBI refuses to release cockpit tape from hijacked flight’, Houston Chronicle, 20 December 2001. Available at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/terror/front/1181993.html

7.  AirDisaster.Com list of Cockpit Voice Recorder transcripts. Cached at www.aldeilis.net/english/fake/474

8 Transcript of the CVR from the crash of flight American 1420, at http://www.airdisaster.com/cvr/aa1420tr.shtml

9 http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2006/images/04/12/flight93.transcript.pdf

10 Released CVR recordings from aircraft crashes are available at http://www.airdisaster.com/cvr/cvrwav.shtml

11  Gerhard Wisnewski, Verschlußsache Terror – Wer die Welt mit Angst regiert, Knauer Taschenbuch, 2007, pp. 130-131

12.  FBI-PENTTBOMB Case Summary of January 11, 2002 (JICI Document dated April 19, 2002. pp. FBI02918)

13.  9/11 Commission, Final Report (2004), pp. 11

The crash site at Somerset County, Pennsylvania

The crash site at Somerset County, Pennsylvania

By Elias Davidsson

Many of those who rushed to the reported crash site of Flight UA93 (of 9/11) at Somerset County near Shanksville, were surprised to see no plane wreckage, no bodies, no blood, nothing but a hole in the ground.1 Here are observations from local people and journalists who arrived at the scene shortly after the crash:

Homer Barron, a worker at Stoystown Auto Wreckers, told Post-Gazette that he and his coworker, Jeff Phillips, drove to the crash scene and found there a smoky hole in the ground: “It didn’t look like a plane crash because there was nothing that looked like a plane,” he said. His colleague, however, said, “There was one part of a seat burning up there. That was something you could recognize.”2

Jon Meyer, a reporter with WJAC-TV, says, “I was able to get right up to the edge of the crater.… All I saw was a crater filled with small, charred plane parts. Nothing that would even tell you that it was the plane.… There were no suitcases, no recognizable plane parts, no body parts. The crater was about 30 to 35 feet deep.” [Newseum et al., 2002, pp. 148]

Wally Miller, the county coroner, was among the very first to arrive at the crash site.  He gave numerous interviews in which he expressed his surprise to see no bodies and no blood at the crash site. In one of the earliest interviews with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said, “It was as if the plane had stopped and let the passengers off before it crashed.”3 He repeated this comment in an interview with CNN on March 11, 2002.4 He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says, “like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it.” Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller said, “I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there.”5A year after the events, he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “I have not, to this day, seen a single drop of blood [a the crash site]. Not a drop.” To author David McCall he told, “I got to the actual crash site and could not believe what I saw…Usually you see much debris, wreckage, and much noise and commotion. This crash was different. There was no wreckage, no bodies, and no noise…It appeared as though there were no passengers or crew on this plane.”6

Mark Stahl of Somerset, a salesman, arrived at the site 15 minutes after the explosion. He told the Tribune-Review that he didn’t realize a passenger jet had crashed until a firefighter told him. “It’s unbelievable” he said.7

Frank Monaco of the Pennsylvania State Police says, “If you would go down there, it would look like a trash heap. There’s nothing but tiny pieces of debris. It’s just littered with small pieces.”8

Scott Spangler, a photographer with a local newspaper, says, “I didn’t think I was in the right place. I was looking for a wing or a tail. There was nothing, just this pit.… I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing.”9

Ron Delano, a local who rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash, said, “If they hadn’t told us a plane had wrecked, you wouldn’t have known. It looked like it hit and disintegrated.”10

Gabrielle DeRose, a news anchor with KDKA-TV, views the crash site from a hill overlooking it. She says, “It was very disturbing to think all the remains just disintegrated…. There were no large pieces of airplane, no human remains, no baggage.”11

Rick King, a local assistant volunteer fire chief, who sees the crater at the crash site, says, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think half the plane was down there.” King sends his men into the woods to search for the plane’s fuselage, but they keep coming back and telling him, “Rick. There’s nothing.”12

Some of the above eyewitnesses, including Mark Stahl, Ron Delano and Wally Miller, deducted from the absence of visible debris that the plane had entirely disintegrated.  However, merely 12 days after 9/11, FBI agent Bill Crowley announced “that 95 percent of the plane was recovered…and the pieces of United Airlines Flight 93 that had been recovered were turned over Sunday to the airline…”13 He said that the biggest piece recovered was a 6-by-7-foot piece of the fuselage skin, including four windows. The heaviest piece, he said, was part of an engine fan, weighing about 1,000 pounds. None of the eyewitnesses had mentioned having observed these objects at the crash site.

Media reports explained that the plane had not integrated, as believed, but that the 155ft-long fuselage had disappeared into the soft ground and was buried there, hidden from view. Thus Tom Gibb, of the Post-Gazette, mused on October 15, 2001, that the “fuselage disintegrated in a crater that collapsed on itself”.14 This story reappeared in force a year after 9/11 and remained the official explanation for the lack of debris.  Robb Frederick of Tribune-Review wrote on September 11, 2002, “The plane pitched, then rolled, belly up. It hit nose-first, like a lawn dart…digging more than 30 feet into the earth, which was spongy from the old mine work.15 Wes Allison of the St. Petersburg Times, wrote on September 10, 2003, that ”the site had been mined for coal, then refilled with dirt. It was still soft when Flight 93 crashed, and firefighters said the Boeing 757 tunneled right in.”16 Mary Jo Dangel of the St. Anthony Messenger Online explained later why the wreckage was not visible: “The ground had swallowed up much of the wreckage.”17 The Australian paper The Age tried to provide a scientific explanation, writing that the “rest of the 757 continued its downward passage, the sandy loam closing behind it like the door of a tomb.”18 The FBI had apparently to dig out far down to find the plane: “[M]uch of the wreckage was found buried 20 to 25 feet below the large crater”.  According to WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, of September 14, 2001, the cockpit voice recorder from flight UA93 was found at 8:25 on that day “about 25 feet within the crater.”19 No independent observer was, however, present during the excavation.

At the Moussaoui trial, a handful of photographs alleged to have been taken at the crash sites have been released and posted on the web.  The photographs are of extremely bad quality. It is difficult to believe that the FBI is incapable to make better images of a crime site.

How did the 9/11 Commission address the lack of wreckage and bodies at the crash site of Flight 93?

It simply ignored these testimonies. This crash site is mentioned only a few times in the Commission’s Final Report and mainly to convey two alleged facts: That “no evidence of firearms or of their identifiable remains was found at the aircraft’s crash site” and that “[t]he FBI collected 14 knives or portions of knives at the Flight 93 crash site.”

Despite the apparent lack of wreckage reported by those first at the crash scene, the FBI claimed that it had recovered 95 percent of the plane. The largest piece found, it says, is a seven-foot-long piece of the fuselage skin, including four windows. With the exception of the two black boxes, all wreckage is passed on to United Airlines. Asked what United will do with this, a spokeswoman says, “I don’t think a decision has been made… but we’re not commenting.”20

In contradiction to all witnesses’ testimonies, The Telegraph (UK) tells us that “In the wreckage of the plane that crashed outside Pittsburgh, allegedly on its way to attack Washington, stewardesses’ bodies were found with their hands bound behind their backs.”21 This fact was neither observed by eyewitnesses nor corroborated by the FBI.  It demonstrates that the media either invented such stories or were provided with such legends by unidentified officials in order to increase the impact of the 9/11 legend.

1 Doc.092-UA93.jpg.  According to a photographer interviewed by Fox News, there was no smoke either.

2 Bob Batz, et al, The crash in Somerset: ‘It dropped out of the clouds’, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 12, 2001, at http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010912somerscenenat4p3.asp

3  Tom Gibb, Newsmaker: Coroner’s quiet unflappability helps him take charge of Somerset tragedy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 15, 2001, at  http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20011015newsmaker1015p2.asp

4 http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0203/11/lt.02.html

5 Peter Perl, Hallowed Ground, Washington Post, May 12, 2002, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A56110-2002May8

6 David McCall, From Tragedy to Triumph, 2002, pp. 86-87

7 “Homes, neighbors rattled by crash”, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 12, 2001, at http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_12942.html

8  Bob Batz, et al, supr n.

9  Newseum, Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of September 11 (2002), pp. 149

10  Ibid.

11 Suzanne Huffman and Judith L. Sylvester, Women Journalists at Ground Zero: Covering Crisis (2002), pp. 160-161

12 Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, (2002), pp. 216

13  FBI finished with Pennsylvania crash site probe, CNN, September 24, 2001, at http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/24/inv.pennsylvania.site/index.html

14 Tom Gibb, PG, 15. Oct. 2001

15 Robb Frederick, The day that changed America, Tribune-Review, September 11, 2002, at http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_90823.html

16 Wes Allison, Small town shoulders a nation’s grief, St. Petersburg Times, September 10, 2003, at http://www.sptimes.com/2003/09/10/news_pf/Worldandnation/Small_town_shoulders_.shtml

17 Mary Jo Dangel, St. Anthony Messenger (American Catholic), September 2006, at http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Sep2006/Feature2.asp

18  On Hallowed Ground, The Age, September 9, 2002, at  http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/09/1031115990570.html

19  Second Black Box Found At Somerset Site, WTAE.COM, September 14, 2001

20 Doc.094-CNN.pdf and Doc.095-PGazette.pdf

21 Philip Delves Broughton, Last words from Flight 11: ‘I can see water and buildings. Oh my God!” The Telegraph, September 21, 2001, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1341236/Last-words-from-Flight-11-I-can-see-water-and-buildings.-Oh-my-God.html

The dubious security video from Dulles Airport

The dubious security video from Dulles Airport

By Elias Davidsson

A security video recording purports to show alleged hijackers of flight AA77 pass through the security checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.  This recording was not voluntarily released by the US government, but was forced out in 2004 by the Motley Rice law firm representing some survivors’ families, under the Freedom Of Information Act.1 This video recording was released as an exhibit by the prosecution in the Moussaoui trial but requires a lengthy download to watch.2 It is however available on various websites.3 The video purports to show persons designated as the hijackers of flight AA77 pass security check on the morning of 9/11.

Jay Kolar, who published a detailed, critical analysis of this video recording,4 pointed out that it  lacks a camera identification number and time stamp (data:time clock). Joe Vialls, who also analyzed this video recording in 2004, wrote that “[j]ust this single terminal at Dulles Airport has well over 100 such cameras, everyone of them with an individual camera ident[ifcation] number and date-time clock of its own.“5 He explained: “On-film data is essential of course, because it would be extremely difficult to track a target around the airport without these basic tools, and absolutely impossible to sort out the precise time and date of an event that occurred more than two years before, which is exactly what the 9-11 Commission now claims to have done.“  According to Vialls, the video recording could not have been made on the morning of 9/11 because the light suggests that it had been made around noon.  He urges viewers to ”play back a full size copy [of the video recording]…and freeze-frame at the appropriate points”, pointing out the “footprint size shadow underneath the cab, and the brilliant sunshine streaming in through the open doors. On a full-screen picture you can even see the minuscule short [near vertical] shadows of the people standing outside the doors.”

Compare this video recording with an entry in an FBI timeline of the alleged hijackers’ activities before 9/11, which indicates the precise time, to the second. There we read: On September 5, 2001, “Atta and Alomari [were] filmed entering a bank lobby and at bank counter (Bank Atlantic, 10 Fairway Drive, Deerfield, Florida). Surveillance video shows these same two individuals entering the branch at 12:36:35 and existing at about 12:37:50.”6 Ironically, this video recording was never shown in public.

A strange story about the Dulles security video, which appears to confirm the suspicion that it was fabricated before 9/11, was told by airport security manager Ed Nelson of Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. to authors Susan and Joseph Trento. Ed Nelson said that shortly after arriving at the airport on the morning of 9/11, FBI agents confiscated a security tape from a checkpoint through which he believed the alleged hijackers had passed before boarding the plane. He then said about the FBI agents:

They pulled the tape right away.… They brought me to look at it. They went right to the first hijacker on the tape and identified him. They knew who the hijackers were out of hundreds of people going through the checkpoints. They would go ‘roll and stop it’ and showed me each of the hijackers.… It boggles my mind that they had already had the hijackers identified.… Both metal detectors were open at that time, and lots of traffic was moving through. So picking people out is hard.… I wanted to know how they had that kind of information. So fast. It didn’t make sense to me.”7

Apparently, the agents did not explain to Ed Nelson how they were able to identify the suspects on the tape „so fast“.  We do not know what went on in Ed Nelson’s mind.  But it wouldn’t be unreasonable of him to suspect that the recording had been made prior to 9/11.  He was, however, careful not to mention this sinister thought.

1 Nick Grimm, ‘Commission report finalized as 9/11 airport video released’, ABC.net.au, 22 July 2004. Available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1159804.htm

2 At http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution.html

(last visited January 9, 2011), or the version issued by Associated Press: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYPS-h8mYDc (last visited May 25, 2011)

4 Jay Kolar, ‘What we now know about the alleged 9-11 hijackers’, in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001, Research in Political Economy, Vol. 23, 3-45, Elsevier Ltd. (2006), pp. 7-10

5  Joe Vialls,  Clueless 9-11 Commission Cheats American Public, July 23, 2004.

6  Working Draft Chronology of Events for Hijackers and Associates, Part C,  FBI,  November 14, 2003 , at http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/sourcedocuments/2001/pdfs/fbi911timeline210-2…

7  Susan B. Trento and Joseph J. Trento, Unsafe at any Altitude: Failed Terrorism Investigations, Scapegoating 9/11, and the Shocking Truth about Aviation Security Today, Steerforth Press, October 2006, p. 37

The cockpit voice recorder from Flight UA93

The cockpit voice recorder from Flight UA93

by Elias Davidsson

According to official sources, the only retrieved and readable Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)( from 9/11 belonged to flight UA93 which allegedly crashed on a field in Pennsylvania.  The FBI controlled the analysis of that CVR and initially opposed to have even family members listen to it.1 Questions remain about the authenticity of this CVR: Transcripts of CVRs from other aircraft crashes around the world, that are publicly accessible on the internet, mention numerous engine and other ambient sounds from the cockpit in addition to conversation.2 The transcript of Flight UA93’s CVR does not mention any such sounds3 and particularly no crash sound at the end, as would be expected,4 suggesting that the transcript does not faithfully reflect what is heard in the recording. German author Gerhard Wisnewski made a pertinent observation that the released transcript differed significantly from authentic CVR transcripts by failing to mention the aircraft’s ID, the name of the person and the agency who issued the transcript and the date the transcript was issued.5 The released transcript cannot, therefore, be attributed to any transcriber. Furthermore serious discrepancies have been revealed between what family members heard when the CVR was first played to them by the FBI on 18 April 20026 and what the 9/11 Commission reported to have heard from the CVR recording at a later date. These discrepancies suggest that the CVR recording has either been manipulated7, that two versions had been made from one CVR or that the released documents had been fabricated.

 

1 Reuters News Service, ‘FBI refuses to release cockpit tape from hijacked flight’, Houston Chronicle, 20 December 2001. Available at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/terror/front/1181993.html

2 See EgyptAir 990 CVR Transcript: http://www.ntsb.gov/Events/EA990/docket/Ex_12A.pdf; SwissAir Flight 111 CVR Transcript: http://aviation-safety.net/inv….._sr111.php; TWA Flight 800 CVR Transcript: http://aviation-safety.net/inv….._tw800.php

3 http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2006/images/04/12/flight93.transcript.pdf

4 Released CVR recordings from aircraft crashes are available at http://www.airdisaster.com/cvr/cvrwav.shtml

5  Gerhard Wisnewski, Verschlußsache Terror – Wer die Welt mit Angst regiert, Knauer Taschenbuch, 2007, pp. 130-131

6 John Doe II, supra n. 96

7 Ibid.

FAA loses track of 119,000 aircraft

AP Enterprise: FAA loses track of 119,000 aircraft

Published December 10, 2010

Fox News

Associated Press

NEW YORK –  The Federal Aviation Administration is missing key information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S. — a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government’s knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights. It has ordered all aircraft owners to re-register their planes in an effort to clean up its files.

About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have “questionable registration” because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.

Already there have been cases of drug traffickers using phony U.S. registration numbers, as well as instances of mistaken identity in which police raided the wrong plane because of faulty record-keeping.

Next year, the FAA will begin canceling the registration certificates of all 357,000 aircraft and require owners to register anew, a move that is causing grumbling among airlines, banks and leasing companies. Notices went out to the first batch of aircraft owners last month.

 

 

“We have identified some potential risk areas, but I think we’re trying to eliminate as much risk as possible through the re-registration process,” said FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

The FAA says security isn’t the only reason it needs an up-to-date registry. Regulators use it to contact owners about safety problems, states rely on it to charge sales tax, and some airports employ it to bill for landing fees. Also, rescuers use the database to track down planes that are missing.

But the FAA has emphasized the security and law enforcement angle as the new measure has moved through the rule-making process over the past two years. The agency says the paperwork gap is becoming a bigger problem as authorities increasingly rely on computers to tighten aviation security in the wake of 9/11 and other terrorist plots.

There have already been cases of criminals using U.S. registration numbers, also known as N-numbers or tail numbers, to disguise their airplanes. In 2008, Venezuela authorities seized a twin-engine plane with the registration number N395CA on the fuselage and more than 1,500 pounds of cocaine on board.

Soon afterward, airplane owner Steven Lathrop of Ellensburg, Wash., received a call from a reporter.

“He sort of started the conversation with, ‘Do you know where your airplane is? … Your airplane’s in a jungle in South America,'” Lathrop said.

Lathrop’s Piper Cheyenne II XL was locked safely in its hangar at the Ellensburg airport. The smugglers had apparently chosen his tail number because the model was similar to their plane.

“Anybody with a roll of duct tape can put any number they want on an airplane,” Lathrop said.

Federal law requires all U.S. aircraft owners to register their planes with the FAA and carry the registration certificate on board. The registration number — all U.S. registrations start with the letter N — is painted on the fuselage or tail. The numbers are used on flight plan forms and by air traffic controllers to communicate with aircraft in flight.

The amount of missing or invalid paperwork has been building for decades, the FAA says. Up to now, owners had to register their planes only once, at the time of purchase. The FAA sent out notices every three years asking owners to update their contact information if needed, but there was no punishment for not doing so. As of 2008, there were 343,000 airplanes on the registry. By 2010, the number had risen to 357,000.

The U.S. registry includes 16,000 aircraft that were sold but never updated with the names of the new owners, and more than 14,000 aircraft that have had their registrations revoked but may still be flying because the FAA has not canceled their N-numbers. Other registrations are outdated because the owners have died or the planes were totaled in crashes. Some planes are simply derelicts corroding in barns or junkyards.

As a result, there is a “large pool” of N-numbers “that can facilitate drug, terrorist or other illegal activities,” the FAA warned in a 2007 report.

The problem became more acute after the government launched a new computer system for tracking flights called the Automatic Detection and Processing Terminal, or ADAPT, the FAA says. The system combines dozens of databases, from a list of stolen aircraft to the names of diplomats. It flags suspicious flights in red on a map.

Unreliable data in the system has led to cases of mistaken identity.

Pilot Pierre Redmond said his Cirrus was searched by Customs and Border Protection agents in fatigues and bulletproof vests last year in Ramona, Calif. They told him his tail number had been confused with that of a wanted plane in Florida.

In August, police in Santa Barbara, Calif., detained flight instructors John and Martha King at gunpoint after federal authorities mistook their Cessna for a plane that was stolen in 2002. The Kings are famous in aviation because they produce and star in a popular series of test-preparation videos for pilots.

The error in the Kings’ case was eventually traced to a law-enforcement database that is cross-referenced with the FAA’s registry, not to the registry itself. But Brown of the FAA called it an example of the real-world consequences of bad recordkeeping.

“It’s very, very scary,” Martha King said. “If this keeps happening to people, somebody’s going to get shot.”

To update the FAA registry, the agency will cancel all aircraft registrations over the next three years. Owners will have three months to re-register. In addition, the FAA will do away with its one-time registration certificate and adopt one that has to be replaced every three years. Those who fail to re-register will lose their certificate, and the plane must be grounded.

“We’re trying to model it more closely on some of the programs that are in effect for automobiles,” Brown said. “With the more regular renewal process, you will capture bad data much more frequently.”

Airlines, leasing companies, charter operators and banks agree there is a problem but have complained about having to repeatedly re-register planes.

The Air Transport Association of America, which represents airlines, warned in 2008 that the measure “had the potential to wreak havoc on the commercial air transportation system.” On Tuesday, ATA spokesman David Castelveter said airlines are still gauging the potential effect of the new rule.

Other groups noted that most of the aircraft with paperwork problems are smaller planes that pose little terrorist threat.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a tremendous security benefit as a result of this,” said Doug Carr, a vice president of the National Business Aviation Association.

Banks and finance companies that hold loans used to buy planes will be among those hardest hit, said David Warner, general counsel for the National Aircraft Finance Association. A bank’s claim to an aircraft is often tied to the FAA registration, so lenders are having to hire more staff and buy computer systems to track hundreds of aircraft registrations, Warner said.

He said the FAA has exaggerated the danger.

“The threat of people wanting to do us harm is very real, but the focus on re-registration or stale registration data on aircraft is not where the risk is likely to be,” Warner said.

___

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy contributed to this report from Washington.

 

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/10/ap-enterprise-faa-loses-track-planes/#ixzz17hALDQvF

A Little Known Fact About the 9/11 Planes

A Little Known Fact About the 9/11 Planes

Anthony Lawson for Salem-News.com

March 18, 2010

(BANGKOK) – Extract: …it would be a remarkable irony, and quite possibly a unique circumstance in the annals of American jurisprudence, if the assumptions used as reasons for launching wars against two sovereign nations, as well as the more generalised ‘War on Terror’ would not stand up as evidence in either a criminal prosecution or a civil damages suit in an American court of law.

It is not a theory but a fact—one that is well known within the 9/11 truth movement—that the 9/11 Commission failed to ensure that at least one of the appropriate government agencies: the NTSB, the FBI or the FAA was commissioned to positively identify the aircraft which were allegedly involved in the murders of nearly 3,000 people, on September 11, 2001.

One does not need to be a Harvard Law School graduate to know that the first and most important requirement in any murder investigation is to determine the cause of death, which often leads to a requirement to identify, and trace to its origins, a murder weapon, or, in the case of 9/11: weapons. And there can be no doubt that each of the four planes which were allegedly hijacked on the morning 9/11 was posited as being a murder weapon, by the U.S. administration and the 9/11 Commission, yet there is absolutely nothing which firmly connects the four allegedly-hijacked planes to any of the 9/11 crash sites.

In fact it is not fanciful to suggest that if a lawyer, even of a far lower calibre than that of an Alan Dershowitz, were engaged to defend the airport security companies that allegedly allowed 19 box-cutter-carrying Arabs to get onto those planes, he would immediately call for the dismissal of such an action on the grounds that the planes which allegedly hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the one which crashed near Shanksville had never been forensically identified as the planes which, allegedly, had been hijacked that morning.

And such a motion could not possibly be denied, as I will explain.

The planes in question were alleged to have been: American Airlines flight 11 (Tail Number: N334AA), North Tower; United Airlines flight 175 (N612UA), South Tower; American Airlines flight 77 (N644AA), the Pentagon, and United Airlines flight 93 (N591UA), which supposedly crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But the truth is that they could well have been different planes that had arrived on the scenes from quite different locations, because the crash debris recovered from those four crash sites has never been forensically linked to the planes that allegedly took off from Logan International, Boston; Dulles International, Washington and Newark International, New Jersey, and which were, allegedly, hijacked shortly thereafter. Therefore they cannot possibly be linked, without a reasonable doubt, to breaches of security at those airports.

So, it would be a remarkable irony, and quite possibly a unique circumstance in the annals of American jurisprudence, if the assumptions used as reasons for launching wars against two sovereign nations, as well as the more generalised ‘War on Terror’ would not stand up as evidence in either a criminal prosecution or a civil damages suit in an American court of law.

Air-crash investigations in the United States are normally carried out by the NTSB’s air accident investigation division, and there are several documentary television series featuring this government agency’s painstaking approach when investigating the causes of air crashes. During many such investigations, serial numbers from recovered parts are cross checked with the airline-in-question’s purchase and maintenance records, to try and identify the reason for an accident, when it is suspected that mechanical failure may have been the cause.

However the NTSB has confirmed that—apparently for the first time from its inception, in 1967, since when it has investigated more than 124,000 other aviation accidents—it took no part in investigating any of the air crashes which occurred on September 11, 2001. So the world has been asked to take it on faith and hearsay that the four planes involved were normal scheduled flights which were hijacked by Arab terrorists, some of whom, are, allegedly, still alive.

Even more disturbing is the fact that documentation exists, and is available on the Internet, which indicates that the FBI, backed up by a separate letter from the Justice Department has refused to release any information, under the Freedom of Information Act, about any debris recovered from the crash sites, including the serial number of the “Black Box” Cockpit Flight Data Recorder allegedly found near the alleged crash site of United Airlines Flight 93. It may be recalled that a transcript taken from this recorder formed the basis for several TV dramas and one Academy-Award winning feature film.

By no means finally, but just as disturbing, the core of a jet engine, which can been seen in several 9/11 videos falling out of the northern face of the WTC’s South Tower, and which hit a building on its way down, and was photographed and videoed—in the presence of FBI personnel and at least one FBI vehicle—where it came to rest at the junction of Church and Murray streets, was later photographed, prior to its burial in a land fill on Staten Island. So much for what murder investigators are usually so concerned about: The chain of custody and preservation of important evidence, pending its identification.

The events of 9/11 had consequences far beyond the destruction of life and property in the United States; they were the reasons for the launching of three wars. Yet it is obvious that a leader writer of an influential newspaper, the Washington Post, could not spare the time to look into such a serious matter—one that people with far fewer resources than he or she has access to have managed to do—before launching a scathing attack on a member of the Japanese parliament and the world-wide 9/11 truth movement, in general.

Just because the 9/11 Commission did not do its job properly is no excuse for newspaper writers not to do theirs. Unless, of course, newspapers such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times are playing a conscious role in a conspiracy to prevent the truth about these events from surfacing. In which case their editors and owners would almost certainly be guilty of misprision of felony.

I would like to stress that the identity of the planes is not the only reason why the 9/11 Commission’s findings should be regarded as invalid, and its members found guilty, at the very least, of gross oversights in the collection of the evidence which was used in the writing of its Final Report. Even a cursory look at the visual evidence of the collapsing World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and WTC 7 should have instilled grave doubts about the findings of some of the experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST.

But, for my money, the real smoking guns were, and still are, the four aircraft that were used as weapons on that terrible day, and for them not to have been identified breaks every rule in any book which seeks to teach the art of solving crimes.

9/11 Aircraft ?Black Box? Serial Numbers Mysteriously Absent

http://truthgonewild.blogspot.com/2008/02/911-aircraft-black-box-serial-numbers.html

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
9/11 Aircraft “Black Box? Serial Numbers Mysteriously Absent

Of all major U.S. airline crashes within the U.S. investigated and published by the National Transportation Safety Board during the past 20 years, the 9/11 'black boxes' are virtually the only ones without listed serial numbers.

NTSB American Airlines flight 77 flight data recorder report, not noting a device serial number:

http://www.911myths.com/AAL77_fdr.pdf

NTSB United Airlines flight 93 flight data recorder report, not noting a device serial number:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB196/doc04.pdf

The United States government alleges that 4 registered Boeing commercial passenger aircraft were used in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, yet has failed to produce any physical evidence collected from the 3 9/11 crash scenes positively tied to these federally registered United and American airlines aircraft. Despite the release of abundant information regarding the 9/11 flights and the aircraft reportedly used, specific information that would confirm official allegations regarding the identity of these aircraft has been mysteriously withheld or denied upon request.

The federally registered aircraft reportedly used during the 9/11 attacks:

– American Airlines flight 11 (N334AA), United Airlines flight 175 (N612UA), American Airlines flight 77 (N644AA) and United Airlines flight 93 (N591UA).

With flight data recorder serial number data that is virtually always provided within NTSB reports of major U.S. commercial airline crashes that occur within U.S. territory, one can trace an installed device to a particular registered aircraft through manufacturer or Federal Aviation Administration records.

The following e-mail was provided by a Susan Stevenson of the NTSB on 12/26/2007, in response to a 12/16/2007 public correspondence e-mail inquiry:

"Yes. NTSB investigators rarely encounter a scenario when the identification of an accident aircraft is not apparent. But during those occasions, investigators will record serial numbers of major components, and then contact the manufacturer of those components in an attempt to determine what aircraft the component was installed upon."

A 11/26/2007 Freedom of Information Act request of the Federal Aviation Administration for the last known serial numbers of the flight data recorders and other components contained by the aircraft said to have been used during the 9/11 attacks, was unlawfully denied.

Background:

http://www.911blogger.com/node/13149

A 1/3/2008 e-mail reply from a Loren Cochran, a FOIA specialist with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, regarding the FAA FOIA denial reads as follows:

"It is unusual and unlawful for them to not cite an exemption. "[W]e are not in a position to release the said records at this time," certainly isn't an exemption any where in the Freedom of Information Act, and I can't think of any case law that supports that answer either."

The RCFP site:

http://www.rcfp.org/

Because of the criminal nature of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI became the lead investigative agency into the 9/11 aircraft mishaps, along with the requested aid of the NTSB. It is possible that the FBI seized FAA 9/11 aircraft records containing component serial number data for aircraft identification purposes and that the FAA no longer possesses them.

http://www.ntsb.gov/pressrel/2001/010913.htm

By document labeled "Testimony of Marion C. Blakey, Chairman National Transportation Safety Board before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation United States Senate", it is indicated that the NTSB assisted the FBI with the process of "aircraft parts identification" regarding the said aircraft.

http://www.ntsb.gov/Speeches/blakey/mcb020625.htm

Flight data recorder information provided by the NTSB, for all major U.S. commercial passenger aircraft crashes within U.S. territory, involving major aircraft and/or loss of life, since 1988, with noted FDR serial numbers:

Comair Flight 5191, August 27, 2006, CRJ-100, 49 Dead, Fairchild Model F-1000 FDR, Serial Number: 102368

http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2007/AAR0705.pdf

The downing of United Airlines Flight 93

The downing of United Airlines Flight 93
Posted: April 26, 2004

By James Sanders
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp”ARTICLE_ID=38207

Sept. 11, 2001: American Airlines Flight 77 streaked toward Washington, D.C., after being hijacked. NEADS ? the North East Air Defense Sector of NORAD, received notice of the hijacking at 9:24 a.m. EST. Six minutes later, two F-16s were airborne from Hampton, Va.

The pilots, however, had not received permission to engage and destroy ? just head for Washington, D.C. Seven minutes after wheels up, the American Airlines passenger jet crashed into the Pentagon. This was the third hijacked flight used as a missile to kill and maim that morning. So far, the air defense was playing catch-up.

Two minutes before the F-16s were airborne, the Federal Aviation Administration learned United Airlines Flight 93 had also been hijacked. Approximately 9:35 a.m., the hijacked plane began a left turn to the south near Cleveland, Ohio. By 9:39 a.m., it completed the turn and was aimed at Washington, D.C.

There would be no excuse for not stopping what had become a terrorist missile aimed at the seat of federal government. Plenty of supersonic, armed F-15s and F-16s were now in the air and within minutes of Flight 93, which would remain in the air for another 29 minutes.

Unprecedented political decisions were in the process of being made as Flight 93 and multiple United States F-16 fighters headed for a showdown near Shanksville, a small town in Pennsylvania. In Washington, D.C., an electronic conference was in progress.

The conference focused on Flight 93. A White House staffer would keep coming in with updates on Flight 93's progress towards D.C., according to a Sept. 11, 2002, ABC News program. ABC's Charles Gibson asked what "the target of that airplane might be?" Vice President Dick Cheney responded, "I thought probably White House or Capitol."

Brig. Gen. W. Montague Winfield (U.S. Army) revealed that a "decision was made to try to intercept Flight 93. Gen. Winfield told ABC News that, "… the president had given us permission to shoot down innocent civilian aircraft that threatened Washington, D.C. …" The order was passed on to the pilots intercepting Flight 93.

"We started receiving reports from the fighters that were heading to, to intercept. The FAA kept us informed with their time estimates as the aircraft got closer and closer," according to Gen. Winfield. Then, the picture presented to the ABC audience begins to blur. It seems that no one knows what happened next.

Gen. Winfield bravely attempted to give an explanation that said nothing: "And at some point, the closure time came and went, and nothing happened. So you can imagine everything was very tense in the NMCC. We had basically lost institutional awareness of where this airplane was."

This terrorist missile in the form of a commercial airplane just seems to fade from institutional memory. One more telling quote comes from the ABC program, by Gen. Winfield: "It was about, you know, 10:03 that the fighters reported that Flight 93 had crashed." The FBI seized Flight 93's CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) and claims the tape stopped at 10:03 a.m.

But NORAD's own timeline says the F-16s were still 11 minutes away from intercept when Flight 93 crashed. And, "Several leading seismologists agree that Flight 93 crashed last Sept. 11 at 10:06:05 a.m., give or take a couple of seconds," according to a Sept. 16, 2002, Philadelphia Daily News article. Three minutes are not accounted for. When the feds begin dissembling as they did in the case of Flight 93, it is reasonable to infer that something occurred during those three minutes they wish to hide from the public.

Perhaps the fog descended on the feds because military aircraft were in the immediate area when Flight 93 crashed. Witness Susan Mcelwain told a reporter she observed a small jet: "It came right over me, I reckon just 40 or 50 feet above my minivan … it was so low, I ducked instinctively. It was traveling real fast, but hardly made any sound." So from a vantage point of perhaps 50 feet from the airplane, she observed that "it had two rear engines, a big fin on the back like a spoiler on the back of a car and with two upright fins at the side …" Her statement makes it clear she observed this twin-engine jet on the deck just prior to Flight 93 crashing.

At least five other witnesses to this low-flying jet came forward and told their story to journalists. One witness, less than a half mile from the crash site, observed Flight 93 as it streaked toward the ground and crashed. He then, almost immediately, observed a small, white jet fly low to the ground over the crash scene, circle and immediately leave the area.

Shortly thereafter, the FBI began to attack the witnesses with perhaps the most inane disinformation ever ? alleging the witnesses actually observed a private jet at 34,000 feet. The FBI says the jet was asked to come down to 5,000 feet and try to find the crash site. This would require about 20 minutes to descend and get over the crash, assuming the pilot immediately found it. The local fire and rescue found the site within minutes ? so the FBI statement is nothing more than poorly thought out disinformation.

Several passengers ? perhaps all ? put into action an attempt to take back control of the airplane. By 10:03 a.m., they succeeded in fighting their way into the cockpit. It is at this point where the CVR recorded what may be a piercing of the fuselage ? a wind or sucking noise.

On Sept. 13, 2001, barely 48 hours after the Twin Towers came down, the Nashua, N.H., Telegraph Newspaper reported that: "FAA air traffic controllers in Nashua have learned through discussions with other controllers that an F-16 fighter stayed in hot pursuit of another hijacked commercial airliner until it crashed in Pennsylvania …"

John Fleegle, Jim Brant and Carol Delasko were about two-and-a-half miles from what would soon become the Flight 93 crash site. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, they "heard engines screaming close overhead. The building shook. We ran out, heard the explosion and saw a fireball mushroom …"

Delasko, "… said she thought someone had blown up a boat on the lake. 'It just looked like confetti raining down all over the air above the lake.'"

This is probably the single most important observation. Within a second or two after Flight 93 passed over the Indian Lake Marina where Delasko, Brant and Fleegle stood, debris from the stricken plane began to fall into the lake. Lots of debris. Some of it on fire. And it was deposited in a compact area rather than as a continuous trail for some period of time.

Seismologists determined that Flight 93 crashed at 10:06 a.m. and 5 seconds. The 757 was perhaps 20 seconds from crashing when observed by Fleegle, Brant and Delasko. Its cargo area and passenger area had been opened by an explosion. News reports describe a large number of cancelled checks, stock broker documents, pieces of seats, small chunks of melted plastic and small human parts.

Also adding to the evidence is the fact that a 1,000-pound section of an engine fan was found 6,000 feet from the crash site. So, an external explosive event occurred that separated 1,000 pounds of engine, opened up a hole in the passenger cabin and cargo hold. The power of the explosion ? or, more likely, the disintegration of the engine ? sucked things out of the fuselage, through the jet engine ? shredding seats, passengers and cargo.

When all the evidence is lined up, it is highly consistent with a heat-seeking missile striking Flight 93, probably around 10:05:30. The evidence strongly infers that the terrorists did not fly that jet into the ground, at least not without help from an external event. The evidence becomes compelling when the federal government's factually false propaganda is factored in.

The president gave the vice president authority to issue the order to shoot down Flight 93. Col. Robert Marr, United States Air Force, when interviewed by ABC News remembered getting the orders: "The rules have changed. We could do something about it now." The words he heard included: "We will take lives in the air to save lives on the ground."

Col. Marr ordered his air controllers to intercept Flight 93. At this stage of the story, the Air Force falsely alleges that "the closest fighters are two F-16 pilots on a training mission from Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Detroit." Col. Marr tells ABC News: "The real scary part is that those guys are up there on a training mission. They don't have any weapons on board they can use."

So, of course, the colonel is asked by someone down the chain of command how F-16s with no means of destroying a civilian aircraft are going to accomplish the mission. Colonel Marr's answer: "We're gonna put them as close to that airplane [as] they can get, in view of the cockpit, and convince that guy in that airplane that he needs to land."

The transcript does not indicate anyone at ABC laughing at this point, so presumably it was a serious answer. An F-16 pilot is going eyeball-to-eyeball with a suicide pilot.

At least three F-16s were circling Washington, D.C., with nothing to do but burn fuel and do an aerial tour of the nation's capitol. Each F-16 had six air-to-air missiles and plenty of fuel. Even more fortunate was the fact that Flight 93 was closing on these F-16s at 9-miles per minute, significantly reducing the time required to intercept Flight 93.

Common sense clearly indicates that if armed F-16s are available and in an advantageous position to intercept, these F-16s will be the primary dispatch ? whether from the skies over Washington, D.C., or another location never revealed by the military.

Why would the president and his staff not admit the shoot-down? It was an extraordinarily difficult time in which to make political decisions. But it may have been much more than that. There is no reason to believe the CVR did not continue running until the plane crashed.

What if, when the Cockpit Voice Recorder was first played back, the missing three minutes were not missing? What if the CVR recorded the heroic passengers succeeding in taking over the cockpit? They were definitely on the offense when the CVR allegedly stopped. They had penetrated into the cockpit.

What if, in the cruelest of fates, just as these Americans win the fight and begin to fly the plane, a heat-seeking missile slams into an engine?

What if that is what the missing three minutes actually revealed? No president, no administration, would willingly destroy itself by releasing that CVR transcript.

James Sanders, a former police officer turned investigative reporter, is the co-author of "First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America, among other books.

American Airlines refuse to release facsimile of passenger lists

Exchange of letters between Elias Davidsson and American Airlines regarding 9/11


Letter 1: Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 29 November 2005

Dear Mr. Bentel,

I was advised to contact you by Naomi Klaus of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

My request was for the names and email/telephone numbers of AA employees who personally attended the boarding/departure of AA77 from Dulles Airport on September 11, 2001. I wish to interview these people in relation with my research on the events of 9/11.

I would be most grateful for your assistance in locating these individuals

Letter 2: Reply by American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 30 November 2005

Dear Mr. Davidsson

Ms. Klaus contacted me in relation to your request, which I misunderstood as a request for the passenger list of American Airlines’ flight 77 on 9/11/01. That information is a matter of public record and I had hoped to assist your search by providing it. The names and contact information of the employees attending the boarding and departure of the flight, however, are not public information. In the interest of protecting my colleagues’ privacy, I do not feel at liberty to disclose this information. At this point, without knowing the nature of your research, I am at a loss to know how we might further assist you.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 3: Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 1 December 2005

Dear Sean Bentel,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I did not know that the passenger list of AA77 was a matter of public record. Could you please send me that list (that is a replica of the original passenger list).

The purpose of my research is to document in their own words the comments of AA employees who saw off the passengers board AA77.  I have not seen yet any such comments in the media and would be most interested to add their comments to the various other testimonies regarding the various flights. I hope you will be kind enough to communicate to me their names and means of contacting them.

Sincerely yours,
Elias Davidsson

Letter 4: American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 December 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

The passenger list for the flight follows:
[a typed list includes 53 names, only names, one full name per line]

As for the remainder of your research, I again do not feel at liberty to disclose personal contact information in this pursuit, as a matter of respecting privacy.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 5 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines. 1 December 2005

The list you sent to me is useless. It does not reflect the original passenger list. I would be thankful if you could send me something more authentic.

Kindly,
Elias Davidsson

Letter 6 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 December 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

The names I sent to you are accurate. From what I see below, there may have been a formatting problem in transition. The information is in the public domain and accessible from a variety of internet resources; perhaps those would be more useful or readable on your system.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 7 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 1 December 2005

Dear Sean Bentel,

I am not concerned about formatting. The email you sent contained correct adequate formatting. What I am asking is for a replica of the original passenger list (either a scan of the original, or at least a document faithfully reflecting the contents of that list). By passenger list I mean, of course, the list of the paying passengers who boarded AA77. Can I take it that the list you sent me faithfully reflects the names of the paying passengers who boarded AA77?

Thanks,

Elias Davidsson

Letter 8 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 Decembeer 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

Names of terrorists were redacted.

Sean Bentel

Letter 9 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 2 December 2005

Why can’t you send me a facsimile copy of the passenger lists, including the names of the terrorists?

Elias Davidsson

Letter 10 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 2 December 2005

This is the information we have for public release.

I am glad to have been of some help to you; best wishes on the remainder of your project.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

9/11 Lawyers Seek Black-Box Data on Saudi Hijackers

9/11 Lawyers Seek Black-Box Data on Saudi Hijackers

http://web.archive.org/web/20030623193324/%20http://tomflocco.com/Lawyers_seek_black_boxs.htm

by Tom Flocco

November 27, 2002

TomFlocco.com

While recent reports reveal that Administration officials are considering whether to place Saudi Arabian interests above 9/11 victim families by filing a federal court motion to dismiss or delay the families’ private lawsuit accusing members of the Saudi royal family of ties to Al Qaeda, other lawyers will seek to unearth information about Saudi hijacker cockpit conversations and actions just prior to the crash disasters on September 11. 

  In a letter written to Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein from Douglas A. Latto, attorney at New York’s Baumeister & Samuels firm, Latto told Hellerstein that “we have been led to believe that the United States of America, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), will attempt to prevent discovery of the [9/11] black boxes.”  A copy of the letter was obtained from a reliable source close to the investigation.

Latto’s July 10 letter to Hellerstein also shed more light on the fact that possible Justice Department attempts to prevent inspection of the actual contents of the recovered and original cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders “would undoubtedly lead to motion practice not present in any of the other cases.”  Moreover, analysis of news reports over time indicates troubling contradictions regarding the “usefulness” of the recovered data and the true condition of the recovered black boxes currently impounded by the FBI.

Baumeister and Samuels represents in excess of 60 families who lost loved ones on September 11, including families of passengers on board all four aircraft as well as tower victims.  Lead attorney Michel F. Baumeister is a 30-year aviation accident trial lawyer; and his past experience as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney will undoubtedly serve the victim-family lawyer team well in the face of government promulgations of “ongoing criminal investigation” strategies.  

A source close to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) who asked to remain anonymous when asked about the ” ongoing [black box] investigation, ”  told us that “the NTSB never closely examined the cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) and flight data recorders (FDRs) recovered from American Flight 77 which hit the Pentagon, and United flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania. ” This, while the FBI has continued to quietly dodge vexing questions related to its prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and how the Bureau’s widely-reported inept and mishandled information protocol cost so many lives.

The source added that “the [CVR and FDR] tapes were sequestered by the FBI and quickly taken to its Quantico, Virginia labs where analysis was conducted solely under the Bureau’s influence in order to maintain complete control.”  However, according to the individual with knowledge of the investigation, “there were a few NTSB officials allowed to observe, but their influence on the probe and tape inspection was minimal at best.”

We also talked to Michael Thompson, chief engineer in the CVR/FDR division of Allied Signal-Honeywell Corporation in Redmond, Washington — according to his counsel, Mark Larson. 

We asked Thompson if he was the person in charge of flight data recovery in the 9/11 investigation, since Honeywell manufactured the data recorders in operation on all four Boeing jets involved in the September 11 crashes.  “I cannot answer that under advice from legal counsel,” he said.   

Since his legal counsel, Mark Larson of Tempe, Arizona, was unavailable for a conference call, Thompson told us, “On advice of my legal counsel, I cannot answer any legal questions pertaining to that incident.”  [On November 19, 2002 at 12:16 pm, Honeywell  transferred our initial call to Mark Larson, corporate in-house counsel for Honeywell, who in turn told us to contact Michael Thompson regarding any questions we might have about the 9/11 CVRs and FDRs.]  

When we asked Thompson if he had ever seen or been involved in any recovery analysis of the 9/11 CVRs or FDRs, he stated, “That’s a legal question, and on advice of counsel, I cannot answer any of those questions.  You need to talk to Mark Larson about this.”  [This surprised us, because we are aware that the memory chips from which the NTSB and/or FBI tapes are derived is raw data and cannot be manipulated.  Thus, the “ongoing criminal investigation” excuse could result in either obstruction or suppression of fact.]

As a matter of fact, ABC news reported on 9-13-2001 that “Although investigators look for an entire black box, sometimes the only parts of the device that survive are the recorder’s crash-survivable memory units (CSMU). The CSMU is almost indestructible.   [A former NTSB source told us that only a direct hit from a nuclear blast can destroy it]   ABC also said that “it is housed within a stainless-steel shell that contains titanium or aluminum and a high-temperature insulation of dry silica material.”

Judge Hellerstein’s hand-written annotations on Latto’s ‘World Trade Center litigation’ letter said that his “views may be presented….as amices curiae [friend of the court], pending a later and different status.”  [ When or if any of his clients initiate civil procedure.]  

Asked about the government’s intention to impede discovery of the black boxes, Latto told us that “we used a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the contents [tapes] from the recovered [Flight 93] black boxes.”  [That Latto was unaware that both the CVR and the FDR had also been recovered from the Flight 77 Pentagon crash could easily be expected since there are relatively few reports confirming their availability — and the FBI has remained tight-lipped about the issue.]

“I can’t remember to which government branch we referred the FOIA off hand,” Latto replied, adding “I’ll have to ask my paralegal to check back in my files.”    

Asked to divulge the name of the official in the 9/11 case who had led him to believe that “the government would attempt to prevent discovery” of the original tapes, or what type of response he had received regarding the FOIA request, Mr. Latto again begged off, not wishing to name names, replying “I can’t remember.  I’ll have to check on it.”

Douglas A. Latto :  Latto revealed that his office had employed a FOIA request to obtain accurate and original recordings of the recovered black boxes; but he declined to reveal who had led him to believe that the government planned to suppress or obstruct their discovery.  Latto’s letter to Judge Hellerstein also contains references to limits of airline liability insurance and potential monetary damage exposure to both passengers on board the aircraft and ground victims.   

No study has yet been conducted as to whether campaign contributions and visits by airline lobbyists to key legislators on Capitol Hill just hours after the crashes played a part in the unprecedented back-door tort reform measures enacted just days later.                                              

For instead of waiting to bail out the airlines AFTER the victim families had their day in court, Congress voted to place a cap on airline liability prior to private civil action adjudication.  Thus, 9/11 victims were denied full, fair and complete due process — unfettered by “nick-of-time” legislation — potentially induced in violation of U.S. Code bribery statutes.  However, the jury is still out regarding whether the denial will be litigated — in light of recent attempts to absolve airport security firms.

___________________________

Latto added that  ” ‘we always have to use motion practice to obtain the tapes from black boxes, with the judge having the discretion to order whole parts or portions of the material released; however, the FBI has control of the tapes because they involve an ‘ongoing criminal investigation.’ “

The CVR tapes contain radio transmissions and sounds in an airplane’s cockpit for the last 30 minutes of its flight — picking up engine noises, communications with air traffic controllers, and conversations in the cockpit.  The FDR picks up altitude, heading, speed and operations of  the airplane systems.  The “black-boxes,” now colored bright orange in an updated visibility change from earlier usage, are located in the tail of the airplane to afford the best odds for survival in a crash.

When we asked Mr. Latto about the issue of the FBI, CIA, and White House withholding or suppressing evidence — such as the black-box tapes or documents related to prior knowledge of 9/11  — by employing the “ongoing criminal investigation” strategy — especially involving a case wherein those withholding the evidence have the most to gain from withholding it — Latto replied, “That’s a good point.  We will definitely have to consider that issue.” 

__________________________________

Of particular interest to 9/11 families and investigators is the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).  It records the flight crew’s voices, as well as other sounds in the cockpit.  Communications with air traffic controllers and conversations between the pilots and ground or cabin crew are also recorded. However, of more critical importance to victim family lawyers is the fact that normally a CVR committee consisting of members from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, operator of the aircraft if he survived the crash, manufacturer of the airplane, manufacturer of the engines, and the pilots union is formed after a crash to listen to the recording.  This committee [ not the FBI ] creates a written transcript of the tape to be used during the investigation.  

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the verbal communications inside the cockpit, Congress has required that the Safety Board not release any part of a CVR tape recording.  Because of this sensitivity, a high degree of security is provided for the CVR tape and its transcript.  The content and timing of release of the written transcript are strictly regulated: under federal law, transcripts of pertinent portions of the cockpit voice recording are released at a Safety Board public hearing on the accident. (Source:  www.NTSB.gov )

[ Our sources, attorney interviews, and various reports in the media indicate that the FBI has assumed total control over the contents of the CVRs recovered from 9/11 flights 77 and 93, using “an ongoing criminal investigation” as the reason for silence.  So it can be safely assumed that few if any of the above-named groups or individuals have listened to or analyzed the original tapes from those flights. 

Given our conversations with lawyers at the forefront of this litigation, Judge Hellerstein will undoubtedly have to wrestle with unprecedented motion practice; and  9/11 lawyers will undoubtedly have the need to insure that the original tapes have not been tampered with or altered, given the stakes involved — political and criminal.  

Victim families are just coming out of a year of intense grief from their losses.  This is significant because grief often turns to anger, especially as more Saudi, FBI, CIA, INS, TSA and Administration shoes continue to drop; and the political implications of “criminal” evidence suppressed by the government are enormous.  And when the families decide to demonstrate inside congressional offices instead of outside in surrounding Capitol Hill parks, they will begin to fully realize the significance of their collective political weight as television cameras start to find them.

One only has to consider the multiple instances of Saudi links to the 9/11 terrorists: State Department-issued visas to Saudi hijackers, Saudi royal family members laundering checks to support Saudi terrorists in the U.S.,  Saudi hijackers living on a “secure” U.S. Naval Air base with a Saudi flight instructor and tens of millions of dollars transferred  from the Saudis to Al Qaeda over the last year alone according to the CIA — let alone the total failure of Congress to seal the country’s borders to protect constituents.  All this, as millions of illegal aliens and more Saudi terrorists continue to roam the USA — hidden and unaccounted for in a broken but taxpayer-funded immigration disaster.]

_______________________

Interviews with attorneys representing victim family members point to further inquiry and investigation via subpoena requests regarding whether data from the black box tapes has been concealed, tampered with, or destroyed.

BLACK BOXES NOT PROTECTED BY SENSITIVE SECURITY STATUTES

Mary Schiavo, lead 9/11 counsel for Los Angeles-based Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo, representing some 40 victim family clients related to passengers on all four planes hijacked by the Saudi nationals, says that “black boxes are not mentioned in the Sensitive Security Information (SSI) statutes as being protected as SSI; and they have never been treated that way by the courts in the past.”  

 

 

Mary F. Schiavo

Ms. Schiavo adds an experienced, capable legal and public face to counteract government-promulgated courtroom challenges to suppress evidence in the coming litigation against the Bush Justice Department.  The LA air disaster attorney and author’s 9/11 client roster includes Ellen Mariani, the first victim family member to initiate civil action in the September 11 attacks, and a pilot’s young widow, Julie Sweeney.  Both women have appeared numerous times before television cameras to articulate their calls for truth, justice, and government accountability. 

Schiavo told TomFlocco.com that “we will go after the original [VCR and FDR] tapes by requesting them from the airlines and their insurers.  They, in turn, will have to go to the FBI through the courts to request the tapes.”   

“The FBI will likely attempt to comply with the court by submitting transcripts,” Schiavo said, adding that “in prior legal matters of interpretation such as the TWA Flight 800 case, the judge has granted access to actual tapes [memory chips] in the past, instead of transcripts.”

 

Paul J. Hedlund

Veteran LA air disaster attorney will have much to say about the outcome of the 9/11 World Trade Center litigation .

Mary Schiavo’s co-counsel, Paul Hedlund, a veteran air disaster attorney and mechanical engineer, told us at a September 20 hearing in Manhattan that “in a typical air disaster, the NTSB pays for the reasonable expenses for recovery of the remains with the aircraft company reimbursing normal and reasonable expenses.  The NTSB gives priority to the FBI regarding the VCR and FDR tapes, although the aircraft company and its insurers actually own them.”

Not leaving anything to chance, Ms. Schiavo also told us that “we will require all individuals having access to [listening / examining / analyzing] the VCR and FDR tapes of Flights 93 and 77 to testify under oath as to what they heard on the tapes and how they conducted their analyses; and we will also require all individuals connected to the investigation of and search for the un-recovered tapes from the Twin Towers crashes to testify under oath that those tapes were never found.”

An attorney from another firm representing 9/11 victim-families told TomFlocco.com that he will also press for discovery of the black-box cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders.  

James Kreindler, lead 9/11 counsel at New York’s Kreindler and Kreindler firm, told us that “we will be working with other 9/11 attorneys within the discovery committee to draw up subpoena requests for black box discovery, but I was unaware that FBI Director Mueller had listened to the original tapes from all four recovered boxes from flights 77 and 93.”  

The Kreindler firm has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of over 1,400 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks seeking $1 trillion in damages from Al Qaeda, Iraq and other 9/11 terrorist sponsors.

James Kreindler

Kreindler represents a sizable number of the September 11 families, mostly those involving deaths in the towers, with a number of airline passengers as well.  He will be an important face in the coming 9/11 litigation.

 

Interestingly, the Kreindler firm also includes in its client roster two of the most outspoken activists among all the victim families:  Sally Regenhard and Monica Gabrielle.  Both have attended congressional hearings and are leaders in the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, where Regenhard literally and personally forced the government to hold hearings in New York City regarding tall-building safety — even though a number of respectable journalists have made an interesting case that the buildings could have been blown off their foundations by terrorist-planted plastic explosives.  

DEENA BURNETT’S BLACK BOX BATTLE

TomFlocco.com also interviewed Michael Elsner, associate attorney at Ronald Motley’s Ness – Motley firm in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, representing nearly all victim families in a civil action primarily against members of the Saudi royal family and other prominent Saudi businessmen involved in funding radical Muslim terrorist operations in the United States.  

Motley’s lead 9/11 client Deena Burnett — whose husband Tom had called her four times from doomed United Flight 93 prior to becoming involved with other passengers in an attempt to take back the plane from Saudi hijackers — started calling the FBI on September 12, 2002, asking to listen to the tapes constructed from the cockpit voice recorder’s memory chips, according to Elsner.  

Elsner also told us that “Deena wrote letters to United Airlines and to FBI Director Robert Mueller, both of whom fought her attempts to hear clues” implicating other individuals who may have been involved, whether Al-Quada was mentioned, conversations about other attacks, or whether there was mention of steering and control problems as a possible explanation for the crash.  

 

 

Ronald Motley

Ron Motley is a veteran trial attorney who handled most of the recent tobacco litigation, settling some of the largest civil cases in the history of the legal profession.

 

 

We asked whether Ness – Motley’s attorneys had verified through an independent and expert source that the Flight 93 VCR transcription tape the FBI played for the families was complete, unaltered, authentic and was constructed from the actual raw data on the memory chips in the VCR.  “None of the lawyers have had access to the tapes, transcriptions, or the actual raw data in the recorders,” Elsner replied.  

“I am sure that [when this case reaches the courtroom], any jury will want to hear authentic tapes directly transcribed from the VCR’s [from United 93 and American 77],” Elsner told us, adding that “Ness – Motley will also want to independently verify that any 9/11 VCR conversations we are listening to in court are complete, unaltered and derived from the actual [memory chips] inside the VCRs — those in operation in the planes that day.  We are litigating this matter on behalf of our clients to find out the truth.”  

In a Flight 93 side-bar issue sure to be addressed during the newly formed 9/11 Independent Investigation Commission’s proceedings, another Reuters report (9-13-2001) immediately following the attacks said that “Pentagon officials vigorously denied initial reports [from whom?] that a military fighter had shot down the United Airlines [93] jet.”  

Curiously — and initially, FBI agent Bill Crowley, at the scene for the investigation, had told reporters that the Bureau “had not ruled out that possibility.”  [Why not?]  According to Reuters reporter David Morgan, Crowley later retracted the statement, saying unequivocally, “There was no military involvement in what happened here.”   

[ Will 9/11 lawyers seek testimony under oath from the Air Force pilots and their commanders, ground crew and their officers, the pilot of the mysterious un-marked plane, and missile ordinance officers?  Will they request access to all military “after-action” reports? ]  

Pennsylvania state police reported debris fields as far as eight miles away near a residential area where “local media quoted residents as seeing flaming debris from the sky.”  But according to Reuters, “[FBI] investigators were unwilling to say whether the presence of debris in separate places evinced an explosion.”  

Accuracy in Media’s Reed Irvine wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News (12-28-2001) that the Mayor of Shanksville near the [Flight 93] crash site, “said that F-16 Fighters were very, very close and two men he knew claimed they had heard a missile,” adding that “the FBI acknowledges that a half-ton piece of one of the engines was found west of the crash site.” [hitting the ground well before the plane]  

Another investigative report in the Philadelphia Daily News (9-16-2001) revealed that “a three-minute gap between the time the tape [produced for the victim families last spring by the FBI] goes silent — according to government-prepared transcripts — and the time that top scientists have pinpointed for the crash.”  But the American people have accepted the smoke and mirrors presentation as if it were a Rosemary Woods Presidential production.  

Thus, complete and unaltered transcripts from the memory chips become all the more important in determining answers regarding “bomb-on-board” and “military shoot-down” hypotheses — totally un-addressed by Congress during recent sham hearings.  [But such compliance has likely not been provided to the families thus far, since attorney Mike Elsner revealed to us that no lawyer has had access to the original memory chips, boxes, or FBI-transcribed tapes.]  

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

“It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the recorders back. I can’t recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders,” said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the NTSB.  And FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette said “We don‘t know what was said in the cockpits, by the crew members or by the hijackers.”  (Associated Press, 2-24-2002)   

FBI Director Robert Mueller said Flight 77’s FDR provided altitude, speed, headings, and other information, but the cockpit voice recorder “contained nothing useful,” and he originally declined to say what was gleaned from both recorders on Flight 93 — before Deena Burnett started her campaign described above.  On September 15, 2001, Mueller told the Arizona Star that “the agency had gotten no information from the voice data recorder from Flight 77.”  

Mueller said the [voice] recorder from the plane that rammed into the Pentagon was so badly damaged by fire that it would not yield any information.  But the flight data recorder [from Flight 77] was recovered in usable condition as was the flight data recorder from the Pennsylvania crash. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9-21-2001)  

However, in a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) report on September 14, 2001, Dick Bridges, spokesman for Arlington County, Virginia authorities, told the Associated Press “the voice recorder was damaged on the outside and the flight data recorder was charred in fires that broke out following the crash.” This report directly contradicts statements made by FBI Director Robert Mueller; but no one has questioned the inconsistency.  

Perhaps the main reason that Director Mueller should be subpoenaed by 9/11 lawyers to testify regarding the black box issue is a troubling television appearance from his past.

Award-winning Time Magazine reporters Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne [John Hancock and Gerald Loeb award for business reporting and Jack Anderson Award for investigative reporting] detailed an interview appearance by Mueller on a 1991 ABC Nightline Show with host Ted Koppel wherein the authors caught Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Robert Mueller,  not realizing that he had changed his story before the television cameras.

______________________________________

The Outlaw Bank — Jacket Design: Andy Carpenter, Random House, Inc. FBI Director Robert Mueller, Photo: Dennis Cook, Associated Press

In an amazing portent for the future and how Mueller might handle critical investigations down-the-road [like 9/11], this troubling interview also centered around the existence of critically important tapes like those surrounding the current investigation.

But 9/11 victim families are unaware that an individual known for his talents in “damage control“ is managing the evidence needed to extract the answers to 9/11‘s unanswered questions. [The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride Into The Heart Of The BCCI, Jonathan Beaty & S.C. Gwynne, Random House, NY, 1993, pp.118-121] Beaty and Gwynne reported:

    “A Financial Times story also raised the stakes: The financial minister had also said that the CIA and other American intelligence agencies had maintained slush funds at BCCI branches and that these funds were used for payoffs of Pakistani military officers and Afghan rebel leaders.”       

    “Acting CIA Director Richard Kerr appeared before a group of high-school students and admitted for the first time that BCCI did in fact hold CIA accounts. With no one to ask hostile questions, Kerr asserted that these were normal accounts….After denying it for months, the Agency had found what it thought was a graceful, quiet way of letting the cat out of the bag.”

    “The day after it appeared [CIA’s BCCI slush funds charge in Time Magazine], Attorney General Richard Thornburgh dispatched the head of his criminal division, Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller, to ABC’s Nightline show, with Ted Koppel, to refute Time’s charges. It would prove a tactical mistake.”

    “Koppel invited Beaty, Gwynne, Jack Blum, and Senator John Kerry to appear on the same show….Mueller, Kerry and Beaty sat in the same studio in Washington during the live coverage. Mueller insisted that the Justice Department had won a major victory. He also disputed any charges that his department had not proceeded vigorously with further investigations, and he ignored Senator Kerry’s attempt to bring up the subject of the missing tapes of Blum’s interviews with the former BCCI bankers who talked about political payoffs and BCCI’s secret ownership of First American Bank.”

    “When Koppel tried to point out that the assistant attorney general had not answered the senator’s question about the missing tapes, Mueller ignored him too….Kerry was beginning to sputter, and Beaty, outraged enough at Mueller’s deceptive tactics to forget that he was on national television, jumped in.”

    ” ‘But Mr. Mueller — I’m sorry, but the senator is quite accurate. You may have provided the reason for shutting down the bank by convicting it of money laundering, but then a very high-level person in your own department turned around and asked the State of Florida to keep this bank open, despite the fact that your own prosecutors had testified that drug-money laundering was a policy of the bank and that it wasn’t a matter of employees taking some kind of independent action. When you plea-bargained out, you let the bank go and took the low-level employees, which is kind of in reverse.’ “

    “Mueller came back strongly. ‘I adamantly disagree with that‘….‘Mr. Mueller,’ Beaty cut back in, ‘We haven’t made the accusation that this has been shaped by the intelligence community. All we have tried to do is point out the rather stunning lack of curiosity and aggression of the part of the Justice Department.’ ”

    ” ‘And I can cite you, sir, numerous occasions when witnesses have come forward and been ignored by you. The very tapes that Senator Kerry has referred to, of witnesses talking about the link between First American Bank and BCCI and of payments to American officials, disappeared. Those tapes had been listened to by U.S. attorneys from your own office.’ “

    ” ‘Mr. Beaty, the tapes have not disappeared,’ Mueller replied.”

    ” ‘Two months ago you denied to Mr. [NY District Attorney Robert] Morganthau and his department that those tapes even existed!’ Beaty shot back.”

    “Mueller’s last statement to him was awesome in its implications:  Beaty had not brought either information or sources to the Justice Department.  To Morgenthau, yes. To Justice, no.  It could only mean, it seemed, that the CIA had passed on his notes of his interview with Sami Masri to Mueller at Justice.”  

The portions above are quoted directly from the transcripts of Nightline and Beaty and Gwynne’s book.But the implications for current 9/11 obstruction are self-instructive.   _________________________________________________

According to a Reuters report (11-27-2001), “the Justice Department and the FBI have so far declined to release even anedited transcript of Flight 93’s cockpit voice recorder, saying that it is evidence in a criminal investigation” — indicating early-on the extreme reticence of the government to let the public have full access to complete and authentic transcripts compiled from raw memory chip data as to what was said in the cockpit.

Gail Dunham, president of Washington, DC-based advocacy group — The National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation, said “tapes from earlier crashes had been released upon court order, or after prosecutors conclude that there is no information in them crucial to build a criminal case.”  (Reuters — 11-27-2001)  It would seem that such a time period has long passed.

The fact that the London-headquartered Reuters News Service is in the forefront of much of the 9/11 black-box investigation should of itself say something about corporate control of U.S. media, for Reuters again reported (12-21-2001) that “FBI Director Robert Mueller has personally listened to the recording from the hijacked (Flight 93) and advised that the FBI will not be releasing the tape at this time.

Curiously, a report only found in the New Delhi Indian Express (10-17-2001) revealed that “people involved in air traffic control said the FBI seized the air traffic tapes of the conversations with that airplane [Flight 93], and no transcript was made available of air-to-ground communications for the flight.  Thus, lawyers may also need to hear the original recordings between the air traffic controllers and the cockpit.

WIDOW ON THE WARPATH

Mariani vs. United Airlines, et. al., brought by Schiavo and Hedlund on behalf of Mariani’s husband Neil, who was killed when his United 175 jet crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, is the collective umbrella name for the current World Trade Center litigation being conducted in Judge Hellerstein’s Lower District of Manhattan courtroom.

Mrs. Mariani told us that she is concerned that the government may have tampered with evidence in her case, as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had [through lawyers in the Ashcroft Justice Department] contacted her witnesses and diverted evidence subpoenaed by her previous attorney without a court order — and prior to the judge allowing government inclusion in her private civil action.

Ellen and Neil Mariani — Neil Mariani could not obtain a ticket on Ellen’s plane as they traveled to their daughter’s wedding in California.  So Neil purchased a ticket on United flight 175 which was hijacked by Saudi nationals living at the supposedly secure Pensacola Naval Air Base in Florida where the terrorists registered their cars and residences — but also where a recent and mysteriously-deceased Saudi military flight instructor lived.  Mrs. Mariani attends every hearing — sitting next to her attorneys and usually staring at Judge Hellerstein.

 

So intent upon holding United Airlines and the government accountable for her husband’s death, Mrs. Mariani abruptly fired her original attorney, Chicago’s well-known airline disaster specialist Donald Nolan, for not being aggressive enough in allowing her case to drag on since December 20 — delayed for some unknown reason well into the summer.

“I was not pleased that my previous attorney — within a few weeks after I had hired him to represent my interests, not the government’s — had contacted 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Kenneth Fineberg to negotiate dropping my lawsuit and bringing me into the victim fund after I had told the world I wanted no part of that fund,” said Mariani during a phone interview yesterday.

Highly displeased that airport gate security was so poor after she found out that the State Department had been violating existing federal law while issuing U.S. visas to Saudi terrorists, Mariani said “while our country was under attack and people were dying, highly-paid airline lobbyists were running from congressional office to office, lining up votes for an Airline “Stabilization” Bill that would set limits on compensation in private jury trials in spite of their atrocious negligence and incompetence.”

Mariani had continually referred to the Compensation Fund as the “Shut-up and go-away Fund,”  adding that “without my day in court, I’ll never learn the truth and who did this to my husband — let alone get justice and accountability.”

Never one to mince her words, Mrs. Mariani told us “I want to know what Governor Jeb Bush and the FBI were doing as they flew off from Florida in a military cargo plane with the terrorists’ airport flight-lesson records and other evidence connecting the Saudi hijackers to the events that killed my husband and hundreds of others.  I want answers.”

“And what were [Intelligence Committee Chairmen] Senator Graham and Congressmen Goss doing having breakfast together the morning of the attacks with the Pakistani Intelligence leader who was writing checks to support the hijackers’ living expenses in the United States”,” said the irrepressible Mariani.  “It was even reported that Secretary of State Powell and CIA Director Tenet also met with the terrorist sponsor,” she added.

“The government may have just played the voters for a bunch of fools — but not me,” Mariani said, promising she would “never give up, give in, or give out.”

  “We live in a dirty and dangerous world.  There are some things the general public does not need to know, and should not.  I believe that democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”   (Katherine Graham, owner — The Washington Post, speech to  CIA, 1988)

Michael Thomas contributed additional research and reporting for this story.

 

Reports about Wally Miller, coroner at UA93 crash site

Hallowed Ground

Nobody asked for this, but as September 11 recedes, a small Pennsylvania town finds itself guardian of an American legend

By Peter Perl
Washington Post, Sunday, May 12, 2002; Page W32
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A56110-2002May8&notFound=true

Wally Miller hits the siren on his dark Ford Excursion. He's alerting the Somerset County sheriffs that he is once again entering the restricted area surrounded by dense forest and enclosed by an eight-foot metal fence. Inside his truck is the familiar stale smell of the wilted flowers that he brings back from the 90 or so funerals he conducts every year. Death has been the family business at Miller Funeral Home in Somerset, Pa., for nearly half a century. Never, though, anything that even remotely resembles this.

Before Miller can even unfold his lanky 6-foot-4 body from the vehicle, a deputy sheriff thrusts at him a plastic baggie containing a handful of jagged metallic nuggets, mangled and melted into irregular shapes, little bigger than children's marbles. They are the latest of the shreds to be recovered — nearly six months later — of what remains of United Airlines Flight 93. Miller holds up the bag and says that virtually the entire airplane, including its 44 human occupants, disintegrated in similar fashion.

"I'm just a hick," Miller says when he considers the enormity of what he does. "I'm a country coroner." He is a youthful 44, with dark hair and a long, angular face that sometimes suggests a young, shaven version of Abe Lincoln. He is quite comfortable talking about death, most of the time. He grew up watching his father, Wilbur, deal with the grief of countless friends and neighbors, and then Wally succeeded Wilbur, both in running the funeral home and becoming Somerset County's elected coroner.

So it is with a calm, practiced voice that Miller speaks whenever he escorts grieving family members, as he has again and again and again, up the muddy hillock that overlooks the spot where Flight 93 came to earth. Here on this mound and elsewhere, in hundreds of face-to-face conversations and on the telephone, Miller explains to families from New Jersey to Berkeley to Japan to Germany the grisly calculus of what happened to their loved ones: The Boeing 757 still heavily laden with jet fuel slammed at about 575 mph almost straight down into a rolling patch of grassy land that had long ago been strip-mined for coal. The impact spewed a fireball of horrific force across hundreds of acres of towering hemlocks and other trees, setting many ablaze. The fuselage burrowed straight into the earth so forcefully that one of the "black boxes" was recovered at a depth of 25 feet under the ground.

of grassy land that had long ago been strip-mined for coal. The impact spewed a fireball of horrific force across hundreds of acres of towering hemlocks and other trees, setting many ablaze. The fuselage burrowed straight into the earth so forcefully that one of the "black boxes" was recovered at a depth of 25 feet under the ground.

As coroner, responsible for returning human remains, Miller has been forced to share with the families information that is unimaginable. As he clinically recounts to them, holding back very few details, the 33 passengers, seven crew and four hijackers together weighed roughly 7,000 pounds. They were essentially cremated together upon impact. Hundreds of searchers who climbed the hemlocks and combed the woods for weeks were able to find about 1,500 mostly scorched samples of human tissue totaling less than 600 pounds, or about 8 percent of the total.

Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11. He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says, "like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it." Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller says, "I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there. It became like a giant funeral service." As a funeral director, Miller says, he is honored and humbled to preside over what has become essentially an immense cemetery stretching far into the scenic wooded mountain ridge. He considers it the final resting place of 40 national heroes.

Flight 93 is already beginning to pass beyond mere history and into the realm of American heroic mythology because the full story and true measure of the passengers' collective valor likely will never be known. What is known is that a group of men and women, randomly thrown together, somehow rose up as they faced death. Ages 20 to 79, from Manalapan, N.J., to Honolulu, from Greensboro, N.C., to New York City, they were energetic salespeople, ambitious college students, corporate executives, lawyers, a retired ironworker, a waiter going to his son's funeral, a four-foot-tall handicapped rights activist, a census worker, a fish and wildlife officer, a retired couple who were volunteer missionaries.

Like characters in an adventure movie, this ensemble cast included a wonderfully American mix of men and women of action: a former collegiate judo champion, a retired paratrooper, a street-smart weightlifter, a flight attendant who'd been a policewoman, a female lawyer who also had a brown belt in karate, a 6-foot-5 muscular rugby player who also was gay, and a take-charge former college quarterback. These latter characters, in particular, are likely to be lionized in at least two made-for-TV movies, and in several books scheduled for publication in time for the September 11 anniversary.

Fate, airport traffic and the cellular phone made their heroism possible. UAL 93 — Newark to San Francisco — was supposed to take off at 8 a.m., choreographed on virtually the same murderous timeline as the three other planes from Boston and Washington that were seized in the terrorist plot. But only the Newark takeoff was substantially traffic-delayed — until 8:42. So by the time UAL 93 reached the outskirts of Cleveland around 9:30 — and four Arab men abruptly stood and tied red bandannas around their heads, announcing they had a bomb — two other doomed planes had already slammed into the World Trade Center towers and the third was hurtling downward toward its target, the Pentagon. This fourth plane was only now changing course and, it is believed, aiming straight for Washington to blow up the White House or the U.S. Capitol.

Aboard Flight 93, most of the passengers were herded to the back of the plane, and because several had working cell phones or grabbed the onboard GTE Airfones, they were able to reach their families and a 911 operator. Only then did they realize that their hijacking was no isolated incident. Four passengers in particular — Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick — would later be hailed as heroes because media accounts of their phone conversations provided the most heart-wrenching and detailed glimpses of the plan for the passengers' life-or-death charge for the cockpit, where the terrorists had seized control.

The lengthy 911 call between Beamer, a 32-year-old account manager for a Silicon Valley software firm, and Lisa Jefferson, a veteran GTE operator outside Chicago, became immortalized: As the plane lurched erratically and passengers screamed, Beamer, a devout Christian, and his seatmates recited the Lord's Prayer, with Jefferson joining in. "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done . . ." As Jefferson intermittently heard more screams, Beamer and others recited the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . ."

Then Jefferson heard Beamer say, "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll!"

"Let's Roll!" Embraced and promoted by President Bush as a patriotic battle cry, the phrase is now emblazoned on Air Force fighter planes, city firetrucks, school athletic jerseys, and countless T-shirts, baseball caps and souvenir buttons. It's also commemorated in popular songs. Todd Beamer's wife, Lisa, pregnant with their third child, was summoned to the Capitol and recognized by Bush during his September 20 speech to Congress declaring war on terrorism. Lisa Beamer, blond, radiant, yet somber in a plain black dress, achieved a national celebrity as a stunned nation reached for symbols of hope. The Beamer family set up a charitable foundation to benefit all victims of September 11 and then sought to trademark the phrase "Let's Roll," Lisa Beamer says, to prevent others from profiteering. Only then did they learn that they were among more than a dozen already seeking ownership of a phrase that can't be owned by anyone.

But "Let's Roll" is only one piece of the legend, one fragment of the sketchy evidence that consists of cockpit-to-ground radio communications and the handful of frantic cell-phone calls. The final account lies in a loop of tape in UAL 93's cockpit voice recorder that preserves the last 30 minutes of every flight — yet even that fails to capture the full story.

The tape is mostly noise alternating with silence, and the howling wind created by a plane traveling so fast at low altitude. But the recording also includes the seven-minute death struggle in which muffled voices are heard screaming and cursing in both English and Arabic as the plane dives toward earth.

The FBI, after initially refusing, agreed for the first time to allow families of air crash victims to listen to the tape, which customarily is not made public. Flight 93 families heard it and viewed an FBI transcript on April 18 at a New Jersey hotel, but they said it is mostly indecipherable. In the tape, a female voice, apparently a crew member, is heard pleading for life. An American screams something like, Let's get them! and an Arabic voice shouts, They're coming! At least a few families thought they could hear the voice of their loved one. Others weren't sure. Some thought the passengers had successfully breached the cockpit, others didn't know. But they were united in believing it confirmed the unwavering courage of the passengers.

Families of the victims, joined by the people of Somerset County, now seek a lasting remembrance of that heroism. Despite all the attention paid to the passengers' bravery, UAL 93 seems to many of them to have become September 11's forgotten flight. "The president and the vice president haven't come here, and it's really been overlooked compared to the other sites," says Jim Oliver, editor of the local newspaper, the Daily American. The larger atrocities at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon obviously dwarf Flight 93 in loss of life and damage to national symbols. "Besides that," Oliver says, "there were no good pictures" at the Pennsylvania crash site to capture the nation's imagination like the heroic images of firefighters at Ground Zero. "Here, the best pictures were a bunch of guys standing around a hole. Just smoking trees, smoking ground."

So the grieving families have formed a unique bond with the people who live near the crash site. Their goal is for the nation and the world to always remember that there was a single uplifting moment in one of the most crushing days ever for the American spirit. They want to build a fitting national monument at the crash site to commemorate that in the skies of Pennsylvania, over the county of Somerset, in the township of Stonycreek, near the borough of Shanksville, a group of desperate, brave Americans gave their lives in the war against 21st-century terror.

Flight 93 crashed in a place whose roots are deep as America's. This scenic stretch of the Appalachians — 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 170 miles northwest of Washington — was settled more than a millennium ago by the Monongahela, and crisscrossed by trails of the Shawnee, Iroquois and Delaware tribes. Then Europeans — German, English, Dutch, Italian — arrived here to hunt and trap, then to settle. In the late 1700s, a German named Christian Shank built a mill on the Stonycreek River, and a town grew in his name. It was supposed to become the hub of commerce, but it didn't. Shanksville remains a tiny borough of a few hundred people, who themselves sometimes describe it as a place that time forgot, in the middle of nowhere.

The very same families who settled this rural region often never left, and surrounding villages took their names from Acosta and Benson and Blough and Friedens and Ferrell and Geiger and Gray and Lambert and Husband and Kimmel and Shanks. They all came from somewhere else to become Americans. They farmed and fished and hunted, and cut timber, mined coal, and made steel. They built and worshiped in many churches, mostly Christian. They were taught to help out one another when crops went bad, when fires and floods wiped out their neighbors, when loved ones were taken away by death.

When Flight 93 hit in this isolated spot, almost instantly, telephone trees and informal church networks were activated. A cascade of hot casseroles, pots of coffee, cold drinks and clean clothes materialized at the site. Then, this quiet, tiny place was overrun by the FBI, the state police, a federal disaster mortuary team, the Red Cross, the National Transportation Safety Board, officials of United Airlines, and the state, national and international news media.

It hit with the impact of a "tidal wave," says Pamela Tokar-Ickes, one of Somerset County's three elected commissioners. "Every day, my voice mail was filled, from all over the world. Mostly media, but also Pennsylvania natives from across the country: nurses, doctors, lawyers and plain folks, saying, 'I'm from the area. I'd like to come back and help.' " With a total support staff of five, the Somerset commissioners were inundated with contributions of cash, checks, food, clothing, and pledges for all manner of charitable and fundraising events from across the nation and the world.

In the first chaotic week, when the entire country was in shock, Somerset's leaders decided the first public event should be a memorial service. Hastily organized, it was called for Friday night, September 14, on the front steps of Somerset's majestic century-old Greek revival courthouse. "We figured 500 to a thousand people at most," says Susan Hankinson, a local businesswoman who helped conceive the event. "When I walked out on the podium that evening, there were an estimated 5,000 people. The biggest gathering we've ever had. Our police chief went up to the dome of the courthouse and tried to estimate."

"That Friday service, I will never forget as long as I live," recalls Tokar-Ickes. "The sea of faces, the glow of candles . . . I choke up even now as I talk about it."

That first weekend, county officials were expecting the arrival of Flight 93 families, so a second memorial service was called on their behalf at the Shanksville-Stonycreek regional school on Sunday. A big crowd turned out, by local standards, but the families did not show up because United Airlines had arranged to put them all up at a ski resort 30 miles away. The service went on, nonetheless, but changed into a videotaped homage to the families. Ministers, plain folks and children all took turns at the lectern, addressing the Flight 93 families as if they were there; praying for them, thanking them for the great sacrifice of their loved ones, and also explaining to them about Shanksville. "Our town has never been much more than you see right now," said Donna Glessner, an unofficial local historian. "Only 245 people, a handful of businesses, a school, a fire hall, a post office, three churches, and a lot of front porches where neighbors sit and visit and wave hello to every passerby."

Extolling the special beauties and timeless cycles of every season, she told them of the long, cold winters that are ideal for skiing; the spring maple season with the sweetest of syrups and the melting snow that creates whitewater rapids and great trout fishing; cool summers excellent for growing corn, potatoes and oats; and clear autumns for harvesting, canning tomatoes, stacking firewood.

"We are a community of trusting people. Most don't lock their doors at night. We usually leave our keys in the car. We impulsively welcome strangers into our homes. We volunteer for scouts, for 4-H and PTA and Little League," Glessner said. "We salute our veterans on Memorial Day. And we take good care of our cemeteries."

Every day, no matter how cold or rainy or windy, carloads and sometimes busloads continue arriving in Shanksville. From every state in the union, they have found their way off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, down winding country roads, past old farmhouses, collapsed barns, huge hay bales, tall silos, herds of black-and-white dairy cows, sagging fences and telephone poles sporting bright yellow ribbons, and rural mailboxes flying American flags.

Thousands of people — the locals estimate up to 1,000 a week — have arrived at an old coal-mining access trail called Skyline Road, where finally they can see what remains of Flight 93: nothing. "There's not really much to it, is there?" Wally Miller often says to families and other visitors who are bewildered by what they don't see. Only a blank stretch of gently rolling brownish ridges against a backdrop of dark tree line and high blue sky. The deep gash in the earth has been thoroughly excavated, examined, sifted, restored, and is now virtually gone.

Right after September 11, on Skyline Road just outside the FBI perimeter, people began to leave flowers, and wreaths, and little American flags. They planted flags and banners in hay bales. So many visitors kept coming and leaving things that local officials realized they needed to manage the site once the FBI left. So, Mike Svonavec, whose family owns the old strip-mining site, donated a patch of land, and the feds and the township of Stonycreek paved and graveled the area as a temporary memorial, a quarter-mile up the slope from where UAL 93 hit.

People kept planting things. A tall wooden cross was erected. A 20-foot metal flagpole appeared, flying the Stars and Stripes, and a second pole with the Pennsylvania flag. A handsome polished headstone was put up with the names of the dead — minus four. And somebody planted 40 little "angels of freedom," carved from slate, standing in two straight rows. Mounted on wooden sticks, the foot-tall angels of Flight 93 are painted like winged American flags with little faces, and each bears the name of a passenger or crew member.

As more visitors kept leaving more wreaths, flags and flowers, township officials responded by erecting a 10-foot chain-link fence running 50 feet to accommodate the mementos. Broad sheets of white plywood went up to give visitors a place to write their thoughts. "People felt like they had to leave their words," says Barbara Black, curator of the Somerset Historical and Genealogical Society. "They signed the plywood. They signed the flagpoles. They wrote on guardrails. They signed garbage cans. Anywhere they could leave their messages."

Almost every day, Black, her staff and volunteers gather up what the well-wishers leave behind: a blue United Airlines uniform laid out on the ground; a Harley-Davidson Club T-shirt signed by its members; a plastic bottle saying it contained holy water from Lourdes; a silver POW-MIA bracelet commemorating the disappearance of a soldier named Eugene Handrahan in Vietnam on October 10, 1968; a Cherokee Indian ritual bag of sweet sage attached to a tree branch; a stunning blue banner with a painted sunburst from children in North Carolina who attached little fabric pouches that each contain their written prayers; and an old, weathered softball, signed, "We only have this to give. Thank you for the gift of life."

The numerous plywood message sheets and the collection of objects now fill more than 50 large cardboard boxes and two rooms at the state's Somerset Historical Center. Black and her assistants are staggered by the volume, but they are committed to cleaning and cataloguing all of the objects, and entering all of the text and digitized photographs onto the Internet in a searchable database. In preserving the memory of Flight 93, Black says, "people here have taken the responsibility very seriously. They have felt they are the caretakers."

That sense of stewardship has consumed Somerset. County commissioners thought that the wave of visitors, donations and worldwide attention would dissipate, says Tokar-Ickes. Instead, it continues. Overwhelmed, the commissioners created the new position of "Flight 93 Coordinator" in January, naming businesswoman Susan Hankinson, with a $27,000 annual salary paid by a charitable foundation. Her major mandate is to help oversee the lengthy local-state-national planning process for the creation of a permanent memorial, including the key issue of site selection. Many locals worry, says Hankinson, that their peaceful places could become crowded with tourists, made ugly by commercialism, made tawdry by profiteers. Some even have suggested the memorial should be elsewhere, perhaps in a nearby city like Johnstown that is served by an airport.

"There is such a rush to honor what happened, but this has got to be a slow, deliberate and inclusive process," says Tokar-Ickes. "It's our site, but not our victims. And we have to defer to the families. We want all of them to participate . . . It happened here, but the story is so much broader and bigger than us. This is the nation's story."

Immediately after the crash, the seeming absence of human remains led the mind of coroner Wally Miller to a surreal fantasy: that Flight 93 had somehow stopped in mid-flight and discharged all of its passengers before crashing. "There was just nothing visible," he says. "It was the strangest feeling." It would be nearly an hour before Miller came upon his first trace of a body part. The emotionally wrenching impact of what happened to the bodies caused Miller to resolve to seek out and talk personally to every one of the victims' families.

He did not think he was prepared for an event of this magnitude. Only hours earlier, he had been watching morning television with his father, the retired coroner, when the two jetliners exploded into the World Trade Center. As the two men watched, dumbstruck, he said to his father, "How'd you like to be the coroner in New York City now?" Born in Somerset, Miller had spent virtually his entire life within a few hours' drive. He'd gone to school at nearby Washington & Jefferson College, and done his mortuary training in Pittsburgh before coming back home to stay. In his entire career, he'd handled only two homicides: a domestic murder-suicide and the case of a woman who killed her husband after he refused to take her rattlesnake hunting.

Now, he was the man in the middle of an international disaster. Overseeing the recovery of remains and the temporary morgue set up at the nearby National Guard armory, Wally Miller became a momentary media star, giving daily press conferences beamed around the world, even when he had little new to say. He found all the hoopla to be annoying and distracting, he says, because mostly he saw his role as being there for Flight 93 families.

Some families would not or could not talk to him. Some declined his invitation to meet with him in Shanksville. But week after week, others kept coming and Miller kept climbing the little hill at the crash site and trying to explain. So many questions, so few answers. No, they hadn't made any positive identifications yet. No, they didn't know how long it would take. No, it couldn't go faster because the FBI investigation had to take priority. No, they didn't know if and when any personal possessions might be recovered. No, the FBI would not let them release anything to the families yet. And no, they could not tell for sure what happened onboard UAL 93.

Some families were silent and angry. Angry at the hijackers, at the airline, at their loved one for being onboard, at Miller and at God. Some were animated and talkative, at first, giving interviews to the media, speculating on the heroic roles played by their husband, wife, brother, sister, son or daughter. Others were quietly or openly resentful of those who were getting all the publicity. Miller tried not to be judgmental, just offering his condolences and listening. "I've been in this business 20 years," he says, "and the one thing I've learned is that everybody grieves in their own way." After a while, Miller says, his duty as Flight 93 coroner ceased to be that difficult — everyone knew why he was calling. He says it is far harder, for example, to have to break the news to the unsuspecting parents of a teenager that their child has committed suicide and "try to explain why."

Miller has kept in touch with many of the families. Five months after the crash, once the long, painstaking identification process was completed, he realized he had one larger duty remaining. Finally, some fragment of each of the dead had been positively identified, either by DNA or, in a few cases, fingerprints. So now the remains were going to be returned, he says, "and some people were going to look inside the caskets and I wanted them to know it would be shocking. I had to explain . . ."

So Miller arranged for a mass meeting at a New Jersey hotel in February at which 88 people representing 36 of the 40 families gathered with officials to discuss belated funeral arrangements and to confront other painful questions: What should happen to all the "unassociated effects," the thousands of pieces of possessions that could not be identified? What about the ultimate resting place of the unidentifiable remains, which are commingled and include tissue of both victims and hijackers? Burial? Cremation? And where would the remains go? There are no answers yet, and some of these questions will be addressed in the memorial design process, in which Miller urged the families to collectively take a leading role.

Often, the families turned to Miller for guidance. But he says he does not have any answers to previously unthinkable questions. "I never tried to portray myself as anything I wasn't. I'm sure not an expert," he says. "I'm a funeral director, and I know a little bit about grief."

On March 8, just before the six-month anniversary, dozens of Somerset, Stonycreek and Shanksville officials, rescue workers, students and teachers awakened in darkness to board a 5 a.m. charter bus that took them near the Civil War battlegrounds of Gettysburg and Antietam, whose rolling hillsides look remarkably like theirs. They were coming to Washington for a news conference announcing that legislation was being introduced in Congress to create a National Park memorial at the crash site.

When they arrived at the National Press Club, the event started with a blessing from the Rev. Larry Hoover, a Lutheran pastor in Somerset County who also runs a family lumberyard. The choice of Hoover had great local significance. He and his wife, Linda, own eight wooded acres with a secluded cabin that was their weekend retreat and their planned retirement home, along with a sturdy old stone cottage occupied by their 34-year-old son, Barry. But the shock wave from Flight 93, a few hundred yards away, spewed debris through the woods with such force that it blew out all the windows and doors and shook the foundation on Barry's place. It turned the whole Hoover property into a cemetery where human remains were still being found months later.

Larry Hoover is a calm, introspective man who loved his cabin as a place of

solace, his friends say. He has been a leading voice in stressing that properly honoring the dead and comforting their survivors takes priority over any local concerns. "His dignity and quiet reserve" and generosity have helped set the tone for Somerset, says Tokar-Ickes, because "if we have any local victims, it's the Hoovers."

The memorializing process had started in earnest in December, when the National Park Service convened a meeting in Shanksville and brought in several outside experts to help begin that discussion. "I was stunned by the intensity of the people of Shanksville, the clear, honest, sincere, wonderfully motivated grappling with the meaning of this event," says Edward Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh who studies national memorials and consults for the Park Service. Some were concerned about the specific location, he says, but virtually everyone seemed united in spirit.

The March press conference offered another chance for locals and some Flight 93 families to come together, and to affirm their belief that the memorial should be located at the crash site. "We all believe this area in Shanksville is the proper resting place," says Jennifer Price, who lost her mother and stepfather, Jean and Don Peterson. "That is where all of us will go to say goodbye — or to say hello." Citing the tireless work of the coroner and the volunteer fire crews, who personally helped families try to recover mementos, she says, "we feel so fortunate that it landed in Shanksville."

"Wally Miller and those volunteers all treated our family members like we were one of their own," says Paula Nacke-

Jacobs, who lost her brother, Louis Joseph Nacke. Their personal warmth was unforgettable, she says, her eyes welling. "This sleepy little town just put its arms around you and embraced you. If there had to be a place where someone had to . . . leave, this would be it."

Not long ago, a freshly painted new sign went up on an old building three miles from the crash site. It proclaimed:

THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN

UAL FLT 93

MEMORIAL CHAPEL

SHANKSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA

The new chapel immediately became a symbol of the fears that Flight 93's legend — and Shanksville — will be overrun by commercialism. The venture is the brainchild of a local antiques dealer named Al Mascherino, an ordained Catholic priest who for health reasons is currently not working in the priesthood. The operator of Somerset Galleries on West Main Street, he is a garrulous man of 58 with unruly graying hair, a well-lined face and an easy laugh.

Reverend Al, as friends still call him, bought the 100-year-old former Mizpah Evangelical Lutheran Church in January with an $18,000 bank loan. He is stripping off vinyl siding to restore the original church building, and gutting the warehouse interior at an estimated cost up to $40,000 to convert it into a "nondenominational" chapel that will also sell gift items. Mascherino says his original idea was to open "a reception or visitors center," because he knew it would take many years to build the permanent memorial. But he says he then thought also of including "a gift shop, not a souvenir shop." Mascherino stresses that last part, because he now sells September 11 souvenir buttons on a nonprofit basis to benefit local organizations, and he knows that some Shanksville people worry about his long-term intentions.

His honesty is vouched for by Rick King, a local businessman who is assistant chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department and who drove the first fire truck to arrive on the crash scene. King, after seeing September 11 buttons Mascherino was producing, contacted him. "People were skeptical," King says. "A lot of people didn't know him and thought he was going to make money. He told me otherwise from the beginning and I believe him. He is a very religious man, and he has such an intense feeling" about September 11.

Mascherino acknowledges that some locals remain dubious about this larger new enterprise, fearing it will become a tacky souvenir shop. He laughs at that idea, and, to illustrate, he unrolls his drawing of the chapel interior, which he says will be emblazoned with the soaring words of the Book of Isaiah that are among the lyrics of Handel's "Messiah": King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Mascherino also says the chapel will feature a multimedia show that will honor the heroism of Flight 93, a role he now considers his life's work.

Asked how he will finance all this, Mascherino laughs again. "I will just sell more stuff," he says with a broad smile. "It's on faith." The gutted interior is already outfitted with a church organ and a wood hutch stocked with souvenir coffee mugs. Mascherino stresses that he will sell only tasteful items, and only enough to keep the chapel operating. The deed of sale on Mizpah Lutheran specifies it cannot again be used as a "church," and he says it will not be.

"I'm going to use it for secular purposes. It's not going to be a church," he says. "I call it a secular chapel, a refuge."

Reverend Al's venture is by no means the only one that has raised fears about commercialism or profiteering. "I get calls from all kinds of people wanting to make a buck off it," says Hankinson, the Flight 93 coordinator. "They want the families' addresses to sell them things. Music, CDs, videos, hand-painted items, statues, T-shirts. Some of it's in bad taste. Some of it's with crosses and angels. It's all kinds of stuff, good and bad."

"I can't speak for everyone in Shanksville, but there is a sense of responsibility to keep this as pristine as we possibly can," says Tokar-Ickes. "The T-shirts, the salespeople, we can't keep it totally out. This is America, after all," she concludes with a laugh.

If Ernest Stull, the sometimes-cantankerous 78-year-old mayor of Shanksville, has his way, creeping commercialism definitely will be kept out. A few local people are making items like sweat shirts and hats for sale at very reasonable prices, he says, but no profiteers will be tolerated. "The word has been out and will continue to be out: This is not gonna happen here," he says, although he does not have any specific plan to stop it.

Stull, a white-haired, bespectacled retiree, can't remember the last time anyone opposed him for mayor "because nobody wants the job." But he says he's never been prouder to serve. "This has changed Shanksville forever," he says. "There's a spirit of 'What can I do? How can I help?' that was always present here, but not like now."

The mayor is among a cadre of local people who stand watch virtually every day at the temporary memorial, wearing small stickers identifying themselves as "Flight 93 Ambassadors," whose role is to help visitors and answer questions. "I feel I owe this to these brave people," Stull says one day at the site, "and I will do this as long as I'm drawing breath."

Flight 93 also took on special meaning for many of the children of Somerset. At Shanksville-Stonycreek regional school — whose entire student body of 496 for grades K through 12 makes it one of the state's smallest school districts — the students and teachers were so moved by the messages and gifts from across America that they didn't know how they could possibly say thank you to everyone. Not until second-grade teacher Karen Miller's idea trickled up through Principal Rosemarie Tipton to School Superintendent Gary Singel. It was a response that could express their feelings and also be sold as a fundraiser to aid those victims of September 11 who needed it.

So, Singel went out in the parking lot with a bunch of chalk. Then they drew up their plan and called a local aerial photographer. Then they gathered every single student, every teacher, the cooks, the janitors, all the parents they could muster, all the volunteer firefighters — seemingly the entire township of Stonycreek — until they finally had enough people.

On a clear, sunny autumn morning, they all gathered outside and spelled out in perfect alignment a giant human acknowledgment card that said to the world: "THANK YOU."

How will Flight 93 be remembered in American history? Will the story be lost in the larger tragedy of September 11 and the war against terrorism? In what form might the legend live on? At first, the media attention and the tendency to celebrate individual heroes put the focus on the same four men — Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick. In those early days, the Pennsylvania legislature considered a measure to honor those four who had already become instantly famous. Quickly, however, state officials intervened to replace it with a resolution honoring all the passengers.

"We feel we have forty heroes, and not just four. A lot of the families feel that way," says Karen Model, coordinator of the state's September 11 victim-assistance program. Several families felt slighted and angered by the disproportionate publicity, she says. "Someone would say to me, 'My son was trained in combat. Do you think he was sitting there, not doing anything?' " Most of the anger and jealousy, initially, was directed at Lisa Beamer.

It was she who became the most sought-after guest on all the major TV networks, appearing on "Dateline NBC," on "20/20," on "60 Minutes," chatting with Oprah, with Larry King several times. It was she who got so much media attention that she hired a public relations firm and signed a deal with a religious-

oriented publishing house to collaborate with a professional writer on a book, tentatively titled Let's Roll!

Model says Lisa Beamer, like other family members, was swept up by a flood of media coverage and did not deserve the resentment. "She is a very sweet person. She didn't ask for this, and she was thrust into it."

Beamer herself agrees that too much attention initially fell on her husband, rather than the collective valor of the passengers. "We just happen to know the names of some people who made phone calls. But there are other people who made phone calls, or didn't call, and we will never know their contribution," she says in an interview from her New Jersey home. From what is known of Flight 93, she says, "there was very strong esprit de corps. There were elderly and disabled people, but they may have given advice, or prayed, or taken some other piece of it. We don't know what heroism the other people did." As for the legendary "Let's Roll," she says, "I'm really glad it came from Todd, but it could have been from anyone."

She says she hopes the memory of Flight 93 leaves the message that "there are individuals who, when called on to act, had the courage, the character, and the strength. Who said, 'I am definitely here to save myself, but I am gonna do whatever I can to protect other people on this flight and on the ground.' I think there are other people on other flights who would have reacted the same way. These people had the character and courage to do it, and I think these people showed that American spirit that we know is in our history."

The people of Somerset County have embraced that message passionately and are preparing, somehow, to become part of the nation's history. "In some ways, as Gettysburg can never again be a sleepy farm community in Pennsylvania, Shanksville can never be the same," says Linenthal, the National Park Service historical consultant. "Battlefields are centers for rituals that celebrate powerful American mythologies." Lexington and Concord, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, Pearl Harbor. Each now has a special meaning, he says. But it is too early to know if or how Shanksville fits on that list, partly because the outcome of September 11 and the struggle with terrorism is unclear. Future generations may choose to embrace Flight 93, he says, because historically Americans don't want to dwell on complex issues like the Middle East, and instead seek to celebrate a simpler "preferred narrative," a story line that will just emphasize what is most heroic.

The process of conceiving a national monument is drawing the Somerset

community closer to the Flight 93 families, and the belated funeral meeting arranged by Miller has similarly drawn the Flight 93 families closer together, says Alice Hoglan, the mother of Mark Bingham. "We discovered one another at that meeting. It has been long and painful, but the meeting itself was healing," she says, weeping.

Each family is still struggling with its individual grief. Many are experiencing marital problems, unrelieved depressions, divisions within their extended families, deep troubles with their children and financial uncertainties that may not be entirely covered by expected payments from survivors' funds. Hoglan has linked most of the Flight 93 families via a monthly e-mail newsletter in which she tries to remind everyone that they are not alone. She routinely ends the letters by saying, "Stay well. Choose life. Next letter coming soon."

"How strange that 40 innocent people would have such a violent, horrible thing happen in such a beautiful, serene place," Hoglan says. "Wallace Miller was focused on getting us together to come to a consensus on the character of the memorial, and it was successful because, to a person, we said we want it to be a solemn place." And the people of Somerset have been uncommonly supportive of the families' wishes, she says, adding, "I hope they continue to feel that way, when they find their towns overrun by tourists, which is possible."

Wally Miller looks decidedly uncomfortable standing in a dark gray suit in front of a church audience. He is hugely popular in Somerset, reelected as county coroner last year with more than 80 percent of the vote — without campaigning. Since September 11, he has been in great demand as a speaker, not just locally, but at gatherings of coroners, emergency rescue workers and law enforcement groups from New Orleans to Toronto. He'll talk about his work, he says, but not too much about himself.

For months, he tells the church group, he's been conscious of "the burden I carried" as coroner, but reluctant to discuss it in public. He did not plan to attend this service at Somerset Alliance Church on March 11, the night of the six-month anniversary, he says, but has done so at the urging of friends who convinced him that "this is the time and place to talk about the spiritual aspect of what happened out there."

First, though, he wants to make clear that he has no special qualifications for the discussion or for what he's done since September 11. "I am a Christian," he says. "I'm not an exemplary Christian. For some reason, which remains unknown to him, Miller says, "God put me in charge of the site."

"I knew when I stood in that crater that it was going to be a long road ahead. But I knew we would make it through. I never dreamed it would go the way it has. My phone never stops ringing" and the demands seem endless, he says, "but it was okay . . . I was put here for this." He says he looks forward to the end of his role in Flight 93. "This is not something I want to be remembered for. It was part of my journey . . ."

Miller says he is often asked how he copes emotionally with the work he must do. He says he is not sure. Then he tells the church audience that, remarkably, two heavily damaged Bibles were found in the wreckage of the flight; a white one at the crash site that belonged to a passenger who was a practicing Buddhist; and a second one, black, of uncertain ownership. Miller says he ran across the second one on the floor of the warehouse where victims' belongings were being kept. The second Bible was scrunched up and was lying open, he says, to the 121st Psalm, which is customarily read at funerals. He says he has no idea who left the Bible in that position.

Then Miller opens the Bible he is holding and starts to read that Old Testament psalm to the church audience: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help . . ."

Peter Perl is a staff writer for the Magazine. He will be fielding questions and comments about this article at 1 p.m. Monday on www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.

UA93 crash but no drop of blood

The crash of UA93: "This is the most eerie thing," the coroner says. "I have not, to this day, seen a single drop of blood. Not a drop."

The day that changed America
By Robb Frederick
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_90823.html

Were you watching TV?

Did you stand there, slack-jawed, staring at the tape loop, seeing the tower explode again and again when the jet plowed through?

Did you feel for those people, at their desks, drinking coffee, then caught in a hellfire so hot they just had to jump, their neckties snapping like kite tails as they fell 84 floors? And the people in the street, their necks craned, their cheeks wet, their hearts breaking; their Prada bags dropped as the first tower rumbled and they ran, panicked, like extras in a Godzilla film?

John Shaw did. He stood in front of the set at Westmoreland County's 911 center. He saw the fireball, the smoke, the investment bankers at the window. He heard the phone ring.

"We are being hijacked," the man on the other end said.

Whoa.

He sat down. The man on the line was crying, trying hard to hold himself together. He'd be dead in six minutes.

He talked fast. His name was Edward Felt. F-E-L-T. He was on United Airlines Flight 93. To San Francisco. He had locked himself in the bathroom.

The plane had been hijacked turned an explosion white smoke.

"We're going down," he said. "We're going down."

“?”?”??-

Val McClatchey heard the 757 roar over Indian Lake, three miles east of where it would crash. She had been watching the "Today" show, with footage from New York, and now the Pentagon.

She looked out the window, above the red barns. She caught a glimpse of it, like light off a watch face. Then nothing, and then a boom that nearly knocked her off the couch.

The lights went out. The phones, too.

She grabbed her camera. She stepped onto the front porch and shot one frame of the smoke cloud, a charcoal puff in a pure blue sky.

That image ? "End of Serenity," she called it ? caught the essence of Somerset County that day. The barns, the blue sky, the open slope of pasture ? it's a postcard, except for that fat, black cloud, swelling like a smoke signal, warning that something horrible has happened.

"I thought it was an accident," McClatchey says, a Time and a Newsweek and a Reader's Digest in the binder on the coffee table, the pages with her photo marked with Post-Its. "I thought it was a small plane. I figured they were just trying to get out of the air."

She didn't walk up that road, toward the hole in the tree line. She could hear the sirens; she knew it was bad. She didn't need to see.

She went into the kitchen and put on barbecue for the rescue crews.

“?”?”??-

Dave Fox did go out to Skyline Drive, to the old strip mine, abandoned in 1996.

The former firefighter had heard the emergency tones. He, too, had been watching television, in a back office at the Deaner Funeral Home, where he was preparing an 11 a.m. service.

He saw the smoke. He drove out in the funeral van, expecting a skid crash, with fire and fuselage chunks, and the tail off to one side. And a survivor or two, God willing.

Some scrap yard workers had run up, hoping to help. Some coal truck drivers had stopped. And now the firefighters were coming, their radios crackling, calling out four more companies.

They couldn't find the plane.

At about 500 feet, with the wind so loud they could barely hear, the passengers had fought back. Several had forced their way into the cockpit, where the hijackers had the controls. They struggled, shouting, swearing. They grabbed at the instrument panel. Behind them, a woman cried.

The plane pitched, then rolled, belly up. It hit nose-first, like a lawn dart. It disintegrated, digging more than 30 feet into the earth, which was spongy from the old mine work.

The hemlocks caught fire. The jet fuel pooled. The wind played with paper scraps: a Bible page, some bank-machine receipts, the corner of a business card.

Fox stepped over a seat back. He saw a wiring harness, and a piston. None of the other pieces was bigger than a TV remote.

He saw three chunks of torn human tissue. He swallowed hard.

"You knew there were people there, but you couldn't see them," he says, home now, the kids playing in the background. "You try not to let it sink into you too much."

He'd assumed it was an accident. A Cessna, maybe. A spark in the fuel tank. A stuck rudder. He didn't connect it to the other planes, still crashing on cable TV.

“?”?”??-

In Friedens, at Mostoller's Country Corral, the dining room went quiet. The twin towers were smoking. The news anchors looked lost.

"You have got to be kidding me," said Pamela Tokar-Ickes, one of the three county commissioners. She'd stopped for breakfast after a coffee klatch, a meet-and-greet with the Chamber of Commerce.

Her staff had moved to new offices, which weren't yet wired for TV. So she went to the county's 911 center, in the basement of the old Greek-revival courthouse. The dispatchers were watching CNN. The Pentagon was burning.

She asked them to keep her posted, then left for another meeting.

She was in the commissioners' room, with proclamations to be read, when Rick Lohr called. He runs the 911 operation.

"We have a jet down in Buckstown," he said. "This is the real thing, guys."

"We just went numb," Tokar-Ickes remembers.

She ran a disaster declaration to the 911 center. She worked the phones, lining up a command center and morgue space, signing purchase orders for fencing and phone lines, lights and aspirin, rubber boots and bottled water. The county spent $250,000 on crash-site supplies; the state has yet to pay it back.

A man arrived in hospital scrubs, asking how he could help. Across the street, in her new office, Tokar-Ickes' voice mail filled. There was a nurse, an attorney, a man from California. What could they do? When could they come?

She rode out to the crash site, just north of Shanksville. A state trooper waved her through.

She stood there as the men hunched in contamination suits, sifting through what was left of the plane and the 44 people on board. She shivered.

"This isn't happening," she said to herself. "This is unreal."

“?”?”??-

The state police secured the scene. Troopers stood in the woods, each within sight of the next, so no one could slip in. They worked 14-hour shifts, the mosquitoes biting, the sun beating down. They stayed 11 days.

The FBI arrived. The governor came. The Smithsonian sent forensics experts, pulled off an Indian dig.

The plane hit at about 575 mph. The cockpit and first-class cabin collapsed; the rest crumpled into it, the rivets giving, the fireball scorching everything.

Investigators crawled through the debris field, bagging bolts and bone fragments. They found chunks of seat cushion foam, and honeycombed sound insulators. Then a shoelace, some shirt buttons, and a wedding ring. Then part of a passport, and a necktie, still knotted.

"The first responders really went through a lot," says Capt. Frank Monaco, commander of state police Troop A at Greensburg and the coordinator of the state's 400-man crash site team.

The work wore on them. "People say, 'Wasn't it horrible?'" Monaco says. "Well, we didn't have time to think about it. We literally ran on adrenaline for two weeks."

Monaco has never seen the twin towers footage. The networks had backed off by the time he got home.

Wallace Miller, the lanky, Civil War-studying county coroner, did see it. He sat at the family funeral home, his father, Wilbur, with him. They watched the second plane sweep in low, from nowhere. They winced when it hit.

"Boy, how'd you like to be the coroner there?" the son said.

He could have been out of town, at a coroners convention in eastern Pennsylvania. His colleagues had gone early, to golf. But his game had slipped, so he stayed back.

His secretary called.

He couldn't believe the scene. He saw the burnt trees, and some debris smoking in the dirt. He saw half a window frame. He saw shreds of that white cloth they put over the headrests.

He saw things in the trees.

He takes off his glasses, cleans them with his T-shirt. "This is the most eerie thing," he says. "I have not, to this day, seen a single drop of blood. Not a drop."

Every day he thinks about the people on that plane. John Talignani was flying to his stepson's funeral. Patricia Cushing was flying for the first time. Lauren Grandcolas was pregnant.

Honor Elizabeth Wainio was 27; Nicole Miller just 21.

Wallace Miller's own daughter is 18.

"That hit kind of close to home," he says. "I thought about what I would have done if this was my daughter, in California."

He'd have been there, he thinks. He'd have asked for her body, and her things.

He decided he would help the families. He would take them to the crash site. He would introduce them, so they would know they weren't alone.

"People here look at these families as a group, like it's a club," he says. "No. They don't know each other. When have you ever gotten onto a plane and known everyone on it?"

He organized a family meeting in New Jersey, and then another. He wrote. He called. He attended a Buddhist service for Toshiya Kuge, whose mother left behind origami birds.

On Sept. 11, though, he simply tried to make sense of the crash site. He went home about 2 a.m., too tired to think straight. He'd start fresh in the morning. The federal mortuary team would be there then. The light would be better.

He lay down on his couch, still dressed.

The phone rang. A man had died near Rockwood.

He woke his father and went for the body.

“?”?”??-

Fifty-five thousand people lost loved ones on Sept. 11, according to American Red Cross estimates.

The people of Somerset County lost something else, something that cloud crowded out of Val McClatchey's photograph. She realized it that night, in bed, listening to the hum of the emergency generators. The lights up the hill came through the curtains.

"You go along, day to day, and you never think much about your situation in life," says her husband, Jack. "Something like this, it changes your outlook on things. You're waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"This area will never be the same," he says.

That day was bad enough on television. But that was New York, and Washington. Obvious targets, if you think about it.

But here? This is a county of mom-and-pop shops, of Mail Pouch barns and windmill farms. A dime still buys an hour of courthouse parking.

"In the back of your mind, you never think these things can happen," Tokar-Ickes says. "Not here."

Now, though, there is a memorial to plan, and a legacy to keep.

"An extraordinary thing happened on that airplane," says Miller, who spent five months and $500,000 and found less than a tenth of the victims' remains.

To him, that old strip mine is now a cemetery. "In 20 years, this will be a historic site," he says. "I won't be coroner. The commissioners won't be commissioners. The president won't be president. But those (victims') families are still going to be coming back here."

Four thousand people already come to the crash site every week. They pose for photographs. They leave flags and flowers and St. Christopher medals, set on the rocks. The turnpike toll collectors hand them printed directions.

"It's kind of amazing, how many people come," says Dave Fox, who drives by the memorial every few weeks. He rarely gets out of the car.

His mother still lives on Lambertsville Road, a short walk from the crash site. He was out there a few nights ago, cooking mountain pies with his nieces and nephews. They sat there, under the stars, licking their fingers and counting all the cars.

Robb Frederick can be reached at rfrederick@tribweb.com or (724) 837-6689.

No bodies to be seen at UA93 crash site

Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11. He was stunned at how small the smoking crater [of UA93 crash site] looked, he says, "like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it." Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller says, "I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there. It became like a giant funeral service." Hallowed Ground

Nobody asked for this, but as September 11 recedes, a small Pennsylvania town finds itself guardian of an American legend

By Peter Perl
Washington Post, Sunday, May 12, 2002; Page W32
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A56110-2002May8&notFound=true

Wally Miller hits the siren on his dark Ford Excursion. He's alerting the Somerset County sheriffs that he is once again entering the restricted area surrounded by dense forest and enclosed by an eight-foot metal fence. Inside his truck is the familiar stale smell of the wilted flowers that he brings back from the 90 or so funerals he conducts every year. Death has been the family business at Miller Funeral Home in Somerset, Pa., for nearly half a century. Never, though, anything that even remotely resembles this.

Before Miller can even unfold his lanky 6-foot-4 body from the vehicle, a deputy sheriff thrusts at him a plastic baggie containing a handful of jagged metallic nuggets, mangled and melted into irregular shapes, little bigger than children's marbles. They are the latest of the shreds to be recovered — nearly six months later — of what remains of United Airlines Flight 93. Miller holds up the bag and says that virtually the entire airplane, including its 44 human occupants, disintegrated in similar fashion.

"I'm just a hick," Miller says when he considers the enormity of what he does. "I'm a country coroner." He is a youthful 44, with dark hair and a long, angular face that sometimes suggests a young, shaven version of Abe Lincoln. He is quite comfortable talking about death, most of the time. He grew up watching his father, Wilbur, deal with the grief of countless friends and neighbors, and then Wally succeeded Wilbur, both in running the funeral home and becoming Somerset County's elected coroner.

So it is with a calm, practiced voice that Miller speaks whenever he escorts grieving family members, as he has again and again and again, up the muddy hillock that overlooks the spot where Flight 93 came to earth. Here on this mound and elsewhere, in hundreds of face-to-face conversations and on the telephone, Miller explains to families from New Jersey to Berkeley to Japan to Germany the grisly calculus of what happened to their loved ones: The Boeing 757 still heavily laden with jet fuel slammed at about 575 mph almost straight down into a rolling patch of grassy land that had long ago been strip-mined for coal. The impact spewed a fireball of horrific force across hundreds of acres of towering hemlocks and other trees, setting many ablaze. The fuselage burrowed straight into the earth so forcefully that one of the "black boxes" was recovered at a depth of 25 feet under the ground.

of grassy land that had long ago been strip-mined for coal. The impact spewed a fireball of horrific force across hundreds of acres of towering hemlocks and other trees, setting many ablaze. The fuselage burrowed straight into the earth so forcefully that one of the "black boxes" was recovered at a depth of 25 feet under the ground.

As coroner, responsible for returning human remains, Miller has been forced to share with the families information that is unimaginable. As he clinically recounts to them, holding back very few details, the 33 passengers, seven crew and four hijackers together weighed roughly 7,000 pounds. They were essentially cremated together upon impact. Hundreds of searchers who climbed the hemlocks and combed the woods for weeks were able to find about 1,500 mostly scorched samples of human tissue totaling less than 600 pounds, or about 8 percent of the total.

Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11. He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says, "like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it." Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller says, "I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there. It became like a giant funeral service." As a funeral director, Miller says, he is honored and humbled to preside over what has become essentially an immense cemetery stretching far into the scenic wooded mountain ridge. He considers it the final resting place of 40 national heroes.

Flight 93 is already beginning to pass beyond mere history and into the realm of American heroic mythology because the full story and true measure of the passengers' collective valor likely will never be known. What is known is that a group of men and women, randomly thrown together, somehow rose up as they faced death. Ages 20 to 79, from Manalapan, N.J., to Honolulu, from Greensboro, N.C., to New York City, they were energetic salespeople, ambitious college students, corporate executives, lawyers, a retired ironworker, a waiter going to his son's funeral, a four-foot-tall handicapped rights activist, a census worker, a fish and wildlife officer, a retired couple who were volunteer missionaries.

Like characters in an adventure movie, this ensemble cast included a wonderfully American mix of men and women of action: a former collegiate judo champion, a retired paratrooper, a street-smart weightlifter, a flight attendant who'd been a policewoman, a female lawyer who also had a brown belt in karate, a 6-foot-5 muscular rugby player who also was gay, and a take-charge former college quarterback. These latter characters, in particular, are likely to be lionized in at least two made-for-TV movies, and in several books scheduled for publication in time for the September 11 anniversary.

Fate, airport traffic and the cellular phone made their heroism possible. UAL 93 — Newark to San Francisco — was supposed to take off at 8 a.m., choreographed on virtually the same murderous timeline as the three other planes from Boston and Washington that were seized in the terrorist plot. But only the Newark takeoff was substantially traffic-delayed — until 8:42. So by the time UAL 93 reached the outskirts of Cleveland around 9:30 — and four Arab men abruptly stood and tied red bandannas around their heads, announcing they had a bomb — two other doomed planes had already slammed into the World Trade Center towers and the third was hurtling downward toward its target, the Pentagon. This fourth plane was only now changing course and, it is believed, aiming straight for Washington to blow up the White House or the U.S. Capitol.

Aboard Flight 93, most of the passengers were herded to the back of the plane, and because several had working cell phones or grabbed the onboard GTE Airfones, they were able to reach their families and a 911 operator. Only then did they realize that their hijacking was no isolated incident. Four passengers in particular — Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick — would later be hailed as heroes because media accounts of their phone conversations provided the most heart-wrenching and detailed glimpses of the plan for the passengers' life-or-death charge for the cockpit, where the terrorists had seized control.

The lengthy 911 call between Beamer, a 32-year-old account manager for a Silicon Valley software firm, and Lisa Jefferson, a veteran GTE operator outside Chicago, became immortalized: As the plane lurched erratically and passengers screamed, Beamer, a devout Christian, and his seatmates recited the Lord's Prayer, with Jefferson joining in. "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done . . ." As Jefferson intermittently heard more screams, Beamer and others recited the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . ."

Then Jefferson heard Beamer say, "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll!"

"Let's Roll!" Embraced and promoted by President Bush as a patriotic battle cry, the phrase is now emblazoned on Air Force fighter planes, city firetrucks, school athletic jerseys, and countless T-shirts, baseball caps and souvenir buttons. It's also commemorated in popular songs. Todd Beamer's wife, Lisa, pregnant with their third child, was summoned to the Capitol and recognized by Bush during his September 20 speech to Congress declaring war on terrorism. Lisa Beamer, blond, radiant, yet somber in a plain black dress, achieved a national celebrity as a stunned nation reached for symbols of hope. The Beamer family set up a charitable foundation to benefit all victims of September 11 and then sought to trademark the phrase "Let's Roll," Lisa Beamer says, to prevent others from profiteering. Only then did they learn that they were among more than a dozen already seeking ownership of a phrase that can't be owned by anyone.

But "Let's Roll" is only one piece of the legend, one fragment of the sketchy evidence that consists of cockpit-to-ground radio communications and the handful of frantic cell-phone calls. The final account lies in a loop of tape in UAL 93's cockpit voice recorder that preserves the last 30 minutes of every flight — yet even that fails to capture the full story.

The tape is mostly noise alternating with silence, and the howling wind created by a plane traveling so fast at low altitude. But the recording also includes the seven-minute death struggle in which muffled voices are heard screaming and cursing in both English and Arabic as the plane dives toward earth.

The FBI, after initially refusing, agreed for the first time to allow families of air crash victims to listen to the tape, which customarily is not made public. Flight 93 families heard it and viewed an FBI transcript on April 18 at a New Jersey hotel, but they said it is mostly indecipherable. In the tape, a female voice, apparently a crew member, is heard pleading for life. An American screams something like, Let's get them! and an Arabic voice shouts, They're coming! At least a few families thought they could hear the voice of their loved one. Others weren't sure. Some thought the passengers had successfully breached the cockpit, others didn't know. But they were united in believing it confirmed the unwavering courage of the passengers.

Families of the victims, joined by the people of Somerset County, now seek a lasting remembrance of that heroism. Despite all the attention paid to the passengers' bravery, UAL 93 seems to many of them to have become September 11's forgotten flight. "The president and the vice president haven't come here, and it's really been overlooked compared to the other sites," says Jim Oliver, editor of the local newspaper, the Daily American. The larger atrocities at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon obviously dwarf Flight 93 in loss of life and damage to national symbols. "Besides that," Oliver says, "there were no good pictures" at the Pennsylvania crash site to capture the nation's imagination like the heroic images of firefighters at Ground Zero. "Here, the best pictures were a bunch of guys standing around a hole. Just smoking trees, smoking ground."

So the grieving families have formed a unique bond with the people who live near the crash site. Their goal is for the nation and the world to always remember that there was a single uplifting moment in one of the most crushing days ever for the American spirit. They want to build a fitting national monument at the crash site to commemorate that in the skies of Pennsylvania, over the county of Somerset, in the township of Stonycreek, near the borough of Shanksville, a group of desperate, brave Americans gave their lives in the war against 21st-century terror.

Flight 93 crashed in a place whose roots are deep as America's. This scenic stretch of the Appalachians — 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 170 miles northwest of Washington — was settled more than a millennium ago by the Monongahela, and crisscrossed by trails of the Shawnee, Iroquois and Delaware tribes. Then Europeans — German, English, Dutch, Italian — arrived here to hunt and trap, then to settle. In the late 1700s, a German named Christian Shank built a mill on the Stonycreek River, and a town grew in his name. It was supposed to become the hub of commerce, but it didn't. Shanksville remains a tiny borough of a few hundred people, who themselves sometimes describe it as a place that time forgot, in the middle of nowhere.

The very same families who settled this rural region often never left, and surrounding villages took their names from Acosta and Benson and Blough and Friedens and Ferrell and Geiger and Gray and Lambert and Husband and Kimmel and Shanks. They all came from somewhere else to become Americans. They farmed and fished and hunted, and cut timber, mined coal, and made steel. They built and worshiped in many churches, mostly Christian. They were taught to help out one another when crops went bad, when fires and floods wiped out their neighbors, when loved ones were taken away by death.

When Flight 93 hit in this isolated spot, almost instantly, telephone trees and informal church networks were activated. A cascade of hot casseroles, pots of coffee, cold drinks and clean clothes materialized at the site. Then, this quiet, tiny place was overrun by the FBI, the state police, a federal disaster mortuary team, the Red Cross, the National Transportation Safety Board, officials of United Airlines, and the state, national and international news media.

It hit with the impact of a "tidal wave," says Pamela Tokar-Ickes, one of Somerset County's three elected commissioners. "Every day, my voice mail was filled, from all over the world. Mostly media, but also Pennsylvania natives from across the country: nurses, doctors, lawyers and plain folks, saying, 'I'm from the area. I'd like to come back and help.' " With a total support staff of five, the Somerset commissioners were inundated with contributions of cash, checks, food, clothing, and pledges for all manner of charitable and fundraising events from across the nation and the world.

In the first chaotic week, when the entire country was in shock, Somerset's leaders decided the first public event should be a memorial service. Hastily organized, it was called for Friday night, September 14, on the front steps of Somerset's majestic century-old Greek revival courthouse. "We figured 500 to a thousand people at most," says Susan Hankinson, a local businesswoman who helped conceive the event. "When I walked out on the podium that evening, there were an estimated 5,000 people. The biggest gathering we've ever had. Our police chief went up to the dome of the courthouse and tried to estimate."

"That Friday service, I will never forget as long as I live," recalls Tokar-Ickes. "The sea of faces, the glow of candles . . . I choke up even now as I talk about it."

That first weekend, county officials were expecting the arrival of Flight 93 families, so a second memorial service was called on their behalf at the Shanksville-Stonycreek regional school on Sunday. A big crowd turned out, by local standards, but the families did not show up because United Airlines had arranged to put them all up at a ski resort 30 miles away. The service went on, nonetheless, but changed into a videotaped homage to the families. Ministers, plain folks and children all took turns at the lectern, addressing the Flight 93 families as if they were there; praying for them, thanking them for the great sacrifice of their loved ones, and also explaining to them about Shanksville. "Our town has never been much more than you see right now," said Donna Glessner, an unofficial local historian. "Only 245 people, a handful of businesses, a school, a fire hall, a post office, three churches, and a lot of front porches where neighbors sit and visit and wave hello to every passerby."

Extolling the special beauties and timeless cycles of every season, she told them of the long, cold winters that are ideal for skiing; the spring maple season with the sweetest of syrups and the melting snow that creates whitewater rapids and great trout fishing; cool summers excellent for growing corn, potatoes and oats; and clear autumns for harvesting, canning tomatoes, stacking firewood.

"We are a community of trusting people. Most don't lock their doors at night. We usually leave our keys in the car. We impulsively welcome strangers into our homes. We volunteer for scouts, for 4-H and PTA and Little League," Glessner said. "We salute our veterans on Memorial Day. And we take good care of our cemeteries."

Every day, no matter how cold or rainy or windy, carloads and sometimes busloads continue arriving in Shanksville. From every state in the union, they have found their way off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, down winding country roads, past old farmhouses, collapsed barns, huge hay bales, tall silos, herds of black-and-white dairy cows, sagging fences and telephone poles sporting bright yellow ribbons, and rural mailboxes flying American flags.

Thousands of people — the locals estimate up to 1,000 a week — have arrived at an old coal-mining access trail called Skyline Road, where finally they can see what remains of Flight 93: nothing. "There's not really much to it, is there?" Wally Miller often says to families and other visitors who are bewildered by what they don't see. Only a blank stretch of gently rolling brownish ridges against a backdrop of dark tree line and high blue sky. The deep gash in the earth has been thoroughly excavated, examined, sifted, restored, and is now virtually gone.

Right after September 11, on Skyline Road just outside the FBI perimeter, people began to leave flowers, and wreaths, and little American flags. They planted flags and banners in hay bales. So many visitors kept coming and leaving things that local officials realized they needed to manage the site once the FBI left. So, Mike Svonavec, whose family owns the old strip-mining site, donated a patch of land, and the feds and the township of Stonycreek paved and graveled the area as a temporary memorial, a quarter-mile up the slope from where UAL 93 hit.

People kept planting things. A tall wooden cross was erected. A 20-foot metal flagpole appeared, flying the Stars and Stripes, and a second pole with the Pennsylvania flag. A handsome polished headstone was put up with the names of the dead — minus four. And somebody planted 40 little "angels of freedom," carved from slate, standing in two straight rows. Mounted on wooden sticks, the foot-tall angels of Flight 93 are painted like winged American flags with little faces, and each bears the name of a passenger or crew member.

As more visitors kept leaving more wreaths, flags and flowers, township officials responded by erecting a 10-foot chain-link fence running 50 feet to accommodate the mementos. Broad sheets of white plywood went up to give visitors a place to write their thoughts. "People felt like they had to leave their words," says Barbara Black, curator of the Somerset Historical and Genealogical Society. "They signed the plywood. They signed the flagpoles. They wrote on guardrails. They signed garbage cans. Anywhere they could leave their messages."

Almost every day, Black, her staff and volunteers gather up what the well-wishers leave behind: a blue United Airlines uniform laid out on the ground; a Harley-Davidson Club T-shirt signed by its members; a plastic bottle saying it contained holy water from Lourdes; a silver POW-MIA bracelet commemorating the disappearance of a soldier named Eugene Handrahan in Vietnam on October 10, 1968; a Cherokee Indian ritual bag of sweet sage attached to a tree branch; a stunning blue banner with a painted sunburst from children in North Carolina who attached little fabric pouches that each contain their written prayers; and an old, weathered softball, signed, "We only have this to give. Thank you for the gift of life."

The numerous plywood message sheets and the collection of objects now fill more than 50 large cardboard boxes and two rooms at the state's Somerset Historical Center. Black and her assistants are staggered by the volume, but they are committed to cleaning and cataloguing all of the objects, and entering all of the text and digitized photographs onto the Internet in a searchable database. In preserving the memory of Flight 93, Black says, "people here have taken the responsibility very seriously. They have felt they are the caretakers."

That sense of stewardship has consumed Somerset. County commissioners thought that the wave of visitors, donations and worldwide attention would dissipate, says Tokar-Ickes. Instead, it continues. Overwhelmed, the commissioners created the new position of "Flight 93 Coordinator" in January, naming businesswoman Susan Hankinson, with a $27,000 annual salary paid by a charitable foundation. Her major mandate is to help oversee the lengthy local-state-national planning process for the creation of a permanent memorial, including the key issue of site selection. Many locals worry, says Hankinson, that their peaceful places could become crowded with tourists, made ugly by commercialism, made tawdry by profiteers. Some even have suggested the memorial should be elsewhere, perhaps in a nearby city like Johnstown that is served by an airport.

"There is such a rush to honor what happened, but this has got to be a slow, deliberate and inclusive process," says Tokar-Ickes. "It's our site, but not our victims. And we have to defer to the families. We want all of them to participate . . . It happened here, but the story is so much broader and bigger than us. This is the nation's story."

Immediately after the crash, the seeming absence of human remains led the mind of coroner Wally Miller to a surreal fantasy: that Flight 93 had somehow stopped in mid-flight and discharged all of its passengers before crashing. "There was just nothing visible," he says. "It was the strangest feeling." It would be nearly an hour before Miller came upon his first trace of a body part. The emotionally wrenching impact of what happened to the bodies caused Miller to resolve to seek out and talk personally to every one of the victims' families.

He did not think he was prepared for an event of this magnitude. Only hours earlier, he had been watching morning television with his father, the retired coroner, when the two jetliners exploded into the World Trade Center. As the two men watched, dumbstruck, he said to his father, "How'd you like to be the coroner in New York City now?" Born in Somerset, Miller had spent virtually his entire life within a few hours' drive. He'd gone to school at nearby Washington & Jefferson College, and done his mortuary training in Pittsburgh before coming back home to stay. In his entire career, he'd handled only two homicides: a domestic murder-suicide and the case of a woman who killed her husband after he refused to take her rattlesnake hunting.

Now, he was the man in the middle of an international disaster. Overseeing the recovery of remains and the temporary morgue set up at the nearby National Guard armory, Wally Miller became a momentary media star, giving daily press conferences beamed around the world, even when he had little new to say. He found all the hoopla to be annoying and distracting, he says, because mostly he saw his role as being there for Flight 93 families.

Some families would not or could not talk to him. Some declined his invitation to meet with him in Shanksville. But week after week, others kept coming and Miller kept climbing the little hill at the crash site and trying to explain. So many questions, so few answers. No, they hadn't made any positive identifications yet. No, they didn't know how long it would take. No, it couldn't go faster because the FBI investigation had to take priority. No, they didn't know if and when any personal possessions might be recovered. No, the FBI would not let them release anything to the families yet. And no, they could not tell for sure what happened onboard UAL 93.

Some families were silent and angry. Angry at the hijackers, at the airline, at their loved one for being onboard, at Miller and at God. Some were animated and talkative, at first, giving interviews to the media, speculating on the heroic roles played by their husband, wife, brother, sister, son or daughter. Others were quietly or openly resentful of those who were getting all the publicity. Miller tried not to be judgmental, just offering his condolences and listening. "I've been in this business 20 years," he says, "and the one thing I've learned is that everybody grieves in their own way." After a while, Miller says, his duty as Flight 93 coroner ceased to be that difficult — everyone knew why he was calling. He says it is far harder, for example, to have to break the news to the unsuspecting parents of a teenager that their child has committed suicide and "try to explain why."

Miller has kept in touch with many of the families. Five months after the crash, once the long, painstaking identification process was completed, he realized he had one larger duty remaining. Finally, some fragment of each of the dead had been positively identified, either by DNA or, in a few cases, fingerprints. So now the remains were going to be returned, he says, "and some people were going to look inside the caskets and I wanted them to know it would be shocking. I had to explain . . ."

So Miller arranged for a mass meeting at a New Jersey hotel in February at which 88 people representing 36 of the 40 families gathered with officials to discuss belated funeral arrangements and to confront other painful questions: What should happen to all the "unassociated effects," the thousands of pieces of possessions that could not be identified? What about the ultimate resting place of the unidentifiable remains, which are commingled and include tissue of both victims and hijackers? Burial? Cremation? And where would the remains go? There are no answers yet, and some of these questions will be addressed in the memorial design process, in which Miller urged the families to collectively take a leading role.

Often, the families turned to Miller for guidance. But he says he does not have any answers to previously unthinkable questions. "I never tried to portray myself as anything I wasn't. I'm sure not an expert," he says. "I'm a funeral director, and I know a little bit about grief."

On March 8, just before the six-month anniversary, dozens of Somerset, Stonycreek and Shanksville officials, rescue workers, students and teachers awakened in darkness to board a 5 a.m. charter bus that took them near the Civil War battlegrounds of Gettysburg and Antietam, whose rolling hillsides look remarkably like theirs. They were coming to Washington for a news conference announcing that legislation was being introduced in Congress to create a National Park memorial at the crash site.

When they arrived at the National Press Club, the event started with a blessing from the Rev. Larry Hoover, a Lutheran pastor in Somerset County who also runs a family lumberyard. The choice of Hoover had great local significance. He and his wife, Linda, own eight wooded acres with a secluded cabin that was their weekend retreat and their planned retirement home, along with a sturdy old stone cottage occupied by their 34-year-old son, Barry. But the shock wave from Flight 93, a few hundred yards away, spewed debris through the woods with such force that it blew out all the windows and doors and shook the foundation on Barry's place. It turned the whole Hoover property into a cemetery where human remains were still being found months later.

Larry Hoover is a calm, introspective man who loved his cabin as a place of

solace, his friends say. He has been a leading voice in stressing that properly honoring the dead and comforting their survivors takes priority over any local concerns. "His dignity and quiet reserve" and generosity have helped set the tone for Somerset, says Tokar-Ickes, because "if we have any local victims, it's the Hoovers."

The memorializing process had started in earnest in December, when the National Park Service convened a meeting in Shanksville and brought in several outside experts to help begin that discussion. "I was stunned by the intensity of the people of Shanksville, the clear, honest, sincere, wonderfully motivated grappling with the meaning of this event," says Edward Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh who studies national memorials and consults for the Park Service. Some were concerned about the specific location, he says, but virtually everyone seemed united in spirit.

The March press conference offered another chance for locals and some Flight 93 families to come together, and to affirm their belief that the memorial should be located at the crash site. "We all believe this area in Shanksville is the proper resting place," says Jennifer Price, who lost her mother and stepfather, Jean and Don Peterson. "That is where all of us will go to say goodbye — or to say hello." Citing the tireless work of the coroner and the volunteer fire crews, who personally helped families try to recover mementos, she says, "we feel so fortunate that it landed in Shanksville."

"Wally Miller and those volunteers all treated our family members like we were one of their own," says Paula Nacke-

Jacobs, who lost her brother, Louis Joseph Nacke. Their personal warmth was unforgettable, she says, her eyes welling. "This sleepy little town just put its arms around you and embraced you. If there had to be a place where someone had to . . . leave, this would be it."

Not long ago, a freshly painted new sign went up on an old building three miles from the crash site. It proclaimed:

THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN

UAL FLT 93

MEMORIAL CHAPEL

SHANKSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA

The new chapel immediately became a symbol of the fears that Flight 93's legend — and Shanksville — will be overrun by commercialism. The venture is the brainchild of a local antiques dealer named Al Mascherino, an ordained Catholic priest who for health reasons is currently not working in the priesthood. The operator of Somerset Galleries on West Main Street, he is a garrulous man of 58 with unruly graying hair, a well-lined face and an easy laugh.

Reverend Al, as friends still call him, bought the 100-year-old former Mizpah Evangelical Lutheran Church in January with an $18,000 bank loan. He is stripping off vinyl siding to restore the original church building, and gutting the warehouse interior at an estimated cost up to $40,000 to convert it into a "nondenominational" chapel that will also sell gift items. Mascherino says his original idea was to open "a reception or visitors center," because he knew it would take many years to build the permanent memorial. But he says he then thought also of including "a gift shop, not a souvenir shop." Mascherino stresses that last part, because he now sells September 11 souvenir buttons on a nonprofit basis to benefit local organizations, and he knows that some Shanksville people worry about his long-term intentions.

His honesty is vouched for by Rick King, a local businessman who is assistant chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department and who drove the first fire truck to arrive on the crash scene. King, after seeing September 11 buttons Mascherino was producing, contacted him. "People were skeptical," King says. "A lot of people didn't know him and thought he was going to make money. He told me otherwise from the beginning and I believe him. He is a very religious man, and he has such an intense feeling" about September 11.

Mascherino acknowledges that some locals remain dubious about this larger new enterprise, fearing it will become a tacky souvenir shop. He laughs at that idea, and, to illustrate, he unrolls his drawing of the chapel interior, which he says will be emblazoned with the soaring words of the Book of Isaiah that are among the lyrics of Handel's "Messiah": King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Mascherino also says the chapel will feature a multimedia show that will honor the heroism of Flight 93, a role he now considers his life's work.

Asked how he will finance all this, Mascherino laughs again. "I will just sell more stuff," he says with a broad smile. "It's on faith." The gutted interior is already outfitted with a church organ and a wood hutch stocked with souvenir coffee mugs. Mascherino stresses that he will sell only tasteful items, and only enough to keep the chapel operating. The deed of sale on Mizpah Lutheran specifies it cannot again be used as a "church," and he says it will not be.

"I'm going to use it for secular purposes. It's not going to be a church," he says. "I call it a secular chapel, a refuge."

Reverend Al's venture is by no means the only one that has raised fears about commercialism or profiteering. "I get calls from all kinds of people wanting to make a buck off it," says Hankinson, the Flight 93 coordinator. "They want the families' addresses to sell them things. Music, CDs, videos, hand-painted items, statues, T-shirts. Some of it's in bad taste. Some of it's with crosses and angels. It's all kinds of stuff, good and bad."

"I can't speak for everyone in Shanksville, but there is a sense of responsibility to keep this as pristine as we possibly can," says Tokar-Ickes. "The T-shirts, the salespeople, we can't keep it totally out. This is America, after all," she concludes with a laugh.

If Ernest Stull, the sometimes-cantankerous 78-year-old mayor of Shanksville, has his way, creeping commercialism definitely will be kept out. A few local people are making items like sweat shirts and hats for sale at very reasonable prices, he says, but no profiteers will be tolerated. "The word has been out and will continue to be out: This is not gonna happen here," he says, although he does not have any specific plan to stop it.

Stull, a white-haired, bespectacled retiree, can't remember the last time anyone opposed him for mayor "because nobody wants the job." But he says he's never been prouder to serve. "This has changed Shanksville forever," he says. "There's a spirit of 'What can I do? How can I help?' that was always present here, but not like now."

The mayor is among a cadre of local people who stand watch virtually every day at the temporary memorial, wearing small stickers identifying themselves as "Flight 93 Ambassadors," whose role is to help visitors and answer questions. "I feel I owe this to these brave people," Stull says one day at the site, "and I will do this as long as I'm drawing breath."

Flight 93 also took on special meaning for many of the children of Somerset. At Shanksville-Stonycreek regional school — whose entire student body of 496 for grades K through 12 makes it one of the state's smallest school districts — the students and teachers were so moved by the messages and gifts from across America that they didn't know how they could possibly say thank you to everyone. Not until second-grade teacher Karen Miller's idea trickled up through Principal Rosemarie Tipton to School Superintendent Gary Singel. It was a response that could express their feelings and also be sold as a fundraiser to aid those victims of September 11 who needed it.

So, Singel went out in the parking lot with a bunch of chalk. Then they drew up their plan and called a local aerial photographer. Then they gathered every single student, every teacher, the cooks, the janitors, all the parents they could muster, all the volunteer firefighters — seemingly the entire township of Stonycreek — until they finally had enough people.

On a clear, sunny autumn morning, they all gathered outside and spelled out in perfect alignment a giant human acknowledgment card that said to the world: "THANK YOU."

How will Flight 93 be remembered in American history? Will the story be lost in the larger tragedy of September 11 and the war against terrorism? In what form might the legend live on? At first, the media attention and the tendency to celebrate individual heroes put the focus on the same four men — Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick. In those early days, the Pennsylvania legislature considered a measure to honor those four who had already become instantly famous. Quickly, however, state officials intervened to replace it with a resolution honoring all the passengers.

"We feel we have forty heroes, and not just four. A lot of the families feel that way," says Karen Model, coordinator of the state's September 11 victim-assistance program. Several families felt slighted and angered by the disproportionate publicity, she says. "Someone would say to me, 'My son was trained in combat. Do you think he was sitting there, not doing anything?' " Most of the anger and jealousy, initially, was directed at Lisa Beamer.

It was she who became the most sought-after guest on all the major TV networks, appearing on "Dateline NBC," on "20/20," on "60 Minutes," chatting with Oprah, with Larry King several times. It was she who got so much media attention that she hired a public relations firm and signed a deal with a religious-

oriented publishing house to collaborate with a professional writer on a book, tentatively titled Let's Roll!

Model says Lisa Beamer, like other family members, was swept up by a flood of media coverage and did not deserve the resentment. "She is a very sweet person. She didn't ask for this, and she was thrust into it."

Beamer herself agrees that too much attention initially fell on her husband, rather than the collective valor of the passengers. "We just happen to know the names of some people who made phone calls. But there are other people who made phone calls, or didn't call, and we will never know their contribution," she says in an interview from her New Jersey home. From what is known of Flight 93, she says, "there was very strong esprit de corps. There were elderly and disabled people, but they may have given advice, or prayed, or taken some other piece of it. We don't know what heroism the other people did." As for the legendary "Let's Roll," she says, "I'm really glad it came from Todd, but it could have been from anyone."

She says she hopes the memory of Flight 93 leaves the message that "there are individuals who, when called on to act, had the courage, the character, and the strength. Who said, 'I am definitely here to save myself, but I am gonna do whatever I can to protect other people on this flight and on the ground.' I think there are other people on other flights who would have reacted the same way. These people had the character and courage to do it, and I think these people showed that American spirit that we know is in our history."

The people of Somerset County have embraced that message passionately and are preparing, somehow, to become part of the nation's history. "In some ways, as Gettysburg can never again be a sleepy farm community in Pennsylvania, Shanksville can never be the same," says Linenthal, the National Park Service historical consultant. "Battlefields are centers for rituals that celebrate powerful American mythologies." Lexington and Concord, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, Pearl Harbor. Each now has a special meaning, he says. But it is too early to know if or how Shanksville fits on that list, partly because the outcome of September 11 and the struggle with terrorism is unclear. Future generations may choose to embrace Flight 93, he says, because historically Americans don't want to dwell on complex issues like the Middle East, and instead seek to celebrate a simpler "preferred narrative," a story line that will just emphasize what is most heroic.

The process of conceiving a national monument is drawing the Somerset

community closer to the Flight 93 families, and the belated funeral meeting arranged by Miller has similarly drawn the Flight 93 families closer together, says Alice Hoglan, the mother of Mark Bingham. "We discovered one another at that meeting. It has been long and painful, but the meeting itself was healing," she says, weeping.

Each family is still struggling with its individual grief. Many are experiencing marital problems, unrelieved depressions, divisions within their extended families, deep troubles with their children and financial uncertainties that may not be entirely covered by expected payments from survivors' funds. Hoglan has linked most of the Flight 93 families via a monthly e-mail newsletter in which she tries to remind everyone that they are not alone. She routinely ends the letters by saying, "Stay well. Choose life. Next letter coming soon."

"How strange that 40 innocent people would have such a violent, horrible thing happen in such a beautiful, serene place," Hoglan says. "Wallace Miller was focused on getting us together to come to a consensus on the character of the memorial, and it was successful because, to a person, we said we want it to be a solemn place." And the people of Somerset have been uncommonly supportive of the families' wishes, she says, adding, "I hope they continue to feel that way, when they find their towns overrun by tourists, which is possible."

Wally Miller looks decidedly uncomfortable standing in a dark gray suit in front of a church audience. He is hugely popular in Somerset, reelected as county coroner last year with more than 80 percent of the vote — without campaigning. Since September 11, he has been in great demand as a speaker, not just locally, but at gatherings of coroners, emergency rescue workers and law enforcement groups from New Orleans to Toronto. He'll talk about his work, he says, but not too much about himself.

For months, he tells the church group, he's been conscious of "the burden I carried" as coroner, but reluctant to discuss it in public. He did not plan to attend this service at Somerset Alliance Church on March 11, the night of the six-month anniversary, he says, but has done so at the urging of friends who convinced him that "this is the time and place to talk about the spiritual aspect of what happened out there."

First, though, he wants to make clear that he has no special qualifications for the discussion or for what he's done since September 11. "I am a Christian," he says. "I'm not an exemplary Christian. For some reason, which remains unknown to him, Miller says, "God put me in charge of the site."

"I knew when I stood in that crater that it was going to be a long road ahead. But I knew we would make it through. I never dreamed it would go the way it has. My phone never stops ringing" and the demands seem endless, he says, "but it was okay . . . I was put here for this." He says he looks forward to the end of his role in Flight 93. "This is not something I want to be remembered for. It was part of my journey . . ."

Miller says he is often asked how he copes emotionally with the work he must do. He says he is not sure. Then he tells the church audience that, remarkably, two heavily damaged Bibles were found in the wreckage of the flight; a white one at the crash site that belonged to a passenger who was a practicing Buddhist; and a second one, black, of uncertain ownership. Miller says he ran across the second one on the floor of the warehouse where victims' belongings were being kept. The second Bible was scrunched up and was lying open, he says, to the 121st Psalm, which is customarily read at funerals. He says he has no idea who left the Bible in that position.

Then Miller opens the Bible he is holding and starts to read that Old Testament psalm to the church audience: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help . . ."

Peter Perl is a staff writer for the Magazine. He will be fielding questions and comments about this article at 1 p.m. Monday on www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.

Private plane by NetJets tracked Flight UA93 on September 11

Private plane by NetJets tracked Flight UA93 on September 11

"Additional recordings would be played from the cockpit of an executive jet that tracked Flight 93 on Sept. 11 An official for NetJets, a company that sells shares in private business aircraft, confirmed that the plane tracking Flight 93 belonged to the company.
The official, who asked not to be identified by name, said the company was asked not to comment on the Sept. 11 flight but would not say who made the request." -Holland Sentinel/AP (8/09/02)

UA93 crashed at 10:06 a.m.

The fourth plane hijacked on September 11, United Airlines Flight 93, left Newark International Airport at 8:42 a.m. At 10:06 a.m., the plane crashed in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board but sparing what officials believe was another intended target in Washington, D.C.

Soon afterward, the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, became a shrine. People traveled for miles to pay their respects to the heroes of Flight 93. Many felt compelled to leave something behind. Thousands of memorial offerings have been left at the site since September 2001.

11 September news: Flight UA93 ‘was shot down’

I believe that Flight 93 may well have been deliberately shot down as a means of stopping it from reaching its ultimate target ? even at the expense of the 40 blameless people on board. It is a suspicion that was held even by the FBI, but was swept aside as a shaken America clung on to the official version of selfless sacrifice and raw patriotism.
London Daily Mail: Flight 93 ‘was shot down’

Daily Mail/ROWLAND MORGAN | August 19 2006

The heart-thumping moment came when when passengers on board one of the hijacked 9/11 jets fought back against the ruthless fanatics hellbent on crashing the plane into the heart of America.

Jumping out of their seats to a rallying cry of “Let’s roll!”, they charged towards the front of the Boeing 757 and began smashing down the cockpit door to reach the hijackers at the controls.

Amid the desperate commotion, the plane rolled violently from right to left and pitched up and down as the rogue pilots tried to throw the passengers beyond the door off balance. As the struggle continued, the cockpit voice recorder captured the hijackers urgently discussing whether to ditch the plane. “Is that it? Shall we finish it off”? asked one of the fanatics.

“No, not yet. When they all come, we finish it off,” was the reply. Minutes later, at10.03am, with the same voices shouting in Arabic, “Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest,” the plane headed down, banked hard right and rolled on to its back. It smashed into an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at its top speed of 580mph and exploded into a massive fireball.

The flames set nearby woods on fire as the impact sprayed body parts and other debris into the trees and up into the sky, to float to earth as far as eight miles away.

This, then, is the legend of United Airways Flight 93, one that has been vigorously promoted in a stream of books and films, most recently in the

Shanksville-Flight 93: Many Unanswered Questions Still Linger

Shanksville-Flight 93: Many Unanswered Questions Still Linger
by Lisa Guliani
http://www.wingtv.net/thorn2006/shanksville.html
 
On May 1, 2006, after a 24-hour respite following our participation in New York Citx’s huge April 29th anti-war rally, WING TV returned to the road once again with three destinations in mind: Shanksville, New Baltimore, and Indian Lake, Pennsylvania. Victor Thorn and I wanted to spend a couple of days in these locations and re-tread some of the area covered in our book, Phantom Flight 93: The Shanksville Flight 93 Hoax.

NEW BALTIMORE

 New Baltimore is a scenic wilderness, accessed via one long narrow road that stretches for miles, descending deeper with every twist and bend while fringed by dense woods, fishing holes and wide swaths of forested mountain landscape. Eventually the winding country road brought us to a small street dotted with a few houses. We saw a man in his yard and pulled into the driveway to ask him a few questions about 9-11.

 The man’s name was Dave and he works as a prison guard. After giving him a brief overview of why we were there, he invited us into his home for coffee. We spent the better part of an hour asking him about 9-11, and Dave openly expressed his doubts as to the official government version of events. He told us not to expect to see much of anything at the temporary memorial site for Flight 93 in Shanksville, because there isn’t much of anything to see. Dave was very intrigued by all we related to him regarding the anomalous nature of the official story and equally perplexed by the lack of wreckage and debris shown in the photos on the cover of our book. We could see the wheels turning in his head. He said he would ask around and try to learn more information and get back with us. Dave directed us to speak with a woman who works at the post office just down the road from his home who could point us in the right direction for information.

 The post office was nothing more than a pint-sized white shack; and the worker there told us we needed to head over to St. John’s Church and speak with a woman named Melanie. This would be Melanie Hankinson, to whom we refer in Phantom Flight 93. We found Melanie inside the lovely church and she related to us her story of 9-11. Melanie says the lawn maintenance man from Beauty Lawn heard a loud “bang” and subsequently informed Melanie that there were papers blowing all over the churchyard. Upon inspection, she found not only papers littering the property, but also small pieces of metal. Melanie also told us that the FBI had set up a trailer in New Baltimore after Flight 93 purportedly crashed in the field at Shanksville, and locals were advised to bring all recovered debris to this trailer and hand it over to the Feds. Subsequently, she and other residents of the community dutifully delivered bags of debris to the FBI as directed. Along with papers and checks, Melanie also found small pieces of metal in the churchyard, which she said the FBI identified as pieces of the plane’s underbelly. Keep in mind that New Baltimore is roughly 6-8 miles away from Shanksville and the wind speed on the morning of September 11th in that area was only 9-10 mph.

 Prior to leaving New Baltimore, we spoke with a woman named Mrs. Oster, whose husband Charlie saw two additional airplanes in the near vicinity of Flight 93 (or something purporting to be Flight 93) on the morning of September 11th. After asking a few questions, she very undeniably said that she, as well as her husband, felt that this airliner had been shot from the sky. Victor then spoke with Mr. Oster via telephone, and he confirmed the sightings of other small white planes flanking Flight 93.

INDIAN LAKE

 Indian Lake resembles a picture postcard. It’s sprinkled with nice looking homes, a marina, and a couple of sprawling golf courses. We spoke with several folks at both the marina and the private golf course. Please keep in mind that Indian lake is 1-2 miles from Shanksville.

 Stephanie Childers works in the Pro Shop at a private golf course. She told us that she saw Flight 93 intact and in the air on the morning of 9-11 from Hoffman’s Nursery, approximately 3-4 miles away. She drew us a diagram to illustrate the plane’s approach and described how she saw it descending as it flew, and then how it abruptly went into a vertical nosedive and subsequently crashed. She claims to have seen the windows of Flight 93. Stephanie said that at the time it impacted, she thought there was a bomb on the plane.

 Standing next to Stephanie Childers was a man named Bob Pile, who had been listening to our discussion. Bob recalled “what seemed like buckets of gravel? hitting the roof of his house on the morning of 9-11 around the time of Flight 93?s reported impact. Bob says his home is one mile away from the crash site. He thinks it is very odd that gravel would reach his home over that distance, and had no explanation as to how this might have happened. We asked him how an airplane as large as Flight 93 could fit into a hole of such significantly smaller dimensions and showed him a representative diagram of the plane and crater dimensions, and he shook his head, unable to reconcile the disparity in dimensions.

 Another local named Charles McCauley chimed in at this point. McCauley described the debris he’d recovered from his property ? black seat backings that the FBI identified as coming from Flight 93. Charles had no idea how these pieces of plane seats could have made their way the few miles to his house. McCauley, like many others, turned this debris over to the FBI. Both Pile and McCauley described lots of paper, parts of magazines, some solid matter (pieces of seats and metal) and checks carried by the wind in the days following 9-11, all of which was determined by the FBI to be from Flight 93.

 After touching base with some more folks at Indian lake, we then proceeded to Shanksville. The people at Indian Lake had advised us to contact local realtor Valencia (Val) McClatchey, who took the infamous photo of a red barn with the mushroom cloud behind it, which appears on the cover of our book and has made its way through the vast spectrum of mainstream and alternative media venues since the events of 9-11.

SHANKSVILLE

 We spoke with lots of people while in Shanksville, none of whom recalled smelling the unmistakable odor of burning human flesh on 9-11-01. We did call Val McClatchey and met with her at her real estate office. She was initially pleasant and businesslike, but as soon as we showed her our Flight 93 book, McClatchey became very surly, hostile, and defensive. During the first few minutes in her office, she described being at her home on the morning of 9-11 and hearing the purported plane crash. She said she ran and grabbed her camera, which ? conveniently enough ? was sitting right by the front door, and snapped her famous photo at a distance of one mile from the crash site. When questioned by us, she abruptly poo-pooed the possibility that Flight 93 might have been shot down or brought down by some other means on the morning of 9-11, and became irate when we again produced our diagram, asking how such a massive plane could fit entirely into a crater of such small proportions. We explained how scientifically and physically impossible it would be for this to happen. At this point, McClatchex’s eyes began shooting daggers at us, and she became positively livid when we pointed out that the mushroom cloud in her photo is more reminiscent of an ordnance blast than a jet fuel column. She seemed more inclined to discuss the supposed lawsuit she has brought forth against the Associated Press over her 9-11 photo, apparently in an attempt to intimidate us. McClatchey has previously threatened to sue at least one other 9-11 researcher known as “Killtown? regarding this same photograph, a threat which has thus far not amounted to anything.

 She then stated that she “didn’t want to be around any people who question the government.” Incidentally, her photo is prominently displayed throughout the city of Shanksville, in Somerset County, and is being sold at Id Restaurant for $20.00. Val funnels $18 from every photo sale to the Todd Beamer Foundation. But I digress. Approximately 10-15 minutes into our interview, McClatchey suddenly and unexpectedly jumped from her seat and rudely threw us out of her office, mocking and labeling us “conspiracy theorists”. We point out that this realtor had no intelligent or coherent responses to the valid questions we raised, nor was she able to explain the anomalous nature of the purported plane crash. In fact, she simply dismissed the discrepancies regarding the plane and crater. Why muddy the water with facts, right Val?

 We were quite intrigued by this woman’s responses and her absolute unwillingness to consider basic inconsistencies with the official story. Our visit with McClatchey has served to fuel our interest even further as to just what is going on in Shanksville. In its wake, 9-11 has provided some interesting “opportunities? for at least some Shanksville locals, and the recent release of Hollywood’s United 93 movie promises a potentially lucrative future for the previously unknown (pre-9/11) community. Val McClatchey made it unmistakably clear to us that she intends to milk her 9-11 claim to fame for all it’s worth, truth be damned.

 Ironically, we tried to use a cell phone several times while in Shanksville and the surrounding areas. We couldn’t get a signal at all, no matter where we were, from the ground. This in itself is pretty interesting wouldn’t you say, considering all the supposed phone calls made at 35,000 feet on the morning of 9-11?

 Also, every person we spoke to told us a different rate of speed regarding Flight 93?s final moments prior to impact ? the speeds ranging from 330 mph to 700 mph. We couldn’t get the same story twice. The more people we spoke to, the more it appeared that hardly anyone actually saw anything firsthand other than multiple sightings of Flight 93 in mid-air on the morning of 9-11. We have located no one to date who actually witnessed the plane crash-landing. Instead, we listened to many accounts from locals who appeared to be repeating what they had been told.

MORE COMMENTS FROM SHANKSVILLE LOCALS

Firefighter Rick King, owner of Id Restaurant

 Rick couldn’t explain how such a huge airplane could fit into such a small sized crater either, but quickly added that he doesn’t see anything “unusual or out of the ordinary? about the official story. When asked if accident reports were filed by the NTSB for Flight 93, he stated in the affirmative. We told him the accident report, if any was filed, has not publicly emerged. He had no comment. When asked, he denied noticing any stench of burning human flesh on 9-11. However, he was able to parrot the now all-too familiar unsubstantiated tale of how debris, wreckage and human remains were found at the crash site. Naturally, he had no qualifier for this tale, and no plausible explanation as to why such a seeming wealth of wreckage, remains, and debris is mysteriously absent in publicly available photos of the Flight 93 crash site. We asked how we could locate the Mayor of Shanksville, Ernie Stull, and were advised that the Mayor was in poor health, suffering from congestive heart failure. We decided not to try to question him because of this information. Another interesting observation about Rick King: The entire time we spoke with him, he kept looking nervously from side to side and peering behind him, as if concerned about who might be watching/listening to him talk with us. Less than 15 minutes after coming out to speak with us on the sidewalk, he abruptly ended the interview and ran back into Id Restaurant.

Bob Schmucker, “Ambassador of Flight 93 temporary memorial?

 Bob told us that the entire fuselage of Flight 93 had been pulled from the crater, describing it as “looking crumpled-up like aluminum foil when they took it out.” He told us three local excavating companies were used to dig out whatever was allegedly in the smoking hole, and the excavators had gone as deep as 50 feet. He could not or would not name them. Schmucker stated that we had valid, serious questions and directed us to speak to Somerset coroner and funeral director, Wally Miller, who appears to us to be the point man in this whole mess. Schmucker also stated that a mound on the property allegedly contains both human remains from Flight 93 and ground tree limbs. He cited Wally Miller as the source of this information. This mound is located within the fenced-in area adjacent to the temporary memorial, behind the spot where the crater used to be. The crater is now completely filled in and inaccessible to the public. In fact, they don’t even want you walking up to the fence line.

Vicky Rock, correspondent for The Daily American (Somerset County)

 Vicky told us that not all of the people allegedly aboard Flight 93 had been identified in the analysis of human remains after the crash. She related to us that a DMORT team had assisted the FBI and the coroner Wally Miller in making positive identifications. DMORT is an acronym for “Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team”. DMORT?s own website states that all of the people onboard Flight 93 were ultimately identified. However, this local correspondent firmly stated otherwise to us. She suggested we speak with Wally Miller for further clarification, which we did later.

 I spoke again with Vicky Rock on May 10, 2006, and once again she refuted Miller’s statement regarding the Flight 93 identifications. This time, she cited a recent comment made by a victim family member, Betty Kemmerer, who was related to Flight 93 passenger Hilda Marcin of Mt. Olive, NJ. At a meeting, Kemmerer wanted still unidentified human remains to be entombed at the memorial site. According to Vicky Rock, Kemmerer was told by officials that “they would take care of it”.

 Curiously, we could not purchase a copy of the September 12th issue of The Daily American from the newspaper’s circulation department. We were told these issues are inaccessible and in storage, and were not allowed to photocopy the framed article from that specific date which hung on the wall of the newsroom. So, we had to make a trip to their local library, where we photocopied all of the librarian’s collected news clippings pertaining to the days immediately following 9-11. Ms. Rock expressed little ? if any ? interest when we informed her that several of the purported passengers of Flight 93 have yet to appear on the Social Security Death Index listed as deceased, despite Miller’s issuance of presumptive death certificates shortly after 9-11. She did not give us the impression that she was curious about this strange phenomenon, and during my telephone conversation with her on May 10th, she stated that neither she nor the newspaper intends to investigate the passenger list oddities, saying, “We don’t think there is any story there”. No story there? People issued death certificates who were purportedly killed during a “terrorist” attack in her own community, yet not showing up on official sources as deceased years later ” and this is not worthy of a second look or minimal investigation on the part of the local newspaper? Seems to me the flags at the memorial aren’t the only things flapping in the wind. Speaking of furious flapping?

Wally Miller, Somerset Coroner and Funeral Director

 This was the man we’d been itching to meet, since Miller was the point man who should have been able to tell us all we needed to know about Flight 93 wreckage, remains, and debris. You would think so, right? We thought Val McClatchex’s behavior was suspect, but let me stress to you that it was nothing compared to what we’ve encountered with Wally Miller. Wally was easy enough to find, but we weren’t exactly given the hometown welcome, or a civil greeting for that matter. We distinctly got the impression that he had been tipped off that we were coming to talk to him, and he grew increasingly agitated during the 3-4 minutes we were graced with his presence while standing at the side doorway of his funeral home. We had just finished walking through Wallx’s funeral home looking for and calling out to him, with no response. The whole place appeared shut-down and by all appearances, nothing was going on there that day in the way of viewings, etc. All the lights were off, no chapels were set-up for wakes, no flowers delivered or set-out in chapel rooms; nothing one would typically expect to see preceding such funerary-type events. When he finally answered the side door, Wally was dressed in jeans, not the somber attire of a busy funeral director. Still, Miller stressed to us how busy he was, how he had a lot going on that day, and how he had no time to talk to us. He made it sound like there were viewings scheduled and families arriving (May 2nd), yet there were zero signs of any of this during our previous walk-through of the funeral home. Plus, our car was the only one in his parking lot.

 Wally immediately said he did not want to answer any questions about the movie (which we hadn’t intended to ask him about anyway) and followed that up with, “I don’t want to answer any questions about the remains or the wreckage.” Odd, no? Who else should we ask about the remains and the wreckage if not the man who was one of the first to arrive upon the crime scene and who had jurisdiction over it? He spent the first two and a half minutes of our attempt to speak to him trying to convince us how extremely unavailable he would be that day. We tried to schedule him for later on in the afternoon to no avail. I then asked Miller if he would be open to talking to me on the phone, and he agreed to this. During our final thirty seconds at Wallx’s side door, I did manage ask him if all the people aboard Flight 93 had been identified, and he agitatedly said “yes”.

 I then repeated the contradictory comment made to us by correspondent Vicky Rock, whose statements refuted Miller’s. Remember, Rock told us on that same day (May 2, 2006) that the Flight 93 identifications were incomplete and not everyone had been positively identified. Miller became even more flustered when I questioned him about this contradiction, barking out, “Yes, yes, everyone was identified.” Since Miller was supposedly in charge of the Shanksville crime scene, in our view, he is a man with some answers. Strangely enough, many people had told us to go see Wally and they said he would be happy to talk to us. He has been described as a solid rock of the community and “Mr. Unflappable”. Yet clearly Wally was not happy to see or talk to us. From his demeanor, we might as well have been trying to sell him encyclopedias. Miller is cited in several 9-11 reports as having jurisdiction over this crash site, at least until the FBI descended upon the scene and claimed authority over the investigation.

 I have spoken with Wally Miller via phone twice since May 2, 2006. On May 10th, during the first call attempt, Miller pretended not to remember his agreement to talk to me by phone from just a few days ago ” and when I refreshed his memory, he promptly snarled, “Nahh, nahh, I?ve got nothing to say to you people.” He then hung up on me. This took place within the span of about 33 seconds. I waited a while and then made a second call to Wally, and this time I managed to keep him on the phone a bit longer. However, Wally “Unflappable? Miller was fit to be tied during this second call. He raised his voice, “What questions? What questions”? And instead of allowing me the time he had previously agreed upon days ago and allowing me to ask my questions, he interrupted repeatedly with, “What is your theory”? I tried to explain that all I wanted to do was ask him some basic questions that really need answers, but he kept yelling instead of answering. In response to the above bellowing, I calmly stated that I didn’t think the government has been entirely truthful about the events of 9-11. He responded with, “That’s a bunch of hooey!!? He used words like “half-truths? in reference to the comments made to us about the fuselage by Bob Schmucker at the memorial site.

 Due to his apparent and unconcealed agitation, it was very difficult talking with Miller, or even asking any of the questions I?d compiled. I brought up the matter of how several people from Flight 93, for whom he had issued presumptive death certificates shortly after 9-11, have not appeared listed as deceased on the Social Security Death Index. He became irate, and his answer was, “I don’t work for the Social Security Administration.” It’s kind of hard for me to believe that Mr. Unflappable has conducted himself in this same fashion during countless hours of interviews he’d given in the past to scores of media correspondents. So WHY would Wally Miller flip out like this with me before I even had an opportunity to ask more than one or two of the 22 questions I?d compiled? In fact, he has acted in this manner from the very first second he saw us at his door. The question is, why?

 Considering his strange responses, I asked him if he was under a gag order and unable to talk to me about the wreckage/remains. He quickly denied this, stating that he’d given many interviews before; and then in the same breath he proceeded to hurl a name at me in between the yelling. He told me to contact Bill Crowley from the FBI and ask him my questions. Bill Crowley, eh? So, Miller isn’t under a gag order, but he immediately referred me to the FBI for information. This is very interesting, especially since Miller has remained accessible for so many previous mainstream interviews and has spoken at length with journalists over the last 4