JULES NAUDET'S 9/11
FILM WAS STAGED
18 March 2006
At 8.46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, at the intersection of Church and
in Manhattan, one of two French film-making brothers, 28-year-old Jules
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
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
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
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 dont
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
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
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
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
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 its 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
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"
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
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 WMDs 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
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
4 (1.9) Firefighter Pat Zoda (Engine 7) walks past fire
VO: I was off that
5 (2.5) Probationary Firefighter Antonios ("Tony") Benetatos
VO: 13 guys from
my firehouse were on.
6 (1.8) Firefighter Nick Borrillo (Ladder 1) cleans his
Live (unseen firefighter):
7 (2.9) Captain Dennis Tardio (Engine 7)
Live (unseen firefighter):
... What happened?
Int (Zoda): Around
8 (1.0) Alarm bell
alarm call): Ladder ...
9 (1.4) Firefighter Zoda
Int (Zoda): ...
I believe the run came in.
10 (2.4) Firefighters getting ready to leave
We get the run for the gas leak ...
11 (2.0) Firefighter 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)
You know, you don't think anything of it - you just - you get on the rig,
you go, you say, "all right, its an odour of gas."
15 (1.3) Fire truck pulling out of firehouse
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
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
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)
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
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
28 (4.5) Close-up of gas detector being held to grating by Firefighter
We checked the area with meters, and ...
29 (5.5) Battalion Chief 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.
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)
John O'Neill, Ladder 1): Right then and there, I knew that ...
31 (4.0) Firefighter 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
Immediately, I knew that this wasn't an accident.
Live (other driver,
on radio): What am I doing on the ...
on radio): Go ... go to the Trade Center.
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
... 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
on radio): Battalion 1 to Manhattan.
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
Bill Walsh, Ladder 1): It was probably ...
38 (13.0) Through left window - fire truck passing - then back through
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
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
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
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 Pfeifers 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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 thats 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
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.
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 Niros 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
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 Broadways west side - and Church Streets east
would be in the way.
Why not Cortland Avenue, Lafayette Street or Centre
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?
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.
A photographic demonstration
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
"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 Hanlons 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 Fathers 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,
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 dont
think anything of it?" Would a battalion chief in charge of that call
saunter about hand in pocket, like Joseph Pfeifer ? Is that why Fathers
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?
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
didnt 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); "Its 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
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,
thats 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
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
(in bold : at Church/Lispenard, 8.46 am, 9/11)
| (Engine 10/Ladder
| (Squad 18)
Avenue of the Americas
| (Engine 24/Ladder
| (Engine 55)
| (Engine 26)
| (Engine 34/Ladder
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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, lets 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
Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs 1 October 1960-30 September 1962:
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
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
Arlington National Cemetery for a decade. When, if ever, are we going
out the kind of things his genial-looking, Harley-Davidson-riding successor
years later, General Richard Myers, said and did in secret? What can we
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
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
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
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
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org);
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: email@example.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.
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
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.
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
Attack on the Wires (BBC2,
- 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
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 ...