So begins director Paul ("Bourne Supremacy") Greengrass’s "United 93," one of the most gripping celluloid thrillers to come along in some time. And it’s a brilliant propaganda piece.
The genius of this film lies in its narrative style – the hand-held shaky cam, quick edits, wide range of camera angles, and the generous use of rack shots all work together to keep the viewer off balance. Of course, this is no ordinary flying film, but a movie purportedly based on the events surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks.
As the film begins and the NATCC readies for another busy day of "pushing tin," it becomes apparent that a lone aircraft – American Airlines flight 11 from Boston to L.A – may be involved in a possible hijack situation. Shortly thereafter, another plane – United 175 out of Boston – begins to fly off course. And then, American flight 77 out of Dulles goes missing, on its way to LAX. "Hijacking?" says one controller half jokingly to another in the heat of the moment. "We haven’t had a hijacking in forty years."
"We’re trying to get the military involved," says the NATCC head into the phone. "We can’t reach anyone in headquarters."
What’s going on? No one seems to know. Questions abound. And you won’t get any answers here.
"United 93" reveals absolutely nothing about either the movie’s hijackers or the individual passengers, not even their names, but this is not a film about character development. This is a movie designed, consciously or not, to help embed in the public mind an official version of the events surrounding 9/11’s doomed Flight 93, legitimizing for a global movie-going audience the official 9/11 "conspiracy theory" story: 19 knife and box cutter-wielding Middle Eastern Muslim religious fanatics single-handedly hijacking four U.S. commercial aircraft and flying three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon while successfully confounding the most powerful intelligence and military force in the world.
The fourth aircraft – Flight 93 – allegedly ended up in pieces in a Pennsylvania field. While the official version of the 9/11 story mentioned above doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, "United 93: The Movie" covers up real questions surrounding the events of 9/11, events that, out of respect for both the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the truth itself, we ought to be demanding answers to.
Here are but five:
1. Why were both civilian and military air traffic controllers unable to effectively respond to the hijackings on September 11?
Forget Hollywood for a moment. In the world of real life, the NATCC and NORAD have an explicit set of agreed-upon procedures they immediately follow whenever any airplane in U.S. air space drifts from its designated flight plan. Working in tandem, civilian and military air control authorities successfully land dozens and dozens of rogue airplanes every year in the United States. You’d never know this from "United 93," which uses montage techniques to compress into just a few fleeting moments significant chunks of time in which, under normal circumstances, apparently incompetent U.S. air traffic controllers could have easily responded to an emerging threat.
This "incompetence" narrative is in keeping with the official 9/11 story, though, to date, not a single person within the NATCC, the FAA or NORAD has been so much as reprimanded for poor 9/11 management. Odd, given that 9/11 was the single most devastating day of hijackings in all of US aviation history.
2. Why weren’t any military aircraft able to intercept and shoot down the hijacked planes?
Based on research done by Crossing the Rubicon author Michael Ruppert and others, evidence suggests that U.S. military planners decided to stage more than one dozen military simulations for September 11 – the same day (coincidently?) as the hijackings – effectively removing many east coast-based U.S. air force fighter jets from the picture. Again, the movie simply suggests a communication breakdown between civilian and military chains of command. The truth appears much more insidious.
3. How did Flight 93 crash?
The movie: "United 93" explicitly argues that the doomed jet crashed into the ground at 10:03 a.m. in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after courageous passengers stormed the cockpit and wrested control from the hijackers. The evidence: An eight-mile long trail of airplane debris and numerous eye-witnesses present at the scene suggest, instead, that Flight 93 may have been shot down, most likely by U.S. military aircraft.
One web site – www.letsroll911.org – goes so far as to name the pilot who committed the deed. But of course, like the FBI, it is but one source of information.
4. Who gave the "shoot down" order?
When Flight 93 crashed at 10:03 a.m., "the nearest fighter jets were 100 miles away," concludes the film. "At 10:18 a.m," the movie asserts, "the President ordered the military to engage hijacked air craft." Fifteen minutes too late, in other words. Investigative evidence, based on sourced documents, suggests that Vice President Dick Cheney gave the shoot-down order, possibly to prevent Flight 93 from landing successfully and revealing some damning evidence that disproved the "19 hijackers acting alone" theory.
5. Did Flight 93 actually crash at all?
Based on eye-witnesses, the makers of the Google-driven 9/11 film phenomenon "Loose Change" suggest that Flight 93 may have landed in Cleveland, Ohio later on that fateful morning. In other words, whatever happened in and around Shanksville was smoke and mirrors.
Before you dismiss any of this as conspiratorial rantings, I suggest doing some research of your own. Begin with David Ray Griffin’s readable The New Pearl Harbor, and then move on to the official 911 Commission Report and its essential companion volume, Griffin’s Omissions and Distortions. Michael Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon is also an invaluable resource.
I don’t profess to know the truth about what actually happened on 9/11, but I’m reasonably convinced that the official 9/11 "conspiracy theory" story, helped along by propaganda pieces like "United 93," are deliberately muddying the waters at a time when what we need more than anything in our troubled country is clarity, honesty, and a new vision for our common future as we confront global Peak Oil, rampant militarism, electoral fraud, corporate corruption, and a "war that will not end in our lifetimes" (to quote the U.S. Vice President).
But don’t take my word for it. During May 2006’s first week, as "United 93" pulled in $11.5 million in ticket sales to become the second most-watched film in the United States, the White House’s current occupant, not yet having seen the film, noted in a televised CNBC financial news network interview that the 9/11 Flight 93 passenger "revolt" against the hijackers had struck the first blow of "World War III."
"Let’s roll" onward with those words in mind.
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