John Judge: documenting hidden history
December 14, 1947 - April 15, 2014
- 50th anniversary: JFK in Dallas
- May 31, 2014 celebration of life
- John's websites
- 9/11 disinfo
Wall Street Journal profile of John and 50th anniversary of JFK assassination
U.S. NEWS Updated December 25, 2012, 7:57 p.m. ET
JFK Conspiracy Theorists Seek Inclusion in Ceremony
By ANA CAMPOY
DALLAS—Officials in the city where President John F. Kennedy was gunned down Nov. 22, 1963, want to observe the 50th anniversary of that day with a celebration of his life.
The city plans a ceremony that would include readings from Kennedy speeches by historian David McCullough and military jets flying over Dealey Plaza, where the 35th president was shot.
Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal
John Judge says Dallas is preventing conspiracy theorists a permit to gather at Dealey Plaza, the assassination site.
But some who believe the assassination was a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials say their views shouldn't be excluded from the commemoration.
"It's absurd to move the discussion of his death to another moment," said John Judge, executive director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that studies 1960s murders of public figures. "Our First Amendment rights are being violated."
Mr. Judge, 65 years old, said conspiracy-theory proponents have gathered at Dealey Plaza every Nov. 22 since 1964. Next year, he added, will be the first that Dallas hasn't granted a permit for the meeting, which usually involves a moment of silence and a few speeches. He said the city should move its ceremony elsewhere, adding that his group's members would find a way to disseminate their theories during the city event, possibly even dropping protest banners from nearby buildings.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said in an interview that he would meet with Mr. Judge's group, as well as with others who object to the city's plans, to hear their concerns. But he is determined to keep the tone of the event reflective of the "international, cosmopolitan, arts-centered city" Dallas is today, he said, while focusing on President Kennedy's life and accomplishments. "For 40 minutes, we need to be focusing on the man, not the moment 50 years ago," Mr. Rawlings said.
Almost half a century after it shocked the nation, the Kennedy assassination remains a touchy subject in Dallas. The city's reputation took a beating after the president was slain while riding in a roofless limousine through the city's downtown during an official visit. It suffered another blow two days later when the prime suspect in the case, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed while in the custody of Dallas police. Hate mail poured in from across the country, and cabdrivers in other cities refused service to visiting Dallasites, said Darwin Payne, professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University and a reporter for a local newspaper at the time of the shooting.
"The world and the nation turned against Dallas," Mr. Payne said.
The animosity has faded, but Dallas remains closely linked to the assassination, a topic that continues to fascinate many. Over 70% of Americans believe that more than one person was involved in the killing, according to a 2003 Gallup poll.
"There are so many possible plotters," said Kathy Olmsted, a history professor at University of California, Davis, who has studied conspiracy theories about the U.S. government. "It becomes some sort of parlor game to people."
On any given day, dozens of tourists from around the world track the route followed by Mr. Kennedy's motorcade through downtown Dallas, taking pictures in front of the white X that marks the spot where the first bullet hit the president. The Sixth Floor Museum, housed in the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired, gets more than 300,000 visitors a year.
Dallas is sprucing up Dealey Plaza, repairing the chipped paint on its pergolas and covering up graffiti, in preparation for the ceremony, which will start with church bells and end with a benediction. Private funds will cover the cost, estimated at $1 million, with half of the amount set aside for security. People who wish to attend the ceremony will need to sign up for free tickets; the number of tickets and how they will be distributed remains unclear.
For those who can't get tickets, the event will be broadcast on giant screens around the city. Demonstrators will be allowed to gather in front of City Hall a few blocks away.
But Pete Johnson, a 58-year-old pharmacist from Columbus, Ohio, who studies the Kennedy assassination in his free time, has launched Occupythegrassyknoll.com to urge supporters to descend on the plaza for the ceremony. Some conspiracy theorists believe a second shooter fired at Mr. Kennedy from a patch of grass in the plaza.
"It's a controversial historical event," he said, "and they need to allow that controversy to be expressed."
Write to Ana Campoy at email@example.com
A version of this article appeared December 26, 2012, on page A5 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: JFK Conspiracy Theorists Seek Inclusion in Ceremony.
from Marilyn Tenenoff
Washington, DC --- John Patrick Judge passed at the age of 66, just as he had lived -- with courage in the midst of pain. An internationally acclaimed researcher, writer and speaker, as well as a lifelong anti-militarist anti-racist activist, and community organizer, Judge died on April 15 due to complications from a stroke suffered in early March.
Judge's primary areas of research were the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as totally unique research which he conducted on-the-ground about the massacre in Jonestown, Guyana. He is a co-founder of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), and organized COPA's annual conference in Dallas. The 2013 COPA conference drew more than 300 researchers and activists to Dallas on the 50th anniversary of John Kennedy's death. Amidst the national furor when the feature film "JFK" came out in 1992, Judge was one of the key public proponents behind the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board. One of his last efforts was to press for release of some of the thousands of Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination records still kept classified by the CIA and the FBI.
As co-founder of 9/11 Citizens Watch, Judge also did investigative research on the background and details of the attacks of September 11, 2001. He worked with family members of the victims to push for a federal investigation and closely monitored the work of the 9/11 Commission.
Judge was also a co-founder of CHOICES, an organization engaged since 1985 in countering military recruitment in DC area high schools and educating young people about their options with regard to the military. Beginning with the war in Viet Nam, Judge was a life-long anti-war activist and supporter of active-duty soldiers and veterans.
From 2005 to 2007, Judge served as Special Projects Assistant to Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. One of his many undertakings in Congress was to advocate on behalf of active-duty soldiers who received harsh sentences for declaring themselves conscientious objectors and others who claimed to have been tortured in military brigs. He helped write the Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush which Representative McKinney introduced in December 2006, before leaving office.
At the time of his death, John Judge was working on creation of a Hidden History Museum and Research Center in Washington, DC, to educate a new generation about covert operations, and to support the work of investigative journalists and researchers looking into the National Security State and the rise of secrecy, government plans for extra-Constitutional jurisdiction during emergencies, and threats to civil liberties and international relations. Some of his writings can be found at judgeforyourself.org.
Acclaimed nationally and internationally for his vast store of historical knowledge, Judge wrote: "Under the evil genius of Allen Dulles, whose espionage attacks on the Soviet Union date back to the 1920's, $200 million in Rockefeller and Mellon funds was directed into the hands of Hitler's spymaster Reinhard Gehlen and his 350 Nazi spies, who formed and founded our Central Intelligence Agency in 1947."
An avid public speaker, Judge never spoke about himself but rather, humbly retained a tireless devotion to the search for truth beyond the official government or mainstream media record. Until his final days, Judge was a seeker of truth and justice of the first order. He is irreplaceable in the annals of serious research and documentation.
John Judge is survived by his long-time companion and life partner, Marilyn Tenenoff and thousands of friends and admirers across the country and around the world. A celebration of his life will be held in late May. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations can be made to support the preservation of Judge's books and archives in a new Museum of Hidden History, P.O. Box 772, Washington, DC, 20044.
There's usually a nasty plot behind what seems so decent.
It's often greed or selfish hate, in ancient times and recent.
John Judge's aim is just to find the truth and then to show it.
So we can change the world by letting all the people know it."
(from a poem by Susan McLucas)
Black Op Radio tributes
Original airdate: April 17, 2014
Guests: Dr. Cryil Wech / Robert Groden / Randy Benson / Pete Johnson
Guests: Jim DiEugenio / Joe Green / Bill Kelly
Topics: John Judge Remembered
Announcement of the passing of COPA director John Judge
Play Cyril Wecht (19:00) Real Media or MP3 download
A sad day and a significant loss to the JFK critic/research community
Cyril and John go back decades, they were two co-founders of COPA
Cyril acknowledges the care John's friend Marilyn gave John
The assassinations of King and RFK and JFK are related
In common, these men could not be beaten
John was very serious, courageous, tenacious
John would pursue things, and not back off
Contact Ben Wecht for conference DVDs
Passing the Torch, the Duquesne Conference
Conversations with John Judge - Part I
Play Robert Groden (26:31) Real Media or MP3 download
Robert knew John for over 20 years and worked with him and COPA
The first organization to bring together people to present what they discovered
COPA has been important, it has kept the research community together
John put Robert up for the Sylvia Maegher Lifetime Achievement Award
John was of good humor and worked tirelessly year after year
Dallas (2013) was freezing, wet, embarassing, self-serving for Dallas
Dallas used heavy equipment to remove Roberts 'X' from Elm Street
It's important to keep the issue alive, Dan Rather is still out there
John also worked on the assassintations of Malcom X, Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy
Conversations with John Judge - Part II
Play Randy Benson (16:05) Real Media or MP3 download
The kindest person Randy ever knew, he genuinely cared, warm and funny
You could talk about these issues with John and leave feeling hopeful
John believed we can know the truth
Randy met John at American University in June 2002
John would go to job-fairs at highschools, to counter-recruit the military
He would clip newspapers using a Mae Brussell technique, clipping backwards
He worked intimately with Vietnam veterans, the Winter Soldier investigation
He kept up the Penn Jones tradition of a moment of silence on the Knoll
John was one of the authors of the JFK Records Act
Conversations with John Judge - Part III
Play Pete Johnson (15:00) Real Media or MP3 download
Pete attended the ASK conference in 1993 and met John there
Pete worked with John on a flyer used in Dallas in 2013
COPA also commemorated the assassinations of Malcom X, Dr, King, and Robert Kennedy
John worked on the congressional staffs of Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich
John was very pleasant and also very serious
In the future, people will look back, and see the truth clearly
John could speak with confidence and in detail, ex-contemporaneously
He battled the Dallas Mayor in 2013 for over a year
John worked on Jonestown, 9-11, the Reagan assassination attempt
Unsure of the future of COPA and John's collection of materials
John Judge - Judge For Yourself - PART 1
Play Jim DiEugenio (19:19) Real Media or MP3 download
John was a prolific activist, pushing things along, organizing public events
John had done research with Mae Brussell, Jim and Lisa Pease went through her archive
His mother worked for the Department of Defense
Michael Ruppert, an early BOR guest, passed on April 13th
Mike's site, From the Wilderness, Crossing the Rubicon: (Ruppert 2004)
The war games on 9-11, pointing the finger at Vice President Cheney
Ruppert internet interview Part 1, Part 2
The 9-11 stock market swindle, over $5,000,000 unclaimed
John Judge - Judge For Yourself - PART 2
Play Joe Green (18:23) Real Media or MP3 download
John was a friend and mentor to Joe, he was involved in counter-recruitment
He was really funny, after conferences at late night meals, a center of energy
A book called Judge For Yourself (Judge 1990)
Coalition On Political Assassinations, plural, they're related
He touched so many people's lives, he tried to help
"And what do you do?", Act, that's John's legacy
"What passes for my intolerance is intolerance of abuse itself"
One of the warmest people, you feel welcome right away
Right now the flag is at half-mast, donate to help defray costs
Classic John Judge - C-SPAN
Play Bill Kelly (23:42) Real Media or MP3 download
Bill met John in 1969 at the University of Dayton, conscientious objectors
John and Bill read about the Watergate burglary together
John and Bill suggested that Stone end the film JFK mentioning the withheld records
They frequently visted the JFK archives together
John had a wide circle of important friends
Remember him for his perseverance, his commitment to what he knew was right
John wanted a permanent research center on our hidden history
John would raise money for various causes
Use technology to empower people, form a consensus, complete our goals
Both his parents worked at the Pentagon
Dayton is a Catholic college, John had strong moral principles
No drugs, no drinking, a strict diet, the stroke was a surprise
He exercised his mind, not his body, he was a big influence
"What would John Judge do?" That would be the right thing
See Classic John Judge - C-SPAN (above)
The Committee for an Open Archives (COA)
John was always polite and used logic and reason to make his case
John Judge, COPA 2013 - Closing Remarks
Washington Post obituary
John Judge, independent investigator of historic events, dies at 66
“I tell people you can call me a conspiracy theorist if you call everyone else a coincidence theorist,” Mr. Judge, who died at 66, once remarked.
By Emily Langer, Published: April 24 2014
John P. Judge, an independent researcher who tirelessly amassed and disseminated evidence supporting alternative explanations — some called them conspiracy theories — for President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other historic events, died April 15 at a nursing facility in the District. He was 66.
Through years of investigation and activism, Mr. Judge developed a devoted following in the community of skeptics who question official or commonly accepted narratives of the past. He co-founded and directed the Coalition on Political Assassinations, an organization whose activities include investigating the deaths in the 1960s of John Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and black nationalist leader Malcolm X. News outlets, with some frequency, featured Mr. Judge and his work.
He turned his Washington home into a repository of thousands of volumes and documents on political assassinations and other matters, supporting himself over the decades through odd jobs and fundraising work. He was once described as a “professional conspiracist,” but he considered himself an “alternate historian,” according to his Web site, judgeforyourself.org.
“I tell people you can call me a conspiracy theorist if you call everyone else a coincidence theorist,” Mr. Judge quipped to the publication National Journal.
His most noted work involved President Kennedy’s death in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Like legions of others doubters labeled conspiracy theorists, Mr. Judge rejected the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald had been the lone gunman.
Mr. Judge’s working theory, he told interviewers, was that the assassination had been organized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I don’t think this is an insoluble parlor mystery,” he once told the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t think we are just flailing in the dark.”
Mr. Judge helped organize in Dallas annual commemorations of Kennedy’s death. He and others gathered on the grassy knoll, the spot where another gunman, according to some theories, was stationed. Those memorials became the subject of controversy last year, when Dallas marked the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.
After contentious discussions with event organizers, the Coalition on Political Assassinations agreed to hold its ceremony in a parking lot several blocks away from the usual spot, which was restricted to ticket-holding participants.
“We’ll be here,” Mr. Judge had said. “We may have to crawl through the sewer system and pop our heads up where the assassin was, but we’ll be here.”
In his work regarding more recent history, Mr. Judge cofounded the 9/11 Citizens Watch to monitor the operations of the official 9/11 Commission, the independent and bipartisan body created by congressional legislation to prepare a full account of the attacks.
He briefly worked as an assistant to then-U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), who was widely rebuked when she suggested that President George W. Bush’s administration might have had advance notice of the terrorist strike.
Former congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who met Mr. Judge during his Capitol Hill employment, described him as “brilliant” and said he had been “very impressed” by Mr. Judge’s research abilities.
“I may not have agreed with him on everything,” Kucinich said of Mr. Judge in an interview, but he was “an original, independent thinker and someone who immersed himself in hidden history.”
At the time of his death, Mr. Judge was working toward the establishment in Washington of the Museum of Hidden History, which would include an archive and library. Among other missions, according to its Web site, it would “inform and educate the public about little-known aspects of local, national and international history.”
“It erodes the rational approach when you talk of conspiracies involving a small cabal in a board room controlling world history,” Mr. Judge once told the Boston Globe. “But it’s a common human trait to want an explanation for all the unexplained things that are happening — some kind of grand unified theory.”
John Patrick Judge was born Dec. 14, 1947, in the District, and he grew up in Falls Church, Va. Both his parents worked at the Pentagon.
Mr. Judge graduated in 1970 from the University of Dayton in Ohio, where he studied theology and where he recalled being obliged to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He later joined the American Friends Service Committee as a draft counselor during the Vietnam War.
In the District, Mr. Judge became what the Washington City Paper described as “the voice of military dissent in D.C. public schools.” He sought to counter military recruiting efforts by attending career days and informing students of what he alleged were discrimination and deprivation of rights within the military.
Mr. Judge’s survivors include his companion of four years, Marilyn Tenenoff of York Haven, Pa. She said that Mr. Judge had a stroke in March but that the cause of death had not been determined. The D.C. medical examiner’s office had not ruled on the case, according to a spokesman.
Tenenoff said she plans to request an outside review of the autopsy report, when it is available, to assuage the concerns of anyone who may doubt its accuracy.
Here is the best collection of John's writings on deep politics:
There were also several interviews at Black Op Radio, including a number about the 50th anniversary commemoration and conference in Dallas:
first 9/11 researcher to warn that "no plane hit Pentagon" was deliberate disinformation to discredit
"Just because someone says the government is lying does not mean they are telling the truth."
-- John Judge, Coalition on Political Assassinations
"If the organizing principle is that the government lies, but there's no organizing principle to how you get to the truth, then anything is possibly the truth. People will organize around disinformation just as easily as information. The way covert operations do effective disinformation is they give the truth to the people who are discredited and they give the lie to the people who have great credibility - the way they disinform from both ends and confuse people. They put out stories - as we know from the assassinations - that will lead us down false paths, that will lead us to false sponsorships."
-- John Judge, Coalition on Political Assassinations, conference on the 37th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, June 5, 2005
The Pentagon Attack and American Airlines Flight 77
by John Judge
"Hundreds of people saw the plane from windows of nearby buildings, from cars along the nearby highways, and some ducked because it flew over so low. Pentagon employees and construction workers at the site saw the events unfold before their eyes. Hundreds more took part in the clean-up operation and saw the wreckage. It is not difficult to find eyewitnesses to the event in DC. ...
"Families of victims and others who work at the airlines, as well as many witnesses I have spoken to, are offended and shocked by these unfounded speculations. Those willing to do a modicum of investigative work here in DC will be quickly disabused of this disinformation.
"There are many legitimate unanswered questions about the events of September 11, 2001, its sponsorship, and the official version of events. We benefit from serious research and the issues raised by victim's families seeking accountability. Not the least of these is the apparent lack of standard FAA/NORAD response to these emergency events. Rather than use our time proving and belaboring the obvious, or focusing on areas of total speculation that can only hurt our public credibility, I encourage serious researchers to focus on the historical context of the event, the alleged conspirators, the funding, and the government response or lack of it."
Not all conspiracies are created equal by John Judge
John Judge 5/19/2002 www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/WrongQuestion.html
They have spent $13 trillion tax dollars since the end of WWII on this military/intelligence complex, and it cannot protect its own headquarters? It can track every electronic communication on earth, crack the codes of the Al Quaeda in advance of 9-11, locate bin Laden's cell phone, but it can't decipher what it all means?
And beyond that question is the more pertinent one hardly anyone is asking.
* Bush clearly and undeniably had advance knowledge of a terrorist attack on US soil using planes as weapons by 9:05 am on September 11.
* NORAD had it by 8:45 in an unprecedented simultaneous hijacking of four planes.
* The Pentagon had it, as did everyone in DC by 9:05 as well.
* The Pentagon began to evacuate the building, as did the White House and Capitol.
* EVERYONE had advance knowledge of Flight 77 coming towards DC for 40 minutes.Yet, there was a complete defensive stand-down. Interceptors from distant Langley AFB took off late and flew at subsonic speeds to arrive 5 minutes too late. Planes from nearby Anacostia Naval Air Station, Andrews Air Force Base, and the 73rd Air Wing at Atlantic City, NJ never took off. Scramblers in the air already at 9:05 from Otis AFB turned to target Flight 77 and were called off, despite a formal shoot-down order from Bush/Cheney "moments after" the 9:05 crash -- which had ended any speculation of accident or coincidence or hijacking motives.
By that moment they undeniably knew in advance what was coming and where it was headed. Local news announced that DC was the destination. Surface-to-air missiles at the White House and Pentagon remained sheathed in their silos. Despite the planes having turned off communications with ground control towers and their identifying transponders (which also shuts off their own near-range radar screens to avoid mid-air collisions), they were clearly visible to all external radars, they were being tracked by NORAD and DC towers, and they were somehow being navigated directly to their target.
How were they allowed to come into the most restricted air space in the world with no challenge or defense? That is the question that answers both when Bush knew in advance and begs any rational response.
The White House and Pentagon officials have been lying since day one about both advance intelligence knowledge that could have foiled the operation, and about their own ability to prevent, at least, the attack on the Pentagon. Let them answer that.
I suggest you ask any pilot that has flown one what it takes
to bank into a building at 550 miles an hour, or to dive in a 270 degree
turn from 5000 feet to fly so low that streetlamps are clipped off, into
a building. There are two options: Military or experienced civilian pilots
(many are military anyway) piloted these planes. The planes were flown
on remote control.
- John Judge www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/puzzlePieces.html
Much of all four planes were pulverized at the site, but identifying
pieces were doubtless found in all the wreckage, including black boxes.
None of that forensic evidence was released to the public, but that does
not mean it was not found by the FBI and other agencies that worked in
the debris of each site. ... My friend identified parts of the Boeing
757 that hit the Pentagon not by serial number but just by eyesight and
familiarity with parts, shapes, colors and upholstery patterns when she
was inside the crash site. She has no reason to lie, she lost her best
friend and the rest of her regular crew, she worked for AA as an attendant
and took that same route in those same planes several times a week. If
we stick on proving a falsity it will discredit all else we try to establish.
The question is not what hit the Pentagon, it is how Flight 77 could have.
Flight of Fantasy: Flight 77 Didn't Hit the Pentagon 23 October 2002
.... That side of the Pentagon was virtually empty and had been for some time because the building had been under reconstruction quite visibly on that side for 5-6 years and part of that was to reinforce the building from external attack. In fact some photos show the difference in damage on either side of that reinforcement work and it is striking. That plane went 270 degrees out of its way at high speed, a very sophisticated maneuver with no possible military advantage, to hit the empty side of the Pentagon. There, as in New York, I would argue that they minimized the number of deaths by timing and method of attack.
There is no question that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. Remaining agnostic on this point also gives ammunition to the perpetrators of the stand-down and serves to discredit the other good work that continues to be done about the reality of what happened that day. It is my feeling that this thesis was actually part of an intentional disinformation campaign that spreads red herrings to discredit the real findings. "These conspiracy theorists will believe anything" say our detractors. Let's discover and present the hard facts and force the coincidence theorists to come up with plausible explanations instead of spewing out speculations we cannot back up and leaving ourselves on the defensive.
1. NORAD and FAA knew of the multiple hijackings in progress by 8:25 am. Bush and Cheney agreed on issuing a shoot-down order against two planes still in attack mode after 9:05 am, when everyone in the country knew what the nature of the threat was. No such orders were conveyed to pilots or carried out if they were.
2. Standard hijack intercept procedures were not followed by NORAD or military ready-alert scrambler planes.
3. Virtually no defense of any kind was made inside the most restricted air space in the US, the P-56 area around DC and the Pentagon despite the presence of combat ready aircraft at local bases. Nor were other defense measures, including surface-to-air missiles at the White House and Pentagon deployed. There was a stand-down on 9/11.
4. Planes scrambled to intercept were sent long after the threat was known, so that they arrived too late to stop the attack. There were at least two cases of this: Otis AFB fighters who turned and targeted Flight 77 after reaching NYC too late, and Pomona NJ AFB combat planes on military exercises heading into NYC after 8:45 am, were called back to base or off the pursuit. There are additional indicators that many combat-ready planes and units were disarmed and called down shortly before 9/11.
5. Chemical and DNA analysis and weaponization traits of the anthrax mailed out to media and Democratic opponents of Bush clearly linked it to both a DIA project to develop "the next generation of anthrax weapon" and to the gates of Fr. Detrich, MD, a center for CBW research since the 1950s run by military intelligence.
Those alone are damning enough to bring them to their knees if thoroughly exposed and investigated. Let's work with what we know and hit the points they are most vulnerable on. In my view, most of the remaining questions are speculations and diversions, or at best leave us with the "intelligence failure" analysis intact for them to spin. [emphases added]
The Pentagon Attack and American Airlines Flight 77
by John Judge
researcher and founder for 9/11 CitizensWatch
21 February 2004
On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was at home in Washington, DC, about half a mile from the Pentagon, in Anacostia. I had been called by a friend to inform me of the first plane hitting the WTC tower in New York City. He sits on a transportation board for the county in Fairfax, Virginia, which includes Dulles Airport. He was immediately alarmed because he knew that no commercial flights come close to those buildings on their normal routes, and he suspected this was a terrorist attack. As we spoke, the second plane hit the second WTC tower at approximately 9:05 am, and at that point people across the United States were forced to agree with his thesis, since neither accident nor coincidence would have explained two such tragedies happening nearly simultaneously.
At that point, other planes that had gone off course and turned off communications with their control towers were still in the air. All four planes involved in the attacks had been identified as emergencies and potential hijackings by the FAA, NORAD, the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, the Secret Service and other agencies linked into a phone bridge that was in place by at least 8:24 am, sharing critical information with the air traffic controllers and eventually with military pilots. By 8:18 am, according to published reports, they were aware of four commercial passenger planes off course and not responding normally, two from United and two from American Airlines.
American Airlines (AA) Flight 77 left Dulles airport that morning on its regular route to LAX airport in Los Angeles. For a few minutes it was lost to radar tracking when it turned off course and headed back to the east. But in a short time radar contact was renewed and its course was visible. It was coming towards Washington, DC. Much of the city is under P-56, one of the most secure airspaces in the world, protected under federal regulations from any over-flight by unauthorized planes, private or commercial, and guarded by fighter jets from Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) and Anacostia Naval Air Station, where the Air National Guard is located.
Not only did authorities know it was headed to DC, it was announced publicly on local TV and radio stations, and evacuation was ordered at the White House, the Capitol, the Pentagon and other federal buildings. This notice was given well in advance of the plane's arrival in DC airspace. I stood watching television news reports that morning, anticipating its arrival. A large explosion at approximately 9:43 am shook my windows, though it was not visible to me.
When newscasters announced the identity of the plane involved, American Airlines Flight 77 and its Dulles/LAX route, my heart sank. A dear friend and fellow researcher had been working as a flight attendant for American for many years, and that was her regular route, several times a week. I feared she had been trapped on the plane and died in the crash. Attempts to reach her by phone that day got her answering machine, nothing more.
Local reporters continued to cover the event on radio and TV. There was footage of the rescue and fire crews at the Pentagon site, and the smoke plume was visible across the city. Hundreds of witnesses had been stuck in traffic during the attack along major highway routes into the city that border the Pentagon, and had seen and heard the event close-up, as well as office workers in nearby buildings, others along the route who were outside and ducked because the plane was flying so low, and workers at the Pentagon site, both at the heliport and in the construction crews who had been reinforcing the building walls for several years. Many of these people were interviewed by local and national media and the press.
"Continuity of Government" was declared, bypassing Constitutional governing structures in favor of a small number of executive and legislative leaders working together with FEMA, the National Security Council and the Pentagon from a secure bunker in Bluemont, VA to function in the emergency. Metro, AMTRAK trains, and commercial flights were cancelled and government employees were excused from work and told to go home. Local highways became one-way routes out of town. Park Police could be seen on the streets with machine guns at ready.
DC came very close to martial law. And all day long, local witnesses to the event at the Pentagon were interviewed, describing the plane and its collision with the Pentagon and the explosion that resulted. Later, survivors from inside the building were interviewed, along with rescue crew. A massive rescue and clean-up operation began once the fire was contained.
As it turned out, my friend had not been on Flight 77, having taken the day off work to care for her sick father, and to my relief she had survived. She had lost her entire regular crew, both pilots and all the attendants, including her best friend at work. She was immediately invited in to a series of briefings and grief counseling sessions by both the airline and the Pentagon. These briefings continue to this day. She also attended a long series of memorial events at the gravesites of her co-workers and friends following the event. Her own father died shortly after that in November. I attended his funeral service at National Cemetery and got to meet some of her American Airline co-workers.
When questions arose about Flight 77, I contacted her to raise the issues that concerned me and the speculations of others who denied the plane hit the Pentagon. She was adamant in saying it had, and told me she had been to the crash site and had seen parts of the plane. I asked her about the speculation that the plane would have made a larger hole due to the wingspan. She informed me that the fuel was stored in the wings and that they would have exploded and broken off, as the fuselage slammed through the building walls.
I have spoken to dozens of other witnesses to the event, and to others who know the reports. Wayne Madsen, a respected local journalist, spoke to a camera person at WJLA-TV 7 who had been driving to the Pentagon on instructions from his office, expecting a public statement from authorities there in response to the events in New York City. Shortly after the crash he saw a woman standing by the road at the edge of the Pentagon, next to her car, and apparently in shock. He stopped to help her and found she could not speak. But she pointed him to the far side of her car. The passenger side had been sheared off in part and sections of the landing gear from the plane were on the ground nearby. Others I have spoken to, including pilots, either saw the crash happen and identified the plane, or saw parts of the plane in the wreckage days afterwards.
At the funeral service on September 20th in Annapolis for Charles Burlingame, the pilot of AA Flight 77, my friend was approached by another flight attendant to assist in support work for the rescue crews at the site. This work was being organized by the Salvation Army. The Pentagon was seeking people with security clearances that they could trust to be near the site and all the airline attendants qualified for that level of clearance. The shifts ran from 10 am to 10 pm, and then for the next twelve hours. She and her mother signed up for an overnight shift on Friday, September 21st.
She and her mother spent the entire night continuously providing drinks to rescuers from North Carolina. Burger King, McDonald's, Pepsi and Outback Steak House were the selected food and drink providers. She and her mother were given a special T-shirt to wear for the night, with red lettering for "Operation Noble Eagle". They did not wear the traditional Salvation Army outfits. No break came until early morning, the crews were large and worked continuously. The work was tedious and slow. She was in the second of five groups that were sent in that week. Rescue and clean-up work continued for months.
At the end of her shift on Saturday morning, September 22nd, she was approached along with other attendants to visit the crash site. One declined, but she and two others took a van driven by the Salvation Army to the area. They were forced to wait almost 45 minutes at a safety fence around the area before being admitted into the area of destruction. As they waited, members of a psychological support group talked to them about their feelings. She will never forget what she saw there.
The area was covered with rescue equipment, fire trucks, small carts, and ambulances. They were still hoping to find survivors. Small jeeps with wagons attached were being used to transport workers and others at the site. One flight attendant was driving one of these around the site. Once inside the fence, she was unable to clearly discern where the original wall had been. There was just a gaping hole. She got off the van and walked inside the crash site. The other attendants broke down crying once they were inside. But my friend went in further than the others and kept her emotions in check as she has been trained to do and usually does in emergency situations.
She saw parts of the fuselage of an American Airlines plane, a Boeing 757 plane. She identified the charred wreckage in several ways. She recognized the polished aluminum outer shell, an unpainted silver color that is unique to American Airline planes, and the red and blue trim that is used to decorate the fuselage. She saw parts of the inside of the plane, which she easily identified since she flew and worked in them for years. Upholstery, drapes and carpeting she could identify by both color and design. The soft carpeting and padding of the inner walls had a cloud design and color she recognized from American Airline planes, though it has since been replaced. The blue coloring of drapes and carpet were also specific to the 757 or 767 larger planes, and were not used on the smaller planes. Seating upholstery also matched the AA 757 planes, including the blue color, tan squares and hints of white.
She saw other parts of the plane and engine parts at a distance but they were familiar to her. She did not see any galley supplies, which she would have recognized as well, nor any jump seats. All the parts were charred but colors were still visible. She also saw charred human bones but not any flesh or full body parts.
One area of fuselage had remaining window sections and the shape of the windows, curved squares not ovals, was also distinct to the 757's she had flown. She also saw parts with the A/A logo, including parts of the tail of the plane. Smaller A/A logos and "American" logos are also on the planes and she saw parts of those. One website shows pictures of wreckage inside the building, including sections of the fuselage with bright lime and yellow coloring, which is distinctive to Boeing parts. My friend confirmed this, having visited a Boeing plant where she saw the bright colors on the production line marking the inside of fuselage parts. She did not notice this coloring at the site, but the photos show it in some pieces of the plane.
She spent approximately 15 minutes in the crash area looking at parts of the wreckage, all of which she recognized as coming from a Boeing 757 American Airline plane, the same planes she flew regularly. She did not see any rubber, only metal pieces of fuselage, engine parts and sections of the inside of the plane.
She went to briefings by Pentagon people at the Sheraton for 3 months afterwards, and the clean-up lasted for a long period. She is a union representative for attendants as well, and briefings continue. Families and attendants were at the briefings, along with Pentagon and airline people. Hundreds of people saw the plane from windows of nearby buildings, from cars along the nearby highways, and some ducked because it flew over so low. Pentagon employees and construction workers at the site saw the events unfold before their eyes. Hundreds more took part in the clean-up operation and saw the wreckage. It is not difficult to find eyewitnesses to the event in DC.
The crew of Flight 77 who died in the crash included her personal friend Renee May. She had spoken to Renee's mother after the crash, and Renee had used a cell phone to call her mother during the hijacking. Her mother noted specific phone numbers to call American Airlines operations to report a hijacking. "There are six of them," Renee had told her, one more than in the official version. Her mother also heard the voices of other attendants calling out contact numbers for American Airlines during the call. At the time attendants had been trained to cooperate during a hijacking event, and it seems a group of them were at the back of the plane together as it approached DC. She was told at a briefing that pilot Charles Burlingame's throat was slit, but had no way to confirm it. She believes the co-pilot may have been forced to the rear with the attendants. She does not know exactly what happened to her friend Renee.
Cell phone calls made from the planes that day have become an area of contention as well. However, my friend told me that attendants regularly hear cell phones ringing during flights, despite the prohibition. In fact, the airlines are now ending the restriction while on the ground, having discovered that these devices do not actually interfere with communications or functions aboard the plane before take off. Some cell phones do not work as well as others at high altitudes and speeds, but major carriers have multiple towers and the calls do not even roam in connection. Other people I know have tested Verizon and other cell phones crossing the country and found them to work normally. In addition, many of the calls made that day were to family members who clearly recognized their relatives' voices.
Other American ground crew workers saw some of the suspects board American Airline Flight 77 and recognized them from the published photos. While questions remain about the identities of the hijackers, it is not the case that none of them were on the planes. The airlines have yet to release full passenger manifests, and those they have released are short of the total count, and do not contain the suspects' names. Rather than speculate that none were aboard, the more interesting question is why the names have not been released if they indeed match the official story.
My friend is therefore a credible and very knowledgeable eyewitness to the fact that American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. She has been vilified by those who refuse to believe the obvious, as have the many witnesses to the event. We lack clear footage of the event, some of which was confiscated by the FBI, or pictures showing all the wreckage and plane parts. Working from a few un-timed photographs, others have speculated that not only did AA77 not hit the Pentagon, but that a cruise missile or smaller plane did.
My friend is herself a researcher for many years into government misdeeds and cover-ups. If she did not see the parts, she would say so. She has no reason to lie about it. Nor is she confused about what she saw. She is a professional and is used to looking at evidence. Families of victims and others who work at the airlines, as well as many witnesses I have spoken to, are offended and shocked by these unfounded speculations. Those willing to do a modicum of investigative work here in DC will be quickly disabused of this disinformation.For a more thorough presentation of the range of witness testimonies, and linking sites, see the work on Flight 77 and the Pentagon attack by Penny Schoner at www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/F77pentaToC.html
My attendant friend knows and has put me in touch with other American Airline employees and pilots who were at the site and took photographs. We are busy locating these, as well as another attendant who was at the site with her that day. 9/11 CitizensWatch has also been pushing for public release of all photographic evidence relating to the Pentagon attack from federal agencies and other sources and plans to file a Freedom of Information request to get records from all federal agencies that might hold them.
There are many legitimate unanswered questions about the events of September 11, 2001, its sponsorship, and the official version of events. We benefit from serious research and the issues raised by victim's families seeking accountability. Not the least of these is the apparent lack of standard FAA/NORAD response to these emergency events. Rather than use our time proving and belaboring the obvious, or focusing on areas of total speculation that can only hurt our public credibility, I encourage serious researchers to focus on the historical context of the event, the alleged conspirators, the funding, and the government response or lack of it.
American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, killing passengers and crew, along with construction workers and a small number of Pentagon employees. It made an amazing spiraling descent, curving 270-degrees around the open area, and then flew dangerously close to the ground, skidding into the ground floor of the Pentagon. A huge fireball could be seen outside the building as it hit. Employees inside the building were also burned by jet fuel, which covered the lawn and front of the building. One employee saw the nose of the plane crash through her office wall. Pilots have disagreed about the piloting skills necessary to carry out this maneuver in a large commercial plane. Questions about the actual events remain but I hope that credible witnesses and the existing evidence will at least put to rest the wild speculation that have replaced Flight 77 with flights of fancy.