Bogus claims: "No Planes" hoaxes

traps to distract and discredit the 9/11 truth movement

9/11 was an inside job, but some claims of complicity are fake

muddying the waters to discredit the 9/11 Truth Movement

related pages:

a short history of the "no planes on 9/11" hoaxes

Flight 77
crashed into the
nearly empty part
of the Pentagon
9:38 am

impact area of Flight 77
(shown by piecing together photos taken shortly after the crash - click on the photo for a large version)

the impact spread fire over a wide swath of the outside within seconds (the fuel is stored in the wings)

the damage to the outside of the building was the width of a 757

it is subtle, but if you look at the photos you can see the damage to the facade matches the width of a 757 - full size photos at

The "no Boeing hit the Pentagon" claim is the most important and widespread 9/11 hoax. It may have been set up before the event since seizing of surveillance camera videos within minutes of the crash. It is extremely unlikely that the conspirators who allowed (and assisted) 9/11 would not have taken care to create misdirecting hoaxes before the "attack," since they are very aware that large segments of the population would have suspicions about the events and therefore they would "need" to disrupt skeptical inquiry with red herrings, hoaxes, false dichotomies, etc.

This hoax is based on misrepresentation of photos taken shortly after the crash, ignoring of physical evidence and documented reports from hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw the plane. There is NO credible, verifiable evidence in support of ANY of the many and varied "theories" pretending that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon, and therefore, 9/11 was an inside job. See for details.

It was first floated in early October 2001 by French author Thierry Meyssan and US War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Monsieur Meyssan started a webpage that suggested a plane did not hit the Pentagon on October 7, and Rumsfeld gave an interview to Parade magazine on October 12 where he said a "missile" hit the Pentagon. That "missile" quote was then used by many no plane advocates as part of the campaign to draw attention to this claim. Meyssan went on to create the "Hunt the Boeing" website and then published two books "The Horrifying Fraud" (published in English as "9/11 The Big Lie") and Pentagate. These books have been translated into a total of 28 languages, which ensures that they are the dominant version of the claim suggesting complicity or conspiracy that is seen around the world.

On September 4, 2004, two months before the pseudo Presidential election, Parade magazine claimed that this quote was a mis-statement and the sole source for the no plane hoaxes, thus dismissing 9/11 "truth" to an audience of millions of voters.

The biggest claim for the no plane hoax is that the "hole" in the facade of the Pentagon was supposedly too small to have been created by a 757. Many of these claims state that photos taken during the half hour between the crash and the collapse of that part of the building show a hole merely 16 to 18 feet across. However, those photos have most of the damage obscured by firefighting foam and smoke -- the full hole was about 90 feet wide, and additional damage (from the wingtips) is visible for tens of feet beyond the hole. The impact on the outside of the building was the size and shape of the cross-section of a 757.

Perhaps the most intriguing claim from those who cling to the "no plane" claim is the fact that the Pentagon is hiding footage from the video surveillance cameras that filmed the event constitutes evidence that something other than Flight 77 hit the building. This suppression of evidence shows foreknowledge (since FBI agents who seized the film were immediately able to grab the videos), but not "no plane." Hotel workers who watched "their" video before it was seized saw the plane. And the hundreds of commuters and other bystanders who were in the area also saw the plane. The video is probably being withheld in a form of "reverse psychology" to get the skeptics to think the Pentagon is hiding something when they are not, which is needed to keep this hoax alive. Some 9/11 activists who disbelieve the "no plane" stuff think the Pentagon is planning to release "newly discovered" video of the plane hitting the building to discredit 9/11 truth, but it is more likely that they are enjoying the spectacle of the activists discrediting themselves and 9/11 complicity in general. More important, they understand that if the "no plane" claims are extinguished, most of those focused on the "Pentagate" will shift their attention toward real evidence of complicity that the "no plane" stuff distracts from.

The eyewitnesses who had a good view of the event are unified in their reporting -- they saw a large, twin engine jet. Some had better views than others, some saw the crash, some had the final moment obscured from their vantage point. Some were stuck in traffic on nearby roads, others were outside. Some were military officials, others include cab drivers, ordinary commuters and even a Unitarian minister (a cross section of people normally found in northern Virginia during rush hour). Some hoaxers claim that the eyewitnesses are not reliable, and the "physical evidence" should be used instead -- except the physical evidence shows that Flight 77 definitely hit the Pentagon.

Hundreds (if not more) people saw the plane, and hundreds more participated in the cleanup and saw plane debris and bodies of the passengers. It is ridiculous to think that everyone in the vicinity (including the rush hour traffic) was somehow an agent or dupe of the "inside job" conspirators -- that would have expanded the needed size of the conspiracy to absurd levels, and the insinuation has helped ensure that the eyewitnesses, their families, friends, co-workers, etc. think that 9/11 skeptics are rude, insulting and generally making up nonsense. Cui bono? Who benefits?

Newsweek reported a few weeks after 9/11 that the "black boxes" from the plane were found, and that data would indicate how the plane was steered in its final moments in an incredible spiral dive into the nearly empty, recently reconstructed and strengthened sector of the Pentagon. The alleged hijacker, Mr. Hani Hanjour, flunked out of flight school and clearly did not have the skills to perform that maneuver. The fact that the plane flew around the Pentagon, past Donald Rumsfeld's office, past the National Military Command Center, and struck the least populated part suggests that whoever was at the controls wanted to ensure the minimal level of casualties. Would a "terrorist" have chosen to fly this way? Even an expert pilot would have had a hard time doing this. This is strong circumstantial evidence for remote control technology. Proving its use is probably impossible, but the technology is commercially available.This suggests that remote control technology of some sort was actually used to hijack the plane, and that the role of the "hijackers" may merely have been that of patsies. The black boxes would confirm or refute this theory, but most 9/11 "conspiracy" investigators have fixated on the fleeting hope that the surveillance videos would be released (which would merely prove the obvious) while ignoring the hidden data that could actually prove something.

The "no plane" hoax discredited claims of complicity inside the Beltway among the general public and the political and military elites. Washington, DC voted 90% against Bush in 2004, and Arlington County (where the Pentagon is located) is the most Democratic constituency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. (The Republicans in the DC area are more concentrated in Fairfax County and other outer suburbs, especially those outside the Capitol Beltway.)

This hoax created a false dichotomy between "no plane" and "no complicity" when neither is true.

It is not a coincidence that many supporters of the official "surprise attack" story focus exclusively on the "no plane" theories when smearing 9/11 skeptics. The "no plane at the Pentagon" has been the most successful disinformation meme used against the 9/11 truth movement, which distracts from the fact the Pentagon was hit in the mostly empty part, why the Air Force did not defend its own headquarters and the roles of the multiple war games run by the military and intelligence agencies that morning.

Flight 11
crashed into
North Tower
(first to be hit)
8:46 am

Due to the success of the "no plane at Pentagon" claim, several successor stories were created to deny the other crashes but none were as popular as the original hoax. The first of these was the idea that a plane did not really hit the North Tower, but was really a missile camoflaged by a King Kong sized hologram of a plane. This bizarre creation came from a website called "the webfairy," and took advantage of the fact that there is only one, low quality video publicly available of the North Tower attack. This hoax is easily disproved by the most obvious "physical evidence" - the hole in the side of the North tower was the size of a 767.

The "no plane at the towers" campaign didn't fly, partially because the idea for the missile masked by a King Kong sized hologram of a plane at the North Tower is ridiculous and was of limited utility in discrediting the 9/11 truth movement. It is probable that this wasn't intended to attract supporters, but merely make 9/11 skeptics look silly.

The next version of "no plane" was a claim that the plane that hit the South Tower was swapped in mid-flight with military plane that crashed into the tower, carrying a "pod" under the plane that fired a missile at the building just before crashing into it. Variations on the "pod" is that it was a bomb or perhaps a remote controlled flight system. (Of course, none of the pod people can explain why the military conspirators wouldn't have merely placed these devices in the plane itself, or why the plane would be unable to penetrate the towers without first firing a missile. It is amazing how much time can be spent refuting this endless flood of nonsense, which is probabaly the purpose behind this propaganda.) The "pod" plane claims have not had substantial impact, since they are strange, based on fuzzy pictures and have been clearly refuted by the 9/11 truth movement - the pod is merely a carefully chosen photo of the normal "fairing" bulge between the wing and the fuselage. (It would not be surprising to see "no building" theories as part of this information warfare attack.)

This hoax is exhaustively debunked by this report:

The WTC Impacts: 767s or "Whatzits"?

A fall back argument from this distraction effort is the claim that the planes that hit the towers were smaller than 767s, implying some sort of plane substitution in mid air (and therefore 9/11 was an inside job). Again, this claim is easily debunked by looking at the impact holes, which were the size and shape of a cross-section of a 767. The most widely quoted advocate of this "smaller plane" claim is Bush administration veteran Morgan Reynolds, who has echoed this "no 767" claim in published articles, newspaper interviews and public speeches. A review of his writings is at

Perhaps the most subtle, and important disinformation around the attacks on the towers are the claims that "the Jews were all warned to stay away from the WTC."

While it is true that Israel had foreknowledge of 9/11, and probably was involved at some level as a subcontractor, this story has been the single best method of discrediting 9/11 skeptics to the public, especially in New York City, where about one third of the citizens are Jewish. This story has been especially popular in the Arab world, as it plays into the known duplicities of the Israeli and US governments, and helps absolve that community of any possible psychological complicity in the events.Worse, it has brought out a small parade of anti-semites and neo-Nazi holocaust deniers which serves the interests of those who want to separate the 9/11 skeptics from the US public.

It is possible that the Israelis were pretending to be involved via the "dancing Israelis" filming the burning towers (who were arrested on the New Jersey side of the Hudson after outraged bystanders noted they were taking films and acting happy about the tragedy). Whatever the precise role that the Israeli government played in 9/11, "dancing Israelis" story was spread widely across the internet. Perhaps it was merely bait to ensure the anti-semites would be seen as the main questioners of the official story of 9/11. Perhaps Israel helped monitor the "hijackers" and performed other roles.

This website has been smeared by a couple of internet personas as a Zionist front for daring to suggest any of this. Fascist language is about psychology, not facts. A quick look at will show how this smear campaign is ridiculous.

Flight 175
crashed into
South Tower
9:03 am

The pod is just a photo of a 767 "fairing" - the bulge between the wing and fuselage.

The third "no plane" claim stated that the plane that hit the South Tower was swapped in mid-flight with military plane that crashed into the tower, carrying a "pod" under the plane that fired a missile at the building just before crashing into it.

The "pod" hoax seemed to have been test-marketed in 2003 on obscure websites in England and Spain. But the hoax got a much bigger promotional effort in mid-2004, shortly after the International Inquiry into 9/11 in San Francisco and as the "election" campaign entered full steam. A website called "letsroll911" started up with "new video footage" claiming to show a missile fired from the plane into the South Tower, but without presenting any documentation to prove that this footage was not merely manipulated with digital photographic software such as "Photoshop." Without any "chain of custody" this "evidence" is useless and irrelevant -- and any "new footage" magically appearing years after the event must be considered bogus until proven authentic.

One consequence of the staged timing of the tower attacks is that the second crash was seen and photographed by countless people from every possible perspective. If there had been a missile fired at the WTC, or an anomaly on the plane that suggested plane swapping, it would have been revealed shortly afterwards. (This is a reason why the "no plane hit the Pentagon" claims are not true -- too many people saw it happen to believe that it did not happene.)

While the footage of the "missile" looked fake, the "pod" claim was much more subtle. It was not added to the photos of Flight 175 -- it was merely a carefully chosen image of the normal "fairing" connecting the wing to the fuselage.

A film focused on the "pod" claim released in the summer of 2004 called "911: In Plane Site" tacitly admitted that the "pod" was really just a picture of the fairing. Shortly before its release, a participant in the "911 Truth Alliance" email list posted a photo of a 757 showing the bulge between the wing and fuselage, noting that the "pod" claim was not true. The producers of this movie chose the exact same photo (of all of the photos ever taken of Boeings) to use as part of a montage on the cover of their DVD. A bad joke "hidden in plain sight."

Some 9/11 truth activists started calling this campaign an effort of "pod people," an analogy to the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a science fiction story about alien invasion of the United States (thought by some to be a parable for anti-communist fears of subversives overtaking the country, or perhaps a parable about anti-communist paranoia). In that film, the aliens emerged from "pods" and then took over normal humans, who were then converted into aliens yet looked normal on the outside.

The "parallel 9/11 movement" that emerged to challenge the "mainstream" 9/11 truth movement for control of the terms of debate parallels the "pod people" from the "Body Snatchers" film. This parallel effort appears to most people to be part of the same movement as the 9/11 truth movement. However, this parallel effort avoids the primary issues raised by 9/11 truth activists and writers in favor of speculations and photographic misinterpretations such as the "pod").

The pod campaign got some traction -- more than the "webfairy" theory, but much less than the "Pentagate" claims. In Plane Site was moderately effective at disrupting unity among the 9/11 truth activists, with some thinking it to be a sincere effort (even if some of the claims were incorrect), and others pointing out that it was mostly disinformation.

In March, 2005, Popular Mechanics published a front-page story about debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories that began with the pod hoax. That article mixed exposure of fake claims with a couple of real pieces of evidence while ignoring most of the best evidence for complicity.

A couple minor variations on the pod hoax are that it was not firing missiles, but was really a bomb or perhaps a remote controlled flight system (if the planes were remote controlled, the altered navigational systems would have been made in or near the cockpit - this claim is a means to discredit the probable reality of remote control on 9/11). None of the pod people suggested why the military conspirators wouldn't have merely placed these devices in the plane itself, why no one noticed the pod and/or missile until they pointed it out, or why the plane would have been unable to penetrate the towers without first firing a missile.

It is amazing how much time can be spent refuting this endless flood of nonsense, which is probably the purpose for this propaganda.

Perhaps one day there will be "no building" theories offered as part of this information warfare attack.

Flight 93
crashed in
10:06 am

cloud from the crash of Flight 93

The official story of Flight 93 is that the heroic passengers brought down the plane to spare the country the tragedy of a fourth attack, a tremendous sacrifice to save others. However, while it seems true that the passengers were revolting against their hijackers, the evidence shows that Flight 93 was actually shot down. Debris from the plane was spread out over 8 miles, which suggests major trauma to the plane while it was still in the air. Some media coverage of this crash in the first couple days strongly suggested a shoot-down, most of this is archived at the website

It is probable that most citizens, regardless of their political philosophies, would have been able to accept the sad necessity to shoot down the fourth plane to avert a worse tragedy -- if the pilots were dead and the passengers doomed, the shoot down could have been easily justified to a traumatized nation. While it is easy to suggest that the "heroes of 9/11" story was a much happier message to tell the public, there are deeper reasons to cover up the shoot down.

The most critical issue that would be raised by admitting to the shoot down is why Flight 77 was not intercepted. Even if one believes the official story that 9/11 was a complete surprise, the fact is at 9:03 am, when the South Tower was hit, no one in the air defense system could have had any ambiguity about what was going on. Flight 77 was over the Ohio / West Virginia border at this point and was making a 180 degree turn to fly back toward the National Capitol, which would have caused the air defenses to "scramble" to intercept. There is no excuse for the fact that supersonic jet interceptors were not "scrambled" to investigate what this plane was doing, and defend the Capitol from attack. If necessary, most of the area that Flight 77 crossed between 9:03 and 9:38 (when it hit the Pentagon) was very rural and forested, and a shoot down would have posed minimal risk for "collateral damage" on the ground.

There are several theories on why Flight 93 was shot down. Which of these theories, or combinations, are true would require a full scale investigation, including access to the black boxes, radar tapes, classified communications, satellite imagery and electronic interceptions, and other evidence that is unlikely to ever be made public.

  1. the military took that long to get their fighter planes ready, and Flight 93 was the first plane they were able to stop. This theory does not adequately explain why the military was not able to prevent Flight 77 from hitting the Pentagon, since 77 was at the Ohio / West Virginia border at 9:03 am, when the second tower was hit (and the entire air defense system knew that an attack was underway).
  2. the passengers were about to regain control of the plane, and one passenger was a pilot who might have been able to safely land the plane, something the official conspirators could not allow, since this would have resulted in live hijackers who would have been interrogated. This theory suggests that the shootdown was the 9/11 equivalent of Jack Ruby's shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, covering up evidence that the conspirators could not allow to be cross-examined.
  3. the story of the heroic passengers was always an intentional part of the psychological manipulation of the 9/11 plot. Once the Pentagon had been hit, there was no need for Flight 93, since the goals of the attack had already been met. The "let's roll" story was a "Wag the Dog" propaganda that was a part of the overall psychological operation (psyop).
  4. The hijackers were planning to go to Three Mile Island (this has been floated in a few places, although without actual evidence), which would have been an unmanageable disaster much worse than 9/11.
  5. Flight 93 was late taking off, and missed the window of opportunity to reach Washington before the air defense system was mobilized. After the Pentagon was hit about 9:38 am, the military defense of the national capital area went into full force. It is theoretically possible that the original 9/11 plan was to have all four (or more?) planes hit their targets nearly simultaneously, but the delays (especially Flight 93) made it impossible to allow the last plane to reach DC, and therefore it had to be shot down, since the longer the lack of response of the Air Force, the more suspicious the event would become.

Flight 93 hoaxes

The first hoax about Flight 93 was that the phone calls from the passengers to their relatives were faked. These calls told the passengers about the WTC crashes, who then decided to attack the hijackers. Ignoring the reality that modern planes have "air phones" that explicitly are designed to work on planes, the evidence for "no cell phone calls are possible" is ambiguous at best. The website physics911 seems to be the source for these claims, which were concocted by a Canadian physicist who staged an experiment to replicate cell-phone reception in a small plane flying in Canada. A real experiment to prove the calls could not have been made would have needed to replicate the locations and altitudes in the United States (since cell phone reception is completely dependent on location). Physics911 also pushes the no plane hit Pentagon hoax and has promoted the "pod."

While it is true that fake audio and video can be created with sophisticated software systems, this is probably the meme most calculated to alienate "9/11 researchers" from the family members. It is unlikely that a spouse would not know they were having a phone conversation with their partner, and the extra complication to the operation makes this theory one of the least credible. There is enough provable evidence of official complicity without claiming that 9/11 family members really didn't talk with their loved ones on the phone - at least for those sincerely interested in the truth.

Physics911 also promoted a science fiction story claiming that the passengers from all four planes were all brought to a single site (a secret military base) and then all relocated to a single plane, which was then crashed to dispose of the evidence. This fantasy has zero evidence for it. It would have massively complicated the operation for no benefit. It is likely that the only "plane swap" that happened was tampering with the navigation system to ensure the "success" of the attacks, not any substitution of one plane for another.

In September 2004, the American Free Press newspaper published an article implying that there wasn't a plane crash in Pennsylvania (even though a lot of people saw and heard it happen). This publication is part of an ultra right wing media group that also publishes the "Barnes Review," a Holocaust Denial publication that has praised Hitler. AFP / Barnes, by their own admission, works closely with KKK leader David Duke. Perhaps their motto should be "No Planes on 9/11 and No Gas Chambers in the Holocaust." The AFP acronym is also used by Agence-France Press, one of the world's leading media organizations, which could cause confusion and undeserved legitimacy for the American Free Press, which promotes (and creates) hoaxes that misdirect serious investigation into 9/11 complicity.

There is also a hoax that Flight 93 landed in Cleveland during the attacks, a variation on the plane substitution claims.