We can use as our reference point images taken at Ground Zero in New York that same morning. Viewed side-by-side, the Pentagon “attack” in truth is seen as Ground Nothing, for no truth at all is captured in these images, only common American greed, cupidity, and imperialist lust for wealth. When our eyes open and the truth of US government effort comes into focus, the entire span of imagery looks as fake, artificial and stylized as a Kabuki actor would look in a Method acting class.
Some definite truth was experienced in New York on 9-11, but the whole truth only begins to be glimmered when first you bear witness to a simple fact: that World Trade Center Building Number Seven was demolished with pre-planted explosives—but those implications are for another day and blog.
One photograph in particular stands out in my mind as worthy of status as the iconic Pentagon image, not because it’s so good--although some effort was expended on it, clearly—-but there's no competition; in terms of credibility, impartiality or transparency. This photo was taken by a reporter, Mark Faram, who was working at the time as a writer for the Navy Times newspaper, an independent weekly owned by the Gannett Corporation, which also owns USA Today, in addition to other magazines targeting the uniformed services. A number of employees of the Gannett organization, quite coincidentally I’m sure, provided eyewitness accounts attesting to a 757 crashing into the Pentagon, which makes them all liars in my book.
Before I began researching, I was sure this evocative image had been published in major media outlets, perhaps as a Newsweek cover, or in big-city spreads, but my web search found it to be published in lesser outlets, but better than most of the photos taken that day, which were produced “in-house” and published in government organs similar to Navy Times, like the United States Army Military District of Washington (MDW) News Service, the NFPA Journal, MilitaryCity.com, dcmilitary.com, Leatherneck Magazine of the Marines, GovExec.com, Stars & Strips, and The New American.
Our central image of Pentagon mayhem and martyrdom, sacrifice and valor, is as complex a composition as a pointillist Sunday in the Park with George. In the foreground a medical triage vignette is depicted. We see not one, but two Pentagon workers, one a suspendered civilian, the other an officer in a beret, helping out, gallantly holding aloft IV drips, and this is our first clue. Why is the Federal government so insecure about the work habits of those who suck at the public teat, that it resorts to overkill, showing employees “pitching in” and “lending a hand,” Me thinks thou doth assist too much, dear Federal workers, not that anyone is ever doing a productive thing in the images taken September 11.
In the middle-distance are personal clumped in twos and threes, with first-responder types scattered about, but their posture and focus is all wrong. They stand here and there, looking at this or that, some breaking at the hip, which gives a studied crease to cashmere slacks, by the way, making it all look rather more like a garden party. (This would be a good occasion to mention how universally fresh everybody looks in all the Pentagon images—collars and cuffs remain crisp and clean, with nary a sweaty armpit or untucked shirt in sight. Is that called military bearing and demeanor? Well, it doesn't work here.)
In the background the Pentagon smokes its two-packs-a-day habit, with thick black smoke alternating with foggy white, but always there to obscure any pesky little detail that threatens to emerge into the picture plane. (Another aside: how rare it is to find in the entire corpus of images any that contain both fire and hoses squirting water at it. We see endless, pointless shots of one, then the other, but rarely do they combine to depict the proper purpose of firefighting.)
The central emotional element around which the composition pivots is the kneeling figure of Father Stephen McGraw, a comely celibate secular Opus Die parochial vicar of only three-months standing on 9-11-01. Previously a lawyer with the Justice Department, Father McGraw is shown in prayer beside what we are told is a badly wounded man on a stretcher, although the spatial relationship between the two men seems distant and odd to me. Perhaps Father McGraw flung the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick onto the victim's chest, or maybe he sidled up later for a dousing.
Father McGraw was also an eyewitness to the 757 attack, having taken a wrong turn on his way to a funeral at Arlington Cemetery, he got stuck in traffic outside the Pentagon. In an interview with the Military District of Washington News Service, he put it this way: “The traffic was very slow moving, and at one point just about at a standstill. I was in the left hand lane with my windows closed. I did not hear anything at all until the plane was just right above our cars. The plane clipped the top of a light pole just before it got to us, injuring a taxi driver, whose taxi was just a few feet away from my car.
"I saw it crash into the building. My only memories really were that it looked like a plane coming in for a landing. I mean in the sense that it was controlled and sort of straight. That was my impression. I hadn’t heard about the World Trade Center at that point, and so I was thinking this was an accident. I figured it was just an accident.
"There was an explosion and a loud noise and I felt the impact. I remember seeing a fireball come out of two windows. I saw an explosion of fire billowing through those two windows. I remember hearing a gasp or scream from one of the other cars near me. Almost a collective gasp it seemed. I just knew right away what I needed to do.” Mark Faram, who witnessed Father McGraw in the first moments after the crash, was reported in the same article as saying, “He literally had the stole in one hand and a prayer book in the other and in one fluid motion crossed the guardrail.” The article goes on, “Within 45 seconds, McGraw was on the lawn of the Pentagon to provide spiritual comfort to the injured."
However, in an email reply to Dick Eastman, who led a forum on Yahoo discussing Pentagon conspiracy theories, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frameup/message/1254 (The discussion was about another infamous image of Faram's, showing the one shiny, unburnt bread-box-sized piece of fuselage painted in American Airlines livery, posed lying on the verdant green lawn.)
Faram wrote Eastman: “I hate to disappoint anyone, but here is the story behind the photograph…..I was at the Navy Annex, up the hill from the Pentagon when I heard the explosion. I always keep a digital camera in my backpack briefcase just as a matter of habit. When the explosion happened I ran down the hill to the site and arrived there approximately 10 minutes after the explosion…..I also photographed a triage area where medical personnel were tending to a seriously burned man. A priest knelt in the middle of the area and started to pray. I took that image and left immediately…..I was out of the immediate area photographing other things within 20 minutes of the crash….My photos were on the wire by noon.”
Mark Faram’s “stole and prayer book/fluid motion over the guardrail” quote is just too colorful to pass off as the reporter's fancy, even though the author, Paul Haring, is identified as a “staff photographer for the Fort Myer Military Community’s Pentagram newspaper,” so, in typically convoluted military fashion, the reporter is taking the pictures and the photographer is doing the writing.
With the plane flying just a few feet off the ground at 450-miles-per-hour as it knocked down light poles--the wind turbulence alone should have flipped McGraw's car over if true, yet he could hear the still small voices of “a collective gasp” issuing from passengers in closed cars nearby. Must be spiritual ears he's using, I’d hazard.
The Group Pose Photo.
Contrast the image of Father McGraw, with these images holding some truth, that came out of New York:
Priest attending to a gentleman in pink shirt.
Father Raymond Nobiletti covered in dust like everyone else.
This is prayer, Father:
Father Raymond Nobiletti from the Church of the Transfiguration
When I first saw a picture of Father Stephen McGraw I thought, “Yum, what a dish—definitely clandestine-services material.” Not high-level I'd expect, but the American CIA/FBI Spook’s Club fancies itself as being dashing and debonair, and it prefers to recruit matinée-idol good-lookers, if at all possible—it feeds their buff, self-reverential James-Bondish identities. Which is all fine and dandy, as long as the secret-keeping charisma combines with a modicum of brains, even on a mission as simple as this one. It is hard to judge McGraw on the single example of his writing Google turned up, but if his first-person account of his Pentagon experience, published in the Arlington Catholic Herald on September 5, 2002, and titled, Jesus Is With You, is any indication, then he’s just a dreamy dolt. (His mug shot is posted here--go see for yourselves.)
And, of course, he is a liar.
It is no fun saying that, in my opinion, Father McGraw's account is a total fabrication, from patsy soup to stooge nuts.He seems sociopathic, like President Bush, when he writes in the third-person, "I believe that God, by a loving design of His providence, arraigned for a priest to be present at the Pentagon crash, not only for the sake of the injured victims to whom I ministered, but also for the sake of the dying, whom He Himself attended with great mercy. I think too of the priest who was on the second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, and the priest, Father Mychal Judge, who was killed in the subsequent rescue efforts."
McGraw fails to realize that a separate reality exists, like the one in which Father Judge died as he administered last rights to a firefighter killed by a person falling on him. Judge was a sober alcoholic who altruistically helped others to recover. He was an openly gay Catholic priest with a dream day job, and he was loved by all those blue-collar palukas. McGraw’s dissociation from any sincere and honest human emotive quality is chilling. It is even more chilling to realize that thousands of his fellow spooks, spies and well-behaved politicos talk themselves into believing that these lies are good for the United States, or Iraq for that matter.
Gary Bauer, the religious right-wing ideologue, also gave an eye-witness account of seeing a 757 plane fly into the Pentagon, and his account is also a total lie, in my humble opinion. The little details thrown in along the way for verisimilitude give it a different flavor however, tasting both nauseating and noxious, like dry thistles mixed with viper's venom, to mangle Pinter's phrase.
Ted Olson is a big bald-faced liar, in my opinion. Cell phones didn't work from airliners in flight in 2001. There is only one other supposed phone call from the flight, from a stewardess calling on an Airphone, to serve up as collaboration. Teddy's testimony is too tidy for my tastes. Lies, all lies, I say. An optimistic view, maybe, is Mrs. Olson underwent extreme rendition to a secret sunny clime, and awaits his retirement.
When I saw Lisa Jefferson’s final interview on CNN I knew every word out of her mouth was a lie, but I understood her motive and forgave her. She’s the Verizon supervisor who took Todd Beamer's last 13-minute phone call, but didn’t even try to patch him through to his wife Lisa for a final goodbye. Ms. Jefferson wasn’t lying for the usual reasons--money, money and more money. In a spiritual surmise, I saw a likely scenario: local politicos/law-enforcement agents had gotten damning evidence to charge someone she dearly loves, and who was facing heavy prison time, hypothetically speaking. However, she could make it all go away, with just some simple cooperation, and a passable performance. It was perfect leverage for a true Christian woman, and she kept her end of the bargain; however, the God-force inside of her just couldn’t be silenced, and I heard the truth He spoke out of her.
Once you begin to really see these sorts of things, you'd go insane if you didn't get some fun out of it. In my opinion, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson obviously had advanced knowledge of this US government conspiracy to commit acts of murder against its own citizens on 9-11, viewing the deaths as "collateral damage," thus maximizing the potential of a “New Pearl Harbor,” the terms used by the Neo-Cons writing a few years earlier. The universal catharsis the world underwent together altered us deeply as we responded to the loss—unless of course, it wasn’t such a shock to your system because you already knew, and you just had to act mournful, and be all terrorized.
On the CCN television program, The 700 Club, aired on September 13, 2001, Robertson welcomes Falwell to the show with, "Jerry, it's a delight to have you join us this morning on the show!" Delight? Shouldn't that line have some words like "sorrowful bereavement," or "compassionate presence," or almost anything, but not "delight," that is if they were truly one of us, altered post-9-11 beings.
The message the pair unleashed on the show that morning, blaming 9-11 on gays and lesbians, abortionists and pagan ACLU secularists, was so coolly calculated, it unfolded with such singularly graceful coordination that it had to have been planned and orchestrated well in advance, in my opinion. That it was universally condemned and reviled by every sane person is further proof of the pair's culpability and inequity. Like Bush&Co.'s comeuppance in Iraq, “By their fruits, we shall know them."
Father McGraw apparently left his position at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church, Virginia. This past February he delivered seven apologetical presentations at St. Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville. Apologetics is a formulaic defense of the teachings of faith. What he should do, in my humble opinion, is confess and seek redemption with a more personal sort of apology. Together we are standing at a threshold; either into the lie of the Apocalypse, or as I hope and prefer, the possibility for a new way of seeing collective truth for homo sapiens, whorling around on planet Earth, and I said whorling. The old way, the Bush/Kerry, Skull and Bones, balance of corruption--not balance of power--two-party system, is no longer an option for me to live quietly under, period. Exclamation point!
Once the scales have fallen from your eyes you can’t put them back. I live in the hope that a bright-light day is dawning, but for now, it's casting this immense evil shadow that presently darkens the world, as personified by an evil and vapid George Walker Bush.
But I also accept the remote possibility that somehow I got it all wrong. Then, I must accept a growing likelihood of my dying painfully at the torturer's hands in some secret prison far away. Each is a possibility.
In the photographic record of the attack on September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon it is exceedingly rare to find any cross references. Personages are seen in the roles they were intended to play and then never seen again. In fact, I know of only two such references in the entire corpus, and here's one--of a Father McGraw looking a bit distracted at a moment of supreme drama. Oh well, best not to judge.