Pentagon Flyover Hysteria Rocks the Internets

Ever since my cover story last Thursday hit the online conspiracy websites, my inbox has been bombarded with emails from folks obsessed with the events of Sept. 11, 2001 as they pertain to the U.S. Pentagon and an American Airlines jet that either did or didn't hit the building, depending on what theory you happen to believe.

My story dealt with a pair of local 9/11 researchers--or "truthers," as they often call themselves--who have produced a DVD called "The PentaCon" alleging that a) the American Airlines jet that officially hit the Pentagon never came anywhere near the building (presumbably it was buried at some military base along with passengers and crew) and b) some other plane, painted to resemble a passenger jet flew over the Pentagon while a pre-planned explosion, timed to confuse eyewitnesses, hid the decoy plane's swift exit.

The story also reported that the two people behind this DVD, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis, have managed to alienate numerous other 9/11 "truthers," most notably Dylan Avery of "Loose Change" fame, and Russell Pickering, who also worked on the movie. According to Ranke and Marquis, Pickering is a government agent sent to discredit the 9/11 movement, an accusation they also level at any eyewitness who contradicts their unproven flyover theory, particularly former USA Today reporter Mike Walter, whose only crime seems to be that he hosted Ranke and Marquis at a barbeque but refused to submit to an interview after he realized that Ranke was tape-recording him.

Not surprisingly, this story got all kinds of reactions, some praising it for exposing Ranke and Marquis, others attacking the story for covering up the "truth" about 9/11 and still others commending me for exposing "the truth."

Here's a quick sample:

I am someone who use to make fun of 9/11 conspiracy folks, but I have to tell you, I do believe the anthrax and 9/11 attacks were helped along by elements in our government. After studying the issue I came to the following conclusion on the pentagon. A large passenger jet slammed into it. It's pretty obvious.

These guys are an embarrassment to the so called "truth movement". "Pilots for truth", are another group that are full of mental patients. These guys want to make a name for themselves and I'm glad you were willing to help them in that. What this so called "truth movement" has done to Mike Walter is horrible. We hate these guys for their behavior making independent researchers jobs much harder by their insane and irresponsible actions and accusations.

*Nick Schou's article on 911 researchers, CIT was completely biased.

*I loved the way you talk about truth. A wingspan of 125ft. or more fitting into a 16 ft. wide that's real magic...What's with all the lies most media use...Keep up the good work....someone needs to start telling the truth...

I am ever so grateful to the OC Weekly for taking the time in nick schou's article "Pentaconned" to blast these nutjobs, but I (as always) still have a gripe with you running this story. People like these guys are fringe lunatics and should be ignored. giving them press only encourages stupidity and adds to their already hyper-inflated egos.

As I've already told Ranke and Marquis--and their fellow researcher Captain Bob from Pilots for 9/11 Truth--I'm interested in evidence, not innuendo. If they or anybody else reading this blog can provide any actual evidence showing what happened to the American Airlines jet they claim didn't hit the building--like the current whereabouts of the crew and passengers--I'll be the first to report it. Meanwhile, anyone who's interested in rehashing the debate can feel free to comment here.

What do you think happened at the Pentagon on 9/11?


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