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Flight of Fantasy: Flight 77 Didn't Hit the Pentagon
by John Judge
23 October 2002

Mail from John Judge to Jack Riddler (

Thanks for these thoughtful comments, most of which I agree with. However, while I want the investiation to be thorough and open I do not believe that we have to make a united front with one and all who have "questions" to get there. In fact, it only takes a few of these discreditable theories or thinly veiled anti-Semitism to get us all branded, as Dick Ochs was at the Unanswered Questions panel event, and not even allowed to respond. I'm for creating a credible, progressive unity and moving from there to convince others, not retaining a "politics-free" right/left coalition that allows any nutcase into the mix.

Let me dispel your agnosticism on Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, which would not be an issue if the film coverage here had approached that in NY or even if official footage would ever be released. However, I base the conclusion that the plane hit the Pentagon on the following:

  1. It's route was followed from Ohio and announced in advance and reported on up to and including the hit. We in DC knew it was coming at us for at least 30 minutes, and for much longer at the Pentagon. The plane was never "lost to radar" for 30 minutes, only for a few when its abrupt turn left spotters in the tower looking in the direction of its previous course and not finding it. Turning off the transponder only turns off an identifying tag, it does not cause any inability to see the plane on radar. Beyond all the FAA and NORAD radar tracking it, there is separate and special radar on 24/7 in the P-56 restricted area around DC and even radar on the roof of the Pentagon that was pointed out to me in 1998 as "watching the skies to make sure they don't fly a plane in here". The "they" referred to "Muslims" who had been calling in death threats daily, supposedly.

  2. Eyewitness accounts abound in the local area, and people were quoted all day on the local news who saw the plane hit. I have since spoken to at least half a dozen people who were eyewitness to the event and saw the plane make the descending loop and fly along Wilson Blvd and then so low it took off lamppost lights. Some people hit the ground it was coming in so low. Ground crew members who survived the crash, and not all did, were describing their own horror on local news afterwards. One woman in the building saw the tip of the nose crash through her office. We know the plane hit here in DC, because people saw it, hundreds of them.

  3. As to the amount of damage done, much is made by the speculators of the fact that the wings did not punch a larger hole in the building. What is in the wings of those planes? The fuel. The wings disintegrated on first contact, and the explosion started when the plane bottomed out just short of contact with the building and bounced into it. The construction crews were burned alive, not crushed by debris. Only 15 people died inside the building of the 185 total, 164 passengers and crew were on the plane, and the rest of the dead were workers outside. That side of the Pentagon was virtually empty and had been for some time because the building had been under reconstruction quite visibly on that side for 5-6 years and part of that was to reinforce the building from external attack. In fact some photos show the difference in damage on either side of that reinforcement work and it is striking. That plane went 270 degrees out of its way at high speed, a very sophisticated maneuver with no possible military advantage, to hit the empty side of the Pentagon. There, as in New York, I would argue that they minimized the number of deaths by timing and method of attack.

  4. I thought that day when Flight 77 and its Dulles/LAX route were announced that a fellow researcher and dear friend had died because she rides that flight all the time as an airline attendant for American. As fate would have it she was home caring for her dying father that day and survived. But her friends did not. She was taken, with other attendants and ground crews who had worked that route into the crash site to view the wreckage. She clearly recognized parts of the plane she had ridden in hundreds of times and identified items. She was also shown autopsy photos and forensic evidence photos which included a severed arm. From the bracelet on the arm she knew it was the remains of her best friend at work.

There is no question that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. Remaining agnostic on this point also gives ammunition to the perpetrators of the stand-down and serves to discredit the other good work that continues to be done about the reality of what happened that day. It is my feeling that this thesis was actually part of an intentional disinformation campaign that spreads red herrings to discredit the real findings. "These conspiracy theorists will believe anything" say our detractors. Let's discover and present the hard facts and force the coincidence theorists to come up with plausible explanations instead of spewing out speculations we cannot back up and leaving ourselves on the defensive.


  1. NORAD and FAA knew of the multiple hijackings in progress by 8:25 am. Bush and Cheney agreed on issuing a shoot-down order against two planes still in attack mode after 9:05 am, when everyone in the country knew what the nature of the threat was. No such orders were conveyed to pilots or carried out if they were.

  2. Standard hijack intercept procedures were not followed by NORAD or military ready-alert scrambler planes.

  3. Virtually no defense of any kind was made inside the most restricted air space in the US, the P-56 area around DC and the Pentagon despite the presence of combat ready aircraft at local bases. Nor were other defense measures, including surface-to-air missiles at the White House and Pentagon deployed. There was a stand-down on 9/11.

  4. Planes scrambled to intercept were sent long after the threat was known, so that they arrived too late to stop the attack. There were at least two cases of this: Otis AFB fighters who turned and targeted Flight 77 after reaching NYC too late, and Pomona NJ AFB combat planes on military exercises heading into NYC after 8:45 am, were called back to base or off the pursuit. There are additional indicators that many combat-ready planes and units were disarmed and called down shortly before 9/11.

  5. Chemical and DNA analysis and weaponization traits of the anthrax mailed out to media and Democratic opponents of Bush clearly linked it to both a DIA project to develop "the next generation of anthrax weapon" and to the gates of Fr. Detrich, MD, a center for CBW research since the 1950s run by military intelligence.

Those alone are damning enough to bring them to their knees if thoroughly exposed and investigated. Let's work with what we know and hit the points they are most vulnerable on. In my view, most of the remaining questions are speculations and diversions, or at best leave us with the "intelligence failure" analysis intact for them to spin.

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