Our memories of 9/11

We all have them, memories of the big moments in our shared lives.

I remember the moment I learned of JFK’s death.  I was in Alaska at Ft. Greely in the midst of a course at the Northern Warfare School.

I remember 9/11.  I had been out to Clark Brother’s shooting range the day before and was cleaning pistols I had taken to the range.  I was kneeling on the floor in the family room rummaging through some cleaning kit when the TeeVee interrupted itself to say that there had been an accident in NY City in which an airplane had hit a big building.  Being old even then I thought of the accident just after WW2 in which a military plane hit the Empire State Building.  

So, I sat back on my heels to listen and very quickly there was an image of one of the two trade center towers with a big hole in it up near the top with masses of smoke billowing out of the hole.

After a few minutes I watched a jet liner come into view as it turned and rammed the second tower.  Debris spewed out the hole it made on the near side of the building from the force of the strike on the other side.

I knew then that we were at war.  This could not be an accident.

I watched the buildings burn for a while and then my house shook with a mighty ka-whump.  We are several miles from the Pentagon but the shock wave of the airliner crash into the Defense Department headquarters was still massive at that range.

We did not learn of the crash in Pennsylvania until later in the day.

I received several calls from the people in the ME wanting to know what had happened.  One of them immediately guessed that it was was some sort of jihadi attack.  “Now we are really in the shit,” he said on the phone.  “If that is true, you surely are, all of you,” I replied.

A day or so later, an American billionaire whom I knew called to say that his grandson had been working in one of the towers above the level of the strike, and though badly injured had miraculously made his way down the stairs from above the strike all the way to the ground and had lived.  “Now we are all in your world” the billionaire said to me, “in your world.” pl 


Comment: This is Colonel Lang’s post from this day in 2020. Go to the link to read the comments to that post. I’ll only post the comment I made that day.  I didn’t know Colonel Lang back 9/11. I only knew of him as the architect of the Defense HUMINT Service, the Moses who brought us to the promised land, but was not allowed to enter with his people. He set us up well for the task we were about to embark upon that day.

“I, also, was in Alexandria that day. I and a coworker from NSA were in my office overlooking the Potomac preparing for a meeting at FBI headquarters. We couldn’t get our secure comms up due to a wonky encryption device so we heard nothing of the NYC attacks before we started the drive into DC. We thought the traffic was awfully heavy as we headed up the GW Parkway. I saw some black smoke ahead and figure it might be a bad car accident. As we got closer, we realized the smoke was far more than a car fire. It was the Pentagon. We turned on the car radio and heard what was happening. Obviously there was not going to be a meeting at FBI that day. We continued on the GW Parkway to see the east side of the Pentagon. The black smoke plume from the west side was massive by this time framed by two large American flags flying in front of the building. The cell phone circuits were overloaded and unavailable. It took several hours to make it back to our Alexandria office. When I finally got in contact with SWMBO, she told me she was happy that, for once, I told her where I was going to be that day. She was glad I was not at the Pentagon that day. The roads were so jammed, I couldn’t leave for home until late evening. The two of us spent the rest of the day planning on redirecting our collection platform. We knew it was coming. GWOT was upon us.”

“I knew only one person well who died that day at the Pentagon. I worked closely with Chuck Sabin of the DIA Comptroller Office in setting up my collection platform. He was the most gracious man I knew and supremely skilled in his field. Every contact with this gentleman left me feeling uplifted and satisfied, whether I got everything I wanted or not.”


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43 Responses to Our memories of 9/11

  1. Stefan says:

    I was actually working on a remote US military facility in Alaska when 9/11 happened. I was a government contractor at the time. I was supposed to be flying into Elmendorf the next day for training/testing and then was set to attend negotiations with the company I worked for, the site had just voted to unionize.

    I had a bit of a rough wake up the morning of 9/11. Had spent the evening before drinking at a local watering hole. I woke up and turned on the TV. At first the videos on CNN seemed like a clip from a movie. It couldnt be real. Laying in bed watching reality slowly sunk in. Planes in and out of my remote location in AK were down for some two weeks. Everything had to be pushed back until after flights resumed.

    As soon as it was clear it was an intentional attack AQ and bin Laden jumped into my head. I remembered the enhanced security at the bases in Europe after the Cole attack. It was the reason why I refused the next posting at Incirlik. It was on indefinite lockdown over security issues so despite being in such a prime location you’d be stuck on base all day. I couldnt imagine being sequestered there for 1 or 2 years.

    Two years later I ended up working very close to the Pentagon. New co-workers told of how their windows shook from the impact of the attack on the Pentagon.

    I knew things were gonna get bad, but I never could have anticipated a US attack on Iraq and the subsequent nightmare it brought to the Middle East and the perfect example of the law of unintended consequences it brought to that region and the wider world.

  2. leith says:

    Like Col Lang, I too thought at first it was an accident caused by some incompetent wannabee pilot. Drove to work. Couldn’t understand why the entire staff was watching the TV and crying. Then it hit me. Took the rest of the day off and went to church for the first time in years. Soon afterwards the wife and I went to Manhattan along with a nephew, a contractor. He volunteered and helped out in the clean-up for a month. They wouldn’t take me, too old they said.

    • Billy Roche says:

      leith I chose your comment to piggy back on b/c you mentioned Col. Lang. Back on SST he and I argued over Islam. I have not accepted his idea that it is “very” different in its approach to other religions. Islam is not all the same he said. I still believe, however Pat admonished me, that given the opportunity Islam will still kill. The other day I picked up gas and the guy who took my money had a beard and an accent and he looked brown, and I thought he might be an Afghan. Well, he said he was. I said, “do you really want to kill me?” He said, “we don’t believe in that shit… hey I’d prefer cash to a credit card.. see ya next time”. So on the anniversary of 9/11 I don’t know. But when the Koran says to pluck out the eyes of the unbeliever I take notice. A wish a thoughtful day to all correspondents.

      • Whitewall says:

        To this day the photos of 9/11 tend to enrage me. As far as Islam, I know of Muslims in our community who are business owners and are good people. I can trust them a whole lot more than many in the multitude of ‘Christians’ around here. Islam does have its mission being world domination and is willing to wait centuries to get it done. The ‘good Muslims’ don’t have to actively do anything toward that end as much as they simply have to be here.

      • TTG says:

        Billy Roche,

        There are passages in the Christian bible that call for committing genocide against our enemies. It all depends on what the “religious” of any faith want to pick and choose. You should take your Afghan gas station attendant at his word.

        • Billy Roche says:

          TTG: The passages you speak of are in the old testament and refer to Judaism not Christianity. One could well argue that the first recorded genocide was that of the Jews against the Canaanites. But that has nothing to do w/Jesus’ msg. An agnostic, I have no dog in this argument of good vs bad religion but when one reads the Torah and prophets it is clear that the old testament god is a warrior god. He is judgmental, vindictive, and punishes those who transgress. Jesus reverses that. He offers a “brand new bag”. Read the OT and contrast it to the new. The 10 commandments remain and many homily like stories also. But the relationship b/t god and man is very different. Unfortunately the practitioners of Christianity did not follow Jesus’ msg of love. Jesus said turn the other cheek. Tolerance, love, compassion and not judgement but forgiveness for your fellow man. The “political” history of Christianity is inconsistent w/Christianity. Contrast this w/the Koran’s instruction to kill the infidel. The Koran is the actual voice of god through the angel gabriel. So when god instructs his faithful to kill me I take notice. The political history of Islam is consistent w/the Koran. Islam d/n expand through out the world by love and verse. It did so by fire and sword. BTW, I paid the gas station attendant in cash. We both understood that “cash is still king”.

          • TTG says:

            Billy Roche,

            Christians, including Roman Catholics, do accept the old testament as an integral part of the bible. An old testament reading is read at every Catholic mass. Neither the old nor new testaments are considered the actual word of God, like the Koran, although it is often referred to as the word of God. Fundamentalist Christians emphasize the old testament to a far greater degree than Roman Catholics. And they appear to focus on specific passages of the old testament to bolster their political or cultural views while glossing over the message of the new testament. The sermon on the mount seems lost to a lot of Fundamentalists and even some Catholics.

            Glad to see some people still believe cash is king. I miss the old days in Germany when we worked in a completely cash economy, hotels, trains, meals and even telephones. And no cell phones. It was much easier to conduct HUMINT operations in that environment.

          • Stefan says:


            They dont believe it is the literal dictated word of God, but they do believe that The Bible was sent to man by God. In this respect there is little difference between it being the literal word of God and coming from God. It certainly, historically, hasnt meant any less mass murder, torture and genocide because of the difference.

            Where I was born in Germany, during the many religiously inspired conflicts that the area saw, Catholics would take the area and kill men, women and children in the name of their God, Protestants would take the area and murder men, women and children in the name of their God. So it meants very little.

            It is really semantics, especially if you were one of the infants killed in the name of the Catholic “truth” or a woman murdered in the name of the “Protestant “truth”.

            I also suspect the differences are not clearly understood by many Christians themselves as I have had Christians insist The Bible is the literal word of God and they will quote John 1:1 to prove that not only is The Bible the literal word of God, it IS God.

            John 1:1

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Roman Catholic Christians may not believe that the NT is the actual word/life of Jesus but Protestant Christians do and there is nothing political, or cultural about that. Either one believes Jesus said X or they don’t. There is no glossing over anything for “political” reasons. Someone who doesn’t like Protestants has been lying to you. But you have hit on one (really only one of two- but they’re are big) difference b/t Catholicism and Protestantism. Protestants d/n believe priests were necessary to explain the bible which s/n be written in Latin, and d/n “belong” to the R.C. church. Further, priests were not necessary to gain salvation. Catholics have priests while protestants have ministers/pastors. Priests speak to god, ministers to people (Luther was a proponent of DIY salvation). Indeed the OT and NT are all part of Christianity BUT, Jesus’ msg was NOT the msg of the god of the OT. To deny that and say that Christianity also advocated the genocide at Canaan is a complete rejection of Jesus’ msg of love, charity, forgiveness, tolerance, and compassion. Jesus d/n need or want a soldier (think of Thomas in the Garden of Gethsemanee “Thomas, put up they sword!”). The OT god and the NT Jesus are very very different. As to the Koran remember I’m not a Muslim but if I remember my school lessons on Islam it IS the actual word of god so how can a Muslim say I accept what god says here but, over there, not so much. Can Muslims pick and choose god’s words? Did Christians convert by sword and fire? You bet they did. Were they so instructed by Jesus? You bet they were not. Were Muslims instructed by god to kill the unfaithful? You bet they were and the history of Islam from 625 until today shouts that! This is pretty much the conversation I had with Col. Lang. Kindly he left it w/I d/n understand Islam. It wont be the first thing I don’t entirely understand.

            On a less contentious note your time in Germany and mine were not that far apart. I still remember what 20 Mrks would buy on the Kaiserstrasse. Yes, I meant a case of Henninger Brau of course.

          • TTG says:

            Billy Roche,

            During the liturgy of the Roman Catholic mass, we often refer to a reading from the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John or something like a letter from Paul to the Philippians. From that intro we acknowledge that what we are about to hear is not the actual word of God, inspired by God, maybe, but not dictated by God. But then after the reading, the priest or deacon proclaims “This is the word of the Lord” to which we respond ” Thanks be to God.” Later the “this is” was dropped but you can see where the idea that the words of the bible were truly the words of God may come from. A priest, theologian or even this former alter boy can spot the nuance, but it’s probably not crystal clear to a lot of Catholics.

            For Christians who pick and choose bible passages to fit political and cultural objectives, I give you the prosperity gospel and Christian nationalism. How they square their beliefs with the exhortations of the sermon of the mount, the real words of Jesus, is beyond me.

            There’s a good discussion on Islam on Pat’s old “The Atheneum” based on an essay by Brigadier FB Ali called “Rediscovering Islam” back in 2007. It’s well worth reading the 14 page downloadable paper and the fairly long ensuing comment section. You’ll see there are nuances with the Koran, as well.


          • Razor says:

            I find the Old Testament difficult also, especially trying to reconcile it to the new.

            However, Christ himself said he has come to fulfil, not to destroy.

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            Speaking of Catholics, there is a conservative/liberal theological dispute within their leadership that seems to be coming to a head:


            At a meeting Saturday,
            Pope Francis discussed with Vatican officials
            the prospect of requesting the resignation of Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.

            Is a comparison with Martin Luther apt?
            I certainly don’t know.

      • Stefan says:

        Isalm is no different than Judaism and Christianity, at least in its holy scriptures. Jews and Christians have been killing in the name of their religion, and using their religious texts to justify it, for 2,000+ years. The difference is more of the Christian and Jewish world have realised and accepted that these religious texts are not be taken literally. The Muslim world is slowly moving in this direction.

        The vast majority of the gripes in the Muslim world are political issues, even their issues with the west. The problem becomes when religion is applied to try and solve secular issues. The “resistance” in the Arab world to their own governments and the Western interference in the 1950-1980s was mostly secular and leftist/far left in nature. In the west’s battle against communism many in power refused to see the threat in the Islamic movements and encouraged them.

        In the US we had the media and our government officials cheering on bin Laden and the jihadis in Afghanistan. Do we forget “Rambo” got involved in the fight and fought on the side of the jihadis on the screen in a film dedicated to the jihadis fighting the Soviets?

        Not to be outdone, the Israelis, who in their attempt to defeat the PLO/PFLP, DFLP and any number of secular resistance groups, supported Hamas and played a crucial rule in Hamas becoming the dominate resistance movement in Palestine.

        The vast majority of the Muslim world is little different than those outside of the Muslim world. If there was something inherent in Islam that required violence of its followers the world would look far different than it does.

        Since 9/11 the majority of terror attacks in the US has come from local, home grown terrorists, usually of the far right type. My fear is with anyone who feels their religion trumps the law of the land and should be applied on others. One of the historical strengths of the US is the separation of church and state. I am much more concerned with our extremists here in the US who would seek to apply their religion and their morals on others.

        • Fred says:


          “Isalm is no different than Judaism and Christianity, at least in its holy scriptures. ”

          This is not true, one with a basic knowledge of Islam would know that Muslims believe the Quaran is the revealed word of God and not scripture in the Christian or Jewish sense. Another untruth is your ‘far right’ trope. Take a trip down memory lane to the summer of George Floyd and let us all know where the far right were terrorizing anywhere.

          • Stefan says:

            Lol. I have been in and around the Muslim world for 25 years now, speak Arabic and have traveled widely in the Middle East and North Africa. I also come from a Catholic background but was raised Protestant.

            Many, many Christians and Jews believe that the Bible, old and new, is the literal word of God. No one who knows the history of Judaism or Christianity would not know this. I have some of them in my family.

            The only thing I have recognised is just how similar extremists of any religion are.

            If I need to explain the difference between riots and terrorism to you then you probably should not be engaging in the conversation in the first place.

          • Fred says:


            I’m glad you know what you are talking about. Where’s that far right terrorism in the US? You left out some examples.

            Ked what a wonderful article from the AP. They mention zero charges of terrorism by the ‘far right’ but makes a lot of references to “charges dropped” and “declined to prosecute”. I really liked the quote by Christopher Wray at the end of the article.

          • Stefan says:

            If you are really interested on the issue of terrorism I suggest using google. Google is your friend. Specifically google the FBI reports and articles about what the FBI and other US intelligence agencies feel are the biggest terrorist threats facing the US today and the articles talking about terrorist acts, by motivation, since 9/11. I am really surprised you havent already read about it because you seem so interested. The FBI’s conclusions were quite a news story and were widely talked about for awhile.

          • Fred says:


            “Use Google” `cause you don’t actually have any examples of terrorism to point to.

          • TTG says:

            Fred and Stefan,

            Here’s a few that I would classify as notable examples of right wing terrorism in the US.

            The 2015 Charleston church shooting by Dylan Roof in an attempt to set off a race war.

            The 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting by a white supremacist inspired by the Christchurch mosque shooting and the right wing great replacement theory.

            The 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting by an antisemitic white nationalist convinced the Jews were responsible for Hispanic immigration to the US.

            The 2022 Buffalo, NY market shooting by another white supremacist trying to further the work of the Charleston and Christchurch shooters.

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            Above TTG uses the phrase:
            “the right wing great replacement theory”.

            Irrespective of who is talking of a “great replacement”, why is this just a theory?
            That whites are being replaced, not all at once of course, but over decades,
            by non-whites,
            is a matter of reality, is it not?
            See, e.g.
            “The Browning of America”
            A review of
            Diversity Explosion:
            How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America
            , by William H. Frey.

            So why call a reality a “theory”?
            That seems simply dishonest to me.

            So it is okay for Frey to write of
            “How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America,
            but not okay for others to describe that as a “great replacement”?
            This is Orwellian speech control, IMO.

          • TTG says:

            Keith Harbaugh,

            The great replacement theory is premised on the idea that some elite is orchestrating the demographic changes that are indeed occurring. It’s either the libs in search of new voters or that capitalists in search of cheap labor, or it’s the Jews as the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter claimed. Leftists certainly notice the demographic changes but it’s always the right wingers who are sure some powerful enemy of theirs is deliberately orchestrating these changes.

          • Fred says:


            Dillon Roof, @ age 20, followers zero, is your example of terrorism? Why not the Las Vegas shooting – the largest mass shooting in America? Oh, right, the FBI still doesn’t know what was behind that one. Maybe the shooting of that congressional softball team? Oh, wrong party. Then there was Nashville, but then “usually right wing’ doesn’t fit the Transgender Day of Rage shooter, whose ‘manifesto’ has yet to be released.

          • TTG says:


            Why did the Las Vegas shooter do it? He didn’t leave a clue. We recently learned that some friend of his thought he was getting bitter at the system, but who knows what that means. The guy who shot up the congressional baseball team could be thought of as a terrorist. He was clearly politically motivated, nuts too, but definitely politically motivated. Roof was definitely politically motivated. He wanted to initiate a race war. We won’t know about the Nashville shooter until the local police, the school, the church and the victims’ families decide they want those writings released.

          • ked says:

            I thought it was only fair to provide an evidently even-handed source that concluded, all cases considered, it wasn’t a Summer of only one flavor “terrorizing”… that’s all.
            given America evinces a highly reactionary political character, there are almost no examples of one-sided civil violence in our history.

  3. VietnamVet says:


    9/11 is touchy because it brought us to where we are today. I saw the smoke from the Pentagon the next day from the 14th Street Bridge. Ever since, when I see the Air Force Starburst Memorial over the Pentagon from the same place, it reminds me of that day and the acrid smell in the parking garage. “The Looming Tower” on Hulu is the best retelling of how it happened.

    About a year later, before the Iraq Invasion, ABC News had a Pentagon Media Special with two bearded, fully armed, special operators walking through a walled Afghan village looking to detain and interrogate the local Haji. I knew then that the occupation and religious war were lost as it was two decades later. The only reason that the USA didn’t make a deal with the Taliban to kick out of all Arabs out of the country and leave was that there was too much money to be made by the connected.

    It is no coincidence that Joe Biden, the other day, said “Good Evening Vietnam” at his news conference in Hanoi. Basically, since November 23, 1963, the ruling western global corporate/state don’t give a damn for the best interests of the American people just themselves. Until good government and democracy are restored, the USA will continue its slide downhill.

  4. ked says:

    I’d been in Reston since Sunday night for an all-day Monday DARPA mtg – it had gone well for us. got up very early Tuesday for morning flight to Atlanta out of BWI – of course had to beat traffic & return rental. I’d considered staying over another day hoping for surcease from a slipped disc that worsened, but pain at home was more appealing than in a hotel. 50mi at a pretty good clip – focus took an edge off the back. got to the gate for anti-climax. slow boarding (but got an emerg exit window seat on the right side), slow pull back, slow to TO. in the air before 8:30. beautiful day for flying. should be home by early aft. if my back improves, may even hit the office & see what I missed on the hm front.
    pilot gets on the horn, confirms what a nice day it is, tells those on the other side what a great view of the coast they’ll have, he’ll get back to us soon to tell us more. never did.
    a quiet flight was fine w/ me, a bit unusual… didn’t see much of the crew & no service.
    landing at Hartsfield was the first sign something was off… way off. no moving planes or vehicles on the ground. as we rolled past the gates every single one I could see was occupied. & still nothing moving … no groundcrew to be seen. we held at a taxiway near runway’s end. for a long time. something definitely up. I guessed a threat or event at Hartsfield. passengers started using their blackberrys – & there were many on-board, BWI being well-known as NSA’s airport. woman behind me spoke quietly, “the WTC has been hit by a plane”. response across the aisle, “another one hit the other tower.” suddenly everything changed is an understatement. you could feel it… not much talking. crew announced “we’ll get a gate as soon as one opens”. the mind races. “what if Hartsfield IS a target… & we are a sitting one out in the open”. “what’s going on in NYC… DC… @ home?” I flipped from little picture to big, instant by instant. “this means war… a new kinda war… shocking & predicted.” “the longer we sit out here like sitting ducks, the more likely we’ll be sitting ducks.” “the US will over-react, do more things wrong before we get it right.” “push-come-to-shove, I can go out the emerg door inches from me… walk along the wing & drop at a low point.” {no longer aware, or care, of my back} “we’ll get those guys, even if we have to lose doing it, taking down everyone else on the planet in the way, regardless.” “how am I going to get home from here?” “whatever this is, it will end up being the terrorist’s high water mark… in a coupla years they’ll be lucky to knock over a gas station in the middle of nowhere.” “not good manners to open the e-exit w/o a directive… I’d just help everyone else wanting out anyway.”
    finally, movement, a gate, debarking… in silence… into a crush of people & all the voices… scrambling noise. every gate w/ TV news packed w/ watchers. I’ll recover my bag at some future time & place. I gotta get outta here before I can’t. {not a crowd person by nature}. MARTA… get on MARTA, head N… or any heading if that doesn’t work. things will likely shut down soon. made it to Midtown, along the way got a hold of my DC guy (well-connected ret USMC Lt.Col.) who filled me in a bit… said everyone at our offices was asking for me & that I should get to them right away & get a car before it’s too late. guys who’ve been in combat might on occasion be odd in peacetime, but always excellent when shit hits fan. got a call in to the office… a friend & part of my defense/gov biz team. he was ready-set to drive in & recover me … couldn’t be stopped… damned Marines… will not leave anyone hanging. wandered into a hotel by the station, found the bar w/ a TV, made some calls… one of those rare times in life when EVERYONE was truly happy to hear from you… had a drink, slowly, & waited.
    the drive was also kinda quiet. he said, “there’s going to be a gas shortage”. I said, “there will be no ammo left on any shelves in the South in 24 hrs”. in the N GA mountains, some things are obvious. got to the family, relief all around. next day was beautiful like the day before, but the world was different. I wondered, “who was in the Pentagon that I knew / had worked with?” “who was in the WTC…”. not just different… never the same.

  5. babelthuap says:

    There wouldn’t be any terrorism if we stopped couping countries. We did it to ourselves. Try to hold them accountable and they release domestic terrorism in the form of antifa and BLM and gain of function viruses on the public. Weaponizing the dollar though was the last straw. It will take a decade plus but the game is over. The rest of the world isn’t going to bow down anymore.

    • Billy Roche says:

      That’s funny. When I read the news these days I note that most terrorism world wide comes from Islam. Antifa and BLM are openly anti-American communist groups who wish the overthrow of America and present themselves as wholly domestic. I shudder at what they wish for replacement.

  6. walrus says:

    I was woken at about 2am, Eastern Australian time, by my son who had insomnia.”Dad, you’ve gototo see this he said”. The TV showed the one tower burning from what I assumed was a major accident. I made a cup of tea and sat with my son. We saw the second tower get hit. There was no Australian ztV commentary, just the live feed.

    We saw people jumping, then the collapse. Then news came through about the other two hijacks, I remember thinking: “please God, give the President the wisdom not to react” to what by then was obviously an Islamic provocation. I was praying for him to channel Winston Churchill and say something like “Nothing Al Qaeda does will make us change our ways.” and act upon it. We needed a stoic in the Whitehouse, instead we got Bush.

    Unfortunately this weak man took the bait Bin Laden had set for him and the whole solid mess of Iraq, Afghanistan, the squandering of blood, treasure and Americas good name followed. We have never recovered as the latest chapter in our descent, the engineering of the Ukraine war, sadly demonstrates.

  7. Barbara Ann says:


    Thanks to the link to Brigadier Ali’s essay on Islam. Together with the subsequent discussion it is most interesting, I wish I had been around at the time to contribute to it.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      I wasn’t aware of SST and The Atheneum at the time, either. Damned glad they’re both still available. There are some real gems among the posts and comments.

      • Lars says:

        Brigader Ali was one of the valued contributors once, along with some others who provided unique views on numerous events. On the other hand, there were some who are not really missed. When I first arrived, there were a multitude of contributors with very valuable views and many good comments were added and valued. There are some very good ones today too, but as in the past, there are some that I ignore, as I once did. I do not remember when I arrived and how I found it, but I know it was quite some time ago.

        I had my run ins with Col.Lang, mainly due to his failure to publish some of my contributions that I saw as political bias. But I ignored that too. But I do wish that we could entice other people from other parts of the world as we once did. It added content and could again.

        However, I am encouraged that this site is still alive and well, which is still important.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Lars; there are many days I don’t contribute. I can offer nothing. Nevertheless I read it daily. It remains miles, miles above the rest.

  8. F&L says:

    This truly freaked me out.
    I swear I knew someone who looks exactly like Lester Joseph Gillis – aka Baby Face Nelson.
    Am I imagining it or does he simply have a very common America face or is there a famous tv or movie star who looks like the man in these photos?

    Backstory – watching Public Enemies (Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger) for the 3rd time and decided to do some research.


    Scroll down for a pic of Dillinger. Harry Pierpont escaped with him from the Indiana State penitentiary. Does Dillinger look 31 years of age? Prison was hard on him.

    These are the men who escaped. Dillinger’s photo is missing. I think Edward Shouse is mislabeled – he’s in the lower left.

    Look at how beautiful Polly Hamilton was – she was with Dillinger when he was shot to death. Both are Polly in the top row – rhs is her as Mrs Rita Keele.

    Legs Diamond on left.

    More of Jack “Legs Diamond” Moran

    It’s relevant considering that 19 punk psychos reputedly pulled off 911. Don’t believe it? Think back to all the trouble and excitement these crooks and killers created. Or Jesse James with his gang.

  9. English Outsider says:

    F&L – “Reputedly”? Leaving some room for the truthers?

    Decades ago now and the dispute continues. Recently Larry Johnson issued a rebuke to those in the States who doubted the accepted account of 9/11. His comment section was deluged with people writing in insisting that account was wrong.

    It’ll be like the Kennedy assassination. I don’t suppose it’ll ever go away, either dispute.

    I saw 9/11 happen on TV. I’d dropped in to a friend’s house. Unusually for him he had the TV on during a working day and was watching it fixedly. They’d put one of the planes hitting a tower on a loop. I thought at first my friend was watching some SF programme. He explained rapidly that it was real.

    I saw no reason afterwards to doubt that what I saw was what happened. Maybe there’d been some Intelligence failure, though that’s always easy to say after the event. It looked to me later that the Saudi connection had been deliberately underplayed. It was a tragedy, and an atrocity, that was certainly made full use of by the neocons as they geared up for their forever wars. So 9/11 marked our passage from the comfortable and, we all had thought, stable world of the late 20th Century to the world of today.

    Did we feel that at the time? Or do we project those premonitions back? The latter, I think. But the sympathy all felt eased the path to what was to come.

    Many of us in the UK felt strongly, both at the beginning of the Afghan War and the Iraq war, that the Americans had helped us out where they could, full measure, in the past, and it was time to give some support back. That sentiment in much of the UK general public led to general support for UK involvement in the first case and helped Blair get away with his WMD nonsense in the second. Would we have helped open the “Gates of Hell” had it not been for that preliminary?

    A sharper brain across the Atlantic was observing that sequel to 9/11. Was watching it at first hand, too, as he saw the crazies emerge from the basement and set up shop in the front office.


    Of course I saw more of 9/11 a little later than planes hitting a building. Some of the most horrendous sights I’ve seen on TV. Out of that horror so many other horrors grew.

    • TTG says:


      I’m not sure how the truthers explain away toe two airliners that slammed into the WTC towers or the one that crashed in Pennsylvania. The video of the plane flying into the Pentagon is inconclusive from what I’ve seen. The video does sort of look like a missile. The clincher for me was an eyewitness account from somebody driving on the road immediately west of the Pentagon. I spoke to him at an Arlington 7-Eleven no more than an hour or two after the strike. He heard the airliner, saw the airliner and just missed being hit by a light pole that the airliner hit and knocked down. It was no missile.

      Our attack on Afghanistan was largely vengeance, but I was fine with that. Our major mistake was in invading Iraq. Cheney and his neocons used 9/11 as an excuse to put his plan of conquest into action. Within DIA, most of us knew it was a grand mistake. We compounded that error by turning a simple act of vengeance in Afghanistan into a nation building crusade.

      • Billy Roche says:

        TTG , I agree. I agree too on “Cheney and his neocons”. But it wasn’t just Cheney. It was also Bush “The Unready”. So how would you characterize Obama, Kerry, and Clinton(s)? They are directly responsible for our mistakes in Libya, Syria, and almost Egypt. Did they also believe the neocon nonsense of “rule Americana”? As to “nation building”, what folly, what hubris. It hurts my ears.

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