Shoestring's blog

Hollywood and 9/11: The Movies and TV Dramas Resembling the Terrorist Attacks That Were Being Produced in September 2001

The famous Hollywood sign

"It represents capitalism. It represents freedom. It represents everything America is
about. And to bring those two buildings down would bring America to its knees."

- Line from Nosebleed, a movie originally set to start being
filmed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

A significant number of movies and television dramas were being produced at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which had storylines with some remarkable similarities to the events of September 11, 2001. These storylines featured incidents such as terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, terrorists hijacking a commercial aircraft, and terrorists causing a jumbo jet to crash in New York.

The movies and TV shows would have featured some famous actors, and were being made for major companies, such as CBS and 20th Century Fox. Furthermore, employees of the military and other U.S. government agencies are known to have assisted in developing the storylines of some of these productions. Unsurprisingly, after September 11, the movies and TV shows were either canceled or significantly rewritten so as to remove any resemblance to the 9/11 attacks.

The existence of these movies and TV dramas, at the very least, disproves claims that the 9/11 attacks could not have been foreseen. It is worth considering, however, whether these productions served a more sinister purpose in relation to 9/11, albeit unknown to most of the people working on them.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11: The Mysterious Plane Crash Site Without a Plane

The field where Flight 93 allegedly crashed

"This crash was different. There was no wreckage, no bodies, and no noise."
- Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller [1]

"I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing."
- Photographer Scott Spangler [2]

"I was amazed because it did not, in any way, shape, or form, look like a plane crash."
- Patrick Madigan, commander of the Somerset barracks
of the Pennsylvania State Police [3]

Many people who witnessed the site where United Airlines Flight 93 is supposed to have gone down on September 11, 2001, have said how little it resembled what they expected the scene of a plane crash to look like.

According to official accounts, Flight 93, the fourth plane to be hijacked on September 11, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after its courageous passengers and crew members attempted to retake control of their plane. However, numerous individuals who spent time at the supposed crash site have described seeing almost nothing resembling wreckage from a plane there. Some witnesses have recalled seeing little or no human remains at the site. And although Flight 93 was reportedly "heavily laden with jet fuel" when it crashed, investigators found no contamination from jet fuel in the soil and ground water around the site.

There is a lot of suspicious evidence relating to the crash of Flight 93, which casts serious doubt on the official account of what happened. This evidence suggests that what witnesses saw might actually have been the result of an attempt to fake the scene of a plane crash in an appalling act of deception, rather than the site of a genuine crash. The relatively small amount of debris that some witnesses noticed could have been planted. If this is what happened, it would mean the fate of Flight 93 is still unknown.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Flight Attendants' Phone Calls, American Airlines Response to Hijacking, Bush's Military Aides & More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. Many of these examine the response of American Airlines to the hijacking of Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Entries focus, in particular, on phone calls made from Flight 11 by two of the plane's flight attendants: Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney.

A new timeline entry describes how Peggy Houck, a dispatcher at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) center in Texas, received her first indication of a problem with Flight 11 when another American Airlines flight contacted her at 8:20 a.m. and said air traffic controllers had asked it to try to contact Flight 11.

Betty Ong's Phone Call from Flight 11

'Don't Mention This to Anyone': Why Did American Airlines Suppress News of the First Hijacking on 9/11?

American Airlines headquarters

American Airlines employees who were dealing with phone calls made by two flight attendants on Flight 11--the first plane to be hijacked on September 11, 2001--were told by their superiors to keep quiet about what they had learned about the unfolding crisis. At a time when the airline should have been alerting as many people as possible to the serious incident that the flight attendants were describing, senior personnel were instead issuing instructions such as "Don't spread this around" and "I don't want this spread all over this office right now."

Furthermore, airline employees who were aware of the flight attendants' calls were remarkably slow to pass on what they knew to individuals and agencies that should have been alerted as a matter of urgency, such as the FBI, the FAA, and even American Airlines senior managers.

Change of Schedule Saved Mitt Romney From Being Near the World Trade Center on 9/11

The dust cloud from the WTC collapse
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, was originally going to be at a public event near the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, but a late change to his plans meant the event was rescheduled and he was out of harm's way when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Romney is therefore one of a number of prominent individuals known to have avoided danger--and possible death--due to a change to, or a deviation from, their plans for September 11.

Romney was, at that time, the president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He went to Washington, DC, on September 10 to talk to members of Congress about security at the Winter Olympics. [1] The final $12.7 million of federal money needed to cover security for the games had mistakenly been omitted from Congress's budget, and although the Olympics organizers were "confident" the error could be corrected, Romney went to Washington to make sure the money didn't "slip away," according to the Deseret News. [2] As well as meeting with members of Congress on September 10, Romney also met with FBI Director Robert Mueller that day. [3]

Why Were U.S. Intelligence Facilities in an 'Information Void' During the 9/11 Attacks?

The FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center

When the terrorist attacks began on September 11, 2001, numerous U.S. intelligence agencies and facilities that should have been closely following the catastrophic events taking place in the skies over America were unaware that anything was wrong. Because of their particular responsibilities and their advanced capabilities, agencies such as the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) should have been among the first to learn the details of the crisis. But, instead, they were apparently in an information blackout, and their knowledge of the attacks was limited to what they could learn from television reports.

The fact that key intelligence agencies and facilities experienced this problem, and all at the same time, suggests that the information blackout may have been intentional--an act of sabotage committed by the perpetrators of the attacks. Such an act could have been intended to render these agencies and facilities useless when their services were urgently needed, thereby helping to ensure that the attacks were successful.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Hijacking Exercises, Air Force One's Movements, Laura Bush on Sept. 11, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, most off which provide new details about the events of the day of September 11, 2001.

One new timeline entry describes a training exercise based on the scenario of a possible terrorist attack that was run on the morning of September 11 by the US Coast Guard in Tampa Bay, Florida, quite close to Sarasota, where the president was at the time. Another entry deals with a meeting scheduled to take place at the Pentagon that morning, regarding a planned "disaster exercise" at the nearby Navy Annex building.

An entry reveals that a number of FBI agents had, for reasons that are unknown, already arrived at the Navy Annex when the Pentagon was hit. Later on, the Navy set up a new command center at the Navy Annex, after its original command center was destroyed in the Pentagon attack.

Several entries describe the futile attempts of intelligence officers at NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to obtain information about the first hijacking. After learning of the hijacking, a NEADS intelligence officer called the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon, but neither of them could provide any information. Searches on the SIPRNET--the US military Internet system--also revealed nothing. Furthermore, the threat briefing at NEADS that morning had included no indication of an increase in the terrorist threat level.

Some NEADS personnel have said they were monitoring Flight 93 long before the time at which the 9/11 Commission concluded the military was first alerted to this hijacked aircraft. Also, a commander at NEADS complained that an officer from the NEADS battle cab had come down to the operations floor, where he had been "circumventing my system." What is more, NEADS personnel only learned that the president's plane, Air Force One, was airborne about half an hour after it took off from Sarasota.

New York's Terrorism Task Force Predicted Terrorists Crashing Planes Into the World Trade Center Before 9/11

Flight 175 about to crash into the World Trade Center

"I was told about the attack on the World Trade Center
on 9/11 about a year and a half before it happened."

- Best-selling author Nelson DeMille [1]

Members of New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) were predicting, almost two years before 9/11, that terrorists would fly planes into the World Trade Center. JTTF members described their prediction to best-selling thriller writer Nelson DeMille while he was interviewing them as part of the research for his novel The Lion's Game.

Laura Bush on 9/11: Why Was the President's Wife Left Vulnerable and Unprotected?

Laura Bush appears live on CNN

The wife of the U.S. president is considered one of the nation's "most visible targets," and is therefore provided with a detail of Secret Service agents whose job is to protect her and keep her out of harm's way. And yet on September 11, 2001, Laura Bush, the wife of then-President George W. Bush, was left vulnerable all through the terrorist attacks.

She was allowed to head to her scheduled destination¸ the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, even after a second plane hit the World Trade Center and it was obvious the U.S. was under attack. She was allowed to spend time there, even though her Secret Service agents should have taken her away to a "secure site." She even appeared live on CNN, thereby revealing her location to any terrorist who might be watching television. And when people were ordered to evacuate, due to reports that a suspicious plane was heading toward Capitol Hill, Bush remained in the Russell Office Building, even though this could have proved fatal had a plane crashed into it. She was only driven away to a "secure location" at 10:10 a.m., after the attacks had ended. And all this time, she was accompanied by her Secret Service detail.

The failure of those agents to properly protect Bush was extraordinary. Examination of their actions raises serious questions. We need to discover what caused these skilled professionals to repeatedly leave the first lady in serious danger.

Help Save the Complete 9/11 Timeline: Donations Needed

History Commons, the Web site that hosts the Complete 9/11 Timeline, is currently facing a funding crisis and urgently needs donations in order to stay online.

The Complete 9/11 Timeline is an important resource, which contains a huge amount of information relating to the 9/11 attacks. It includes over a thousand entries detailing the day of September 11, 2001, alone. It has the most detailed account there is of the numerous training exercises taking place on 9/11, and has many entries describing relevant training exercises held in the years leading up to 9/11.

The timeline has sections devoted to the official investigations of 9/11, such as the 9/11 Commission and the various investigations of the World Trade Center collapses, as well as much more.

It is important that the History Commons Web site has the necessary funds to continue. If you would like to make a donation (by credit card, PayPal, or check), click here.

'Real-World or Exercise': Did the U.S. Military Mistake the 9/11 Attacks for a Training Scenario?

NORAD exercise Amalagam Virgo 01 concept proposal

"I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise."
- Major James Fox, Northeast Air Defense Sector, September 11, 2001

Key military personnel who were responsible for protecting the U.S. against the 9/11 attacks may have been seriously hindered in their ability to respond because of a large-scale air defense exercise they were participating in when the attacks occurred. Evidence indicates that the personnel, whose responsibilities included ordering fighter jets into the air to intercept the hijacked planes, were unclear about what was "real-world" and what was "exercise." They may have been led to believe that the terrorist attacks were just simulated scenarios.

These individuals worked at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York. Audio recordings of the operations floor at NEADS reveal staffers suggesting that the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 could have been part of the exercise. They sometimes even made jokes and laughed about what was taking place, further indicating that they were mistaking actual events for exercise simulations. Even senior commanding officers have admitted wondering if the terrorist attacks were part of the exercise.

And while staffers sometimes apparently made clear that an event was unconnected to the exercise by referring to it as being "real-world," there is evidence that the term "real-world" may in fact be a way to describe live events played out within an exercise, perhaps involving real aircraft getting airborne, rather than just hypothetical scenarios.

Furthermore, NEADS personnel previously participated in exercises that included scenarios resembling the 9/11 attacks, such as plane hijackings and aircraft being crashed into skyscrapers in New York, and this could have increased the likelihood that they would mistake the events of September 11 for exercise simulations.

Although much remains speculative, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether the exercise at NEADS on September 11 was a deliberate tactic used to hinder skilled and dedicated professionals, thereby preventing them from stopping the terrorist attacks.

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Fighters on Training Mission, Special Ops Exercise, Intercepts over the Atlantic, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

Entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which, in particular, reveal new details about events from the day of September 11.

Several entries describe how a group of fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts were taking part in a training mission when the terrorist attacks began. Although the pilots of these jets had seen two other fighters taking off from their base in response to the hijacked Flight 11, they were unaware of the reason for the scramble. They therefore continued with their training mission--described as a "mock war scenario"--over the Atlantic Ocean.

The fighters were recalled to Otis Air Base after the base started preparing all of its fighters for takeoff. At least one of the pilots involved in the training mission soon took off again. Along with another pilot, his first task was to intercept a military cargo plane over the Atlantic. The two fighters were subsequently sent to New York, where they helped patrol the airspace over the city. Before returning to their base, they were directed to inspect a supposedly suspicious aircraft that turned out to be just a tanker plane that had been providing them with fuel.

Military personnel were also concerned about a convoy of aircraft approaching America across the Atlantic, which repeatedly failed to respond to radio communications. But when fighters intercepted the convoy, they found it was just some military planes coming back from Europe.

New Evidence Reveals Half of Pilots Were Only Assigned to 9/11 Flights at the Last Minute

Thomas McGuinness, the Co-Pilot of Flight 11
Thomas McGuinness, the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11 before it became the first plane to be hijacked in the 9/11 attacks, only assigned himself to be on the flight the afternoon before September 11, 2001, and pushed from it the original co-pilot, who had put his name down for the flight less than half an hour earlier. This new information means that, curiously, half of the pilots and co-pilots originally at the controls of the four aircraft involved in the attacks are now known to have been assigned to the doomed flights at the last minute, very shortly before September 11. Additionally, more than half of the flight attendants and many of the passengers are known to have, similarly, not originally been booked onto those flights.

The details of McGuinness's late assignment to Flight 11 were revealed recently by Steve Scheibner, who was originally going to be the plane's co-pilot. In a short film released on the Internet just before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Scheibner described how McGuinness came to replace him on Flight 11 and thereby saved his life.

FLIGHT 11 HAD 'NO PILOT ASSIGNED TO IT YET'
At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Scheibner was a fundamentalist Baptist pastor and a commander in the Naval Reserves, but he also worked part-time as an on-call pilot for American Airlines. [1] He had been available to fly on September 11. "So at about three o'clock in the afternoon of September 10," Scheibner recalled, "I sat down at the computer and I logged in like I normally do, to check to see if there was any unassigned flying for the next day. And sure enough there was one trip that was available on September 11. It was American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston's Logan Airport to Los Angeles." Scheibner looked at the flight and could see that "there was no pilot assigned to it yet."

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Nuclear War Exercise on 9/11, NORAD Commanders' Delayed Response to Attacks, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

Numerous new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, many of which deal with the US military's actions around the time of--and in response to--the 9/11 attacks, while other new entries provide important information about the military's responses to suspicious aircraft prior to 9/11.

New timeline entries describe how NORAD--the military organization responsible for defending US airspace--regularly launched fighter jets in response to suspicious aircraft in the years before 9/11, with fighters able to take off within minutes of a scramble order.

On 9/11, the U.S. Military Was Preparing for a Simulated Nuclear War

Three B-52s from the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base

While September 11, 2001 is well known as the day when the U.S. suffered its worst terrorist attack, what is little known is that it was also a day when large sections of the armed forces around the nation had been preparing to fight a simulated nuclear war, as part of major training exercises being conducted at the time. In their annual exercises "Vigilant Guardian" and "Global Guardian," the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Strategic Command (Stratcom) were scheduled to carry out what has been described as a "simulated air war," a "full-blown nuclear war" exercise, a "fictional nuclear war," and a "practice Armageddon."

No official attempts have been made to fully investigate these exercises and what effect they had on the military's response to the 9/11 attacks. But evidence indicates they caused at least some confusion over what was "real-world" and what was simulation, and they may also have been a factor behind the communication problems experienced by military personnel that day. Other evidence suggests that some actions that have been presented as reactions to the terrorist attacks may actually have been related to these exercises--actions such as raising the alert status of American armed services to Defcon 3 and closing the huge "blast doors" to NORAD's operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. There is also evidence that other "practice Armageddon" exercises were being conducted at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but details of these are unknown.

AMERICA'S AIR DEFENDERS WERE SET TO FIGHT A 'SIMULATED AIR WAR' ON SEPTEMBER 11
Perhaps the most important exercise to consider is NORAD's exercise called "Vigilant Guardian." Close examination of this exercise is imperative due to the crucial role NORAD had to play in responding to the 9/11 attacks.