Shinki and Ed Paik Accounts vs. CIT Methods by Erik Larson

Citizen Investigation Team (CIT) have cited Shinki and Ed Paik’s witness accounts to support their claims that the plane said to have hit the Pentagon on 9/11 (American Airlines Flight 77), actually flew on a different flight path (‘north of Citgo’) and flew over the Pentagon. Ed Paik’s account appears in their films ‘The Pentacon’, and most recently ‘National Security Alert’ (NSA). In addition, Ed’s account has been cited repeatedly in their articles and online discussions. However, my January 2010 interviews of Ed and Shinki, as well as a 2006 interview of Ed recorded by Dylan Avery, Ed Paik’s drawings and gestures for CIT, and other related material, show that certain facts have been omitted or distorted by CIT in their attempt to make their case for the ‘north of Citgo path’.

I. Summary of Erik Larson 2010 Shinki and Ed Paik Video

II. Ed Paik says he was inside the A-One office when the plane flew past; Shinki says he was outside

III. From inside the office, Ed Paik saw the right wing- and perhaps the fuselage

IV. Shinki Paik said the VDOT tower antenna was “bent over … about 60, 70 degrees”

V. Ed Paik’s drawings and gestures for CIT have been misrepresented

VI. Conclusion

I. Summary of Erik Larson 2010 Shinki and Ed Paik Video

The video is mainly footage from my January 2010 interviews with Shinki and Ed Paik, but also includes 2006 video footage of Ed being interviewed by Russell Pickering, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis, which was recorded by Dylan Avery. Ed’s 2006 testimony largely confirms what he told me in 2010. In my interviews, Shinki and Ed Paik said that on September 11, 2001, they were in their shop’s office watching and discussing the news coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center, when they heard the increasingly loud noise of a large jet approaching their location, very low. Shinki was behind the counter, and Ed was in front of it, and the noise was so loud, they both instinctively ducked. At this point, Shinki and Ed’s accounts diverge. Shinki said Ed “went out” and he saw Ed outside, ducking, when the plane passed by. There is a large window in front of the counter, and a large window in the door, which give a view of their parking lot, Columbia Pike, and the other side of the road. Shinki saw the outside get dark briefly, but did not see any part of the plane. According to Ed, he was inside when the plane flew past, and while ducking in front of the counter, he looked up and out the window, and saw the “big”, “black” “right wing” of a plane for “1 or 2 seconds”. In two places on the August 2006 Avery footage, Ed indicates he was in the office. In my interview, Ed says his “feeling” was the body of the plane was very low and directly over their shop, with the right wing extending over their parking lot and Columbia Pike. In 2010 he said he did not see the body of the plane, but in the 2006 footage he described the body as “gray.” Shinki said that after the plane passed, he saw the VDOT antenna “bent over” towards the Pentagon “about 60, 70 degrees”, and that it was not like this before the plane went past. He recalls noticing that on September 11, but Ed didn’t remember seeing the bent antenna. Both remember it being worked on; Shinki thought it was the following day or soon after, and Ed seemed sure it was the next day that people were working on it. Ed also recalled talking to others in the area regarding the work being done on the tower, and that they were also under the impression that the plane had hit the antenna.

II. Ed Paik says he was inside the A-One office when the plane flew past; Shinki says he was outside

As of this writing, if they have it, CIT has not released footage from their 11/4/06 interview (used in NSA) in which Ed Paik states his own location when the plane flew past; they have only released footage that shows him describing and pointing out the plane’s location and heading. However, 1/24/10, CIT released August 2006 footage of Shinki Paik, in which he says Ed first went outside, and then the plane flew over:

Shinki Paik: “… And at the last moment my brother jumped out the office and as soon as he went out he was just scooping down and I was sitting here, and then standing, and then I think at that moment a big airplane just flew over. … As soon as he went out, jumped out he was scooping down on the ground and then I think he thought something hitting him and then I see here inside … the kinda black cloud a little bit.”

Craig Ranke: “A shadow?”

Shinki: “[inaudible] shadow, yeah.”

Shinki Paik reported the same sequence of events to me, 1/5/10:

Shinki Paik: “We heard some- enormous- almost incomprehensible noise- is that something is dropping here. So we kinda scootin’ down here [demonstrates ducking]. But my brother- in a way he felt more ‘dangerous’ and insecure- insecurity or something- he went out [points to door] and jumped out. And as soon as he went out, I saw he was he was doing like this, right? [demonstrates ducking and covering his head] And something flip a second [makes fast motion with hands] and a little bit dark in the sky- and about less than a second or something, boom! And we ran out [makes running motion with fists]. Across the street is a … State of Virginia Traffic [inaudible] Center. We look to the Pentagon side, there’s a plume of smoke coming up.” (0:10)

However, in my interview of Ed Paik 1/9/10, he says he saw the plane through the office front window, and that he went outside after it passed by:

Ed Paik: [Ed is standing in front of the counter] “Shinki sitting over there, I’m standing up here. We’d been talking about the Twin Towers. And then we heard about- the big sound. And then I just look out like this [bends over, ducking and turning head to look out the front window] and then aircraft- I can hear- black, big wing as it goes- heading to that way [motions with arm, sweeping from West to East, roughly parallel to Columbia Pike]

Erik Larson: “So- were you outside when it happened?”

Ed: “After that- I saw it, and after that I go out.”

Erik: “So, you were inside when the plane flew over.”

Ed: “Yeah- flew this way.” [indicates path with his hand, West to East, parallel to Columbia Pike, again]

Erik: “OK. But you were looking outside the window.”

Ed: [bends head down, and points outside] “Looking outside here.” (1:10)

I was surprised to hear Ed say he had been in the office and had only seen the right wing of the plane through the window, as Shinki had indicated he was outside, and CIT have always represented Ed as being in A-One’s parking lot. For instance, on the Loose Change forum 8/25/06, Aldo Marquis (Merc) said, “Edward actually went outside when they heard the jet approacing [sic] and actually saw the plane.” On the CIT forum 12/6/07, Craig Ranke referred a graphic of the parking lot as “Edward’s POV”. And CIT’s films ‘Pentacon’ and ‘National Security Alert’ feature Ed in the A-One parking lot gesturing and describing the flight path and location of the plane’s body and wings (Ed Paik’s account starts at 16:45 in NSA, but the footage can be seen in this youtube short, starting at 2:53).

When I reviewed the August 2006 interview of Ed Paik by the Loose Change/CIT/Russ Pickering crew, I noticed that Ed had, at that time, indicated he was in the office when he saw the plane, though it is a bit unclear due to his English being rough:

Ed Paik: “I heard about the- a very big jet sound- looks like just up to here [puts hand above head, close] I just look at outside [turns head]– big black wing coming- that way [motions with hand] and then I just running out– then 2, 3 seconds- boom! (Avery 0:01, Larson 3:37)——

Aldo Marquis: “You didn’t see it come over you, then.”

Ed Paik: “I cannot see that, because at the time- I- facing through the- in the office. So the airplane coming this way- [points]- to the- my right hand side- it goes- [sweeps arm fast]- to the Pentagon.” (Avery 1:30, Larson 3:59)

If an eyewitness account is going to be used in reference an event, it needs to be acknowledged where they said they were when they witnessed it. And if an eyewitness says that person was somewhere else, that needs to be taken into account as well. Even when eyewitness are in close proximity, their accounts sometimes differ on significant details, and Ed and Shinki’s accounts are a prime example. Both of them are consistent in regarding their own accounts from 2006 to 2010; so who’s right about Ed’s location when the plane flew past? Ed is adamant that he was inside, and physically demonstrates where he was and how he reacted. What he described seeing on 9/11, in both 2006 and 2010, is from the vantage point of his being in the office. My interview of Ed was in front of Shinki; he didn’t say anything to correct Ed, and I confirmed Ed’s location with him twice. It seems to me the most likely explanation is that Shinki’s recollection of the sequence of events got confused, as everything happened so fast; according to Ed, he ran outside immediately after seeing the plane pass. In any case, it’s not logical to use Ed’s account of where the plane was, but discount or omit where he says he was when he saw it.

CIT may or may not have footage of Ed Paik from their 11/4/06 interview in which he describes his location. Certainly, they should have been aware of his statements from August 2006 which place him in the office- and Aldo Marquis is the one who said, “You didn’t see it come over you, then.” If Aldo and Craig felt it was unclear, they should have clarified his location in their November 2006 interview of him; not doing so is sloppy research. If they were aware that Ed says he saw the plane from the office, and they did not disclose this- in order to create the impression that Ed was in the parking lot- this is manipulative and dishonest journalism. Ironically, Craig Ranke said on the CIT forum 8/9/09, “Witnesses are data points. You can only rely on them for the general placement of the plane in relation to the ground they are standing. You can’t use a witness to extrapolate what you want regarding the placement of the plane in an area that they would not even be able to witness from their location! That is spin and is deceptive.”

In this photo Ed demonstrates how he ducked:

In this photo Ed points out the window, indicating where he saw the plane:

III. From inside the office, Ed Paik saw the right wing- and perhaps the fuselage

Ed Paik’s testimony is consistent from 2006 and 2010 regarding his being in the office when the plane passed by. It’s also consistent in that, in addition to the loud jet sound and his impression that the plane was very low, he clearly recalls seeing a big, black wing (Ed saw the wing from underneath, shadowed from the sun). The only significant difference is that in the 2006 LC/CIT/Pickering interview, he said he saw the body of the plane (perhaps an engine?), which he described as “gray” (similar to an American Airlines plane). Also in the 2006 interview, he said he believed the right wing tip was extending over Columbia Pike- far enough to hit the VDOT tower:

Russell Pickering: “Did you see anything about the airplane, how many engines, what color, anything about the plane?”

Ed Paik: “Uh, no, I just only- feeling’s it looks like a- black wing- very huge, black wing. That’s what I saw then.”

Aldo Marquis and another person: “Black wings?”

Ed: “Yeah.”

Aldo: “Do you remember what color the plane, the body was?”

Ed: “Body’s look like gray- kind of gray. And the wing- underneath wing is looked like, uh, black, because I saw it like (turns head, then turns back, motioning with hands, fast). Soon as the uh- passed, away. (Avery 0:56, Larson 5:41)


Russell Pickering: “In relation to your street, would you say like here’s one wing tip, here’s another wing tip- right in the middle of the airplane, where would you put that in relation to the street?”

Ed Paik: “Right wing; right wing is at the end of the street. Left wing, I cannot see the (inaudible). Right wing is at end of street.”

Russell: “The right wing was as far out as the tower, so the center of the airplane was near the road.”

Ed: “Yeah, on the road, yeah. That’s why it hit the antenna.” (Avery 2:44, Larson 6:20)

Also in the 2006 interview, Ed also says the plane almost hit the last building of the Navy Annex (2:31), but even from the vantage point of the parking lot, Ed would not have been able to see this, which is clear from CIT’s footage used in Pentacon and NSA. It seems he was either speculating, or perhaps incorporating into his account what another witness had described. CIT ignored or neglected to note Ed’s statements regarding his location, but made special note of this by adding text to the youtube video which transcribed that part of his statement. Again, ironic, considering Craig Ranke’s 8/9/09 statement; “You can’t use a witness to extrapolate what you want regarding the placement of the plane in an area that they would not even be able to witness from their location! That is spin and is deceptive.”

In my interview of him, Ed says that he did not see the body, but he describes the wing as a “triangle”. Considering Ed’s 2010 statement describing the wing as a “triangle” in conjunction with his 2006 statement in which he describes the body as gray, it may be that he saw the wing close to the base, and that he got a glimpse of the fuselage in 2001- enough to recall its color, in 2006.

2010 Erik Larson interview:

Erik Larson: “To be clear, when you looked outside, how much of the plane could you see- just the wing part, or could you see any of the body?”

Ed Paik: “No. Just the- body side- [points to his roof] my roof side [places hand above his head]

Erik: “OK, so all you saw was the wing.”

Ed: “Right hand side, the wing. That is my feeling … because- if I see the one that is left-hand side, then I can see the body, and [inaudible]. But I don’t see anything, only kind of a triangle side [makes shape with hands]- kind of an- a wing [motions with right hand, West to East]. One second or two.”

Erik: “What do you mean, ‘triangle side’?”

Ed: “Looks like [traces out triangle shape with hands]- right-hand side…”

Erik: “It was like the right wing, that you saw?”

Ed: “Right wing, that’s right.” (4:51 – segment starts at 4:19)

I took the below two photos while down on one knee in front of the counter, to approximate Ed’s position.

This photo shows the view directly out the front window, about where Ed says he was:

This photo out the front window shows the VDOT tower on the left:

There are at least a couple possibilities for the plane’s location that account for Ed’s seeing the right wing (and possibly the fuselage) from this vantage point:

1) If the plane was close to the tops of the telephone poles and crossing Columbia Pike, left wing tip close to the Sheraton Hotel, fuselage almost directly over his shop, heading NE over the Navy Annex (aka FOB #2), as CIT claims, then all Ed might have seen was the right wing, and perhaps the fuselage. However, this path would mean the plane was below the line of sight of Dawn Vignola and Tim Timmerman at the Sheraton, and they both said they could see it at that point, which was shortly before it disappeared behind some buildings closer to them. In my interview with Dawn Vignola, she also said she had seen the plane cross in front of the Sheraton. A plane on this ‘north path’ would also mean that Madelyn Zakhem (who was outside on the south side of Columbia Pike) would have seen it over the Navy Annex- not directly above her, as she reported in 2001, and confirmed to Russ Pickering/CIT in 2006. This ‘north path’ also conflicts with the 2001 account of CIT witness Terry Morin, who reported seeing the plane for several seconds until a row of trees blocked his view, that it had “red and blue stripes down the fuselage”, and he “believed at the time that it belonged to American Airlines”. If Morin had seen it directly over top of him from between wings of the Annex, he would have seen the plane for less than a second (at his minimum estimated speed of 350 kts/402 mph/590 fps), and could not have seen any markings on it. There are no markings visible in the simulation in NSA, which can be seen starting at 3:28 in CIT’s 1/24/10 youtube video. In 2006, Morin states the plane would have hit the Air Force memorial now at the north east end of the Annex. (3:34) However, in 2001 Morin said, “The aircraft was essentially right over the top of me and the outer portion of the FOB.” “Essentially” implies the plane was not ‘exactly’ or ‘directly’ overhead.

2) Another possibility is that the plane was traveling approximately on the ‘official’ flight path (based on FDR and radar data, allowing for margin of error). From Ed’s vantage point ducking inside the shop and looking up out the front window, the right wing (and perhaps the fuselage) may have been all he could see for the “one or two seconds” that he saw the plane- and his “feeling” like the fuselage was over his shop may have been due to a common perspective error known as ‘forced perspective’. This flight path would also match the accounts of Vignola/Timmerman, Zakhem and Morin (2001). In addition, there’s some evidence the plane clipped (see section IV) the antenna on the VDOT tower (on the left in the 2nd photo; 169’ above ground at antenna tip). However, even if it did not- if it was slightly above or north of the antenna tower- the flight path would still match the accounts of Ed Paik, Madelyn Zakhem and Terry Morin (in 2001), as well as being within a margin of error for the FDR and radar data.

IV. Shinki Paik said the VDOT tower antenna was “bent over … about 60, 70 degrees”

Less than 200 yards from the Paik’s shop, on the south side of the street, is an antenna tower on VDOT property. Shinki Paik told me the antenna on top of the tower was “bent over, not right angle, 90 degrees, but I would say about 60, 70 degrees.” When I asked when he noticed this, he said, “I believe it was the same day [9/11].” (8:44) Ed had not noticed the antenna was damaged (7:02), but both Ed and Shinki said that there was a crew working on the tower soon after 9/11. They both attributed this to the antenna having been hit by the plane, though they acknowledged they didn’t see the antenna get hit. (Erik Larson 2010 video)

According to Craig Ranke on the Loose Change forum 8/31/06,  CIT “confirmed with the VDOT employees that the antenna was not clipped.” When Arabesque, Adam Larson and John Farmer raised questions about possible damage to the VDOT tower, Craig Ranke elaborated 3/17/08 on the CIT forum, “That same day we spoke with many people at the VDOT and all of them told us that the antenna WAS NOT damaged and that the feds used the VDOT building as emergency headquarters on 9/11 and were probably adding extra communication or something of that nature.” No names are cited, and there are no direct quotes, but the use of the words “probably” and “or something” implies the “many people at the VDOT” weren’t sure what was being done on the tower.

Craig also said in the 3/17/08 post, “We first spoke with Edward’s brother Shinki Paik the day before we spoke with Edward Paik. Shinki did not see the plane but he told us that they saw workers on the antenna the next day and figured they were repairing it because the plane hit it.” However, when I interviewed Shinki, he offered on his own that he had seen the antenna, “bent over … about 60, 70 degrees.” If Shinki mentioned this to CIT, they’ve never acknowledged it. As of this writing, CIT’s full video footage from their interviews with Shinki and Ed Paik have not been made public.

Craig, again from the 3/17/08 post: “If the plane was over the antenna it would support the official flight path but this is not where Edward or ANY of the witnesses (including VDOT employee Madlene Zackhem) claim they saw the plane.” Craig is correct in saying, “If the plane was over the antenna it would support the official flight path”, but as I showed and documented in the previous section, the accounts of Columbia Pike witnesses Madelyn Zakhem and Terry Morin (2001) support the official flight path, and Ed Paik’s account makes the most sense if that’s where the plane was. This photo taken by Steve Riskus and enlarged by John Farmer may show a bent antenna, but the image quality is poor, so it’s hard to say for sure:
vdot antenna tower,steve riskus,john farmer

In any case, while proof the antenna was hit by the plane would prove the plane was on the official flight path, the plane could have cleared the top of the antenna or to the north side of it, and would still be within a margin of error for the official flight path, and it would still match the eyewitness accounts. As Adam Larson (no relation) demonstrates in this article: OBSTACLE? IMPOSSIBLE. WHY THIS ANTENNA THING IS A NON-ISSUE.

V. Ed Paik’s drawings, statements and gestures for CIT have been misrepresented

CIT has represented their video footage of Ed Paik in the A-One parking lot (a vantage point Ed says he was not at) pointing to his roof and gesturing while describing his impression of the flight path, as evidence of the plane’s flight path. In addition to featuring it this way in Pentacon and NSA, CIT created a gif from their footage of Ed and put text on it that says, “Ed Paik pointing out heading of plane: ‘Body this way’”:

However, from the footage, it’s clear that at this point Ed says, “Body here”, not “Body this way.” In the footage of Ed used in Pentacon and NSA (see this youtube short, at 2:53), Ed does not say “Body this way” at any point. It’s also clear from the footage, that in the first clip in the gif, Ed is pointing to where he believed the body of the plane was over their shop, while indicating the path by moving his hand parallel to Columbia Pike. And in the 2nd clip, Ed is pointing to the location where he believed the body of the plane was when it flew past; he’s not “pointing out heading of plane”, as the gif’s text claims. This is also evident in that none of his drawings match the ‘heading’ allegedly being pointed out in the gif. Also worth noting from this segment is that Ed points perpendicular across Columbia Pike, and says, “Right wing is this way”, indicating that he perceived the right wing to be over Columbia Pike.

CIT has also represented Ed Paik’s 3 drawings of the flight path as evidence of the plane’s flight path. However, these were drawn on photos that don’t match Ed’s actual perspective from his vantage point in the office (according to his own account), and are based on his impression of what he saw for “one or two seconds”, and his “feeling” where the plane’s body was. And, considering the plane was traveling about the length of 2 football fields per second, he probably saw the right wing (and possibly the body) for less than a second. These 3 drawings, while contradicting the official flight path in some respects, also contradict each other and the alleged ‘north of Citgo path’. For instance, in the top drawing at the above link, Ed has drawn a line roughly parallel to Columbia Pike, which has the plane flying over the Navy Annex and directly into the Pentagon; this line passes south of the Citgo gas station, which is out of view in that photo. This first drawing also contradicts the one CIT uses most often, the bottom one, an overhead view which shows the flight path as being roughly parallel to the official path, but further north of it. And the middle drawing has the plane flying wholly or partially over top of the Sheraton Hotel, also contradicting the bottom drawing.

These drawings and gestures don’t diminish Ed’s credibility as a witness; he was trying to be helpful, and when asked by CIT to speculate, he did so. Clearly, witness drawings and gestures from perspectives they didn’t have cannot be relied on as accurate, even if they aren’t obviously contradictory. And representing the results as giving anything other than a general, but inconclusive, idea of where the plane came from, where it was when Ed actually saw it, and where it was headed, is deceptive and a disservice to the public. Again, this is ironic, considering that Craig Ranke, taking issue with a critic’s interpretation of the drawings, said on the CIT forum 8/9/09, “Witnesses are data points. You can only rely on them for the general placement of the plane in relation to the ground they are standing. You can’t use a witness to extrapolate what you want regarding the placement of the plane in an area that they would not even be able to witness from their location! That is spin and is deceptive.” CIT will say that Ed’s account is corroborated by other witnesses, they are not relying on it alone; however, they’ve cherrypicked the statements of the other witnesses, made selective interpretations that support their theory while denying other possibilities, and apply double- and dubious- standards when judging the credibility of witness accounts that indicate the plane was on the official flight path, even slandering witnesses in some cases. Arabesque and Adam Larson have documented numerous examples of this, in addition to what I’ve pointed out in this essay:

William Lagasse: “These poles were not knocked down” CIT: “He didn’t see the light poles” by Arabesque

The South Path Impact: Documented by Adam Larson

Roughshod Over the Suspicious Ones by Adam Larson

VI. Conclusion

In summary: Shinki and Ed Paik place Ed in different locations at the moment the plane passed, and CIT, as of this writing, has not acknowledged Ed’s account placing himself in the office, if they were aware of it. According to Ed’s 2010 account, he mainly saw the right wing of the plane, from inside the office, for “one or two seconds”, though in 2006 he recalled seeing the body. Ed said he did not see the plane from the parking lot, and did not ‘see’ it fly over their shop; he qualifies his placement of the fuselage over their shop by saying his “feeling” is that’s where it was. Shinki specifically recalls seeing the VDOT antenna bent over; if Shinki said this in CIT footage, or if CIT was aware of this, they’ve never disclosed it, as of this writing. CIT has cited unnamed VDOT employees as saying the antenna was not damaged, to counter the hypothesis that it was. Ed’s drawings and gestures in CIT videos were based on seeing the wing for “one or two seconds”, and his “feeling” about where the body was. The gestures were made at a location he says he did not witness the plane from, and the drawings are based on perspectives he did not have. In addition, elements of these drawings variously support the official flight path, contradict each other, and contradict the FDR/radar flight path, as well as the path reported by Madelyn Zakhem, and Terry Morin in 2001.

My impression of Shinki and Ed Paik from my own and the other interviews, is they did their best to honestly and accurately describe what they recall seeing. However, while eyewitness testimony can be accurate- and seem compelling- in some cases, witnesses often miss significant details, make incorrect interpretations and recall things inaccurately, even when they’re sure they’re right. Human beings are subject to errors in judgment, perspective and memory, and in the case of an event that is over in “one or two seconds”, errors are more likely. Language barriers and misunderstandings between witnesses and questioners can also play a role in witness accounts being misinterpreted.

There are problems with some elements of Shinki and Ed Paik’s accounts, but CIT has compounded these by omitting or distorting elements of Ed and Shinki’s accounts, while selectively interpreting and hyping other elements. CIT has a history of doing this, they’ve consistently done it in ways that support their theory about ‘north path’ and ‘Pentagon flyover’, and their doing so- while accusing their critics of being ‘agents’ and ‘disinformation’- has created controversy and undermined their own credibility. Whether or not it’s intentional on their part, CIT have caused disruption and division in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and have distracted some activists from larger questions and more conclusive evidence of wrong doing on the part of those charged with defending the United States and its Constitution- for instance, the fact that the Pentagon was hit at all. I support disclosure and accountability for 9/11 and the way “the day that changed everything” has been exploited to justify a national security state, massive increases in funding for the military industrial complex, wars, torture and subversion of the Constitution. I support independent research and investigation 9/11 and related events- including study of efforts and ideas that distract, divide and disrupt the 9/11 Truth Movement. Not because ideas and efforts that are distracting and disruptive are worth of pursuing in themselves, but because learning which theories are false or inconclusive narrows the field of research to the most productive lines of investigation, and because learning which efforts are impeding progress can improve the effectiveness of activists who are seeking truth and justice.

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