‘Propaganda team’ uses deceptive spin and private pressure to attack evidence that no 757 hit the Pentagon
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. Give the world the best you have and you’ll be kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway. – Selected lines from Anyway by Kent M. Keith
February 13, 2019
By Craig McKee
Usually the discussion is about how 9/11 was done. Or why it was done. Or who did it.
But we in the 9/11 Truth Movement don’t talk as much about why we choose to fight for truth in the way we do. Which elements do we focus on? Which do we stay away from? Do we take a dry academic approach or that of a passionate activist or journalist? Do we advocate for theories that we can’t prove or do we focus on proving the official story false? And how far do we dare go in condemning actions by “respectable” researchers who we think are undermining what we’re trying to accomplish?
The answers to these questions depend on who we are, what we have learned, and how open we are to seeing through subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to deceive us. This is why I am writing this article – to offer some insight into the reasons for the choices I have made – and the ones I continue to make.
The central focus of this blog since it was launched in 2010 has been on exposing the lies behind 9/11 (as well as analyzing other false flags, the war on terror, the deep state, etc.). At the beginning, I assumed that this is what all of us in the Truth Movement were trying to do. Now, I realize it’s not nearly that simple.
While I understand that not every point in the official story of 9/11 is false, I choose to focus on the ones that are – because it is only by doing this that we can even have a chance of bringing down the whole house of cards. Oddly, some in the movement think we should spend more of our time talking about what they think is true in the narrative, particularly where the Pentagon event is concerned. And what they think is true is an impact of a Boeing 757 with the building. The more vocal of these people, who I’ll identify below, keep pushing this government crash myth year after year as if winning the movement over on this one point will lead to some kind of successful resolution of 9/11. In reality, it can only achieve the opposite.
The movement will never be won over since the vast majority of truthers know that there was no plane crash. The most that these impact advocates can hope to achieve is to keep us fighting over the subject forever. I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the idea. I also can’t help but think that the government must want to thank them for their help in muddying the waters and diverting the attention of truthers from essential evidence that proves the official story false.
Building 7 was the thing that initially woke me up to the 9/11 lie, but the Pentagon was one of the things that sealed the deal. And that process started when I came across a video called National Security Alert by Citizen Investigation Team. I was blown away by CIT’s game-changing interviews with witnesses who reported that the plane that approached the Pentagon flew north of the Citgo gas station, which is irreconcilable with the “fallen” light poles and the damage to the building. This means that the damage had to have been staged. Also revealing is that they virtually all had the plane banking to the right, the opposite of what the official story claims.
I was also excited to see that CIT’s findings that a 757 did not crash were corroborated by David Ray Griffin in his examination of the Pentagon event, particularly in his book The New Pearl Harbor Revisited. But excitement turned to puzzlement when I started reading some of the attacks against CIT on social media and on websites like 9/11 Blogger. It became clear to me that there was something very wrong within the Pentagon debate. Certain people who were respected in the movement seemed to lose all rationality and fairness when it came to the subject. The extreme hostility they expressed towards CIT seemed so over the top that it didn’t feel genuine.
These people seemed to be reading from a script as they launched deceptive and unfair attacks. They moaned about CIT being so “mean” to an elderly cab driver (Lloyde England) when all that CIT founders Aldo Marquis and Craig Ranke did was ask England direct questions and point out when his answers contradicted his past statements or other evidence. The impossibility of the England story was obvious to me right away. In fact, it’s a huge smoking gun (I plan to address England in an article very soon). I couldn’t figure out how other truthers could hear about it and get angry not at the story itself but at the suggestion that it isn’t entirely true.
What I have seen in the eight years since I became involved only further convinces me that the 9/11 Truth Movement has been the target of a persistent and single-minded disinformation campaign that has been going on for more than a dozen years – perhaps closer to 15. I don’t say everyone involved in pushing a 757 impact is a government agent or even a non-paid infiltrator; some may simply have been duped into supporting this campaign. Maybe a lot have. Others may simply be thinly disguised official story supporters and therefore not truthers at all.
But this is not a genuine effort at its core: it’s a manipulative pressure campaign that is geared towards derailing our truth seeking efforts. That I still have to write about this after so many years means they have at least partly succeeded. And this could not have happened without the unwitting co-operation of genuine truthers.
So, to bring this article back to its central theme, I made a choice to stand against this most suspicious and co-ordinated campaign. Early on this was an easy choice given that I was one among many voices. But over the years, some have moved on. CIT has not been publicly active for about five years, although the unfair attacks on them continue. Many of CIT’s most vocal proponents maintain their support, but some of the most knowledgeable of these are not as active on forums as before. So to some extent there has been a vacuum, which has been filled by the group I’m about to introduce you to:
Chandler as ‘front man’
The most visible member of the effort to prop up the government’s claim of a 757 crash at the Pentagon is David Chandler, who most truthers credit for his work on the World Trade Center destruction. While Chandler will point to people like me as unfairly tarnishing his reputation, it is he who has done this by incessantly pushing this impossible impact scenario since at least 2011. He howls in protest whenever he is linked to the official story because he says he doesn’t think Hani Hanjour flew the plane, but the fact remains that he devotes almost all his Pentagon efforts to telling us what he thinks is correct in the Pentagon official story and almost none to telling us what he thinks is incorrect.
Other members of this group, which I have dubbed the “propaganda team,” include Jonathan Cole, Frank Legge (now deceased), Ken Jenkins, John Wyndham, Jim Hoffman, Victoria Ashley, Warren Stutt, Chris Sarns, Wayne Coste, and, since his complete about-face in 2013, Dwain Deets. Also squarely in the Chandler camp is Colorado truther Fran Shure. This is a shame because I think Shure is a wonderful activist and a good person, but she has badly miscalculated here.
Kevin Ryan has not authored any of the group’s “research” papers, but he has provided counsel (in particularly he is credited with offering guidance on the 2016 paper criticizing the Pentagon position of Barbara Honegger). Ryan did suggest that the CIT duo could be agents in a 2010 article titled, “A dozen questions about Flight 77 and the Pentagon that might lead to justice, and one that won’t.” Below the list of questions, Ryan writes:
“Why are these questions NOT being pursued by independent investigators? That’s because the attention of many potential investigators has been hijacked by the much less useful question of “What hit the Pentagon.” This is certainly the favorite subject of intentional disruptors and official story supporters.”
As Ryan knows, Marquis and Ranke don’t address this less useful question because they don’t believe anything hit the Pentagon. Interestingly, Ryan’s criticism could now apply to Chandler and company. How’s that for irony?
In the piece, Ryan includes a link to a moronic “parody” video that mocks a speaking tour CIT did in Europe in 2010. With a soundtrack of I Get Around by the Beach Boys, this video ridicules the group’s efforts along with anybody who has supported them – including showing Barrie Zwicker, the author of Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11, with the mock group name “Senile Sellouts for 9/11 Truth” on the screen and Dwain Deets (who had endorsed CIT at the time) with “Aging Gov’t Employees for 9/11 Truth.” Such high-quality comedy! If someone ever writes an article called “A dozen parody videos that might lead to justice and one that won’t,” I know where this one will land.
It became obvious to me that the members of this group were actually working together, although they did not admit this. They recommended each other’s work as if they just happened to agree with it. Their research papers would have a list of links at the bottom directing readers to more of the same by other group members. It wasn’t until seven from this clique co-authored the Honegger paper that they admitted they were, in fact, a group. I had been telling people this for years.
They have produced paper after paper, presentation after presentation, all pushing “evidence” that lines up nicely with the official story. (As I said, I know they don’t think al-Qaeda flew the plane.) The group’s “party line” and their list of repeating talking points are virtually indistinguishable from the ones favored by “debunkers,” including those from Popular Mechanics.
If Chandler and the others are receiving harsh criticism it is because of their own actions. They are not the victims they portray themselves to be. If he wanted to help the Truth Movement, Chandler would say, “Well, we disagree about an impact but here are some other areas where we can show the official story is false.” But when it comes to the Pentagon, he doesn’t. He just keeps pushing an impact as if this point is an end in itself instead of a means to an end.
In order to explain why I approach 9/11 and the Pentagon the way I do, I have to make it clear what in the behavior of this group I am reacting to. The group has applied pressure in situations where they think they can convince prominent truthers to abandon their positions that no large plane impact occurred. We know Griffin has been pressured. So has Zwicker. So has Peter Dale Scott. So has Massimo Mazzucco. So has Richard Gage. So have numerous others. Anyone who this group thinks might be successfully pressured is pressured.
From the beginning, every journalistic instinct I had was screaming at me that this whole Pentagon impact lobby was not what it claimed to be. If you point to evidence that a 757 didn’t crash (which sinks the official story) they will attack you and your evidence. And they will claim they are just doing this to keep the movement from looking stupid and crazy.
My eyes were really opened when I read the 2011 “Joint Statement on the Pentagon: David Chandler and Jonathan Cole” in which the authors urge truthers to abandon Pentagon research because the government “holds all the cards.” (CIT destroys the paper in this extremely detailed response.) But that was deceptive because Chandler and Cole had no intention of abandoning the Pentagon. In fact, they did just the opposite. In reality, most truthers are not divided on this point; most know a 757 didn’t crash at the Pentagon. They might disagree about what exactly did happen, but they largely agree on that point.
(*An informal poll posted on Facebook at the end of January by Shanksville researcher Domenick DiMaggio received 189 replies with 90% of those saying “No” to the question: “Do you think an airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11/2001?” One could imagine that the percentage saying “No” might have been even higher if the question had been about a 757 instead of any airplane. The poll is not scientific, but it is consistent with what we’ve seen with other informal polls for years.)
In their paper, Chandler and Cole hint that CIT might be agents (a recurring theme…) who have planted a “foolish” theory in the movement to discredit us (saying that the plane approached on a north path and did not hit the light poles or the building). Seemingly, it is politically correct to call CIT all kinds of nasty names. Chandler calls them “scum” and their research “fraudulent” while Coste says he used to support CIT until he woke up and became “livid at their obvious deceit and treachery.” But anyone who criticizes Chandler and company will be accused of dividing the movement. The hypocrisy in this is glaring.
While most of the group tries to stick to a pseudo scholarly approach, Coste can’t resist the temptation to be smug, condescending, and insulting even to researchers like David Ray Griffin. Coste has questioned whether Griffin is a “real researcher.” He says Honegger has “absolutely horrible research skills…” and researcher A.K. Dewdney (who did an experiment that showed that the alleged cell phone calls from the 9/11 flights were virtually impossible) has “no integrity.” Coste has called Massimo Mazzucco “sloppy” and an “incompetent analyst” and his September 11: The New Pearl Harbor “a terrible and incomplete review of the evidence.”
In 2013, Chandler, Legge, and Wyndham wrote to Mazzucco in an effort to get him to change the Pentagon section of his film. In the letter, they compare the “No Boeing 757 at the Pentagon” position to “no planes” at the World Trade Center. They also come to the defense of Popular Mechanics’ James Meigs when he said in the film: “Hundreds of people saw an American Airlines jet fly into that building.” But the worst is yet to come. Near the end of the letter, they write:
“The film’s biased treatment of the two witness groups is a clear example of scientific distortion, in the same manner as NIST’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of witnesses to explosions and molten steel at the WTC. The net result is that the film’s Pentagon segment becomes tainted like the NIST reports. In conclusion, rather than point out here the many other problems with the film’s Pentagon segment, we offer to work with you to bring the Pentagon segment into a state where it can receive the respect of other scientists.”
The audacity of comparing Mazzucco’s excellent discrediting of the official story to NIST’s blatantly dishonest contribution to the 9/11 cover-up is staggering. The offer of “help” from Chandler and company was ignored, and thank goodness for that. Later, group member Ken Jenkins got permission to show it at the 9/11 Film Festival in Oakland. California. After getting permission from Mazzucco to trim about 30 minutes from the film, Jenkins simply cut the entire Pentagon section out without telling Mazzucco he would do this. Then he sold edited copies labeled as the “science safe” version. Mazzucco, understandably, was furious.
Campaign to get me ‘fired’
After watching Chandler defend most of the Pentagon official story year after year, I decided that something had to be done to help the quiet majority to be heard and to find common ground. I had watched too many people quibble over whether it was a cruise missile or a Global Hawk or a commuter plane that caused the destruction at the Pentagon. Everyone was defending their own turf without enough concern for the big picture. While Chandler and company were marching in lock step, as if following a script, the rest of us were having a grand old time discussing the mystery of 9/11 as if it were our favorite hobby.
So I created the “No 757 hit the Pentagon on 9/11” list. I had a feeling it would reveal a lot, and I was right. It has changed the dynamics of the discussion. It has brought people together in opposition to the official story, while showing there is much more unity in the movement about the lack of a plane impact than the Chandler group would ever admit. But it has also exposed serious cracks in the movement that were there all along.
The creation of the list made the Chandler camp none too happy. They had been content to push all their “respectable research” while the rest of us were firing off in all directions. But once there was a danger that their opponents might actually unite, they seemed to feel the need to accelerate their efforts. And they surely have.
Where I was once ignored by Chandler, I now seem to be his main preoccupation. Over the past few months, he has spearheaded a campaign to get me “fired” from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth where I have volunteered as a writer for the last five years. AE911Truth has rejected Chandler’s intervention and maintained its integrity and its focus on the essential work it is doing. Despite this, I can almost guarantee that with the publication of this article Chandler will fire off yet another “outraged” letter demanding again that I be fired. Chandler and some of his cohorts have suggested to AE that I and two prominent staffers may be agents. He even accused them on Facebook of choosing not to remove these agents.
In another example of the group’s accelerated efforts, Chandler and Coste are busy hawking a massive PowerPoint presentation all over Facebook narrated by Chandler and based on Coste’s “research.”
It would be such a positive move if we in the Truth Movement were to stop treating 9/11 as a hobby, although it is a fascinating puzzle to sort out. But sorting it out is a means to an end. It’s time we stop putting our focus on guessing what happened and instead stick to the approach that has made Griffin’s books so valuable. He has gone through each element of the official story and then shown, using the evidence, why that element – and therefore the whole story – cannot be true.
Unfortunately, people like Chandler have undone some of what Griffin accomplished by turning our focus away from the complete dismantling of the official story. And Griffin, both in private and through his 9/11 Consensus Panel, has played a role in enabling this by defending Chandler even though he doesn’t agree with him about a Pentagon impact. Interestingly, Chandler doesn’t rush to the defense of Griffin or Mazzucco when either is attacked by Coste.
Incidentally, four members of this Pentagon group are also members of the 9/11 Consensus Panel: Chandler, Cole, Deets, and Shure. Given that any consensus point can be defeated by just four negative votes, this means there is no way for any point ever to be adopted that challenges the official claims of what caused the damage to the Pentagon. With the current membership, that’s a guaranteed veto, although that veto has never had to be used. According to co-founder Elizabeth Woodworth, she and Griffin have never even asked the panel to consider the question of what damaged the Pentagon.
Chandler’s low blow
In December 2017, just a few days after the No 757 list was published on Truth and Shadows, Chandler posted a stunningly dishonest hatchet job on CIT in which he falsely accused co-founder Ranke of badgering and manipulating witness Albert Hemphill. But it was actually Chandler’s man, anti-truthing troll Jeff Hill, whose interviews with Hemphill were text book cases of how to create the result you want using dishonest and manipulative means.
While I have never taught high school, as Chandler has, I have done thousands of interviews as a journalist. I know how to do them effectively and honestly. Ranke is not a professional interviewer, but he did a good job talking to Hemphill. He did lay out the CIT findings for him but only after having asked all the pertinent questions. Hill, on the other hand, conducted two of the worst “interviews” I have ever heard in more than 30 years of journalism. (Hill is the guy who made a drunken call to berate a WTC survivor at 1 a.m.)
In addition to calling Hemphill just an hour after Ranke did (how’s that for suspicious) Hill explained to Hemphill that his statement to Ranke about the flight path couldn’t match with the plane hitting the building. He worked hard to imply that Hemphill had been tricked into describing this path. Naturally, the more Hill pushed Hemphill to be angry with Ranke, the more Hemphill moved the flight path to the south. But he never changed his contention that it was over the gas station, which is well north of the official path and irreconcilable with the damage.
In a comment below his statement with Cole, Chandler on 9/11 Blogger, wrote this: “… I also ran across the telephone interviews of witnesses conducted by Jeff Hill, for the first time. (I have links at the bottom of the essay.) These interviews are amazing! Just listen to them!!!”
The only thing that is amazing is that any rational person could see these interviews as anything other than incoherent, manipulative, and dishonest. That Chandler would praise Hill is dumbfounding. An interesting note: since the Chandler paper and my rebuttal, Hill’s website seems to have disappeared along with the recordings of his two Hemphill interviews. Fortunately, we still have transcripts. I hope we can find these recordings again (I see many of his interviews can still be found on YouTube, but not the Hemphill ones from what I can see.)
I implore the readers of this article to go through my comprehensive dissection of Chandler’s hit piece, which can be found here. I know it’s not a short article (neither is this one), but it really reveals the dishonesty of Chandler’s approach. And Hill’s.
The timing of Chandler’s hit piece was intriguing: just one week after the list was published. He then prodded me to respond. I debated at the time whether I would be playing into his hands by doing this. But I felt I had to do it anyway. I could not let this horrible attack go unanswered.
Sometimes the pro-impact attacks are delivered by the primary members of this group, but often the real dirty work is done by a small battalion of followers and trolls who simply parrot back most of the government’s own claims regarding the Pentagon while they equate those who do not believe a 757 impact occurred to lunatic conspiracy nuts. They mock the idea that witnesses might lie or that evidence might be planted. And the real giveaway is when they call anyone who doesn’t think a 757 hit the Pentagon a “no-planer” (or a “conspiratard” or “Pentard”). This is an obvious attempt to link “no impact” at the Pentagon with “no planes” in New York City.
I have always made it clear that some kind of plane (or planes if you include the C-130 that arrived shortly after the main explosion) was involved in some way in the Pentagon deception. It is obvious to me and others that some of these followers, at least, are agents and/or intentional disruptors. Some may simply be obnoxious jerks. Some may be both.
Coste expelled for lying
Wayne Coste is the latest off the bench for the propaganda team. He was once fired from the board of directors of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Recently, he was expelled from the 9/11 and Other Deep State Crimes Teleconference for lying about me when he claimed I had “frequently apologized on the teleconference for having no evidence to support my Pentagon position.”
He offered to point to the recorded calls where I could be heard apologizing, but when I urged him to do just this, he could not. He then claimed to have apologized for the false claim but the link he offered to his “apology” went to a new website he created to mock me (Dump the Shadows!). He even chose a URL that mirrored mine (truthandshadows.net instead of truthandshadows.com), which was reminiscent of when he created a new site for the group 9/11 Truth Outreach – while he was still working for AE911Truth – using a similar design and color scheme as the AE911Truth site.
The Coste PowerPoint started as a single five-hour-and-40-minute presentation done in response to the “Consensus Panel Challenge.” Problem is there never was a Consensus Panel Challenge, simply a statement on the benefits of relying on evidence. He later turned this unwatchable video with its more than 900 slides into 17 bite-sized “chapters” narrated by Chandler. (I will be responding to this series on this blog at a time of my own choosing and won’t be reacting to Coste’s incessant taunts on Facebook to respond immediately.)
Breaking his presentation up has given Coste the opportunity to spam 17 times more links all over Facebook, a clever marketing move (you may never again see me use “Coste” and “clever” in the same sentence). I’ve seen individual posts that feature 15 or more of Coste’s links to the same presentation.
Oh, did you mention the letter A? Well, here’s my chapter where I discuss the wAll. (insert link)
Coste’s efforts to twist the truth are extreme, so much so that I can’t dismiss them as being accidental. I also can’t list them all here without making this article a great deal longer than it already is. (I will address them all soon enough, and by that time there are bound to be more.) But here is a teaser from Facebook on Jan. 27: A person named Stuart Crosbie commented that there was “plenty” of wreckage inside the Pentagon, and I replied: “Stuart, there was not plenty of wreckage. We’re talking about a 100-ton airliner.” Here’s what Coste did with that: “Craig: Good, you are acknowledging steel/titanium parts of the plane inside the Pentagon. That is a good start… Good to see that you actually have some functioning cognizant abilities.”
Did I say there were “steel/titanium parts of the plane inside the Pentagon”? No, but that doesn’t bother Coste since truth is not his main concern. (Note that by saying “of the plane” he is trying to make it seem like I have acknowledged that any pieces found inside the building came from the same plane he says crashed.)
Those of us who agree no 757 hit the Pentagon are often accused of constantly bringing the subject up. But what people may not realize is that things were pretty quiet on the Pentagon front a few years back. It was still being discussed, but it was more in the background as compared to today. That changed at the 9/11 Film Festival in Oakland, California in September 2015 when Ken Jenkins introduced his unfinished film The Pentagon Plane Puzzle (in which he “honors” witnesses who claim to have seen a plane hit the Pentagon) and David Chandler, who was making his own presentation.
After the film festival, I faced another decision about whether to ignore what I saw or respond and risk more exposure for them. Would I be taking a risk that truthers would not fully realize what was wrong in these presentations if I said nothing? I chose to respond, first to Jenkins’s six slippery minutes of spin (which you can read my analysis of here) and then Chandler’s presentation (which I pull apart here). All but one minute of the latter was devoted to making arguments that fit nicely into the Pentagon official story – the exception was his suggestion that the plane might have been remote-controlled. The presentation was ironically titled, “Going Beyond Speculation…” despite the fact that it was filled with speculation about a 757 engine trimming leaves off a tree, wings turning to “confetti,” and much more.
But the group wasn’t finished raising the Pentagon’s profile. Tim Michel, who works with Truth Action Project (he was formerly with AE911Truth) and who is a supporter of the pro-impact group, suggested that the 9/11 and Other Deep State Crimes Teleconference hold debates about the Pentagon a month or so after my articles on Jenkins and Chandler came out. This was the cue for Coste to jump into the Pentagon deep end and to drag all of us in with him.
We decided to hold three debates: the first had Coste debating Barbara Honegger (those listening voted 20-3 that Honegger had made the more convincing case); the second had me and Adam Ruff splitting duties against Coste (we won that vote 17-1); and the third was me against Honegger (I won that 10-2).
If you thought this would settle things for a while you’d be wrong. Coste began making a series of about a dozen PowerPoint presentations on the teleconference over the next couple of years. If he hadn’t told one lie too many in that group, he’d still be pumping them out there.
Throughout my time in the Truth Movement I have had to make choices: what to address, what to set aside, who to praise, and who to criticize. Every choice, including the choice to do nothing, is fraught with potentially negative consequences. There are so many out there who think that simply saying something unflattering about another truther is “divisive.” Those people would have us watch Chandler and Coste pushing major elements of the official story for years and not raise red flags. I can’t do that.
The first person ever to question the official account of 9/11 could have been accused of being “divisive” for saying that the narrative isn’t true. Those who fought to prevent the Iraq War were accused of that and worse as the U.S. rushed to another imperialist conquest. But being accused of dividing when you are standing up to things that are wrong does not make it wrong to do so. In fact, it is the courageous thing to do. The easy thing is to stay silent.
If they simply focused on opposing the official story of what happened at the Pentagon – as CIT, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, David Ray Griffin, and many others have – we could all come together behind that banner. But they won’t. They appear determined to keep pushing a major element of the government narrative forever under the guise of seeking “truth” and protecting our “credibility.”
If the group I am talking about is not opposed, they will continue working to erode support for the massively important Pentagon evidence. And, yes, this evidence is crucial because a faked plane crash at the Pentagon could only have been pulled off by one entity, the U.S. government (and its accomplices). And this event allowed the U.S. to claim 9/11 was an act of war because the military itself was, supposedly, a prime target. This is why I have chosen to take the stand that I have. Believe it or not, I really would rather not be talking about the Pentagon year after year.
In the meantime, what’s next for the propaganda team? A book? A feature film? A “conference”? An endorsement from George Clooney?
Like the bad robot from Terminator 2 (the one that tries to kill Arnold who is now a good robot), they never stop. No matter what you do to their arguments they just keep reforming, over and over, as the group relentlessly tries to shift the burden of proof from the government to the Truth Movement.
For all the reasons I’ve listed – and more to come – I will not stop opposing them. Or exposing them.