“FLYOVER WITNESS” ROBERTS: REALITY/TV
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
May 29 2008
As my previous post on supposed Pentagon flyover witness Roosevelt Roberts illustrated, there are two main ways of reading his sighting of a silver plane near the Pentagon – before or after the violent event there. The after interpretation seems completely self-evident to CIT, who cite this passage from an interview they recently did with him: Roberts: “Upon impact I stepped out the little booth that I was in […stepped out, and saw the plane above…] Marquis: “So there was another commercial aircraft in the area as the plane hit then basically, is that what you think?" Roberts: "Yes sir, it’s not what I think I saw it. It was two aircraft, that’s for sure." They also point to his 2001 LoC interview: “As I hang up the phone [audio gap] the plane hit the building. It all came at the same time, watching the TV, it was like, it was almost timed, for preciseness.”
How could this mean anything other than the plane that ‘hit’ his building just before he saw ‘another plane’? I saw this right off the bat – perhaps ‘the plane’ was United 175, ‘the building’ it hit was the WTC south tower, and he saw it on CNN. Considering that he may have clarified the plane crash was more local to CIT (which I’m not convinced of from what they’ve released so far) I wondered if “his story has voluntarily changed since '01 or if you're leading or distorting. Because he was clearly seeing it all on TV is his old interview. I even know what channel he was watching.” That was a bit of cocky hyperbole on my part. In fact, all I have is an explanation how this alternate scenario is quite possible. Admittedly, there are gaps involved in this interpretation, and some speculation is required, but it goes up now for what it’s worth.
The obvious problem most would see with this is if he saw Flight 175 hitting the WTC on TV meant it was 9:03 since everyone aired it live - and the hit was apparently immediately before seeing the ‘other’ plane outside – which all agree came in/over at about 9:37. Further confusing things, Roberts originally timed his sighting at 9:11 or 9:12, between the two times and fitting neither scenario very well. Since chronology is key here, I decided to figure out which news broadcast he might be watching. At the risk of reading too much into his described timeline of awareness, I took his descriptors literally and have reasoned that he was watching CNN’s coverage. I cross checked against CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox News coverage and found that CNN is the only of the five that fits well enough to simply splice it into his 2001 interview as I’ve done below.
CNN video starts 8:48 am, from the Television Archive.
Prior to 8:49 am: “I stopped at the south loading dock and I relieved one [audio gap]”
Later clues in the interview indicate he was at the dock preparing for a 10:45 heliport assignment (outbound, not Bush), takes a portion of guard’s shift to give him a bathroom break, and was thus responsible for security at that area. “[A]nd as I was sitting there, there was a TV that’s right there, and uh…” I’m guessing it was tuned to CNN.
8:49 – CNN is the first to announce the attack in New York at almost exactly 8:49, about three minutes after the first crash and three minutes ahead of the other networks. Maybe the break the other guard called was to call relatives in New York, which would put Roberts in charge around 8:51. It might take a minute or two for him to fully pay attention to the news.
8:54 - CNN airs a witness who’d just come out of the subway and described what seemed to her a planeless bombing of the building. “[A]ll of a sudden the news flash came across the TV and said the World Trade Center has been bombed.” Or perhaps he just meant attacked. It was unclear to many people until they saw the second plane hit.
8:55-9:03 - The reporters and witnesses seem to believe a plane was responsible, as reported by a CNN producer who saw it, and speculated on fuselage buried inside. Roberts would become aware of this from 8:55 on but he has not yet seen a plane hit a building, and it still seemed a possible accident. “And first thing that came to my mind was New York City because I’m from New York and I start thinking about my parents.”
9:03 - The second impact was captured live and broadcast live but only registered clearly as an explosion of unknown origin. The video feed does show the plane but only for a split-second before an awkward cut. The editor apparently saw the plane enter just as he/she hit enter, said ‘whoa!’ and cut back but only upon the explosion. The on-site reporter didn’t see the plane, the anchors missed the flash of it, and the newsroom remained unsure about the plane impact for a couple of minutes, wondering if it was a secondary explosion from the fuselage inside the north tower.
9:04-:05 - “I looked again, and they said that it was another plane coming on the television.” No one ever broadcast warning of ‘another plane coming,’ so I’d guess he meant the reports of a possible second plane that started “coming on the television” at 9:04, well after the mysterious ‘second explosion’ of 175’s impact. At 9:05 they aired a witness to a second plane coming in and apparently hitting the tower who talks into the 9:06 slot. Until this time Roberts has not seen the second impact that so effected everyone.
9:04-9:05? - “And then my Sergeant, Sergeant Woolridge, Woody, he called and he said hey Rob listen, we’re going to threat con Delta.” I’m not sure when Threatcon Delta would be announced, but shortly after the second strike, around 9:04 or 9:05, makes sense, since this is when everyone realized there was coordinated attack underway. This would be a quick call, perhaps one minute starting at, say, 9:05:30.
9:06:30 - CNN’s coverage first clearly shows the impact of Flight 175, once they realized they had it and got it back up, at about 9:06:30. “As I hang up the phone [I looked back at the TV and saw?] the plane hit the building. It all came at the same time, watching the TV, it was like, it was almost timed, for preciseness.” It’s also possible the call started at 9:06 and ran longer and he saw nothing until a later yet replay at 9:07, 9:10, etc… He saw the plane hit the building and knew we were under attack. The Pentagon could be a target. The TV stops defining his timeline here, and it gets less coherent.
9:11? - “So as I hung up the phone and I ran to the center of the dock and I looked up, and I saw another plane flying around the south parking lot. This was about like 9:12, 9:11 in the morning.” Now, this time roughly fits with the preceding timeline, if a bit late for a 9:06 ‘impact’ followed by instant action. Maybe he’s rearranged his memory a little bit, or is summarizing. But the problem is clear – at 9:12 Flight 77 was way back over West Virginia. Did he see a different plane (‘another’ after the one on TV) at this time? Was there a 20-minute nervous wait he forgot to mention before the plane came into view? Or is his given time just grossly wrong (that time might stick in your head - 9:11 on 9/11) and he’s seeing either the flyover plane or another plane in the area after the impact? I’m just not sure.
If we move the impact of the plane from reality to TV, then his account would totally lack a clear impact description, which would be odd if he were outside watching. No plane disappearing behind the corner, no explosion sound, no fireball, smoke, nothing. All he says is right after seeing this plane, "then there was dust - stuff coming from the ceiling, and you could hear people scream.” Is ‘dust from the ceiling’ code for smoke from the roof? Or was it referring to the ceiling inside the loading dock? This clearly indicates sometime after the event, and everything from there on agrees, describing evacuation and injuries.
So there's no clear transition point from pre-to-post-impact in this scenario. That's a problem, but remember, this is eyewitness memory we're dealing with, which can get confused on the timeline due to the trauma of the event. Did he go back in after seeing the plane? Eyewitness testimony works well on the large-scale of crowds, where we can track overall patterns, but gets fuzzier at the individual level.
At any rate, that's another interpretation; if not as brilliant as I first thought, it's at least possible. CIT will need to thoroughly disprove this and other plausible scenarios before they can rightly claim their case is the sole possible way of reading it. Perhaps the rest of Roberts' interview will clear this all up as well as CIT says it will and make me look totally silly. But don't hold your breath. The original interview is ambiguous enough, and they assure us "it's a serious heavy blow to the detractors how he explained seeing the plane immediately after the explosion way back in 2001. It's such a heavy blow that they are STILL looking for ways to deny it and twist his account even though it's been archived and we recently confirmed and verified it with him direct." So we've heard, so we've heard.
ETA: Oh, and again, this is tackling what CIT always felt was the strongest part of Roosevelt's account. I don't claim at all to have debunked the after aspect. Remember too the weak parts of their take. From what he tells CIT, as Gravy and Farmer and others have noted, it’s a good fit for Flight 77. “It looked like it was silver in color," but he mentioned no markings, which indicate it was either right over him or at a good distance. It was not white like CIT's flyover jet with blue stripe and numbered tail. He saw it ‘over’ the south parking lot “around the lane one area,” so flying in an unspecified direction southwest of the Pentagon, if we take this as correct. It was ‘banking,' but not specifically ' away,' at near light pole level. It looked like Flight 77 and was in the right approximate area and correct altitude for 77's approach. If it were flying away on that path, the flyover plane would have had to double back in a near-180 degree turn over the Pentagon. But about the possibility of the maneuver he saw, Craig assures me “Frankly it doesn't matter with this one since he only witnessed the plane AFTER the explosion and he is quite clear about this.” Au contrair, impossible maneuvers could not have happened after any event, aside from a wormhole opening and suspending the laws of physics. Something is quite wrong here when he has to be wrong about the color, the 9:11 time, and about the location of 'lane one' in the lot he was so proud to be responsible for.