September 11: Myths, Facts, and Unknowns
It has been eight years since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, however there are still many widely spread theories that are actually falsely claimed or still unproven. Here, we try to clear up a few:
Myth: Hijackers were not skilled enough to fly four airliners with complicated manoeuvres to hit their targets.
All four pilots were commercially licensed with at least 250 hours of flying time. Their extensive training on commercial jet flight simulators was enough for them to perform the basic requirements of any flight: taking off, flying in bad weather, and landing. The target was visible to the pilots
Unknown: Hijackers seized the planes by stabbing pilots, passengers and flight attendants with cutters and knives.
No one really knows what happened on the planes as the cockpit voice recorder survived neither New York crash and was seriously damanaged in the Pentagon crash. Also, the Flight 93 voice recorder doesn’t start until several minutes after the hijackers took the plane. On United Flight 175, the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center, no one reported anything about weapons or tactics. On American Flight 11, another plane that crashed into the World Trade center, one flight attendant said she was disabled by a chemical spray, while others said a passenger was stabbed or shot. The claim could not be proved true as it is still unsure how the hijackings happened.
Myth: The Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile, not a plane, as the entry hole in the building was only 5m wide and there was no plane wreckage.
From photographs taken after the attack and before the collapse of the facade, the entry hole in the building appears to be 30m wide, not 5m. While a Boeing 757 is 40m from between two wingtips, parts of both wings were sheared off during the hit. Also, the landing gear punched through three of the building's rings which was recognizable in photographs. Most importantly, hundreds of morning commuters witnessed the plane hit the Pentagon.
World Trade Centre
Fact: A mural was found in Iraq depicting an airplane crashing into buildings resembling the World Trade Center towers.
On March 26, 2003, the mural was discovered by U.S. Marines on a mission of searching Iraqi military headquarters in Nasiriya. The plane in the painting bears the logo and color scheme of Iraqi Airlines. While the mural does indeed exist, however, it still remains unknown whether the the mural was painted before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 or afterwards in celebration.
United Flight 93
Myth: United Flight 93 was shot down by a jet that had been repainted white to disguise military markings.
The white plane witnessed was a corporate jet rerouted by flight controllers to the last known radar location of United 93. It reportedly circled the smoking impact zone while the pilot radioed in what he had found. The debris from the plane was not found kilometers from the impact zone as claimed, but was just a few hundred meters away.
Myth: Money dedicated to the September 11 Fund is being used to defend suspcected terrorists.
Officials of the September 11th Fund and The New York Legal Aid Society denied such claim. While The New York Legal Aid Society did receive $171,000 from the September 11th Fund, the money was used for civil legal assistance for victims' families who needed help getting access to wills, bank accounts, and insurance. The root of the misunderstanding stems from the fact that the Legal Aid Society's immigration unit interviewed several foreign nationals who were detained by Immigration and Naturalization Service due to invalid paperwork.
Fact: Not all of the money donated to charities to help the September 11 victims is being distributed to those victims.
More than $1.2 billion has been donated to various charities to help the September 11 victims. Unfortunately, not all of the money ended up in the hands of those victims, mainly because that those charities involved in the relief effort had administrative overhead cost to cover. Also, since donors had no thorough control over how their money was used, the money donated might not necessarily be put into relief funds.
Among all charities, The Red Cross received a great deal of criticism for reportedly setting aside of around $200 million in "Liberty Fund." In response, Red Cross has halted solicitations for September 11 victims and brought in an outisde autidor to review the finance. Red Cross President and CEO Bernadine Healy later resigned over the dispute on the management of funds. The Red Cross has also addressed the issue on their "Myths and Facts" page.
Unknown: A Dallas schoolboy predicted the start of World War III one day before the September 11 attacks.
Reported on September 19 by the Houston Chronicle, the claim states that the day before the terrorist attacks, a grade-five student in a Dallas suburb told his teacher, "Tomorrow, World War III will begin. It will begin in the United States, and the United States will lose."
Originally Chronicle did not provide any information regarding the boy's name or the school he attended. It was not until twelve days later that the Chronicle reported that "Garland Police spokeswoman Stephanie Funk" said today that FBI agents interviewed the child's teacher and decided no further investigation was warranted." Most importantly, the specifics in the boy's statement, "World War III has begun" and "United States will lose"can yet to be proved true.
Myth: Quranic verse 9:11 states, "The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace."
It is a hoax; the above cited passage actually appeared no where in the entire book of the Quran. The section corresponding to chapter 9, verse 11 in the Quran actually reads, "But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know."