JULES NAUDET'S FIRST PLANE SHOT WAS STAGED
A Clue to the Truth about 9/11 ?



Appendix 1 : Pavel Hlava and Wolfgang Staehle

The obvious cover story for a genuinely accidental film shot of Flight 11 would be having a tourist do it: virtually nobody who actually lives in New York films landmarks like the World Trade Center that are part of daily life, but tourists do. The obvious story is, however, as usual, too obvious. For example, when it turned out that a tourist had filmed it, some people might ask why only one. For another, most tourists filming the towers from the outside would want to emphasise the height by filming close too close to capture much of the flight of a jet flying into one of them not to mention too close for safety.

Jules Naudet didn't film the plane as a tourist, or from his home, or from his place of work or even from someone else's place of work at least, not the place they spend most of their working hours. But someone else did because, it would appear, provision was made for the possibility that suspicions might be raised, sooner or later, about the first film: if that were to happen, Film Two could be brought out, to "prove" the Naudet film wasn't suspiciously unique after all. This simple explanation of the mysterious two-year delay before that happened has the merit of being remotely credible, unlike the official story. Then someone with the brains to realise that the second story might be just as suspect as the first came up with an idea for a third photographer : the nutty artist, who points his camera and films nothing, as an aesthetic statement this particular nothing turning out, by the processes of Zen abstraction, to be an act of mass murder. "Something had obviously happened, but for reviewers that's about as clear as things got." (art critic John Menick). Perhaps they're just unused to dealing with film as nothing more subtle than naked political propaganda, disguised as art.

Not one, not two, but three male immigrants a Frenchman, a Czech and a German two of them with a Sony camcorder and a brother in the story photographed Flight 11 (or what appears to be a plane, anyway none of the images permit specific identification) over Manhattan: another coincidence (or not) to add to the list, although the three shots are notable as much for their differences as their similarities one by an alleged amateur, the others by professionals, for instance. It should be noted, however, that although all three captured the plane, only Naudet filmed its actual impact on the tower's north face : in that sense unless there are still more films out there waiting to be "discovered," stuffed away in an amnesiac's attic his shot can still rightfully be described as unique.

Still from the Pavel Hlava video, as broadcast by ABC News. The Twin Towers are beyond the wall at the top right, South on the left, North mostly hidden behind it, with their east faces sunlit ; the plane can be seen as a tiny indistinct blob to their right. Within seconds, Hlava zooms in for a closer view by which time a cloud of smoke is clearly visible, pouring out of the far side of the North Tower (the actual impact is unseen on film), yet Hlava claims incredibly not to have seen plane or smoke, either at the time, on his camcorder display screen, or for another two weeks.

Pavel Hlava, a 40-year-old Czech from Ostrava (originally from Brno) who came to the USA illegally in 1999, and his 45-year-old brother Josef, who had previously lived and worked in New York, and was now on his third visit, were in a Ford Explorer SUV driven by Pavel's employer, Russian-born Mike Cohen, about to enter the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, at 8.46 am on September 11 2001, taking a detour on their way to a construction job in Pennsylvania so that Pavel could film the Twin Towers for the Hlava family back in Europe.

This photographer picked not just the wrong day, but the wrong time, to film the World Trade Center. Within seconds of the towers first appearing in his "video postcard," with Hlava zooming in for a close-up, what happens ? Along comes Flight 11 and crashes straight into it perfect timing not, we're told, that he identified the dot in his film as a plane until two weeks later. Unlike Naudet's, this story has the cameraman allegedly unaware he had filmed the plane, despite hearing, seconds later, a radio report saying one had just hit that very building: didn't it occur to him he might have captured it ? Why would it take him two weeks to check ? Not least when he later, consciously and without any doubt in his mind, managed to capture the second plane, Flight 175, hitting the South Tower, and then its collapse 56 minutes later.

And why would he then, having failed to sell a film whose significance he supposedly didn't appreciate, leave it lying around in his apartment in Ridgewood for two years, where we are told his son once nearly wiped the tape, playing with it ? And why would he then, having allowed one TV showing of his film in September 2003, refuse to allow it to be broadcast in public ever again ? Because his employer objected, we're told: "Three thousand people died in that place ... the day he's gonna sell that film, he's not gonna work for me anymore." And we all know how difficult it is for Eastern European immigrants to find work in the west: rather less difficult than believing this nonsense, or the rest of the Hlava tale.

Hlava's agent the man who got his film its short-lived publicity was one Walter Karling, who, it turns out, is a professional photographer and an instructor at the New York Institute of Photography at 211 East 43rd Street: someone, in short, who should be more than capable of recognizing a photographic fraud when he sees one and probably did in this case, meaning he too is complicit. Just as Hlava turns out to be associated with a professional photographer, the Naudet brothers are associated with a professional actor and amateur cameraman: isn't that curious ? I say that both Naudet and Hlava if they were the photographers knew what was going to happen that morning, and were told how to film it by handlers working for one of the US intelligence agencies Karling and Hanlon. Their attempts to explain how they captured these films are obviously false, and they are all liars.

Hlava's retreat from public life has been even more complete than the Naudets': not a sausage since September 2003 no news on his legal action against the TV channel that showed his film without his permission, no buyer for the film, no interviews, no follow-up, no address, no contact details nothing. He turns up two years after the event with one of the rarest pieces of film in the world, telling a cock-and-bull tale about it, then disappears off the face of the earth again for the next four years: nothing suspicious there, then why am I so hard to convince ?

Pavel Hlava (left) and Mike Cohen, Brooklyn, 5 September 2003

Walter Karling (left)(photo Chuck DeLaney, NYIP)/Josef Hlava (photo Vladimir Weiss, Prague Post)

Wolfgang Staehle, born Stuttgart 1950, New York resident since 1976, installed two webcams in a loft apartment in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn as part of his installation titled "2001," due to run from 6 September to 6 October (his first solo show in the USA since 1990). Modestly dedicated "To the People of New York" (he later renamed it "Untitled"), the work involved taking panoramic photographs of the Manhattan skyline every four seconds (he says five in one interview) and transmitting them almost live to Postmasters Gallery over in Chelsea, where they were projected on a screen 10 feet by 25, along with two other huge images from his native Germany. Five days later, one of those pictures see below captured American Airlines Flight 11 (allegedly), visible top right. Exactly when this photograph came to light I have yet to determine : it was known at the time that Staehle's cameras had "inadvertently" captured the attacks, but Roberta Smith's New York Times review of 19 September 2001 makes no mention of the first plane being recorded. (Postmasters was closed at the time, and the only person who saw the events projected that morning was the gallery director who lived next door, telephoned by Staehle from his apartment in Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side). If Staehle knew that day that he had captured the plane, why did he allow the Naudet claim to go unchallenged, and why was his existence as unknown to me as to all the journalists who carried on for years using the word "unique" about the Naudet shot ?


 

Wolfgang Staehle with Magda Sawon, Director of Postmasters Gallery, 459-461 West 19th Street, New York.
 

Staehle had earlier (1996, or 1999, depending on the source) produced "Empire 24/7," an almost-live projection of the Empire State Building only 32 (or 35) years after Andy Warhol's eight-hour film of the same subject. And what does he have to say about the 2001 piece ? "It was against spectacle." Some might find that a curious description (not least with the Postmasters preview using the adjective "spectacular") of displaying a live view of New York dedicated to several million strangers every four seconds for a month. "I'm interested in what happens when nothing happens." How very conceptual : maybe that's why the plane picture apparently stayed unpublicised for five years although I strongly doubt it. A real video minimalist would make a film about firemen wearing silly shirts, throwing water about, stuffing themselves with cholesterol and checking gas leaks; the Naudets did.

Composite picture *(the join visible down the centre)* captured by Wolfgang Staehle's webcams from a Brooklyn window, across the East River, showing Flight 11 (in the extreme top right corner like Hlava's picture) approaching the WTC's North Tower. By the time of the next picture, four seconds later, the tower was already engulfed in flames: no impact shot was recorded. Or so the story has it but see the explanation for the inset lines in the caption to Picture 5 in Appendix 4.

Another Chelsea show running from 6 September to 6 October 2001, but at the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery (526 West 26th Street, seven blocks north of Staehle's), was "The Apartments," an exhibition by Canadian artist Nancy Davenport (b. 1965), which included these images "Bombardment, 2001" (above) and "747, 2001" (below) :


Davenport's quasi-documentary photographs of terrorist acts show one building being blown up and a jet (but none of the 9/11 planes were 747s) flying over another one : what they do not show is the World Trade Center, or a jet flying towards the North Tower, or any of the events that followed. The timing of the Davenport exhibition was ironic and coincidental as ironic and coincidental as the original pre-9/11 cover of "Party Music" by The Coup, which showed the rap duo detonating charges at the top of the Twin Towers or any number of other examples of apparent prescience that can reasonably be assumed to be unfortunate but perfectly innocent. When we enter the territory of the actual first plane being photographed flying towards the actual building, on the actual day real documentary, not fantasy, not TV science fiction, not someone's dream or their interpretation of a verse by Nostradamus that is what puts the Staehle pictures in a different class, and raises questions about their innocence.

What is it with brothers ? The Hlava brothers, the Naudets, the Pfeifers, the Bin Ladens, the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Dulleses, the Oswalds, the Cabells (one the Mayor of Dallas, the other the deputy to one of the Dulleses at the CIA until one of the Kennedys fired them both). At least four pairs of brothers in the Dallas story and five in the 9/11 one ... brotherhood ... fraternity ... masonic ... but maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. And let's also forget those other little curiosities like the word "Naudets" being an anagram of "Duane St" (some things are genuinely coincidental). You really don't need to get into the numerological ramifications of the date 9/11, such as the fact that ground was broken for the building of the Pentagon on 9/11/41 (three months before Pearl Harbor, and before most Americans had any interest in joining World War II, let it be noted), to know that we have not been told the truth about that subject or to work out that, whatever the truth is, it may well have something to do with three pieces of "accidental" photography, all of them deeply suspect.