Learjet Lost over Florida!
Let's look now at the air-controls and air-defenses that
should have protected the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11/01.
The basic question for me
here is: Why weren't any of the airliners that struck the World Trade
Center or Pentagon intercepted by U.S. fighter-jets?
Two entities share responsibility for monitoring
air-space over U.S. cities: the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the
U.S./Canadian North American Aerospace Command (NORAD). Given that both
have been entrusted with protecting against any kind of aerial attack
since the Cold War, their guidelines for immediate response allow little
room for discretion or error.
The FAA requires that flight-controllers call military
aircraft to intercept any plane that deviates from points (or "fixes")
on its flight-path by more than 15 degrees (about 2 miles) and then
fails to respond to Air Traffic Control.
Such regulation is sensible due to the busyness of
air-traffic over the U.S (in particular over the northeast U.S.) and as
a safeguard against hijacking or aerial attack.
On September 11, 2001 American Airlines' flight 11 took
off from Boston's Logan Airport for Los Angeles at 7:59 Eastern Daylight
Time, carrying eighty-one passengers, two pilots and nine
flight-attendants. At 8:15 this Boeing 767 first went off-course,
The New York Times story of September 13, 2001
about Flight 11 had this picturesque heading: "A Plane Left Boston and
Skimmed over River and Mountain in a Deadly Detour."
The NY Times story proceeded: "Five minutes
later, at 8:20, Flight 11 failed to follow an instruction to
climb to its cruising altitude of 31,00 feet. It was at this point that
air controllers suspected something was wrong. And just about then the
plane's transponder, a piece of equipment that broadcast its location,
Please keep that
transponder in mind. The disabling of transponders as reason for losing
track of the airliners is a key part of Government/Corporate stories
At 8:20 a.m., then, Air Traffic Control and the FAA
should have alerted NORAD that nearby military aircraft needed to
intercept Flight 11 at once.
FAA Order 7110.65M 10-2-5 states: "Consider that an
aircraft emergency exists... when: ... There is unexpected loss of radar
contact and radio communications with any...aircraft."
FAA Order 7110.65M 10-1-1
tells monitors to act rather than wait in the event of any possible
emergency: "If... you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an
emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an
There is a well-known, recent precedent for fulfilling
the FAA's need-to-intercept regulation.
On October 25, 1999 a Sunjet Aviation Learjet carrying
golfer Payne Stewart, three of his friends, and two Sunjet pilots took
off from Orlando, Florida for Dallas, Texas at 9:19 Eastern Daylight
Fourteen minutes later this plane, registered as N47BA,
lost contact with the Air Routes Traffic Control Center in Jacksonville,
The following is taken from the U.S. National
Transportation Safety Board's account of the flight.
"At 0933:38 EDT (6 minutes and 20 seconds after N47BA
acknowledged the previous clearance), the controller instructed N47BA to
change radio frequencies and contact another Jacksonville ARTCC
controller. The controller received no response from N47BA. The
controller called the flight five more times over the next 4½ minutes
but received no response. About 0952 CDT, a USAF F-16 test pilot from
the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB),
Florida, was vectored to within 8 nm (nautical miles) of N47BA. About
0954 CDT, at a range of 2,000 feet from the accident airplane and an
altitude of about 46,400 feet, the test pilot made two radio calls to
N47BA but did not receive a response."
The important information to me here is that an Air
Force F-16 was dispatched and ready to intercept this plane a
six-passenger Learjet flying over sparsely populated Florida within 19
minutes of this flight's appearing to be off-course.
On September 12, 2002 MSNBC said about the recent
precedent: "When golfer Payne Stewart's incapacitated Learjet missed a
turn at a fix, heading north instead of west to Texas, F-16 interceptors
were quickly dispatched."
No such quick dispatch was done by any ATC or the FAA on
the morning of September 11 even after two enormous commercial
airliners flew into Towers of the World Trade Center and Networks
repeated their galvanizing news that America was "under attack."
On the "'9/11'" morning American Airlines Flight 11
continued off-course, turning sharply southeast.
At 8:38 EDT, 23 minutes after this Boeing 767 first
missed a "fix" on its flight-path and 18 minutes after it failed to
follow ATC instruction to achieve its cruising altitude, the FAA alerted
NORAD that Flight 11 was a confirmed hijacking. NORAD then dispatched
two F-15 jets from Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
On September 18 NORAD announced that it had scrambled
jets from Otis AFB 6 minutes after the FAA's alert that is, at 8:44
EDT. Flying at their top speed of 1,875 miles per hour, the F-15s could
have reached Manhattan in less than 10 minutes: too late to stop Flight
11 from crashing into the North Tower, but several minutes before United
Airlines 175 struck the South Tower.
Yet, according to NORAD
and Corporate media, the F-15 s were 70 miles northeast of Manhattan
when United Airlines 175 hit the South Tower.
Let's look back now at the airliners' transponders.
Their disabling has been supposed to have let hijackers avoid tracking
by the FAA and NORAD.
However, regarding NORAD's responsibilities and
capabilities, here's what the Canadian Defense website says under
"Canada-United States Defense Regulations": "NORAD uses a network of
ground-based radars, sensors and fighter jets to detect, intercept and,
if necessary, engage any threats to the continent."
That is, the United States' and Canadian Governments are
sensibly equipped to detect attacks that don't feature transponders
attacks that don't want to call attention to themselves, you know
attacks by other nations' armed forces such as have been anticipated for
more than 50 years. The U. S. and Canadian Governments are equipped to
then defend against such attacks.
In short, NORAD sensibly relies on radar that doesn't
need transponders for it to track aircraft.
Radar serving the United States' highest military
leaders, in fact, tracked the flight that ultimately killed Payne
Stewart and his five companions. On October 26, 1999, one day after that
fatal crash, CNN reported: "Officers on the Joint Chiefs were monitoring
the Learjet on radar screens inside the Pentagon's National Military
At 8:14 EDT the Boeing 767 that was United Airlines
Flight 175 took off from Boston's Logan Airport for LAX in Los Angeles,
carrying fifty-six passengers, two pilots and seven flight-attendants.
Less than 15 minutes later this airliner first missed a
"fix" on its course, veering southward over Connecticut. United Airlines
175 continued south, almost intersecting with American Airlines Flight
11 above the Hudson River, as if both 767s were intended to strike the
World Trade Center simultaneously, and reached airspace over middle New
Jersey (Trenton the nearest city) before it angled northeast on a
beeline for Manhattan.
Again Air Traffic Control and the Federal Aviation
Agency failed to take prescribed steps.
At 8:43 EDT nearly 15 minutes after UA 175 first went
off-course and 28 minutes after American Airlines 11 first missed a
"fix"the FAA informed NORAD that the second divergent airliner also
At 9:06 EDT UA 175 exploded into one corner of the World
Trade Center's South Tower around the 80th floor.
Fifty-three minutes later the South Towerthe Tower hit
second and hit much less directlywas the first to fall from what
commentators termed a "'pancake'" collapse.
The Squadrons Who Staved Home
As faulty as FAA/NORAD behavior was in regard to the
off-course airliners that struck WTC Buildings 1 and 2, it's with
American Airlines Flight 77, the jet blamed for devastating one
wedge-block of the Pentagon, that the holes in Government officials' and
Corporate media's stories become gaping and in fact sickening.
AA 77 was the Boeing 757 (a plane a little smaller than
the 767, its wingspan of 124 feet against the 767's 156 feet) that left
Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. at 8:21 EDT for LAX in Los Angeles.
Like its doomed predecessors that morning, AA 77 was
about one-quarter full, carrying fifty-six passengers, two pilots and
By 8:55 EDT, just after crossing the Ohio border above
Parkersburg, West Virginia, AA 77 had lost contact with Air Traffic
Control due to the disabling of its transponder.
You know from the above-quoted FAA Orders that such loss
of contact means an "emergency."
You also know that an
"emergency" means that the ATC/FAA must call at once for NORAD or other
military interception of the out-of-contact aircraft.
You also know that aircraft in flight do not need an
active transponder in order to be tracked by radar.
Around 9:00 EDT, AA 77
turned 180 degrees and headed back toward the nation's capital.
About 6 minutes after this airliner made its 180-degree
wrong turn, the Boeing 767 that was United Airlines 175 burst into
flames as it struck the World Trade Center's South Tower, its impact
shadowed by the already smoking 110-story Tower beside it.
You, watching at home,
might have considered this second airliner's strike to be sign of one of
the greatest emergencies you'd ever seen. You might have expected the
Controllers and Officers who are charged with maintaining the United
States' safety and security. to ready defense of air-space over
Washington, D.C. the nation's capital home to President, Pentagon
and Congress even without the threat represented by a third commercial
airliner, American Airlines 77, reversing its course to head straight
for the capital.
Officials in Washington were, in fact, watching AA 77
fly at them.
In the September 15 New York Times Matthew Wald
wrote: "During the hour or so that American Airlines Flight 77 was under
the control of hijackers, up to the moment it struck the west side of
the Pentagon, military officials in a command center on the east side of
the building were urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic
control officials about what to do."
What to do? What to do!
You who are likely a lay person who must first rely on
common sense for your judgment might think that the urgent thing to do
was: Scramble jets from the nearest possible U.S. airfield to defend the
Not till 9:24, however, almost one half-hour after AA
77's transponder shut off, did the FAA tell NORAD what NORAD's own
tracking would have already known: This third airliner/missile had to be
Still, you might be glad and relieved to know now that a
U.S. Air Force Base sits only 10 miles from Washington, D.C. You might
also be glad to know that it, Andrews AFB, is especially prepared with
aircraft to defend the nation's capital.
Andrews AFB is, in fact, home to two Flight Squadrons.
The 121st Fighter Squadron (FS-121) of the
113th Fighter Wing (FW-113) flies F-16 fighters.
The 321st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron
(VMFA-321) of the 49th Marine Air Group, Detachment A (MAG-49
Det-A), flies F/A-18 fighters.
Hundreds of personnel serve in these Squadrons.
The specific missions of each Squadron are spelled out
private Website that's authorized by the military to provide information
for members of the armed forces.
Regarding the 121st Fighter Squadron of the
113th Fighter Wing, dcmilitary.com states: "as part of its
dual mission, the 113th provides capable and ready response
forces for the District of Columbia in the event of a natural disaster
or civil emergency. Members also assist local and federal law
enforcement agencies in combating drug trafficking in the District of
Colombia. [They] are full partners with the active Air Force."
Regarding the 321st Marine Fighter Attack
Squadron, dcmilitary.com states: "In the best tradition of the Marine
Corps, a 'few good men and women' support two combat-ready reserve units
at Andrews AFB.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 321, a Marine
Corps Reserve squadron, flies the sophisticated F/A-18 Hornet. Marine
Aviation Logistics Squadron 49, Detachment A, provides maintenance and
supply functions necessary to maintain a force in readiness."
Somehow, however, neither NORAD nor the National
Military Command Center in the Pentagon called for fighter-jets to be
scrambled from the two "combat-ready" Squadrons at this Air Force Base
10 miles from the White House.
Instead, three F-16s from Langley Air Force Base in
southern Virginia, 129 miles away from the NMCC, were scrambled.
Still and yet perplexed as you may be by the
decision to call for jets from Langley and not Andrews you might be
glad and relieved to know that F-16s can fly 1,500 mph. According to
NORAD's press-release of 9/18/02, three F-16s from Langley were aloft by
9:30 EDT. Each was capable of jetting to air-space over the wrote House
and Pentagon within 7 minutes.
Further, you, as a normal, intelligent and compassionate
person, would be glad and relieved to also know that Pentagon employees
regularly practice to evacuate their building in less than 5 minutes if
threatened by an attack. Your worries about these employees' safety
would be further allayed by the surface-to-air missiles that are among
the Pentagon's sensible anti-aircraft defenses.
Meanwhile, as some jets went up and some stayed down, AA
77 continued straight back at the White House and Pentagon.
The Washington Post of September 12 reiterated
the breathtaking last turns of this 757: The expertise that was later
credited to flight-school failure Rami Hanjour. "But just as the plane
seemed to be on a suicide mission into the White House, the unidentified
pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter
The airliner thus turned away from the Command Center
and the office where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat in the
Pentagon's east wedge. Instead it apparently drove into the west block,
exploding among relatively low-level personnel at 9:43 EDT.
Your final perplexity about events relating to American
Airlines Flight 77 might be that none of the Pentagon's personnel were
evacuated, nor were any of its alarms or air-defenses activated, prior
to the crash.
One hundred twenty-three people in the Pentagon and all
62 aboard AA 77 died.
The jets from Langley arrived over Washington, D.C.
around 10:00 that morning, having been flown for some reason at 1/5 of
their top speed.
H'mm! H'mm H'mm H'mm and woe!
What to do? What to do!
As a normal, intelligent and compassionate person,
watching with shock and alarm events of the 9/11 morning repeat on
Networks' TV, you likely were moved to find out all that you could, to
do whatever you could, in terms of aid for the victims and prevention
for society even if you weren't this country's President or the United
States' highest-ranking Air Force General.
So: What did our selected President, George W. Bush, and
U.S. Air Force General Richard B. Myers, his service's representative
among the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11/01, do between 8:45 and
9:30 EDT, the first 45 minutes of the "'Attack on America'"?
They went on with their scheduled appointments.
General Richard B. Myers met on Capitol Hill with
Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a Democrat member of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, while the two World Trade Center Towers burned after
they were struck by airliners and American Airlines 77 reversed its
course and headed back at Washington, DC.
On September 11 General
Myers told the American Forces Radio and Television Service: "When we
came out, somebody said the Pentagon had been hit."
Two days later General Myers had a confirmation-hearing
before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He told the Committee's
Chairman, Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, that he didn't know when
NORAD had scrambled jets.
The General explained to the Senators: "At the time of
the first impact on the World Trade Center, we stood up our crisis
action team. That was done immediately. So we stood it up. And we
started talking to the federal agencies. The time I do not know is when
NORAD responded with fighter aircraft. I don't know that time."
Two days after "'9/11,'",a span in which the FAA's and
NORAD's logs were certainly available to him, the ranking officer in the
United States Air Force claimed to still not know when jets were
scrambled over New York City and Washington, D.C.
On October 1, 2001 the U.S. Senate confirmed General
Myers as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On the "'9/11'" morning this nation's President, George
W. Bush, was in Sarasota, Florida for a session at the Emma E. Booker
Elementary School to promote education.
ABC correspondent John Cochran told anchor-person Peter
Jennings that reporters saw White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card
whisper into the President's ear as GWB left his hotel for the motorcade
to the Booker School just before 9:00 a.m. EDT. Cochran related: "The
reporter said to the President, 'Do you know what's going on in New
York?' He said he did, and he said he will have something about it
later. His first event is about half an hour at an elementary school."
During the next half-hour as the Towers smoked, as AA
77 targeted Washington, D.C., and as more than 50 other airliners
remained in unpredictable flight over the mainland United States
President George W. Bush read and heard the story of a goat with 3rd
graders at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School.
The Secret Service's primary mission is to protect the
United States' President. The Booker School is 5 miles from the
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (home to one of the
flight-schools that Mohammed Atta and Marwanal-Al-Shehhi are reported to
have used). During the latter 1990s the Secret Service has particularly
prepared to protect and remove the President from the threat of hijacked
The Secret Service certainly knew of the hijacked
airliners, crashes, and dangers of the 9/11 morning.
On Sunday, September 16, the United States Vice
President, Dick Cheney told NBC correspondent Tim Russert on Meet the
Press that the Secret Service and the FAA had "open lines" on the 9/11
morning. Before breaking off as if he'd revealed too much, Cheney said:
"The Secret Service has an arrangement with the F.A.A. They had open
lines after the World Trade Center was..."
Despite their "open
lines" the Secret Service and President George W. Bush left themselves 5
miles or less then 30 seconds from attack by another airplane.
They were somehow unconcerned.
The story of the goat proceeded. White House Chief of
Staff Andrew Card again stepped near the President and whispered into
GWB's ear. Card told Bush that a second hijacked airliner had flown into
the World Trade Center and a third was headed straight for Washington,
Network tapes show the President's response. George W.
Bush nods as if he's been told about an appointment changing from 10:15
to 10:30 that is, as if the news is of little surprise or concern to
him that is, as if such unprecedented disasters and dangers appear to
be no shock or sorrow to him.
Card steps away without waiting for word from the
Tambien, photos from the next few days after "'9/11'"
show President Bush and his father, George Herbert Walker Bush (GHWB
fourth in a line of Bush patriarchs, we should remember here, who have
profited from the United States' international wars since World War I,
GWHB the former United States President and Vice President and Director
of the Central Intelligence Agency, GWHB the former boss of former
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, GWHB the veteran of the Watergate and
Iran-Contra and Iraq-gate scandals, and GWHB the current consultant for
the Carlyle Group, a firm that has lately made billions of dollars from
and with Department of Defense contractors) smiling and laughing.
[To be continued.]
1971 Don Paul (No. 36 in the picture to the left) was the
youngest winner of a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford
University, after Ken Kesey, Tillie Olsen and Robert Stone and before
Ray Carver, Alice Hoffman and Bill Kitteredge.
Between 1973 and 1980
he was a logger or roughneck in northwest Washington, southeast Alaska,
Louisiana and Texas.
He held the World Road
Best for running 50 kilometers between 1982-94 and qualified for the
U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trial in 1980 and 1988.
In 1988 he began to
put poems to music by his brother Kenton. He's subsequently led or
produced more than 20 recordings, including the Rebel Poets compilations
and albums led by Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, India Cooke, Paul Plimley,
Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ben Goldberg.
Most recently he's
released two CDs, 5 Songs For The Bush Reich (available at
www.wireonfire.com) and Love Is
The Main Flame, and the books of poems
Pulsing and Flares.
He works with the organizations Housing Is a Human
Right and From the Ground Up in San Francisco.