United 93: When the FBI meddles with time
When I wrote about the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcript presented at the al-Moussaoui trial being a hoax every attempt was made to discredit my post, and because the BBC in their report had messed up and described the opening passage where the alleged hijackers announced having a bomb on board as being in Arabic (something they later corrected on their news website) a punter by the blogger name of Lenbrazil who busily tries to salvage the lost credibility of the official 9/11 story on numerous sites, thought he could turn this confusion into proof positive that I hadn't done my homework. I have therefore decided to revisit the topic to show that the evidence has been doctored.
Since all information relating to 9/11 flights has been classified and none of the actual ATC and CVR recordings have been released there is very little evidence to go by, but the US government cannot hide behind this fact since all they have to do to dispel any accusations is to release the material. At the moment, courtesy of Airdisaster.com, we have a recording of communications between Cleveland Air Traffic Control and Flight 93 plus some other flights sharing the same frequency together with a transcript of the same recording courtesy of Joe Vialls, whose website unfortunately disappears when clicked, but which has been preserved by thememoryhole.org. And we have the cockpit voice recorder transcript submitted by the prosecution during the al-Moussaoui trial.
I had made the point that what Air Traffic can record and what the onboard cockpit voice recorder picks up will not be the same. The CVR will only pick up ATC communications to the aircraft and those from other aircraft if they have been switched to loudspeaker. Air traffic control, and other aircraft sharing the frequency, will only hear what is said inside the cockpit when the PTT (push to talk) button on the control column is being pressed. If we look at the CVR transcript it appears that the hijackers confused the PTT switch with the intercom switch for making public announcements to passengers. This would explain why their announcement about a bomb on board is picked up by air traffic control. So let's assume this is what happened.
There are only two occasions where what was said on the flight deck of United 93 is being heard on the ATC tape, and on both occasions the alleged hijackers would have had to press the PTT button whilst not doing so at other times. However, since we can hear ATC communications from Cleveland and from other aircraft also at other times, those must have been switched to loudspeaker throughout. This implies that everything which can be heard on the ATC recording must also be recorded on the CVR. If some phrases don't match exactly we could put this down to difficulties in transcribing a tape of poor sound quality, although if you listen to it you will find that everything is quite clear and audible. But how do you explain missing bits? The exchange between Cleveland and Executive Jet 956, for example, is a lot lengthier on the ATC recording than on the CVR, including some heading instructions to move the aircrafts apart. Did the CVR record selectively? Was it editing what it heard? The CVR transcript provided by the prosecution has a continuous time stamp, so we must assume that it is the complete recording. Therefore, there shouldn't be any missing bits.
But it is the time stamp which lets the authors of the transcript down badly. Not only does the CVR recording stop 3 minutes before impact as pointed out by Philadelphia Daily, on this occasion it also manages to alter time altogether! There are two occasions where the hijackers talk about having a bomb on board and they appear on both transcripts. Both start with "this is the captain" indicating that they were meant to be announcements to the passengers. If you listen to the recording, a total 50 seconds pass between them. According to the CVR transcript, however, the first announcement was made at 09:31:57, the second at 09:39:11, thus making the gap between them 7:14 minutes. In other words, whilst 50 seconds passed on the ground, seven minutes and fourteen seconds passed in the air. It is true that AirDisaster.com added the following warning to the recording they made available: "Please note that this tape is not chronologically accurate; periods of dead air (silence) have been removed for brevity". It is impossible, however, to find anywhere in those 50 seconds of recorded ATC communications where gaps as long as six minutes could have been, given that this is a period of heightened excitement and activity. After the first bomb announcement air traffic ask for confirmation from flight 93, no doubt straight away, and then Executive 956 tells them that they heard something like there being a bomb on board. I am sure it didn't take them more than a few seconds to relate that information. This is followed by an exchange between Cleveland and Executive 956 which runs without interruption. Then there is a traffic warning to another aircraft, followed by the next bomb announcement. This is the time least likely to contain any periods of silence. Can you imagine an aircraft announcing a bomb on board and everybody going on a tea break?
So there are two crucial discrepancies, the timing and the fact that the CVR recording only picks up a fraction of what can be heard having been said on the ATC tape. Now if these transcripts had been the result of somebody taking notes it would be understandable that they may have missed one or the other remark, but we are talking about recording machines which cannot suffer from selective memory. I say it again: There is only one way the US authorities can dispel the charge that they are doctoring the evidence or telling outright lies, and that is releasing the actual recordings. There is no valid reason why they should not, except – to judge by the sloppy transcript job – that they will end up with even more egg on their faces.