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October 22, 2015

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Pre-9/11 Warnings about Al-Qaeda, Cheney’s Military Aide on 9/11, and More

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — Matt @ 5:26 am
Tags: , , ,

New entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which cover various events relating to the 9/11 attacks. Many of them describe warnings about the danger posed by al-Qaeda that were given in the 12 months leading up to 9/11 and some describe events from the day of September 11, 2001, itself.

Donald Rumsfeld Was Concerned about a Possible ‘Modern-Day Version’ of Pearl Harbor

A couple of new timeline entries deal with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s preoccupation, in the months before 9/11, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941 that led America to enter World War II. In March 2001, Rumsfeld sent members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a copy of the foreword to a book, which discussed the US government failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. And in July that year, he wrote a note to himself in which he expressed his fear of the United States experiencing a “modern-day version” of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Other senior officials talked, in the months before 9/11, about the possibility of a Pearl Harbor-like event happening in the future. In June 2001, Army General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the US Central Command, gave a speech in which he said the US needed to prepare for an “asymmetric” attack resembling the attack on Pearl Harbor. And on the day before 9/11, Charles Nemfakos, deputy under secretary of the Navy, said during a briefing that the US would have to suffer an attack comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor before it would address the problems with its defense policy.

Officials Warned about the Danger Posed by Al-Qaeda

A number of new entries describe warnings that were made, in the 12 months before 9/11, about al-Qaeda and the possibility that it would carry out an attack in the United States.

In September 2000, CIA officer Ben Bonk warned Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush of the threat posed by Islamic extremist groups and said that, in the next four years, Americans would be sure to die in a terrorist attack. At the end of May 2001, terrorism experts Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in which they stated that al-Qaeda was “planning new attacks on the US.”

In the summer of 2001, Tommy Franks raised concerns that al-Qaeda would attack Western facilities in the Middle East using planes loaded with explosives. Four days before 9/11, Franks actually told his intelligence officers his greatest fear was that terrorists would attack the World Trade Center.

One week before 9/11, White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke wrote a memo in which he warned that “hundreds of Americans” could die in an al-Qaeda attack. And on the day before 9/11, a report was issued to Congress, which stated that al-Qaeda “wants to strike within the United States.”

There were also concerns that the Pentagon could be the target of an attack. At some time in the year 2000, a software system commissioned by the Department of Defense determined that the building was vulnerable to a terrorist attack. And, prior to 9/11, some Pentagon Renovation Program workers were concerned about the possibility of a “crazy pilot” deliberately crashing a plane into the Pentagon. And yet, at some unspecified time before 9/11, senior FBI agent John O’Neill told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers there were no threats to aviation in the United States.

Air Defense Exercise Was Based on Bin Laden Attacking Washington

A couple of entries reveal how personnel at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector, who were responsible for protecting the airspace in which the hijackings occurred on September 11, were made aware of the al-Qaeda threat. They were briefed about the danger posed by Osama bin Laden in July 2001, and on August 4, 2001, they participated in a training exercise based around the scenario of bin Laden using a drone aircraft to attack a prominent target in the Washington, DC, area.

An entry describes three “economic security exercises” held between 1997 and 1999 by the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald, in which participants considered scenarios such as terrorists attacking the US financial community with bombings using aircraft. The Naval War College and Cantor Fitzgerald subsequently held three “war game workshops” at the World Trade Center, which apparently served as good preparation for the challenges of the post-9/11 world.

NORAD Didn’t Tell the Pentagon about the Hijackings on September 11

Other new timeline entries describe events from the day of September 11.

For more than 50 minutes after it learned a plane had been hijacked, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) failed to inform the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon about the hijacking. And for at least 50 minutes after its fighter jets set up a combat air patrol (CAP) over Washington, NORAD failed to tell the Pentagon’s air threat conference call that the CAP had been established.

Several entries describe the actions of Douglas Cochrane, Vice President Dick Cheney’s military aide, in response to the terrorist attacks. After he learned a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, Cochrane went from his office to the White House Situation Room and then, briefly, to Cheney’s office. After he saw the second crash at the World Trade Center live on television, he returned to his office to fetch the “nuclear football”–a briefcase that holds the codes necessary for the vice president to initiate a nuclear attack. He subsequently joined Cheney in an underground tunnel that leads to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center below the White House, where he was told that an aircraft had hit the Pentagon.

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April 26, 2015

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Crisis Action Teams on September 11, Early Accounts of the Government’s Response to the 9/11 Attacks, and More

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — Matt @ 3:09 am
Tags: , , ,

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, including many that provide new details about the events of September 11, 2001, and some that describe the initial official accounts of the military’s response to the 9/11 attacks.

Air Force Secretary and Chief and Chief of Staff Learned of Attacks during Meetings

Several new timeline entries detail the actions of James Roche, the secretary of the Air Force, and John Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, on September 11. Roche was alerted to the first plane crash at the World Trade Center during a meeting with several congressmen in his office at the Pentagon, in which the subject of Islamic fundamentalism was being discussed. Jumper, meanwhile, learned about the crashes at the WTC during a routine staff meeting, but he continued the meeting instead of responding right away.

After Jumper headed upstairs to Roche’s office, the two men were escorted to the Air Force Operations Center in the basement of the Pentagon shortly after the building was attacked, at 9:37 a.m. When they arrived at the Operations Center, they started assisting the Air Force’s response to the attacks.

A couple of entries relate to the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (ODCSPER) at the Pentagon. A dozen ODCSPER officials went ahead with a 9:00 a.m. meeting, unaware of the first crash at the WTC, which occurred at 8:46 a.m., and they were not alerted by their colleagues when the second crash occurred at 9:03 a.m. Ironically, Timothy Maude, who ran the ODCSPER, was originally scheduled to attend a meeting at 9:45 a.m. to discuss what to do if a disaster should hit the Pentagon.

Crisis Actions Teams Were Activated

A number of new timeline entries describe the actions of various “crisis action teams” in response to the 9/11 attacks.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff activated its Crisis Actions Team (CAT) at the Pentagon sometime after the first hijacked plane crashed into the WTC. The Air Force’s CAT was reportedly activated at around 9:00 a.m. However, the Operations Center at the Pentagon where it worked from had to be evacuated later on and at 1:00 p.m. a replacement facility was established at Bolling Air Force Base. The Air National Guard’s CAT was activated shortly after the Pentagon was attacked and carried out its operations at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, DC.

The Army’s CAT at the Pentagon was activated after the second hijacked plane crashed into the WTC. It was reportedly “formally stood up” at 9:43 a.m. and its members then responded to the terrorist attacks. Major General Peter Chiarelli, who gave the order to activate it, was informed, shortly before the Pentagon was attacked, that a hijacked aircraft was heading toward Washington and was possibly aiming for the Pentagon.

Crew of Airborne Operations Center Thought Attacks Were Part of an Exercise

A timeline entry describes how crew members on an E-4B National Airborne Operations Center plane at Andrews Air Force Base initially thought the terrorist attacks were part of a training exercise when they were alerted to them. Their plane took off at around 9:27 a.m. and then flew to a base in Nebraska. Another E-4B took off from Andrews at around 9:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) representative on the Pentagon’s air threat conference call reported, shortly after the Pentagon was attacked, that Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD, had not yet declared the situation that morning an air defense emergency.

A couple of timeline entries relate to problems experienced by the plane carrying Henry Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that day. After Shelton learned of the attacks, his plane had to spend hours flying in “holding patterns” near Greenland and then over Canada before it was cleared to fly back into the US. It therefore only landed at Andrews Air Force Base at 4:40 p.m.

Accounts of the Government’s Response to the Attacks Were Put Forward in the Week after 9/11

A number of new timeline entries describe the initial accounts that officials provided, in the weeks after September 11, of the government’s response to the 9/11 attacks.

On September 13, Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 9/11 attacks, was questioned about the military’s response to the attacks by the Senate Armed Services Committee, but his answers were vague and confused. The next day, Paul Weaver, director of the Air National Guard, provided reporters with a more detailed account in an “impromptu hallway interview” at the Pentagon.

On September 17, the Federal Aviation Administration produced a chronology of the events of September 11, which it used when it briefed the White House that day. The following day, NORAD released a timeline of its response to the 9/11 attacks, but the accuracy of this account has been challenged by the 9/11 Commission.

Ralph Eberhart outlined NORAD’s version of the events of September 11 during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 25, but the 9/11 Commission found that some of the information he provided that day was incorrect.

A couple of new timeline entries describe miscellaneous 9/11-related events. In 1999, alleged 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta tried to sell antiquities from Afghanistan in order to pay for flying lessons. And a report published one week after 9/11 stated that investigators had detected a signal from one of the “black boxes” from the planes that crashed into the WTC, although government officials have claimed that no black boxes were ever recovered at Ground Zero.

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September 15, 2014

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: White House Staffers’ Actions on 9/11, President Apparently in Danger, and More

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — Matt @ 2:40 am
Tags: , , ,

A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. Most of these focus on the events of September 11, 2001, including the actions of White House personnel in response to the terrorist attacks that day, and a number of apparent threats to President Bush and his plane, Air Force One.

White House Officials Visited Emergency Bunker during Exercise

A new timeline entry describes a training exercise held shortly before 9/11 in which some senior White House staffers were shown to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a bunker below the White House where numerous government officials went on September 11. Following the first attack on September 11, Josh Bolten, the deputy White House chief of staff, was called by a former member of the Clinton administration who wanted to check that he was aware of the PEOC.

Bolten, according to his own recollection, alerted National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to the second crash at the World Trade Center after seeing coverage of it on television. Later on, he headed to the PEOC where he joined Vice President Dick Cheney and other government officials.

Also early on the morning of September 11, a sheriff in Sarasota, Florida, was surprised to find that when he contacted colleagues who were with President Bush’s Secret Service detail, shortly after he saw the TV reports of the first crash at the WTC, those colleagues were unaware of what had happened in New York.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove, Bush’s senior adviser, learned about the first crash when his assistant called him from the White House about it, and he then went to pass on the news to the president. Rove and other members of the president’s staff who assembled in the staff hold at the school in Sarasota that Bush was visiting were promptly informed when the second plane hit the WTC, but then had to locate a TV to see the news reports of the incident because, unusually, a television had not already been set up in the staff hold.

White House Staffers Headed to DaimlerChrysler Office

A number of new entries focus on the actions of government employees at the White House in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Prior to being evacuated from the White House, staffers were ordered to go to the White House mess, the exclusive dining room in the basement of the West Wing. After they were evacuated from the White House, many of the staffers went to the office of DaimlerChrysler in Washington, DC, where they were able to continue their work for the rest of the day. Around midday, though, some senior officials were allowed to leave there and return to the White House.

Before he went to the DaimlerChrysler building, David Frum, one of President Bush’s speechwriters, talked on the phone with Richard Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and Perle said that Bush needed to say he would hold not just terrorists but also the nations that harbor them responsible for the morning’s attacks.

Security Increased around Air Force One

Air Force One, the president’s plane, features in several new timeline entries.

Although numerous government agencies contacted the plane after the second crash at the WTC, none of these agencies had called it after the first crash. In response to the second crash, though, Mark Tillman, the pilot of Air Force One, was told to assume that the plane was a target, and security around it was increased. After the president’s motorcade reached the plane, reporters accompanying the president were subjected to a strict security check by Secret Service agents before they were allowed to board.

President Appeared to Be a Terrorist Target

Other entries describe incidents in which President Bush seemed to be in danger.

Early on the morning of September 11, a Sudanese man contacted police in Sarasota to report his concerns about a friend who he feared might be a danger to Bush while he was visiting the area. Also, apparently early that morning, a group of Middle Eastern men arrived at the resort where Bush had spent the night and falsely claimed to have an interview with the president.

White House chief of staff Andrew Card has claimed he learned that a threat had been made against Air Force One while he and Bush were being driven away from the school they visited that morning, although other accounts have indicated that a threat against the plane had not been made at that time. Then, as Air Force One was preparing to take off with Bush on board, Mark Tillman was warned that a man, possibly carrying a gun, was standing at the end of the runway, but this apparent threat turned out to be unfounded.

At around 10:30 a.m., the White House received an anonymous phone call in which the caller said Air Force One would be the next terrorist target. Dick Cheney, after being alerted to the call, phoned Bush and told him about it. The apparent threat was subsequently determined to be unfounded, but government officials have given conflicting accounts of the incident in the following years.

Later in the morning of September 11, Tillman was informed that unidentified fast-moving aircraft were flying toward his plane, and he became concerned that these could be armed fighter jets piloted by foreign nationals. A short time later, he was told that an unidentified aircraft was again flying toward Air Force One, but this turned out to be just a Learjet flown by a civilian. Hours later, as Air Force One was approaching Washington, yet another unidentified aircraft was noticed flying toward the president’s plane, but this again turned out to be just a Learjet, “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Emergency Transmitter Activated in Michigan

Other new timeline entries describe some miscellaneous events from September 11.

Inexplicably, a radio transmitter carried by aircraft that is designed to go off if a plane crashes was activated in southeast Michigan shortly before 10:00 a.m. that morning. And yet it appears that no such transmitter went off when the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, crashed just after 10:00 a.m. Flight 93’s transponder, though, was reactivated just before the plane crashed, thereby revealing information about the flight to air traffic controllers.

And at some time during the afternoon of September 11, three senior government officials went from the White House to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters and discussed the government’s response to the terrorist attacks with officials there.

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January 1, 2014

Fundraiser for History Commons 2.0

Filed under: community,History Commons 2.0 — Max @ 2:56 pm

It’s officially on. :) http://www.razoo.com/story/Historycommons

The new application and paradigm for the History Commons is in development right now (currently in alpha, soon to go into private beta). But to make this happen, the History Commons needs your help.

We don’t like to solicit donations, and we have largely refrained from doing so in the past. But the History Commons 2.0 is too important not to happen because of financial shortfalls.

From the fundraising page:

A new version of the History Commons crowdsource journalism app is under development now. The app will make the History Commons an increasingly important tool in empowering the public to keep tabs on the very powerful interests that are destroying our planet and impoverishing most of its inhabitants.

The new app will make it very easy for people to collaborate with each other on investigative efforts to shine a bright light on the people and organizations most responsible for destroying the planet and impoverishing its people. The app will leverage all the advances in social media that we have seen during the last 10 years so its content can be easily embedded in other published pieces, shared across multiple platforms, and then published in a format that can easily go viral.

The new app will offer the public an API so others can leverage the History Commons data and intelligence analysis capabilities to create other activist-oriented apps.

We will develop a mobile version of the app so that people can access History Commons data and source information easily and quickly wherever they are. This is an immensely important feature for people who often find themselves in situations where they have an opportunity to educate people, but lack a means to access the facts they need at that particular moment.

Help us make this happen. We need your donations and we need your participation. Remember, anyone can contribute — some of the best material on the Commons comes from anonymous contributors who write material based on their own interests, knowledge and passions.

The direct fundraising page for the History Commons is here: http://historycommons.org/fundraiser.jsp

The personal fundraiser from executive director Derek Mitchell is here: http://www.razoo.com/story/Turn-Every-One-Into-A-Muckraker/

Thank you!

November 27, 2013

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Aborted Plan to Assassinate Bin Laden, Dick Cheney and Family on Sept. 11, Secret Service Response to Attacks, and More

A large number of new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, including many that reveal details about the events of September 11, 2001, and others that describe important events from the years preceding the 9/11 attacks.

Security Chief Predicted Attacks on the WTC

Several entries relate to the actions of Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s vice president for security at the World Trade Center, and his friend and former Army colleague Dan Hill. In 1990, the two men wrote a report that predicted a terrorist attack at the WTC closely resembling the 1993 bombing, involving a truck bomb in the underground garage. In the aftermath of the 1993 WTC bombing, Hill and Rescorla conducted an analysis of security and predicted that terrorists would attack the towers again, probably by crashing a plane into them. Rescorla consulted his friend Fred McBee, who, by using a flight simulator program on his computer, concluded that such a scenario was “very viable.”

In 1998, Hill came up with a plan to go to Afghanistan and kill Osama bin Laden. In spring 2000, he met with an FBI agent to discuss the plan and request US military assistance. But a year later, after she consulted FBI headquarters, the agent informed Hill that his request had been rejected and so he had to drop his plan.

Some entries relate to training exercises held at the World Trade Center. In one drill, conducted in 1982, the Port Authority and other agencies actually practiced for the scenario of a plane crashing into the Twin Towers. In March 1993, during public hearings that examined the security aspects of the recent WTC bombing, Guy Tozzoli, a former director of the World Trade Department, said the Port Authority should again train for the possibility of a plane hitting the WTC, but his recommendation was ignored. However, in June 1999, September 2000, and summer 2001, the Port Authority and the New York City Fire Department held realistic exercises that simulated a major fire on an upper floor of the WTC.

Vice President Cheney Evacuated to the White House Bunker

Many new entries describe events from the day of 9/11, especially looking at the actions of Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife, Lynne Cheney, and their Secret Service agents.

James Scott, Dick Cheney’s lead Secret Service agent, learned of the first crash at the World Trade Center from television and then alerted the other members of Cheney’s Secret Service detail to the news. After the second crash, he discussed what to do in response with a supervisor. He headed to the West Wing of the White House and joined Cheney’s other agents there at 9:30 a.m.

At around 9:35 a.m., the agents learned that a suspicious aircraft was approaching Washington, DC, and consequently evacuated Cheney from his office at around 9:36 a.m., according to some accounts. (However, other accounts have suggested that Cheney was evacuated at around 9:03 a.m.) About a minute after leaving his office, Cheney reached an underground tunnel leading to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a bunker below the White House.

Lynne Cheney Evacuated from Hair Salon to the White House

Lynne Cheney, meanwhile, was at a hair salon near the White House when the planes hit the WTC and was told what had happened by one of her Secret Service agents. But she was only evacuated from the hair salon shortly after 9:33 a.m., when the Secret Service learned of the unidentified plane approaching Washington. Furthermore, when she reached the White House, guards initially tried to prevent her car from entering the grounds. And after Cheney entered the White House, the Secret Service agent who accompanied her was initially confused about where he should take her.

Lynne Cheney finally joined her husband in the tunnel leading to the PEOC at around 9:55 a.m., and the couple went into the PEOC at around 9:58 a.m.

Liz Cheney, the eldest daughter of Dick and Lynne Cheney, phoned her father after the second crash at the WTC to tell him what was happening. Around late morning to early afternoon, Secret Service agents took her and her children to a secure government facility in rural Virginia, where she was soon joined by her husband. Later in the afternoon, the Secret Service moved Cheney, her husband, and their children to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.

The Secret Service’s Response to the Attacks

Some timeline entries describe other aspects of the Secret Service’s response to the 9/11 attacks. For example, following the crashes at the World Trade Center, a Secret Service agent contacted a “structural collapse team” at an Army base just outside Washington, to let it know that the Secret Service might need its assistance. And Brian Stafford, the director of the Secret Service, activated the Director’s Crisis Center (DCC) at Secret Service headquarters to manage the Secret Service’s response to the attacks. Another agent, Danny Spriggs, joined Stafford in the DCC at 9:35 a.m., but found his agency’s ability to respond was hindered by the poor quality of the information they received in the center.

Furthermore, Secret Service executives only implemented an “emergency call-up” of all agency personnel after the Pentagon attack. And members of the Secret Service emergency response team who were on the ground when President Bush’s helicopter arrived at the White House early in the evening were ordered to pull back out of camera range, which meant they were too far from the president to respond effectively if something bad had happened.

After he learned of the events in New York, Carl Truscott, the Secret Service special agent in charge of the presidential protective division, called three colleagues to his office for a meeting. During the meeting, the agents discussed “security enhancements” at the White House, and the Secret Service subsequently began implementing those security enhancements.

Sometime before 9:45 a.m., Truscott was alerted to the suspicious aircraft approaching Washington and he consequently ordered the evacuation of the White House. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, was, like the White House, evacuated at 9:45 a.m.

Following his meeting, Truscott headed to the PEOC, but he stopped on the way to take National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice with him. Before going, Rice briefly spoke on the phone with President Bush. She entered the PEOC shortly before 10:00 a.m.

Please consider donating to History Commons, to help it continue as a leading informational source for the 21st century. To make a donation, click here.

July 8, 2013

New 9/11 Timeline Entries: WTC Evacuation Orders, 9/11-Style Movies, and More

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — Matt @ 2:54 am
Tags: , , ,

Many new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, covering a range of topics relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Contradictory Orders over Whether People Should Evacuate the WTC

Numerous entries examine the conflicting orders and announcements that were made, regarding whether people should evacuate or stay in the World Trade Center after the first plane hit the North Tower.

After the crash, George Tabeek, a WTC security manager, contacted the deputy fire safety directors in the Twin Towers with instructions to “evacuate the North Tower, but keep people inside the South Tower.” But around the same time, some people in the North Tower heard an automated announcement advising them to stay in their offices.

The deputy fire safety director in the North Tower tried telling people to evacuate, but without success, as the public address system in his building was damaged by the plane’s impact. He was contacted by his counterpart in the South Tower, who said he would wait to hear from “the boss from the fire department” before ordering people to evacuate his building. However, an announcement then went out over the public address system in the South Tower advising workers to stay in their offices. Furthermore, Port Authority officials in the South Tower instructed people who were evacuating, in person, to go back to their offices.

Fire chiefs in the North Tower were telling other agencies to evacuate the South Tower by about 8:57 a.m., six minutes before Flight 175 hit it. Furthermore, an officer with the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) actually called for the evacuation of the top floors of the North Tower over his radio just three minutes after the plane hit it. And at around 9:00 a.m., senior PAPD officers called for the evacuation of both towers and then the entire WTC complex. However, the PAPD officers’ orders were apparently not passed on.

Finally, at 9:02 a.m., a minute before Flight 175 hit, an announcement was made in the South Tower, advising workers to start evacuating.

Movies that Predicted 9/11

New timeline entries describe TV dramas and movies that were in production in September 2001, which featured storylines with surprising similarities to aspects of what happened on September 11. Many of these productions were canceled or rewritten as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

Nosebleed was a movie that would have featured Jackie Chan as a window washer who tries to stop terrorists who are plotting to blow up the WTC. A scene for the movie was going to be filmed at the top of the North Tower on the morning of 9/11, but the filming was canceled. Till Death Do Us Part, a film starring Michael Douglas and Billy Crystal, was based around terrorists targeting New York and would have included a key scene at the WTC.

The movie WW3.com would have featured cyber-terrorists causing a Boeing 767 to crash into New York’s Central Park. A 20th Century Fox movie called Deadline would have involved terrorists hijacking a commercial aircraft. And filming was originally set to begin around three weeks after 9/11 for a big-budget TV movie about a jumbo jet crash, where investigators consider the possibility that Osama bin Laden caused the crash.

TV Dramas that Predicted 9/11

A big-budget TV miniseries called Terror would have been based around al-Qaeda committing a series of terrorist attacks in New York. A group from NBC was actually near the WTC on the morning of September 11, doing preparatory work for the miniseries. And writer/producer Bryce Zabel was working on a miniseries called World War III, about a terrorist attack in the US that leads to a global conflict.

The Agency, a CBS series about the CIA, featured several notable storylines that were written before 9/11. One storyline, which was never used, involved Osama bin Laden having three American planes hijacked. The show’s pilot episode, which was originally set to air in late September 2001, involved al-Qaeda plotting to blow up a department store in London. Another episode featured a planned terrorist attack in Washington, DC, using anthrax, and was originally set to be broadcast at the time of the actual anthrax attacks in the US.

Other Day of 9/11 and Pre-9/11 Events

A few new entries describe additional events from the day of 9/11. One entry describes how, unusually, air traffic controllers failed to contact United Airlines that morning about the hijackings. Later in the morning, the FAA’s Cleveland Center–which had the last contact with Flight 93 before it crashed–received several bomb threats. Around the same time, the center was evacuated in response to a report of a suspicious aircraft flying above it.

Other entries look at various events from the years and weeks preceding 9/11. One entry summarizes the gradual reduction in the number of fighter jets kept on “alert” to defend US airspace between the 1950s and the time of the 9/11 attacks. Another entry describes how, around 1969 or 1970, an Army Ranger in officer training envisioned a 9/11-like scenario of a suicide pilot crashing a plane into the US Capitol building.

Early in 2001, an entry reveals, President Bush instructed Joe Hagin, his deputy chief of staff for operations, to fix White House communications after having problems making a phone call, but the issue was not resolved by 9/11. Around the same time, White House staffers were prohibited from using BlackBerrys, but these devices turned out to be invaluable on September 11, when many people had problems making phone calls.

A major exercise is described that was held at an Army base near the Pentagon five days before 9/11, attended by numerous agencies that would subsequently work together in response to the attack on the Pentagon on September 11.

An entry reveals that George Tabeek was discussing his concerns about an aircraft crashing into the Twin Towers in the two weeks before September 11. Tabeek has recalled that around that time, he received no warnings from US Customs or the Secret Service about possible terrorist threats to the WTC. Fortunately, the Port Authority’s command center in the North Tower was upgraded to make it more secure shortly before 9/11, and this helped save the lives of the people in the center on September 11.

Please consider donating to History Commons, to help it continue as a leading informational source for the 21st century. To make a donation, click here.

April 22, 2013

Making the Submission Process Easier

Filed under: community,Miscellanenous — Max @ 1:07 am
Tags: , ,

If you’ve ever tried to write entries for the History Commons, you’ve come up against the submission app. It’s not pretty. Even with the guideline we wrote about how to make a submission, it’s no picnic.

In fact, a lot of people have tried to wrestle with it and decided it’s just too much. The screenshot below makes MY head hurt, and I’ve used this app for years.

Yeesh! It IS very difficult, and a lot of people feel that way. There’s no shame. A lot of people have looked at it, or even tried to submit entries, and finally decided to just walk away before they broke something in frustration. It’s not the user that’s the problem. It’s the app!

So, until we finally get the money and the chops to redesign the app to meet reasonable usability standards, we’ve come up with a workaround.

If you want to submit entries to the History Commons but don’t want to fight the app to do it, here’s how. Just write an entry and e-mail it to this address:


It will come to me, Michael Tuck (“blackmax”). I’ll then submit it for you in the app, or one of the other admins will submit it. We can even submit it using your account if you prefer, so it will show up under your name and not one of ours.

More information, including guidelines and a sample entry, are available on this page:

Contributors Can Submit Entries to History Commons by E-Mail

Thanks! I look forward to being inundated with submissions!

February 16, 2013

What We’re Reading: Three by Robert Parry

Derek, our executive director, sent me three books from the Consortium News’s Robert Parry, the site’s founder and lead investigative journalist. The books are: Lost History, Neck Deep, and Secrecy and Privilege. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see material from those books finding their way into the Civil Liberties, Iraq, Iran-Contra, Domestic Propaganda, and other projects.

Have you read any of these? Let us know what you think.

February 10, 2013

Donating via credit card

Filed under: community — Max @ 4:42 pm

The link to donate via credit card on the site is bad. It was superseded over a year ago. Why it popped up again is beyond me. I’ll blame it on the server switch, why not…?

Anyway, here’s the correct link. We’re working to make the correction now.


Thanks for being patient.

Update: Fixed!

February 5, 2013

Survey Results from the February 2013 Survey

Filed under: community — Max @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , ,

These are the results from the February 2013 survey conducted by Michael Tuck (blackmax) of the History Commons.

These responses are also available at Survey Results from the February 2013 Survey on our supplementary Web pages.

Last week, we asked the History Commons community to respond to a brief survey designed to help us shape the future of our coverage.

We had a total of 82 respondents — thank you for such a strong response!

Here’s the results. All questions allowed for multiple answers, so all of the results add up to far more than 100%. (Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.)

The first question asked: What projects (timelines) created by the History Commons do you find most useful?

  • First: 75% found the Complete 9/11 Timeline most useful.
  • Second: the Global Economic Crisis project, with 45% choosing it.
  • Third: the US Domestic Propaganda project, with 44% choosing it.
  • Fourth: Civil Liberties, with 39%.
  • Fifth: US Domestic Terrorism at 36%.
  • Sixth: Climate Change, at 34%.
  • Seventh and last of the projects listed: Prisoner Abuse, at 28%.
  • 14% said “other.”

Second question: Which topic(s) would you most like to see the History Commons address in the future?

This question gave the respondents a chance to focus on where they’d like to see new coverage.

  • First: by far the most popular topic for new coverage is “Corporate Influence on Society and Politics,” with 76% of respondents indicating this as their choice.
  • Second: WikiLeaks, with 49%.
  • Third: Social movements (civil rights, LGBT, women’s rights, etc) at 29%.
  • Fourth: Violence against women in the US military, at 20%.
  • Last of the listed topics: Netroots Neutrality, at 19%.
  • 17% of the respondents also listed “Other.”

Third question: Which projects (timelines) on the History Commons do you think are NOT being addressed enough?

This one surprised me a bit. We’ve long wanted expanded coverage of the Global Economic Crisis and Climate Change projects, but neither of those came in first.

  • Most popular: Genetic engineering (GMO), at 44%.
  • Second: Global Economic Crisis, at 39%.
    Third: Climate Change, 38%.
  • Fourth: US Conflict with Iran, 33%.
  • Fifth: War in Afghanistan, 23%.
  • Last of the listed topics: US Electoral Politics, at 14%.
  • 19% of respondents said “other.”

Fourth question: What should the History Commons focus most on in the future? (You can add your responses from earlier questions here, or make your own observations.)

Among the topics listed that individuals want covered are:

  • “privacy and confidentiality” (expansion of the Civil Liberties coverage, presumably)
  • “the Kashmir dispute” (as part of the US International Relations project, I’m assuming)
  • a “new 9/11 investigation” and related topics
  • “corporate influence in politics,” campaign finance issues, and gerrymandering (some of which are currently being expanded as a part of the Civil Liberties project)
  • guns and weapons profiteering
  • “Employment / Work Force / Automation”
  • goverment secrecy, whistleblower prosecution, and government-sponsored assassinations
  • US relations with Israel
  • women’s rights as a human-rights issue (we’ve suggested this before as part of a larger Social Movements project)
  • the US as an imperialist national security state
  • US and global poverty, child and human exploitation
  • more coverage of the 2001 anthrax attacks
  • more Middle East coverage, using Islam and the West and A Line in the Sand by James Barr as key sources
  • cyberwarfare, drones, robotic war
  • NATO’s increasing influence on Eastern Europe; the globalization of NATO
  • overpopulation as it connects to climate change and resource depletion
  • a bigger focus on “systemic/root causes”
  • food systems, resource depletion, and GMO production
  • a request to provide “contrary views” of “CAGW,” presumably a reference to the Citizens Against Government Waste think tank
  • more coverage of climate change (this is one of the highest priorities on our “need more coverage!” list)
  • “New World Order” corruption and “global governance”
  • expanded coverage of the 7/7 London bombing attacks
  • Operation Gladio
  • the JFK assassination
  • “created weather”
  • the US “war on drugs” using The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs by Douglas Valentine as a key source
  • sustainability issues
  • the “destruction of justice” under the Bush and Obama administrations

A comprehensive list, to say the least. We have some of these reflected on the History Commons New Topic Listing, where we’ve listed topics that we’d love to see covered by new contributors or existing contributors looking to shift their focus.

The fifth question indicated that 25% of respondents were interested in volunteering to write for the History Commons.

The sixth question indicated that 25% of respondents were interested in donating to keep the History Commons going.

Again, thanks to everyone for participating in this survey. I’m sharing this information with the other administrators today. You can always discuss topics for new or expanded coverage on this thread, or on any other thread on the History Commons Groups Blog. We want MORE contributors and MORE coverage. You can help write history on the History Commons. Please consider doing so.

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