Berlet, Chip

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Response by David Ray Griffin

The New Pearl Harbor
Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11

by David Ray Griffin

Review by Chip Berlet

This book by David Ray Griffin is largely a compilation and restatement
of materials from a variety of print and electronic sources, as
the author points out in his Introduction and Acknowledgments.
Griffin’s book reflects a relentless disregard of substantial evidence
from multiple sources that contradict the claims he is making.
Griffin repeatedly uses classic Fallacies of Logic in
his presentation rendering whole sections of the book refutable
on this basis alone. In this review, examples of fallacies of logic
are highlighted with the phrase "{Logical
," and linked to a more detailed discussion
of the specific fallacies of logic at the bottom of the web page.

Griffin makes a number of claims suggesting a widespread conspiracy
to create and carry out the attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon. This conspiracy, as outlined in Griffin's book, would
involve numerous U.S. government elected officials as well as multiple
state level, commercial, and media conspirators. To accomplish
this vast conspiracy would necessarily involve hundeeds--if not
thousands--of individuals. Griffin never explains how this conspiracy
would actually function, claiming that is not his goal. Nor does
Griffin summarize his many claims in one place. Here are some of
his more alarming claims:

  • The U.S. government caused or deliberately
    the attacks of 09/11/01 to
    take place.{Logical
  • The collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade
    was caused by a controlled demolition (bombs
    planted in the buildings prior to the planes striking the buildings).{Logical
  • The Pentagon was not struck by American Airlines
    flight 77 or any commercial jet, but was hit by a guided
  • The commercial jet that crashed in
    was hit by a heat-seeking guided
    launched by the government to silence
    the hijackers
    who could have exposed government complicity. {Logical
  • Bush knew in advance that the attacks would
    take place because after the attacks began he
    stayed talking to children
    in a classroom.{Logical

Griffin is constantly stating that he does not know what actually
happened, but that he is just analyzing possible scenarios that
need to be investigated. This is disingenuous at best. While Griffin
repeatedly refers to the “claims” of “critics” of the “official” account
of the events of 9-11-01, he is clearly endorsing these views.
In a number of cases Griffin becomes an apologist for authors (such
as Thierry Meyssan or Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel) whose assertions
have been thoroughly demolished by an armada of writers across
the political spectrum. Griffin accomplishes this by selectively
highlighting certain aspects of their work while sidestepping their
most lurid and outlandish conclusions in which they claim the functioning
of vast conspiracies on the flimsiest of evidence. Griffin is far
more straightforward and candid about what he really believes in
an interview he gave to the Santa Barbara Independent,
("Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts: Theologian Charges White House
Complicity in 9/11 Attack," by Nick Welsh). [Read
article here]

Griffin: "It is very difficult for Americans
to face the possibility that their own government may have caused
or deliberately allowed such a heinous event." {Logical

Welsh: Let’s say there has been this
complicity. To what end?

Griffin: There were several benefits that could have
been anticipated from 9/11. One was the so-called Patriot Act. It did
appear that the Patriot Act, given how fast it was rushed into Congress,
voting had already been prepared. The Patriot Act is so large that it’s
inconceivable it could have been written after 9/11. Rushing it through
Congress when most members had not even read a small portion of it was
clearly one benefit, giving the government increased powers. {Logical

This is a good example of how Griffin uses fallacies of logic
to make his case. In this case the Fallacy of Logic is called the "Post
Hoc" fallacy
. This is also sometimes called the "Sequence
Implies Causation" fallacy (because mere sequence does not imply
causation). Griffin has leapt to the conclusion that there is evidence
of a conspiracy to authorize or allow the 9/11 attacks as a way
for the Bush Administration to pass the Patriot Act (or control
oil in the Middle East, or to justify invading Afghanistan or to
justify invading Iraq). In the realm of all possible explanations
in the universe is this even a remote possibility? Yes. In the
realm of logic and evidence is it likely? No. Is there a simpler
explanation (Occum's Razor)? Yes. Is there
a more logical explanation available when all the evidence is considered?

Let's examine Griffin's claim about the Patriot Act. It is indeed
true of the Patriot Act that, as Griffin asserts, it is "inconceivable
it could have been written after 9/11." Griffin is correct
that most of the elements of the Patriot Act had been written well
before 09/11/01. Does this provide evidence that the 9/11 attacks
were part of a conspiracy designed to create or allow a "heinous
event" to facilitate passage of the Patriot Act? No. Ask anyone
who has organized against government intelligence abuse since the
1970s and they will tell you that conservatives have been circulating
many of the elements incorporated into the Patriot Act since the
Carter Administration "Levi Guidelines" were issued to
restrict the well-documented abuses by federal intelligence agencies
exposed by activists, the media, and Congress after exposure of
the illegal FBI COINTELPRO operations and Watergate.

Griffin chides progressive political analyst Rahul Mahajan because
Mahajan has argued that the Bush administration reacted quickly
to the events of 09/11/01 in an opportunistic way that did not
require a conspiracy in advance (pp. xvi-xvii, xxiii). Ultimately
Griffin does not provide a progressive analysis such as that provided
by Mahajan. Griffin provides a centrist or right-wing populist
explanation that if deconstructed suggests that an otherwise acceptable
political and economic system has been distorted by a conspiracy
of secret elites. There is not structural, systemic, or institutional
analysis. The basic premise articulated by Griffin is that there
is a nefarious plot by Republicans, government intelligence agencies,
the neoconservatives and their Project for a New American Century,
and the Christian Right. But this is hardly a secret conspiracy...all
of these named groups are public players in a system where they
are seeking unfair power and privilege.

Many of Griffin's cites track back to unsubstantiated claims.
For example, Griffin cites a claim from the book by Nafeez Mosaddeq
Ahmed, The War on Freedom, where Ahmed is quoting Michael
C. Ruppert (From the Wilderness / Cop
), from an article "Suppressed Details of Criminal
Insider Trading Lead Directly into the CIA's Highest Ranks" (p.
191, n. 33). When you track the Griffin cite to the original Ruppert
article, you discover that the claims are simply not substantiated,
and never have been. A major Griffin source, Michel Chossudovsky,
has departed from a history of serious left critique to making
unsubstantiated claims based on right-wing conspiracists such as Jeffrey
Steinberg, a well-know top aide to neofascist Lyndon LaRouche
and John
Whitley, who sees world affairs shaped by secret plots
. Chossudovsky's
website also cites and praises material from the American
Patriot Friends Network,
a site notorious for peddling unsubstantiated
right-wing anti-government conspiracist theories similar to those
circulated in the militia movement ( 1, 2 ).

Among the sources cited by Griffin is Christopher Bollyn writing
in the American Free Press, a right-wing publication with
a long history of dubious conspiracist tales of sinister intrique
with a subtext of antisemitism (p. 179, n. 75). This particular
article on the World Trade Center is picked up from the < > website,
which also features discussions of UFOs. Griffin cites materal
from several other right-wing sources with a long history of conspiracist
allegation: World Net Daily, Judicial Watch, The
New American
(of the John Birch Society), and Accuracy in
Media (notes on pp. 194-195). None of these groups should be cited
uncritically--not because they are right wing, but because they
have a history of circulating unsubstantiated right-wing conspiracy
theories. The
problem of progressive researchers laundering right-wing conspiracy
theories into the left
because they carry anti-government claims has been growing for
many years.

The Pentagon

Griffin spends a chapter discussing the claim that the Pentagon was
not struck by American Airlines flight 77, a large commercial Boeing
757 airliner. This is the chapter I have chosen to examine more closely
to illustrate the
larger problems with the Griffin book.

In his "Introduction," Griffin writes that while many
dismiss Meyssan's claims as far-fetched: “Nevertheless, after I
got Meyssan’s books and read them for myself, I saw that his case,
as absurd as it had seemed at first glance, is quite strong. I
eventually became convinced, in fact, that it is with regard to
the strike on the Pentagon that—assuming Meyssan’s description
of the evidence to be accurate—the official account seems most
obviously false.” p. xx.

Griffin for the most part simple takes the claims of Meyssan as
substantial, and dismisses the critics of Meyssan. Why would any
serious author simply assume that Meyssan’s description of the
evidence is accurate without at least discussing in detail the
voluminous evidence that contradicts Meyssan?

An elegant overview refuting Meyssan’s (and Griffin’s) claims
is available online at, the website that exposes Internet
hoaxes and urban legends.

Griffin, relying on Meyssan, suggests that whatever hit the Pentagon
was not American Airlines flight 77.

This assertion contains two sub-arguments.

  1. If it was a commercial jet that hit the Pentagon,
    it was not American Airlines flight 77.
  2. If it was not a commercial jet that hit the Pentagon,
    it was a guided missile.


    "Were the Sources for the Identification Credible?"
    " Meysann, in addition to noting the identification between AA Flight 77 and
    the aircraft that struck the Pentagon was made only gradually, argues that the
    original sources for this identification are dubious. In particular, he suggests,
    all but one of the statements on which this identification was based came from
    military personnel." p. 27

If we believe the claim that the hijacked 757 jet, flight 77, did
not hit the Pentagon, how do we explain what happened to the passengers
who were seen boarding American Airlines flight 77? What about the
many interviews with family members whose relatives have vanished
that have appeared in regional and local newspapers? Where is Theodore
Olson's wife? Were the passengers all murdered by agents of the CIA
and the plane cut into small pieces at some secret airbase? Are all
the passengers complicit in the vast conspiracy and living out a
life of luxury on some remote island?

After a brief discussion, Griffin admits that there are problems
with the idea that Ted Olson—who spoke with his wife Barbara Olson
while she was a passenger on the ill-fated hijacked flight—was
part of a conspiracy in which she would disappear. If she did not
die when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon what happened? According to
Griffin: "Any of the alternative scenarios …would need to explain,
of course, what became of Barbara Olson, and also whether it is
plausible that Ted Olson would have participated in a plan with
that outcome." p. 28.

Yet in the next section, Griffin engages in “pyramiding,” a process
used by conspiracists whereby an unproven allegation in a prior
section is converted into a factual basis to introduce a following
section. According to Griffin:

"Physical Evidence That the Pentagon Was Not Hit by a Boeing
" In addition to the argument that all the information originally connecting
Flight 77 with the aircraft that struck the Pentagon evidently came from dubious
sources, a second argument, provided by Meyssan, consists of physical evidence
that the Pentagon was not hit by a Boeing 757, which is what AA Flight 77 was." p.

In "addition" to what? The first premise has not been
demonstrated as true--much less plausible.

Several sources cited by Griffin dismiss eyewitness accounts of
a commercial jet hitting the Pentagon as vague or from military
personnel. Yet almost from the beginning there were eyewitness
accounts that were not vague and not from military personnel. In
a clear case of omitting conflicting eyewitness testimony, Griffin
quotes one air traffic controller and three eyewitnesses who describe
something that does not resemble a Boeing 757 commercial jetliner
heading towards the Pentagon, implying that it was a missile. But
there are scores of eyewitness reports who describe a commercial
jetliner flying almost on the ground toward the Pentagon, and dozens
of eyewitnesses who actually saw the jetliner strike the Pentagon

Here are two from news media staff who are not connected to the
government or the military:

From the transcript of an early 9-11-01 CNN story:

"I saw the tail of a large airliner. ... It plowed right into
the Pentagon," said an Associated Press Radio reporter. "There
is billowing black smoke."

This was Dave Winslow, an AP Radio reporter...not a government
employee or agent.

A year later, Winslow told the Washingtonian magazine:

"I heard this enormous sound of turbulence. . .As I turned
to my right, I saw a jumbo tail go by me along Route 395. It
was like the rear end of the fuselage was riding on 395. I
just saw the tail go whoosh right past me. In a split second,
you heard this boom. A combination of a crack and a thud. It
rattled my windows. I thought they were going to blow out.
Then came an enormous fireball."

Or consider this first-person commentary by a reporter for USA

'Tomorrow always belongs to us'
By Vin Narayanan,
09/17/2001 - Updated 02:43 PM ET

"At 9:35 a.m., I pulled alongside the Pentagon. With traffic
at a standstill, my eyes wandered around the road, looking
for the cause of the traffic jam. Then I looked up to my left
and saw an American Airlines jet flying right at me. The jet
roared over my head, clearing my car by about 25 feet. The
tail of the plane clipped the overhanging exit sign above me
as it headed straight at the Pentagon. The windows were dark
on American Airlines Flight 77 as it streaked toward its target,
only 50 yards away. The hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon
at a ferocious speed. But the Pentagon's wall held up like
a champ. It barely budged as the nose of the plane curled upwards
and crumpled before exploding into a massive fireball."

Even if we discard Narayanan's assumption that the plane he saw
was American Airlines Flight 77, he still saw a large American
Airlines commercial jet, not a guided missile.

Some of the sources relied on by Griffin claim to have debunked
ten or twenty eyewitness accounts they found on the internet; but
there were, in fact, hundreds of eyewitnesses to the commercial
jet hitting the Pentagon. Scores gave their accounts to reporters
and investigators. Some of their statements can be found at:

This is discussed in more detail in the table below.

While some eyewitness accounts are contradictory, this is always
the case with eyewitness accounts. Most accounts support the claim
that an American Airlines 757 jet slammed into the Pentagon. Most
of the detailed accounts are simply discarded by Griffin because
they are from people with some connection to the government, especially
the military. There are dozens of eyewitnesses who are government
employees from a variety of agencies who we are told to ignore
because they are what? We are supposed to find credible the claim
that all these eyewitnesses are active agents of the vast conspiracy
by the Bush administration to send a missile slamming into the
side of the Pentagon in order to have an excuse to invade Afghanistan
and Iraq. Alternatively, they all were mesmerized by the "official" story
that it was an American Airlines passenger jet that struck the
Pentagon. Yet many of these eyewitness accounts were given to reporters
before there was an "official" story.

Another claim is that no one saw pieces of an airplane after the
impact. This is refuted by several eyewitnesses who described seeing
pieces of the plane, and there is even a photograph of a piece
of wreckage that appears to be from an aircraft lying on the grass
outside the Pentagon. See the photo about halfway down the page
This is discussed in more detail in the table below.

I am frankly puzzled and saddened that Richard Falk, Howard Zinn,
and Rosemary Radford Reuther—persons for whom I have tremendous
respect—have lent their names to this seriously flawed book.

Below is a detailed examination of Griffin's claims about the
attack on the Pentagon. It is designed to illustrate how Griffin
has uncritically accepted the claim of conspiracists while ignoring
the ample evidence that refutes their claims. It also lists the
Fallacies of Logic utilized by Meyssan and Griffin.

Discussion of Specific Claims Regarding the Pentagon


Pictures of the explosions at the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon. p. iii.



"The flame descends, fairly slowly, in front of the façade
[of the World Trade Center]."


"That of the Pentagon, in contrast, rises suddenly from
inside the building."

Claim by Meyssan and

The fireballs of the commercial jets that struck the World
Trade Center towers are different from the fireball at
the Pentagon, therefore the fireball at the Pentagon was
not caused by a commercial jet airliner.

The explanation offered is that the Pentagon was struck
by a guided missile.

Meyssan ignores the simple

The fireballs are indeed different.

The fireballs at the World Trade Center towers are hundreds
of feet in the air, and can attain a rounded shape against
the walls of the building and the holes in the walls. The
fireball at the Pentagon is shaped by the wall of the building,
the hole in the wall of the building, and the ground; therefore
the blast is shaped differently and is forced upwards in
a distinctive shape by not being able to expand against
the ground.

This is an example of Meyssan
taking something with a simple explanation and twisting it
to conform to his idea that there is some sinister aspect.
Meyssan: pp. 73-78. 

Meyssan claims that there is evidence that the "type of
explosion observed at the Pentagon" is not consistent with
an explosion caused by Jet Aviation Kerosene.
{Logical Fallacy}

Note that Meyssan has no qualifications whatsoever to
analyze explosions from a forensic perspective.
{Logical Fallacy}

Griffin: pp. 31-34.

Griffin discusses hydrocarbon fires based on the Meyssan

Griffin cites Meyssan suggesting that the Pentagon was
hit by a missile of a type that can cause "an instantaneous
fire, giving off heat in excess of 3,600° Fahrenheit." 

Then Griffin writes: "And...[a missile strike] corresponds
with the fire started in the Pentagon."

Vaporized "Jet A" Aviation
Kerosene exposed to a source of ignition can create a powerful
explosion that reaches a temperature of 3,600° Fahrenheit.

Meyssan's claims that jet fuel cannot create such an explosion
are easily refuted.

The impact of the jet against the Pentagon ruptured the
fuel tanks and dispersed the Aviation Kerosene into the
air as a vapor which was ignited and created an explosion.
The science for this type of explosion is well studied. 

Flash point is discussed below in this column; while vapor
explosion dynamics is discussed in the column to the right.

= = = = = = = = 

Kerosene is less likely to ignite at certain temperatures
than is Gasoline, but it easily ignites at 110 degrees

From the Pasadena Fire Dept. website:

"Flash point - The temperature at which a particular flammable
liquid gives off vapors (vaporizes) and therefore can ignite.
The flash point differs for each type of flammable liquid.
Kerosene has a flash point of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Gasoline
has a flash point of 40 degrees. This means that at 110
degrees or higher kerosene gives off flammable vapors and
can ignite. However, gasoline requires a temperature of
only 40 degrees to vaporize to cause an explosion or fire.
This means that when the temperature is freezing, gasoline
still vaporizes and can cause an explosion and/or fire.
At the same temperature, kerosene cannot ignite. Liquids
such as gasoline with a flashpoint below 100 degrees are
called flammable liquids. Kerosene and other liquids with
a flash point above 100 degrees are referred to as combustible

Point - Pasadena

Explosion Dynamics Laboratory
Aviation Kerosene (Jet A) Research at Caltech:

= = = = = = = = 

"Hundreds of experiments documented in Nestor, Ott,
and the Caltech studies [Exhibit 20D, L, T, P] demonstrate
that an explosion can be produced in a quiescent mixture
of Jet A vapor in air." 

"What happens in the explosion?" 
"The explosion occurs through the motion (propagation) of a flame, or combustion
wave, through the ullage of the tank. The flame is a thin layer of intense chemical
reaction in which the fuel vapor molecules and oxygen in the air combine to produce
high temperature (3600 degree Fahrenheit) combustion products, water vapor and
carbon dioxide. The motion of the flame sweeps up or lofts the liquid fuel in
the bottom of the tank, creating a fireball of burning fuel with the remaining
oxygen in the tank. Any liquid remaining on the tank bottom may also continue
to burn after the fuel vapor is combusted."

"How can the explosion destroy the tank?"
"The high-temperature combustion products try to occupy much more volume
than the original contents of the tank. Unless the products can be rapidly released
through the vent system, the pressure in the tank will increase as the flame
moves through the tank. The pressure reaches a maximum value and then falls as
the hot products cool off and are released through the vent to the atmosphere.
The speed of the flame and the rate of venting from the tank determine the maximum
pressure reached inside the tank. In all cases that we have studied, the pressure
inside the tank increases quickly enough that the strength of the tank, known
as the failure pressure, is exceeded before the gas produced by the explosion
can be vented out of the tank. This causes the outer walls of the tank to be
forced outward and to rupture. The force of the explosion can be strong enough
to tear the walls of the tank and propel the pieces outward at high speed." 

Caltech-1 Caltech-2


Illustration. Photo of debris by Mark Faram. p. xvi, 

Meyssan has a title for the cutlines that dismisses the
validity of the claim that this is a piece from American
Airlines flight 77: 

Title: " 'Evidence' of the plane "

The cutlines read as follows: "Numerous newspapers have
reproduced this shot assuring that it represents a piece
of debris from American Airlines flight 77. Yet this piece
of sheet metal does not correspond with any piece of a
Boeing 757-200 painted in the colors of American Airlines.
It has not moreover been inventoried by the Department
of Defense as coming from flight 77."


"Further physical evidence is provided by the simple fact
there were evidently no remains of a Boeing 757 at
the crash site." 

A few lines later, Griffin quotes a fire chief as saying
there were "some small pieces...but not large sections...." p.

Griffin dismisses the Faram photo by citing Meyysan in
footnote 26 for Chapter 2.

Several persons have shown
that the large piece of debris dismissed by Meyssan and Griffin
is consistent with the painted upper section of an American
Airlines Boeing 757-200. 

There are several similar photographs circulating. One is discussed

"010911-N-6157F-001 Arlington, Va. (Sep. 11, 2001) -- Wreckage from
the hijacked American Airlines FLT 77 sits on the west lawn of the Pentagon
minutes after terrorists crashed the aircraft into southwest corner of
the building. The Boeing 757 was bound for Los Angeles with 58 passengers
and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people
in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Mark D. Faram.


Click Here to see a low resolution image of the debris.  dubious_claims/web_010911-N-6157F-001.jpg

Click Here to see a high resolution image of the debris.  dubious_claims/010911-N-6157F-001.jpg

Note that there is a litter of small debris visible in the high resolution
photograph, along with what appears to be another fragment from the jet
to the right of the larger piece. Photo by Mark Faram / SIPA - Associated

At least one person has
used a photo editing program to place the piece of debris against
the photograph of an undamaged American Airlines Boeing 757-200,
showing that is very likely the top part of the letter "n" in
the painted name "American Airlines." 

Photo Match-up

On the same page, see the analysis:

The AA 757-200 Pentagon Wreckage Photo Is Authentic 

From Dr. Russell R. Bingman, Col. US Army (Ret) 

Note (with irony) that this refutation by Bingman is posted on,
a conspiracist website.

As for other debris, there are many other accounts that talk about debris
from an airplane, including a large piece that struck a car on a nearby


"We should thus be able to see the wings of the fuselage
outside, and on the lawn in fact."



"the most obvious problem is that since the aircraft penetrated
only the first three rings of the Pentagon, only the nose of
a Boeing 757 would have gone inside.... The rest of the
airplane would have remained outside." p. 29.

This claim involves
a series of false assertions and false assumptions. The claim is logically invalid because Meyssan and
Griffin have no forensic engineering expertise to make
this claim [the logical fallacy of [Appeal
to Authority]
; they deny the evidence of forensic engineers
that explain how a Boeing 757 caused the damage at the
Pentagon [Exclusion]; and the
evidence they do present is highly biased [Non-Support].

The quote by Griffin
falsely assumes that the entire jet aircraft maintained its
structural integrity lengthwise as it plowed through the
Pentagon, leaving its wings outside on the lawn.

This is a physical impossibility given the dense mass
and structural strength of the Pentagon building materials
and reinforcements. In fact, the plane disintegrated and
collapsed lengthwise as it proceeded through the building.

See the refutation of the claims by Meyysan (and Griffin):

the Boeing" Answers

by Paul Boutin and Patrick Di Justo


"The impact itself is nevertheless quite narrow." p. 54.

"The building was not smashed into as if it had suffered
from a classic plane crash, but was perforated as if struck
by a missile." p. 63.


"...whatever did hit the Pentagon simply did not cause
nearly enough destruction for the official story to be
true. A Boeing 757, besides being so tall and having such
a wide wingspan, weighs over 100 tons. Travelling at a
speed of 250 to 440 miles per hour, it would have caused
tremendous devastation." p. 31. 

The Pentagon is an immense,
solid, reinforced structure with a mass that makes a 100 ton
airplane relatively small by comparison.

The airplane hit the ground before it hit the wall of
the Pentagon, reducing its speed.

See the refutation of the
claims by Meyysan (and Griffin):

the Boeing" Answers

by Paul Boutin and Patrick Di Justo


Discussing the nose cover of a Boeing 757 and the electronic
gear behind it, Meyysan writes it is made of "carbon fibers...not
particularly shock-resistant...extremely fragile. Against
an obstacle, they would be crushed rather than piercing
through." p. 60.


"the nose of a Boeing, which contains the electronic navigation
system, is made of carbon fibers rather than metal. Being
'extremely fragile,' such a nose could not have gone through
three rings of the Pentagon, creating a seven foot exit
hole in the inside wall of the third ring. The Boeing's
nose would have been 'crushed rather than piercing through.'
What could create such a hole is the head of a missile." p.

The tiny black nose cover
of the Boeing 757 that houses electronics undoubtedly disintegrated
immediately upon impact with the outside wall of the Pentagon.
This nose cover did not go through three rings of the Pentagon.
What did was the rest of the aircraft fuselage and metal skin,
along with the wings and jet engines, and the tail.

Both Meyssan and Griffin misdirect attention from the
hurtling mass of the jet aircraft to the small and fragile
nose cover. One official said the "nose" caused the damage
to the third ring. Clearly this official is not referring
to the tiny nose cover. 

Both Meyssan and Griffin mislead the reader into thinking
that every quote about the "nose" of the aircraft penetrating
the pentagon refers to the tiny fragile nose cover protecting
electronic equipment rather than the front part of the
aircraft, which is also referred to as the nose of the

What Griffin is implying
is that a missile hitting the Pentagon is a more probable
explanation than a American Airlines Boeing 757. This is
not supported by any physical evidence, and is refuted by
much physical evidence.

Most witnesses describe a commercial jet aircraft flying
toward the Pentagon, only a few refer to a missile, and
many of those that do mention a missile are using the term
in a descriptive sense rather than claiming the object
was an actual missile.
{Logical Fallacy}

. .
. . . .

Griffin: p. 38-39. Citing
the work of Holmgren:

Holmgren: "What appeared at first reading to be 19 eyewitness
accounts...actually turned out to be none." {Logical

Holmgren: "My conclusion is that there is no eyewitness
evidence to support the theory that F77 hit the Pentagon,
unless my search has missed something very significant." 

Griffin: "I now return to the list of reasons for believing
that the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was not
Flight 77. The first two reasons, to recall, were that
the identification was based on dubious sources and that
the physical evidence was incompatible with this identification." 

Griffin relies heavily
on Holmgren for his claims about a lack of credible witnesses.
How credible is the research work of Holmgren? It is easy to
demonstrate that Holmgren's research is inadequate and unreliable. 

Not all relevant research data can be located by a superficial internet
search. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of witnesses that saw
a commercial jet aircraft hit the Pentagon. Many additional statements
[not counted by Holmgren] can be located using fee-based searches of
newspaper and magazine archives.

Holmgen even dismisses quotes he found on the web in a way that demonstrates
his flawed logic and methodology. Here, for example, is Holmgren: discussing
the eyewitness account of AP Radio reporter Dave Winslow (with typos
corrected as a courtesy):

Holmgren: "Obviously, once this enigmatic quote was out there, other
media just picked it up and repeated it, without question. It multiplied
itself throughout the media like a computer virus, without anybody actually
tracking down Winslow and asking him to verify, or elaborate. If Winslow
actually saw the collision, surely there must be more to his account
than this."

"A search for 'Dave Winslow' found 13 newspaper reports, all for
Sept 11 or 12 and all with the identical quote, similarly unverified
and unquestioned, with no elaboration, although some omitted 'there is
billowing black smoke.' No-one claims to have interviewed Winslow and
I couldn't find any transcript of a broadcast by him. Determined to get
to the bottom of this, I did a search with unrestricted dates for every
possible type of media, for anything to do with Dave Winslow at any time."

"I found 36 matches, 16 of them repeating identically the aforementioned
quote. None of these made any reference whatsoever to Winslow apart from
the quote. The rest were nothing to do with Dave Winslow, the AP reporter.
They concerned Dave Winslow the musician, Dave Winslow the police officer,
Dave Winslow the airforce pilot, Dave Winslow the insurance spokesman
etc. Not a single match for AP reporter Dave Winslow in any context except
his alleged quote. In any kind of media at any time."

"I searched over 100 Yahoo matches with the Keywords "Dave Winslow
AP " with the same result. Has Dave Winslow ever filed a radio report?
Has he ever interviewed anyone? Does he exist? I have found no evidence
that he does. If anyone (including Mr. Winslow himself) can come forward
with evidence other than that quote, that an AP radio reporter named
Dave Winslow exists, I will willingly retract the statement, but up until
then, I am treating this account as a fabrication. At very best, it is
almost certainly second hand, and in it's present form is too enigmatic
to have much meaning. It definitely does not qualify as a verifiable
eyewitness account of a large jet hitting the Pentagon."
{Logical Fallacy}

It took me about ten minutes
to verify the employment of Dave Winslow as a reporter for
AP Radio.  I used reference books, the telephone, and
fee-based online archival searches.

However, even a thorough online search on the Web can locate Dave Winslow,
the AP radio reporter. 

Try searching using Google(tm) with the phrase:
Dave Winslow" "AP correspondent" 
to turn up audio reports by Winslow. For example, you can listen to a
radio report by Winslow by playing the audio report mentioned in the
small box on the right at the URL below:
Winslow Audio

Holmgren appears to be completely ignorant of how news services function.
Newspapers routinely pick up information from news services and use quotes.
The quotes might be the same as they appear in different publications,
or they can be truncated with ellipses, or otherwise cut (although sometimes
typos and editing errors can cause problems). The multiple appearances
and variations in the Winslow quote are unremarkable.

Since Winslow is an AP Radio reporter, it is unusual for him to be quoted
by a print news service or quoted on another broadcast news outlet..

AP radio news bulletins and features -- both audio feed and print feed
-- are generally not posted on the web. They cannot be found with a simple
web search. 

AP has a policy that their reporters should not grant interviews to
other reporters without permission from above, but there are exceptions
made, as in the interview Dave Winslow gave the Washingtonian Magazine a
year after the attacks: "'Remembering 9/11' One year later, Washingtonians
talk about that day and how their lives—and the city—have changed. By
Bill Heavey." Washingtonian Magazine, September 2002.

"Summary: Maybe you heard the news on the radio. Or someone called yelling,
'Turn on the television!' Wherever you were on September 11, you got
information about the attacks from the media. Remarkably few mistakes
were made on a day when chaos ruled. Here are two stories on how Washington
journalists brought you the news, according to AP Radio's Dave Winslow
and AP Television's Eugenio Hernandez…"
Press Blurb about Winslow Interview

. Griffin: "...the aircraft
that crashed into the Pentagon was not Flight 77....the identification
was based on dubious sources.
- 1

- 2

Snopes Website

Sequence of photos showing
Pentagon explosion:



Introduction & Section 1 
by Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel 

" On 11 September there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready fighter 
jets at Andrews. Their job was to protect the skies over Washington D.C. 
They failed to do their job. Despite over one hour's advance warning
of a 
terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews fighter tried to protect 
the city." 


Griffin cites the Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel article
along with others that make similar claims in a section
discussing the Pentagon attack on pages 42 to 45. 

"Combat Ready" is a term
used by the U.S. military to describe a unit with a sufficient
number of properly trained troops; and a full inventory of
equipment and ordinance that is functional and with the proper
maintenance, so as to be able to be deployed into combat. It
does not mean the people in the unit are sitting around on
benches ready to leap into tanks and jets in ten minutes. 

Many "combat ready" units are Reserve units or National Guard units
and most of the people in those units hold full-time jobs outside of
their military commitment. Some "combat ready" units are part of the
full-time military and live on or near their bases, but even in these
units some people are on leave or off duty.

None of these people are automatically on duty for anything unless they
are assigned through the chain of command to a specific task.

We can agree that it would
have been a good idea to have several jet pilots and several
jet airplanes assigned to alert duty and on call for a scramble
(5-10 minutes to be airborne) at Andrews field near Washington,
D.C. There were not. It is certainly appropriate to ask why
not. Nonetheless, the duty assignments on 9/11/01 for scramble
alert jet aircraft on the east coast were Langley in coastal
Virginia to cover Washington, D.C. and Otis on the coast on
Cape Cod in Massachusetts to cover New York City (and Boston). 

How do I know this? Because the pilots have given interviews describing
their duty assignment and how the were scrambled on 9/11. Were their
other bases with scramble-ready jets? Quite probably there were. My argument
is that the Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel article claiming that there
were actually jets ready to scramble and take off at Andrews (because
some web page described some of the jet units stationed there as "combat
ready") is flat out wrong and based on total ignorance of the meaning
of the term "combat ready." 

There are plenty of DOD documents explaining the term "combat ready." And "combat
ready 24/7" is just a slogan to keep units on their toes as a goal, because
in actual practice, when a "combat ready" unit is called up from the
Reserves or National Guard, the DOD goal is 24-72 hours before embarkation.
Even an active duty full time military unit can take many hours to get
assembled for transport. There is no evidence that has been produced
so far that demonstrates that there were jets ready to scramble at Andrews. 


by Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel 

“U.S. air safety and air defense emergency systems are activated in
response to problems every day. On 9-11 they failed despite, not because
of, the extreme nature of the emergency. This could only happen if individuals
in high positions worked in a coordinated way to make them fail."

"Such operatives would almost surely have failed if they tried to disrupt
and abort routine protection systems without top-level support. The failure
of the emergency systems would be noticed immediately. Moreover, given
the catastrophic nature of the attacks, the highest military authorities
would be alerted. Acting on their own, the operatives could expect that
their orders would be countermanded and that they themselves would be

"The sabotage of routine protective systems, controlled by strict hierarchies,
would never have been contemplated let alone attempted absent the involvement
of the supreme U.S. military command. This includes at least U.S. President
George Bush, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the then-Acting
Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers." 


"After NORAD received word of the hijacking, according
to this account, it did not give the scramble order until
8:46, six minutes after it had been notified. Furthermore,
NORAD inexplicable gave this order NOT to McGuire Air Force
Base in New Jersey, which is only 70 miles from NYC, but
to Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, which is over
180 miles away." p. 9

Griffin states: “…the two f-15s [from Otis] that were
given the scramble order at 8:46 were sent after this flight….But,
inexplicably, the f-15s are said not to have taken off
until 6 minutes later, at 8:52.” Griffin also suggests
that the jet interceptors were not flying at their full
speed despite statements by the pilots that they had flown
at “full blower.”

The implication is that
there is something “inexplicable” about jets flying from a
base that is not the closest to an airborne target. Others
have questioned why the mission was assigned to National Guard
pilots rather than regular Air Force pilots. The issue is not
whether or not an airfield is an Air Force Base or an Air National
Guard Base. These are designations that are unrelated to whether
or not an airfield is tasked by military authorities to scramble
a jet interceptor in between five to ten minutes, which is
the goal. Whether or not the scrambled jets are piloted by
regular Air Force or the Air National Guard is also not important.
At any given moment, the base tasked with scrambling jets may
not be the closest base to a particular target. 

Active fighter and interceptor jet bases are often located near the
ocean, to allow for sonic booms during numerous training missions to
happen over the ocean, thus reducing complaints from encroaching suburbs
near other bases. This is the case with Otis and Langely.

Pilots are not sitting in their aircraft prior to a scramble order;
they are sitting near their jets in what is called a “ready room.” They
need to get to their jets, go through at least a basic systems check,
power up the jet engines, taxi to the proper place on the runway depending
on the winds, and then take-off. There is nothing “inexplicable” about
this process taking six minutes. 

Unlike Star Trek and Star Wars, the U.S. military does not have craft
that can take off and reach maximum speed instantaneously. Jets cannot
immediately hit their top speed if the pilots wish to survive the G-forces
from rapid acceleration.

Any researcher can make a mistake, but in this case Illarion Bykov and
Jared Israel refuse to admit they made a mistake, and have come up with
more and more tortured explanations for their theory. At Political Research
Associates our policy is to post our mistakes and corrections on our website,
including a correction for a
mistake I made on a Pacifica Radio interview concerning 9/11.

Among those who have challenged
the Bykov / Israel article is progressive activist and military
expert Stan Goff, (who is a frequently a critic of my work).
Here is part of Goff’s critique from an online discussion list: 

Bykov / Israel:

Andrews Air Force Base is a huge military installation just 10 miles
from the Pentagon. On 11 September there were two entire squadrons of
combat-ready fighter jets at Andrews.” 


Saying they were combat ready does not mean there was a stand-by status
in effect. In other words, what was the status of the crews. How many
were on stand-by, and what was their spin-up time? Ten minutes? Thirty
minutes? One hours? Two hours? Is anyone actually suited up and ready
to fly? If so, how many, and what are their standing orders? What is
their primary mission?”

Bykov / Israel:

Their job was to protect the skies over Washington D.C.”


Do you have documentation that states this is their mission?”

Bykov / Israel:

They failed to do their job. Despite over one hour's advance warning
of a terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews fighter tried
to protect the city.”


I myself have questioned this, but the question remains, what was their
actual status? Did they actually maintain ‘hot’ crews and craft? If the
answer is no, it could concievably take well over an hour to get a bird

According to the Bykov / Israel article, the failure to stop the attacks
was evidence of an order to “stand down” from persons high up the chain
of command:

Bykov / Israel:

This could only happen if individuals in high positions worked in a coordinated
way to make them fail.”

Goff criticized the claim by Bykov / Israel that the events of 9/11
proved complicity by government officials in the attacks:


Wild generalization. You haven’t yet established what the procedures
are. Yet you conclude they 'failed.' Whereupon you conclude it was
done on purpose. Raising the question is one thing. But answering your
question without all the facts is another. The question of the actual
alert status at Andrews, and the question of the FAA-USAF-NORAD procedures,
and the question of whether anyone might have fucked up any of those
procedures, are all open.”


Note: In a preliminary exchange of e-mails,
David Ray Griffin pointed out that one of my criticisms of logic
was listed incorrectly,
and another was convoluted. Corrections have been made, and I am
very grateful to Dr. Griffin for his gracious forbearance. Read
his full response here.

Fallacies of Logic

When an argument employs one of the many Fallacies of Logic, it
is not valid on its face.

= = = = = = =

Logical fallacy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A logical fallacy is an error in logical argument or reasoning
which is independent of the truth of the premises. It is a
mistake in the way that the propositions or statements in an
argument are logically related. When there is a fallacy in
an argument it is said to be invalid. That is, the conclusion
does not logically follow from the premises provided to support
it. This sort of mistake does not mean that the statements
made or the conclusion reached are necessarily true or false.
Both conclusion and premises may actually be true, but the
argument is still invalid because the conclusion does not follow
from the premises presented.

Arguments intended to persuade may be convincing to many listeners
despite fallacious reasoning. The truth of the premises may
even significantly increase the probability of the truth of
the conclusion. But such arguments are nonetheless flawed.
Recognizing fallacies is often difficult, but it is important
to be able to do so. A tempting conclusion is not more likely
to be true because it is supported by a fallacious argument.
Detecting and avoiding fallacious reasoning will at least prevent
adoption of some erroneous conclusions.

= = = = = = =

The following are a few of the fallacies of logic employed by
Griffin and Meyssan, with initial descriptions of each fallacy
provided by Stephen Downes (Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies

Fallacies of Distraction:

False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are three options.

Example in Griffin: it is asserted that the evidence suggests
Bush either caused the attacks on 09/11/01 or knew about them
in advance and did nothing to stop them. One option not given
(or repeatedly dismissed) is that Bush should have known that
an attack was imminent, but failed to take the proper measures
to stop them.

[Clarification: Some readers have written to suggest my meaning here was not clear. This
language is better:

False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are three

Example in Griffin: it is asserted that the evidence suggests:

1) Bush ordered the attacks on 09/11/01.


2) Bush had been given specific solid information, knew that the attacks
were set to take place on or around 09/11/01, and deliberately did
nothing to stop the attacks in order to gain political advantages.

One option not given (or repeatedly dismissed) is:

3) Various government agencies had enough pieces of information that (if
they had been properly collected, analyzed, and acted upon) it should
have been obvious that an attack was imminent; but for a variety of
reasons this information was not provided to or taken seriously by top
Bush Administration officials, and Bush therefore failed to take the
proper measures to prevent the attacks.]

From Ignorance: because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to
be false.

Example in Griffin: A superficial search of the web by Griffin
source Holmgren fails to discover evidence that AP Radio reporter
Dave Winslow exists, therefore Holmgren asserts that Winslow's
quotes are false, and that Winslow may not exist at all.

Inductive Fallacies:

Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization
about a population.

Example in Griffin: Finding only 19 witnesses quoted on the
web who claim they saw a commercial jet hit the Pentagon, and
then finding reasons to dismiss their claims, and then concluding
the witness evidence does not support the claim that a commercial
jet hit the Pentagon. In fact, there are many more than 19 persons
who claim they saw a commercial jet hit the Pentagon, but since
they were not found in a superficial web search, they are not
counted as part of the sample.

Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a

Example in Griffin: Highlighting the handful of people who
say they saw or heard a missile heading toward or striking the
Pentagon, when most people describe a commercial passenger jet.

Fallacy of Exclusion: evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive
argument is excluded from consideration.

Example in Griffin: Meyssan and Griffin claim that the explosion
at the Pentagon cannot be explained by the burning of Jet aviation
fuel, therefore a missile strike is a likely explanation. There
is abundant evidence (not mentioned) that Jet aviation fuel actually
can explode when vaporized and create an extremely high temperature.

Example in Griffin: The World Trade Center towers would only
have collapsed if bombs had been placed inside the buildings.
This claim is refuted by numerous structural engineers and forensic
engineers.   [Read
example 1]
example 2]
example 3]

Non Sequitur:

Affirming the Consequent: any argument of the form: If A then B, B, therefore

Example in Griffin: If a heat-seeking missile hit United Flight
93 over Pennsylvania, it would have knocked off the jet engine.
A jet engine from the aircraft was found miles from the main
crash wreckage, therefore this is evidence that a heat-seeking
missile hit United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.

Example in Griffin: If Bush knew about the 09/11/01 attacks
in advance, he would remain in a classroom talking with children,
(and the Secret Service would not whisk him away to safety).
Bush stayed talking with children, therefore this is evidence
that Bush knew about the 09/11/01 attacks in advance.

Causal Fallacies:

Post Hoc: because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.

Example in Griffin: Bush wanted to pass legislation expanding
the powers of intelligence agencies; invade Afghanistan, and
invade Iraq. The passage of the Patriot Act, the invasion of
Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq are evidence that Bush
caused the attacks on 09/11/01 or allowed them to happen.

Fallacies of Explanation:

Non-support: Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is biased:

Example in Meyssan and Griffin: The fireballs of the commercial
jets that struck the World Trade Center towers are different
from the fireball at the Pentagon, therefore the fireball at
the Pentagon was not caused by a commercial jet airliner. The
fireballs are indeed different. The fireballs at the World Trade
Center towers are in mid-air and can attain a rounded shape against
the walls of the building and the holes in the walls. The fireball
at the Pentagon is shaped by the wall of the building, the hole
in the wall of the building, and the ground, therefore the blast
is shaped differently and is forced upwards in a distinctive

Changing the Subject:

Appeal to Authority: the authority is not an expert in the field.

Example in Griffin: Meyssan is cited by Griffin where Meyssan
is making conclusions about scientific, military, and engineering
matters when he has no expertise in any of these fields, much
less expertise in the forensic analysis of phenomena related
to these fields.

Example in Griffin: "the most obvious
problem is that since the aircraft penetrated only the first
three rings of the Pentagon, only the nose of
a Boeing 757 would have gone inside.... The rest of the airplane
would have remained outside." p. 29.

Fallacies of Ambiguity:

Equivocation: the same term is used with two different meanings.

Example in Griffin and Meyssan: Throughout their discussion
of the "nose" of flight 77, and the attack on the Pentagon,
they and the people they quote refer to the "nose" of
the airplane, but it is clear that sometimes people are describing
the small fragile nose cover that protects electronic equipment
at the tip of the aircraft, and sometimes they are talking about
the entire front part of the aircraft.