Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
February 28 2008 3pm
slight edits 2/28 11pm

Note: I've improved grammar and spelling to compensate for limited English proficiency of Lagasse, Eastmann, Desmoulins, and myself, correcting all text as if it was my own. No meanings changed.

Left Hanging
Part one of this series broke down in painful detail Richard “Dick” Eastman’s “Killer Jet” Theory of the Pentagon attack, published in early 2003 by American Patriot Friends Network (APFN). The piece is obviously fraudulent, a fabric of selective manipulation supporting a ridiculous premise, and additionally undermined by irrelevant but inexplicable blunders like his north-south mix up of the crime scene (while still reading E-W right), which he eventually caught. In June 2004 he lashed out at fellow no-planer John Kaminski who, in criticizing Eastman, “gives the first rough formulation that is two years old - which was hastily sent to Ken Vardan at A.P.F.N. (it even has “north” and “south” wrong (switched) in the diagram and some of the discussions of the wall!!!)” He also mentions that he had been “unable to get Vardan to remove that old piece or to at least add a note” regarding updates like this [1]. He of course offers no apologies for the abuse of eyewitness evidence, for the idiocy of arguing air vortices could crimp five light poles to the breaking point, or for inventing both a second and implausible aircraft and a second imaginary flight path north of the ‘official’ one, at the wrong angle for the building damage and light poles and proving a fly over of the decoy 757.

The killer jet theory was always given far more credit than it deserved, but still was not universally well-received in the 9/11 Truth community. For example, Jim Hoffman of WTC7.net fame gave Eastman’s “Two Plane Theory” at least as fair a hearing as it deserved, focusing on the decoy aspect at least as much as the unsupported killer jet. “It is conceivable,” Hoffman admitted, “that some witnesses could have been fooled into thinking that a jetliner had crashed into the Pentagon by a pyrotechnic display concealing the plane's overflight, “ and even did some math to support the possibility of a landing at Reagan National (if the plane were computer-controlled anyway). But all things considered, he concluded “it is difficult to imagine that such a trick could have fooled all of the witnesses.” [2]

Hoffman aptly noted of the theory’s place in the larger no-plane-in-the-building mega-meme – Eastman’s ambitious attempt to reconcile eyewitness evidence with his misreading of the physical. “If the overflight element of the two-plane theory seems bizarre, it illustrates the difficulty in reconciling the eyewitness evidence with the conclusion that no 757 crashed at the Pentagon.” Hoffman dismissed the theory as “vocally promoted only by Eastman,” as striking most others as “absurd,” and as “relatively sidelined.” [2]

But Eastman was either oblivious or whatever, and barreled ahead with his new info-weapon. After the Killer Jet piece’s release and shortly before reinforcement arrived, on May 25 2003, he posted another message on the APFN website, a missive titled Jews, specifically Zionists did 9-11. [3] In this, he summarized his previous conclusions as “the Pentagon was attacked by a remote-controlled jet fighter flying low and fast that fired a missile into the Pentagon target immediately ahead of its own crash there while at the same moment a Boeing 757 with American Airlines markings approached the same target at slower speed and from a different angle and overflew the target at the exact moment of the crash explosion.”

More to the point, he noted “if it can be shown” that this is true, then “Rumsfeld (Sec. of Defense., Jew, Zionist), Wolfowitz (Deputy Sec. Of Defense., Jew, Zionist), Gen. Meyer (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jew, Zionist), the CIA (working black operations jointly with Mossad and MI6 related to terrorism prior to and leading up to 9-11)” were “guilty for 9/11.” ”Decide now,” Eastman encouraged his readers, “whether men like me are your mortal enemy or men like Ariel Sharon, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsefeld, Bush, Rice, Gen. Meyer and Paul Wolfowitz. The future depends on the decision you make. I'll know by your responses to this message how you have chosen.” [3]

Dear Sir Rest Assured / The Unknown
About a month after this ultimatum, but presumably unrelated to it, Sgt. William Lagsse chose to let Eastman have a piece of his mind. As a civilian employee of the Pentagon (Defense Protective Services officer) who witnessed the 757 attack and explosion, he was miffed at the crazy missile-fighter-flyover scenario. He was there. He saw what happened. There was no killer jet, no fly-over. He sent a stern e-mail to Vardan at APFN, who passed it on to Eastman [7], certainly not the first he ever got. It read in part:

“Dear Sir rest assured it was a Boeing 757 that flew into the building that day. I was on duty as a pentagon police sgt.. I was refueling my vehicle at the barracks k gas station that day [b]adjacent to the aircraft’s flight path.[/b] It was close enough that I could see the windows had the shades pulled down, it struck several light poles next to rt 27 and struck a trailer used to store construction equipment for the renovation of the pentagon that was to the right of the fuselage impact point. The fact that you are insinuating that this was staged and a fraud is unbelievable. You ask were the debris is...well it was in the building. I saw it everywhere. I swear to god you people piss me off to no end. […] I know that this will make no difference to you because to even have a website like this you are obviously a different sort of thinker.”
[emphasis mine] [4]

Thus Eastman, diligent truth-seeker he proclaimed himself, was offered a chance to learn more about what actually happened. While we can’t know what was in his mind, Eastman was quite possibly aware that his theory was utter bullshit. Did he fear what this debunker might say if probed publicly? Was he concerned Lagasse would weaken his tenuous construct? Perhaps. He may have wondered if he should just do the simple thing and ignore the message as if it never happened. No one would have known but Lagasse, who’d just say ‘ah well, I said my piece…’ and Eastman, and whoever’s watching the Internet behind the scenes I suppose. A little nothing. An unseen blip.

Again, we can’t know what he was thinking, or what exactly he knew and when. But just with what was previously published of Lagasse’s account some troublingly vague clues were available. Most accessible was an ABC News Nightline interview, aired on the one-year anniversary, which Eastman was apparently only hipped to later:

"I read American Airlines on it. […] I didn't hear anything, but I saw the aircraft above my head about 80 feet above the ground, 400 miles an hour. The reason, I have some experience as a pilot and I looked at the plane. Didn't see any landing gear. Didn't see any flaps down. I realized it wasn't going to land. I realized what it was doing." [5]

The apparent silence of the plane both fits Eastman’s take on the gliding decoy, but also mitigates against the noisy killer jet which would also pass quite near Lagasse. In fact he eventually clarified this was only a momentary silence caused by the Doppler effect – he heard it fine but with a delay.

“Before I could really think, I had my door open, and the [air?] off the wing pushed me kinda into my car," he also told Nightline. This statement which would come back to haunt him [see part III] and was also described in an even earlier audio interview for the Library of Congress, recorded in December 2001. [6] In this other clue available to Eastman, he also places himself at Barracks K, AKA the Nexcomm/Citgo gas station, for Pentagon personnel only, now in defiance of Venezuela’s regime, simply the Navy Exchange. From there he saw the plane “approximately 100 feet above the ground level, maybe 60 feet in front of me.” [emph mine]
Collectively, Lagasse’s description of the plane clearly fits the characteristics of the AA-style decoy airliner, which would almost have to have flown north of the Citgo to deny the physical evidence path. Considering the station is aligned roughly north-south and has pumps at both ends, Lagasse could have been facing either north or south when the plane passed in front of him. There is nothing in his early accounts to specify which. Therefore, this graphic compares Riskus’ ‘100-foot’ north path with the damage path and a literal reading of Lagasse’s 2001 account, with both a NoC and SoC variant. Both these yellow paths are closer to ‘official’ damage path than to the existing north path - dangerous territory to be finding the decoy in. The officer seemed a remarkable witness who was observant and detailed, and ‘adjacent to the flight path.’ That last part was for good or ill; he was on the fault line. North or south? Left or right? Eastman, it would seem, was faced with the abyss of the unknown.

Faith Repaid With Fortune
For whatever reason, Eastman decided to fearlessly embrace the opportunity. The first thing he did was post The Statement of William Lagasse at the APFN message boards. Of all the angry e-mails with ambiguous repercussions, this one seems worth sharing with all and was so on June 24, 2003, at 1:11 pm. [6] Thus a critical e-mail became the opening line with which Lagasse was introduced to the 9/11 Truth community, and it would be too late for Eastman to turn back without people noticing.

One clue to Eastman’s thinking is revealed in an e-mail to Gerard Holmgren the same day about this debunker. “I am not so much hoping to discredit this man, as to use everything he says to support the small-plane thesis -- as Riskus, when carefully questioned, ended up supporting it.” He offered clues to his fellow 757-denier Holmgren; “He has not said he saw the collision or saw the Boeing mowing down poles - his statements are worded more like deductions. In the end he may, all by himself, end up supporting the thesis that the trick was done in such a way that witnesses would be fooled into deducing just what he is deducing.” [7] [emph mine]

Curiously confident that he would find such treasure, Eastman responded To Lagasse immediately. For those familiar with the more recent works of Citizen Investigative Team, Eastman’s questions from mid-2003 will ring familiar.

“Ken Varden considers your letter important enough to forward to several people interested in what REALLY happened. Your statement indicates that you are a very good witnesses who knows planes and knows who what to look for. Before passing on your letter to others who can't make up their minds what to believe, could you describe further all that you witnessed […]I'd like to locate you on the map.”
[…] “Where did the plane come in, in relation to the Naval Annex and the Columbia Pike?
[…] Were you able to see what part of the Boeing hit the lamp posts and at what height the posts were "clipped"? (Or did you notice the downed poles afterwards?)
[…] were you looking at the port (left) or starboard side?
[…] Did you see the trailer being struck or is this based on your later observation of the damage?
[…] How did the plane descend as it approached the Pentagon at the bottom of the hill?”

Now we know that Lagasse had read at least the main APFN article, and whatever other supporting pieces he may have, and knew ANC, Riskus, etc. meant north path and no impact, compared to the mapped-out ‘killer jet’ path up to and into the building. He had seen all this, was well familiar with the area, and in apparent blissful ignorance of the implications offered these clues:

"It was not over Arlington National Cemetery but closer to Columbia pike itself […] I identified it as American Airlines almost as soon as I saw it and radioed that it had struck the building. I was on the Starboard side of the aircraft. There was very little wake turbulence that I can recall, which was surprising to me. The aircraft DID NOT have its landing gear or flaps extended." [8]

These clues allowed our anti-hero to summarize the next day, with clear implications, “Sgt. Lagasse from the gas station saw the "starboard" of the plane as it passed him.” He saw its right side, so it was north of him. “This would place the Boeing over the Annex, in fact over the northern end of the Annex.” He cited it 'splitting the distance,' or halfway between, the ANC and the Annex, north of Columbia Pike and north of Lagasse at the Citgo – and thus the now-familiar north of-the-Citgo path was born in mid-2003.

Witness Steve Riskus had earlier seemed to imply a decoy flight path over the southern part of Arlington National Cemetery with no difference split. This path would have a compass heading of about 140° to intersect a point ‘100 feet in front of’ Riskus to the impact-flyover point, something Eastman had previously taken as his embryonic north path. But 100 feet eventually proved too close for even Eastman’s construct. He later wrote that Riskus’ measurement “can't be taken literally or else the plane would have come from over the cemetery and not over the Annex.” Since numerous other witnesses place the plane over the Navy Annex (more or less, though it actually passed just south of it), these north-pointing clues proved problematic.
This 2004 graphic by Desmoulins shows the approximate “official path” in solid pink, Lagasse’s described path in dashed pink and the severed light poles as the five yellow dots. Riskus north was untenable, but Lagasse’s improvement allowed a track that both involved the Annex, passing just north of it, and contradicted the official story clearly enough to fit the bill of Eastman’s fantasy flyover plane. Interestingly, Lagasse even passed along these tidbits to help discredit Riskus’ account:
"Because of the Doppler effect no one could have heard the plane if they were on route 27 until it was already in the building, so identifying its position and trajectory from that angle would have been difficult if not impossible...it was not over Arlington National Cemetery but closer to Columbia pike itself, and there is a small grove of trees that would have shielded anyone [southbound -ed] on 27 from seeing the aircraft [on the path he describes -ed] until it was literally on top of them ... again not much time to make the assessment.” [8]

The Witness in Use: Proving the Path
Just as he’d hoped, with Lagasse’s pivotal assistance, Eastman was now able to describe with previously undreamed-of precision how the decoy operation worked: “the killer jet came to the wall from behind Lagasse as he was watching the Boeing, hitting the poles to his right (west) and behind him (south) as he watched Flight 77 fly past overhead and slightly north of him.” Extrapolating this line back from “over the Sheraton Hotel, over the Naval Annex, over the gas station (and actually to the north of Sgt. William Lagasse who was pumping gas there!” he clearly traces a path that “is north of the from-the-southwest path of the killer jet as indicated by the physical damage evidence”

Cementing Flight 77’s role as the decoy flyover, Eastman iterated that “Lagasse did not see the Boeing hit the poles and neither did ANY of the other witnesses!” [9] This merging of Lagasse in with the general witness pool finally leads to an extrapolation that all witnesses saw what Lagasse says he saw.The witnesses saw the Boeing 757 come […] over the gas station (and actually to the north of Sgt. William Lagasse who was pumping gas there!)” More specifically, a confident Eastman stated on Sept. 3 2003, more than three years before we’d all be hearing the same arguments from CIT: “the other path, the path described by nearly every witness who watched the Boeing approach the Pentagon [...] over the gas station (and actually north of Lagasse) […] which establishes that the Boeing could not have been the plane that knocked down those poles and hit the wall at approx. a 55-dregree angle.” [10]

In mid-2004 Eastman reiterated “The first lamppost that was knocked down […] was too far south of any point on the path of the approach of the Boeing which witnesses overwhelmingly agree came in on a line that took it directly over the Sheraton, directly over the Naval Annex and directly over (or North of!!!) the Citgo gas station where Sgt. William Lagasse (whose statements I have been offering for a year now) states that the Boeing passed north of him.” [1] It all worked out remarkably well; now everyone saw the plane north of the station, even though no one else at the time specifically backed Lagasse up on this, and as we’ve seen Eastman hardly missed a chance to remind people of his star witness that made his otherwise implausible ‘killer jet’ start to seem necessary.

Others copied his messages in every forum available and the decoy theory wormed into the collective mind of the 9/11 Truth movement. It wasn’t just Eastman who expressed hopes that this new evidence would bust the case wide open and bring concrete moves to restore whatever was lost on 9/11. Eastman however was the clearest voice affirming the killer jet construct as “the critical evidence, ample to convince any impartial grand jury,” [11] and the evidence “that can convince the broad public and convince any jury or war crimes tribunal or crimes against humanity Nuremburg-type trial.” [12]

A Doubter: Desmoulins
While Jean Pierre Desmoulins (seen here in mid-2004) takes pride in being born in the Dauphiné province of Southern France, he thinks of himself as an “Earth Citizen,” transcending boundaries in contrast to Eastman’s populist nationalism. [13] The former electrical engineer, licenced pilot, and college professor first garnered some attention as a no-757 theorist inspired by fellow Frenchman Thierry Meyssan, and looking at a single-engine fighter jet impact himself at one point. But eventually Desmoulins turned into a serious scholar of the Pentagon attack, which he still believed “a fraud,” if one involving a Boeing impact. He then did some of the best early analysis of the available evidence, as well as tackling disinformation (the 'noise' to the 'signal,'), notably criticizing Meyssan, who "made a huge error when writing that ‘no plane crashed at the Pentagon." [source: presentation - frame 0051]

An incisive Eastman critic, Desmoulins stated in 2004 “Sgt Lagasse's account that he saw the starboard side of the Boeing is the only solid argument for this [Killer Jet] theory.” But contrasting Dick’s assertions, Jean-Pierre noted “of course, it is in complete contradiction with all other witness accounts of the trajectory of this Boeing.” [14] He seemed almost alarmed at the emergence of Lagasse’s explicitly aberrant account, but open-mindedly explored the various possible explanations and the pros and cons of each. Memory problems were one possible reason, for example a "logical reconstruction made by his brain, where some oddity changes the side of the plane that he saw from port to starboard.” Also possible was a simple terminology mix-up to the same effect, or manipulation of the message by Eastman himself to create that mix-up. Barring these, Lagasse was truly stating it was north of him, which Desmoulins knew raised very serious problems – if not for the ‘official story,’ then for Lagasse’s testimony.

“Does anyone buy what he is selling you?” Desmoulins asked pointedly to Eastman’s APFN readership on June 28 2004. Mimicking his opponent's bombastic stylings, he subtitled the missive “Conclusive Proof insane bullshiter Eastman guilty of 911 investigation fraud.” [15] In harsh and not entirely correct terms Desmoulins declared:

“the phrase '"I was on the starboard side of the plane" is faked. Lagasse could only be on the port side of the plane. This fakery proves that Eastman is not a serious and honest researcher, but just an insane person who wants, by all means, "prove" his "killer jet theory."”

The conclusion is sound but the reasoning faulty. Eastman, as “Senhor San,” responded the following day, lashing out at Desmoulins’ “garbage accusations:” “Lagasse wrote and told me on the phone” all the evidence that he then presented as-is. “This is straight-forward and simple. Desmoulins is trying to make it confusing. I spoke to Lagasse. I even provided Desmoulins with Lagasse's address, way back when Desmoulins was pretending to be a friendly fellow-seeker of the truth who merely happened to disagree on certain points etc.”

This exchange was posted by Eastman with the heading “someone judge this debate.” In my assessment, despite being essentially correct, in this case a seemingly confused Desmoulins lost to a collected Eastman, who was making sense for once, thanks to Lagasse’s clarity. To the charge “all the witnesses, including Lagasse, saw a Boeing, and they saw it flying on a trajectory which places it south of the gas station.” Eastman responded “absolutely false. Lagasse places it north.” He’s right, if we’re taking words for reality. When Desmoulins tried to cite a south-of-Citgo witness account, Eastman snapped back “Penny Elgas did not say the plane passed south of the gas station, she said "to the side of " not "south of." There is nothing in her statement to contradict Lagasse – the "side" she is referring to must be the north side - or else one of them is not telling the truth.”[emph mine] [15]

A Psy-Op?
This is the crux of it, as would become clear later; Lagasse himself - explicitly - placed the Boeing’s passage to his north, clipping light poles, a trailer, and impacting the building, even though it couldn’t possibly fly north and do any of these things. Perhaps Eastman did insert the first ‘starboard’ hints himself but if so Lagasse (as seen in a second e-mail) played into it immediately and by the time of this debate was an autonomous NoC-generator who never in the process or later moved to clear his name or set anything straight, and of course would later meet the second generation of flyover researchers to confirm the north-path aspect [see next installment]. Thus any textual dishonesty by Eastman seems insufficient to explain Lagasse’s north-side claims. Of course Desmoulins was also aware of this and elsewhere noted:

“Sgt Lagasse has a good sense of observation and some knowledge of flight and aircrafts. We are thus probably facing a fraud. Either it is a fraud from Sgt Lagasse, pushed to do it by some authorities, and Dick Eastman is the poster boy in this operation, or it is a fraud by Dick Eastman who massaged the email of Sgt Lagasse.” [14]

In examining alternative explanations to Lagasse’s claim being true, most provocatively I think, Desmoulins offered as a possibility “Sgt Lagasse has been pushed by the pentagon psy-op organizers to give this account, to give credit to the "killer jet" theory and bring confusion among the researchers on the 9/11 case.” In support of this last point, which he admitted “could seem rather odd and paranoid,” he explained “I must say that I'm amazed by the tremendous efforts, on a world wide basis, to promote the "No Boeing in the Pentagon" theses. As a consequence, the statement on command of Sgt Lagasse, as a part of this "disinformation,” sounds acceptable to me.” [14]

This reflects my own gut feeling upon seeing the “fine officer” confirm the point on video years later and with only a dim awareness of this earlier chapter. But then, I’m a little paranoid, which is how I first got into all this. Considering this possibility, some other things start to make more sense; Eastman’s early embrace of Lagasse may have been more than blind faith repaid with blind luck, for one. His intuition may have been supplemented, either with a previous e-mail we’ve never seen, or in some other way. Nothing is provable in this murky realm, but little also is disprovable so all options must remain open.

Whatever was going on behind the scenes, Lagasse via Eastman only went so far. By late 2004 and early 2005 many people were hip to the no-757 psyop: Hofmman, Pickering, Bingham, Salter, Rivero, Bart, Desmoulins, et al, built on earlier works by Judge, Roberts, Harvey, etc. and a slightly larger body of evidence, to conclude that by whatever means, and despite the noise to the contrary, it seemed an airliner was crashed into there. Dennis Behreandt, for example, wrote an expose on the disturbingly prevalent no-757 BS campaign that was printed in the JBS-published The New American in August 2004. The embrace of such unsubstantiated nonsense, Behreandt concluded, “exposes patriotic Americans to the possibility of being misled and marginalized, an outcome to be avoided if the tide toward collectivism is to be reversed.” [16]

Eastman responded to this article in June 2005 with the same story, two years old now; “Sgt. William Lagasse was pumping gas at the gas station between the Annex and the Pentagon when the Boeing flew by him headed east, and it passed north of him, so that he could see the row of windows on the starboard side - which also means that this plane could not have been the plane that hit the pole the broke the taxi windshield, the southwestern-most pole that was hit.” [17] For some reason Eastman had largely fizzled from the scene by then, if still posting on-again-off-again up to the present time, and eventually the debunkers would get to him in his darkest hour and actually leave him momentarily doubting his absolute convictions.

Lagasse faded back with him, not forgotten but dormant. In fact it’s curious how quiet it got, even after the officer’s effort to shut up the killer jet lunacy backfired, his rebuttal having been co-opted as its prime support, there was no retraction, no published disclaimers, no lawsuit, nothing to clear his name. He seemed content with the situation. But imagining him restless as Eastman mentioned him again in mid-2005, I’d like to send him an e-mail back in time: “Dear sir rest assured, you’ll get a chance to come out of retirement as it were, but not for another year and a half. Just hang tight.” [part III].

Sources [full formating later]:
[1] Eastman, Dick. “Russian Fatalism meets Sucker Credulity in John Kaminski by Dick Eastman.” Fri, 9 Jul 2004 10:33:22 –0700 http://talk.mailarchive.ca/politics.mideast/2004-07/2076.html
[2] Hoffman, Jim. The Two-Plane Theory: Surgical Strike by Fighter Combined with Overflight by Flight 77. 911Research.wtc7.net http://911research.wtc7.net/pentagon/analysis/theories/eastman.html
[3] Eastman, Dick. "Jews, specifically Zionists did 9-11."
[4] Lagasse 1
[5] Lagasse ABC
[6] LoC interview
[7] Eastman, Dick. “re: Pentagon witness Lagasse NEW RESPONSES.” E-mail to Gerard Holmgren. Wed Jun 25 07:59:42
[8] http://www.911-strike.com/lagasse.htm
[9] Undated piece "The Proof that the Rumsfeld Pentagon was involved in the frame-up attack upon the Pentagon, September 11 2001" http://www.bedoper.com/eastman/rumsfeld.htm
[10] “Senhor San” “Re: No, No, No! It FLEW OVER THE PENTAGON was Re: The Pentagon Fraud Explained In Simple Terms.” September 3 2003 http://www.usenet.com/newsgroups/sci.military/msg00028.html
[11] http://www.mail-archive.com/political-research@yahoogroups.com/msg02578.html
[12] http://www.groupsrv.com/science/about46250.html
[13] http://www.earth-citizens.net/pages-en/his-whoiam.html
[14] http://pagesperso-orange.fr/jpdesm/pentagon/pages-en/npp-lagas.html
[15] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/terrorinamerica2001/message/37704
Also: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/terrorinamerica2001/message/37705
[16] http://www.propagandamatrix.com/articles/august2004/110804factsstraight.htm
[17] http://www.homediscussion.com/showthread.php?t=127877

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