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Thursday, August 21, 2008


Nick Schou, OC Weekly reporter, Lies About 9/11 Evidence & Libels
Citizen Investigation Team

Hit-piece here


To all those concerned with honest reporting,

When OC Weekly reporter Nick Schou contacted us for a "possible cover story" about the extensive evidence we have obtained concerning the 9/11/2001 attack on the Pentagon we saw it as a tremendous opportunity to get this important information to the public.

As an OC Weekly reader I was hopeful (and fairly confident, really) that Nick would look into the evidence thoroughly and objectively, and report fairly. Still, I couldn't help but feel slightly apprehensive. We know full well that the implications of our findings make it difficult for the average person--journalists included-- to do this. Would Nick have a knee-jerk negative reaction based on the implications of the evidence we present and therefore dismiss the evidence itself out of hand as we have seen from others in the media?

We could only hope that the answer was "no" to this question, and so we instantly made an effort to express to him the importance of focusing on this evidence as opposed to us personally, or the drama behind the personalities involved with the "9/11 truth movement". After working hard to shuffle his schedule to fit in a time when he could meet with us we invited him to my partner Aldo Marquis' home. We planned to talk in person and show him video clips of the new witness interviews we only recently obtained. These new interviews strongly validate the main point in our original presentation, The PentaCon Smoking Gun Version, which we released over a year and a half ago. That point is this:

All of the eyewitnesses we have spoken to who were at or near the former Citgo gas station, including two Pentagon police officers, definitively place the plane on the north side of the station. As we show in our latest presentation, The North Side Flyover, via detailed, on-location interviews, there are now thirteen eyewitnesses, all with different vantage points, who all independently corroborate each other on this fact. This is an astronomical level of validation for such a claim, and it is simply not reasonable to assume that they are all simultaneously incorrect.

Why is this significant? It is because the damage path requires an approach from the southern side of Citgo. That is, in order to have been the cause of the five downed light poles and the damage to the Pentagon outlined by the ASCE Pentagon Building Performance Report, the plane had to have flown on the south side of the Citgo gas station. If it had hit the building from any other trajectory the physical damage would have been completely different. Since it was not, an approach from north of the former Citgo gas station is mutually exclusive with the notion that the plane hit the building.

Besides showing Nick these interviews, we wanted to make sure he heard the recording of the account of another Pentagon police officer, Roosevelt Roberts Jr.

Immediately after the explosion (supposed impact), Roosevelt witnessed the plane less than 100 feet off of the ground flying away from the Pentagon, confirming what we already knew to be the case based on the testimony of all of the other witnesses: that the plane did not strike the Pentagon, but in fact flew over the Pentagon and continued on. We attempted to explain the extreme importance of this brand new evidence to Schou, but in retrospect we can see that our words fell on deaf ears.

When he arrived at Aldo's residence, Nick seemed affable enough. From the beginning, he expressed his intention to focus on our personal back-stories and involvement with personalities within the 9/11 truth movement first in the article. He would get into the evidence later, he said.

We understood how some of this was necessary for an interesting article and were happy to oblige. Nick shared multiple beers with us, and the conversation flowed smoothly. However, despite our desire to delve into the evidence itself, Nick skillfully kept the conversation on a superficial level. In retrospect, his main interest did not seem to be the evidence, but rather juicy gossip or controversial quotes which, taken out of context, could be construed as outrageous claims on our part (with the release of his article, this has proven to have been the case).

Before we knew it, 3 hours had passed and it was clear that Nick's time with us had virtually played out. At this point we insisted on going over the new witness interviews and once again stressed the importance of the brand new critical first flyover witness, Roosevelt Roberts Jr. However it was clear that Nick instantly turned disinterested and inattentive, so he cut off the interview within minutes with a promise to follow up and potentially meet again since there was no deadline set for the story yet and therefore plenty of time.

Despite numerous requests on our part in the subsequent weeks, no such meeting occurred. He actually had the gall to flat out tell us that he would not meet with us again to go over the evidence because it was simply too much work to transcribe the interview! Nick told us, "I have some follow up questions but after spending a week transcribing that interview, I'd rather do the rest of the talking by email because I'm too short on time to do that again."

Remember that it also seemed like a strain on his schedule to pull off the initial interview even though he actually lives in the same city as Aldo, Long Beach, and we gave him an open invitation to his home.

We continued to give Nick the benefit of the doubt that he would write a thorough and accurate story so we tried to empathize with his situation. We forwarded him as much information via email that we could. His responses were curt and his follow up questions were completely limited to further information about us personally and gossip involved with the 9/11 truth movement. Within this time our new presentation including all 13 north side witnesses and the critical first flyover witness account of Roosevelt Roberts Jr. was publicly released online. When I requested that he watch it, and asked if there was a publish date for the story set yet, Nick replied, "I'll check out the new presentation...The story will run a week from next Thursday."

That message was sent on Thursday July 31st so the story was set to run on Thursday August 14 giving him plenty of time to review and include the newly released evidence that we had been pleading with him to feature in the article since he initially contacted us.

All follow up questions from Nick via email were limited to personal details and 9/11 truth movement gossip. In the final article he merely made a dismissive and cursory mention to some of the 9 new north side witness accounts we just released (without naming a single name) yet completely omitted the critical flyover account of Roosevelt Roberts Jr. despite our repeated requests to make this important brand new evidence the focal point of the article. This is an absolute deliberate lie by omission on Nick Schou's part given the importance of this evidence and the fact that we literally begged for Nick to review and look into this information and even provided him with Roosevelt's personal cell phone number. If he found the evidence invalid why wouldn't he have made this point? Instead he chose to ignore the information all together and simply made blanket statements denying that we presented any evidence at all. Schou wrote, "...The PentaCon includes no evidence of anything whatsoever, just a lot of questions and innuendo set to an ominous hip-hop beat".

This statement is a blatant lie and is ultimately what proves libel since we explained to Nick how first-hand eyewitness testimony is acceptable evidence in every court in the land. We provided him with all 14 names of the witnesses and 12 recorded accounts of their interviews, most video taped on location. He chose to only attempt to validate one of the 14 and he failed to refute even this account. But even more egregious he only mentioned 2 out of 14 of the names in his article. This can not be considered anything less than a deliberate cover-up when considering the significant amount of urgency we impressed upon Nick to investigate this information.

Not surprisingly, Nick's final story ended up being a vapid gossip filled hit-piece wrought with inaccuracies and devoid of the facts. He blatantly misrepresented our claims by flat out lying about what we said in an obvious effort to make us look crazy. He avoided following up with questions regarding the claims of others about us and deliberately omitted the evidence that validates what we had been saying.

The lack of journalistic integrity is abominable as it is now clear that Nick Schou deliberately set out to libel us, his investigative reporting colleagues, while dismissing evidence implicating high crimes of the U.S. government with a hand wave.

I will now proceed to list the numerous inaccuracies and deceptions infused throughout his entire article in order.


1. Inaccuracy: Indeed the very first sentence in his article contains a fatal error or else is further evidence of a military deception on 9/11. Schou reports regarding alleged witness Mike Walter, "When he first saw the passenger jet descending too low and too fast over the Potomac River�"

According to the official NTSB data the plane never flew near or over the river at all. Either Schou simply embellished this unquoted detail or else Mike Walter is seriously contradicting the official story with this claim that he has never been quoted as making in the past. Given the extreme importance of this matter we respectfully request that Schou clarifies which is the case.


2. Blatant lie: The lie seems to be on the part of alleged witness Mike Walter but Schou's failure to request a response from us regarding this serious accusation indicates pure journalistic laziness if not a deliberate desire to run with any whimsical accusation against us. Schou reports, "Walter chatted casually with the pair, and at one point, he realized that Ranke was surreptitiously tape-recording the conversation."

The claim is ridiculous. If it was "surreptitious" how would Walter know about it? The fact is that after more than one hour of generalized discussion regarding 9/11 as well as all world affairs, when Walter was being particularly candid about the state of mainstream media vs alternative media reporting, I openly pulled out my recorder and asked Walter permission to document his opinion. Walter was taken aback yet agreed but clearly became uncomfortable and clammed up after the recorder was turned on and set at the center of the table. After a few minutes of empty awkward discussion I opted to shut it off and that was that. It was never published because nothing of interest or relevance was discussed at that time. The notion that this was done "surreptitiously" is a lie for character assassination purposes that Schou eagerly lapped up without so much as a courtesy email to get my response.


3. Blatant lie: Once again Walter proceeded to spin a complete fairytale that Schou was happy to publish without bothering to get our response. Schou quoting Walter; "They were saying things like, 'Are you sure the plane didn't land [at Reagan airport] and they set off a bomb?' They kept coming up with all these scenarios".

When we met with Walter it was the first evening of our first trip to Arlington. We knew nothing of the north side evidence we would eventually obtain, and had no theory or "scenario" in mind at all other than a suspicion that the official story did not add up due to the anomalous physical damage to the building. Furthermore we have never suggested that we believe the plane landed at Reagan. This is a fabrication created by Walter and Schou that has nothing to do with the evidence we present or claims we have made to either of them. You will not find a quote from us in this regard in any of our presentations or anywhere for that matter. A lack of quotes from us regarding Schous' statements about our claims is prevalent throughout the article.


4. Inaccuracy: Amazingly, despite the fact this was for a 5 page cover article, Schou was so disinterested in accurate reporting that he failed to reference the name of our organization correctly! We are Citizen Investigation Team yet he erroneously chose to refer to us as "Citizens Investigative Team" throughout the article. We are a registered California tax paying LLC and Nick failed to so much as take a cursory look at our website or pay attention enough to our video presentations to get this simple detail correct.

(this error has been subsequently acknowledged in print and corrected on the online version but he also incorrectly called me and my partner "software engineers")

5. Misrepresentation/childish ridicule: Now came the time when Schou would sum up our alleged "theory" in his own words. Naturally he got it wrong but he made sure to not leave out unnecessary ridicule while misrepresenting our claims in yet another blatant effort to make us look crazy. First he said, "The Citizens Investigative Team[sic] claims to have obtained undeniable evidence that what happened at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 was not a terrorist attack by al-Qaida (the official story) or a covert operation by the U.S. military (the widely held conspiracy theory)�"

Now wait just a minute. How does this make sense? We repeatedly refer to it as a "military deception" and unabashedly suggest that it was an inside job. Of course it was a covert operation! We are quite clear in this throughout the interview. How could Schou get this wrong? Is he implying that we suggested it was some magical illusion created by space aliens without the knowledge of anyone in the U.S. government? I don't know because he does not elaborate or quote us in this regard and simply makes this false comment in segue to ridicule us and further misrepresent our claims. He goes on, "-pause for circus music- a magic trick in which a military plane painted to resemble an American Airlines jet flew low over the Pentagon while explosives took down a wall of the structure in a convenient cloud of smoke, thus allowing the plane to fly away and secretly land somewhere, presumably at nearby Reagan National Airport. Unfortunately, their film The PentaCon, doesn't provide any evidence of this."

We don't provide evidence for this because it is not our claim. We never said the decoy jet in question was painted to look like an AA jet and in fact we claim the opposite. The evidence we provide suggests that it did not look like an AA jet since most independent witnesses we spoke with describe different colors. Furthermore we have never claimed nor do we believe that it landed at Reagan National Airport. As stated earlier Mike Walter was simply lying about our claims and Nick apparently decided to run with it without bothering to check with us. This is why Schou does not quote us making this claim. Schou was not interested in asking us about the evidence or accurately reporting details regarding our complete theory. He instead chose to create his own theory while leaving out the evidence we present as a means to childishly ridicule us by suggesting that the reader pauses for "circus music".

6. Inaccuracy/misrepresentation: Schou continued, "The fact that all those eyewitnesses and many more believe they saw the jet hit the Pentagon-which happens to be the official version of what happened that day as well as the accepted truth among most conspiracy theorists-doesn't bother Ranke and Marquis".

This unsupported statement is sheer lunacy. Most "conspiracy theorists" certainly do not believe a plane hit! Most believe a missile hit the building. That has been the widely held theory since day one that we are responsible for debunking with hard evidence. Once again Schou has no qualms speaking for us without quoting us or ever having asked us our thoughts on this matter, but this time he decided to do it for the entire 9/11 truth movement as well. He went on, "The 'evidence', they say, proves all those witnesses actually saw something else; another jet, flown by an unknown military pilot, soaring just over the roof of the Pentagon, while explosives planted by government operatives�."

While this is close to our claims it is not entirely accurate and it contradicts when Schou earlier and erroneously claimed that we said it was not a "covert operation by the U.S. military". Is he paying so little attention to the very words he is writing about us that he can't see this contradiction in his assessment of our beliefs? Furthermore we never said it was flown by an "unknown military pilot". We make no claims in this regard since we have no evidence as to whether it was remote guided or who or what could have flown it. Once again Schou fails to provide a quote of us making this claim but has no qualms misrepresenting this as what we said anyway.

7. Blatant lie: Schou's effort to demonize us as hated within the 9/11 truth movement is indicative in this statement, "Many conspiracy theorists-like Avery and Pickering- are no longer on speaking terms with Ranke and Marquis."

Schou admitted that Avery declined to comment for the interview so why is he speaking for him? The fact is that we told Schou how Avery has remained cordial with us and even showed up in person for a presentation I did for the San Diego 9/11 Truth group only days after we spoke with Schou. Avery stepped right up, shook my hand, and spoke with me. He made a point to shake my hand again before he left and congratulate me on the new evidence that Schou failed to cover in his article. So that leaves Pickering as the sole person we are not on speaking terms with. Given the fact that Pickering publicly quit the movement after spiraling out of control in a flurry of personal attacks against us means that he is no longer a "conspiracy theorist" or member of the 9/11 truth movement so now Schou's claim of "many" that we are "no longer on speaking terms with" has been reduced to zero.

8. Blatant lie: As a means to continue his theme that we are paranoid or crazy Schou lied about our claims once again without quoting us when he said this, "They say their phones have been tapped..."

We never said our phones were tapped which is why Schou did not quote us making this claim. We did say we heard clicks when talking with Pickering shortly after the first trip, which is true, but Pickering also heard them and he was the one who was acting spooked out by it. We suggested that Pickering was doing that to deter us and when Schou finally does quote us about it you can see that this is what we really said. But this was only after Schou already lied about us definitively claiming our phones were tapped. Pickering most certainly was acting plenty spooked about the clicks at the time but apparently Schou failed to ask him about this or simply chose to misrepresent what we said as a means to falsely attack us.


9. Inaccuracy: This could be considered a minor mistake but pseudo-skeptic detractors of ours have already used it as an example that I am inaccurate or embellishing my story when in fact it is Schou. Schou inaccurately states, "That's when Ranke heard the cell-phone calls placed by terrified passengers on the planes that hit the towers."

I stated that the reports of the cell phone calls are what convinced me. No actual recordings or transcripts had been released yet but reports of Barbara Olson's alleged calls from "Flight 77" to her husband Solicitor General Ted Olson were reported by CNN early in the morning on 9/12/2001.


10. Inaccuracy: Schou continued to rely on the word of Mike Walter without bothering to get a response from us about his claims. Schou continues, "One of their first stops was Walter's Fairfax, Virginia, home. After noticing Ranke's not-so-subtle effort to secretly tape-record their conversation-and realizing that Ranke and Marquis weren't interested in hearing anything that contradicted their notion that a plane didn't actually hit the building-he refused to submit an interview."

As described earlier this is a lie on Walter's part as I openly asked him if I could record. Furthermore Walter was not scheduled to give an interview to us. He was scheduled to give the interview to Avery whom Walter told Schou he thought was "young and nice" while we were apparently the "crazy" ones. Walter gave a very different excuse to Avery and actually said that he drank too much with us to get up early for the interview but also that he had a contract negotiation coming up with WUSA and was "advised" not to give the interview. This is evidence that Walter is now dedicated to saying whatever it takes to make us look bad. We even forwarded Schou an email from Walter to Dylan Avery, from months after our visit, that Avery had shared with us painting a very different picture of Walter's attitude of us at the time. Here it is for the record; Walter said this to Avery regarding a recent youtube piece Walter put out in response to what people were saying about him online:

"I know you are not out to character assassinate me, I've never once presumed that, and if I did think that, clearly I never would have invited you into my home. I would never presume to think that Craig and Aldo are out to get me either. I bear no grudges or hard feelings towards anyone. I just responded to some of the stuff that has been written about me on the internet that I am aware of. I have no idea who wrote these things. Quite frankly I don't care."
-Mike Walter

So what could possibly posses him to suggest to Schou that we are "crazy" and lie about what we said and did?

The fact that Schou failed to report this email that seriously contradicts what Walter would later tell him about us speaks volumes in regards to Schou's lack of journalistic integrity.

11. Inaccuracy/pigeonholing/demonizing: Schou went on to quote Walter's friend Troy who attended the barbecue in regard to his opinion on us. Schou reported that Troy said about us, "Their objective was to unseat the U.S. government".

Reporting Troy's ludicrous opinion about us is fine but failing to get a response from us regarding this strong accusation that makes us out to look like terrorists is not. Our "objective" is to uncover the truth behind the worst attack on American soil, seek justice for the crime, and put an end to the fraudulent war on terror. We are not anarchists; we are anti-war truth seekers who refuse to accept what we are told by the media and government without independent confirmation. Of course a rational response from us in this regard would not play out very well for Schou's hit-piece so he simply chose not to ask us to respond to Troy's baseless accusation.


12. Inaccuracy/lie by omission: Now that we are coming to the end of the article Schou finally decided to talk about the evidence a bit. Amazingly, Schou only talked about 2 out of 14 corroborated witness names presented seriously reducing the level of validation that we have obtained, but beyond this lie by omission, he got the name of 1 of the 2 he featured incorrect! William Lagasse's name tag on his police uniform is prominently visible during our video taped on-site interview with him in the documentary yet Schou spells his name "Legasse" throughout the article demonstrating further his blatant laziness and utter disregard for accuracy in reporting.

13. Distortion/misrepresentation: Schou claimed, "Where some might find contradictory eyewitness accounts a normal outcome of an intense, traumatic event, Marquis and Ranke view any eyewitness statement placing the plane on the north side of the gas station as clear evidence that the NTSB data is phony and further proof that the military was behind 9/11."

This statement sums up the ultimate decision of Schou to ignore, dismiss, and misrepresent the evidence that we present at all cost. The witnesses are not "contradictory". They unanimously make the exact same claim in regards to the plane being on the north side. They independently corroborate each other perfectly while nobody directly refutes them. We wonder if Nick Schou has ever found validation on that level for any of the stories he has investigated yet still refused to believe it. If the witnesses didn't match then of course the claim would be questionable. The fact that they all corroborate each other means the notion of a "traumatic event" typically causing contradicting witness statements is irrelevant to this evidence. They all perfectly match and that is the point here. If Schou was truly interested in refuting this evidence with anything more than blanket denial he would have sought out witness accounts of the plane on the south side. He would have had a rough time because there are none. This is the point that Schou refuses to accept, and has attempted to cover up, by failing to report all 13 witnesses accounts that we have obtained, or even so much as acknowledge how many exist. He made no attempt to contact them and re-validate their claims like a reporter is supposed to do. He has simply pretended they don't exist and deceptively reduced the number from 13 to 2 for this article.

14. Blatant lie: This is probably the worst blatant lie of the bunch. When referencing Russell Pickering's beliefs Schou said, "He still believes that 9/11 was an inside job, but Pickering strongly disagrees with Ranke and Marquis' fly-over theory, which isn't supported by a single eyewitness. 'Nobody looked up and saw a plane fly over the Pentagon and fly away. Nobody reported a fly-over.'"

Roosevelt Roberts Jr. did. We told this to Schou. We provided Schou with the interview and Roosevelt's number. So why did he fail to mention Roosevelt and insist on lying about what evidence exists or doesn't exist? There is no way to know but we hope that Schou will publicly answer this question since his claim is utterly false and we had already provided the evidence proving it. Furthermore we explained to Schou how the 911 call tapes and transcripts from Arlington have been all confiscated and permanently sequestered by the FBI while they were released from New York. This implicates a deliberate cover-up of what people really did first report in Arlington so we are left to rely on the media. Apparently this doesn't bother Schou or Pickering as they are happy to accept what they have been told regardless of the level of evidence there is to the contrary.

15. Inaccuracy: Schou went on, "Ranke and Marquis also interviewed several Arlington National Cemetery employees after receiving permission to bring cameras to the facility".

Although it's great that finally Schou at least made a cursory mention to the new evidence, he is once again reporting inaccurately when he said we obtained permission to bring cameras to the facility. This time we simply showed up and conducted the interviews without any permission. Interesting how Schou mentions the importance of the banking motion of the plane without having looked into why this is important or made any effort to confirm or refute this. But he also fails to mention the extreme high level of corroboration of the north side claim we have obtained. 13 witnesses independently corroborate the north side claim. Why do you suppose Schou has so much trouble stating this while he has not presented a single statement from any one of the 13 witnesses contradicting this or suggesting that we misrepresented their accounts? Why do you suppose he only attempted to contact one of these witnesses to verify or refute the information despite the fact that he chose to do a cover story on it? This is not the behavior of an investigative reporter with integrity or an honest desire to find the truth.


16. Inaccuracy: Schou goes on to refer to our interview with alleged witness Keith Wheelhouse and suggests that it is in "The Researcher's Edition of The PentaCon".

However the Researcher's Edition has not yet been completed or released so once again Schou is simply demonstrating his laziness and inattention to details and an inherent tendency to report inaccurate information. When discussing our interview with Wheelhouse Schou completely misses the point how Wheelhouse's claim that "AA77" was literally "shadowed" by a C-130 up until the last moment when the C-130 veered away from the building immediately after the explosion is not corroborated by any other witness, the official data, and is fully contradicted by the actual pilot of the C-130 Lt Col Steve O'Brien, yet this proven false claim serves as perfect cover for the flyover. Perhaps if Schou paid better attention to the title of the presentation he was actually watching, The 2nd Plane Cover Story, he might have understood this.


17. Inaccuracy: Schou incorrectly quotes us as having spelled the name of our own organization wrong! The irony here is while making this ridiculous error he felt the need to nitpick regarding a small grammar mistake we made by using the word "specific" instead of "specifically". Schou said, "Take the bizarre disclaimer at the end of the film: 'Citizens Investigative Team is not directly accusing anyone specific [sic] featured in this presentation as being complicit in the crime,'"

Why is he more concerned with our grammar than his own accuracy or bothering to validate or refute the evidence?

(error subsequently acknowledged in print and corrected in online version but our question still stands)


18. Distortion/misrepresentation: Schou continues in regards to our alleged claims about the 2nd plane cover story, "How witnesses who saw a second plane high in the skies above the Pentagon could possibly be part of a conspiracy to fool the public into thinking that a plane nobody saw fly over the Pentagon actually crashed into a building is a question that is as ridiculously convoluted and inherently illogical as the very theory embraced by Marquis and Ranke".

If Schou had trouble understanding our claims he could have asked us to clarify but his statement here proves he was either unable or simply refused to get it. He is not accurately representing our claim. We state that ambiguous media reports of a real 2nd plane that flew in to the scene minutes later were blended with false eyewitness reports of this 2nd plane flying away from the scene immediately after the explosion. If Schou believes Wheelhouse's account of this then why doesn't he think that everyone would have seen this shadowing plane flying away immediately after the explosion? You can't suggest that this report is accurate and simultaneously suggest that no plane flew away at the same time as the explosion. This is where the confusion sets in but instead of trying to figure it out or asking us to clarify; Schou incredulously throws his hands up in the air and waves it all away. Wheelhouse doesn't describe it "high in the sky" and Sucherman or Narayanan didn't either until we interviewed them and forced them to nail down more details. Like many of the other USA Today employees, who conveniently and coincidently also mention the 2nd plane in their accounts, they were ambiguous in regards to the 2nd plane details such as altitude, type of plane, and timing. It's the ambiguity that left it floating out there to work as cover, yet combined with Wheelhouse being very specific about the 2nd plane allegedly "shadowing" the attack jet and flying away immediately after the explosion, this should ring warning bells for any honest researcher. It's amazing that Schou can literally claim he believes this account while simultaneously stating that nobody saw a plane flying away from the building immediately after the explosion, yet he remains completely oblivious to this clear contradiction.

There can now be no question that Schou went into this article with an agenda and a clear desire to portray us a certain way. It's rather apparent he was unwilling to put in the necessary effort to validate, refute, or even understand the evidence and preferred to focus on gossip instead. This type of behavior is despicable for any journalist and frankly the extreme level of blatant dishonesty as outlined in this letter leaves the OC Weekly vulnerable to charges of libel. Citizen Investigation Team demands that all errors are corrected and that a complete retraction of all the false claims and distortions outlined in this letter is issued.

Craig Ranke & Aldo Marquis
Citizen Investigation Team

Copyright 2007 Citizen Investigation Team. All rights reserved.