WHERE IS THE PLANE?
"Hunt the Boeing!" is a provocative display of smoke and mirrors, but there's little else to recommend the site. Its authors present a fraction of the available evidence in a highly selective, distorted, titillating way, proving absolutely nothing — except, perhaps, that there's always room for another conspiracy theory.
While making few explicit allegations, the authors argue, in effect, that based on photographic and physical evidence, the damage to the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 could not have been caused by a crashing jetliner, contrary to the official and overwhelmingly accepted explanation.
argument is weak. For starters, it conveniently ignores important,
compelling evidence. For example:
Of course, the evasion of bedrock evidence is standard fare for conspiracy theorists. If pressed, they would doubtless claim that all the above must have been planted or manufactured. But they can't even prove such a claim plausible, let alone true beyond a reasonable doubt.
the plain facts, they ask us to focus instead on misleadingly posed
condundrums such as the following:
Answer: It didn't only damage the outside. Structural damage extended at least 150 feet inside, well into the third ("C") ring of the building.
It didn't just crash into the ground floor. According to
official statements and news reports, it took out both the first and
second floors on impact.
Answer: No, but we can in this one taken by an Associated Press photographer. Bear in mind, eyewitnesses say the Boeing 757 virtually disintegrated when it struck the reinforced wall of the building, so the assumption that aircraft wreckage ought to be strewn all over the site isn't necessarily justified. Still, one Pentagon visitor who surveyed the damage a few days after the attack, Representative Judy Biggert of Illinois, told reporters she saw remnants of an aircraft. "There was a seat from a plane," she said, "there was part of the tail and then there was a part of green metal, I could not tell what it was, a part of the outside of the plane." (Chicago Sun-Times, 16 Sep, 2001)
(For a more detailed consideration of these and further "Hunt the Boeing" puzzles, please read the excellent commentary by engineer Paul Boutin and astrophysicist Patrick Di Justo, Web-posted on May 14.)
You're no doubt wondering who's behind these flights of fancy and what exactly they're driving at. Well, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, the culprit is Thierry Meyssan, well-known leftist radical and president of the Voltaire Network, a controversial site devoted to "the fight for freedom and secularity." His son, Raphaël Meyssan, is credited as the Webmaster of both the Voltaire Network and Utopian Asylum, which, uncoincidentally, hosts "Hunt the Boeing!"
What are they trying to prove? That the attacks of September 11 were perpetrated not by foreign terrorists, but by the U.S. government upon its own citizens — a conspiracy theory in the grand tradition.
To quote the late Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."
So far we haven't seen any proof at all.
Hunt the Boeing!
page image by Windy