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‘We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft’ (politico.com)
310 points by Tomte on Sept 10, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 195 comments

This is a phenomenal oral history of the events, learning of, and response to the events of 9/11.

If an emergency is a circumstance in which ongoing realities are emergent and aren't predictable based on previous experience or world-models, this is a phenomenal example of those dynamics.

Commander Anthony Barnes: That first hour was mass confusion because there was so much erroneous information. It was hard to tell what was fact and what wasn’t. We couldn’t confirm much of this stuff, so we had to take it on face value until proven otherwise.

I've long maintained that the first signs of a disaster tend to be:

- Information doesn't add up.

- Communications are completely severed.

- Old models of understanding don't apply.

- Old filters or sources of information don't apply, and information overload is experienced because it's not clear what to ignore or what to trust.

Our world models give us the means to process and parse information, but also, critically, let us discard extraneous information at little or no cost. When we're placed in unfamiliar or extraordinary circumstances, "foreign territory" as Col. Bob Maar put it, old models do not hold.

Very powerful reading.

I'm going to piggy-back on this about a certain way information may not add up. I live in Boston, and so do my siblings. We all worked downtown. On the day of the marathon bombing, I immediately called my sister on her cell phone to see if she was okay. Someone that was not my sister picked up, then immediatly hung up after I said who I was looking for.

I was immediately terrified. What if my sister had been hurt, dropped her phone, and it was now in the hands of an opportunistic lowlife? But no. That wasn't it at all. It was instead, that the overloaded cell network, instead of just failing to connect my call, instead, misconnected it.

That was a failure mode I had not predicted. In the end, all my people were fine. But I was shaken. And of course, many other people were not fine.

I got misconnected once while trying to book a hotel reservation over the phone. Rooms became available 330 days out but a whole month at once, so when the reservation office opened at 8am or whatever on the first of the month, everyone would try to call in.

So many people were calling this number that the system would start hanging up on people at random, so you'd just call back over and over hoping that you'd get connected when the phones went live.

Finally, someone on the other end said "Hello?" and I said "Hi, I'd like to book a room for next summer" and he said "Me too" and I said "good luck!" and hung up.

What hotel is this that people go to such lengths to book?

This is pretty common for big events, especially in smaller metros that don't have a huge amount of hotel capacity: Conventions, college football games, college graduations, etc.

The Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park.

Wow, I've never heard of that happening. If anyone knows, I'd love to hear a technical explanation of how and why that could occur.

I don't have a technical explanation for how call misrouting can happen except to observe that the endpoints are entirely reliant on the network to get this right, they don't even tell each other "Hi I'm X trying to call Y" and "Hi I'm Y answering a call from X".

On Strowger electro-mechanical exchanges one of the nice features is that a random piece of the exchange handles each dialed call. This means the human intuitive approach of "Huh, that didn't work, I'll hang up and try again" actually had a pretty good chance of success if the problem is an electrical fault or something rather than you wrote the number down incorrectly.

I did have a morning once where every call I received was for a business in a Welsh village (I live in England) and the callers were as confused as I was that they'd reached a personal mobile phone instead. The problem resolved itself before it made me annoyed rather than confused.

I have a friend who, for a few months, had a really strange thing going on with his phone. Any time his phone was off, calls to him would be redirected to someone else. It was another person from the same city, but using a different carrier.

Me, my friend and other friends of his called both companies to report the error multiple times. All we received was scorn and disbelief. We were told, repeatedly, that it simply couldn't happen. But it did, consistently.

It felt really silly when it got to the stage where I'd call my friend, someone else picked up and I'd go "Oh, hi, it's me again". One day, it just stopped happening.

As a system admin, this is indicative of how network people react to issues.

Did he check if call forwarding was activated?

According to customer service it wasn't and they said they didn't allow it anyway to that other company's network. And hence, they didn't believe us when we said it was happening.

This was circa 2006

Back in the dim and distant past I worked Tech Support for Psion. One gloriously quiet morning our number was redirected to the house of some poor woman in South London who eventually just gave up and left her phone off the hook.

Sadly I couldn't enjoy it, as I was running late for work and mistimed my jump onto a bus, breaking my ankle ...

I don't have a technical explanation, but I had a few weirdly misconnected calls and even a call that changed to another person in the middle of a call in the analog cell phone days.

Way easier to happen on the old analog phone systems, when an unreliable relay would not react, or randomly flip. With digital networks and all their checksums and error detection, it's not become impossible, but at least you'd much much more likely just get a dropped detection or other "unreliability" fault than being connected to someone else.

Back when I grew up there would sometimes be some steange noises or eerie silence or something when we was on the phone. We used to joke that "they are just listening in", but I guess no one believed that except possibly my mum. (There wasn't much interesting going on.)

Maybe usage of non-ECC RAM on servers?

Yea seriously. Seems like something that could potentially be abused to intercept calls.

About 20 years ago I was following a friend in a car and we ended up a few cars apart. I called his mobile and just said “which way are we going at the roundabout”. The person on the other end was very confused, it wasn’t my friend but the car directly in front of me. I’ve no idea how that happened but was incredibly bizarre and I think the other driver was more freaked out than I was.

Overloaded, stressed, and/or damaged systems often act unpredictably.

What precipitated the mis-routing is an interesting question. Perhaps multiple devices switching in/out of a particular cell or node faster than the routing system could accommodate?

I'm sure someone more qualified and experienced with phone networks can chip in, but from memory this is by design on the phone network, when it gets overloaded it just starts to connect randomly to reduce load.

I can't remember exact details, because it's not my area of expertise, but I vaguely remember my father (who's a telecommunications network engineer) talking about it years ago.

That doesn’t seem to make sense on the face of it. Connecting to the wrong number doesn’t reduce load, because the network still has to carry the call. Why not just fail to connect?

I know you’re not a network engineer, but it just doesn’t look right.

Yes that does odd - I do know the UK the mobile network is designed so that in case of major emergencies you can shutdown access for subs (normal users) and keep it up for emergency services etc.

Well it could reduce load if making a call is a much more expensive than a connected call. If the call, fails, I’ll try calling back and so will others. If I’m connected, I first need to establish comms with the person on the other end and determine it’s a misconmection before I can hang up and try again.

That's not the case though, the networks are all bandwidth constrained and connecting a call consumes negligible bandwidth. I'm not a radio or network engineer, but I used to work with them supporting cellular network panning software so I'm familiar with some aspects of the technology.

World models are called 'schemas' in psychology. There is lots of evidence that people process information by fitting it into schemas.

There is an interesting tension between 'assimilating' information (taking in information that easily fits into your schema) and the need for 'accommodation' (acquiring new information that requires completely re-arranging your schema).

There is a high cost to assimilation, which explains why people will often dig in when faced with facts that require accommodation.

Any references on this you're aware of you could suggest?

Different disciplines tend to have different words for similar things.

Schemas, worldviews, frames, models, maps. All largely refer to the same thing.

It's a cognitive psychology term: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_(psychology)

And 'schemas' aren't just theoretical concepts, they have been validated with reaction time studies that strongly suggest they are a real organizing principle in the brain.

I.e.: It takes longer to react to a task that requires accommodation than to react when a task requires only assimilation.

If an emergency is a circumstance in which ongoing realities are emergent and aren't predictable based on previous experience or world-models, this is a phenomenal example of those dynamics

I like this characterization somewhat, though I think there needs to be a [perceived danger] variable not accounted for.


An emergency is a circumstance in which realities are perceived as existentially dangerous and aren't predictable based on previous experience or world-models

Especially acute is the widespread confusion part. That fits well with my personal (more than I'd like) experiences with true existential emergencies.

I agree, otherwise the OP is just describing Burning Man.

I'd argue that BM shifts the norm, but then tends to stop emerging past a point. In emergencies, the situation just keeps evolving. Well past normal or safe limits.

Interesting comparison.

Burning Man is managed as an ongoing emergency, and has a 24/7 multi-disciplinary team responding to and triaging incidents as they arise.

Essentially Burning Man is a disaster that's been intentionally paused just before a tragedy. It's kept at that point by some very coordinated and talented people.

Well, it's a burning man after all, not a burnt man :).

Jokes aside, I like this characterization. Makes me think of other cases where a system is designed to be unstable and is then being carefully balanced at the edge of failure; see e.g. modern fighter jets.

The definition's a working one, and subject to modification, but I feel it's a good start.

I've been collecting / compiling / commenting on similar veins for a while.

There's Robert Ewashuck's paging philosophy (Google SRE):

Pages [alerts] should be urgent, important, actionable, and real. They should represent either ongoing or imminent problems with your service. Err on the side of removing noisy alerts – over-monitoring is a harder problem to solve than under-monitoring....

(The list continues.)


I've come up with a hierarchy of failures (or alternatively: success kill chain) in problem resolution, starting with "being aware there's a problem":


There's the Japanese awareness and response following the bombing of Hiroshima. Short version: the first indication of the 9:15 am attack was a cessation of all communications. Military command wasn't aware of the scope of damage until an overflight was arranged, in early afternoon, and didn't know the actual cause until told by the US the next day.


The missile strike on the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War played out similarly:


In many large-scale natural disasters, an ominous sign is no reports, especially from outlying areas.

Initial responses to disasters often follow early stages of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief model: obliviousness, denial, sometimes anger. My sense is that grief is another form of major world-model collapse: that some reality that has been internalised and is often a sense of identity is shown to be wrong or inoperative.

Again: it's not that catastrophes and disasters are similar to grief, it's that grief responses are a response to catastrophes and disasters.

And finally, a quote from a ... modern Cupertino ... mystic, Adyashanti:

Make no mistake about it -- enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or becoming happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.

Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=IZ5LECwss0AC&pg=PT126&dq="...

There's a lot of meat in that, I think.

I heard on Hardcore History a similar notion, that the fall of empires often was indicated by the absence of news from the outer regions. It just became quiet, and that quiet kept on creeping in.

Terrifying thought in todays terms, imagine we simply stopped receiving news out of Hong Kong and spreading out from there. People on WhatsApp/Instagram there would stop responding. News agencies would wait for their updates and receive none...

Now I want to read that book.

Me too. Keep writing.

This is one of the reasons why HAM radio bands should be sacrosanct. You never really know what nature will throw at you next, we think we have it all figured out and then boom, something happens that we have no record of in living memory.

HAMs are typically well prepared for being back in the air first thing and are a very useful source of information from regions that have just suffered a disaster of some sorts.

This reminds of the Outside Context Problem, from Bank's Culture series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excession#Outside_Context_Prob...

Certainly similar, yes. Thanks.

I was riding the 7 train from Astoria, Queens, to my job at the big Citigroup tower in Long Island City. It was after the first plane hit and, with the 7 being an outdoor subway line with a great view of the Manhattan skyline, we in the first car could see the gaping hole and smoke billowing. I assumed it was an accident. When I got to work I said dismissively to colleagues, “That must be the dumbest pilot ever.” We went up to the top floor of the 40-something floor building to watch. Not too long after, the second plane hit and we knew it was no accident. They evacuated the building and sent us all home. Riding the 7 train back and all the passengers shocked and exchanging what they’d hears. Someone said there were planes headed for DC. The 7 stopped at Queens Plaza. End of service, out of abundance of caution for NYC subways. We were all standing on the platform looking at the towers burning. Then we saw the first one collapse. Straight down in a cloud of smoke.

For me, native New Yorker, the skyscrapers are like our heart. Someone cut our heart out. I thought nothing would ever be the same. Months later I felt so panicky on subways, thinking something awful was bound to happen again. The way things snapped back to near normalcy just a few years later was something I never anticipated. Neither did I foresee the way this event would be used to justify an illegal invasion if Iraq just a few years later. I felt and still feel disgusted by how this tragedy has been exploited. But I guess that’s politics.

> I thought nothing would ever be the same.

And nothing ever was. Plenty of stupid political decisions today, and untold billions of wasted money some of which is spent today are a direct consequence of 9/11.

By every measure, the terrorists accomplished their goals and won.

My impression was that the goal was to get the US presence out of the middle east. That goal failed pretty spectacularly.

This was, in fact, Bin laden’s goal. And he failed.

No, his goal was to sow division amongst Americans, and drag us into wars that only benefit private corporations and waste money.


"Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.


All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat."

The hope was to bankrupt the US, forcing them to withdraw from the ME (especially Israel and Saudi Arabia), like what basically happened to the Soviets in Afghanistan. This did not happen.

Sure the whole debacle did cost US a lot of money, lives and perhaps prestige. But that does not mean al-Qaeda achieved their goals. The US is for better or worse even more entrenched in the ME, with bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Israel and the Saudis are still there.

Some tend to think that anything which is bad for the US means the terrorist are winning, because "they just wants to hurt us". But it doesn't work like that. Terrorism is a tactic employed by certain groups to achieve certain goals. It is possible that both parties are weakened by a conflict.

No, his goal was to sow division amongst Americans, and drag us into wars that only benefit private corporations and waste money.

Yes, but what was the end goal? He wasn't doing it just for shits and giggles.

You mean, like the current Shitposter-in-Chief?

Al Qaeda believes in a final apocalyptic war between Islam and basically everybody else, ending in a global Islamic Caliphate. Their goal is to provoke that war, which they believe they are already fighting. They just want everybody else to join in.

They didn't really achieve that either.

If at first you don't succeed...

Stated goals and actual goals rarely align.

Yeah, maybe the actual goals of the terrorists was to make everybody wait longer in airports and getting annoyed? As just revenge for the betrayal of Sykes-Picot and the desecration of the holy lands.

No, the actual goal may have been to increase the visibility of Al Quaeda; serve as a recruitment poster and show that their group can hurt the biggest force on the planet with impunity in a way that can not be denied or spun.

The mantra 'never leave a crisis unused' is enough to explain everything else that followed. Getting the United States out of the middle East was never going to happen as a result of this, rather the opposite and that too would have the effect of driving more people in to the hands of the extremists.

Does that mean they would have lost if they had actually achieved the stated goal?

America is about as predictable in this sense as it comes, you can speculate all you want about what would have happened if they had left the Middle East but that universe is not the one we live in.

That’s true. Yet I was surprised at how quickly NYC went back to normal. Five years later I was hard-pressed to see any real changes on the ground but for See Something Say Something posters in the subway and the gaping hole and tussle over the buildings’ reconstruction. IDK what I expected.

It's hard to communicate the sense of paranoia that gripped the nation in the years after 9/11. The DC sniper didn't help. It was hopefully the closest thing to mass hysteria that I'll ever face.

I remember people bingeing CNN for days, feeling like the next attack could come at any moment. Every attack scenario you could dream up seemed like a real possibility.

Yeah, to me it felt that's when the 90's with its optimism were truly over.

> When I got to work I said dismissively to colleagues, “That must be the dumbest pilot ever.”

And you weren't wrong!

I was working on a large airport in Europe, on-site. We got notice that US-bound planes were diverted to turn back over the Atlantic and come back to us. Then the news started trickling in. I immediately thought "they are going to hit Iraq for this".

Everyone knew they immediately that they were going to carpet bomb Afghanistan. Iraq, I don't think there was any connection.

Why would you think that?

I just thought that Bush had a score to settle and now there would be no friction to do that. It may have been completely wrong, but that was my instant thought.

> We didn’t have [missiles] on board to shoot the airplane down. As we were putting on our flight gear in the life support shop, Sass looked at me and said, “I’ll ram the cockpit.” I made the decision I would take the tail off the aircraft

> I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off. If we did it right, this would be it.

- Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney

That leaves me just speechless and chilled. I'd like to think I have that kind of bravery in me but I hope I never have to find out.

What's also chilling, when you think about it a little more, is that a group of civilian passengers made more or less the same decision, and that's the reason these fighter pilots survived the day.

There's no evidence the passengers suicided. They were attempting to save themselves. There was a struggle in the cockpit, and the aircraft crashed. It may even have been that the terrorists crashed the plane when they realized they weren't going to make it to their target.

This meme is unhealthy, and disrepectful to the fallen.

There is no meme. There is no disrespect. There is no claim of suicide in that comment.

Both the passengers and the fighter pilots were willing to do whatever it took to prevent the plane being used to kill a lot more people on the ground. The passengers' phone calls in the article suggest they knew they were likely to die whether acting or not, and as it happened they acted before the fighters could intercept. The article includes conversation of the hijackers in the cockpit deciding to take the plane down before the passengers could get control back.

There is absolutely a meme. Google "United Flight 93 heroic sacrifice".

>a group of civilian passengers made more or less the same decision

What decision was this? The decision to sacrifice their own lives, as the fighter pilots were prepared to sacrifice theirs? Because that makes no sense. The passengers were trying to regain control of the aircraft to prevent it from crashing. Likely the hijackers downed the plane rather than relinquish control; the other possibility is that there was a struggle in the cockpit, and the plane crashed accidentally. What almost certainly did not happen was a passenger obtained full control of the aircraft, and intentionally flew it into the ground.

>Both the passengers and the fighter pilots were willing to do whatever it took to prevent the plane being used to kill a lot more people on the ground.

considering all the passengers are dead, you can't make that claim. We'd all love to believe the passengers were selfless, and it definitely made for a great movie, but pretending like we knew what their intentions were is disingenuous at best.

We have the phone call information. The passengers knew the fate of the other planes, and decided to try and regain control to avoid that. This is clear from the phone calls. They weren't selfless at all; they were trying to save their own lives.

I don't think there's anything disingenuous or speculative in what I'm saying. I'm being very general and going by the article's phone call information (I haven't seen that movie).

There is no disrespect in GP comment.

> They were attempting to save themselves.

Yes, and also the other innocent lives on the plane, maybe even on the ground.


So there's a conspiracy involving every level of the US government, the US Air Force, D.C. Air National Guard, the NTSB and possibly more, over...something that would be completely acceptable to do under the circumstances?

Plus the family members of passengers whose last conversations with their loved ones ended with some variation of, "we're going to try and rush the cockpit, I have to go".

Not only that, but the conspiracy involves the military trying to convince everyone that they were completely unprepared. "We didn't shoot down an airliner, even though that's what anybody with sense would have done in that situation, because our fighters didn't have missiles" doesn't sound like a cover story that inspires trust.

I must admit I had a hard time believing there were no armed alert aircraft ready 24/7 on the tarmac at Andrews AFB on the morning of 9/11.

Since the Kennedy assaibation, the US Secret Service pre-secures everywhere the president goes, including armored escort cars snipers on the roofs of buildings.

Not having armed aircraft always ready to support Air Force One or Two seemed inconceivable to me. Even in a post-Cold-War environment.

  I had a hard time believing there were no armed alert aircraft ready 24/7
This is precisely the state of "readiness" that had devolved under the previous administration. For one example, this report[0] was published almost exactly one year before the attacks.

[0] https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/the-facts-about-mili...

Interesting post with a more interesting publication date. The source is of course not known as a neutral publication, but I think it’s pretty clear in hindsight that Clinton gutted the military.

Construct the black box audio tapes and the phone call recordings as well? Also compromise all of the ntsb agents in a way that they wouldn’t whistleblow with the many pieces of evidence that would be obvious to them of a shoot down?

Why would they? It'd be a sad story, but I can't imagine anyone would see the US's actions there as unjustified.

I don't think this is a conspiracy at all. But I could see people having this conversation if they did shoot it down.

Maybe to make the victim's family feel better. To avoid lawsuits. Avoid repercussion if they were wrong. Avoid repercussion if we found later this plane was going to hit a building that would have little loss of life vs passenger count.

There could be rationale there if people made a panicked decision.

In the atmosphere after 9/11, and especially before Iraq, it was unlikely if not unthinkable that there would be "lawsuits" or "repercussions" for the government. The reason Flight 93 ended the way it did was because every American who witnessed or heard about what happened in New York that morning fundamentally understood that a hijacked aircraft was no longer a hostage situation, but rather a weapon of mass murder. Nobody would have questioned the decision, just as virtually nobody questioned the other decisions made by the US government in the initial months after the attack.

"hit a building that would have little loss of life vs passenger count"

You seem to imply that if the plane hits a building all the passengers survive?

Yeah... fair point on that.

You got downvoted, but still there is no certainty on this.

Fighter planes were there, they knew where they were headed. Shooting down the plane above non-residential area seemed like the best option.

On the other hand, passengers overmastering the terrorist through the cockpit door already seems unlikely, and more unlikely still once overmastered, not trying to land safely.

So yeah, bringing news that you shot down a plane with your own civilians is bad. Bringing a story how people sacrificed themselves is way better.

I'm comfortable there is certainty. There is considerable evidence that the passengers attacked the hijackers, from multiple different sources including mobile calls from passengers to family, air traffic control and the plane's black box. Each one of these lines of evidence involved at least dozens of people who would know there was a cover up, maybe hundreds. None of the people involved in accumulating that evidence have any vested interest in supporting a cover story. So the cover up would have to encompass civilian, government and military personnel, employees of multiple companies and victim family members. That's way too many for me to accept as remotely reasonable, especially when much of the evidence came out very quickly, before any possible cover up operation could have come into play.

As with any of these conspiracy theories, it's useful to consider who would know about the cover up, who would have to be actively involved in promoting it, and what their motivation would be. Take the flat earth as an example. There are tens of thousands of aircraft in the air at any given moment, all of them navigating using systems that assume the earth is a globe. Before modern systems, pilots and navigators calculated routes by hand. They all assumed the earth is a globe and if they were wrong their calculations would all have been massively in error. So essentially every single aviator in all of history and every nation on Earth would have to be in on the conspiracy. I've not even started on marine navigation.

If the plane had been blown up by a bomb or shot down, it would have broken up into chunks which would have landed largely intact, because fuselage sections are quite light compared to their volume. You can see this in pictures of other downed or bombed planes, such as the one shot down over Ukraine. Most of the bodies would have fallen out of the plane or come down in the fuselage sections and been mostly intact. Bombs and missiles simply don't destroy the whole vehicle so completely.

The only way the bodies could all have been so thoroughly destroyed is if the plane smashed into the ground as a single piece under power at full speed, which would require full control authority for the pilot. Even if it had drifted or spun into the ground, perhaps due to loss of control from a small bomb or weapon damage, it would have been too slow for the observed effect, because we know what those crashes look like as well. The speculative electronic interference weapons would also have induced a more conventional crash, not one at full speed under power.

Also the article even opens with an eye witness account of the intact plane hitting the ground under power, the witness even describes the engine noise.

It is possible a small bomb or grenade did go off, but wasn't powerful enough to disable the plane. However if it did happen that just supports or at least is consistent with the passenger revolt theory.

What the article tries to do is throw out as much information presented in as discordant a way as possible, to create openings for speculation. However the conspiracy scenarios presented don't actually fit the evidence at all. all the rest about mysterious planes and such is irrelevant noise to the facts of the crash itself.

> You can see this in pictures of other downed or bombed planes, such as the one shot down over Ukraine.

There is a solid chance the person you reply to is also an MH17 truther. It's a package deal.

So, I used to believe this too. There's a lot of information that has come out since then, a whole investigative commission, many details, and a lot of people who would have needed to lie consistently and continually to this day.

Sure, it's possible that that happened. Lots of things are possible. It's just so astronomically unlikely at this point that it's not really worth considering until some evidence appears.

Right, but then you say "We would have shot them down anyway" and then what's the point?

The article has photos from inside the bunker during the actual crisis. Who took the pictures? It seems that VP Cheney’s official photographer went into the bunker with him: On July 24, 2015, the National Archives and Records Administration released 356 photos shot on Sept. 11, 2001, by Vice President Dick Cheney’s official photographer David Bohrer. The publication was the result of a decade-long fight by Frontline to gain access to the images.[1]

[1] https://time.com/3975126/dick-cheney-9-11-photos/

Wow, those pictures are poignant. Looking at their faces, I can almost feel the pit in my stomach I felt for much of that day.

Interesting to know that Robert Mueller was in the room.

Mueller officially became FBI Director on September 4, 2001, so his presence isn't surprising.

http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=complete... Another timeline of events

Training exercises, surprising number of red flags ignored.

According to a quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleen_Rowley

>During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre–September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone's first question was "Why?—Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBI HQ personnel had to be spies or moles like Robert Hanssen who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis's effort.)

I have a book recommendation that completes this article: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/148775

It is called “The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland” and it tells the story of how after the US air space has been shut down the wonderful people of Newfoundland managed to host 7000 people that were forced to land in there, in a town of 10000.

Also hit musical


I was headed downtown to my startup's office when I heard a radio newscast. I don't even know why I had my radio on as it was a pretty short drive.

I immediately went in and started checking the web. It gave me a little more information. Fifteen minutes later when my developer showed up you couldn't bring up any news site on the web.

Guy from across the hall had a TV and he invited all of us in the building to watch. We watched the TV for around an hour and at that point we all made the decision to call it a day.

Got home and think I watched TV for the next 14 hours or so. After a while there was no new information, they just kept repeating themselves on every news channel. I can remember just feeling numb. It was just so unexpected to see the US attacked.

My father said it was worse than Pearl Harbor. People at that time expected war was coming. Most American's at the time had never even heard of Pearl Harbor, much less Hawaii. This was in our living rooms and it was New York and Washington. Now I measure everything in pre-9-11 and post 9-11 because things changed that dramatically.

A lot of the Web wasn't geared for high load. Information was developing so rapidly that online was really the only effective place to go for information (such as it was -- there was rampant speculation). Many sites rapidly slimmed down their services and offered lightweight versions. A few lighter-weight sites remained up, notably, at the time, Slashdot.

NPR refers to 9/11 as the event which made clear that the network needed to have full capabilities to broadcast from a secondary location, and began planning for its west-coast hub (in Los Angeles) shortly after. Its flagship news programmes are now co-anchored from both Washington and Los Angeles.

This is something that I’ve completely forgotten until now. I remember all the major news sites were down and when they came back up, there were only simple html pages. It took a while before they restored to a slimmed down version. I have a memory of a picture on a news article that I can’t forget: there were tens of ambulances one behind another on a boulevard, waiting in line to help people.

I also remember several cable channels (non-news) entirely shut off programming for a few days after.

Both broadcast transmission and network distribution were severely impacted by loss of the towers, and other disruptions to NYC.

Google.com was pretty central as well.


It's funny that you mentioned Slashdot. I was living in Portland (OR) at the time I first saw the news on Slashdot. I turned on the TV to confirm. I don't remember the rest of that day except for being jumpy, as was everyone.

I got the news by radio -- even before hearing what had happened, it was clear by the anchor's voice (Bob Edwards, NPR), that something was very wrong. Similar to the Saturday in 2003 where Scott Simon's voice pressaged the Columbia disaster before I heard the words. (Knowing that the Shuttle was landing that day suggested the issue before hearing that specifically.)

I'd been due to travel to a client site, and called. I'd only heard that a plane had struck the tower, the client added that it was two planes, and the towers were down. "This is war" was my immediate response.

Then I headed to Slashdot to find out WTF was going on, as fighter jets sortied overhead.

Surreal times.

Slashdot was absolutely essential that day, seemingly the only site that was up

Agreed about the essential aspect of Slashdot that day. That was the only way to find detailed thoughts/reactions and just not the headlines.

Slashdot (smaller audience) and Google stayed up. All the major (US) news sites were down.


I remember CNN being down for part of the morning, then coming back up with a stripped-down version. This was before CDNs—those servers were sitting in a rack somewhere, probably a few (or few dozen) web servers and a reverse proxy serving requests for the entire world.

I also remember trying to load the WTC website, and it not responding. IIRC, it was hosted in the basement of one of the WTC towers.

>> I asked the vice president that question and he answered it in the affirmative. I asked again to be sure. “Sir, I am confirming that you have given permission?” For me, being a military member and an aviator—understanding the absolute depth of what that question was and what that answer was—I wanted to make sure that there was no mistake whatsoever about what was being asked. Without hesitation, in the affirmative, he said any confirmed hijacked airplane may be engaged and shot down.

I have a faint recollection of Dick Cheney and who he was. I find it easy to believe that the reason he did not hesitate was because his own person was in mortal danger from the airliner in question.

I think a leader responsible for the lives of people on the air and on the ground both, would find it very hard to make a decision to condemn one group to save the other, even if one group was condemned already. I mean, it's not for nothing that the Trolley Problem and Sophie's choice, etc are such well-known ethical conundrum examples.

But when it comes to saving one's own bacon- the decision is much simpler.

Is this comment too cynical?

You're jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information and your existing point of view.

Refer to https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/were-the-onl...


Karl Rove: Andy and I are there with the president. The president gets this call from Cheney—we didn’t know who it was at the time, we just knew the phone rang. He said “yes,” then there was a pause as he listened. Then another “yes.” You had an unreal sense of time that whole day. I don’t know whether it was 10 seconds or two minutes. Then he said, “You have my authorization.” Then he listens for a while longer. He closes off the conversation. He turns to us and says that he’s just authorized the shoot-down of hijacked airliners.

I have a very low view of Dick Cheney, but my view of him is that he would have made this decision in a cold, calculating manner—looking at the probability of casualties on the ground vs. in the air, and doing a numbers game. He would probably also consider the ramifications of civilians in the air killed vs. the destruction of a national symbol and the casualties inflicted there.

Cheney was Secretary of Defense for four years under Bush I, during a small adventure you may remember called Desert Storm. I doubt this was the first time he's ever had to make a life or death call. In the article he also mentions training they went through to prepare for a Soviet nuclear attack, where you'd be playing with the lives of billions of people. In short, this wasn't his first rodeo.

Trolley Problem aside, there's a clear "right" answer in terms of damage to the country which is ostensibly what he's trying to optimize for. 40 people dead in a field is a lot better than hundreds dead and a national symbol (White House? Congress?) destroyed.

Cheney certainly doesn't seem like a good guy, but I can't go along with you here.

First, the white house bunker is supposed to survive nuclear weapons. Was his life even on the line?

Second, do you imagine the air force base commander was the first person to ask 'are you sure'? I'd imagine between Bush, Rice, the aides in the room and the pentagon he'd probably have been asked that at least twice by other people already.

In the wider context they're talking about if it's going to be used to attack a populated area. If the pilots determine that is the intent, then the most limiting action you can take is to take the plane down. I really don't think being far underground in a bunker Cheney felt threatened.

I know almost nothing about Dick Cheney, so what do you mean by saying this:

> he did not hesitate was because his own person was in mortal danger

By this time wasn't he in the bunker? So his own person really wasn't in mortal danger anyway.

The required read is also the written statement of the planners of the attack (the copy of pdf on Penn Law):


"killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion. These actions are our offerings to God."

They really tried hard to be very clean about their motives there.

Covered by

NYT 2009: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/us/10gitmo.html

The Guardian 2009: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/10/guantanamo-det...

The document is also on the Smoking Gun: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/terrorists-bone

You forgot the first part:

"America is the number one, and the largest country in the world, in spreading military might and terrorism. Also, America is the principle and greatest supplier to the occupying terrorist state of Israel in Palestine. Also, America supports and finances the terrorist regimes that govern the countries ofthe Arab world, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan."

What you call “the first part” is actually the start of the last chapter of all, and which continues with:

“We ask to be near to God, we fight you and destroy you and terrorize you. The Jihad in god's cause is a great duty in our religion. We have news for you, the news is: You will be greatly defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq and that America will fall, politically, militarily, and economically. Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day. We will raise from the ruins, God willing. We will leave this imprisonment with our noses raised high in dignity, as the lion emerges from his den. We shall pass over the blades of the sword into the gates of heaven.”

It’s worth reading in full to understand how they think and what their beliefs are.

I remember working that day (a cool and sunny Tuesday) and each place I went to I asked them to turn on the TV. Nobody was interested in turning on the TV or even changing the channel to any news channel.

What I thought had happened was a large aircraft accidentally ran into the Empire State building again like had happened many years ago.

I was 20 years old and at my internship. We had TVs along the hallway in the center of the building. I remember looking up (I could see the TVs from my cube), seeing a number of older coworkers watching the news after the first plane had hit, I got up to join them. Shortly after I joined them, the second plane hit, and I remember muttering "well, we're at war...". A colleague roughly 3 times my age and close to retirement looked at me and asked, "what do you mean?" Response was something along the likes of "well, one could be an accident, but two? No accident, that's intentional." Of course, we later heard about the other 2 planes.

I was supposed to go through downtown Chicago that day to turn in a project at my college campus, but I politely emailed my instructor, telling him in no uncertain terms that there was no way in hell I was getting anywhere near downtown that day. I emailed him my project and told him I'd turn in the physical copy when things were safe. At the time, I was living near Ohare. It was eerie how quite it was without all of the jets taking off and landing. When you did see planes, it was a pair of either F-15s or F-16s running combat air patrols. Very surreal experience.

I was in 4th grade when it happened. I remember kids on the bus that morning joking that "some idiot flew a plane into a building". Didn't think any more of it.

Throughout the day, more and more people had their names called on the intercom by the school office and left early. I kept seeing teachers, out in the hallway, whispering to each other. Hearing people crying in the distance. I still was totally oblivious, even though nearly half the class was missing by the end of the day.

Somehow, I didn't grasp that something really was wrong right until the moment the bus pulled up in front of my house. My dad was standing at the mailbox waiting, which I never saw him do before. Even weirder, he was supposed to be flying out of town that day - we were supposed to go to the neighbors house until Mom could get us. I don't think he knew what to say. I asked him why he was still home, and he just said I needed to come inside and watch the news. So I watched it with him. I watched it a long time. I remember feeling anger mostly - maybe exclusively. I didn't even know what the WTC was before then, but I knew whoever did that was evil. I wanted desperately to fight back then, though I admittedly had no idea of who to fight or how.

Every year after that, whenever the intercom called someone to leave early from school, I had to suppress a bit of worry I couldnt control. Part of me is always wondering, "Is it happening again?"

- In retrospect, I can't imagine how hard it must have been on the adults in my life on that day. Those poor teachers, many who were just out a few years out of college themselves, just trying to get us kids through the day without breaking down themselves. It didn't make sense to anybody when it happened. How were they supposed to explain something that insane to a 10 year old?

I was in fifth grade in a town in NJ on the Bergen County line. From most of the hills you could see downtown Manhattan, mostly the WTC. Earlier my brother turned eight and we went to the observation deck, something long promised but always postponed because it would always be there.

I remember reading about the death of Massoud, but that was a memory from the day before. The next day we all knew where Afghanistan was.

That day school ended and parents had to come pick us up since they didn't want anyone walking back to an empty house and learning daddy wasn't going to make it back that night.

The next month my brother had funeral after funeral of his friends parents to attend. The towers were like a missing tooth, a gap you knew wasn't always there.

On July 7th 2005 I was on a bbc engineering course in a non-disclosable secret nuclear bunker in the Cotswolds, when my phone started ringing (on vibrate). Multiple times.

Eventually got a text message saying the London underground was under attack and was I ok. It was only then I asked for the tv to be put on.

The 00s were an eventful time. There’s now more time passed since the London attacks and the ita bombing campaigns in Warrington and Manchester. Still not long before the GFA is cancelled and we return to those days.

> On July 7th 2005 I was on a bbc engineering course in a non-disclosable secret nuclear bunker in the Cotswolds,

This one? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Norton,_Worcestershire#Th...

shhhh! It's secret!

I remember the information chaos, the car radio said that the towers came down and passenger planes were being shot down by the military. I was in tears. What a day.

I was in the 7th grade, and in my Texas History class in the morning when the news hit. We had a television system that would play news broadcasts for the whole school to start off each morning, and as soon as the news broke, the administration turned those on and had all the classrooms tune in.

At first we thought it was a freak accident... and then we saw the second plane hit.

"Shaken" is the word. It was all anyone could think about for the rest of the day.

“...rest of the day” seems like an understatement. I was living in Australia at the time, never having lived in the U.S, and everyone was pretty shaken and lost for words for a few days (at least in my circle and workplace).

My dad woke myself (an 11 year old) and my two brothers (5 and 6 respectively) up, and explained what had happened. It was all we could talk about or focus on, and school ground to a halt for most of that day

> "Shaken" is the word. It was all anyone could think about for the rest of the day.

Best essay I've read that captures the experience of the few days right after in the parts of America that weren't especially close to where it happened is DFW's "The View from Mrs. Thompson's" in the collection Consider the Lobster.

Looks like Rolling Stone's got it available:


Those who've grown up after 9/11 may not appreciate how many fewer US flags (or representations of same) one used to see on a given day, even in Red State America. I mean they were around, of course, just not quite as everywhere.

I was in 3rd grade on 9/11. I remember walking into class from the bus and a classmate saying that a plane hit a building in New York.

Being 8 I didn't really have an idea what that meant, but when they started sending us all home not a half hour after arriving at school we all knew something bad was happening, they were following the same procedure as when they had advanced warning of dangerous weather (Illinois). My dad had just got home from long business trip the night before and was taking the day off and my mom was a stay at home mom. Both were sleeping in and were blissfully ignorant of the whole thing until I got back. We watched the news for hours after that, and it may have been one of the first times I'd heard about 'War.'

I woke up to my radio playing the Howard Stern show where he was talking about the crashes. For more than a bit I was very confused... they were making sense but it just didn't make sense. Didn't last long but it was a very surreal experience.

I was a senior in high school. Almost every classroom had the news on (except for one teacher who insisted on holding a calculus quiz as scheduled). We watched the towers come down as it happened.

> I was a senior in high school. Almost every classroom had the news on (except for one teacher who insisted on holding a calculus quiz as scheduled). We watched the towers come down as it happened.

Same but a year behind, right down to our math teacher being the only one who insisted on teaching class as usual (trig, for me, though she'd teach my calc class the next year).

Where I was it was on every TV for 24 hours straight.

In school, on radio in car, at home.

A companion story from Politico from September 2016:

"We're the Only Plane in the Sky"

"Where was the president in the eight hours after the Sept. 11 attacks? The strange, harrowing journey of Air Force One, as told by the people who were on board."


I came to post the same thing. Is it a new edition of the same book, or has that article grown and grown into a new book just coming out?

It's interesting that the story from 2016 has the link to the new amazon book at the top.

I do remember listening news on the radio just a day or two after. Immediately in my head, I thought "something Saudi happened."

A week after, when it finally got clear that those were indeed Saudis, I though for myself "there is no way Saudis will be coming out of that now."

Few years later, still in my yearly teens, I kept catching myself in disbelief of American logic. Not only did Americans spare the Saudis, but Washington went out of its way and did every thing possible to extricate Riyadh from the backlash.

Not only they came dry out of the water, but they got out of that better off than before. US took down Saddam for them, and took upon the Ikhwan ul Muslimin — the only thing in the world Saudis feared. Not to say they got much higher diplomatic standing, and near free defence contracts as a result. Anything like that would've been unthinkable before.

In 2004, I was reading a newspaper, and saw a big photo of Bush and some Saudi prince enthusiastically shaking hands together, I was not able to contain my laughter.

Osama bin Laden was not Saudi royal, his commoner family became rich in construction business. It was precisely the alliance of Riyadh with the States that motivated his jihad, so you are on the same page with him wrt American assistance.

At the time of attack, he was a fugitive from the Kingdom for nearly a decade.

> Osama bin Laden was not Saudi royal,

I think this was the first thing Saudi court told the Americans. Whomever those guys were, they were integral to Saudi polity.

> It was precisely the alliance of Riyadh with the States that motivated his jihad.

Which did not preclude his affiliates from receiving money from "private" officials in his "exile" well into mid-naughties. His close relatives were continuing their life of minor socialites in the kingdom unimpeded up until the point US started demeaning the head of his son and few brothers during Obama.

The Bin Ladin clan is more than just alive and well in the kingdom. They were the biggest bankrollers of the Saudi Royal Family, and still are.

There is no doubt about OBL provenance really, question is at which point you associate the act of a (former) citizen with his country of origin.

One of the hijackers was Egyptian, can't remember ever hearing calls for severing (substantial) American ties with Egypt off that. As reprehensible Saudi regime was (and is, under the rule of bonesaw prince), saying that the USA supports Saudi despite 911 is factually exactly backwards.

I remember looking up and seeing a fighter jet circle the burning north tower for what I thought was a reconnaissance mission but then watching it take off across the Hudson and commenting to my colleagues that it must be on the hunt for another plane. It's crazy to think they were on a kamikaze mission.

In Washington DC on 9/11 - crisp autumn day. First thing I heard was when someone poked their head into my office and said a plane had hit the twin towers. I imagined some idiot in a Cessna. Things spiraled from there - from my office window could see the smoke from the Pentagon. We heard rumors: the Mall was on fire, there had been an explosion at the state department. We all were terrified that the subways were next, so masses of people were walking to their homes, like a great migration - everyone totally terrified and trying to call their loved ones (cell phones were useless, and the internet had completely crashed in our office). Now, crisp autumn days always bring me back to 9/11.

Not sure I can read the article 9/11 was a traumatic experience for me. I remember vividly where I was and what I was doing and who I called and virtually everything about that day. I almost joined the military in response such was my reaction.

I actually did, joined joined the Air Force 3 years later as soon as I turned 18. Only recently got out after 10 years. I was on holiday at the time with my family, and we saw the first news at at a train station when we were waiting for a connection. It had a tremendous impact on me at the time. Once we got to our hotel, we were glued to the TV 10 hours afterwards, and I can vividly remember the horror of watching replay after replay of those planes hitting the towers.

That’s awesome!

Thank you for your service.

What are you up to now? I hear the job market for people with clearance that you likely have is pretty lucrative.

Well I got myself an Information Technology degree and I'm working as a product manager for a Saas product that supports the building industry. Really different environment. I like it, but still miss the Air Force.

I can't be the only one who, after 9/11, had recurring nightmares about trying to evacuate from a building that had been hit by a plane? They have stopped some years ago, but lasted for quite a few years.

That said, the most dangerous thing is what society does to itself as a response to terrorism fears. Terrorism needs to be kept in perspective, as it's far from the biggest danger facing us.

38min of news footage from the day: http://s3.amazonaws.com/nasathermalimages/public/video/prete... (Win users may need vlc: https://videolan.org)

I just came home, and my mom had the TV running, saying that "there is something going on in New York". I remember seeing the burning tower, and heard the voice in the TV say something like "a plane hit the tower". My first thought was that this wasn't an accident, but that a fighter jet might have attacked this building. Then the events unfolded, and the next day in school, I remember our history teacher saying something like "I was up all night - as most of you probably too, trying to grasp every bit of information you can get." We feared the response these events might cause.

I was 15 years old at that time, and I remember precisely what I did. I was born, raised, and still live in Western Europe.

So weird to see such a detailed article on the critical moments after the attack which basically doesn't even mention the President.

The article is a book exerpt, essentially a chapter of a larger work.

The chapter addressing the President, then in Florida, has been posted elsewhere in this thread, it's here:


We got this radio request - Code Alpha - a high priority incoming aircraft. It wanted 150,000 pounds of gas, 40 gallons of coffee, 70 box lunches, and 25 pounds of bananas. It wouldn’t identify itself. It was clearly a big plane. It didn’t take us long to figure out that the Code Alpha was Air Force One.


Where do you blog nowadays? Haven't followed you since G+ went down and you dropped Reddit too. You don't seem overly active on Mastodon either?

Mostly Mastodon, actually. My posts are usually unlisted, so not on the home stream, but you should see them if you follow me there.


There's a new blog coming ... eventually. On Gitlab.

That was a good read. Thanks for posting! I think I'll have to read that book.

I thought it was an elaborate prank and it wasn't really happening. My first thought literally was "someone is pranking us with CGI". It was just too unbelievable to really absorb. I only realized it really was happening when I discovered it was on all the channels, and when the second tower got hit.

This will go down in history as the most unbelievable screwup of three letter US agencies ever. It came out recently that Russian intelligence took the extraordinary step of warning the US a few days before 9/11 that shit was about to go down. Putin literally called Dubya and told him. He was ignored.

Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=bo5xDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT32&dq=%2...

Considering the nature of the rest of the comments in this thread, I'm sure this will be completely taboo. There is a strong argument that the three letter agencies let this happen to further the agendas of the monied elite, and the media owned by that same elite class did everything they could to bury the truth. I don't expect this comment to last long here, but it's it no way an absurd assessment of the nature of the event. It's a really sad state of affairs that mentioning straight forward truths about how the monied and powerful control narratives and start wars will get you buried and ostracized.

I think you need to dial down the cynicism a little. There's no way murdering 3K+ people was an "inside job". Even if we accept your cynical premise that the goal was to manufacture consent for a war, it could have been achieved with far less loss of life, or perhaps even none at all. So my vote is firmly on the side of incompetence rather than malice. As Reagan used to say, if those folks were any good, they wouldn't be working for the government. Or something to that effect.

Can you tell me more? Any guesses to how it furthered agendas? It certainly changed stuff like airport security. I could see it being allowed to happen to make people take the war on terror more seriously. It would depend on how much of the current state of things could be predicted to determine reasoning. I'm sure even in the internet age there is plenty of forbidden knowledge.

The "war on terror" has served as justification for:

- permanent mass surveillance of global communications

- total governmental control and visibility into fiat money financial transactions

- endless U.S. participation in or support for military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria, and the concomitant trillions spent on military hardware and services

- increasingly lawless privacy intrusions at U.S. border crossings

- a huge cottage industry of corrupt dealings as detailed in the WikiLeaks dumps

It's not even necessary to believe any conspiracy theories to recognize that the events of 9/11 lent direct support to a multitude of imperialist and corporatist agendas.

You make it sound like all this stuff started with "war on terror". The US has been at war (and overthrowing governments) ever since WW2. And I'd be seriously surprised if the government did not have "total visibility" into non-cash financial transactions, phone calls, and internet traffic well before 2001.

Go re-read all the Snowden leaks. Many of those systems (or versions of them) were in operation for at least a decade before 2001.

I assumed as much. I think you're responding to the parent.

Amusingly the parent has the strongest conspiracy setup premise entirely wrong (has nothing to do with monied elites). The only conspiracy theory that makes any sense at all, is that it was allowed to happen as an excuse to get the US deeper into the Middle East, so various regimes could be destroyed.

Alternatively, 9/11 did happen due to pure incompetence, and they were opportunistic about 9/11 and the emotions afterward, using that to go on a war spree to accomplish the Pentagon's agenda.

Four star general Wesley Clark [1] provides the setup (speech on YouTube below). Their post 9/11 plan was to destroy the governments of seven countries in five years, based on a plan that existed all the way back to 1991 as explained to Clark (then a one star general) by Paul Wolfowitz (stating that they only had 5-10 years to clean up old Soviet regimes in the Middle East before the next great superpower - China - comes online to challenge the US position; 10 years post 1991 = 2001; China joins the WTO in 2001). Keep in mind the very considerable stature of the military commander that is saying this openly. He flat out says it was a policy coup, that took over the US Government, and was spearheaded by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Clark says they could hardly wait to finish off Iraq so they could move the focus on to Syria, which we later did of course (this speech by Clark is from 2007), demolishing the country.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Clark

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Was Hitler just "stupid"? Hanlon's razor is used by the malicious to fool the stupid.

Although Hitler was monumentally stupid. There are numerous stories of how Germany's war effort was undermined by Hitler and his top men making terrible decisions. For example on the night of 5th June 1944 Hitler gave strict instructions not to be woken. As a result he was not told about d day. And due to existing orders the Panza divisions could not be deployed without his approval.

So what about the Holocaust? Well the Nazis believed that the world's was under attack from Jewish and socialist aggression. They believed that it was a massive and imminent existential threat. And that their actions were defending their country and humanity from evil. From this twisted perspective the Nazis actions were logical. They saw themselves as the good guys. The basis for all this evil are a few insanely stupid beliefs.

You think Hitlers behaviour would be adequately explained by stupidity?

No, of course not.

Stupidity does not adequately explain the Holocaust...

And neither does it explain 9/11.

You're missing the point of Hanlon's razor. It does allow for malice, but only in cases where incompetence is not an adequate explanation. So there's no contradiction.

You are missing my point as well. Why is malice only a possibility when incompetence is not? It makes no sense. In fact, the malicious would definitely take advantage of situations where they could use incompetence as an alibi.

Its one thing to read this story and understand the tragedy that occurred on that day.

But its another thing to understand the tragedy that has been standard fare for hundreds of thousands of people around the world, every day, as Americas illegal wars continue.

One bomb dropped every twenty minutes for the last twenty years, is the context we need to understand - mostly on innocent people.

Americans cannot ask for sympathy while ignoring their own aggression. It is high time for the war criminals that put us in this position to feel justice. That means Cheney, it means Bush, and it means Rice. America has become a criminal thug nation, and its people callously ignore the victims of America's illegal wars while demanding justice for the blowback suffered by the entire country on 9/11.

If 9/11 upsets you, consider Mosul. Consider All Raqqah and Aleppo and Baghdad. These places have suffered 100x worse than any New Yorker ever did. And the reason it continues is because the American people don't have the courage to face the truth: America has illegally invaded, and utterly destroyed, civilization around the world.

What amazed me was how quickly the responsible parties were identified. Just about the only website that kept up in England was Slashdot and the discussions about who and what was happening very rapidly provided the disparate pieces of information required.

Truly the Wisdom of Crowds.

I'm surprised the national guard apparently hasn't trained for combat operations within mainland airspace, I though at least the national guard was an actual defensive force, and not an expeditionary one.

Obligatory reading: The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Looming_Tower

Important name in this event in Ali Soufan.

The amount of conspiracy theories here are surprising.

It’s a good tv series too.

I could hardly imagine taking flight in a jet to potentially intercept one of the suspect planes knowing that your only options were to aim for the tail or the cockpit. Knowing that you were acting as a type of kamikaze. Chilling. That thought was barely on my mind during the day on 9/11 as a 6th grader. I still get chills thinking about it.

People who fly jets are a different breed.

My dad witnessed the snowbirds crash at an airshow over lake Ontario.

They give boats a cordon that they are supposed to stay out of, but enforcement had become lax, so people would bring their boats in close for a better view.

When the crash happened one of the pilots, whose plane was damaged beyond control, flew it straight into the lake instead of ejecting to avoid hitting the boats.

See: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1989/09/04/Crash-witnesses-Vali...

Dick Cheney basically pulled off a coup that day. George W Bush wasn't incapacitated. He never put Cheney in charge. But Cheney just took over. He started giving orders and everyone else was too stunned to do anything but follow.

It wasn't even a coup attempt because no one, but no one, thought of it as such then, as as soon as POTUS was back in town, no one, but no one, challenged his authority. A coup attempt would have ended with the VP in chains or the President deposed.

No, this was an emergency that everyone was unprepared for, so they winged it. And they did alright, even though it was utter chaos. If the President has been at the WH, or in good enough communication with the WH, I'm pretty sure the VP would not have been anything like "in command", though the President might have delegated some authority to him. As it was, POTUS had to get to AF1 first, then in the air, and probably a lot of work had to be done to get connectivity back to the WH makeshift situation room.

You have to go back to Reagan getting shot for something just slightly closer to a coup attempt, when the Secretary State ran around saying he was in charge (but no one gave him the time of day). That must have looked rather strange to a lot of people, but since no one took him seriously, and since it wasn't that long after the JFK assassination, which meant everyone remembered the basic chain of succession, the fact that no one took Alexander seriously was exactly as it should have been. Alexander, however, really had no clue, and showed he was not capable in a crisis.

Nearly every American above a certain age remembers precisely where they were on September 11, 2001

False: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/911-memory-accura...

Actually the article says that little details like the order of events or where the president was where the parts that folks get wrong. It’s not like I’m going to forget or incorrectly remember that I was in a class at school when it happened and we tuned in live to a TV in a classroom next door that happened to have cable. And how everyone assumed for the first hour or so that it was just this tragic, tragic accident. Now if you asked me, who was I with, or what did I do later that day, or who was the first person I spoke to... well, that’s where I might have false memories. I “know” I called my parents and was emotionally shaken for weeks after, scared (sometimes even now) of working in really tall buildings or those that might be a target, and that even now, I’m less likely to suggest or hold meetings on Sept 11, as conversationally I know it will distract folks. Whether my memories are 56% accurate or 86% accurate doesn’t matter that much, I know how I felt and that’s what counts. :)

Why would your teachers interrupt class to show you some banal accident? This seems to have happened a lot, according to the comments here. Why on earth would you stop class to show the kids something on TV, ever? Would it not make sense to either send them home due to security concerns, or just finish the school day and let them find out the news later?

Finish the school day? In Eastern US time zone, it was in the morning, and actually started just before class, near the start of the day. Folks had arrived early, somebody heard about it from somebody else and rushed to get a TV so we could watch it live. At the time, it wasn’t entirely determined to be a “banal accident”, it was, well, it was live news more than anything. Everyone was glued to the screen as folks were trying to figure out what was going on. There were reports of a plane off course, and frankly what ran through some people’s minds were, “are we next?” The cellphone grid was strained to capacity not just in New York but just about everywhere, there was this palpable sense that the world had changed in some kind of fundamental way. It hadn’t, not really, but it was a shock.

You know on movies where they show the world ending, or devastation or even the atomic bomb’s aftermath, etc. It was that kind of “I can’t stop watching,” going on, where you know the likelihood it will affect your life directly in a negative way is pretty low, but you want to know more, see what happens next, or if it will affect you too.

It’s maybe a bit different now — we’re overwhelmed with so many information sources that... it’s possible the modern day equivalent is all being on the same Reddit thread or Twitter feed or live stream of an event.

Generally classrooms are meant to be a mixture of real events and things you can learn from them. If I recall correctly, this was an art class, or maybe an English class, but a humanities class of some kind, and so part of the activity was actually meant for conversation afterward. But... it unfolded in a much more dramatic way, and ... I think had there been more evidence that it was a criminal act from the start, we might not have—-ah, well, the use of airplanes as weapons was entirely new. What can I say, it sounds like any other event now, and somehow less shocking than people using IEDs, vehicular homicide, mass shootings or unjust violence, but... it unfolding live in the largest city in the world, the centre of finance, it... was still a horrendous act. The tragedy was only made worse by what followed in “revenge” and the changes to laws that we still live under today. I remember thinking a year previously that there’s no way 1984 could happen as I’d read it, and then I re-read it around a decade later and discovered it had already happened, partly thanks to Prism and other intelligence agency sharing agreements we’d been living under for years. The biggest shame is that folks knew about it in advance and yet we didn’t even have safely locked cockpit doors at the time. Who would have thought that hijackers wouldn’t simply want to send the plane somewhere else but to...

It's more that I'm surprised the school would let news take over their schedule. If a tower in NYC is on fire, that doesn't seem to be enough to justify it. When the second plane hits, sure. But even then, if you live far from NYC, why make the kids watch that? I mean are there other events that your teachers would make you watch?

Actually, the article you linked proves that it is true.

In recalling where they were when they learned of the attack, people were 89 percent accurate at survey two and 83 percent accurate at survey three.

So the statement nearly every American remembers where they were is TRUE.

The survey shows that more minute details get lost over time, such as who they were with/ how they learned about it. But I'm pretty sure thats the case with human memory in general.

I was sitting at the kitchen table reading a Usenet group on my ThinkPad. I saw a headline: "WTC?"

I thought to myself, "WTF? That must be what they meant and they misspelled it."

Then I turned on the TV and saw the rest.

Where were you?

Even in Poland they showed it, I was watching something random wiser and suddenly this. First I though this was some action movie, then the news ticker that was correct and accurate hit me. That's when the second plane hit, and then later the towers collapsed.

I was knocking a hole in a wall to install some windows that day.

I was told "some boys flew a plane into the twin towers"

I imagined American teens in a 2 seater Cessna. The truth was unimaginable.

I appreciate this detail, but your tone is confusing.

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