Konformist: The Mystery Of Flight 93

8/19/02 12:50:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time

`In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'

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Robert Sterling
Editor, The Konformist


The Mystery Of Flight 93 - Unanswered Questions - 8-14-2

We all know the inspiring story of Flight 93, of the heroic
passengers who forced the hijacked plane to the ground, sacrificing
themselves to save the lives of others. The only trouble is: it may
simply not be true.
By John Carlin in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
The Independent - London 8-14-2
The fate of United Airlines Flight 93, the last of the four hijacked
planes to go down in the United States on 11 September, holds no
mystery for Lee Purbaugh. He saw what happened with his own eyes. He
was the only person present in the field where, at 10.06am, the
aircraft hit the ground.
"There was an incredibly loud rumbling sound and there it was, right
there, right above my head - maybe 50ft up," says Purbaugh, who works
at a scrapyard overlooking the crash site. "It was only a split
second but it looked like it was moving in slow motion, like it took
forever. I saw it rock from side to side then, suddenly, it dipped
and dived, nose first, with a huge explosion, into the ground. I knew
immediately that no one could possibly have survived."
Apart from, here and there, a finger, a toe or a tooth, all that
remained of the 44 souls aboard, churned into the soil or hanging
from the branches of nearby trees, were small pieces of tissue and
bone. The plane was also pulverised, reduced to tiny fragments of
metal. Wally Miller, the local coroner in what used to be a forgotten
corner of rural Pennsylvania, was the man charged by law with
collecting the human remains and establishing the causes of death. "I
issued the death certificates," says Miller, who is also the local
undertaker. "I put down 'murdered' for the 40 passengers and
crew; 'suicide' for the four terrorists."
But Miller, who worked closely with the FBI during the 13 days that
they investigated the crash site, admits that, in the end, he cannot
prove what happened; he can only infer it. Neither he nor anybody
else knows what exactly caused Flight 93 to go down and, as Miller
puts it, "bring the world's troubles crashing down on our doorstep".
Or, if there are people who do know, they are not telling.
The shortage of available facts did not prevent the creation of an
instant legend - a legend that the US government and the US media
were pleased to propagate, and that the American public have been
eager, for the most part, to accept as fact. The legend goes like
this: the passengers on the hijacked United flight, alerted on their
mobile phones to the news of the other three hijacked planes, decide
that if they are not going to save themselves at least they will do
the patriotic thing and spare the lives of those who are the
terrorists' intended targets; so they charge down the aisle, storm
the cockpit, where a terrorist is at the controls, and, in the
ensuing struggle, force the plane down.
President George Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, the head of
the FBI Robert Mueller, and numerous other senior government
officials who have saluted the "heroes" of Flight 93, have
consistently, and repeatedly, advanced this version of events. So
have the big national newspapers and all the big national television
stations. The New York Times, normally a model of legalistic
precision, published this extraordinarily woolly sentence on 22
September upon learning, from unnamed "official" sources, that the
plane's cockpit voice-recorder had registered "a desperate and wild
struggle" aboard. "And while it [the recorder] did not provide a
clear or complete picture," The New York Times read, "it seemed
certain that there was a chaotic confrontation that apparently led to
the crash of the jet."
Vanity Fair magazine, going on little more information than was
available to The New York Times, went ahead and published a highly
detailed story on Flight 93, which, the magazine said, "may be
remembered as one of the greatest tales of heroism ever told". Vanity
Fair did recognise, though, that any suggestions as to what actually
happened to force the plane down had to be, by necessity, "pure
Two months later, Newsweek got hold of what it was told was a partial
transcript of the voice-recorder and, upon that basis, narrated the
story of "the Heroes of Flight 93" in even more vivid, drum-rolling,
Hollywoodesque detail than Vanity Fair had done. The passengers
were "citizen soldiers... who rose up, like their forefathers, to
defy tyranny", intoned Newsweek. "In daring and dying, the passengers
and crew of Flight 93 found victory for us all."
The transcript that Newsweek obtained did indicate that fighting had
taken place aboard, curses had been uttered, prayers raised up both
to the Muslim and the Christian god. But for all the drama of the
story, Newsweek did not draw attention to the fact that, in truth,
they were guessing as to how or why the plane had crashed; that they
did not know whether the passengers had even made it into the
cockpit; that they had no clue what happened during Flight 93's
decisive, desperate last eight minutes.
Which is not to assert that the "hero" story is untrue, or even
implausible. Maybe the legend does indeed correspond perfectly to the
facts. And certainly, based on the records of telephone calls made
from the plane, there is no disputing that a number of the passengers
did indeed intend to carry out actions of great courage. But what
those actions actually turned out to be is not known - or known only
to a small group of people with a clear picture of what happened in
the skies over Shanksville on the morning of 11 September, people in
the US military who tracked the plane's last moments as well as
people familiar with, but unwilling to reveal, the full contents of
the material gleaned from the cockpit voice- recorder, which was
retrieved in perfect working order after the crash.
The absence of official information has led to lively and often well-
informed debate in the unofficial medium of the internet (see
www.flight93crash.com.) But there are also a number of individuals in
the aviation industry convinced that there do exist other plausible
interpretations of what actually happened. Because there are, most
certainly, a number of important unanswered questions - questions
based on evidence, as well as on a manifest absence of candour on the
part of the authorities - which the national US media, typically so
sceptical and inquisitive, have shown a curious reluctance to ask.
The alternative theories, both of which have been denied by the US
military and the FBI, are a) that Flight 93 was brought down by a US
government plane; and b) that a bomb went off aboard (passengers had
said in phone calls that one of the hijackers had what appeared to be
a bomb strapped to him). If doubts remain despite the denials, if
conspiracy theories flourish, it is in large part because of the
authorities' failure to address head-on questions centring on the
following four conundrums.
1. The wide displacement of the plane's debris, one explanation for
which might be an explosion of some sort aboard prior to the crash.
Letters - Flight 93 was carrying 7,500 pounds of mail to California -
and other papers from the plane were found eight miles (13km) away
from the scene of the crash. A sector of one engine weighing one ton
was found 2,000 yards away. This was the single heaviest piece
recovered from the crash, and the biggest, apart from a piece of
fuselage the size of a dining-room table. The rest of the plane,
consistent with an impact calculated to have occurred at 500mph,
disintegrated into pieces no bigger than two inches long. Other
remains of the plane were found two miles away near a town called
Indian Lake. All of these facts, widely disseminated, were confirmed
by the coroner Wally Miller.
2. The location of US Air Force jets, which might or might not have
been close enough to fire a missile at the hijacked plane. Live news
media reports on the morning of 11 September conflict with a number
of official statements issued later. What the government acknowledges
is that the first fighters with the mission to intercept took off at
8.52am; that another set of fighters took off from Andrews Air Force
base near Washington at 9.35am - precisely the time that Flight 93
turned almost 180 degrees off course towards Washington and the
hijacker pilot was heard by air-traffic controllers to say that there
was "a bomb aboard". Flight 93, whose menacing trajectory was made
known by the broadcast media almost immediately, did not go down for
another 31 minutes. Apart from the logical conclusion that at least
one Air Force F-16 - 125 miles away in Washington at 9.40am, meaning
10 minutes away from Flight 93 (or less if it flew at supersonic
speed) - should have reached the fourth of the "flying bombs" well
before 10.06am, there is this evidence from a federal flight
controller published a few days later in a newspaper in New
Hampshire: that an F-16 had been "in hot pursuit" of the hijacked
United jet and "must have seen the whole thing". Also, there was one
brief report on CBS television before the crash that two F-16
fighters were tailing Flight 93. Vice-President Dick Cheney
acknowledged five days later that President Bush had authorised the
Air Force pilots to shoot down hijacked commercial aircraft.
3. One telephone call from the doomed plane whose contents do not
entirely tally with the hero legend and which is accordingly omitted
in the Independence Day-type dramas favoured by the US media. The
Associated Press news service reported on 11 September that eight
minutes before the crash, a frantic male passenger called the 911
emergency number. He told the operator, named Glen Cramer, that he
had locked himself inside one of the plane's toilets. Cramer told the
AP, in a report that was widely broadcast on 11 September, that the
passenger had spoken for one minute. "We're being hijacked, we're
being hijacked!" the man screamed down his mobile phone. "We
confirmed that with him several times," Cramer said, "and we asked
him to repeat what he said. He was very distraught. He said he
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. And then we lost contact with him."
According to the information that has been made known, this was the
last of the various phone calls made from the aeroplane. No more
calls were received from the plane in the eight minutes that remained
after the man in the toilet said that he had heard an explosion.
4. Eyewitness accounts of a "mystery plane" that flew low over the
Flight 93 crash site shortly after impact. Lee Purbaugh is one of at
least half a dozen named individuals who have reported seeing a
second plane flying low and in erratic patterns, not much above
treetop level, over the crash site within minutes of the United
flight crashing. They describe the plane as a small, white jet with
rear engines and no discernible markings. Purbaugh, who served three
years in the US Navy, said he did not believe it was a military
plane. If it indeed was not, one suggestion made in the internet
discussion groups is that US Customs uses planes with these
characteristics to interdict aerial drug shipments. Either way, the
presence of the mystery jet remains a puzzle.
How has the US government and its various agencies responded to
doubts raised by the above questions? In the following ways:
1. The paper debris eight miles away, the FBI says, was wafted away
by a 10mph wind; the jet-engine part flew 2,000 yards on account of
the savage force of the plane's impact with the ground. The FBI
conclusion: "Nothing was found that was inconsistent with the plane
going into the ground intact." Aviation experts I have contacted are
very doubtful about this. One expert expresses astonishment at the
notion that the letters and other papers would have remained airborne
for almost one hour before falling to earth.
2. The Air Force jets were on their way but failed to make it on
time, according to General Richard Myers, chairman of the joint
chiefs of staff. Fighters did finally approach Flight 93, he
acknowledges, "moments" before it crashed, but did not shoot it down.
Which begs the question why they were unable to arrive sooner to
intercept an aircraft that clearly had terrorists aboard and that was
flying straight for Washington more than one hour after another
United Airlines plane had crashed into the second World Trade Centre
tower. The report in the New Hampshire newspaper, and the one on CBS,
have not been explained, and the air-traffic controllers in Cleveland
who tracked the last minutes of Flight 93 on radar have been
forbidden by the authorities to speak publicly about what they saw on
their screens.
3. Neither the FBI nor anyone else in authority has explained the
reported 911 phone call from the plane toilet, even though it appears
to be the last of the phone calls made from the plane and even though
it conveys the far from insignificant claim that there was an
explosion on board. The FBI has confiscated the tape of the
conversation and the operator Glen Cramer has received orders not to
speak to the media any more.
4. The explanation furnished by the FBI for the mystery plane, whose
existence it initially denied, serves less to reassure than to
reinforce suspicions that a cover-up of sorts is under way, that the
government is manipulating the truth in a manner it considers to be
palatable to the broader US public. The FBI has said, on the record,
that the plane was a civilian business jet, a Falcon, that had been
flying within 20 miles of Flight 93 and was asked by the authorities
to descend from 37,000ft to 5,000ft to survey and transmit the co-
ordinates of the crash site "for responding emergency crews". The
reason, as numerous people have observed, why this seems so
implausible is that, first, by 10.06am on 11 September, all non-
military aircraft in US airspace had received loud and clear orders
more than half an hour earlier to land at the nearest airport;
second, such was the density of 911 phone calls from people on the
ground, in the Shanksville area, as to the location of the crash site
that aerial co-ordinates would have been completely unnecessary; and,
third, with F-16s supposedly in the vicinity, it seems
extraordinarily unlikely that, at a time of tremendous national
uncertainty when no one knew for sure whether there might be any more
hijacked aircraft still in the sky, the military would ask a civilian
aircraft that just happened to be in the area for help.
Most suspicious of all, perhaps, has been the failure of the FBI or
anybody else to identify the pilot or the passengers of the purported
Falcon, and their own failure to come forward and identify
There was one other plane, a single-engine Piper, in the air as
Flight 93 headed to its doom. The pilot, Bill Wright, said that he
was three miles away and so close he could see the United markings on
the plane. Suddenly he received orders to get away from the hijacked
plane and to land immediately. "That's one of the first things that
went through my mind when they told us to get as far away from it as
fast as we could," Wright later told a Pittsburgh TV station, "that
either they were expecting it to blow up or they were going to shoot
it down - but that's pure speculation."
Everything is speculation - that is the problem with the story of
Flight 93. And unless the US government reveals more of what it
knows, provides a detailed account of the last 10 minutes in the life
of Flight 93 and the 44 people who were aboard, there will not only
be scope but sound reasons for the conspiracy theorists to continue
to speculate as to what really happened in those last few minutes
before the plane plunged into the earth; to cast doubts on the soft-
focus legend that the traumatised American public has seized upon so
Some conspiracy theorists will say that the plane was shot down by a
missile, perhaps a heat-seeking missile that honed in on one of the
plane's engines - a theory possibly substantiated by the 2,000yd
flight of the 1,000lb engine part, but arguably refuted by consistent
eye-witness accounts, including Lee Purbaugh's, that when last
sighted the plane was not emitting smoke.
Others might say, as they have done about a TWA flight that fell to
the sea in 1996 after taking off from New York, that the plane was a
victim of electromagnetic interference. In the case of the TWA
flight, the argument, put forward in a series of exhaustive articles
written in the New York Review of Books by the Harvard academic
Elaine Scarry, is that it happened accidentally. However, as Scarry's
articles relate, documentation abounds showing that the Air Force and
the Pentagon have conducted extensive research on "electronic warfare
applications" with the possible capacity intentionally to disrupt the
mechanisms of an aeroplane in such a way as to provoke, for example,
an uncontrollable dive. Scarry also reports that US Customs aircraft
are already equipped with such weaponry; as are some C-130 Air Force
transport planes. The FBI has stated that, apart from the enigmatic
Falcon business jet, there was a C-130 military cargo plane within 25
miles of the passenger jet when it crashed. According to the Scarry
findings, in 1995 the Air Force installed "electronic suites" in at
least 28 of its C-130s - capable, among other things, of emitting
lethal jamming signals.
In decades to come, film-makers, future Oliver Stones, may come up
with theories of their own, and the story of Flight 93 may come to
acquire the morbid mystique of the Kennedy assassination.
None of which is to question the bravery of passengers such as Todd
Beamer, who left behind a pregnant widow and two children aged two
and three; or Tom Burnett, who had three small daughters and told his
wife Deena over the phone, in the face of her anguished protests,
that he and his fellow-passengers were "going to do something"
because if not the terrorists were "going to run this plane into the
ground". Evidently, as the Newsweek article relates, there was
fighting of some kind, but as to whether the terrorists held off the
passengers or the passengers seized control of the plane, and perhaps
even made an attempt to fly it themselves (one passenger aboard was a
qualified pilot of small planes), nobody knows - or is willing to
admit that they know.
If evidence does exist further substantiating the hero narrative, it
would be a surprise if the authorities had not released it. Bravery,
though, there undoubtedly was. This we do know. As Lee Purbaugh says,
and it would be churlish to disagree, "they were heroes on that
plane". Such a consensus has been built around this view that the
crash site at Shanksville - an anonymous-looking field save for the
American flags that flutter all around, the crosses, the pictures of
the dead passengers, the messages of goodwill and of good cheer
("Don't mess with the US!") - that it has become a place of
pilgrimage, much as has happened with ground zero in New York but on
a smaller scale, attracting some 150 visitors from all over the US
every day. "In truth," said Wally Miller, who as coroner remains
legally in charge of the site, "that field is a cemetery. It should
be treated with due respect."
What does Miller think happened? Did he attach any credence to the
stories doing the rounds, to those - including a number in
Shanksville - who dissent from the official version of events?
Miller, who has seen as much evidence as anybody at the scene of the
crash, does not dismiss the dissidents out of hand. He keeps an open
mind. "The order had been given to bring the airplane down," he
said. "I do not rule anything out."

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Re: 9/11 cell calls impossible/Flight 93/Flight 11

I fly alot. I have never attempted to use my cell in flight because
They say at the beginning of the flight that all cells must be turned
off because they are not approved for in flight use. I was speaking to
someone about 6 months ago who said he tried to use his cell because he
thought it was a scam to get everyone to use the higher priced verizon
cell phones that are available and of course you must use a credit card
to activate it. Anyway he said... His cell phone lost it's programming
and he had to go back to his dealer and have it reprogrammed. So I have
wondered if this is for all types of cells or just certain ones.

"Home Run" Electronically Hijacking the World Trade Center Attack Aircraft

TERROR IN AMERICA Sept. 11, 2001

Welcome to the Homeland Security Recruit Indoctrination


"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I
can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will
not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do,
I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God,
I will do." - Edward Everett Hale