"911 - In Plane Site: A Critical Review"
by Jeremy Baker
"911: In Plane Site"
Directed by William Lewis
Produced & written by Dave vonKleist
Narrated by Dave vonKleist
A production of The Power Hour
article copied from:
"Never forget. The most effective disinformation campaigns are 90% correct."
- overheard at Phase II of the International Citizens Inquiry into 9/11, Toronto
Recently I spent some time watching and analyzing the controversial new video,
"911: In Plane Site." This 52 minute documentary -- vigorously touted
by some and harshly condemned by others -- offers, I believe, an interesting
opportunity to the broader community of 9/11 researchers and activists. In particular,
it gives us the chance to honestly ask ourselves the question: Are we meticulous,
sophisticated and responsible researchers and activists, or are we impulsive,
Copyright 2004 by Darkprints
I'd like to offer some thoughts on the matter.
For quite a while the mud-wrestling and invective was the movie for me, drawing
me in, perhaps against my better judgement. Suggestions have even been made
that the producers of this film may be operatives attempting to sabotage and
derail the 9/11 visibility movement from within. Well, that's quite an accusation.
Personally, I'm not quite sure what to think. But after careful scrutiny, and
without taking a decisive stand one way or the other, I believe that there are
aspects of this film that do, in fact, warrant our scrutiny. Surely the issue
of what we approve of (or condemn) within this movement is a valid one. So maybe
it has become time for us to ask one another the difficult question -- solemnly
posed by Mr. vonKleist and friends -- "Where is your line in the sand?"Well,
I'll tell you where mine is and you can decide for yourself. I'll start by doing
a little nitpicking. We'll get to the big stuff later.
"911: In Plane Site" begins with text being typed across the screen
(à la The X-Files) as our narrator "advises" us that "the
information we're about to view is overwhelmingly significant." Well good.
I hate wasting my time on pointless nonsense. So far, so good.
So good I almost forgave them that last little bit, the part about the evidence
in their program being so vital that they "could not let this information
be kept from the American people and indeed from the global community as it
affects both NATIONAL SECURITY and GLOBAL SECURITY respectfully [sic.]."
Well, I guess nobody's perfect. I'm just a little concerned that 9/11ers and
the general public might be put off by this lapse, being, as they are, members
of the former and latter demographics "respectively."
The inevitable montage of planes crashing into buildings, billowing fire and
smoke comes next. Inevitable, as well, is the dramatic music, swelling up from
below, the kind appropriate to issues of such "overwhelming significance,"
and straight out of an Alex Jones movie.
The tabloid-style drama of many 9/11 videos has often turned me off, even to
films that I later came to enjoy, respect, even recommend. But, unfortunately,
I'm already sniffing a familiar odor from this film, and it only just began.
After the Wagnerian music trails off, we're introduced to our narrator, Power
Hour talk-radio host, Dave vonKleist, who offers us some more introductory remarks.
Seems like a nice enough guy, easy going, committed.
Soon after, we hear an unidentified witness to the crash of Flight 77 specifically
describe the object that struck the Pentagon as a "cruise missile with
wings," an interesting piece of footage I‚d never seen before. Unfortunately,
this is one of the problems with this film. You could have stopped right there
and done a whole segment on this actual, purported witness to the Pentagon attack
whose comments confirm what some theorists consider to be, given the evidence,
what must have actually hit the Pentagon that day. Or, for that matter, you
could have exposed this guy as a fraud, whatever the case may be. But instead,
that's the end of it. A whiff of something huge, and then it's gone.
Mr. vonKleist then explains to us that all those picture magazines that appeared
in grocery store check-out lines in the days and weeks that followed the attacks
were the place where he and his people began their investigation into 9/11.
He then goes on to spend valuable time challenging a passing statement made
in a book entitled America Attacked -- also the kind that he says made its way
into grocery stores.
On page 194, this book apparently claims that "the jet had plowed a crater
100' wide" before collapsing the outer walls of the Pentagon. He then makes
the obvious point that there is no 100' wide crater to be seen anywhere in the
video or photos of the Pentagon that day.
He is, of course, correct, but that's not the point. The point is this: Why
go to the trouble of refuting a short comment made in just one of a myriad of
inconsequential post 9/11 books? Has this long forgotten story become a key
obstacle in our efforts to expose government complicity in 9/11? Of course it
hasn't. Why waste time picking splinters out of your feet when you've got that
railroad spike stuck in your head?
Interspersed between the, shall we say, thin sections of the film is, however,
a fairly generous helping of data and information that has become pretty much
second nature to most devoted 9/11 researchers. "911: In Plane Site"
does, I suppose, offer the neophyte a somewhat well presented overview of some
aspects of the mainstream in 9/11 conspiracy theory.VonKleist does, for instance,
show the excellent photos of the
the roof collapses. He then posits the obvious questions that evidence raises:
Why is the hole so small? Where's the wreckage of a passenger jet? What about
the surveillance tapes? Etc.
He also produces a report from a certified environmental specialist from the
EAA (the Environmental Assessors Association) that would appear to indicate
that if the object that hit the Pentagon were, indeed, a passenger jet, the
fuel load should have "reduced the Pentagon to the thickness of a pancake"
and caused environmental contamination that would have taken months to study,
let alone clean up.
But wait. The first page of the report that vonKleist superimposes on the screen,
under the heading "Type of Aircraft," includes this: "There were
(100) people onboard." Well, this is odd. The last time I checked there
were 64 passengers and crew on board Flight 77.
Innocent mistake? I don't care. Is this person a "specialist" or not?
Her use of the "technical" term "thickness of a pancake"
bolsters this "expert's" testimony even more. And her claim that the
Pentagon fires would've burnt at 3,000 degrees if a 757 did touch down with
a belly full of fuel goes against all the previous research I've heard on hydrocarbon
fires in enclosed spaces (specifically in regard to the Twin Towers).
Besides the film's more obvious technical glitches, there are other more central
problems with this project that need to be addressed. In particular, it's not
just what this film covers that is at issue -- it's what it doesn't cover. It's
what is omitted in this account of the attack on the Pentagon that concerns
For example, not a word is mentioned about the fact that the area around Washington
D.C. is some of the most heavily defended airspace in the world. How could a
hijacked plane, known to be barreling towards downtown D.C., well after the
previous strikes on the WTC, possibly meet with absolutely no resistance? It's
unthinkable. The producers, to their credit, do a good job of presenting the
video evidence that proves that WTC 7 was clearly brought down in a controlled
demolition. They also include the excellent story (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
about Larry Silverstein and the PBS interview in which he reassures us that
the building was intentionally "pulled" -- a "tough" decision
made by a "stand-up" guy to save lives (?) on that terrible day.
But here again vonKleist shoots himself in the foot. He puts the name, Louie
Cacchioli, (a firefighter who heard explosions in Tower 1 before it came down)
up on the screen for us to see as he then goes on to pronounce this guy's first
name "Lou-iss" instead of "Lou-ee," as he likes to be called.
He then further offends the poor man, his children and ancestors by pronouncing
Louie's last name "Cacchio-la" instead of "Cacchio-lee,"
as he also likes to be called.
Now, this may seem like nit-picking to you, but in the court of public opinion
these things matter. You don't often see so many glaring blunders in serious
documentary film-making, and if you think our detractors won't hop on each and
every one of them you‚re wrong. These screwups, like it or not, reflect
on the entire community of 9/11 activists (especially the ones who so strongly
support this video) and could go a long way to alienating the fence sitters
we can and should be trying hard to woo. It's worth noting that the videos featured
in this film have been in evidence now for quite some time. Nothing that hasn't
been presented many times before on the subject of September 11th is being divulged
in "911: In Plane Site." This becomes an important point when we attempt
to assess the veracity of the outfit that produced this film and consider whether
or not they, in fact, have this movement‚s best interests at heart.
Towards that end let me say this. Whatever respect I may've generated for this
film rapidly disintegrated when the subject turned to the obviously enhanced
video "evidence" of the impacts of Flights 11 and 175 used by vonKleist
in his "investigation." The flashes we see as the film is slowed down
have clearly been accentuated for emphasis, making them useless to all but the
most casual viewers and simultaneously obliterating any professional regard
I may've had for these "researchers."
... watch the "flashes" in these videos smoothly fade in and out while
the rest of the video clunks along, frame by frame. The "flashes"
are too bright as well, even in comparison to the other footage they show elsewhere
in the same film. Clearly this video has been tampered with, and you don't need
to be an expert to see it.
But stressing the significance of "pods" and "flashes" in
9/11 presentations at all, is, I believe, ill-considered. We must always lead
with what lawyers call "best evidence," and leave the more flimsy
stuff for another time. These esoteric elements of the 9/11 discussion -- even
if they may have some validity -- are potential spoilers that may or may not
prove...what? Well, vonKleist doesn't say. Certainly, if you have a theory about
something that was done, doesn't it then become relatively important to offer
some explanation of why it was done?
I'm troubled, as well, by the finality with which our narrator dismisses various
issues. The idea that the planes that hit the WTC may have been privately owned
(rather than military) has never been settled conclusively, but vonKleist smugly
dismisses this possibility without the slightest explanation -- twice.
And as for "pods," well, vonKleist calls the video evidence supporting
this peculiar phenomenon "irrefutable." Well, let the refutation begin.
The guys who pulled off this "op" may be dumb, but they‚re not
so dumb as to attach a large, highly visible incendiary device to the bottom
of a plane that they knew would be showing its belly proudly on every TV set
on the planet after Flight 11 flew into the north tower.Additionally, in the
movie Liberty Bound (and elsewhere I'm sure) there's excellent footage of Flight
175 ˜ a flat silhouette from straight-on -- that clearly shows no "pod"
at all. It's AWOL, as well, from the footage we saw on network videos of Flight
175 taken from the northwest (the plane entering from the right) that shows
the jet's underbelly at the perfect angle for an exciting glimpse of "pod."
Mais non. Il ne "pod" pas.
The object in question is best described as an existing structural feature highlighted
by the sharp angle of the morning sun. But don't try to tell "Pod People"
that. Whatever that shadow play beneath Flight 175 is, we defeat ourselves if
we place an untoward amount of emphasis on it. Why feature questionable evidence
when we have so much quality information at our fingertips? Isn't it true that
serious, professional researchers would, absolutely, take a hard line on these
kinds of issues?
A similar apparition is presented to us in a short snippet (just a few frames)
of what we‚re told is a huge, ground level explosion between Tower 1 and
WTC 7. But again, under the most cursory examination, it turns out to be still
more 9/11 fools gold, and yet another good reason to steer clear of this film.
Both the CNN footage of a huge cloud of white "smoke" rising fast
over WTC 7 and the still photo vonKleist shows us at the end of the segment
have, I'm afraid, been dealt us from the bottom of the deck.
Network video (and common sense) from that morning clearly shows that the clip
in question was taken seconds after the collapse of Tower 2, the rising "smoke"
being just the first billowing cloud of white demo-dust (not the black smoke
we saw in the other explosions that day). And the vertical shaft of dust to
the right of the north tower (singular) indicates where tower 2 had stood burning
only seconds before.
But, before he's through, our narrator sets up the still photo mentioned above
by asking us: "Is there any other photographic evidence that might show
an explosion...to the north and west of the World Trade Towers before the collapse?"
He then inserts a photo, supposedly illustrative of this curiosity. But the
photo is illustrative of one thing alone -- that it's been pilfered from the
tail end of a video clip showing the first collapse. Look at the picture. The
building in the center is a corner view of WTC 1. I have the video that the
picture was taken from. It begins with a low angle perspective of the collapse
of Tower 2 starting at the top and ending with the scene in the photo. This
shameful chicanery (or outrageous incompetence) is yet another suspicious example
of this film's dubious pedigree, and certainly one of the most appalling.
But the part of "911: In Plane Site" that I've most often heard disparaged
is contained in a video shot just after the collision of Flight 175. In it we
see the north tower on fire with additional smoke billowing up from behind and
some shocked spectators in the foreground, one of whom yells; "That was
not an American Airlines...That was not an American Airlines."
Hmm. Now what would make a person in that situation say such a thing? Think
about it. What possible circumstances would compel a panicked bystander
to specifically state that the plane that just struck the south tower was "...not
an American Airlines"?
This single ingredient in "911: In Plane Site" is, by far, the most
suspicious. It is exactly the kind of possible fabrication that detractors could
attack as being just that -- a falsehood 9/11 people dubbed into a video intended
to deceitfully enhance their position (that substitute planes hit the
Twin Towers) thus discrediting "911: In Plane Site," and a
fair percentage of our swarthy movement as well.
Surely we need to be more careful of this sort of thing, especially as this
video is increasingly touted by otherwise credible 9/11 activists and researchers.
The fact that this movie contains a fair amount of good information and some
seminal 9/11 video makes it all the worse when, finally, the trap is sprung
and all the movie's contents are smeared by association.
But, as if all this weren't strange enough, consider this. The video
mentioned above was taken from the northwest. The south tower is completely
obscured by the north tower. Flight 175 came in low, towards us from the south,
as far away as you can be in this view and, to a large extent, behind the towers.
How could that woman see Flight 175 in any detail in the first place?
And if she did, how would she see it as anything other than a tiny, front-on
silhouette, indicating, at best, a passenger jet of no particular distinction?Oddly,
telephoto-eyesight is enjoyed, as well, by the man (a Fox employee)
who claimed to have seen strange, circular markings on the front of Flight 175.
He said that he saw no windows on the plane either. Only later does he mention
that he was in Brooklyn at the time.
The network video of this aircraft was presumably taken from a far more advantageous
angle than this man could possibly have had and it didn't show us the markings
he (or anyone else) described from any angle. And the next time you see an old
photo of the WTC taken from across the East River ask yourself if you could
have made out that much detail in a plane from that far away.
As far as this film is concerned, if it is a sandbag job, the proof will undoubtedly
come in the form of a mainstream attack that will pick out these blatant red-herrings
and use them to blast the other good stuff out of the water, and thus, discredit
the movie and the 9/11 skeptics community in one fell swoop.
Problem is, some of these hokey, amateur productions do this without even trying.
Even if this film is (at very least) an honest effort, it's not nearly of a
caliber for any serious 9/11 skeptic to support as representative of this movement,
and I strongly advise 9/11 researchers and activists everywhere to use common
sense and good judgement when recommending or presenting this material.
And remember. This is the attacks of September 11th 2001, we're talking about.
If government complicity in this sprawling crime is a reality, this already
grave subject becomes exponentially more horrendous historically. The 9/11 visibility
movement must begin taking itself seriously, and the knee-jerk support this
new film has enjoyed does not reflect an attitude that we, as researchers and
activists, should display as we attempt to expose this epic coverup.
There's one small thing in the movie that I do like, though. I'd always heard
that not once but twice G-dub made public statements in which he specifically
refers to watching Flight 11's impact on a monitor before entering the classroom
in Florida that morning. This is odd, of course, considering that the only known
footage of the first collision hadn't been available for hours.
"911: In Plane Site" includes audio of the one occasion I'd only read
a transcript of. Hearing Bush's astounding admission from his own mouth on two
separate occasions, well, it just doesn't get any better than that.