By Leslie Raphael

18 March 2006


At 8.46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, at the intersection of Church and Lispenard Streets
in Manhattan, one of two French film-making brothers, 28-year-old Jules Naudet was
filming a group of firemen from Ladder 1/Engine 7 at 100 Duane Street, checking for an
alleged suspected gas leak, when he captured what was thought to be unique film of
American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston flying into the north tower of the World Trade
Center, three quarters of a mile away.

The brothers Naudet: G้d้on, left, and Jules, right.

Two years later — the delay is still not satisfactorily explained — a Czech immigrant called Pavel Hlava produced his own video film of the event, shot from south-east of the tower and much further away, at the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Naudet's film, with its almost straight-ahead view of the plane hitting the tower, is still in many ways unique, and far superior to the "new" film. Naudet claims his film exists only because of pure luck — as would seem to be logical, given that this was the first attack of the whole "9/11" sequence, and was totally unexpected.

When United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the south tower twenty minutes later, it was captured by several photographers - including Jules Naudet's brother G้d้on - who were filming the aftermath of the attack on its neighbor, but who had not, of course, filmed that attack itself. After the first attack, the second one was easy to film — but how else could the first one have been captured than by luck?

There is an answer to that question, but an extremely disturbing one. I believe the Naudet film of Flight 11 is a charade, staged to appear accidental. However bizarre that claim may appear to be, the evidence that justifies it is there in the film (the DVD version, issued in September 2002, titled "9/11 — The Filmmakers' Commemorative Edition"), and I challenge anyone watching it and following my arguments to reach any other conclusion. No-one can dispute that this is an extraordinary piece of film — because of its uniqueness as well as its content — and that there must therefore be an equally extraordinary explanation for how it came to be captured. I believe, for the reasons in this essay, that those who had both the motive and the effrontery to carry out these attacks also had the motive and effrontery to film the first one for propaganda purposes, passing it off as the product of luck, complete with a contrived cover story, the one told in the Naudet film.

What's wrong with this picture? On 9/11 at
about 8.45 am, with the first plane still miles
away. Spot the firemen, as invisible as the
alleged gas leak; the real subject being where it
usually is - in the centre, as in "World Trade."
The second plane would have been filmed
anyway, but having "accidental" film of the first
one as well was obviously too good to resist. It
was too important an event not to somehow
record on film and, with the help of professionals
from the industry, which has had a long and close relationship with the intelligence agencies, it would not be too difficult to disguise the fact that the scene was arranged — the film equivalent of the (long-outdated, but similar) steganographic technique of hiding a coded message in a microdot, where it would not even be suspected.

(The absence of film from the Pentagon that morning, where security surveillance appears — if only to the chronically credulous — to be limited to the one car park camera that allegedly got stills of the explosion, with the wrong date and time, must have some other explanation.)

Unfortunately — for them — the people behind this disguise operation were anything but professional, and it does not take a genius to deconstruct the whole thing, when the joins holding it together are so obvious, to anyone who can see not only what is in the film, but — just as important — what is not. Even the still photograph reproduced above raises questions. Where, for one example, in a Manhattan street scene at 8.45 am on a working Tuesday, is the moving traffic? The vehicles in the picture are all parked, and given that two of them belong to the Fire Department and are displaying emergency lights, it would be illegal to overtake them, or park behind them in the same block.

Anyone, professional or amateur, who has tried filming street scenes knows about the problems moving vehicles can cause, and that the best solution is filming when there are none — but that normally means waiting for traffic lights to change. Or, even better, the situation in the Naudet film — a junction blocked by authority of the Fire Department, whether traffic lights change or not; a trick not available, it has to be said, to most ordinary photographers — one so unusual, in fact, that it immediately attracts suspicion. Furthermore, this photographer is not only filming at an officially blocked junction, he is filming the firemen who blocked it, as their guest — a 28-year-old beginner, treated the way a documentary film legend like Fred Wiseman might be; the suspicions multiply.

At the scene of a potential emergency, a photographer without credentials from the Fire Department would have been told to stand well clear, along with other pedestrians: he would not get the kind of privileged access Naudet gets. And if the white mail van parked at the south-east corner in this film had been turning right up Lispenard Street, between Naudet and the north tower, just as the plane flew into it, not only — since he is in the middle of the road — would he have had to get out of the way rather fast, the plane's impact could not have been filmed. How very convenient that, at the appropriate time, the van was still parked at that corner, the only other vehicles that could have caused problems belonged to the Fire Department and Naudet's view of the tower was unimpeded by either vehicles or people — including the firemen, all conveniently standing well away from the film action to the south.

How many firemen, precisely? According to Firehouse magazine (April 2002), three units responded to the gas leak call — Duane Street, Engine 6 from Beekman Street and Ladder 8 from North Moore Street — and James Hanlon's commentary tells us there were thirteen men on duty just at Duane Street alone that day, with only probationary Tony Benetatos left in charge of the firehouse when the call came in. There must have been at least twenty firemen at this intersection, yet no more than five are ever in shot at any one time. Where were the rest of them? They were all hiding behind Naudet, camera-shy?

And where were the police at this emergency roadblock? The First NYPD Precinct's HQ is at 16 Ericsson Place, just across West Broadway from Lispenard, and one block north of Ladder 8. Why did no-one contact the police? Why did the brothers choose Duane Street, out of the 224 firehouses in New York, or the 51 in Manhattan? Because their "old friend" James Hanlon worked in that one. How did they become "old friends"? We don’t know. How does Antonios "Tony" Benetatos fit into this? Because the brothers had followed the progress of 99 Fire Academy* students, decided Benetatos was the one they wanted and, explains Hanlon, "We got Tony assigned to my firehouse, one of the biggest in the city" (06:35 into the DVD).

* Based at Randall's Island in the East River - which, ironically, is hired out by the Fire Department as a film location (fire trucks and equipment also available).

How did they manage that - an ordinary firefighter and two French film-makers? We don't know. But it begins to look like the construction of a fiction. The Naudets linked to Hanlon and Duane Street - how, we don't know - linked to Benetatos - how, we don't know; but we can't have the film without the links. Ironically — or not — Benetatos' mother, Rev. Patricia Ray Moore, a Presbyterian pastor, says she is convinced the Naudet film was scripted, and "I think it was my boss" - presumably a reference to the Lord God. I would agree about the scripting, but not the writer: I would suggest someone less exalted, possibly in the pay of some branch of the US Government.

How can I make such an outrageous accusation against public figures? Surely if the Naudet film was so obviously incriminating, it would have been exposed long before now, and all those behind the 9/11 plot would have been brought to justice? Why would those responsible even risk having public figures so openly involved in it? The short answer to that is that the Naudets are no longer public figures. Since the brothers were the honorees at the 2nd annual United Firefighters’ Association celebrity golf benefit at Lake Success on Long Island on 23 June 2003 (with Evander Holyfield, the late Jerry Orbach, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others), Jules and G้d้on Naudet have effectively dropped off the radar. No film projects, no news, no interviews, no photographs.

The Emmy and Peabody laureates have gone back to obscurity — and the world of journalism seems not to have noticed, or cared. If these men are innocent, where are they? I am not responsible for anyone else's shortsightedness - or cowardice. To me, the case for the Naudet film being fraudulent stands on its merits: anyone applying an open, rational mind to the facts presented here should reach the same conclusions I did. And these are mostly facts: there is nothing speculative in my list of 69 conveniences in the Flight 11 shot - they are all purely factual observations. The speculation is in trying to construct an explanation for them - a perfectly valid exercise, as long as fact and conjecture are distinguished.
On that subject, I want to emphasize that this essay does not claim to be able to prove who was responsible for 9/11. The point of the exercise is to establish that the Naudet film must have been staged by people who knew about the attacks in advance: who those people might be is a different subject. I have my own ideas on that, but they have little or nothing to do with the Naudet film, other than observing that it seems rather unlikely that two French infidels would be working for a Muslim fundamentalist group - or that that group could penetrate and subvert the Fire Department of New York, which at some level seems to have been involved in the planning of 9/11 — and the Naudet film.

If the film was staged, it strongly suggests that that planning must have been internal, but anything beyond that has to be guesswork, albeit educated. They wouldn't have done it if it was going to be simple to prove who they were: unless, of course, you buy the instant solution of the al-Qaeda confession — so much easier than having to animate the brain cells. Or maybe you prefer the Noam Chomsky argument: it must have involved hundreds of people. It would have leaked out — before it happened. So why doesn't that apply equally to al-Qaeda? Why did none of them talk? Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested before it happened: did he talk? If twenty or thirty Muslim terrorists could pull it off, without leakage, why not twenty or thirty senior US military officers — who would be in a better position to do it, and under the constraints of military discipline?

For the record, my own opinion is that 9/11 was commissioned by that clich้ of American politics — the military-industrial complex: the one Eisenhower warned us about — and he should have known — he was one of them; and that the lead role in organizing the attacks (and failing to respond to them) was played by the Pentagon, in particular the branch of the armed forces that took zero casualties when that building was hit — the US Air Force — in which formerly served General Richard Bowman "Star Wars" Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (until his retirement on 30 September 2005) and prime 9/11 suspect.

Considering method, motive and opportunity, the USA's military leaders could unquestionably be said to have method and opportunity for being able to fail to defend the country - at best — or to actually attack it themselves — at worst. Killing people is, after all, their job, and the Pentagon's version of morality is, and always has been, what works - not least in the nuclear age, now 60 years old, with its scenarios of dead and dispensable Americans by the millions, not thousands.

Another aspect of method, the multiple deceptions of 9/11 — like having Bin Laden playing his part as the Muslim Lee Oswald, or Hitler, or Satan, or whoever — would have gone to the specialists in that area, George Tenet's CIA. The motive would be what it always has been in the USA's 200-year history of warmongering: greed; in this case the greed of men - and, these days, the odd token woman - in the boardrooms of companies selling oil and weapons. The chances, however, of a single shred of evidence emerging from those boardrooms, or from offices at the Pentagon or the Capitol or the White House, proving - or even hinting at - the involvement of any of these people in the 9/11 attacks, must be virtually non-existent.

If we are to get to them, it will have to be indirectly, and I think the Naudet film is the most promising method of doing it. Some people claim to have established as fact that the Twin Towers' collapses were caused by demolitions, which must have been planned long in advance, but where does that get us? The central question was never "how?" but "who?" - and we have no evidence of charges being planted or of who might have done it. Al Qaeda could have done it, which takes us back to the official story - and that's no use. The film of Flight 11 must have been planned in advance, too, but in this case we can put an actual name to the deed, and we have at least a chance of getting from that name to others perhaps more deeply involved. In the fog of lies, theories, speculation and disinformation around 9/11, the Naudet film offers something solid and tangible, that might, eventually, lead us towards the guilty: it may only be a start, but the people who changed the world that day, incalculably for the worse, are not going to be voluntarily throwing themselves in jail in the near future.

It is, of course, possible — theoretically — that all the circumstances in the film were genuine, if unusual, and that it was captured by chance. The most incredible things do happen that way sometimes, and we have all heard the stories. They do not normally involve capturing the last two seconds of a plane's flight before it ploughs into the joint tallest building in New York. That sets this story apart from the likes of four generations of father and son all having the same birthday. A jet being used to attack a skyscraper is an unusual enough event on its own, without being asked to accept a second bizarre proposition happening at the same time — that someone managed to get full-frontal film of it, while making a documentary about firemen checking a gas leak. How often has that been seen on the streets of New York in the last 50 years? How many fingers would you need to count it?

And how many of the cameramen were French? Why not have it captured by an Albanian Jehovah's Witness, standing on his head on a bicycle, while juggling three camcorders, blindfolded? Because what is most unusual — and most suspect — about the Naudet story is that it’s unusual circumstances are all highly convenient. The scene could not have been filmed by someone in normal circumstances — and wasn't, to prove the point. It had to be an unusual situation — but it would have been far more credible if there had been only one or two unusual elements in it, and none especially convenient to the photographer.

Naudet himself has suggested the intervention of "History" to explain his achievement — but we might ask why that intervention did not prevent the plane from hitting the building, instead of letting him film it happening. Why would an omniscient God need a videotape, or want us to have one? But someone in the propaganda business might. Half a dozen pieces of luck coinciding would produce a credible story: when ten times that many are involved, the odds magnify astronomically. You have to take into account that the conveniences in my list do not all have only one alternative — but even if they did, their cumulative effect would be enough to justify my claim that staging is more credible than accident. The Occam's Razor standard says the simplest, most obvious, explanation is normally the correct one, and in this case complicity causes far fewer problems than accepting 69 simultaneous accidental conveniences. In probability terms, one fraud beats a 69-part miracle.

I cannot claim to be able to prove my proposition, except in that sense — but that is the sense in which things are proved in a criminal trial: to the satisfaction of a jury weighing the evidence — beyond a reasonable doubt. I do not believe there is a reasonable doubt that this film shot must have been prearranged, because luck is so improbable an explanation. There is no smoking gun in the film — only circumstantial clues and absences. But I don't need a smoking gun — I only have to demonstrate which is more probable: either Jules Naudet performed the greatest miracle in the entire history of photography, with not one film or still picture remotely comparable to it — no other event of such historical importance, or as unlikely, given its brevity and unexpectedness, to be captured on film, ever has been filmed; or, like so many other miracles before and since, it is a total fraud, the product of dishonesty.

The Zapruder film of the 1963 Kennedy assassination started off as film of a public event — a Presidential visit to Dallas; the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937 — as in the "Oh, the humanity!" film — took place at a public event. There was no public event going on in Lispenard Street in Manhattan on 11 September 2001: no-one was expecting a President or an airship — and very few expected a hijacked jet. If someone had been filming the Grand Hotel in Brighton in the small hours of 12 October 1984 while making a documentary about the Metropolitan Police, and captured a bomb going off, there might be questions asked as to how the film-maker could be so "lucky" — or whether he might in fact be in league with the IRA.
Not an exact analogy — the IRA has never had any interest in filming its bombings, for example - but roughly equivalent to Naudet's achievement. Another example might be a Japanese photographer in August 1945 capturing a large bomb being unloaded from an American plane called the "Enola Gay." No such film or photograph exists — for obvious reasons — and if it did, the reason would be that the photographer was working for the US armed forces. I think that, as it happens, is the explanation of the Naudet film — although I do not necessarily accept that Jules Naudet was the photographer. He claims to have been, and he may have been, but, like my proposition, there is no proof in the film — only circumstantial evidence.
One could equally point out that, if my argument is a conspiracy theory, so too is the official version of what happened on 9/11. The only two people to date with upheld convictions were both found guilty of conspiracy. One of them pleaded guilty, meaning no evidence of that conspiracy would be put to the court in a trial, and in the other case the evidence was admitted to be circumstantial, so it arguably remains only a theory - until such time as the major conspirators are convicted.

How probable is it that not only did Naudet (or whoever) capture Flight 11 — as if that were not enough on its own — but that he and his brother G้d้on then went on to record the rest of that day's events — and survive them? Who else could be almost simultaneously inside the towers, out on the streets and back at Duane Street firehouse, seven blocks away, than a pair of miracle workers like these? Does the English - or the French - language have a word for people who can repeatedly, umpteen times in the space of a few hours, "just happen" to find themselves in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing? Apart, that is, from "liar" ("menteur").

Their friend Hanlon just happened to work at a firehouse seven blocks from the Trade Center; Hanlon just happened to be off duty that day; That firehouse just happened to take no casualties, Hanlon or anyone else, on 9/11; It just happened to be the night before September 11 when Jules cooked for the firehouse and they sat up all night laughing about it (20:54 into film); Jules just happened to capture the first plane (24:46); G้d้on just happened to capture the second one (33:55); Jules just happened to film - and identify - out of the hundreds of firemen passing through the lobby of WTC 1: Father Judge the Chaplain (walking about on his own - making himself enormously useful), who was later killed (47:41); the chance last encounter of Chief Pfeifer with his brother Kevin, a Lieutenant with Engine 33, who was later killed (31:33); lovable old (57) Chief Richard Prunty of Battalion 2, who was later killed (21:11); Chief Pfeifer just happened to be looking towards the camera, trying his radio, when the south tower came down, so that Jules conveniently gets a good reaction shot (50:53) - similar to the Flight 11 shot in that, when it happens, Pfeifer is (a) not talking to anybody and (b) fiddling with, but not actually using (because that would distract him), some gadget ; but totally dissimilar in that he actually seems to hear the noise in the lobby, unlike the plane; Jules and his group just happened to come across, in the pitch-blackness and confusion after the collapse, the late Father Judge (55:24); Jules just happened to be far enough away from the north tower to escape when it collapsed – and film his escape as it happened (1:08:28); Seven hours later, one of the brothers - we are not told which - just happened to be filming the top of the No. 7 building as it suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed (1:28:27); etc etc.

If this string of improbabilities was presented as the script of a fictional film, people would quite rightly laugh at it. But this film is a documentary, we're told - and millions accept this insult to their intelligence, if they have any. The people who helped to produce the Naudets' "9/11" film seem not to know the meaning of the words "subtlety" and "taste" — but I am not a film critic. I am making an accusation of complicity in mass murder, based on the few seconds of film of Flight 11 that I think prove the case.

One could be forgiven for thinking the film might have been shot by a recruit of Bin Laden's based in New York, given al-Qaeda's fondness for video and audio cassettes (which they somehow manage to deliver to al-Jazeera, time after time, without ever giving away their whereabouts - like the anthrax letters that were never traced - but even less credibly). That idea might even have been given consideration - a tape posted anonymously to one of the national networks - before the French film-maker scenario was dreamed up. Al-Qaeda would obviously have had the required foreknowledge, and it certainly suits their interests, or their alleged ones, in shocking and terrorizing people.

But fear propaganda is a weapon on both sides of the “War against Terrorism”, and governments have far more experience of it than terrorist groups. The US and British governments used fear of non-existent WMD’s to justify their illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, and fear of another 9/11 could keep the scaremongers in business for another twenty years — so much so that it seems obvious to some of us that the whole thing is as fabricated as the threat from Iraq. We know they lied about that: what else have they been lying about since 2001? 9/11 itself — the biggest lie of the lot? But, again, while these ideas may help explain the Naudet film's function, they are not proved by it. We need to examine the first plane sequence in detail.

The Flight 11 shot - film edits
The Filmmakers' Commemorative DVD Edition (Paramount PHE 8276), released 12 September 2002 (the day after the original TV version - a very different edit - was shown in 142 countries, after its debut on American CBS on 10 March 2002) ; total playing time 2:08:34

In numbered cuts, with timings in seconds (to one decimal), starting 22:55 into the DVD with a dissolve into Edit 1 and ending at 26:29 - total time 3:34.
Visuals in italic ; audio classified as follows :
VO    Voice-Over (overdubbed commentary by James Hanlon)
Int   Interview (edited into film, with or without picture)
Live  Sounds on original video, as taped on 9/11 or reconstructed
Note in particular that, if this scene had not been divided into 39 separate parts, it might be possible - given that there seems to be disagreement about the facts - to establish exactly when the alarm call came in, when the firemen and Naudet turned up at Church and Lispenard and how long they spent there, before the time given by the National Commission for the first plane impact - 8:46:40. So much for James Hanlon's claim (03:16) that the film records the day's events "beginning to end." There are 39 beginnings and 39 ends just in these three and a half minutes. Why was the rest of the film removed? Because today's audience would have fallen asleep watching any take longer than 60 seconds, and missed the plane? Did I say 60? Six seems to be the limit, from the first 29 cuts. Or is it because the complete, unedited film would show that what we are told happened at this crossroads is not, in fact, the truth?
 1  (4.5) Outside Engine 7/Ladder 1 firehouse - view from across Duane Street
          VO: Eight o'clock in the morning.
 2  (2.2) Inside firehouse - breakfast being cooked
          VO: The day guys were just coming in.
 3  (3.4) Close-up of cooking
          (No dialogue)
 4  (1.9) Firefighter Pat Zoda (Engine 7) walks past fire truck
          VO: I was off that day.
 5  (2.5) Probationary Firefighter Antonios ("Tony") Benetatos (Ladder 1)
          VO: 13 guys from my firehouse were on.
 6  (1.8) Firefighter Nick Borrillo (Ladder 1) cleans his gear
          Live (unseen firefighter): Ohhhh ...
 7  (2.9) Captain Dennis Tardio (Engine 7)
          Live (unseen firefighter): ... What happened?
          Int (Zoda): Around 8.30 ...
 8  (1.0) Alarm bell
          Live (recorded alarm call): Ladder ...
 9  (1.4) Firefighter Zoda
          Int (Zoda): ... I believe the run came in.
10  (2.4) Firefighters getting ready to leave
          Int (Borrillo): We get the run for the gas leak ...
11  (2.0) Firefighter Borrillo
          Int (Borrillo): ... or an odour of gas in the street, actually, I think it was.
12  (4.9) Firefighters leaving firehouse
          Int (Tardio): Just "Lispenard and Church, odour of gas."
13  (3.7) Captain Tardio
          Int (Tardio): And we responded - arrived in minutes.
14  (4.5) Firefighter Joe Casaliggi (Engine 7)
          Int (Casaliggi): You know, you don't think anything of it - you just - you get on the rig, you go, you say, "all right, it’s an odour of gas."
15  (1.3) Fire truck pulling out of firehouse
          (No dialogue)
16  (2.7) As above, from outside
          VO: Jools was riding with the Battalion Chief ...
17  (2.6) Chief Joseph W. Pfeifer, Battalion 1, in right front passenger seat of Fire Department car, a Chevrolet Suburban SUV (with unseen driver on left, Naudet in seat behind)
          VO: ... Joseph Pfeifer, videotaping.
18  (3.3) Jules Naudet
          Int (Naudet): It's just another call - I'm riding with the Battalion Chief.
19  (4.0) Pfeifer in extreme close-up
          VO: It was basically camera practice. See, Jools ...
20  (3.7) Pfeifer, less close
          VO: ... had only been shooting for a few weeks. Before that, Gideon [sic] ...
21  (2.9) Through front window of car, driving up Church Street
          VO: ... was the main cameraman.
          Int (Naudet): Every time the battalion goes ...
22  (3.0) Front of car (occupants hidden by windscreen glare) from a vehicle ahead of it
          Int (Naudet): ... I go. You know, I just need to practise.
23  (1.7) Pfeifer exits car on right
          Int (Naudet): So, I shoot ...
24  (4.8) Naudet exits car on left, walks round to front, past reflection of AT&T Building on car roof, with brief view of driver (only time seen) ; five firemen, one of them a Chief (possibly Pfeifer ?), in shirtsleeves, outside Michelangelo's #2 Pizza & Coffee Shop (319 Church Street - SE corner)
          (No dialogue)
25  (4.4) In front of mail truck (No. 6503536), Pfeifer gives gas detector to unnamed Firefighter X from Ladder 8 (North Moore Street) and directs him to NE corner*
          Int (Naudet): ... and I don't stop.
26  (5.9) Across street at NE corner - kneeling southwards view of Pfeifer and Firefighters X (left) and Y (right) ; they all move left out of shot (Pfeifer casually, with hand in pocket), Naudet making no attempt to follow them, revealing World Trade Center looming in distance — and, standing at traffic lights looking towards camera, the man seen with the firemen shortly after (Edit 30) ; camera holds on this view
          Live (Firefighter Y): We want to check a gas pocket over here ... the gas main's right here ...
27  (2.2) View up north end of street — Firefighters X and Y, outside Sea World restaurant (321 Church Street - NE corner), Y showing X where to check with detector Live (Firefighter Y): ... right down there.
28  (4.5) Close-up of gas detector being held to grating by Firefighter X
          Int (Pfeifer): We checked the area with meters, and ...
29  (5.5) Battalion Chief Pfeifer
          Int (Pfeifer): ... it was kind of routine, and um ... pretty simple.
30 (44.3) Looking NW at Firefighter Y (left) and bystander (right), with Firefighter Z just outof shot on right (only his gloved hand visible, holding a pike), and in front of him, Pfeifer, checking grate with meter ; Pfeifer straightens up - sound of plane arriving - Y and bystander turn and look up - Pfeifer ignores plane and turns to look straight at camera ; Y, instead of following through southwards, turns back to right and looks over at Pfeifer ; photographer pans left and captures impact, then zooms in for close-ups
          VO: It was 8.46 in the morning.
          Int (Pfeifer): And then we heard a plane come over, and in Manhattan you don't hear planes too often, el- ... especially loud ones.
          Live (unseen speakers): Holy shit! Holy shit ! Holy shit ! Jesus Christ ! (etc)
          Int (Firefighter John O'Neill, Ladder 1): Right then and there, I knew that ...
31  (4.0) Firefighter O'Neill
          Int (O'Neill): ... this was going to be the worst day of my life as a firefighter.
32 (16.7) Blurred picture, then back inside SUV
          Int (Pfeifer): Immediately, I knew that this wasn't an accident.
          Live (other driver, on radio): What am I doing on the ...
          Live (Pfeifer, on radio): Go ... go to the Trade Center.
          Int (Pfeifer): We knew this was going to be something unusual, something tough, but would be something we could handle ...
33  (4.0) Out left window, driving west up Canal Street - Twin Towers in distance, then close-up
          Int (Pfeifer): ... or at least deal with.
          Live (on radio): Oh my God !
34  (1.4) Pfeifer in car
          Live (on radio): That looked like a direct attack.
35 (10.9) Through front window, driving down West Broadway - Twin Towers now ahead of car, then more close-ups
          VO: Chief Pfeifer made the first official report.
36 (20.0) Pfeifer in car
          Live (Pfeifer, on radio): Battalion 1 to Manhattan.
          Live (dispatcher): OK.
          Live (Pfeifer): We have a number of floors on fire. It looked like the plane was aiming towards the building. Transmit a third alarm. We'll have the staging area at Vesey and West Street.
37  (2.8) Through front window
          Int (Lieutenant Bill Walsh, Ladder 1): It was probably ...
38 (13.0) Through left window - fire truck passing - then back through front window
          Int (Walsh): ... a two-minute ride, but it seemed like it was for ever, because there was a lot of things going through your head. I felt sorry for the people - the people inside the building.
39  (5.2) Lieutenant Walsh
          Int (Walsh): What was going to happen, nobody had any idea. We'd never experienced something like this before.
* NB: Throughout this article, for simplicity, compass points follow the Manhattan convention:  "north" means in relation to the street grid system, 30 degrees off true north-south - the difference between 12 and 1 on a clock-face. This does not invalidate any of the arguments.

The Flight 11 shot - conveniences

These 69 circumstances that made the filming of the first 9/11 plane a lot easier than it might otherwise have been - if possible at all - strongly suggest that they did not occur by chance, but were in fact the result of deliberate planning, which means foreknowledge.

The point should be made that the film is often described as "accidental," but Naudet was consciously trying to capture the plane when he filmed it - he wasn't filming something else when the plane appeared on screen. The "accident" is in why he was there at that time, and that was actually a whole series of coinciding simultaneous accidents - if they were accidents at all - the ones listed below.

Even something as simple as No. 1, hardly proof on its own, shows that Naudet was in a small minority: it reduces the chances of his being in this situation by accident, if you multiply in all the other factors. But this is not just about minorities of minorities of minorities, ad infinitum: it is about factors that are convenient to filming the plane and its impact. He was outside, for example, because the people who knew this was going to happen knew he would have to be outside to film it, and every other one of the 69 is a similar demonstration of a planned, staged event: every potential problem anticipated and dealt with, in the same way a fictional film is made - except that this is supposed to be a documentary.
All 69 could have been different, but all 69 happened the way they did because they were designed to happen that way. For example, Nos. 13, 16, 17 and 47 shows that whoever organized this knew how, where and when the plane would be flying. This does not involve all that much information: flight path straight towards floor 95, north face, north tower, arriving about 8:46:30. What more would you need? With those details known in advance, the rest of the filming plan could be worked out, and rehearsed (without the actual plane, of course) - with these results...

 1. The photographer is outside, not — like most people in Manhattan at any given time — in a building (like the firehouse he was in 15 minutes before) or a vehicle (like the car he was in 5 minutes before), where filming a plane would be far more difficult.

 2. He is in the middle of Lispenard Street, not on a pavement, where he would risk pedestrians walking in front of him, bumping into him, running past him, etc.

 3. He is in a north-south street, giving a view of the Twin Towers — not, for example, further west along Lispenard, with the 430-foot AT&T Building in front of him, blocking the south view — which even the 40-foot building on the east side of the street would do, as demonstrated in the photograph at the start of this essay, which does not even show its full five-floor height.

 4. He is at a crossroads, which puts the full width of an east- west street (Lispenard) between him, at the north-east corner, and the traffic, blocking the south end of the intersection. If he had been at the south-east corner, or if the roadblock had been in a north-south street, but not at an intersection, the stalled traffic might not have completely obscured his view of the tower, but he would have been standing too near it, and might have had to film the impact above the top of a 7-foot mail van or fire truck, which would look too convenient. Using an intersection provides an excuse for getting him right back from the traffic and filming from the other, north side of the street. And if the cameraman has to be at the north-east then so does the gas leak. Why at this particular intersection, and not, for example, the next one down, Church and Walker? Because this one has the huge, and hugely convenient, AT&T Building — see No. 38.

 5. He is in one of the few streets in Manhattan, if not the only one, where he could photograph a building (a pair of buildings, in this case) in the street next door, three quarters of a mile away, in the middle of his picture and equidistant from buildings on the sides of the street he is in, with only fresh air between them - and above them - and no other buildings from next door visible. You don't get this view from West Broadway next door to the west, and Broadway on the east side had no view at all of the Trade Center. Anyone who worked around Church and Lispenard would know about this amazing view, but what are the chances of someone accidentally having it as a backdrop the day a plane flew into that building next door?

 6. Any building visible from the street next door, from that distance, would have to be at least 800 feet tall, which excludes all but a dozen in the whole of New York. The only reason these buildings are visible at all is because they are the tallest in the whole city, and this picture is not the normal Manhattan street scene it is made out to be. In a million pictures of New York taken at random from street level, how many would accidentally show the tallest buildings in the city - three quarters of a mile away - in the middle of the picture - with empty space to left, right and above - from a street next door to them - with skyscrapers of its own - equidistant from the buildings on either side? I would suggest - with emphasis on the words "random" and "accidentally" - not a single one. But if not random, and deliberately composed that way - as many as you like.

 7. If he was in West Broadway, he would only be able to see the north face, and his film of the plane would look too convenient, but from even one street away, with the towers' corners visible - and only their top quarter - it is impossible to tell how close he is to them: he could be on the other side of the city. Even New York inhabitants might not be familiar with the view from Church Street, or realize that this is only one street away from the towers - and the film does not mention the fact.

 8. The picture has also been composed vertically: 1. the street traffic, 2. the Tribeca Hotel and the building beyond it, further down Church Street, 3. the Twin Towers. There might have been no middle layer in this sandwich - he could have filmed the plane immediately above the top of Chief Pfeifer’s SUV - but having other buildings in between increases the distance between the target and any possible distractions at ground level.

 9. He has a camcorder with him, unlike most people — even professional photographers don't always have their equipment with them.

10. He is already filming with it when the plane appears, when he might still have had to switch it on, load a tape, change the battery, etc.

11. The group members are all standing still, unlike most New York pedestrians — or firemen — who tend to be going somewhere.

12. The gas leak has just been dealt with seconds before the plane appears, and nothing of any great importance happens in the interim, which allows the photographer to immediately switch to filming the new subject.

13. The plane flies alongside the next street west, when it could have been 20 blocks away — but would they have heard it?

14. The cameraman is already filming westwards — almost towards the plane's closest approach to him, about 250 yards away — just before it arrives. This makes it easier to capture on film when it does arrive, by simply waiting for it to pass its closest point and disappear behind the AT&T Building before panning left. The plane could have turned up behind him, or at an awkward angle, instead of passing straight in front, from right to left, north to south.

15. The plane's closest point is where it is most difficult to film: the cameraman does not attempt to film its flight until it passes that point, and is flying away from him — much easier to film than flying towards him, at that speed, that close — yet he must have been able to see the plane arriving, beyond the Post Office building to the north-west.

16. The plane is flying horizontally, in a straight line, making its direction easier to follow, when it could have been turning, or flying in circles, or climbing, or falling.

17. The gas leak call is at 8.30, putting the group on location at the right time, when it might have been ten minutes earlier, and by 8.45 they would have been back down in Duane Street, having dealt with it — or ten minutes later, and they would still have been driving up Church Street when the plane passed, heading in the opposite direction. (In a Fire Department (WTC Task Force) interview, 23 October 2001, Pfeifer claimed the call was "sometime about 8.15 or so” and that "We were there for a while."  A half hour for a gas leak?)

18. The call (which was not filmed, despite the cameraman being at the firehouse when it came in) is about a gas leak, when it might have been about a fire — but would the cameraman have been able to film the plane if he was filming a fire, with noise, smoke and danger?

19. How many other cameramen could have been "in the right place, at the right time" if, like Naudet, they had been conveniently filming one of the emergency services, whose job involves being in any place, at any time, allowing an instant pretext to be contrived?

20. The cameraman is not troubled by traffic obstructing his view, any more than pedestrians: the junction has been blocked with fire vehicles — although, since the gas leak is at the north-east corner, they could have been parked up the east end of Lispenard — but that would not be convenient, when it would leave northwards traffic, like the white mail van parked at the lights, or one that might be heading up to the Post Office for a collection.

21. At a junction of two one-way streets (Church northwards, Lispenard eastwards), where Church  has been blocked, he only has to worry about traffic coming from one direction — the one he is filming towards — west.

22. There would not be much through traffic from that direction in any case, since from this junction eastwards, Lispenard Street is virtually a one-way cul de sac, stretching only one more block before ending where Broadway meets Canal Street. (Another reason the area is relatively quiet for Manhattan is that the subway and bus routes up Church Street turn off to the north-west up Avenue of the Americas, three blocks south of Lispenard). But he needs to be able to guarantee no traffic.

23. The photographer could quite easily have been filming the firemen towards the east, but the film's only, and very brief, view in that direction is just after the photographer gets out of the car (Edit 24 in the film sequence list). After that we get south (Edits 25 and 26), north (27) and west (30), but never again east. Why ? Because the less time he has until the plane's arrival, the more he wants to avoid having his back to it, and east is the worst direction to be facing, with the plane behind him.

24. It cannot be to avoid being dazzled by the sun, because, as the film clearly shows, he cannot even see it — he and the entire width (and length) of Church Street are in the shade, while the Trade Center towers are in the sunshine — perfect filming conditions.

25. The cameraman is with a group of firemen, of all people, just as one of the most disastrous fires in US history breaks out, when he could have been with, for example, a group of office workers — in, for example, the World Trade Center.

26. He manages to record a plane actually crashing — incredibly rare, if not unique — when no-one captured either Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon or Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania later that morning, or — for example — the crash in Queens two months after 9/11, or the crash of a DC-8 in Brooklyn in 1960.

27. He isn't — as shown earlier in the film (edit 26 in film sequence list) — kneeling in the street filming firemen hiding the Twin Towers when the plane passes, or they would have blocked the view.

28. He isn't — also as shown earlier in the film (edit 28) — filming towards the ground when the plane passes, or capturing the plane would have been far more difficult.

29. He is standing, stationary, undistracted and facing the subject when the plane passes, when he could have been kneeling, walking, concentrating on filming something important or with his back to the subject.

30. The men in front of him when the plane arrives behind them are all standing in silence, and apparently only pretending to be busy, and it is never established whether there actually was a leak, or if so, how to deal with it. Chief Pfeifer fiddles with his gas meter and sticks his hand in his pocket, and his fireman colleague leans over the grating, as if, like the bystander beside them, looking for the world's first visible gas leak. If they had been genuinely occupied, it would have been a distraction from the plane — which, unlike the photographer's ostensible subjects, could hardly be called aimless. (In a 2002 interview, Pfeifer claimed that "they" — not "I," not "we" — phoned Con Ed, the utility company, but there is no evidence in the film of him or anyone else making that call before the plane arrives, and after it the gas leak seems to be forgotten about — having served its function as an invented excuse. In January 2002, firefighter Tom Spinard (Engine 7, Duane Street) told a WTC Task Force interviewer the call "turned out to be a false alarm." So when did that become apparent — one second before the plane turned up?

31. No-one in the film distracts his attention by talking to him, and the cameraman's own voice is never heard; voices close to the camcorder microphone could even have drowned out the plane. The firemen might have noticed it, but would the cameraman?

32. He has no view of the south or west sides of the north tower and only a distorted view of the top third of the east side ; the only part of the building he has a clear, direct view of is the top third of the north face — less than 10% of the whole tower. When the plane's impact could have been on any side of the building, down to at least the 50th floor — more than 50% of the tower's exterior surface — most of it hidden from the cameraman — how convenient it should be in the middle of the only 10% has a clear view of, on the face closest to him.

33. He judges the point where the plane reappears so precisely — left and up simultaneously — rather than left and then up, wasting time — that no adjustment is required, up or down, left or right, when he might have overshot, undershot, or had to raise or lower the camera, blurring his picture of the impact.

34. He judges the plane's speed (and the length of the building) so precisely he catches it just as it comes back into sight: neither too early — which would look premature - nor too late to capture the impact.

35. He captures the point of impact almost exactly in the centre of the picture, when it could easily — and far more credibly — have been off centre, at the edge, or barely captured at all.

36. In a TV interview in 2002, he claimed to have been so close (but still managing to avoid mentioning he was in the next street, as if he could fail to be aware of it, having lived in New York since 1989) he could read the plane's markings, making the accuracy of his judgment even more astonishing, if he was looking up at the plane one second, and down at his camcorder's viewfinder the next, to pan left.

37. He films a plane flying at 450 m.p.h. with a stationary camera, when most photographers would have to move the camera — and/or themselves — to track a plane in motion ; in this film, the camera motion stops when the plane motion starts — when it first appears, that is — when most film of planes has both together.

38. He manages this feat by having a 430-foot building hiding the plane until it is far enough away to film from almost straight behind it, with plane and target so close together it disguises the fact that the focus of the film is the target, not the plane about to hit it.
39. He is at the north end of this building, which hides the plane for most of its remaining flight — until the last couple of seconds — when if he had been further south, it would have appeared earlier, which might involve trying to follow it with the camera; further north, and neither plane nor target might be visible at all.

40. He condenses a plane flying half a mile into an angle of 20 degrees, between its reappearance at the south-east corner of the AT&T Building and the impact point on the north tower - the last two seconds of a 46-minute flight, compacted to an eighteenth of a full circle, before the plane hits the only twelfth of the building clearly visible to the only cameraman in Manhattan to film it happening : truly, photographic minimalism at its most minimal - with total concentration on what is known, in a different branch of the film industry, as the Money Shot.

41. He could have been at the Duane Street firehouse, but filming the plane would have been far more difficult, with only three seconds' warning, and, being much closer to the tower, having to swing the camera right up to the top 20 floors — even if the firehouse faced south, which it doesn't, meaning he would have had to run outside and across the street.

42. He could have been in West Broadway, but the plane would have been just about overhead, with no AT&T Building providing an excuse for not even attempting to track it in motion.

43. He could have attempted to zoom in on the plane before it hit its target, but might have lost it with the tiniest camera motion magnified, and missed the impact shot, or blurred it.

44. At the plane's speed, it would have been a mile away within eight seconds ; if he was so curious about the plane, having lost his chance to capture a close-up and seen it disappearing behind a huge building, how much was he hoping to be able to see by the time it reappeared? What made him carry on trying to film it when it was already tiny and getting tinier by the second?

45. He is standing on the same spot when the plane hits the building, three quarters of a mile away, as when it almost flew over his head six seconds before, when he might have had to walk, or at least lean — more than just pan 90 degrees — to capture an object that had moved that distance at that speed.

46. Between the sound warning and the impact, he has a convenient six seconds to capture the event, when it might only have been two — or gone on for sixty, if, for example, the plane had flown around the target and come back for the collision — as the Pentagon plane did later.

47. The plane's flight is horizontal, and low enough to allow the engine noise to be heard on the ground, when it could have targeted the tower diagonally downwards, and not been audible until the last couple of seconds.

48. He has a completely unobstructed view of the small part of the tower he could see, when there might have been other buildings or street furniture in the way — like the traffic lights at the south-east corner, or — not shown in the film - the suspended lights at the north-east corner.

49. The plane hits the first building visible ahead of it after it first appears on film, when it could have hit the second one (the south tower), a third one not visible in the film, etc — or none at all.

50. The north tower is hit first, when it could have been the south tower — but filming a head-on view of that from the same distance, without using zoom, would put the photographer in the Hudson River. None of the actual views of the south tower impact were from that angle or distance — and that's why.

51. He and the firemen — and the alleged gas leak — could have been on the west side of Church Street, but the towers would have been completely hidden behind the AT&T Building, making capturing the plane virtually impossible.

52. The gas leak could have been — most are - inside a building, but was allegedly out on the street.

53. The pan is only 90 degrees, when it might have been 180 or more — if, for example, he had been facing east and swung round anti-clockwise, towards the firemen, increasing the risk of blurring the picture.

54. All the firemen are standing in front of him or on his right when the plane passes, when they, or just one of them, could have been on his left, blocking his view of the impact. There were twelve from Duane Street alone, yet no more than five firemen, from any house, are ever on screen at any one time: where are the rest of them, where are the men from the two other houses who answered the call, and how could every single one of these 20-plus firemen manage to avoid accidentally getting into the impact picture? When the plane hits the tower, not one fireman is in shot, yet this junction is supposedly swarming with them.

55. The phone call was not, like many of those received by FDNY, a hoax call, or the firemen would have left the scene before the plane arrived.

56. The gas leak is dealt with before the plane turns up; if the plane had turned up just as they arrived at the junction, it would look premature, and suspiciously convenient — even more so than having Subject A dealt with first, before Subject B. In real life, Subject B would be more likely to interrupt than wait for an earlier subject to end.

57. He could have recorded (on film or audio) ten seconds of the flight, but not the last ten seconds ; he could have recorded the ten seconds before the last ten but then lost view of the tower, and/or the plane ; that did not happen. He is only interested in capturing the flight's end - the rest of it is totally irrelevant to him - and he knows where its end is going to be, so he only has to make sure of having a view of the tower.

58. If you wanted to arrange film of the impact, followed by a close-up of the gash in the building, a photographer north of the tower would be needed; this photographer is to the north, only 12 degrees east of the plane's flight path, measured from the target.

59. He would have to be not too close, to get a proper view of the top of the tower — and to avoid danger — but not so far away he had no view at all; this photographer is at a reasonable distance — roughly 1,300 yards - six seconds of flying time. He could have been one second away, or twenty seconds - both totally useless for filming the plane. He might have been so close he couldn't fit the tower into his picture, or focus on it properly: sudden unexpected events often are either too close, too far away, too small or too big, to capture on film - but the dimensions and the focus of this one were just right, somehow. Not everybody could get a decent picture of a Boeing 767 with wings 150 feet wide and a tail 50 feet tall smashing into the top floors of a giant skyscraper 1,200 feet off the ground, at 450 miles an hour - not your average holiday snap - even if they knew, hours in advance, it was going to happen: how on earth could you possibly take a picture of that? And if you knew, how could you take the picture so as to disguise the incriminating evidence? How could you make it look accidental? Could it, in fact, credibly be accidental? But that’s the central issue of this whole essay.

60. He would have to be close enough to the plane to hear the engine noise above sounds closer to him — music, traffic, etc; this photographer was one street away, at a crossroads with no moving traffic — but two parked fire trucks, more than capable of burying plane noise, if close enough to the cameraman, and if their engines weren't switched off.

61. He would need to avoid tracking the plane in motion, so as to record the impact clearly; his pan left means he blurs only the building, not the plane, and the entire filmed flight is contained in just one stationary frame. (Or perhaps the reason for not filming the plane from close to it might be to avoid clarity, rather than blurring — to hide the fact, for example, that it was not a Boeing jet, or not a 767, or not American Airlines, or not Flight 11).

62. He would want to visually condense the flight to the minimum, so as to avoid camera motion — the best way being to get right behind the plane; this film is shot from right behind the plane, with the visible flight condensed to 20 degrees.

63. He would want to leave out all of the flight but the last few seconds — the rest of the flight would be an irrelevance or a distraction, and only the impact needs to be captured; he films only the last two seconds.

64. He would want to leave out most of the tower, and only capture the area of the impact — the rest of the tower is irrelevant, nothing is happening there, and if anything did, it could be a distraction, or an obstacle to filming; only the top third of the north face is visible in the film, the rest of the building being hidden behind others. The plane hits that very part of that face. The partial view also misleads as to how close the photographer is to tower and plane.

65. He would need to have some photographic experience, when no amateur could capture a scene like this, with its sudden, fast, perfectly-judged 90-degree pan. Jules and G้d้on Naudet are documentary film-makers, both listed as "Director, Producer, Cameraman and Editor" in their only previous film, "Hope, Gloves and Redemption: The Story of Mickey and Negra Rosario" (filmed in 1999, but only issued on DVD (Pathfinder PH 90969) in 2004), raising questions over Jules' claim to have almost no camera experience (Edits 19 and 22).

66. He would need a cover story as a pretext for being in the right place at the right time to capture the plane; the documentary film about the firemen and the gas leak at that junction provide a plausible pretext — on first appearances.

67. His film was about firemen, when if he had been filming, as in his previous film, boxers, they would not have been out in the street first thing in the morning, they would not have had the right to block road traffic at a junction, they would not be able to provide instant transport down to the tower after the first impact or the authority to enter the building, etc.

68. He already has a perfectly clear view of the target from where he is standing, so he could have captured the impact without having to pan the camera left at all, but it would look suspect if he was filming the target just as the plane appeared in view; the camera motion suggests lack of preparation — although the perfect motion and the perfect view at the end of it, having the tower in the middle of the frame, suggest otherwise.

69. If just one of these circumstances had not applied, this film might easily not exist; how likely is it that every one applied, not one went wrong, and that not one other person in Manhattan managed even one single piece of luck, to produce even an off-centre, blurred monochrome photograph of the event, let alone perfect color film of it? A unique film might be credible — if it had faults — or, conversely, a perfect film, if we had others less perfect to compare it with — if not quite as imperfect as the Hlava film. How likely is it that this photographer achieved both uniqueness and perfection?

The word "perfection," is, of course, relative: the film is "perfect" in the sense that it fulfils all the requirements. It is slightly blurred — but not nearly as much as it might have been; and it captures the sound of the plane, its last two seconds of flight and its impact, right in the centre of the picture, followed by close-ups, with no editing — the whole 44-second sequence is uninterrupted; and it does it in a way that looks plausibly accidental. The kind of perfection that involved showing us a clear, totally undistorted close-up of the plane in flight, with its "American Airlines" livery visible, would be the kind of perfection that destroyed any chance of luck as an explanation.

An exercise like this involves weighing different factors against each other. You can never have absolute perfection in every department — sacrifices have to be made, and the main sacrifice here was that the plane had to be filmed from a considerable distance. It is still clearly identifiable as a plane, and that was the point of the exercise — filming the damage and what caused it.

The maps

Please refer to Maps 1 and 2 and consider the proposition in reverse.
Assume as a given the information that a civilian airliner will be deliberately flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8.46 am on the morning of 11 September, 2001, hitting the tower head on at 450 m.p.h. after flying in a straight line towards it, at a constant height of about 1,200 feet, impacting at around floor 95 (15 or so from the top of the tower) — to contain the death toll to roughly 2,000*; we need propaganda film of this event, showing the last seconds of the plane's flight (just in case there are no eyewitnesses, in which case the fire could have been caused by something inside the building) and allowing a close-up of the damage to the building after impact, which means filming from somewhere north of the tower.

* Can there be any other explanation for the height? If the hijackers, as we are assured, wanted to wreak maximum death, what conceivable reason could they have for hitting the tower at a point that would allow the vast majority to evacuate the building - which is exactly what happened?

Obviously, the film would have to be disguised as "accidental," so a cover story has to be contrived, and a suitable filming location chosen. This is no doubt exactly how the Naudet film was organized — by setting requirements, and trying to solve all the problems involved — in a brainstorming session like the one in the film "Wag the Dog", about a fabricated war, ironically — starring Robert De Niro, who, even more ironically, was somehow persuaded to introduce the original TV version of the Naudet film, lending it some much-needed credibility, when he and his management should have known better. Strangely, when the film was released on VHS and DVD, it included new footage and 52 extra minutes of interviews, but De Niro’s contribution had been completely removed: did he get wise ?

Everyone above the impact died and everyone below it didn't, for perfectly obvious, predictable reasons, well known to every fire service in the world - mainly, that fire always burns up: why would that fact not have occurred to people who wanted as many as possible to die? They were brilliant enough to get the planes from Boston to New York, outsmarting the entire US air defence system - but why bother giving any thought to where to hit the buildings, if and when they ever reached them? What difference would it make? A difference of about 15,000 - or, in percentage terms, an 85% survival rate; to the hijackers, 85% failure. Alternatively, and more credibly, to folk who only wanted about 2,500 - the Pentagon's death actuaries, with their 1941 model giving a rough idea of how many it takes to justify getting the USA into a major war - a 100% success.
The vast majority of Manhattan's population at any given time is either inside a building — home, school, workplace, etc — or a vehicle — car, bus, subway, etc. Of the small minority who are outside on the street, on foot, most of those are moving towards a destination. It would be virtually impossible to capture the impact either from inside a building or vehicle, certainly a moving one, or while walking, so the photographer has to be outside, on the street, stationary.

The most convenient pretext for being in a certain place, at a certain time, is to use people who have to be at any place, at any time — one of the emergency services: firemen, for example. But firemen don't normally carry cameras with them. Solution: have someone else filming them, for a documentary. But the film couldn't be about a fire, if we need to capture the plane: it would be too distracting and too dangerous. The plane would only be audible and visible for about ten seconds from any one point in the city - from most places, with a sudden increase in volume and visibility and then fading away again just as suddenly - it would only be at maximum volume for one or two seconds. Ten, or even two, seconds of loud extraneous noise near the camera - a truck engine, a pneumatic drill - could completely drown out the plane's engines. What we really need is a silent emergency — a gas leak, for example.

Since we want to avoid filming the plane in motion, which might blur the impact shot, we need an excuse for only filming the last few seconds, preferably from behind the plane — but not straight behind it, because that would look too convenient ; as would managing to grab a camera, or start filming, just before the impact. The best method is simply to have the plane hidden from view temporarily — plausible enough, in a city as full of tall buildings as New York. Not that you need a tall building to hide a plane — or even the World Trade Center towers.
If they were the only buildings in New York, and the rest of it was flat, it would be easily possible to hide them from one person's view by having someone else standing in the way — an adult in front of a child, for example — or, as shown in the Naudet film, a fireman filmed from a child's height. Or the camera's view could be blocked by having the lens coated in dust — another scene from the Naudet film, as it happens. Not to mention other filming hazards like lampposts, traffic lights, road signs, tree branches, birds, etc - all of them to be seen in the film. The number of streets it might be possible to use for filming is extremely limited, and for these purposes I would reduce it to the six north-south streets shown in Map 1 — in eastwards order, West Broadway, Church Street, Broadway, Cortland Avenue, Lafayette Street and Centre Street.
Objections — and answers to them
Why not from somewhere west of the flight path? - Because that would mean filming eastwards, towards the sun. That whole region is completely excluded for that simple reason: it has to be east of the plane, with the sun behind the camera, to avoid any possibility of flashes of sunlight ruining the impact shot or the close-ups.
Why not from somewhere north of Canal Street?
Because, as can be seen from the Flight 11 shot in the DVD, the plane is quite small as seen from Lispenard Street; it would be even smaller from further north. He could have used his zoom lens to get a closer view, but that would also apply to Lispenard, where we get no close-up until after the impact. He could have shown the plane's markings in the film with his zoom lens — but didn't.
Why not from an east-west street?
Look at the "8.45" photograph at the beginning of this article. Only the antenna on the north tower is above the height of the cafe sign at the south-east corner, and the two tallest buildings in New York are apparently smaller than this one. At that distance from the Trade Center towers - less than a mile - a 20-foot building on the south side of an east-west street would completely hide them, unless the street was 25 yards wide — and very few buildings in Manhattan are only 20 feet tall. There may be streets in New York with no buildings on the south side, but not many in this part of the city. This close to the Trade Center, north-south streets are a far better proposition for a view of the towers — the closer the better, without being too close, southwards or eastwards. Intervening buildings are a problem in both directions - south and east.

Why not from further east — say, the Bowery or the Brooklyn Bridge?
For two main reasons : because the plane would be further away, smaller and less audible, especially with the traffic on the bridge, and because the impact shot would be from an angle of 45 degrees or more — not the best view for a close-up.

Why not from nearer the tower, say Duane Street?
Because of the time factor : it would halve the amount of time available to capture the plane, since Duane Street is only three seconds of flying time from the north tower (Map 2). It has to be done from somewhere nearer Canal Street, giving about six seconds. That period could be extended by filming the plane arriving from the north, but it would involve tracking it in flight as it approached the camera and flew on towards the target — too wide a panning angle - if, in the first place, the plane's noise gave enough warning to film it approaching before it passed the photographer. It would be better not to attempt filming it until after that point.

Why not from West Broadway?
Partly because of the 370-foot-tall Western Union Building (C on map), which hides the north tower from view (the "blind area" shown in blue in Map 1) until about White Street, where the impact point starts to become visible. Even if filmed from somewhere between White Street and Canal Street, the plane would be too visible for comfort : it would look far too convenient that the photographer just happened to find himself almost right under the plane, with its target directly in front of him. From the junction of West Broadway and Lispenard, only about the top 250 feet of the tower would be visible above the Western Union, with the plane hitting 150 feet from the top. If Church Street, with the top 400 feet visible, looks too convenient, this would be even worse. There would also be the major problem of how to film a plane flying above the photographer, especially with no large building to hide it behind. The Western Union itself can be rejected, only four seconds of flying time from the tower.

Why not from Broadway?
Because, as the map shows, the part of Broadway from Canal Street southwards as far as Worth Street is a blind area, because of two buildings — the AT&T "Long Lines" Building (D on the map), 551 feet tall, and the Tribeca Tower (E on the map), 545 feet. South of Worth Street, the time factor and the angle factor come into play — and distance, a quarter of a mile from the plane.
Plus, the buildings on Broadway’s west side - and Church Street’s east – would be in the way.

Why not Cortland Avenue, Lafayette Street or Centre Street?
Cortland is excluded because it is entirely within the same blind area that excludes the above part of Broadway. Lafayette is partly inside that blind area and partly inside one caused by the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building (F on the map), 587 feet tall, which also excludes half of Centre Street. Either might still be theoretically suitable: there seems to be a "window" in both giving a view of the WTC, but it would mean filming it between the Javits Building on the left and the Tribeca Tower on the right, which might look rather too convenient — presuming, that is, none of the intervening buildings on the west of Broadway or the east of Church were an obstruction; there is also, again, the distance problem, Centre Street being 700 yards from the plane. The sound would certainly carry that far, but the further away, the less likely to be audible above ambient noise. Plane noise does carry quite a distance, but the reason we hear most planes - away from airports - is because they are hanging around flying in circles, waiting to land, long enough for their sound to be noticed - far longer than Flight 11, which flew straight towards its target, audible only very briefly to anyone under or near its flight path.

The only candidate left, having pretty much disposed of everywhere else, is far superior to any of the above in several different ways : the top end of Church Street, south of Canal Street, is firstly not in a blind area. Not only does it have no large buildings hiding the Trade Center — except right at the top, where it meets Canal Street — but the two giant buildings that cause that problem from Broadway and West Broadway are both hidden from sight from Church Street — the Western Union completely hidden behind the Tribeca Grand Hotel (B on the map, and under the north tower in the "8.45" photo), the "Long Lines" Building barely visible (above and to the left of the traffic lights in "8.45"). It is the closest street to the plane, after the too-close West Broadway, and allows a full six seconds of flying time from the plane's target.

Most importantly, Church Street has the 430-foot AT&T Building (A on the map) — more than tall enough to hide a plane flying at 1,200 feet 250 yards away, and long enough to hide its flight from Lispenard Street southwards, until two seconds from impact. It would also telescope those two seconds of flight into a 20 degree angle, in a stationary picture. It would, of course, be a lot easier to select the best location by doing it in 3D, in reverse - studying the view from different angles on the topmost floors of the Trade Center, using a zoom lens if necessary, to see which part of which street supplied the best combination of all the factors required. A single photograph - like the one in the next section - does not tell the whole story, but it gives an idea of how the location was in fact probably picked out.

One piece of genuine luck in this exercise - unless this, too, was designed that way - may be that the Tribeca Grand, opened in May 2000, is only eight floors tall, when its "sister" hotel, the SoHo Grand, between Canal and Grand Streets, opened in August 1996, is 15 floors. What would a 15-floor building in front of the AT&T do to Naudet's view of the north tower? But, luckily, there wasn't one: if there had been, perhaps a different location would have been chosen. As it is, the Church-Lispenard junction may not be the only option, but it is by far the best. How strange that that should be exactly where Jules Naudet managed to find himself, with the right equipment, in the right company, facing the right direction, at the right time, on the right morning, on the right side of the street, etc. What are the odds of the only photographer in Manhattan to capture this impact being in the best possible place to do it, and in the best of all possible circumstances ? Is this remotely credible?

A photographic demonstration

Manhattan, looking northwards from the observation deck of Two World Trade Center, the south tower, showing the view to the north-east, the best area for capturing the last seconds of Flight 11, and (lettered as in Map 1, from left to right, C, A, D and F) the four biggest buildings — and biggest potential problems. Every single building in the photograph is a potential obstacle to seeing the World Trade Center, if you happen to be behind it or inside it. The publicity shots - often showing water, and often shot from New Jersey, Queens or Brooklyn - or ones like this - are not how the towers looked to people at ground level in Manhattan. To anyone unfamiliar with that fact, there seem to be plenty of possibilities in a panorama like this - surely the plane could be filmed from just about anywhere in the picture? Well, no, it certainly could not.

The photographer, for a start, has to be out in the street: no-one inside a building would be able to both see the plane and discern its direction, in time to capture it; someone on a rooftop might, but would that be a credible story?

Filming from above the streets - in a helicopter, perhaps - might be a possibility, but that might also look just as suspect as being on a roof. The black arrow shows the approximate path of the plane as it flies over the Western Union Building (C) towards the north tower (G); anywhere west of this can be ruled out as involving filming towards the sun, even if only momentarily or in panning past it. Areas in the distance - say, beyond A (the AT&T Building), which is three quarters of a mile away - can also be excluded because the plane would be too small: to be identifiable as one, it would have to be filmed through a zoom lens, which would be too risky. West of the arrow is out ; beyond A is out ; inside a building is out ; flying is out ; what does that leave us?

In the previous section, six streets appeared - from maps - to be candidates; this photograph shows that three of those - Cortland Avenue, Lafayette Street and Centre Street - can actually be forgotten about, hidden behind buildings on their west sides and in other streets; you can't
see them at all in the photograph. Even Broadway (3) is barely visible - you can only infer its presence from the buildings along its sides.

The only streets that are clearly visible in the right area - east of the plane, and reasonably near the tower - and these are the only streets -there are no lanes or back alleys in between - are all north-south. This visibility aspect also applies in reverse: if you can't see the street from the Trade Center, you can't see the Trade Center from the street - which eliminates virtually all east-west streets - and a lot of north-south ones, unless the photographer is on the right side, or in the middle of the street, which tends to be dangerous - to most folk. And this view, remember, is from 1,300 feet up, higher than the plane's actual impact, so even some of the areas visible in the photograph might have only a limited view of the tower.

Building B in Map 1, the Tribeca Grand Hotel, is missing from this view because it was only built in the late 1990s; likewise, E, the Tribeca Tower, was only built in 1991. The only effect of adding these two to the picture would be to even further restrict the filming options.

From where else in this photograph could the plane have been filmed, to make it look plausibly accidental? There are effectively only two streets available - West Broadway (1) and Church (2). But West Broadway is too obvious. Who would believe a shot from directly ahead of the tower, showing only one of its faces? Nobody would accept that as an accident. Moving even one street away - because these streets are so wide apart - would show two faces, and would make it look as if the photographer was nowhere near the tower, away on the other side of the city somewhere - especially when you could only see the top quarter of the building.

One street to the east of West Broadway is Church Street. And if Church Street is the final choice, where better than a point where you can use a large building as a filming prop, to hide the plane until its last two seconds, and catch it from behind, avoiding having to track its flight ? The largest building there is the one marked A in the picture, and the approximate point where Naudet and his firemen friends "just happened" to be is marked as a small red spot just to the right of it. Luck - or planning?

Elsewhere in the "9/11" film
It would obviously be very strange if the Flight 11 shot was fake, but the rest of the Naudet
film, showing how events unfolded from then on, was a perfectly authentic documentary. That, to put it mildly, is not the case. The film is absolutely littered with scenes almost as bizarre as Flight 11. Some are not too difficult to figure out, some have a significance that escapes me, but all of them raise serious questions about the truthfulness of the film and the people in it. My article concentrates on the plane shot because it is by far the most important example of fraud, but many, many others could be pointed out. When the film was shown on British TV in September 2002, many reviewers commented on how dishonest and tasteless it was to have a subplot about the brothers thinking the other one was dead, or everyone thinking Benetatos was - as if an event like 9/11 needed to be embellished. It never seemed to occur to them the reason for these things was that the entire film was fake : not in the sense that its images had been tampered with, but that its whole premise was a lie - that these people found themselves caught up in things they never dreamed could happen. That claim is made so often in the film it should sound false to any sensible person, but most write it off as just poor scriptwriting - stating the obvious. But this is not a case of a failure of imagination or vocabulary. It is a case of "protesting too much" - of overdoing alleged innocence, when it shouldn't even be in question. We never saw it coming ... Not in a million years did I think those buildings would collapse ...

If we'd only known ... Who'da thunk it? ... We were so young and naive back then ... Time and again, the same message : they didn't know. I say the following examples point towards a very different message : yes they did.

"My point is, we knew those towers as well as anybody: but nobody - nobody - expected September 11th." - James Hanlon (01:54 into the film). Well, not strictly true: if we accept the official story, I think Osama Bin Laden must have expected it - like the 19 hijackers and everyone else involved in the conspiracy. We are told several intelligence agencies around the world, including in the USA, saw it coming; we have even been told members of the Bush Cabinet saw it coming. And if I am right, James Hanlon, the Naudet brothers and several employees of the Fire Department of New York saw it coming.

What is Hanlon’s point, anyway? What does knowing the towers have to do with an ability to foresee 9/11? "We knew those buildings inside out, but we didn't know about Osama Bin Laden plotting in a cave in Afghanistan?" And why, after all, would that be part of the job of a New York fireman? Or maybe, translated, it's "Just in case there are any complete nuts out there who might have the idea I saw 9/11 coming, well, just for the record, no I didn't" - a denial so unnecessary it makes you wonder why he would conceivably say nobody expected it, and then repeat the word "nobody," meaning "or else." It makes you wonder why he didn't also deny shooting President Kennedy, if only because it happened before he was born.

Similarly (04:04) : "The strange thing is, the tape - the whole story - it kind of happened by accident. I mean, Jools and Gideon [sic] didn't mean to make a documentary about 9/11." You don't say. If that had been their intention, they would have known it was going to happen - "kind of" - which would mean they were complicit in it, which is obviously ridiculous. But not so ridiculous it doesn't need said, it seems - instantly making it rather less ridiculous.

Hanlon again (19:10), on the death of Firefighter Michael Gorumba two weeks before 9/11: "At the time, we didn't think there could be anything worse than losing a single firefighter" - "single" as in one - Gorumba was married. An innocent enough statement on its face; but not when we know - and Hanlon must have known - that just two months before this single death, three firefighters were killed on the same day, June 17, in a propane explosion in Queens, in what was known as the Father’s Day Fire, bringing that year's death toll to the highest since 1998, before Gorumba and before 9/11.  (Totals for the previous 15 years: 1986 two, 1987 four, 1988 none, 1989 one, 1990 none, 1991 two, 1992 one, 1993 one, 1994 seven, 1995 six, 1997 none, 1998 six, 1999 one, 2000 one, 2001 six (pre-9/11) ; and, more recently : 2002 none, 2003 two, 2004 none, 2005 three).

The Naudet film contains not one reference to the Fathers' Day fire: because it happened in June, just after they started filming, maybe it just was not as convenient to a Naudet script that needed a death turning up just before 9/11, as an intimation of mortality and a prescient hint of what was to come - the way Michael Gorumba's conveniently did. (Is that yet another coincidence - or yet another can of worms?) It's as bad as Benetatos being killed in a car crash: we can't have the main character killed at the start of the film - or the Naudets later, or James Hanlon, or anyone else from Duane Street. They all have to survive 9/11 - the script says so, and God wrote this script, says Tony's mother. Or, more likely, perhaps it's the fact that mentioning Fathers' Day would remind us that a gas explosion can look like this:

What used to be the Long Island General Supply store, 12-22 Astoria Boulevard, Queens, Sunday June 17 2001 - Fathers' Day. (picture by FDNYphoto.com)
Would any New York fireman, just weeks after three colleagues had died in this, describe a gas leak call as "kind of routine," or say "You don’t think anything of it?" Would a battalion chief in charge of that call saunter about hand in pocket, like Joseph Pfeifer ? Is that why Father’s Day is unmentioned in the Naudet film? In every firehouse in New York in September 2001, with memories of Harry Ford, John Downing and Brian Fahey still fresh, there was nothing whatever "routine" about any FDNY emergency call involving gas. The Naudets were desperate for a fire for their proby: what about this one? Instant answer: he didn't start work at Duane Street until Thursday 5 July. But among those helping on June 17 were 16 Battalion Chiefs (and 46 engines, and 33 ladders): was Chief Joe "kind of routine" Pfeifer one of them? Were any firemen from Duane Street present? How about Captain Dennis "arrived in minutes" Tardio?

No - not 9/11. Queens, June 17 again. (FDNYphoto.com)
Where was James Hanlon on 9/11? What answer do we get? Edit 4 (23:05 into the DVD): "I was off that day." No other explanation is offered until, more than an hour later in the film (1:27:57), long after both impacts and both collapses, we are told "I'd come in from home." When did he come in, exactly ? Among others, former Chief Larry Burns (a fireman 1957-1998) saw what had happened on TV and came out to Duane Street to volunteer his help (49:05) - just before the collapse of the south tower, if the film's chronology is accurate. Why, apparently, didn't James Hanlon turn up until the Twin Towers had been destroyed ? What was he doing while the rest of the world was watching the World Trade Center, live and/or on TV? Maybe we are meant to see him as just a detached observer, as the film's narrator, but how detached can he really be when he works at the firehouse in the film and knows the men who were filming what happened? Or maybe he's just too modest to tell us that the second he heard about the first plane, he grabbed his gear and was out the door, heading for 1 WTC - where, in a rare failure of serendipity, Jules Naudet's camera failed to pick him out from among the milling hundreds.

"Waiting for a job - that was a very big concern. But every time we would talk with some of the senior guys, they always told us 'Well, be careful what you wish for'" - Jules Naudet (17:12). And isn't there something tasteless about actually wanting a serious fire, just to make a film about it ? Most firemen would be perfectly happy if they never got called out - they know just how dangerous fires are, and they would never dream of wishing for one, or humouring some fool who wanted them risking their lives for the sake of a film. Fires are not entertainment - a fact learned, as shown in the film, by every student at Fire Academy - and one that should have been understood by anyone even contemplating a documentary on that subject - if that ever was the idea in the first place, as opposed to making a propaganda film of people being killed by their own government. Does that explain Naudet the budding pyromaniac?

Of course, even when the World Trade Center fires turned up, there was no firefighting, with or without Benetatos. It was never a serious proposition that firemen could climb 80 or 90 floors before they even started attempting to tackle fires like that - and Pfeifer specifically told them not to go any higher than Floor 70 (28:58). Or that Naudet could film them getting even that high, when he had been told to stay with Chief Pfeifer. So what do we get instead? Film of chief firemen, policemen and officials of the Port Authority and OEM all trying - with mixed success - to use phones and radios, as hundreds of firemen are sent upstairs, helping on the way with an evacuation that could have been a lot easier without them and their equipment blocking the stairways. "What they did that day - what everyone there did - was remarkable”: James Hanlon (03:03). Remarkably pointless and futile, perhaps.

Jules again (21:49) : "We all joked all night long. It was a great night. Little did we know." Little did they know what would happen the next morning - September 11. Of course - again – if they had known, they would have been complicit. How could they have known ? It's yet another example of protesting too much: one of umpteen references in the film to hindsight - what they didn't know at the time, but found out later. Every denial simply achieves the exact opposite: why would anyone who genuinely didn't know feel the remotest need to say so? The Naudet film is aimed at people who don't understand that when the suspect says "I didn’t shoot her" before the detective mentions a gun, it instantly gives him away. You don't overdo the innocent act if you want to get away with it. Compare the alleged innocence of the gas leak scene: "You don't think anything of it" (Casaliggi); "It’s just another call" (Jules Naudet); "And it was kind of routine and um pretty simple" (Pfeifer). Nothing suspect there, then: three of them denying it. Which gives me three reasons for refusing to believe them. If it's nothing unusual, why harp on about it repeatedly?

G้d้on Naudet (35:56) : "There were people from all over the world in these streets - different colours, different languages." Why does he sound surprised, as a resident of New York since 1989, that the city's people have different skin colours and speak different languages? Like French, for example. But when you're making a propaganda film, and you need to say the whole world was there, in the streets, watching the two towers, that’s the kind of nonsense you come out with. Can there be any other reason for saying it? Or how about this scenario? - "And they were all looking at the same thing and talking about the same thing and reacting the same way." (36:21)? Nobody dancing and laughing and celebrating, then? Well, nobody except the five Israelis arrested by the FBI after filming the WTC in flames from Liberty State Park in New Jersey, but that story's untouchable - obviously anti-Semitic.

"We have something that has happened here": TV announcer (26:46). Reminiscent of the infamous sentence "It - it appears as though something has happened in the motorcade route" from a Dallas radio announcer in November 1963. The "something" in each case was something that nobody from any of the network TV companies managed to capture on film, in a colossal failure of professional journalism - worse in 1963, when it happened at a public event; more understandable on 9/11, when the event was unexpected, but still a colossal failure. When there must have been witnesses who saw the plane, and could explain why the building was on fire, how could any TV announcer be reduced to "something that has happened”?

"As we swung around in front of World Trade, my mind tells me ‘Wow! This is bad.” Damian Van Cleaf, Engine 7 (27:03). "That wasn't occurring, almost like he knew that this was not good": Pfeifer on Judge's reaction to the burning north tower (48:03). "When the second plane hit, that's when you could see fear”: G้d้on Naudet (35:37). "And for the first time, I looked in someone else's eyes and saw fear”: Van Cleaf (54:17). "Inside the Trade Center, all Jools and Chief Pfeifer knew - all anyone knew - was that something had gone terribly wrong”: James Hanlon (53:11), after the sound of the collapse of a 110-storey building. "Wrong”? Surely not. "Every single cell of your body is telling you, you know, you should not be here" : G้d้on (1:00:09), refusing to listen to every single cell of his body and heading straight into a disaster area, like the teenager in the horror film who just can't stay out of the haunted house. "And there was just a sense that this wasn't a good place to stay": Pfeifer (1:03:52), exercising his ESP rather than his eyes or his brain, like the man looking over the side of the Titanic. "This is not a good sign," as Captain Tardio would say - and did (1:05:33) - as, he admits, a joke.

"And we look, and the tower's here, so, OK, probably it was something else. The tower is still standing. The other one, we can't see it, but it's probably just, you know, on the other side": Jules Naudet (1:03:20). Apparently, they thought the noise they had just heard was the building they were in, the north tower, collapsing - but when they get out, there it is in front of them - "the tower" - not "the north tower." Not "the south tower," either - but "the other one." Why doesn't he specify "north" and "south"? Is it credible that it never occurs to him that if the noise wasn't the north tower coming down, and they can't see south, the "something else" might have been south falling? Is it credible that of all the folk wandering around, not one knows the south tower has gone, and tells them that ?

Jules Naudet (1:06:45) : "Strangely enough, I kept ... the only thing that was - that was my preoccupation was to, to, to clean my lens. I don't know if it was a way for me to try to focus on something so I can stay away from the horror of the reality, but it was just my obsession - my lens needs to be cleaned." Or maybe it was knowing that in two minutes the north tower was going to collapse - which it did - and he wanted to get a clear picture of his escape from it - which he did.

The only other fireman in the north tower lobby identified by name - as well as the three later killed (see my "just happened" list in the Introduction) - is a man Jules Naudet clearly calls "Lieutenant Fody who was now working with 9 Engine" (31:19) although his name appears in the subtitles as "Fodor." Curiously, there is a Lieutenant Jim Fody, who used to work at Engine 7 (Duane Street), but he looks nothing like the man in the film. That man looks like Lieutenant Michael Fodor of Ladder 21 - who, like the three others, was later killed. Why would Naudet
pick out four people who were all later to die, and why would he not mention that fact? The naming could be hindsight, but how do we explain the camera close-ups at the time, while they were still alive, giving their relatives their last film of them? Four close-ups, four names, four deaths. Did he film close-ups of dozens of others that have been edited out of the film? Is it - yet again - coincidence? Or did he somehow know these four were all going to die? Is that yet another can of worms?

"Again, the cameraman would just film": G้d้on Naudet (1:19:35), on the firemen returning to Duane Street after the second collapse. He seems to be referring to himself as "the cameraman," yet at 1:20:46, when the brothers are reunited, we see them together in the same picture: who was filming that? If Hanlon, why not say so? Perhaps he also filmed the view of Pfeifer's SUV in Film Edit 22. Curiously, the only camera credits given at the end of the film (in both the DVD and TV versions) do not include the names Jules Naudet, G้d้on Naudet or James Hanlon: yet the Naudets were given camera credits in their previous film (see Convenience No. 65) (in which, in marked contrast to "9/11," they never once appear on screen, together or separately - and nor does Hanlon, although he narrates one of its twelve chapters).

At 04:49 in the DVD, Hanlon says "We teamed up and by June of 2001 the three of us were out at the Fire Academy, shooting the training," which suggests all three were filming, then and maybe later. Hanlon is, in fact, fireman, director, producer, narrator and (presumed) cameraman in the film (as well as being an actor elsewhere); he also seems to have at least contributed to the basic theme of the film - the proby's rites of passage. It could even be said he played a larger part in bringing the film about than the Naudets themselves did. But it does not inspire confidence in the authenticity of any documentary to have it presented by a professional actor, whether or not he also happens, in this case, to be a fireman (how many other actors does the FDNY employ - or is Hanlon the only one?)

Sir Laurence Olivier narrated the classic British TV series "The World at War," but unlike Hanlon, he never appeared on screen, did not film any of the scenes and was not a personal friend of the film-makers or their subjects. Hanlon's status represents another blurring of the distinction between fact and fiction in the film. "9/11" might, in fact, better be described as a drama-documentary, or a "faction," but it was marketed as the real thing - as history, on film, as it happened, "beginning to end" (03:16) ; not with editing like that, it's not - and not with actors presenting it - and not with staged, scripted reconstructions.

Captain Dennis Tardio (1:22:09) : "I can't believe we all made it out. How did we make it out of that building? Thirty seconds - another two flights higher - why am I alive and so many others are dead?" An interesting question. Of the 343 firemen killed that day, 95 came from Division 1, the five Manhattan battalions closest to the Trade Center*, and of those five, the highest death toll (25) was from Battalion 1 - but none of them were from Duane Street.

Only three other houses in the division recorded zero deaths - Canal Street, Henry Street and East 18th Street. Duane Street, however, unlike them, claimed to have been among the first firemen into the tower (Pfeifer was the first chief - 27:56). Somehow, the first-in-last-out rule seems not to apply here. "A firefighter in full gear carrying 60-something pounds of hose and equipment takes about a minute to climb one flight of stairs": Hanlon (29:55). Which means that if Engine 7/Ladder 1 started climbing as soon as they arrived - say, about 9 am, they should have been something like 50 floors up by the time the south tower collapsed just before 9.59, presuming they could sustain that speed indefinitely - which is highly unlikely.

But assuming only 40, that means that even if they received an immediate evacuation order at 9.59, they would have had to come down 40 floors in the 29 minutes before the north tower also collapsed at 10.28. Any later than 9.59 - and it was later - even faster; from higher than 40 floors up, faster still - just to reach the exits - plus the time taken to get far enough away from the collapsing building. "I can't believe we all made it out": and none of the rest of us should, either, with arithmetic like this - it doesn't add up. Where were the Duane Street firemen at 9.59? If they had been even as high as Floor 40, none of them should have survived to say so. Is the explanation - the same way Jules Naudet also managed to survive (see below) - that these people knew in advance exactly what was going to happen that morning? It's not too difficult, after all, to avoid being crushed by a collapsing building, if you know when it's going to collapse, and when to get out - if you were ever inside in the first place.

Battalion   Deaths  Address Unit
(in bold : at Church/Lispenard, 8.46 am, 9/11)
South St
(Engine 4/Ladder 15)
Duane St
  (Engine 7/Ladder 1)
Liberty St
(Engine 10/Ladder 10)
Beekman St
 (Engine 6)
West 10th St
(Squad 18)
227 Avenue of the Americas
(Engine 24/Ladder 5)
Broome St
(Engine 55)
North Moore St
(Ladder 8)
Lafayette St
(Ladder 20)
Canal St
(Engine 9/Ladder 6)
Henry St
(Engine 15)
East 2nd St
(Engine 28/Ladder 11)
Pitt St
(Ladder 18)
East 14th St
(Engine 5)
East 18th St
(Engine 14)
Great Jones St
(Engine 33/Ladder 9)
East 13th St
(Ladder 3)
West 34th St
(Engine 1/Ladder 24)
West 19th St
(Engine 3/Ladder 12)
West 37th St
(Engine 26)
West 38th St
(Engine 34/Ladder 21)

One fireman who seems not to have started climbing immediately was Joseph Casaliggi, who at 34:53 tells us - filmed still standing in the lobby: "There were two planes. I saw the second one hit - it hit the other tower." How, exactly, did he manage to see the plane hitting the south face of the south tower at 9.03? He must have been not only not climbing the stairs of the north tower - not even in the lobby - but outside the building altogether. What was he doing anywhere near the south tower, when the fire was in North? Of all the people in the film standing in the street near the south tower - including G้d้on Naudet, who was close enough to just squeeze the plane into his picture - none seem to be firemen.

The response time for an FDNY alarm call is meant to be about five minutes: if Casaliggi made his claim at 9.04, that means the north tower had been on fire for 18 minutes, and he, a fireman from one of the first units there, is still standing in the lobby, having only just come into the building. Why, when he had come down from Lispenard Street in a fire truck with the rest of the house? The only ordinary Duane Street firefighter who should still have been in the lobby - and was - was Ed Fahey, Chief Pfeifer's aide. When did Casaliggi finally start going up the stairs to join his colleagues ? And if none of them were up the stairs, why not?

From 1:30:24 to 1:31:50, Benetatos describes where he was all day between leaving Duane Street after the first collapse and coming back late in the afternoon, to an accompaniment of images that imply he had a cameraman with him all day. If he did, who was it? And if not, why would any ethical documentarist, with a subject like this, try to pass this film off as contemporary? If Benetatos did not have a photographer with him, that should not be implied. Don't the Naudet brothers know the difference between fact and fiction? Genuine documentary film-making does not confuse the two: the Naudets do it all through their film.

"There was so much that we didn't know about that first day - who had attacked us, how, why": James Hanlon (1:32:17). One question that never seems to occur to anyone in the entire film, as they watch events unfolding, is where the US Air Force had been, or - another one - why they, as taxpayers, should carry on funding a trillion-dollar Department of Defense that was totally incapable of protecting the country's capital and its biggest city - or even its own HQ. If the film-makers wanted to avoid political controversy, why didn't they cut out all appearances by
George W. Bush, the most divisive US President in decades - arguably ever?

"Around 8.30" (see Film Edit 7) : why only "around"? Isn't it standard practice to keep a log - both where the call originally went and at Duane Street - of the times of 911 calls (if this was a 911 call), and what action is taken on them ? To get a more exact time, a resident of New York State might want to write to the Records Access Officer of the Fire Department of New York - and/or the New York Police Department - and ask, under the New York Freedom of Information Law, for the records of all 911 calls made in Manhattan between 8.15 and 8.45 am on 11 September 2001. That might enable us to establish not just the time of the call, but where it was made from, and maybe even the identity of the bearded man at the Church/Lispenard junction, looking up at the plane - possibly the person who made the call, although the film never says so.
In the original TV version of the "9/11" film, the scenes inside Duane Street on the morning of 9/11 include a brief view of Tony Benetatos' helmet, which is marked "Prob Firefighter 8361" - the "Prob" standing for "Probationary"; in the "cherry picker" scene on 3 September, however, his helmet has the number 3865. Did he have two employee numbers, or two helmets?

At the Church-Lispenard junction, two pedestrians are seen crossing Church Street from east to west in Film Edit 26, one reaches the NE corner in Edit 27, and in Edit 30 one crosses from NW to NE, then one from NE to NW - and we have a bystander with the group of firemen. Why were any of these people allowed anywhere near the scene of a potential gas explosion? From "Natural Gas Hazards" by Chief Frank C. Montagna of FDNY Battalion 58 (Brooklyn) and Matthew Palmer, Field Operations Planner with Con Ed: "The following tactics are recommended for firefighters when life and property are not in jeopardy: 1. Secure the area. Keep the public (and FDNY personnel) at a safe distance." Why was this not done?

Item 6 in the list says "Position all apparatus and Firefighters upwind, out of the path of escaping gas." On the morning of 11 September, there was a mild north wind - the wind that blew the smoke from the north tower towards the south one. Yet in Church Street, a fire truck and Chief Pfeifer's SUV were parked downwind from the alleged gas leak: why?

When Chief Pfeifer arrived in the north tower, "right away a guy from the Port Authority told him the damage was somewhere above the 78th floor" (28:01). Where did this information come from? Even if communications with the upper floors were blocked, checking the building from outside should have established the impact was, in fact, much higher than that - between floors 93 and 99. Strangely - yet again - the south tower was hit between floors 77 and 85, and the 78th floor sky lobby was the scene of a major evacuation. Is it coincidence that the number 78 was applied to the wrong tower? How could it not have been known that the north tower impact was 15-20 floors higher?

Because the staff were afraid to leave the tower? So how did hundreds of firemen get in, with only one being killed by a falling body? They would have known where the impact damage was. Pfeifer was looking at the tower all the way down from Church Street, as he made his radio reports: he must have seen what the film shows - that the damage was nowhere near 32 floors from the top of the tower. "You get to know every step - every staircase - every storey" (Hanlon (01:22)) - but not, it seems, how to gauge, on a building clearly divided into three sections, the difference between 32 floors and 16.

When we see the front of the Chief's SUV being driven up Church Street for the gas leak call (Edit 22 in the Film Sequence listing), we are presumably intended to believe that this is the actual event on the day, so Naudet must be inside the car (although the glare in the windscreen prevents identification): so who filmed the car from outside it? This scene is obviously a reconstruction: apart from the ethics, again, of doing that in a documentary, it raises the question of why Naudet, who was at the firehouse when the alarm call came in, did not film the whole episode from then on, instead of reconstructing the scene using later interviews with the firemen.

He was there himself: why do we have no film of it actually happening? And why, once the live filming does start, at the junction, just before the plane arrives, is he apparently kneeling in the street (Edit 26) as he films the firemen standing in front of the Trade Center towers — which he holds the camera on as they walk out of shot, as shown in the still photograph in the heading of this article? He was there for one reason — to film the firemen: why is he prematurely filming the Trade Center, as if he somehow knows it is about to become the subject of the film, seconds before it does? And why, when James Hanlon's commentary was overdubbed later, and this is our last ever view of the towers intact, is nothing said about it? It can only be an "establishing shot" - to make the (unspoken) statement that he can see the Trade Center from where he is — because it would look suspect if our first view of it was when he panned left to film the plane hitting it.

But it looks suspect anyway, because unless he knew that was going to happen, why would he need to make the statement? How could he have made it? "I can see the Trade Center." So what? How could he possibly have known the answer to "so what?" before the plane supplied it? And why on earth was he kneeling down? Is there some innocent explanation? There are times and places for "artistic" angles, and the site of a potential gas explosion is not one of them.

Watching the firehouse TV, Tony Benetatos is outraged (42:29 into the DVD): "The Pentagon's on f****ing fire," he says, apparently not to the person ostensibly filming him live, G้d้on Naudet. Small problem: the clock next to the TV says it is 9.30, but the Pentagon was not hit until 9.37. It is easily explained: either the clock was at least 7 minutes slow or the scene we are watching is another reconstruction and the picture on the TV is a video recording. But what use would a wrong clock be in a firehouse? And if the scene is a reconstruction, why would they leave in a mistake as obvious as this one? How could they have him talking about something we'd know hadn't happened yet?

Eight days before 9/11: James Hanlon left, Tony Benetatos right. "The roof starts to collapse, you gotta get off" - Hanlon (20:06). Now how did those towers get into this picture ? You just can't get away from them - if you try hard enough not to. Result: Ironic Premonition No. 94.

How do we explain another bizarre scene, on
the night of 3 September - only eight days
before 9/11 - where James Hanlon takes proby
Benetatos up above the roof of the Duane
Street firehouse on a fire truck "cherry picker"
(19:46)? Apart from the excuse of delivering
advice on the dangers of collapsing roofs
- the only apparent connection, in that
aerial platforms like this can be used to extract
people from places on a roof unreachable by
ladder (but if the roof of the firehouse is the
example, why can't we see it?) - the major
reason would appear to be what is shown in
the above picture (also on the back of the DVD box): Hanlon, Benetatos and - framed between them - the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, lit up against the night sky.

One might almost think the photographer was trying to tell us something - like, isn't it ironic he's up there listening to advice on getting off a burning building - in front of a backdrop like that? It could only be totally accidental - if not for the fact that the only way to film the Twin Towers from the front of Duane Street firehouse was to get 40 feet off the ground and point the camera south - with your alleged subjects on either side of them, carefully arranged to fit the picture. [And see Convenience 41 on the impossibility of filming the first plane from the firehouse - unless from across the road, with three seconds' notice.] Of course, the very first action scene in the film (01:07) is of the Trade Center, with firemen from Duane Street - again, before 9/11 - when as Hanlon tells us, they might visit the buildings five times in a single shift, being only seven blocks away from it. That might explain why many sources cite Duane Street as the firehouse closest to the Trade Center: not true.

In actual fact, that was Ladder 10/Engine 10 at 124 Liberty Street, directly opposite 4 WTC, and diagonally across from 2, the south tower - whose collapse partly destroyed "Ten House" (it was re-opened only in November 2003). If the pre-9/11 footage at the WTC was included with hindsight, after later events, did the Naudets film the firemen at any other buildings in lower Manhattan, or did they only take calls at the WTC? Or was it, like the "cherry picker" scene, a case not so much of hindsight as of foreknowledge?

Just as bizarre, watch Pfeifer's reaction to the plane when it arrives, recorded on film: the other fireman and the bystander turn and look up at it, but Pfeifer, by contrast, turns and looks towards the camera, turning his back to the plane, as if totally oblivious to it. It seems he can see and hear something more interesting than what is grabbing everyone else's attention; or maybe he is deaf, and doesn't hear the plane — or blind, and doesn't see it, or the reaction to it of folk standing right next to him — distinct career disadvantages for a fireman. Every description of this event you will read (except this one) says that everyone there looks up at the plane: not true — Pfeifer doesn't. And why doesn't he? Is it because he is in charge of this exercise, and is simply making sure the cameraman carries out his part in it? Why else would he be more interested in the camera than the plane?

Most bizarre of all, perhaps, is the scene where the north tower collapses, and Jules Naudet has to move fast. "And I don't even have time to think at that point. I just run." How many of us would choose to hold on to a video camera while running for our lives from a collapsing skyscraper? But Naudet is devoted to his art: he doesn't care that he could always buy a new camcorder, but not a new life. He hangs on to his machine, and leaves it running — and it's still running when he ducks behind a car, with Pfeifer allegedly on top of him. Only damage — some dust on the lens. How about that? Saves his life and his camera, and films it happening.

That is quite something, on top of recording the mass murder of 3,000 others who didn't have his literally unbelievable luck. I would have instinctively flung the camcorder and anything else I was carrying — I would have had no interest in filming what might well have been my horrible death: but I don't have photography in my veins, like Jules Naudet — the man who was earlier filming in Lispenard Street because he needed "camera practice" (Film Edit No. 19).
How could he follow filming his own miraculous dice with death? How could the brothers follow a film like "9/11"? Maybe that's why there has been no new film for four years. How could we just forget the makers of such a cinematic tour de force? The Flight 11 shot alone was worth an Academy Award - if they gave one for Biggest Fake Documentary.

Precedents and the bigger picture

Jules Naudet makes filming the plane, a moving subject, look just as easy as filming the burning tower, a stationary one: simplicity itself. In reality, what could be harder than capturing an unexpected and unrepeatable scene of a jet flying at 1,200 feet for two seconds at 450 miles an hour, from a ground level street in New York, the city of skyscrapers? How could such a film be shown many thousands of times, all around the world, without attracting the suspicion it deserves? Because — and the people behind it were doubtless relying on this — to most viewers, the idea that the film was staged by their own government would be literally unthinkable: it wouldn't even occur to them.

Even those prepared to think the unthinkable — to believe the 9/11 attacks themselves were an "inside job" — might not realize the film was part of it, set up by the same people. How could documentary film of one of the attacks, shot by someone with no apparent link to the government, be suspect? But, let’s face it, would they be stupid enough to use someone linked to them? Perhaps, too, another element is that people were so pleased that someone managed to film the plane - the "accidental picture" story obviously has a deep and wide appeal (probably datable to 22 November 1963) - that no-one questioned how they managed it: it was just accepted as presented. But the film's uniqueness demands an explanation that fits logic and objectivity, and if luck fails that test, which it does, we have to attempt to construct an alternative, however disturbing.

What could be more unthinkable than the most senior military officers in the USA planning terrorist attacks against their own country, to be falsely blamed on a foreign state, as an excuse for invading it? Operation Northwoods, from 1962, may never have been carried out, but its creators fully intended it to be, and seriously expected their government to endorse it: not, one presumes, because they were certifiable, but because similar ideas must have been approved and successfully carried out in the past. Conspiracies always leak, we're told: this one immediately disposes of that totally false claim. Lemnitzer and everyone else party to it either took it to the grave with them or never said one word until it was declassified in 1998 - or later.

Robert McNamara, Defense Secretary in 1962, even now claims amnesia on the subject, as if he has never heard of written records, and never in 89 years had any use for them. "From the records, please - not from memory - did you or did you not have a meeting with the JCS Chairman on Tuesday 13 March 1962, and if so, did you discuss Operation Northwoods?" - a question someone should put to him. How could McNamara possibly forget a document like that? [Some day, Kennedy researchers are going to wake up to the fact that of all possible candidates with a motive for taking JFK off the scene - and both cynical enough and powerful enough to help organize it - Lemnitzer must be among the top half dozen].

The Northwoods conspirators: the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1962 - left to
right: Admiral George Whelan Anderson Jr (Chief of Naval Operations)
15 December 1906-20 March 1992 General George Henry Decker (Chief
of Staff, US Army) 16 February 1902-6 February 1980 General Lyman
Louis Lemnitzer (JCS Chairman) 29 August 1899-12 November 1988
General Curtis Emerson LeMay (Chief of Staff, US Air Force)
15 November 1906-1 October 1990 General David Monroe Shoup
(Commandant, US Marine Corps) 30 December 1904-13 January 1983

Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 1 October 1960-30 September 1962:

could this genial-looking man really have said things like these?

"We could sink a boatload of Cubans in route to Florida (real or simulated)."

"We could blow up a US ship in Guantanomo Bay and blame Cuba."

"Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."

Yes he could,
and did - in secret - not that most of us found out until he had been in
Arlington National Cemetery for a decade. When, if ever, are we going to find
out the kind of things his genial-looking, Harley-Davidson-riding successor 40
years later, General Richard Myers, said and did in secret? What can we know
from a photograph - or the official Pentagon biog?


"In my opinion, the armed forces responded well on 9/11":
General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
1 October 2001-30 September 2005,
in public, with a straight face, sober, in evidence to the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 17 June 2004

Just to demonstrate that the dirty tricks people are still in business 40 years later, it was recently revealed by Philippe Sands, QC - in a scandal that must have lasted a whole five minutes before meeting the usual brick wall of denial - that early in 2003, George W. Bush was prepared to fly an American spy plane over Iraq disguised in UN colors, in the hope that it would be shot down, providing an excuse for invasion. Did this brilliant idea originate from the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I wonder - maybe even from the Chairman personally? It could have come straight from the pages of Northwoods, which includes plans for aircraft being used to provoke Cuba.

For anyone remotely interested in the principles of international law - which obviously excludes every member of the Bush Cabinet - Geneva Conventions, 1977 Protocol, Article 37: "It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy ... The following acts are examples of perfidy ... The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations ..." ; Article 38: "It is prohibited to make use of the distinctive emblem of the United Nations, except as authorized by that Organization." If the spy plane brainwave is legal, 9/11 is legal - and John Ashcroft would be just the man to say so.

With America now based, long-term, in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iraq, and everyone else under US domination — by general consensus, unthinkable (that word again) before 2001 — who can deny that, in those terms, 9/11 was a "success"? But hardly for those alleged to be behind it. What kind of success is it to make your supposed enemy not weaker, but stronger than ever? And how strange — or not — that should be the result every time the USA is attacked: Mexico 1846 — Cuba 1898 — Hawaii 1941 — New York and Washington 2001 — the attacks variously provoked, engineered or self-inflicted; where there's a need, there's a way.

Every 50 years or so, the same con pulled on a US public that seems to learn nothing: you have to be totally brainless not to see the pattern, but that description would suit the millions of Americans, the shame and laughing stock of the civilized world, who all along have dutifully swallowed every word of the Evil Terrorist Mastermind story, straight from a Superman comic or a Hollywood schlock buster, because they are incapable of handling anything more complex, like the real world around them.

In that real world, four years ago, George W. Bush promised to bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. What happened to that promise? Let's look at his record. After the first ever 9/11 conviction, in Hamburg on 19 February 2003, Mounir al-Motassadeq was sentenced to 15 years for membership in a terrorist organization and complicity in the 3,066 murders allegedly committed on 9/11; on 4 March 2004, that conviction was quashed. When his retrial on the same charges ended on 19 August 2005, he was acquitted on the murder charges but was given 7 years for al-Qaeda membership. His co-accused, Abdelghani Mzoudi, had been acquitted on all charges on 5 February 2004.

On 22 April 2005, after more than three years of pre-trial hearings, Zacarias Moussaoui finally pleaded guilty in Washington to six counts of conspiracy involving the events of 9/11, saving the expense (and possible embarrassment) of a trial; he then immediately tried to withdraw his plea and claimed he had been involved in a different conspiracy, but not 9/11 — a claim given some backing even in the Kean Commission Report.

On the very same day, 22 April 2005, 24 defendants (from the original 41 indicted, including Osama Bin Laden) appeared in Madrid in a trial expected to last two months, with three of the 24 accused of being accessories to the murders of 9/11 — by now reduced to 2,973. In the event, the trial lasted less than three days — Friday 22, Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 — resulting in 18 convictions, but all murder charges and telephone evidence being thrown out, one of the three acquitted on all charges, one given 6 years for membership of al-Qaeda and the third, Imad Yarkas ("Abu Dahdah"), 27 years, comprising 12 for al-Qaeda membership and (as opposed to the 74,325 years — 25 for each murder — requested by the prosecution) 15 for "criminal formation," otherwise known as conspiracy — "providing funding and logistics" for those who planned 9/11, but not, according to the 447-page summary from the 3-judge panel, direct participation in 9/11.

That is the sum total of Bush's efforts to bring the guilty to justice: two convictions, a Spanish one of a minor figure in the conspiracy, on circumstantial evidence, and an American one with no trial, no jury and precious little credibility. Even when Moussaoui is sentenced, some time in 2006, it is entirely possible the sentence will be sealed — classified secret — as it was in the bizarre pre-9/11 case of another defendant who pleaded guilty to avoid a trial — Ali Mohamed, the al-Qaeda operative with a past life as a US Army instructor at Fort Bragg; or maybe he will be found dead in his cell, like Slobodan Milosevic; even if neither of these happens, and he gets either a death sentence or a life sentence, it is generally accepted Moussaoui was only indirectly involved - no surprise, when he was already in an American prison cell when it happened.
The alleged "mastermind" of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been in custody for three years now, and Ramzi Binalshibh for longer than that: there seems to be no urgency in bringing them to trial, or even admitting where they are. As for Bin Laden, the Bush Government has long ago frankly admitted they could care less where he is. We can discount the guilt by innuendo of the hundreds held in Guantanomo without being charged, with 9/11 or anything else, and the implied guilt of Saddam Hussein, against whom there never was any 9/11 case.

Is this the justice — two highly dubious convictions — promised to the American people in September 2001 by the Commander-in-Chief who, at the absolute minimum, failed to prevent the attacks in the first place? Instead of the official version of events being proved in a court, we have had the Kean Report, just as 40 years ago we had the Warren Report — as a substitute for judicial process.

The rest of the official 9/11 story amounts to hot air. The Bush government has no 9/11 case: not a single shred of evidence, put to a jury in a trial — which excludes Moussaoui — leading to the conviction of someone directly responsible — which excludes Yarkas — for planning 3,000 deaths. Given this abject failure — or, as I and millions of others believe, worse — far worse — perhaps my contribution might achieve something: it can hardly achieve less. If the real guilty parties have not yet been convicted, the whole question of their identity is wide open. The minor players convicted so far — or even any major ones convicted in the future — could very well be the victims of manipulation by others still in the shadows. If the people who have been convicted so far didn't do it, who did?

Given this state of affairs, no-one who thinks the US government itself organized 9/11 need offer the slightest apology for believing it — and they have Northwoods as a precedent, to prove that those at the very top of the US military establishment are capable of that level of cynicism — not just thinking it, but planning it, putting it in print and expecting it to be endorsed by a Defense Secretary and an Attorney General. Robert McNamara and Robert Kennedy may have had their reasons for rejecting Northwoods — perhaps not moral compunctions so much as the risks involved in something that, if exposed, would make the U-2 shoot down and the Bay of Pigs fiasco look like minor problems. By 2001, what made them major — the existence of the Soviet Union — was past history, the USA now had no serious enemies or competitors, and Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft were in office.

When would there ever be a better opportunity? Does anyone with a brain and any sense of honesty seriously believe Osama Bin Laden brought that about, or that a government like Bush's would sit around, staring into space, waiting for him to do it? They made the opportunity happen. Why would a real enemy — if they had any — give them a gift like that? Those who claim Bush did no more than capitalize on an accident really have to justify this fatuous image of the USA as a passive spectator, or a defenseless victim, when the historical record, quoted at length by Chomsky and others, tells us the opposite. Was the Vietnam War, decades before 9/11, carried out by a passive, peace-loving state that believed in just minding its own business?

How can anyone who knows about the rapacity and the lying hypocrisy of US governments possibly see them as poor little innocents, wide open to attack by a gang of terrorists living in a cave in Afghanistan? It would be hilarious if it wasn't so deadly depressing.

What next?

Depressing, but there are reasons for optimism. I say the Naudet film is one of the keys to 9/11 that will expose the true perpetrators. It is not just a documentary record of the crime, but an integral part of the crime. What can we do about it? For one thing, we can call for the issuing of FBI and international warrants for the arrest of the Naudets and everyone else involved in the filming of Flight 11. What does David Friend of Vanity Fair magazine (said to have known their father, Jean-Jacques Naudet, for years, and the brothers since childhood) know about this film? What exactly was his role as one of 13 credited producers?

How involved is former Battalion Chief Pfeifer (after 9/11 promoted to Deputy Assistant Chief of the Department)? Or is that totally unthinkable because his brother Kevin was one of the 343 FDNY fatalities — as unthinkable as the idea that the Pentagon could have been involved in 9/11 when it was one of the targets? As unthinkable as the idea that a businessman would ever burn down his own property for the insurance, or a murderer would ever shoot himself in the foot to make it look like self-defense - only in the cynical imaginations of Godless lefties and Bush-bashers. Never happens.

How involved are the other firemen from Duane Street seen in the film? Do they still work at Duane Street? Were at least some of the firemen who used to work there transferred elsewhere in the months leading up to 9/11? Was Duane Street gradually infiltrated, pre-9/11, by intelligence agents or assets masquerading as firemen, who could then themselves be "transferred" out again after the event? Transfers are nothing unusual: neither Pfeifer nor Benetatos (the 23-year-old "boy" who became a man) still works at Duane Street, and in September 2005 it was reported (Carl Glassman, Tribeca Tribune) that, of the 50 men who had worked there four years before, only 14 still did. Do those include James Hanlon, the actor-fireman (and who knows what else?), last seen on screen in "Raising Helen" (2004)? He is said in his biographies — such as they are — to speak French (and to have a French wife, Sophie Comet, also an actor): so why, throughout the film, does he refer to "Jools" and "Gideon"?

And where, come to that, are the brothers themselves — Jules Cl้ment Naudet (born Paris, 26 April 1973) and Thomas G้d้on Naudet (born Paris, 27 March 1970) — and what are they doing these days? Have they given up the film business, four years after their last one (only their second ever) and ten years after graduating from New York University film school in 1995? What have they been living on since then? Barring expenses, the proceeds from "9/11" were meant to go to the UFA Scholarship Fund: how much has been raised so far? Why such a low profile when they should be American, if not international, celebrities? Was their first film made solely to establish a fake career for themselves as film-makers, as a front for their real occupation? Did they ever in fact attend New York University? Did they ever in fact work for Canal Plus TV in France? Can we even believe the above dates of birth? Can we have confirmation that Jules went ahead with his plan to get married at Duane Street in summer 2002? Was Hanlon the best man?

Where are the happy pictures? Or was that yet another fiction? Can we see a photograph of their father, whose picture does not appear even in his own books? He is said to be a journalist working with the Hachette Filipacchi agency in the USA, and to have been the Editor-in-Chief of Photo magazine 1976-1988, but I can find only one article by him on the Internet, dated November/December 2001. Is his career as invented as his sons’? Only three books: "Icons of the 20th Century: 200 Men and Women who have Made a Difference" (originally "Portraits du XX่me Si่cle : 200 Personnalit้s qui ont Marqu้ leur ษpoque"), with Barbara Cady, 1998/1999/2003;  "Marilyn," 1999/2003 ; and "Marlene Dietrich: Photographs and Memories," with Maria Riva, 2001. Like his sons, nothing has been produced since.

I have written to all these people, to give them the chance to comment - or sue - without getting one reply; if they are outraged about the suggestion that they might be involved in mass murder, they have a strange way of showing it - never the reaction you would expect. But one person can't achieve much on his own: only concerted efforts are going to produce the truth we deserve. We owe it to all the victims and their loved ones — and to ourselves.

If you have suspicions about the Naudet film, put them to the people who made it and the people who appear in it: write to the Naudets c/o William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 or c/o Goldfish Pictures Inc., 38 East 73rd St, New York NY 10021 (and Jules Naudet can be e-mailed at jnaudet@nyc.rr.com); to DAC Joseph W. Pfeifer at Fire Department of New York, 9 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, New York NYT 11201; to the Chief, Battalion 1, 100 Duane Street, New York NY 10007; to Susan Zirinsky, CBS Executive Producer on the film, c/o CBS News, 524 West 57th Street, New York NY 10019; to Graydon Carter, Editor, or to David Friend, Editor of Creative Development, c/o Vanity Fair, 4 Times Square, Floor 22, New York NY 10036-6518 ; to the FBI, by e-mail ; to your Representative or MP; to "mainstream" journalists, magazines and newspapers (if you have more faith in them than I do, after 9/11 yet again demonstrated their total gutlessness, dishonesty and irrelevance); to TV channels that show the Naudet film or the Flight 11 shot ... etc ... and if you have any comments or observations on this essay, or constructive criticism, to: lesraphael@hotmail.com

If the Naudets themselves — wherever they may be — want to respond, or if they have evidence that could establish the Flight 11 film was genuinely accidental, despite 69 conveniences, they are more than welcome to provide it.

Postscript 1 : The Hlava Film

The obvious cover story for a genuinely accidental film shot of Flight 11 would be having a tourist do it: virtually nobody who actually lives in New York films landmarks like the World Trade Center that are part of daily life, but tourists do. The obvious story is, however, as usual, too obvious. For example, when it turned out that only one tourist had filmed it, some people might ask why only one. For another, most tourists filming the towers from the outside would want to emphasize the height by filming close — too close to capture much of the flight of a jet flying into one of them - not to mention too close for safety.

Jules Naudet didn't film the plane as a tourist, or from his home, or from his place of work — or even from someone else's place of work — at least, not the place they spend most of their working hours. But someone else did — because, it would appear, provision was made for the possibility that suspicions might be raised, sooner or later, about the first film: if that were to happen, Film Two could be brought out, to "prove" the Naudet film wasn't suspiciously unique after all. This simple explanation of the mysterious two-year delay before that happened has the merit of being remotely credible, unlike the official story.

Not one, but two male immigrants — both with a Sony camcorder, and both with a brother in the story — captured the last seconds of Flight 11: another coincidence (or not) to add to the list, although the two films are notable as much for their differences as their similarities — one by an amateur, the other a professional, for instance. Pavel Hlava, a Czech from Ostrava who came to the USA in 1999, and his only-just-arrived brother Josef were in a Ford Explorer SUV driven by Pavel's employer, Russian-born Mike Cohen, about to enter the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, at 8.46 am on September 11 2001, taking a detour on their way to a construction job in Pennsylvania so that Pavel could show his brother the Twin Towers and film them for the family back in Europe.

This photographer picked not just the wrong day, but the wrong time, to film the World Trade Center. Within seconds of the towers first appearing in his "video postcard," with Hlava zooming in for a close-up, what happens? Along comes Flight 11 and crashes straight into it — perfect timing — not, we're told, that he identified the dot in his film as a plane until two weeks later. Unlike Naudet's, this story has the cameraman allegedly unaware he had filmed the plane, despite hearing, seconds later, a radio report saying one had just hit that very building: didn't it occur to him he might have captured it? Why would it take him two weeks to check? He later, consciously and without any doubt in his mind, managed to capture the second plane, Flight 175, hitting the south tower, and then its collapse 56 minutes later.

And why would he then, having failed to sell a film whose significance he supposedly didn't appreciate, leave it lying around in his apartment in Ridgewood for two years, where his son once nearly wiped the tape, playing with it? And why would he then, having allowed one TV showing of his film in September 2003, refuse to allow it to be broadcast in public ever again? Because his employer objected, we're told: "Three thousand people died in that place ... the day he's gonna sell that film, he's not gonna work for me anymore." And we all know how difficult it is for Eastern European immigrants to find work in the west: rather less difficult than believing this nonsense, or the rest of the Hlava tale.

Hlava's agent - the man who got his film its short-lived publicity - was one Walter Karling, who, it turns out, is a professional photographer and an instructor at the New York Institute of Photography at 211 East 43rd Street: someone, in short, who should be more than capable of recognizing a photographic fraud when he sees one - and probably did in this case, meaning he too is complicit. Just as Hlava turns out to be associated with a professional photographer, the Naudet brothers are associated with a professional actor and amateur cameraman: isn't that curious? I say that both Naudet and Hlava - if they were the photographers - knew what was going to happen that morning, and were told how to film it by handlers working for one of the US intelligence agencies - Karling and Hanlon. Their attempts to explain how they captured these films are obviously contrived, and they are all liars.

Pavel Hlava (left) and Mike Cohen, Brooklyn, 5 September 2003

What is it with brothers? The Hlava brothers, the Naudets, the Pfeifers, the Bin Ladens, the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Dulleses, the Oswalds, the Cabells (one the Mayor of Dallas, the other the deputy to one of the Dulleses at the CIA until one of the Kennedys fired them both). At least four pairs of brothers in the Dallas story and five in the 9/11 one ... but maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. And let's also forget those other little curiosities — like the word "Naudets" being an anagram of "Duane St." You really don't need to get into the numerological ramifications of the date 9/11, such as the fact that ground was broken for the building of the Pentagon on 9/11/41 (three months before Pearl Harbor, and before most Americans had any interest in joining World War II, let it be noted), to know that we have not been told the truth about that subject — or to work out that, whatever the truth is, it may well have something to do with two pieces of "accidental" documentary, both of them deeply suspect.

Postscript 2 : The 9/11 Film Industry

The Naudet brothers and Pavel Hlava are notable in having filmed the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but theirs are by no means the only examples of fraudulent documentary in that field: there is now a veritable industry specialising in 9/11 films, and it seems likely to carry on into the indefinite future - unless we can make progress demolishing some of the packs of lies that have built up over the last four and a half years. There has been a whole series of TV documentaries on one aspect or another of 9/11 both before and after the Naudet film: some -
very few - are, or at least seem to be, perfectly genuine; most have to be treated with some scepticism; the worst, like the Naudet and Hlava films, are packed with lies and distortions and deeply suspect, and it would be a fair presumption that the folk who produce them and appear in them are either themselves complicit in 9/11 or know who is.

Among the latter category, I would certainly include "Victim 0001" and "The Man Who Predicted 9/11" from the following list of just 14 of the genre: one the story of Father Mychal Judge and the campaign by journalist Burt Kearns - who never met him - to have him canonised, straight out of "Father Ted"; the other the story of Cyril "Rick" Rescorla, based on the book "Heart of a Soldier" by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer James B. Stewart. Rescorla and Judge had at least three things in common - both died on 9/11; both had Celtic roots (Cornish and Irish); and both seem to have not a single living blood relative, whom we might expect to see interviewed in a film biography.

For the details of Rescorla's life, we are dependent on a widow who only met him in July 1998, and the word of people like his old comrade-in-arms Dan Hill, who claims to have been involved in the Bay of Pigs in 1961, among other things. Do we really have to be pathological cynics to have doubts about films like these, crammed with every tear-jerking clich้ and stereotype in the book? Doubtless, the only reason "Victim 0001" doesn't include the Londonderry Air ("Danny Boy") is that the Naudets had already used it for their montage of deceased firemen at the end of "9/11." In "Heroes of Ground Zero," a New York fireman claims to have seen people jumping that day, a sight he still had nightmares about. Let's have it said, for the record, that anyone who says he can see a human being jumping out of a building, through flame and smoke, a minimum of 1,200 feet above the street - very nearly a quarter of a mile away - is either a complete liar or has the most incredible eyesight in medical history. Unless he meant he had seen it through binoculars - but he didn't mention any - or maybe he just assumed that a falling body he saw much nearer the ground must have jumped from higher up. Whatever - he could not possibly have seen it with the naked eye from ground level. But he is in very distinguished company: Mayor Giuliani makes the same claim in "In Memoriam." "9/11: the Falling Man" makes the strange claim that 1,000 people were trapped in the north tower, and 600 in the south, which makes a nonsense of the official statistics, imprecise as they are: they're not out by 1,000. (Richard Drew, of course, is no stranger to controversy: in 1968, he was one of four photographers in the kitchen of the Los Angeles hotel where Robert Kennedy was shot - none of whom managed to capture Sirhan doing it. What were they filming - the contents of the freezer?)

All the films in this list, giving their date of broadcast on British TV, include things like the above. You would almost think they were all coming out of a film factory somewhere, made by the same production company (that would also be responsible for all the Al Qaeda tapes), with the same cameramen and narrators and scriptwriters. The names in the credits may be different, but the same style and content are easily detectable - the same crassness, the same infuriating tastelessness, the same contentious nonsense, the same fakery. Like the Al Qaeda tapes, and like the Naudet and Hlava films, their function is as propaganda, to keep the pot boiling.

Iraq long ago turned into a disaster - as did Afghanistan - and Bush and Blair are less popular than ever, but the 9/11 film team keep cranking them out, as if nothing has changed since 2001. And in the sense that Bush and Blair are still in office, and those who perpetrated 9/11 are still out there, waiting for someone to expose them and having a good laugh meanwhile, nothing has.

Attack on the Wires (BBC2, 5.8.02)
  - how and why communications failed - or not
The Fight for Ground Zero: an Equinox Special (Channel 4, 6.9.04)
  - Director, Kevin Sim
Heroes of Ground Zero: New York's Firefighters (Channel 4, 8.11.01)
  - more lying firemen, as in Naudet, but from a different house
The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer (BBC2, 18.8.02)
  - Writer/Producer, Martin Wilson
In Memoriam: New York City (Channel 4, 4.9.02)
  - hosted by Rudolph Giuliani
Let's Roll: the Story of Flight 93 (ITN, 4.9.02)
  - see also "The Flight that Fought Back" - the remake
The Man Who Predicted 9/11 (Channel 4, 5.9.05)
  - Producer/Director, Steve Humphries
9/11: Clear the Skies (BBC2, 1.9.02)
  - Producer/Director, Peter Molloy
9/11: The Falling Man (Channel 4, 16.3.06)
  - Richard Drew's photos ; Producer/Director, Henry Singer
9/11: the Firefighters' Story (Channel 5, 29.8.02)
  - Director, Paul Berriff
9/11 - The Flight that Fought Back: the True Story (Channel 5, 5.1.06)
  - Flight 93 again ; Director, Bruce Goodison
9/11 - The Plane that Hit the Tower: The True Story (Channel 5, 30.5.05)
  - Writer/Producer/Director, David Hickman
Panorama: September 11 - A Warning from Hollywood  (BBC1, 25.3.02)
  - with Philip Strub, Pentagon Film Liaison ; Producer, Ricardo Pollack
Victim 0001 (ITN, 10.9.04)
  - the story of Father Mychal Judge; Director, Peter Minns
"I don't know. They always say there is always a witness for history. I guess ... we were ... that day, we were chosen to be the witness": Jules Naudet (03:51). Chosen by whom? The Great Scriptwriter in the Sky? Or was it ...