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Monday, October 14, 2002

Excerpt from a forthcoming book. For more information, go to www.wireonfire.com or email don@irrerevo.net


Facing Our Fascist State

By Don Paul

I have a feeling that in a democracy you don't get a government that is much better than a reflection of the people. A dictatorship can get an unusual person.

– Nelson Rockefeller, a little before his death on January 26, 1979, three years after he left a Vice Presidency in which assassinations of the then President, Gerald Ford, were attempted at least three times.

If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier... just as long as I'm the dictator.

– George W Bush on December 18, 2000, during his first trip to Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to make him the 43rd President of the United States.

The Air Defenses and Their "'Failures'"

Consider that an aircraft emergency exists ... when: ... There is unexpected loss of radar contact and radio communications with any ...aircraft.

– Federal Aviation Agency Order 7110.65M 10-2-5

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, swinging north.

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, went out."

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 about "'9/11.'"

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 emergency."


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 Time.

Fourteen minutes later this plane, registered as N47BA, lost contact with the Air Routes Traffic Control Center in Jacksonville, Florida.

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 Command Center."


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 required interception.

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 Tower—the Tower hit second and hit much less directly—was 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 four flight-attendants.

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 nation's capital.

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 intercepted.

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 by www.dcmilitary.com, a 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 jet maneuver."

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!

Who Knew?

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 aircraft.

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, D.C.

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 nation's Commander-in-Chief

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.]


In 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.