Jocelyn Augustino is the FEMA photographer who started work on September 12, 2001 and never quit. She has taken over 8000 pictures to date, judging from the numerical id's in the archive. We owe to her almost the entirety of the record of post-emergency response, the cleanup, the demolition of the unstable portions of the building and the shoring up of the opening. Several of the DoD photographers active on the 11th took a handful of images of the devastated interiors, but none of their work is dated after September 15, and all together that output comes to less than 100 images.
Why Augustino was single-handedly detailed to capture this extraordinary aspect of American history is a story in itself. She seems to have been everywhere, working around the clock: capturing the visits of dignitaries, the Urban Search and Rescue teams leading "body-sniffing" dogs inside the devastated building, the demolition, shoring, and HAZMAT cleanup, with all the ancillary human-interest drama thrown in to boot, like the public relations meme routines of "volunteer" efforts to feed and care for the workers.
Her images of column damage and other relevant structural information are the only record we have preserved of crash conditions, before the voluntary team of structural engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers, who had previously assembled in response to the bombing at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was granted access to a completely sanitized site for a four-hour inspection, separated into four separate teams, on October 4. The Pentagon Building Performance Report (January 2003)
FEMA's online image library, Virginia Terrorist Attack (DR-1392) currently lists 967 of Augustino's images, but a rotation always seems to be in effect. To my knowledge, no photographs of damage, response or rebuilding were taken by anyone outside of government, at least until the one-month anniversary memorial held on the site on October 11, 2001.
Not surprisingly, given the single author, a uniquely homogenized point of view characterizes the body of evidence. Noteworthy is the staged and artificial quality to the players. With their stiff poses and vacuous focus, no one seems intent on the job at hand--no one ever seems to be working at all, actually. Even the dogs look confused. Like the images of the firemen who responded on day one, they appear as merely Platonic shadows aiming at approximations, to be read as semblances of reality. With so many participants wearing pristine white Tyvec work suits, the lack of effort at the soot-filled site is often obvious, limited to one or two smudged knees, and an occasional butt.
In common with the emergency photographs taken on September 11, a conscious effort appears to have been made to keep to a minimum the amount of information conveyed in the images--judging by their composition and framing--which combined with the clear high focus, leaves us shrugging our shoulders. Many times Augustino waited until people's backs were turned to the camera before she pressed the shutter. Along with a nearly complete lack of caption information identifying anyone, and the wearing of breathing apparatus like masks at a Venetian carnival, a strange anonymous mood, like an ill wind, develops.
To reinforce this point from another direction, some participants appear to have been singled out for public relations duty--and not on the basis of their looks either. Like the members of the New Mexico Urban Search and Rescue Team whose faces we see with such numbing regularity that we almost crave an image of another debris pile as antidote.
Even within this highly controlled methodology of story telling, several interesting inroads into the truth can be had. The following series of photographs depict an unscathed ground-floor poured cement slab, slightly elevated above grade. These images indicate that whatever impacted the Pentagon, came in nearly, if not absolutely, level.
This calls into question any of the eyewitness statements that reference a plane as "diving" into the building. We may also suspect those statements that say the plane hit the ground first, or that the left engine hit an air vent before impacting the building. If the left engine was that low it would have plowed into the slab too.
A superfluity of early eyewitness reports, such as that of Dawn Vignola, give some version of a story in which the energy of the plane's impact was dissipated before hitting the building, leaving the facade with less damage than might be expected. Of course, this presumes some sort of preexisting expectation. It would indicate to me that something went wrong with the attack plan, and a last-minute talking point was distributed for dissemination by those who were calling in the early reports to radio and TV. But any such scenario would place the brunt of the impact into the first-floor slab. Instead, we see a surface we could skateboard on.
According to the ASCE report, citing classified FBI reports, all the passenger remains were found on the ground floor, and no trajectories or exit points were established for the two heavy multi-ton high-carbon steel engines. (While at the same time, the report ignores the famous "punch-out" hole, as well as other blast damage and deflection into the A & E Drive.) But, it is a physical impossibility for both the passengers and the lower-riding engines to have entered the same floor without the engines also damaging the slab. The Bible speaks of the route to heaven as being "through a narrow gate," and this horizontal sluice is narrow indeed.
Of the eyewitness statements that reference a dive, or a marked angle of approach, two carry the grandiosity and sanctimoniousness of a failing conservative empire. James S. Robbins the columnist, wrote months after the fact, "The sight of the 757 diving in at an unrecoverable angle is frozen in my memory," adding, "I was there. I saw it. That is my entire rebuttal.”
Rick Renzi, the conservative Arizona Republican member of Congress who is not seeking reelection for another term, is the focus of a wide ranging public-corruption probe being conducted by a federal grand jury. He said he was driving by the Pentagon on the overpass "less than 300 yards from the impact site at the Pentagon." He saw, "The plane came in at an incredibly steep angle with incredibly high speed . . ." as told in a Cox News piece, and a plane came "creaming in at a dive bombing angle," for the BBC.
Albert Hemphill, a Ballistic Missile Defense Organization staff member watching from the Navy Annex, said "The aircraft was at a sharp downward angle of attack, on a direct course for the Pentagon," which is an unusual perspective given his point of view from an office building atop a hill directly underneath the flight path.
Both Corporal Barry Foust and his partner, Officer Richard Cox, report in the Arlington County After-Action Report that they "saw a large American Airlines aircraft in steep descent on a collision course with the Pentagon."
The ACA-AR likewise reports "Captain Steve McCoy and the crew of ACFD Engine 101 were en route to a training session in Crystal City, traveling north on Interstate 395. Their conversation about the World Trade Center attack earlier that morning was interrupted by the sight and sound of a commercial airliner in steep descent, banking sharply to its right before disappearing beyond the horizon."
Mary Lyman, driving on Interstate 395 past the Pentagon, was quoted in the Boston Globe on September 12, "I saw a plane coming what I thought was toward National Airport, which is very close. You see that all the time. But this one looked different. It was at a very steep angle , and going very fast." She is quoted in the Washington Post on September 16, saying, "I was driving northbound to work in the District on I-395 when the Pentagon was hit. I actually saw the plane in front of me, coming in at a very steep angle toward the ground and going fast -- I think I actually heard it accelerate -- and then it disappeared and a cloud of smoke started billowing."
The mention of a last-second "acceleration," or any of its variations, like "pick up speed," or "added power," are another widely dispersed talking point, now transformed into shibboleths--a nail in the coffin of active participation in the plot.
Quick thinking "Barbara," the wife of a friend of CNN correspondent David Ensor, was interviewed on CNN at 10:20am. She was asked, how low was the plane? She responded by asking, "When it was coming down? Ah....ya, it was coming down on less than a 45 degree angle, and coming down toward the side of the...395."
Mary Ann Owens , a newsroom assistant at Gannett News Service who was driving to work in Rosslyn, writing in a Gannett outlet, This is local, London, said, "The sound of the engines came so quickly I thought it was another helicopter landing. I looked left to see a large plane barely clear the I-395 overpass. Instantly I knew what was happening, and I involuntarily ducked as the plane passed perhaps 50 to 75 feet above the roof of my car at great speed . The plane slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon, perhaps at the third-floor level. The impact was deafening. The fuselage hit the ground and blew up ."
"Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom. Realising the Pentagon was its target, I didn't think the careering, full-throttled craft would get that far. Its downward angle was too sharp, its elevation of maybe 50 feet, too low. Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass. The thought that I was about to die was immediate and certain. This plane was going to hit me along with all the other commuters trapped on Washington Boulevard. Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head. Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon. "
This list isn't exhaustive but it has exhausted me. Through this and similar deconstruction of eyewitness reports, it has become apparent to me that nearly the entirety of the list of those that contain meaningful detail supporting the official story, was fabricated, all of the named individuals before-the-fact co-conspirators to an enhanced "drill," or "exercise"--what came to be known as "9-11."
The slab continues to appear unscathed as whatever-the-hell-it-was exits the building through the "punch out" hole. So much has been said and written about this hole, I want to just say "pull it."
It's becoming clear that the answer to what caused this hole is none of the above. It wasn't a nose cone, an engine turbine, or a landing gear; nor was it blasted out in an escape attempt by members of the Defense Information Agency, although my heart clings to that scenario, where desperate Americans heroically fight to save their lives. The hole was picked open by the teeth of a backhoe, or similar architectural jaw of death. Surrounding its entirety we see claw marks, but especially to the left of the opening, we see the different layers of brick and stucco in reverse order of what an outward blast would have wrought.
The following ground-. or first-floor plan shows the artifice, obfuscation and outright deceit of our federal government in making information available to the public. On this plan, the red lines are utterly pointless (on a second-floor plan they might could be justified as a reflected ceiling plan.) Then notice how the cross hatching is used to disguise the collapsed damage within the interior damage. All the diagrams and illustrations put out by the DoD are equally flawed. It would get a D- in any drafting class.
Craig's fun ASCE color illustration. It's so fun they have to leave the left engine back at Dulles.