The Lies (and misconceptions) of the "'truth' movement"

Intro (scroll down for entries)

I readily admit that I have no doubts that most members of the “truth movement” sincerely believe all the nonsense that they spout. I even think that most of the “leaders” of the movement, the ones who run the sites and write the books make the videos etc believe all of what they purport. However far too many of them present the facts in a less than honest fashion: quotes are taken out of context, contrary information omitted, rumors are reported as fact etc, others are too blinded by their preconceived notions to see the fallacies of their theories. I did want a blog title that would garner attention and ‘The Misconceptions of the Truth Movement’ just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

I will address specific errors made by leading “truthers” in this blog and will erase any generic replies that have nothing to do with the entry topic. In other words if the entry is about Amanda Keller contradicting herself replies going on about the debris from flight 93 or Silverstein’s “pull it" comment etc. etc. will be deleted. Personal attacks and insults whether directed at me or other commenters, whether made by “truthers” or “debunkers” will be deleted as well.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Worst 9/11 Book of All Time?

Recently I read, Planes without Passengers: the Faked Hijackings of 9/11 by Dean Hartwell. The only thing preventing me from declaring it to be the worst "book" ever about 9/11 is that since I haven't seen them all it's possible that there is a worse one I'm not aware of. I debated his essay length self-published "book" with him on the Education Forum. He gave the following "outline" of his "ideas":

What happened to each of the planes?

Flight 11 allegedly struck World Trade Center 1 (North Tower)
Flight 11 – There was no such flight
Flight 11 Decoy (“11D”) – Took off from Boston Logan airport and was identified as Flight 11
Where did 11D go? – It flew toward the World Trade Center and got within one-half mile of it
What happened to 11D? – It landed safely
What happened to WTC 1? – Another aircraft struck it

Flight 175 allegedly struck World Trade Center 2 (South Tower)
Flight 175 – It took off from Boston Logan Airport
Where did 175 go? - It flew west, switching its flight # to 89 and doing a hijacking simulation
What happened to 175? – It landed safely in Cleveland
Flight 175 Decoy (“175D”) – Took off from Boston Logan Airport and was identified as 175
Where did 175D go? – It flew toward the World Trade Center and got within one-half mile of it
What happened to 175D? – It stayed in the air (unidentified) and then served as a decoy for 93
What happened to WTC 2? - Another aircraft struck it.

Flight 77 allegedly struck the Pentagon
Flight 77 – There was no such flight
Flight 77 Decoy (“77D”) – It flew west and was identified as 77
What happened to 77D? – I don’t know; I speculate it flew over the Pentagon

Flight 93 allegedly crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Flight 93 – It took off from Newark Airport
Flight 93 Decoy (“93D”) – No
Where did 93 go? – It flew west
What happened to 93? It went toward Cleveland, then flew back to Pennsylvania and landed safely

In other words he is a particularly whacky brand of no planer. What follows is my Amazon review of the book:


One thing that potential buyers should be aware of is that this not really a 144 page book because it is set in extra-large type. It is just over 15,000 words (i.e. a little more than 5x longer than this review), if normal size type had been used the “book” would be only ¼ - 1/3 as long. So for $10 plus shipping you’ll get a 40 or so page essay that the author had to self-publish, by contrast 350 – 700 page commercially published books by Griffin, Tarpley and Ruppert (which I think are crappy too) go for $12 - $18.

The author claimed “I use the large font so my wife can read it.” [1] I find that hard to believe because as noted above the use of jumbo size text increased the page count 3 - 4x and thus increased his publishing costs by a similar proportion [2]. Obviously he knows that he can easily change type size on the computer screen or print out a large type copy for his ‘significant other’. Presumably then the real reason was that he knew people would be unlikely to spend over $10 for a 30 – 40 page “book”.

But it’s like the Groucho Marx’s joke about one old lady complaining that a restaurant’s food is bad and her friend not only concurring but adding “and the portions are small too”. The book is a good example of why even within the “truth” movement ‘no planers’ are considered crackpots. ‘Debunkers’ repeatedly point out that ‘truthers’ rarely explain what exactly they think happened that day; Mr. Hartwell to his credit tries to do so but his account is marred by tortured logic and factual errors.


One of his central theories is that Flights 11 and 77 never took off Logan and Dulles and were never even scheduled to fly because they did not show up on a Bureau of Transportation Statistics webpage [pg 11]. He further went on to speculate that they were replaced by decoy planes [pgs 12, 44, 57] which he believes took off from the same airports despite there being no sign of them in the same BTS database. He also chose to ignore that the theory spelled out above is patently absurd. As I pointed out to him on an Internet forum:

The amount of people who would have to be “in on it” or otherwise silenced is prohibitively large and would have included all the AA ticket agents at Logan and Dulles and the ones for feeder flights at other airports (and probably for the entire US since the systems are linked), dozens or more flight controllers, baggage and security crews at Logan and Dulles, the people claiming to be next of kin of those on the flights as well as personnel from the NYC Medical Examiner’s offices as well as any travel agents or users of sites like Orbitz who happened to look up flights from Logan or Dulles to LAX that morning etc etc. The idea that the PTB/CIA/ONI/PNAC/MIBH etc would put together this elaborate plot to murder thousands, involving hundreds of people etc, etc would be unwilling or able to fake a BTS list is mind boggling.[3]


Hartwell repeatedly demonstrated that he will rationalize away any compelling evidence which contradict his fantasies. He did so in a particularly repulsive manner regarding the calls from Flight 11:

There are two reported calls from Flight 11, from Betty Ong and Madeline Sweeney. Their calls are reported as starting at 8:19 A.M. and 8:25 A.M.

Regardless of what types of phones were used, Ong and Sweeney could have made or had their calls made from another location (perhaps the actual Flight 11 plane on the ground) and continued until word came that the South Tower had been struck at 8:46. [pg 86]

In other words they were 'in on it', they were perpetrators not victims. He didn't limit this offensive speculation to the heroic stewardesses, he declared that he concluded that the “passengers” (use of 'scare quotes' his) were part of the plot and left “their family and friends...[and] agree[d] to participate in [the] plot...[because they saw 9/11 as] an opportunity to change United States policies and fight what they perceive as a greater evil...Some passengers could have been blackmailed into participating” he admited that, “this conclusion comes not from eyewitness or other solid evidence, but rather logic.” [pgs 92 – 3] unfortunately all manners of lunatics think their beliefs are logical.

=== FLIGHT 1989 ===

Another of his theories is that two flights made emergency landings in Cleveland rather just Delta 1989 as per the official version. The basis for this are some discrepancies between media accounts regarding the landing time, number of passengers aboard and other details. Some said 10:10 and others 10:45, some said about 200 PAX other about 70. This ignores that it is common for mistakes to be made in breaking news accounts [e.g “Dewey Wins”, “Giffords Killed”].

- Landing Time:

He assumes that the ‘earlier’ flight was 1989 and dubbed the latter “an unidentified plane” and speculates that it was really United 175. However he neglected to inform his readers that the media accounts he cited referring to BOTH landing times described it as being a Delta flight or specifically Delta 1989. For example:

“Delta Flight 1989 made an emergency landing at Hopkins about 10:45 a.m”

“There also was uncertainty and fear for several hours at Hopkins while authorities searched a Delta airliner forced to land there for signs of terrorist sabotage…The scene inside the air traffic control tower yesterday morning at Hopkins was sober and calm as controllers brought down the Delta, a 767 from Boston, that was feared to have been sabotaged…The flight to Los Angeles landed at Hopkins at 10:45 a.m.”

He can not claim he was unaware of this because 1) I pointed it out to him on the aforementioned forum back in November [4]. 2) the 1st quote and the underlined portion of the 2nd appear on a webpage he cited [5]. Additionally the 9/11 Timeline, which he cited several times, said it landed at 10:18 but “other accounts will say it lands at between 10:33 a.m. and 10:45” and provided links to an FAA document (10:33) and two AP articles which reported that Delta “flight 1989” a 767 from Boston to LA “landed about 10:45 a.m.” [6]

- Number of Passengers:

Most accounts said there were “about 60 passengers” or 69 PAX and nine crew members but Hartwell pointed out that, “early press reports said a plane at the [Cleveland] airport had 200 passengers” [pg 61]. However he failed to inform his readers that with one exception the reports attribute or seem to attribute the number to “Cleveland Mayor Michael White” speaking at a press conference, [7] none of the accounts mentioned his location so it is doubtful he was at the airport. The exception was a reporter for a Cleveland radio station who said, “A few hours after Mayor White's first news conference, FBI Special Agent Mark Bullock confirmed that the Delta jet with 200 people aboard had landed safely and had not been in danger” [8] but the number seems not to have come from the FBI agent because:

1) A 11:37 AM 9/11 forum post (cited by Hartwell’s source) said “The mayor of Cleveland has announced that an airplane containing 200 passengers has been sequestered at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport” (i.e. the number was cited less than 90 minutes after the plane landed not hours after the mayor’s news conference) [9].

2) A 9/11 article from AP which cited Bullock reported “78 passengers aboard” [that was a minor error, there were 78 people {PAX and crew} on it] [10]

- 1989 or 175:

Hartwell thinks that the “2nd plane” was probably flight 175 because it, “had the capability and the opportunity to take Flight 11 passengers (to make 157) and its whereabouts were reasonably in question” [pg 17]. There are a few problems with this absurd theory.

1) There is absolutely no evidence passengers from another flight, let alone another airline, being transferred to 175. I have never heard of passengers from one airline being transferred to a competitor's flight except in the case of mechanical problems.

2) Flight 175 took off at 8:14 [11]and flight time from Logan to Cleveland is only about 68 minutes [12]. By 10:45, 2 ½ hours later if the plane had not been hijacked it would have been half way to LA [13] Probably over Iowa or Nebraska [14]

3) The flight's “whereabouts were NOT reasonably in question”, its transponder was only turned off for 30 seconds before being reset it was tracked from Boston to NYC air traffic controllers at NY Center and Newark Airport, the latter of whom also see it through their windows for its last few minutes [15].

4) It was also tracked by several workers at United's crisis center in Chicago. [16]

5) 27 of the passengers and crew had their remains identified (26 via DNA) by the NYC Medical Examiners Office [17]. Hartwell knows this but made contradictory claims about it in his “book” (more on this below).

- Flights 175 and 93 Wheels -off Times:

Because the FAA and NTSB said Flight 175 took off at 8:14 but the BTS said it did so at 8:23 Hartwell speculated that the first was “a decoy” and the second carried the passengers [pgs 54 -7] and due to a similar contradiction between the BTS and press accounts regarding the take off time for Flight 93 [pgs 58 – 60] he speculated there might have two of the latter as well. Hilariously he added “but I cannot prove it” as if he offered anything approaching evidence (let alone proof) there were two 175s. Nor does ever offer a coherent explanation as to why the conspirators would not only make the plot complex but leave traces in the official record.


In his conclusion Hartwell wrote “I have offered evidence...that no independent expert has ever confirmed the identification of remains of any of the passengers at any of the sites. ” [pgs 117 – 8].

That is yet another example of the utter rubbish in this “book” because most passengers (and crew) from all four flights were IDed but Hartwell seemingly only defines people who do not work for any government agency as “independent”. This is ludicrous because the vast majority of forensic pathologists in the US are city, county, state or federal employees and private ones would only be called in if the next of kin hired them. So Hartwell set an impossibly high standard so as to rationalize his dismissal of evidence which refutes his lunatic theories.

He obviously dismisses out of hand the DNA identifications made by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner of most of the flight 93 (Shanksville) and all of the Flight 77 (Pentagon) victims any one working for the federal government, especially the military is assumed to be compromised. But many victims from Flights 93, 11 and 175 (WTC) were IDed by local coroners.

NYC Victims:

Earlier he rationalized his dismissal of the identification of the victims of Flights 11 and 175:

Dr. Robert Shaler, former director of the Forensic Biology Department at the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, wrote the book Who They Were: Inside the World Trade Center DNA Story: The Unprecedented Effort to Identify the Missing. He writes mostly of his staff’s efforts to identify those who had worked in the World Trade Center buildings.

He says that he met with families of passengers, although this was late in the investigation. And although he mentions a few matches made with passengers and shows a chart of the number of passenger matches, he does not specify anyone.

The information above gives sufficient basis in fact to reject the official story and start anew….[pg 30]

So he rejects the passenger and crew identifications made by Shaler and his 100 plus subordinates because he didn't mention any of their names? This is nonsenscial, if he was lying he could easily claim he had IDed people he had not. Hartwell failed to mention Shaler did not name any of the 265 Flight 587 victims by name and only two of the over 2600 tower occupants who died [18]. Despite Hartwell implying he only IDed“a few” of the people on the planes the DNA expert reported he identified 77 of the 147 passengers and crew aboard the flights [19]. Worse Hartwell's rationalization was based on a false premise. On page 310 of his book Shaler discussed identifying the remains of Flight 11 passenger Daniel Lewin [20]. But Shaler worked for the City of NY while Giuliani was mayor and thus presumably in Hartwell's mind is not “independent”.

- Shanksville Victims:

Not all of the victims of the Pennsylvania crash were identified by the DoD, “[Somerset County coroner Wallace E.] Miller and his team identified 16 of the 44 passengers and crew aboard Flight 93 through fingerprint and dental records.” [21] Hartwell didn't mention Miller, I doubt this was an oversight. Presumably it would be harder to dismiss the funeral homer owner who only made less than $36k a year for his part time work for rural Somerset County [22] as not being “independent”.

=== Flight 1989 “Transcript” ===

Towards the middle of his “book” the author cited and obscure source:

“In an article on the site “Bravehost,” a writer details transcripts purportedly from Flight 1989 and Flight 93 and notes the similarity in a message from “hijackers” on each plane about a bomb on board. The controllers contacted and received a response from the 1989 pilot, who agreed to land in Cleveland, but got no response from 93” [pgs. 64 – 5]
The source for the ‘transcript’ was a USAToday article which he previously cited as a source that pinpointed 10:10 as the landing time for the Delta flight. Certainly citing an article with named authors in a well known newspaper would have given his claim more credibility than an anonymously written article from an obscure website, why then did he use the latter rather than the former? It turns out that “Bravehost” misunderstood the article, there was only one message but the air traffic controllers thought mistakenly at first it came from 1989 (emphasis mine):

Now about 9:30 a.m., controllers hear words that seem to confirm their worst fears. They hear shouting as Flight 1989 approaches the Ohio border. Then they hear a voice: "Get out of there!" Then what sounds like a scuffle.

Minutes later, a new voice, this one with a heavy accent: "Ladies and gentlemen, here it's the captain. Please sit down. Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb aboard."
No one who hears those words believes they are coming from Werner. Not with such a heavy accent. No way. Rather, the transmission seems to be from a hijacker who unwittingly spoke over the radio when he meant to address passengers.

Officials at Cleveland Center rush word to Washington: Hijackers have another flight.
At the Federal Aviation Administration's command center in Herndon, Va., Delta Flight 1989 joins a growing list of suspicious jets.




Controllers at Cleveland Center can't raise United Flight 93, a Boeing 757 flying over Ohio.

Perhaps the strange radio transmissions — the reference to a bomb and the heavy accent of a "captain" — hadn't come from the Delta flight. Maybe Capt. Werner's Flight 1989 is fine after all.

At least, that's the way it seems to the controllers. The United flight had been just 25 miles ahead of the Delta flight when the radio transmissions came through — close enough to account for the confusion.

Then, at 9:35 a.m., the United jet had climbed unexpectedly and turned back, over Ohio, toward the Delta flight. Then ...

Silence. The United flight stopped talking.

It must be United that's hijacked.

When controllers ordered Werner to change course to avoid Flight 93, he had complied quickly. Yes, Delta Flight 1989 must be fine. [23]

Hartwell did not cite the original because it not fit with cockamamie theory i.e. he intentionally mislead his readers. I could go on and on but I have wasted enough time on this poorly researched, offensive garbage, take a look at the Index which only includes 10 items, this is indicative of the lack of Hartwell's care. The text is not even original being largely derivative of “Woody Box” who at least isn't trying to make a buck. One can read much of the book on Amazon Reader if after read this review, the available pages and Box's 'research' you still want to buy this crap you'll be proving the adage about fools and their money.



2] See for example this page about page count affects publishing costs and buyer's perceptions of books CreateSpace uses multiples of 24 pages
3] post 12
4] post 39

5] cited on page 62



9] cited on page 62


11] pg 1 , pg 4

12] ,

13] , ,


15] pg. 2 , ,


17] pg 302

18] , the two victims he mentioned were James Marcel Cartier (IDed) and Rita Blau (not IDed)

19] pg 302

20] pg 10