Humint Events Online: A Critique of Eric Salter's Article on the No-Plane Theory in "The Journal of 9/11 Studies"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Critique of Eric Salter's Article on the No-Plane Theory in "The Journal of 9/11 Studies"

Salter's article is here: Journal of 9/11 Studies, October 2006/Volume 4, page 1-14. Alternatively, here.

The article is slick, and Salter explemplifies exactly the reason of why the 9/11 perpetrators would want to play mind games with the planes: not using planes is such an effective tool for the perps -- for keeping the truth from getting out because no one wants to believe they were lied to about the planes in such a big way. In other words, someone has to be crazy to believe that no real planes were used for the 9/11 attacks.

One merely has to witness the vitriol of a 9/11 "truther" against the "no-planers" to realize how effective this big lie about the planes is. The idea of course, is that since "everyone" thinks no-planes is crazy, that people who talk about no-planes are "hurting the movement"-- a standard mind-control technique. And of course die-hard activists would HATE to see their movement mocked or made fun of! Like that would NEVER happen if we never talked about the no-plane-theory!

Salter's main reasoning that the WTC attacks involved real planes is essentially that we have all these videos of the plane hitting the South tower and how therefore could the perpetrators ever possibly control all these videos?

Let me address this first by stating the facts of the 2nd hit videos:
1) the two known "live" videos show a plane that is clearly too small for a Boeing 767-200 (Salter does not address this issue)
2) many videos and photos of the 2nd plane show abnormalities in the plane such as a deformed tail section, a dropping port wing or the "pod". (Salter does not convincingly explain away these issues)
3) very few if any videos show a relatively normal Boeing 767-200 in unambiguous United Airlines livery (Salter does not address this issue)
4) some videos show plane approach paths that differ from other videos (Salter does not address this issue)
5) many videos have suspicious zoom-ins or zoom-outs right before the plane hits (Salter does not address this issue)
6) several videos show the plane entering the South tower with no significant decrease in speed (Salter only partially and incorrectly addresses this issue, see below)
7) extremely little plane debris was recovered from the two extremely large jets that hit the WTC, including the black boxes, officially (Salter does not really address this issue)
8) one of the larger pieces of plane debris, a several hundred pound engine section, ended up UNDER a construction canopy (Salter does not address this issue)
9) the planes left cut-out shapes of themselves in walls constructed of large steel columns and the planes then themselves disintegrated, a physical impossibility (Salter does not address this issue directly)

Salter either pretends all this evidence doesn't exist or he presents bogus arguments against it.

Objectively, we have rather strong evidence for video fakery, fake plane crashes, and planted evidence. We are most likely either talking about all the plane videos being faked and the building damage done via special mechanisms, or about some sort of non-conventional 767-like plane being used for the attack and where some videos of this plane were later edited to show a more correct 767. These ideas are discussed more at the end of this piece.

As for ALL the 2nd hit videos, video fakery is not hard these days, and a team of select camera operators and video animators would obviously be recruited for the task. Some of the animators may not have even know exactly why they were making plane images. The camera operators would be in on the plot "big time", and would undoubtedly have the threat of death over them if they confessed. As far as innocent camera operators who happened to capture either 1) a weird plane or 2) no plane, these people could be dealt with relatively easily. In the former case, their videos would be left alone or modified slightly before dissemination on the internet. In the latter case, they would have to be silenced, possibly under the threat of death. We don't really know what happened in the early days after the attacks, and certainly it is possible incriminating videos turned into the authorities were destroyed or manipulated and their owners threatened. Finally, the chance of some random person filming no plane before the South tower exploded would be minimized by the fact that if there was no plane, there was nothing for them to film! Remember two other points: 1) the South tower attack could not be seen well by most people in and around Manhattan, 2) at the time, the 2nd hit was completely unexpected (officially) so there would be no reason for people to be focusing on the South tower. Indeed, several videos have come to light where the person was filming the North tower, and then was totally surprised by the South tower hit, thus missing filming the 2nd plane. Either the person was bored and turned off the camera before the South tower was hit, or they simply did not see a plane and didn't focus on the South tower.

Now, Salter's article is filled with many apparent truths, and in general much of his logic is persuasive to someone who isn't familiar with the details of the no-plane theory. But Salter is very selective in what he talks about, as is the case with most people who try to spin something a certain way. And boy, does he spin!

So, recapping a bit from above, here is what Salter does NOT talk about at all in his article:

1) the evidence against a Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon, which supports the no-plane theory.

2) the almost complete lack of plane wreckage for flight 93 and the strangeness of the crash crater, which supports the no-plane theory.

3) the wreckage from the WTC attacks that appears to be planted-- e.g. an engine section under a construction canopy.

4) that no black boxes were officially found at ground zero (the various articles that appeared a year and a half ago saying the FBI really found the boxes and were keeping them secret is likely disinfo, but in any case needs to be taken with a fair amount of skepticism).

5) the overall LACK of plane debris found at Ground Zero, which is striking considering the rubble was carefully sifted for human remains (as described in the book "9/11 Revealed").

6) the idea, that no one YET has refuted, that a plane cannot leave a cut-out shape of itself and a hole in a building and at the same time have the plane be completely destoyed by the building. This concept is based on solid physics and is one of the strongets arguments against real planes hitting the WTC.

7) the MULTIPLE abnormalities in the visual record of the planes that hit the WTC (see this blog or Marcus Icke's Ghost Gun article for mutliple examples. Salter states at one point that no one filmed a smaller plane than a 767 hitting the South tower. But this is simply false! Salter doesn't mention the plane path inconsistencies, even though this is a true smoking gun for fakery.

8) the idea that if no plane was flying towards the WTC, then no one except an agent specifically waiting for the South tower attack would be there to film the explosion; the chances that someone would be filming the WTC from the other side of where the first plane hit and capture open sky before the explosion are minimal. In general, the vast majority of people in Manhattan would not be able to see a plane approach from the south. People in New Jersey of Brooklyn would have had a better view, but it is not clear how many of these witnesses were legitimate.

9) the actual reasons the 9/11 perps might not have wanted to use real planes: a) the psy-op effect, b) various technical reasons made it easier logistically to fake the planes than use real commercial aircraft, c) a real plane would have exploded much more on the outside of the tower and not penetrated completely, this would be a problem with selling the idea that the plane crash caused the WTC to completely collapse, d) a fake plane would not have a chance of getting interecepted by the air force.

10) Salter claims to be a video expert, but does not note any of the many video oddities of the 2nd hit, such as zoom-ins and zoom-outs just fractions of seconds before the plane appears-- suggesting some level of video fakery. Most remarkably, Salter seems to be completely unconcerned with the major oddities of his unique 9/11 footage of the 2nd hit, for instance, that there are a series of zoom-ins on the South tower before it is hit, and the plane is never seen until the last zoom-in.

Salter very sloppily wand-waves around several key points:

1) Salter says the outer halves of the wings on "UA175" fragmented upon hitting the tower. The parts of the wings that hit the windows went in, and the parts of the wings that hit the columns shattered into aluminum confetti and fell to the street below. The problem is: 1) there is no evidence for this and no video shows the wings fragmenting at all, 2) no video shows pieces of the wing deflecting off the building as would be expected for this theory, 3) no video shows the fuel-filled wings exploding as they are torn apart by the outer columns, and 4) since Boeing 767 wings are swept back at a 35 degree angle, the wings would not hit flush. Thus even if a wing fragmented at one section first, the rest of the wing should have broken off and ricocheted away from the building.

2) Salter says the length of the plane that hit the North tower is about the right length for a 767, but his "analysis" is rough and imprecise in the extreme. Both Marcus Icke and I have done more careful asessments of this 1st hit "plane", and found that it is clearly too small to be a 767. In one of his articles, Salter says he did not do a careful measurement of the 1st hit plane, because the image was not good enough quality for a proper measurement. But clearly he could have done a much more precise measurement than what he showed.

3) Salter says that since the South tower swayed after the attack/impact/explosion, it had to be a plane that hit the tower, not a bomb. It is obvious that some sort of directional explosion could have produced the tower sway as well, and thus in no way does the fact that the tower swayed mean that a plane hit it. The sway is CONSISTENT with a plane, but does not PROVE a plane (much in the same way the Naudet 1st hit flying blob is consistent with a plane but does not prove a plane).

4) Salter naturally places some emphasis on eye-witnesses. Eye-witnesses are notoriously fungible, and most 2nd hit witnesses saw the building exploded. At least 99.9999% of the people who saw the South tower explode on 9/11 saw it on TV with a plane going into it. Curiously, Salter counts 2nd hit videographer Evan Fairbanks as a reliable eye-witness, even though Fairbanks should be viewed with extreme suspicion given what I outlined above. Eye-witnesses can be important, but since the video of a plane hitting the South tower was played over and over and over on TV it's hard to trust the eye-witnesses. "Ear" witnesses are even less reliable, as no doubt, whatever happened at the South tower sounded loud and could pass for a jet engine.

5) Salter seems to think that the people who videotaped UA175 are normal everyday innocent people. This is possible, but there is simply no evidence for this. In fact, we know VERY little about the videographers of UA175 and especially their history.

6) Salter brings up the Sandia labs experiment with the F4 jet to show how a plane can disintegrate upon impacting a solid object. Unfortunately, this experiment doesn't really help Salter's case and at best is ambiguous. First, if a plane can disintegrate so easily, it stands to reason the 2nd plane would have disintegrated upon the outer wall of the tower. Second, if there was disintegration of the plane, one would expect a large amount of "deflection" of debris away from the tower-- but this was not seen in any video. Third, the F4 experiment ultimately is ambiguous as it is not at all clear how much of the plane disintegrates into small pieces versus a mixture of large and small pieces.

7) Salter tries to explain how the plane apparently enters the building intact but then disintegrates inside by saying that the core of the WTC had a 3 cm thick GYPSUM WALL that destroyed the plane! He seems to be actually saying it was 3 cm thick gypsum that tore apart the plane-- NOT the 13/16 inch thick steel outer columns nor the 3 inch thick concrete floor slabs plus steel trussing nor the steel spandrels between floors! It was the gypsum!!! Does anyone believe this?

Finally, Salter is still wrong about the sidea that the 2nd "plane" slows as it impacts the building, as I and Rick Rajter have showed. The plane simply does not slow to any significant degree.

Overall, Salter is extremely unscientific and biased in his analysis, and essentially refuses to give any credit to any argument that is not his own or any argument that goes against a 767 hitting the South tower. He seems to leave open the possibility that a drone 767 was used for the WTC attacks, though he clearly prefers the official story of AA11 and UA175 hitting the towers.

I know Salter has had some bad blood with "no-planers" Webfairy and Gerard Holmgren, and indeed those two can be difficult-- though to a certain extent the frustration of Webfairy and Holmgren is understandable since they have had to put up with a lot over the past few years. On the other hand, I have had had run-ins with Holmgren and Webfairy myself and they can be fairly obnoxious if you disagree with them. So I think part of Salter's attacks on the no-planers derives from his bad interactions with Webfairy and Holmgren. Salter also critiques Scott Loughrey, one of the earliest proponents of 2nd hit video fakery. While Loughrey makes many good points overall, he also makes some sloppy mistakes and these are what Salter seizes upon. A glaring problem with Salter's critique is that he dismisses much too easily all of Marcus Icke's excellent analysis. He simply doesn't even mention much of Icke's work. Importantly, the no-planers/video fakery researchers have expanded quite a bit from the early small group and Salter is simply not aware of the more recent work done by myself and several others. As a group we have analyzed the all existent 2nd hit videos and found multiple severe flaws and irregularities.

In general though, Salter displays such an extreme amount of bias against the "no-plane theory" that it is hard to take his analysis very seriously. His ending analysis on the psychology of the no-planers is clearly speculation that can just as easily be turned around on the "plane-huggers".

To summarize, I think Salter is being terribly disingenuous in this article. I don't know if he himself is a "useful idiot" or whether he is an agent whose main job is to undermine the no-plane theory, but he is NOT BEING HONEST HERE and just as important, not weighing the evidence for and against planes fairly.


I've gone over the odds of various 9/11 scenarios here.

In terms of what happened at the South Tower on 9/11, I have outlined five basic possibilities here. Basically, as I mentioned above, I think the most likely explanations for the South Tower are: 1) attack with a non-conventional plane, meaning there was flying mechanical object of some sort that didn't act like a normal plane (along with some digital fakery), or 2) that all images of the plane are digital fakery and that there was no mechanical plane (and that the plane-shaped hole was created through alternative means, such as internal bombs or some sort of beam weapon). I've gone back and forth on these two possibilities quite a bit, and currently I am leaning toward the idea that all images of the plane are digital fakery and that there was no mechanical plane.

UPDATE (10/30): Marcus Icke has an excellent and much more extended take-down of Salter here. There are many good points there including some discussion of the idea that a 767's wings simply would not penetrate the WTC.

UPDATE 2 (11/1): Rewritten extensively in parts to hopefully achieve greater clarity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salter has spanked you cranks very thoroughly..

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude... have you ever even BEEN to New York City?

I don't care what street you're on. At 9am it would be IMPOSSIBLE to plant a fuckin' jet engine without anyone seeing.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous wftgawhth said...

I'm convinced. You wrote "impossible" so big that it must be so. The engine must have been planted before 9am. On a sidewalk, under a scaffold, like the wheel on another street. Pro planers think the engine and wheel could have been planted, unless a no planer agrees.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Spooked said...

At 9am, most people would be looking up at the tower, not at the van unloading a large object under a tarp.

Though most likely, the engine was there BEFORE the attack, covered up, and was only uncovered after the south tower hit. There is evidence for this in the Naudet film-- you can see something under the canopy before the 2nd hit.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Umm...Mr/Mrs "Anonymous"...

I actually live here in nYc (born & raised, fyi).

You put up some construction tape, have a official looking truck (hell, even a beat up old van!) and look like your part of a construction crew (do you forget there was ALREADY SCAFFOLDING SET UP at that location???) and us NY'ers will walk right around you as your & your fellow Perps prep your False-Flag "Evidence" area...

Why don't you come here soon? I'll bring you right to the corner where the jet engine supposedly landed...DIRECTLY UNDER the FUCKING SCAFFOLDING, WITH NO CORRESPONDING HOLE ABOVE....BY THE WAY!!!

NO....THAT WASN'T PLANTED THERE!! (:rolls eyes:)

11:08 PM  
Anonymous "we know" said...

Methinks Mr. Salter doth protest too much about disinformation. Either the issue is worth addressing in a scholarly article, or it is not.

His article is remarkably unscholarly for a publication purporting to be an academic journal. For example, use of such language as "the absurd missile hypothesis." You can refute it and let your reader come to the conclusion that it is absurd, but you can't call it "absurd." And not only is raising such a hypothesis in no way absurd, I really don't see how he has disproved the hypothesis. It could be a missile of some sort, with wings and a tail.

Salter makes a good point about the perpetrators not being able to control the images. On the other hand, I am surprised there are not more images from that day on the Internet. For example, the woman on the boat, Carmen Taylor -- seems like there would have been other tourists on that boat with her with cameras, even video cameras, and with the North Tower smoking would have trained their cameras on the towers. Could there be a nefarious reason for there not being more images, many more, than we have seen? Seems hard to believe, but so is everything that happened on 9/11 and since.

Regardless, if Salter is going to say there are a "great variety of still and moving images," he should be able to provide links to ALL those images he knows about. How many known images of each collision are there, exactly? If he is going to make unscholarly statements about the "bug-eyed assertion that somehow the perps of 9/11 controlled all the images in NY on 9/11," he should identify all images known to him, and their source, and allow his readers to draw their own conclusion. He raises a valid question, and should answer it.

I think Dr. Reynolds' idea of actors is misplaced. I can see agents acting like citizens, but not actors hired just for that job.

There is something very strange about the Battery Park video -- the way the wings go in, piercing not only the external columns but also several floors, yet remaining intact. Moreover, at one point, the tip of the right wing seems to stick out of the building, yet the building has not been pierced. Is this a "compression artifact," Mr. Salter? And all the way in, the tail remains intact, with no deformation or change in direction, when it seems like there would be tremendous forces from multiple directions that would twist, shatter, or throw the tail forward and maybe sideways.

The Park Foreman footage looks like it could be a missile with wings. That might explain the penetration while remaining intact.

I don't see how decelleration in the Fairbanks video, even if proved, refutes the basic point that the plane remained intact as it melted into the building. Doesn't the fact that the plane remains intact, even though the front is grinding through the external columns and floor(s), contradict Salter's point about planes fracturing into "confetti"?

I want to know where exactly the plane hit. In a diagram in the NIST report, it looked like the right engine hit right at the floor, which makes it more unlikely it passd through the building, especially without massive deformation.
The MIT professor indirectly cited in Salter's paper, who seems to be the one cited in Dr. Reynold's paper, did not base his calculations on where exactly the plane hit in relation to floors, which greatly add resistance.

The Sandia test is interesting. Neither of the links show the debris after the test, though it certainly looks like the plane disintegrated completely. However, the video says the wing tips survived. I also wonder about the implications of the main test result, as stated at Sandia's website: "The test established that the major impact force was from the engines." This suggests to me that when those engines hit, massive forces would have kicked in, changing the smooth entry to that point. Yet the wings and tail do not react at all. Since the concrete wall did not move at all, I do not think it is comparable. Also, the plane was bolted to the track. Could that have prevented the tail from kicking forward? Again, I want to see the debris. And again, I do not have the knowledge and training to do other than make what seem to me to be common-sense observations.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that it will be hard to prove that the images were altered in the sense that a flying object has been inserted. Hard to prove they were not altered, also, but unfortunately the burden of proof has been placed on doubters of the government's story.

On the other hand, the images just look wrong. The planes do melt into the buildings. Are they planes? Are they disguised missiles? Are they real objects at all? Mr. Salter just takes in on faith that they are the Boeings which were allegedly hijacked by Arabs, and ridicules anyone who questions that unproved premise. Is that scientifically and forensically sound?

I also wonder about the speed of the 2nd plane -- didn't NIST say 560 mph? Can a plane with a maximum cruising speed of 590 mph go that fast near sea level?

Finally, Mr. Salter's statement about Dr. Reynold's "long-winded argument" is just plain rude. I as surprised that the editors of what purports to be a scholarly journal would allow such unprofessional, discourteous language.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous "we know" said...

At least for still shots, is there a need to control the images if there were no images?

Watch this clip slow motion:

Notice how the plane is gone when the explosion starts. So if someone were shooting pictures, they would get building, building, building, EXPLOSION!!!

If someone said, I was shooting that building face and I didn't see any plane, the answer is simply that you missed it. Tough luck for you.

That doesn't work for video, which would pick up the explosion occurring without a plane going in. But perhaps the locations and angles that needed to be secured around the building to prevent videotaping were limited.

Which makes me wonder -- why did the news agencies not have cameras on the ground around the towers. There was about a 10-12 minute window -- CNN started coverage at 8:48, two minutes after the first plane hit. (Allegedly -- wow, assumptions die hard.) Seems to me like Salter's argument could cut both ways -- why were more images not published soon after the attacks? (Any published now would of course lack all credibility -- even Salter would agree, I think). The timing was short, though, so it is possible that angles could be easily controlled. One would have to know the area at the time to assess this possibility.

All this is total speculation, of course. That doesn't make it crazy, and I cannot understand where Salter is coming from. What is wrong with considering these hypotheses? I am not convinced that a weak argument batted down is fatal to the credibility of the "movement."

In fact, I find the idea of a "movement" creepy. We should consider ourselves good citizens, hoping we can find out what happened since our government refuses to tell us.

I am, however, a little concerned that Dr. Stephen Jones made statements outside his area of expertise, essentially political statements, and sees himself as part of a "movement."
Because it is so obvious that the towers were demolished by some added energy, I wish he would simply say that as a physicist, fundamental physical principles show that it was impossible that some energy was not added. But it's a free country. In his role as editor of this journal that published Salter, however, I think it fair to criticize for not enforced higher standards. The long, paranoid "Commentary" at the end of Salter's articles about "limited hangouts," etc. , which Salter admits is his view as an "activist" -- how does such material belong in a scholarly journal? It doesn't.

Why didn't Salter simply say that certain arguments A, B, and C are being made, and I think they are implausible for reasons X, Y, and Z? I would have taken his arguments more seriously if he did not so overtly show that he is more concerned about how an argument is perceived than whether it has merit.

I also disagree with Salter's false dichotomy between "moderates who treat physical evidence responsibly" and "radicals" that don't. Salter says discussion of physical evidence should be "non-ideological," yet his paper drips with ideological concerns, many of them bizarre and self-referential.

And how is his friend's reaction to an inquiry relevant to whether the inquiry should be made?

Why is this crap being published in what is supposed to be an academic journal?

Finally, spooked, your arguments about the relevance of the Sandia experiment are right on. Doesn't this pretty much prove that the video is fake?

The Sandia plane had nowhere to go but into that wall. The Boeing, on the other hand, is still moving forward, whether at full speed or with 12% decreased speed. So Reynolds and Salter agree that the plane in the picture is moving forward at 450 mph or thereabouts. So what is more likely to happen when the World Trade Center whacks those wings at 450 mph? Are the wings going to win, cutting through steel beams and a floor structure, or is the World Trade Center? How could those wings not be sheared off where they attach to the fuselage? Would that not be the path of least resistance? Maybe they would be deformed massively, maybe even atomized so they don't fall to the street. But how in the hell do they cut through steel beams? Just seems like common sense to me -- am I missing something here?

Salter is saying that the wings were pulverized outside the building. Fine, it doesn't look like that is happening in the picture, but I can assume that. But why aren't the tips of the wings preserved relatively intact, as they were at Sandia? By the time the tips hit the building, the part of the wing that attaches to the fuselage is already gone, right? Would the tips not go flying at that point?

Sorry to comment so long. Please take it as a compliment -- I like your blog.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Spooked said...

"we know"-- all excellent points.

I wish "we" (9/11 skeptics) had more clear-headed logical people like you!

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL this argument is absolutely ridiculous. No planes?.... What ever drugs you people are on should not be taken....seriously lay off of them. If there were no planes, then how do you explain the victims on the planes and their families? Oh let me guess, the victims families are all paid actors!

2:45 AM  

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