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Val McClatchey results

Having read the P-G article, we here at This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory agree with the following letter. 

In August of 2006 The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published 'Conspiracy theorists blog that Flight 93 photo is fake'

The article contains the following description of treatment of Val McClatchey, the photographer who took "The End of Serenity": ...
STATUS: sent to Post-Gazette
Dear Editor,
                           Your article 'Conspiracy theorists blog that Flight 93 photo is fake'
                           (8/7/06) describes an unfortunate pattern of harassment of Val McClatchey,
                           a Pennsylvania 9/11/01 attack witness.  However, the story also does a
                           public disservice by describing the source of the harassment broadly as
                           "9-11 researchers," with the same punctuation as the highest-ranking
                           website challenging the official explanation of the events of 9/11/01 --
                           '9-11 Research' (
                           The 9-11 Research team repudiates any such personal harassment and the
                           kinds of "analysis" you describe.  Additionally, the claim that "The End
                           of Serenity" is fake is in the tradition of numerous Internet claims of
                           the 9/11 jetliner crashes being 'faked' -- claims seemingly calculated
                           to offend victims and showcase errors of logic, rather than inspire
                           serious inquiry into the many flaws of the story we've all been told.
                           Contrary to supporting such views, our website works to debunk many such
                           claims of fake evidence in analyses of the 9/11 attacks, educating readers
                           about the real evidence that proves the September 11 attacks were an
                           inside job.
                           The 9-11 Research Team:
                           Jim Hoffman, Webmaster and Senior Editor
                           Gregg Roberts, Associate Editor
                           Victoria Ashley, Research Consultant
                           Jan Hoyer, Media Coordinator

One picture captures imagination

FBI take memory card, computer hard drive...???

July 18, 2006
Val McClatchey Photo: More Smoking Guns, or Total Fraud?
The day that changed America
By Robb Frederick
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Were you watching TV?

Did you stand there, slack-jawed, staring at the tape loop, seeing the tower explode again and again when the jet plowed through?

Did you feel for those people, at their desks, drinking coffee, then caught in a hellfire so hot they just had to jump, their neckties snapping like kite tails as they fell 84 floors? And the people in the street, their necks craned, their cheeks wet, their hearts breaking; their Prada bags dropped as the first tower rumbled and they ran, panicked, like extras in a Godzilla film?

John Shaw did. He stood in front of the set at Westmoreland County's 911 center. He saw the fireball, the smoke, the investment bankers at the window. He heard the phone ring.

"We are being hijacked," the man on the other end said.


He sat down. The man on the line was crying, trying hard to hold himself together. He'd be dead in six minutes.

He talked fast. His name was Edward Felt. F-E-L-T. He was on United Airlines Flight 93. To San Francisco. He had locked himself in the bathroom.

The plane had been hijacked turned an explosion white smoke.

"We're going down," he said. "We're going down."


Val McClatchey heard the 757 roar over Indian Lake, three miles east of where it would crash. She had been watching the "Today" show, with footage from New York, and now the Pentagon.

She looked out the window, above the red barns. She caught a glimpse of it, like light off a watch face. Then nothing, and then a boom that nearly knocked her off the couch.

The lights went out. The phones, too.

She grabbed her camera. She stepped onto the front porch and shot one frame of the smoke cloud, a charcoal puff in a pure blue sky.

That image — "End of Serenity," she called it — caught the essence of Somerset County that day. The barns, the blue sky, the open slope of pasture — it's a postcard, except for that fat, black cloud, swelling like a smoke signal, warning that something horrible has happened.

"I thought it was an accident," McClatchey says, a Time and a Newsweek and a Reader's Digest in the binder on the coffee table, the pages with her photo marked with Post-Its. "I thought it was a small plane. I figured they were just trying to get out of the air."

She didn't walk up that road, toward the hole in the tree line. She could hear the sirens; she knew it was bad. She didn't need to see.

She went into the kitchen and put on barbecue for the rescue crews.


Conspiracy theorists blog that Flight 93 photo is fake

Sunday, August 06, 2006

By Caitlin Cleary, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

...During the next few years, the photo would appear in magazines and newspapers, from Newsweek to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with Mrs. McClatchey's permission. It became part of a fund-raising brochure for the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. Copies are available upon request, with proceeds going to the charity Heroic Choices, formerly the Todd Beamer Foundation.

Mrs. McClatchey's photo was included in the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit, "Bearing Witness." And her personal story appears to fit seamlessly into the larger narrative of the Shanksvsille crash site and temporary memorial, when, dozens of times a day, volunteers such as Donna Schmucker tell Mrs. McClatchey's story and other witness accounts to the visitors who stream onto the site, holding up her photo in the laminated pocket of a binder for all to see.

But Mrs. McClatchey's fame has recently taken a sour turn. The real estate agent has recently become a target of bloggers calling themselves "9-11 researchers," who are seeking to prove that the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks that brought down the Twin Towers, pierced the Pentagon and crashed United Airlines Flight 93. "The End of Serenity" has turned out to be their smoking gun.

The smoke plume doesn't line up right, they say. It is too large in the frame. The smoke is characteristic of an ordnance blast, not a jet fuel fire, further evidence that the government shot down Flight 93. They analyze wind direction, debris patterns and camera trajectories, all in the service of the theory that the crash was faked.

They have visited Mrs. McClatchey's office and called her at home, posting satellite maps of her property and accusing her of digitally altering her photo to insert a fake smoke plume. The bloggers have picked apart her story, highlighting inconsistencies in different news accounts and questioning her motives. Others have described her as "surly," "hostile," "irate" and "defensive." People have called her at home, accusing her of being anti-American and of "holding the photo hostage."

On a simple Google search, Mrs. McClatchey's name now pops up in the same sentence as "total fraud."

"Val McClatchey has made it unmistakably clear to us that she intends to milk her 9-11 claim to fame for all it's worth, truth be damned," writes Lisa Guliani, of WingTV (World Independent News Group), who traveled to Stoystown to interview Mrs. McClatchey.

"If the smoke plume was photo-shopped on there, then that could mean either that the photo was simply a fraud by Val, or it was a fraud by her and the FBI and/or other government agents since she did mention that the FBI did inspect the memory card from her camera," writes a blogger identified as Killtown.

Mrs. McClatchey was taken aback by the personal criticism by those who, she said, "hide behind their aliases."

"This Killtown, whoever he may be, I find it very disturbing that this is a 16-page attack on me personally," said Mrs. McClatchey, who opened her real estate company a year and a half ago. "My business is named. That hurts me personally. It's pretty disturbing. My whole life is out there, a map to where I live, a map to my office. It's a safety issue for me. There's some crazy people out there."

Killtown's blog links to hundreds of conflicting witness accounts and news stories, video and photos of suspicious damage and debris, and other 9/11 conspiracy blogs, attempting to build up a preponderance of doubt about the government's claims. Killtown posits whether the World Trade Center towers were brought down by explosives, and whether the Pentagon was hit by a missile. (The blogger identified only as Killtown could be reached only via e-mail. He or she agreed to be interviewed without ever revealing identity and never got in phone contact with this reporter.)

About Mrs. McClatchey's "End of Serenity," Killtown concludes that either the smoke plume in the photo came from a bomb blast closer to her house, or that the picture was faked by Mrs. McClatchey or the FBI. Killtown writes: "If the first is true, then Val may be off the hook. If any of the latter two are the case, then Val, you got some splainin' to do!" He then proceeds to post her home address, phone number and personal e-mail information.

Mrs. McClatchey acknowledged that a lot of people are alleging she fabricated the photo, but she stands by its authenticity. Days after Sept. 11, neighbors saw the image, still in her camera. The camera and computer were new, and she didn't have access to Photoshop or any other photo-altering software...

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