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Saturday, May 5, 2012

911 - Cell Phone Calls

Tangible 9/11 passenger cell phone network data would settle this matter, 
but the FBI (if they have it) won't release it.


The 9/11 Cell Phone Calls

by Michel Chossudovsky



www.globalresearch.ca 10 August 2004


"We Have Some Planes"
The 9/11 Commission's Report provides an almost visual description of the Arab hijackers. It depicts in minute detail events occurring inside the cabin of the four hijacked planes.
In the absence of surviving passengers, this "corroborating evidence", was based on passengers' cell and air phone conversations with their loved ones. According to the Report, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was only recovered in the case of one of the flights (UAL 93).
Focusing on the personal drama of the passengers, the Commission has built much of its narrative around the phone conversations. The Arabs are portrayed with their knives and box cutters, scheming in the name of Allah, to bring down the planes and turn them "into large guided missiles" (Report, Chapter 1, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch1.pdf).
The Technology of Wireless Transmission
The Report conveys the impression that cell phone ground-to-air communication from high altitude was of reasonably good quality, and that there was no major impediment or obstruction in wireless transmission.
Some of the conversations were with onboard air phones, which contrary to the cell phones provide for good quality transmission. The report does not draw a clear demarcation between the two types of calls.
More significantly, what this carefully drafted script fails to mention is that, given the prevailing technology in September 2001, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to place a wireless cell call from an aircraft traveling at high speed above 8000 feet:
"Wireless communications networks weren't designed for ground-to-air communication. Cellular experts privately admit that they're surprised the calls were able to be placed from the hijacked planes, and that they lasted as long as they did. They speculate that the only reason that the calls went through in the first place is that the aircraft were flying so close to the ground http://www.elliott.org/technology/2001/cellpermit.htm
Expert opinion within the wireless telecom industry casts serious doubt on "the findings" of the 9/11 Commission. According to Alexa Graf, a spokesman of AT&T, commenting in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks:
"it was almost a fluke that the [9/11] calls reached their destinations... From high altitudes, the call quality is not very good, and most callers will experience drops. Although calls are not reliable, callers can pick up and hold calls for a little while below a certain altitude" http://wirelessreview.com/ar/wireless_final_contact/        )
New Wireless Technology
While serious doubts regarding the cell calls were expressed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a new landmark in the wireless telecom industry has further contributed to upsetting the Commission's credibility. Within days of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report in July, American Airlines and Qualcomm, proudly announced the development of a new wireless technology --which will at some future date allow airline passengers using their cell phones to contact family and friends from a commercial aircraft (no doubt at a  special rate aerial roaming charge) (see http://www.qualcomm.com/press/releases/2004/040715_aa_testflight.html )
"Travelers could be talking on their personal cellphones as early as 2006. Earlier this month [July 2004], American Airlines conducted a trial run on a modified aircraft that permitted cell phone calls." (WP, July 27, 2004)
Aviation Week (07/20/04) described this new technology in an authoritative report published in July 2004:
"Qualcomm and American Airlines are exploring [July 2004] ways for passengers to use commercial cell phones inflight for air-to-ground communication. In a recent 2-hr. proof-of-concept flight, representatives from government and the media used commercial Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) third-generation cell phones to place and receive calls and text messages from friends on the ground.
For the test flight from Dallas-Fort Worth, the aircraft was equipped with an antenna in the front and rear of the cabin to transmit cell phone calls to a small in-cabin CDMA cellular base station. This "pico cell" transmitted cell phone calls from the aircraft via a Globalstar satellite to the worldwide terrestrial phone network"
Needless to say, neither the service, nor the "third generation" hardware, nor the "Picco cell" CDMA base station inside the cabin (which so to speak mimics a cell phone communication tower inside the plane) were available on the morning of September 11, 2001.
The 911 Commission points to the clarity and detail of these telephone conversations.  
In substance, the Aviation Week report creates yet another embarrassing hitch in the official story.
The untimely July American Airlines / Qualcomm announcement acted as a cold shower. Barely acknowledged in press reports, it confirms that the Bush administration had embroidered the cell phone narrative (similar to what they did with WMDs) and that the 9/11 Commission's account was either flawed or grossly exaggerated.   
Altitude and Cellphone Transmission
According to industry experts, the crucial link in wireless cell phone transmission from an aircraft is altitude. Beyond a certain altitude which is usually reached within a few minutes after takeoff, cell phone calls are no longer possible.
In other words, given the wireless technology available on September 11 2001, these cell calls could not have been placed from high altitude.
The only way passengers could have got through to family and friends using their cell phones, is if the planes were flying below 8000 feet. Yet even at low altitude, below 8000 feet, cell phone communication is of poor quality.
The crucial question: at what altitude were the planes traveling, when the calls were placed? 
While the information provided by the Commission is scanty, the Report's timeline does not suggest that the planes were consistently traveling at low altitude. In fact the Report confirms that a fair number of the cell phone calls were placed while the plane was traveling at altitudes above 8000 feet, which is considered as the cutoff altitude for cell phone transmission.
Let us review the timeline of these calls in relation to the information provided by the Report on flight paths and altitude.
United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175 departed for Los Angeles at 8:00:
 "It pushed back from its gate at 7:58 and departed Logan Airport at 8:14."
The Report confirms that by 8:33, "it had reached its assigned cruising altitude of 31,000 feet." According to the Report, it maintained this cruising altitude until 8.51, when it "deviated from its assigned altitude":
"The first operational evidence that something was abnormal on United 175 came at 8:47, when the aircraft changed beacon codes twice within a minute. At 8:51, the flight deviated from its assigned altitude, and a minute later New York air traffic controllers began repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying to contact it."
And one minute later at 8.52, Lee Hanson receives a call from his son Peter.
[Flight UAL 175] "At 8:52, in Easton, Connecticut, a man named Lee Hanson received a phone call from his son Peter, a passenger on United 175. His son told him: “I think they’ve taken over the cockpit—An attendant has been stabbed— and someone else up front may have been killed. The plane is making strange moves. Call United Airlines—Tell them it’s Flight 175, Boston to LA.
Press reports confirm that Peter Hanson was using his cell (i.e it was not an air phone). Unless the plane had suddenly nose-dived, the plane was still at high altitude at 8.52. (Moreover, Hanson's call could have been initiated at least a minute prior to his father Lee Hanson picking up the phone.)
Another call was received at 8.52 (one minute after it deviated from its assigned altitude of 31,000 feet). The Report does not say whether this is an air phone or a cell phone call:
Also at 8:52, a male flight attendant called a United office in San Francisco, reaching Marc Policastro. The flight attendant reported that the flight had been hijacked, both pilots had been killed, a flight attendant had been stabbed, and the hijackers were probably flying the plane. The call lasted about two minutes, after which Policastro and a colleague tried unsuccessfully to contact the flight.
It is not clear whether this was a call to Policastro's cell phone or to the UAL switchboard.
At 8:58, UAL 175 "took a heading toward New York City.":
"At 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried to call his wife, Julie. He left a message on their home answering machine that the plane had been hijacked. He then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.
At 9:00, Lee Hanson received a second call from his son Peter:
It’s getting bad, Dad—A stewardess was stabbed—They seem to have knives and Mace—They said they have a bomb—It’s getting very bad on the plane—Passengers are throwing up and getting sick—The plane is making jerky movements—I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane—I think we are going down—I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building—Don’t worry, Dad— If it happens, it’ll be very fast—My God, my God.
The call ended abruptly. Lee Hanson had heard a woman scream just before it cut off. He turned on a television, and in her home so did Louise Sweeney. Both then saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.50 At 9:03:11, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All on board, along with an unknown number of people in the tower, were killed instantly."
American Airlines Flight 77
American Airlines Flight 77 was scheduled to depart from Washington Dulles for Los Angeles at 8:10... "At 8:46, the flight reached its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet."
At 8:51, American 77 transmitted its last routine radio communication. The hijacking began between 8:51 and 8:54. As on American 11 and United 175, the hijackers used knives (reported by one passenger) and moved all the passengers (and possibly crew) to the rear of the aircraft (reported by one flight attendant and one passenger). Unlike the earlier flights, the Flight 77 hijackers were reported by a passenger to have box cutters. Finally, a passenger reported that an announcement had been made by the “pilot” that the plane had been hijacked....
On flight AA 77, which allegedly crashed into the Pentagon, the transponder was turned off at 8:56am; the recorded altitude at the time the transponder was turned off is not mentioned. According to the Commission's Report, cell calls started 16 minutes later, at 9:12am, twenty minutes before it (allegedly) crashed into the Pentagon at 9.32am:
" [at 9.12] Renee May called her mother, Nancy May, in Las Vegas. She said her flight was being hijacked by six individuals who had moved them to the rear of the plane."
According to the Report, when the autopilot was disengaged at 9:29am, the aircraft was at 7,000 feet and some 38 miles west of the Pentagon. This happened two minutes before the crash.   
Most of the calls on Flight 77 were placed between 9.12am and 9.26am,  prior to the disengagement of automatic piloting at 9.29am.  The plane could indeed have been traveling at either a higher or a lower altitude to that reached at 9.29. Yet, at the same time there is no indication in the Report that the plane had been traveling below the 7000 feet level, which it reached at 9.29am. 
At some point between 9:16 and 9:26, Barbara Olson called her husband, Ted Olson, the solicitor general of the United States. [using an airphone]
  (Report p 7, see http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch1.pdf )
United  Airlines Flight 93
UAL flight 93 was the only one of the four planes that, according to the official story, did not crash into a building. Flight 93 passengers, apparently: "alerted through phone calls, attempted to subdue the hijackers. and the hijackers crashed the plane [in Pennsylvania] to prevent the passengers gaining control." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_flight_93). Another version of events, was that UAL 93 was shot down.
According to the Commission's account: 
"the first 46 minutes of Flight 93’s cross-country trip proceeded routinely. Radio communications from the plane were normal. Heading, speed, and altitude ran according to plan. At 9:24, Ballinger’s warning to United 93 was received in the cockpit. Within two minutes, at 9:26, the pilot, Jason Dahl, responded with a note of puzzlement: “Ed, confirm latest mssg plz—Jason.”70 The hijackers attacked at 9:28. While traveling 35,000 feet above eastern Ohio, United 93 suddenly dropped 700 feet. Eleven seconds into the descent, the FAA’s air traffic control center in Cleveland received the first of two radio transmissions from the aircraft...."
At least ten cell calls are reported to have taken place on flight 93.
The Report confirms that passengers started placing calls with cell and air phones shortly after 9.32am, four minutes after the Report's confirmation of the plane's attitude of 35,000 feet. In other words, the calls started some 9 minutes before the Cleveland Center lost UAL 93’s transponder signal (9.41) and approximately 30 minutes before the crash in Pennsylvania (10.03)
"At 9:41, Cleveland Center lost United 93’s transponder signal. The controller located it on primary radar, matched its position with visual sightings from other aircraft, and tracked the flight as it turned east, then south.164 "
This suggests that the altitude was known to air traffic control up until the time when the transponder signal was lost by the Cleveland Center. (Radar and visual sightings provided information on its flight path from 9.41 to 10.03.)
Moreover, there was no indication from the Report that the aircraft had swooped down to a lower level of altitude, apart from the 700 feet drop recorded at 9.28. from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet:  
"At 9:32, a hijacker, probably Jarrah, made or attempted to make the following announcement to the passengers of Flight 93:“Ladies and Gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting.
We have a bomb on board. So, sit.” The flight data recorder (also recovered) indicates that Jarrah then instructed the plane’s autopilot to turn the aircraft around and head east. The cockpit voice recorder data indicate that a woman, most likely a flight attendant, was being held captive in the cockpit. She struggled with one of the hijackers who killed or otherwise silenced her.
Shortly thereafter, the passengers and flight crew began a series of calls from GTE airphones and cellular phones. These calls between family, friends, and colleagues took place until the end of the flight and provided those on the ground with firsthand accounts. They enabled the passengers to gain critical information, including the news that two aircraft had slammed into the World Trade Center.77...At least two callers from the flight reported that the hijackers knew that passengers were making calls but did not seem to care.
The hijackers were wearing red bandanas, and they forced the passengers to the back of the aircraft.80 Callers reported that a passenger had been stabbed and that two people were lying on the floor of the cabin, injured or dead—possibly the captain and first officer. One caller reported that a flight attendant had been killed.81 One of the callers from United 93 also reported that he thought the hijackers might possess a gun. But none of the other callers reported the presence of a firearm. One recipient of a call from the aircraft recounted specifically asking her caller whether the hijackers had guns.
The passenger replied that he did not see one. No evidence of firearms or of their identifiable remains was found at the aircraft’s crash site, and the cockpit voice recorder gives no indication of a gun being fired or mentioned at any time.
We believe that if the hijackers had possessed a gun, they would have used it in the flight’s last minutes as the passengers fought back.82 Passengers on three flights reported the hijackers’ claim of having a bomb. The FBI told us they found no trace of explosives at the crash sites. One of the passengers who mentioned a bomb expressed his belief that it was not real. Lacking any evidence that the hijackers attempted to smuggle such illegal items past the security screening checkpoints, we believe the bombs were probably fake. During at least five of the passengers’ phone calls, information was shared about the attacks that had occurred earlier that morning at the World Trade Center. Five calls described the intent of passengers and surviving crew members to revolt against the hijackers. According to one call, they voted on whether to rush the terrorists in an attempt to retake the plane. They decided, and acted. At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows:
“Everyone’s running up to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.” The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din.
We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained. In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates.
At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane. Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, “Is that it? Shall we finish it off?” A hijacker responded, “No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off.” The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down.At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, “In the cockpit. If we don’t we’ll die!” Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled,“Roll it!” Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!” He then asked another hijacker in the cockpit,“ Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?” to which the other replied, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.” The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, “Pull it down! Pull it down!” The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right.
The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting “Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. ”With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes’ flying time from Washington D.C. Jarrah’s objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House. He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United"
The Mysterious Call of Edward Felt from UAL 93
Earlier coverage of the fate of UAL 93 was based in part on a reported cell call from a passenger named Edward Felt, who managed to reach an emergency official in Pennsylvania. How he got the emergency supervisor's number and managed to reach him remains unclear.
The call was apparently received at 9.58 am, eight minutes before the reported time of the crash at 10.06 am in Pennsylvania:
"Local emergency officials said they received a cell phone call at 9.58 am from a man who said he was a passenger aboard the flight. The man said he had locked himself in the bathroom and told emergency dispatchers that the plane had been hijacked. "We are being hijacked! We are being hijacked!" he was quoted as saying. A California man identified as Tom Burnett reportedly called his wife and told her that somebody on the plane had been stabbed. "We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something," he told her. "I love you honey."
The alleged call by Edward Felt from the toilet of the aircraft of UAL 93 was answered by Glenn Cramer, the emergency supervisor in Pennsylvania who took the call.
It is worth noting that Glenn Cramer was subsequently gagged by the FBI." (See Robert Wallace`s incisive analysis published in Sept 2002 by the Daily Mirror,(http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WAL403A.html ).
Ironically, this high profile cell call by Ed Felt, which would have provided crucial evidence to the 9/11 Commission was, for some reason, not mentioned in the Report.
American Airlines Flight 11
Flight 11 took off at 7:59.  Just before 8:14. The Report outlines an airphone conversation of flight attendant Betty Ong and much of the narrative hinges upon this airphone conversation
There are no clear-cut reports on the use of cell phones on Flight AA11.  According to the Report, American 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8.46.
Concluding Remarks
A large part of the description, regarding the 19 hijackers relies on cell phone conversations with family and friends.
While a few of these calls (placed at low altitude) could have got through, the wireless technology was not available. On this issue, expert opinion within the wireless telecom industry is unequivocal.
In other words, at least part of the Commission's script in Chapter 1 on the cell phone conversations, is fabricated. 
According to the American Airline / Qualcomm announcement, the technology for cell phone transmission at high altitude will only be available aboard commercial aircraft in 2006. This is an inescapable fact.
In the eyes of public opinion, the cell phone conversations on the Arab hijackers is needed to sustain the illusion that America is under attack.
The "war on terrorism" underlying the National Security doctrine relies on real time "evidence" concerning the Arab hijackers. The latter personify, so to speak, this illusive "outside enemy" (Al Qaeda), which is threatening the homeland.
Embodied into the Commission's "script" of 911, the narrative of what happened on the plane with the Arab hijackers is therefore crucial. It is an integral part of the Administration's disinformation and propaganda program. It constitutes a justification for the anti-terror legislation under the Patriot acts and the waging of America's pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. 
---------------------------------------

"Shockingly Calm": 

The Phone Calls From the Planes on 9/11


Flight 175 approaching the South Tower
A number of people received phone calls the morning of September 11, 2001 that they believed were made by individuals on board the planes that crashed in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Descriptions of these calls, however, reveal something odd. According to the official story we have been told, the callers were in an unprecedented crisis, stuck on planes under the control of murderous terrorists, and with no knowledge of whether they were going to be allowed to live or die. Yet in many of the phone calls, the caller appears to have been remarkably calm. Perhaps if just a few of them--for example, those with specific personal experiences, like the flight attendant who was a former police officer--had maintained their composure, then this would be less remarkable. Yet the large majority of the callers displayed this same calmness. In their recollections, some of the people who received the calls have indeed commented on this fact, apparently surprised by it. Some of them have also commented on the absence of panic, screaming, or other sounds of chaos in the background.

At the very least, these details appear highly unusual. As with much else about the events of 9/11, these phone calls raise serious questions. Were they really being made from the four planes targeted that morning, by passengers and crew members? Or is it possible the perpetrators of the attacks were faking them, in a cruel deception intended to help establish the official story, and this was why the callers were able to maintain such calmness? The calls need to be subjected to far closer and more critical scrutiny than has so far occurred, as part of a real investigation into the attacks, in order to establish the truth.

The following summary shows how odd the calls appear to be:

FLIGHT 11
A computer presentation shown during the 2006 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui summarized the phone calls allegedly made from the four flights targeted on 9/11. According to this presentation, two people successfully made calls from Flight 11, the first plane to supposedly be taken over by hijackers: flight attendants Betty Ong and Madeline "Amy" Sweeney. [1]

Betty Ong called the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office in North Carolina, and spoke for about 25 minutes with employees there. Ong said she thought her plane was being hijacked, that two flight attendants had been stabbed and injured, and that a passenger had perhaps been fatally stabbed. She said Mace spray had been used, and "we can't breathe." [2] Despite these harrowing circumstances, as the New York Timesdescribed, Ong "could not have sounded much calmer." [3] Nydia Gonzalez, one of the American Airlines employees who received the call, described Ong as speaking in "a very calm, professional, and poised demeanor," and added, "Betty was calm, professional, and in control throughout the call." [4] Reportedly, when Ong's family heard the recording of her call, they "couldn't believe the calm in Betty's voice." [5] In the plane's final moments, when Ong asked those on the other end of her call to "pray for us," she was still speaking "in a composed voice." [6] As the plane approached the World Trade Center, according to Vanessa Minter, another of the employees receiving Ong's call: "You didn't hear hysteria in the background. You didn't hear people screaming." [7]

Amy Sweeney contacted the American Airlines Flight Services Office at Boston's Logan Airport. After her first calls got broken off, she was finally able to speak for 13 minutes, up to about 8:45. Sweeney reported "that the plane had been hijacked; a man in first class had his throat slashed; two flight attendants had been stabbed ... the flight attendants were unable to contact the cockpit; and there was a bomb in the cockpit." [8] Michael Woodward, the manager with whom Sweeney talked, later told the FBI that despite reporting such horrific events, "during the entire conversation," Sweeney's voice "remained calm and even." [9] Even just before Flight 11 crashed, Sweeney retained her composure. After reporting that her plane was flying very low, Woodward recalled, she "took a very slow, deep breath and then just said, 'Oh, my God!' Very slowly, very calmly, very quietly. It wasn't in panic." [10] Furthermore, Woodward noted, he "did not hear any noise in the background during the conversation." [11]

FLIGHT 175
Three people reportedly made successful phone calls from Flight 175, the plane that hit the South Tower of the WTC: one flight attendant and two passengers. While brief descriptions are available of the call made by the attendant--thought to be Robert Fangman--these reveal no details of his level of composure. [12] Some relevant information is available regarding the other calls from this aircraft.

Passenger Brian Sweeney left a short message on his wife's answering machine, and then called his mother. [13] In his message to his wife, Julie, he stated, "The plane I'm on has been hijacked, and it doesn't look good." According to Julie Sweeney, Brian "sounded calm. ... He was not crying." [14] Details of his composure during the call to his mother are unstated. The other passenger, Peter Hanson, twice called his father, and told him about the hijacking. [15] According to the Los Angeles Times, "In the first call, Peter was calm." According to Hanson's father, "His voice was soft, not too nervous." Whether he was also calm in his second call is unstated. [16]

FLIGHT 77
Two individuals have been reported as making phone calls from the third hijacked plane, Flight 77: attendant Renee May and passenger Barbara Olson. No details have been revealed of whether Renee May remained calm during her call. But, according to Newsweek, Barbara Olson phoned her husband and "was calm and collected as she told him how hijackers had used boxcutters and knifes to take control of the plane and had herded the passengers and crew to the back." [17] Her husband Ted Olson--who at that time was the United States solicitor general--described to CNN: "She sounded very, very calm. ... In retrospect, enormously, remarkably, incredibly calm." [18]

FLIGHT 93
The majority of the phone calls made from the planes allegedly came from Flight 93, the aircraft said to have crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to retake control from the hijackers. At least 12 individuals reportedly made calls. Most of them displayed a surprising degree of calmness.

1) Flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw phoned the United Airlines maintenance facility in San Francisco and reported her plane had been hijacked, and that the hijackers had pulled a knife and killed a flight attendant. The manager who took the call later described Bradshaw as being "shockingly calm." [19] Bradshaw subsequently phoned her husband, who later recalled, "She sounded calm, but like her adrenaline was really going." [20]

2) Another flight attendant, CeeCee Lyles--who was a former police officer--called her husband. He described, "She was surprisingly calm," considering the screaming he heard in the background. [21]

3) Passenger Mark Bingham called his family, and talked to his aunt and his mother. His aunt found him sounding "calm, matter-of-fact." His mother recalled: "His voice was calm. He seemed very much composed, even though I know he must have been under terrible duress." [22] She also said a background discussion between passengers she could hear, about taking back the plane from the hijackers, sounded like a "calm boardroom meeting." [23]

4) Another passenger, Tom Burnett, called his wife Deena four times. Deena Burnett later recalled his third call: "[I]t was as if he was at Thoratec [the company he worked for], sitting at his desk, and we were having a regular conversation. It was the strangest thing because he was using the same tone of voice I had heard a thousand times. It calmed me to know he was so confident." [24] According to journalist and author Jere Longman, in his fourth call, Tom was "speaking in a normal voice, calm." [25]

5) Passenger Lauren Grandcolas called her husband, Jack, and left a message on the answering machine. Jack Grandcolas later recalled, "She sounded calm." [26] According to Jere Longman, "It sounded to Jack as if she were driving home from the grocery store or ordering a pizza." [27] Furthermore, Jack Grandcolas has described: "There is absolutely no background noise on her message. You can't hear people screaming or yelling or crying. It's very calm, the whole cabin, the background, there's really very little sound." [28]

6) Jeremy Glick called his wife, Lyz, and told her his plane had been hijacked. She recalled, "He was so calm, the plane sounded so calm, that if I hadn't seen what was going on on the TV, I wouldn't have believed it." [29] She has added: "I was surprised by how calm it seemed in the background. I didn't hear any screaming. I didn't hear any noises. I didn't hear any commotion." [30]

7) Todd Beamer talked for 13 minutes with GTE-Verizon supervisor Lisa Jefferson. According to Jefferson, Beamer "was amazingly calm and composed as he told her of the hijacking of Flight 93 and passengers' plans to rush their captors." [31] Jefferson said he "stayed calm through the entire conversation. He made me doubt the severity of the call." [32] She later told Beamer's wife, "If I hadn't known it was a real hijacking, I'd have thought it was a crank call, because Todd was so rational and methodical about what he was doing." [33]

8) Honor Elizabeth Wainio spoke with her stepmother, Esther Heymann. Heymann has said that Wainio "really was remarkably calm throughout our whole conversation." [34] According to Jere Longman, when Wainio was not talking, Heymann "could not hear another person. She could not hear any conversation or crying or yelling or whimpering. Nothing." [35]

9) Linda Gronlund left a voice mail message at the home of her sister, saying that terrorists who said they had a bomb had hijacked her plane. [36] Her sister has described that, during the call, Gronlund "got real calm and said, 'Now my will is in my safe and my safe is in my closet. And this is the combination.'" [37]

10) Edward Felt spoke with 911 dispatcher John Shaw just minutes before Flight 93 reportedly crashed, and said his plane had been hijacked. According to Shaw, Felt "was crying ... frightened, scared, and anxious." But Felt's brother Gordon, who heard the recording of the call, has disputed this, saying: "My brother was not scared. He was very composed, under the circumstances." [38] Felt's wife, who heard the recording of the 911 call and also the Flight 93 cockpit voice recording, said Edward "was very calm in the face of death." [39]

Indeed, author Jere Longman said he'd "heard tapes of a couple of the phone calls made from [Flight 93] and was struck by the absence of panic in the voices." [40]

Only two other people are reported to have made successful calls from Flight 93. Passenger Marion Britton appears to be the only clear example of a caller sounding panicked. She called her friend Fred Fiumano. According to Fiumano, Britton "was crying and--you know--more or less crying and screaming and yelling." [41] Fiumano said he heard a lot of screaming in the background near the end of the call. [42] Joseph DeLuca, also a passenger, called his father and reported there were terrorists on his plane. But he has been described simply as having "sounded sad" during the call. [43]

NOTES
[1] U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, "Summary From Flight 93 Depicting: The Identity of Pilots and Flight Attendants, Seat Assignments of Passengers, and Telephone Calls From the Flight." July 31, 2006.
[2] Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, January 27, 20049/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Authorized Edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 5.
[3] Philip Shenon, "A Calm Voice as Disaster Unfolded in the Sky." New York Times, January 28, 2004.
[4] Public Hearing. 9/11 Commission, January 27, 2004.
[5] Jennifer Julian, "One of the Last Calls." ABC11 Eyewitness News, September 11, 2002.
[6] Steven Knipp, "Sept. 11: An Angel Named Betty Ong." Pacific News Service, September 8, 2004.
[7] "Calm Before the Crash." ABC News, July 18, 2002.
[8] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 6 and 453U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, "Summary From Flight 93."
[9] "FBI FD-302, Michael Woodward." Federal Bureau of Investigation, September 14, 2001.
[10] "Calm Before the Crash."
[11] "FBI FD-302, Michael Woodward."
[12] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded." Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2001"The Four Flights: Staff Statement No. 4." 9/11 Commission, January 27, 20049/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 7-89/11 Commission, Staff Report. August 26, 2004, p. 21.
[13] 9/11 Commission, Staff Report, p. 22U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, "Summary From Flight 93."
[14] K. C. Myers, "Message From Air is Final Goodbye." Cape Cod Times, September 12, 2001.
[15] 9/11 Commission, Staff Report, pp. 21-23.
[16] Richard A. Serrano, "Moussaoui Jury Hears the Panic From 9/11." Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2006.
[17] Michael Isikoff, "'I Can't Just Sit Back.'" Newsweek, September 19, 2001.
[18] "Recovering From Tragedy." Larry King Live, CNN, September 14, 2001.
[19] 9/11 Commission, Staff Report, p. 40United States of America v. Zacarias Moussaoui. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, April 11, 2006.
[20] Angie Cannon, "Final Words From Flight 93." U.S. News & World Report, October 29, 2001.
[21] Brad Townsend, Chip Brown, and Gerry Fraley, "Trapped in the Skies, Captives Fought Back." Dallas Morning News, September 17, 2001.
[22] "World Leaders Express Horror, Outrage." CNN, September 12, 2001; Jere Longman, Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back. New York: HarperCollins, 2002, pp. 129-130.
[23] Phil Hirschkorn, "More 9/11 Families Testify for Moussaoui." CNN, April 21, 2006.
[24] Deena Burnett with Anthony Giombetti, Fighting Back: Living Life Beyond Ourselves. Altamonte Springs, FL: Advantage Books, 2006, p. 66.
[25] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, p. 118.
[26] David Segal, "A Red Carpet Tragedy." Washington Post, April 26, 2006.
[27] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, p. 128.
[28] United 93: The Families and the Film. Directed by Kate Solomon, Working Title Films, 2006.
[29] Matthew Brown, "Hero's Family Perseveres." Bergen Record, October 5, 2001.
[30] Jane Pauley, "No Greater Love." NBC News, September 11, 2006.
[31] Jim McKinnon, "13-Minute Call Bonds her Forever With Hero."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 22, 2001.
[32] Wendy Schuman, "'I Promised I Wouldn't Hang Up.'" Beliefnet, 2006.
[33] Lisa Beamer and Ken Abraham, Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2002, p. 211.
[34] "Stories of Flight 93." Larry King Live, CNN, February 18, 2006.
[35] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, pp. 171-172.
[36] 9/11 Commission, Staff Report, p. 44.
[37] Jane Pauley, "No Greater Love."
[38] Richard Gazarik, "Felt Reaches 911 Just Before Crash." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 8, 2002.
[39] Chuck Biedka, "911 Dispatcher Recalls Frantic Cell Phone Call From Flight 93." Valley News Dispatch, September 11, 2002.
[40] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, p. xi.
[41] Jane Pauley, "No Greater Love."
[42] "FBI FD-302, Unidentified Person re: Marion Britton." Federal Bureau of Investigation, September 20, 2001United States of America v. Zacarias Moussaoui.
[43] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, p. 161.

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