Parade Magazine’s Latest Bunkum, on 9/11


Parade of Lies, Part 8


To comment on this article go to B’Man’s Revolt.


The most recent article in this series, “Parade Magazine in Full Propaganda Mode,” was about that pervasive propaganda organ’s writing on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Now, just a few days before the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 incident, we have come full circle.  Here is the exchange on November 4, 2001, trumping up an excuse for the invasion of Iraq in Walter Scott’s Personality Parade that caused me to first pay attention to this insidious little publication:


          Q. Before our war on terrorists began, how well did Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, the world's top terrorists, get along? -C. Barnes, San Antonio, Texas


          A. Not well at all, but they worked together on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Intelligence sources tell us Saddam encouraged attacks on U.S. targets because he harbors a deep resentment against George H. W. Bush, who created the coalition that defeated Iraq in the Gulf War. Our sources say Saddam figured the most effective way to punish the former President was to hurt his son, who now occupies the White House. It was a massive miscalculation. The recent outpouring of patriotic fervor pushed George W. Bush’s popularity rating to more than 90%.


Now they’re at it again.  Four days before the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, they’re trying to keep the flame of martial fervor burning by recycling The Washington Post’s 10th anniversary “scoop” about the would-be heroic female National Guard fighter pilot at Maryland’s Andrews Air Force Base, Heather “Lucky” Penney, who took to the air on September 11, 2001, fully prepared to make a martyr of herself for her country.  In the print edition of the slender little rag, accompanied by the same photo of the flags at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, that they have on their web site, the subtitle of the story is, “On 9/11, F-16 pilot Heather Penney was prepared to complete an unthinkable mission: take down United Flight 93.”  The title is a quote from Penney, herself, that echoes the official story line that the passengers actually took over the flight, resulting in its crashing into the ground about midway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, “Because of What They Did, We Didn’t Have to.” 


Bill Hewitt, interviewing for Parade, gets this response from Penney concerning the events of September 11, 2001


After the Pentagon was hit, the Secret Service called and ordered us to get airborne. We had an idea there was another aircraft coming toward Washington. [Editor’s note: The fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, was believed to be headed to the White House or the Capitol.] Because we’d just returned from a training mission in Nevada, there weren’t any missiles or bombs or high-explosive bullets on the airplanes, and it was going to be a while before the weapons people could get the missiles built up. My commander, Col. Marc “Sass” Sasseville, looked at me and said, “Lucky, you’re with me.”


Uh, right.  I know we are supposed to believe that the complicated, well-nigh impossible scheme of 19 poorly trained jihadists miraculously succeeded because our designated defenders were a bunch of stumblebums (and Osama bin Laden somehow knew that they would be), but was it really this bad?  What is the Secret Service, which was under the U.S. Department of the Treasury at the time, doing giving orders to some unprepared Air National Guard jet jockeys at the local air base, and how did the Secret Service know what Penney’s superiors in the Air Force didn’t know? 


A Cacophony of Voices


Perhaps she added this embellishment to the original Post story because Hugh Turley had written a follow-up article in which he reminded the Post reporter, Steve Hendrix, that according to the official 9/11 Report, the Air Force didn’t know about Flight 93 until after it had crashed.  This is from his earlier September 2009 Hyattsville Life and Times article, “The Case of Lt. Kuczynski”:


The 9/11 Commission Report…says flatly that the military was not aware of United 93 until it crashed.  The official timeline has FAA headquarters knowing that United 93 was hijacked by 9:34, but not telling NEADS [North East Air Defense Sector] of the hijacking until 10:07, after the plane had crashed at 10:03 in Pennsylvania. 

The Report clearly states, “…[n]o one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93.  Nor did any manager at FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military.” 

The first NEADS knew about it, according to the report, was at 10:07 a.m., when a call came in from the military liaison at Cleveland Center.  “The NEADS air defenders never located the flight or followed it on their radar scopes,” it goes on.  “The flight had already crashed by the time the military learned it was hijacked.” 

Both Penney and the 9/11 Commission Report, furthermore, are out of step with a very early CBS News report on September 16, 2001:

As the fourth hijacked plane was over Pennsylvania, seemingly headed for Washington, military commanders, the FAA, and White House officials were on a conference call discussing options.

At the time, there were two F-16s armed with air-to-air missiles within 60 miles of Flight 93. But the fighters were still out of missile range when the jetliner crashed, sources said.


No decision had to be made, but administration officials say that, had the jetliner continued toward Washington, the fighter jets would have shot it down. The rationale, say the sources, was that the government was willing to "kill 100 to save a thousand".


Assuming that that early report is accurate, those two fully armed fighter jets would have easily been within range of Flight 93 long before Penney and company would have had to have performed their suicidal ramming stunt.  The accuracy of that report is further buttressed by Turley’s 2009 article:


On the first anniversary of the crash, Brigadier General Montague Winfield told ABC News that the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center “received the report from the FAA that Flight 93 had turned off its transponder, had turned, and was now heading towards Washington,” adding, “The decision was made to try to go intercept Flight 93.”


The documentation for that assertion can be found here.  Turley reports further, drawing from the Air Force’s official history of the day, “Air War Over America,” published by Tyndall Air Force Base:


NEADS…Commander Robert Marr reported that around 9:36, when it changed direction, while it is still flying west, United 93 was being monitored.  NORAD Commander Major General Larry Arnold agreed, saying, “We watched the 93 track as it meandered around the Ohio-Pennsylvania area.” 

Furthermore, Arnold, testified to the 9/11 Commission that he placed fighters over DC, “to put them in position in case United 93 were to head that way.”

Even if you take the would-be heroine Penney at her word that she and her commander were all primed and ready to pay the ultimate price for their country, there was apparently not the slightest need for their heroism.  The fighters that General Arnold speaks of were the ones that arrived after the Pentagon explosions: "We launched the aircraft out of Langley to put them over top of Washington, D.C., not in response to American Airlines 77, but really to put them in position in case United 93 were to head that way."


So take your choice.  There was either a superfluity of fully armed fighter jets bearing down on the doomed flight from the north and already over Washington, having come from the south, as the military authorities tell us; the Air Force was in the dark about Flight 93 until after it had crashed, according to the 9/11 Commission; or the only thing that stood between the commandeered plane and our politicians in the White House or the Capitol Building were our own pair of suicide pilots in the DC Air National Guard, in the version spun by The Washington Post and Parade magazine.  They really do seem to be a bunch of stumblebums when it comes to getting their stories straight.


The Case of Lt. Kuczynski


Trumping them all, to my mind, is Air Force Lieutenant Anthony Kuczynski with the story that he told to the alumni magazine of his alma mater, St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.  “I was given direct orders to shoot down the airliner,” he said.   To me, that has the ring of truth because he was speaking out of turn.  He didn’t realize that he was speaking out of turn, because, after all, like the government and the press, he was repeating the official story that, in the end, his orders didn’t matter because the passengers took control of the airplane and caused it to crash into the ground.  But apparently he got too close to the truth, because, with the exception of one columnist at the free monthly Hyattsville (MD) Life and Times, the press has ignored his revelations.  He is now a Lieutenant Colonel at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.


To the dispassionate observer, it looks for all the world like orders to shoot down the plane were carried out.  I will admit that I am theorizing here, but the theory that seems to fit the known facts best is that, indeed, control of Flight 93 had been regained, but it had been regained by the pilots from its remote-control takeover.  That’s why it had to be shot down.  It is a great deal more believable than that a fully intact airliner made the hole in the ground near Shanksville, PA, and produced debris scattered miles apart and that passengers made cell phone calls while out of the range of cell phone towers.


And which of those two Air Force pilots appears most believable, the one who uses the likes of Parade magazine and The Washington Post as her megaphone and now has an important position with the nation’s largest military contractor, or an active duty Air Force flier with no apparent axe to grind?  Which of the two has the greater incentive to continue to stoke the martial fires and to keep us at war?


David Martin

September 10, 2014





Home Page    Column    Column 5 Archive    Contact