more on flight 93

Unanswered questions: The mystery of Flight 93

The above is mostly a summary of but it has one bit that I hadn't heard before. It seems clear that the feds are covering something up here (e.g., ordering civilian air traffic controllers not to talk about what they saw on their scopes) but the big question is... why? Clearly the plane was hijacked, so what are they trying to hide? If they shot it down, why keep that a secret? If there was a bomb on board, why keep that a secret?

The only explanations I can come up with are pretty thin: "they're afraid of public reaction to shooting down commercial planes"; "they like the hero story for propaganda purposes". Those could be the reasons, but they don't seem like very good ones; they could tell the truth about either of those with the proper spin and have it sound totally reasonable.

But (from the above article) here's a really good reason why they might want to hide the truth: maybe they used classified technology to bring the plane down:

Others might say, as they have done about a TWA flight that fell to the sea in 1996 after taking off from New York, that the plane was a victim of electromagnetic interference. In the case of the TWA flight, the argument, put forward in a series of exhaustive articles written in the New York Review of Books by the Harvard academic Elaine Scarry, is that it happened accidentally. However, as Scarry's articles relate, documentation abounds showing that the Air Force and the Pentagon have conducted extensive research on "electronic warfare applications" with the possible capacity intentionally to disrupt the mechanisms of an aeroplane in such a way as to provoke, for example, an uncontrollable dive. Scarry also reports that US Customs aircraft are already equipped with such weaponry; as are some C-130 Air Force transport planes. The FBI has stated that, apart from the enigmatic Falcon business jet, there was a C-130 military cargo plane within 25 miles of the passenger jet when it crashed. According to the Scarry findings, in 1995 the Air Force installed "electronic suites" in at least 28 of its C-130s -- capable, among other things, of emitting lethal jamming signals.
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12 Responses:

  1. bdu says:

    3. Neither the FBI nor anyone else in authority has explained the reported 911 phone call from the plane toilet, even though it appears to be the last of the phone calls made from the plane and even though it conveys the far from insignificant claim that there was an explosion on board. The FBI has confiscated the tape of the conversation and the operator Glen Cramer has received orders not to speak to the media any more.

    that's the interesting bit.

    • jwz says:

      Yup. I'd read that before, though; the EMP-gun theory was a new one to me.

      • bdu says:

        sure, but there really isn't any evidence of it...

        seizing a tape and ordering someone not to talk, that smacks of something fishy.

        • jwz says:

          Yes, it's totally obvious that they're hiding something. The speculation now is on what and why.

          • bdu says:

            of course, given the players we are talking about here, the chances of ever having a real answer to what and why are somewhere between slim and none.

            remember Ashcroft's orders to all but nullify FOIA request fulfillment?

            • atakra says:

              Obviously the Greys and the Blues involved have something to hide. I suggest we all wear conehead-tinfoil hats until the root cause is discovered, lest our innermost thoughts be revealed and the "men" in black come to silence our curiosity.

  2. You don't need any great conspiracy theory. Or to postulate the existance of EMP weapons. Fact is, it's illegal for the US military to shoot down a plance full of US civilians, hijacked or not. Therefore if they did shoot it down (which seems clearly obvious to me), the pilot and the people who gave the orders are war criminals. So damn straight they're not going to talk about it.

    As regards EMP weaponry, you can build a fairly decent one in your garage. Someone did just that quite recently (can't remember the link to the HOWTO).

    • waider says:

      But but but the US has obtained an agreement, through force, from the World Court that US servicemen will not be prosecuted for war crimes. So who else is going to prosecute 'em? The totally-separate-and-not-overruled-in-any-way-by-the-executive-no-not-ever judiciary branch of the government?

    • jwz says:

      Someone (Bush? Ashcroft?) said several times that they had been "authorized" to shoot down the planes, and I seriously doubt anyone would have a problem with it if they did, on that day. I sure wouldn't have any problem with it: those people were going to die either way, the question was of how many others would die as well.

      How can it be a "war crime" to kill your own citizens, especially when we're not technically at war?

      • As I understand it, legally speaking, it's a court-martial offence for the US military to fire upon US civilians on US soil unless either:

        a: it's in clear self-defence against an individual who is about to take the lives of other US citizens
        b: a state of war has been declared

        Even then, it's a bit of a grey zone. In this case, although the hijackers obviously posed a threat, the people on the plane did not, therefore to shoot down the plane was killing innocent civilians. That's the law as I understand it, and there's no legal exception to it right now. The people who shot down the plane (assuming it did happen) would have to be court-martialed, there's no way round it, all the way up to whoever gave the original order. Youc an't even claim "collateral damage" since that has to be shown to be accidental. I don't think that applies to US citizens anyway.

        The thing that amazes me is that none of the relatives of the people on the plane have attempted to sue for huge wads of money. What kind of Americans are they? Don't they know that if someone close to you dies in the America, the first thing you do is call your lawyer and start claiming cash refunds...

        Oh, and you don't have to be at war to commit a "war crime" under international law as I understand it. It's true that most countries at war these days don't actually ever declare war formally but that's usually because they just don't want the bad publicity. It sounds so much better to be pursuing anti-terrorist activities instead.

        Note: I'm not a lawyer, I could be wildly wrong about all this.