“Everybody has an agenda. Except me.” Michael Crichton ended his “Author’s Message” in his best selling book State of Fear with those words. Crichton’s novel was about an issue that has proven to be one of the more polarizing in our time — global warming. The polarization is accompanied by a strong emotional response on either side of the issue.
It reminds this reviewer of the emotional investment many have in the issues surrounding the events of September 11, 2001. Over time, the initial unity our nation experienced has evolved into factions asking questions upon questions, charges of crimes and accusations that amount to treason at the highest levels. It is clear from his attacks on both former Presidents Bush and their families that John Hankey has an agenda. It is painfully obvious that his status has changed from investigative reporter to that of an emotional fanatic on a mission to indict, convict, and execute the Bushes.
9-11 Justice – Who Belongs in Jail and Why could have been much more effective in pursuit of Hankey’s agenda and most likely would have garnered more support and won more converts had he chosen a more neutral position. He begins with President Bush’s warning not to believe “outrageous conspiracy theories … malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves.” Then Hankey turns the President’s words on him suggesting that the official explanation was a conspiracy theory itself — 19 amateur hijackers armed with box cutters and directed by a nut in a cave.
If viewers can get past Hankey’s hyperbole and set his agenda aside, there are actually some reasonable questions that have so far gone unanswered. How could these guys outsmart the world’s most sophisticated air defense system and fly a big, slow airliner into the heart of our nation’s capitol?
Fifty minutes after the first attacks on the World Trade Center, a Boeing 757 enters Pentagon airspace, almost circles the building and then strikes it, with no fighters having been scrambled and no ground defenses firing on the intruder. Is our nation’s capitol that vulnerable to attack? During the Clinton presidency, some guy flew a small, single-engine plane into the White House. If I were President, I wouldn’t spend much time in Washington, DC. Maybe that’s why they have Camp David.
Then Hankey raises another interesting question. Why was General Richard Myers (the man in charge of North American air defense) promoted to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the military barely three weeks after a successful attack on the Pentagon? Hmm… Hankey attacking Myers ranks right up there with McCarthy attacking Marshall.
And there’s more. Hankey draws on the televised testimony of transportation secretary Norman Minetta that an aide approached Vice President Dick Cheney (while they were both in the bunker under the White House) minutes before the jet struck the Pentagon and asked, “Does the order still stand?” What order? If the order had been to shoot any intruding aircraft down, there would have been no need to ask, would there? Could the order have been not to shoot down a commercial airliner loaded with civilians?
More questions about the scene in New York City are brought up. This time, Hankey employs the services of Brigham Young physics professor Steve Jones to answer this question: Why was there molten steel at temperatures over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit six levels below the street at Ground Zero, six weeks after the attacks? Authorities have said that the jet fuel in the two planes would have been consumed in about 20 minutes.
Why did Building 7 go down? The lease holder, Larry Silverstein, was caught on video saying, “Let’s pull it.” What does that mean? Video shows that Building 7 came down in the same manner as a classic demolition. Such demolitions take weeks of planning and precise locations of explosives. Do they construct buildings with explosives pre-installed for later demolition? Why was Building 7 important? Maybe it was important because of who the tenants were. According to Wikipedia, some of the tenants were the IRS, the SEC, the Secret Service, the FBI, CIA, and several large insurance companies. Reportedly, the New York City mayor’s personal security bunker was in Building 7.
9-11 Justice – Who Belongs in Jail and Why is not currently available. The affiliated web site mentions copyright issues and financing problems. Maybe when and if it is released again, it will be updated and made more informative and less offensive. There are important questions to be answered and many feel cheated without the truth.
This reviewer is still concerned with the overriding question of what kind of monstrous, evil personality could justify such a horrible deed. If the perpetrators of such a crime were in fact terrorists, is the fact that they are terrorists enough to assuage the grief we feel? What if there was some corporate or governmental complicity? George magazine published an article with evidence that governments kill their own (more specifically, those in power kill their rivals). Is there some sick logic that can explain such behavior? Maybe Hollywood had the answer back in 1949. (Advance the cursor in the following video to the two minute mark for Harry Lime’s explanation.)
On a beautiful morning, four years before Hurricane Katrina, I was readying for my job as chaplain of the preschool program at a nearby Methodist Church. We were living in Baton Rouge, and it was nearly fall. Chip was loading my car with some of the gear I would be using to teach Bible stories, the alphabet, and songs to my young charges.
When we lived in Baton Rouge, although we had several television sets, we didn’t watch TV. We used the sets to play movies—they were merely appliances. On this gorgeous day, I was making sure I had everything I’d need. Chip had the radio tuned in to Baton Rouge High School’s jazz station, which played music and nothing else—no ads, no news, no weather. An announcer broke in and reported that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Numb and shocked, I walked to the front door and called out those very words, “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” He didn’t think he heard me correctly, came into the house, and we switched on the television. Then we saw something no one should have had to see.
Before I moved to Baton Rouge, I lived in Bergen County, New Jersey, just a few miles from Manhattan. I worked in a relatively large public high school—many of the students’ parents worked in New York City, quite a few at the Trade Center. My daughter’s sister-in-law worked in the financial industry in New York City. I realized I either knew people who were killed in that tragedy, or were a degree away—knew someone who had a family member or friend in the towers when they went down.
Horrified, I attempted to make phone calls, but of course couldn’t get through. I cannot watch films of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center and consider it history. When we see the plane explode, and there is that awful ball of fire, I am sickened. That ball of flame represents the nearly 3000 people who were massacred, their suffering, and the suffering of all their friends and families.
John Hankey is a man who seems to make his living selling exploitative conspiracy theory DVDs. In two I’ve seen, he attempts to unravel the conspiracies behind the deaths of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. His videos are filled with cartoon characters, American figures decked out as swastika-sporting Nazis, and his own can-you-believe-this-s*** narration, which—I admit—sounds sincere and outraged.
Some of the images he uses are gruesome (such as close-up photos of JFK’s head soon after the assassination) and others are laugh-out-loud ludicrous. His theories all boil down to one thing: George (W. and/or H.W.) Bush is to blame for everything wrong with this country. Somehow he even manages to drag the assassination of Abraham Lincoln into the mix.
To adequately describe a Hankey documentary, one must keep the thesaurus open to “ridiculous.” Why do I subject myself to these exercises in inanity? Well, everyone needs a laugh now and then.
I could hardly wait to see Hankey’s handling of 9/11. I approached the DVD with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Although mercifully short, 9-11 Justice plumbs the same depths as other Hankey efforts.
In its short run-time, 9-11 Justice indicts George W. Bush and his cronies Condoleezza Rice, Richard Myers, and Dick Cheney, as well as Larry Silverstein (Mr. World Trade Center himself), and treats viewers to images of these characters behind bars. Escapees from the Cartoon Network also make appearances, but there are no goose-stepping millionaires.
According to Hankey, the people who died in the Pentagon on 9/11 were chosen to die. The plane had a specific part of the complex chosen by the conspirators as its target. We are still waiting to hear the story of the plane that was headed toward the White House. What was that part of the conspiracy about?
Hankey cites a few of the same experts and interviewees seen in 9/11 Mysteries. He does not adequately explain why Bush and Company would want to blow up either the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, except to eliminate a few people they didn’t like and a lot of evidence of financial malfeasance. Is Hankey saying there were no terrorists aboard the plane? He claims the terrorists are part of a conspiracy theory made up by G.W. Bush.
What happened on 9/11? Will we ever know who knew anything, who is ultimately responsible, and why? Or must we settle for the ravings of lunatics? Mr. Hankey is certainly not alone in his views of various conspiracies, and he has his followers. Whether any of the theories offered are correct or not (or somewhere in between), there must be a more respectful way to deal with the murder of thousands of Americans than with cartoons and hyperbole.