My recent skirmishes with Pinch Paisley of the Pentagon have left me standing two-oh. Questions over a "roll-up door" in the A-E Drive into the Navy Command Center that arose from a conflicting and incomplete record have been settled. Not only has the physical reality of blast damage through masonry walls been established, but in a record almost completely devoid of personal identifications and attributions, here we can make several.
An issue over buried defenses in a cloverleaf led to an elaborate disinformation campaign on the part of the Pentagon that must have set back the psychological warfare budget a pretty penny, but which has been seen as such and dismissed. Whatever new unknown technology these installations represent, the fact of their presence is revealed.
A third bone of contention between Pinch and I had to do with traffic around the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th. I said that not only were there traffic jams and road closures but that things got so bad traffic was moving the wrong way on I-395. Pinch agreed with me there were traffic jams and road closures but said traffic moving in the opposite lanes on I-395 was an urban myth, and he is right. I got that information from a single source--a private message board posting between Steve Riskus, a supposed eyewitness and photographer to events that morning, whose real name is Naval Chief Petty Officer James Schauer, and carvegrind, a CIA regional asset named Jamie Stapula.
But we were both wrong about the nature of the traffic jams. Some roads were shut down in preparation for the attack, like Route 27/Washington Blvd., giving us the conditions we see in some Riskus photographs, or traffic was moving normally, like into D.C. on the Shirley Highway, as we can see in the Doubletree Hotel Video.
But the traffic conditions from the time of the attack on were clearly manipulated to prevent an eyewitness by the public, and stage managed for the benefit of the media. I can't fathom what the original storyboard idea was regarding traffic on the roadways. Traffic was either moving or it wasn't. If shown stopped in shock and awe, it should then been seen as having been eventually cleared to make way for emergency vehicles.
Several photographers took pictures from elevated perches south of I-395. The most famous of these was Tom Horan, several of whose images went out on the AP wire. The image below shows a moment sometime shortly after the attack. Firefighters have responded but are not yet seen fighting the fire. To the left in the photograph we see four cars in a diagonal working as "pacer cars," in the westbound lanes of I-395. The traffic follows far behind them in a widely dispersed pattern.
We can know this traffic is stationary from several images and screen captures that show pedestrians casually walking or standing in the roadway.
My favorite image shows someone getting into their car trunk, and another bored observer looking away, with--my bête noire--his hand on his hip. How is emergency response traffic supposed to make their way through this?
In the following two professional photographs by Alex Wong from the identical, or nearly identical, vantage point we see the same widely dispersed pattern of traffic in the westbound lanes of I-395, and in one, we see completely empty eastbound lanes. There is no traffic control present at all. We can see that the FBI buses have already arrived, bringing with them the hundreds of agents who descended on the scene shortly after the attack, but we are left to imagine they made their way through this light midday traffic.
Even later in the day conditions were the same. In the following shot fire has traveled north in the Pentagon building and fireman are already on the roof tending to that blaze, but the same widely dispersed pattern of either stationary or moving traffic is seen, this time in both directions.
In this image by Martin H. Simon, cones have been placed in the roadway, and someone appears to be directing traffic away from the exit.
That the military and government controlled the roadways on the morning of September 11th there can be no doubt.
The shadow record of 9-11 is filled with frustrated first responders who were prevented from reaching the Pentagon to lend support. The terrible traffic conditions within the District of Columbia resulted from the wholesale closing of I-395. Those who were trying to escape D.C. and get to their homes were thrown under the bus by their own government in a time of supreme peril.
So Pinch old man. I'll give you this one since I was more wrong than you. Just don't accept any medals for it OK? There's nothing worse than a fake hero in my book and we have plenty of those.