Monday, August 25, 2008

Skepticism over NIST report on WTC-7

The recent NIST reports about WTC-7's collapse on September 11, 2001 is worthy of a discussion.

I will indeed finish reading this NIST draft for public comment of the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. I'm already on page 26 (of 115) and just now reached the end of the front-matter to stumble upon meat in the form of a Preface. The Executive Summary starts on page 33 of the PDF. Chapter 1, Page 1 of this document is 39 pages into the file.

Consider these warning flags of potential document padding.


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1) Let us assume for this point #1 that the document is the God's honest truth. I would welcome it, support it, and defend it. However, would this debunking of a single 9/11 conspiracy theory bring down the 9/11 Truth Movement? Hardly. There are still too many other questionable aspects of the events of that day and the 400 some day delay with hues of cover-up before any investigation started.

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2) Without getting into any substantial meat of that report, the citizens of the United States have valid reasons to be skeptical about its methods and conclusions because of NIST's recent track record of unscientific and biased 9/11 reports and Bush's track record with promoting politics over science.

"A Return to Reason" by Chris Mooney states: "For eight long years, the Bush administration has trashed and politicized the government science agencies. How to kick out the hacks and flat-Earthers and let the geeks reign." It might well have been written about NIST.

"(M)any branches of the US government basically amount to scientific dormitories... In one sense, it's modern technocracy at its most arcane. But given the complexity of decision making today, it's hard to see how you could run the country any other way.

"This also means that by assaulting the science infrastructure, you can hobble government itself, and during the Bush administration, science abuse has been not only epidemic, but endemic. ...

"Consider the National Marine Fisheries Service... UCS took a pool of (some 500 scientists at NMFS) in 2005 and found that more than half knew of instances in which commercial interests had 'inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention.' Further, more than a third of respondents said they had been 'directed, for non-scientific reasons,' to avoid making findings that required protection of species in peril, and nearly a fourth had been 'directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information' from scientific documents. ...

"Nearly 100 EPA scientists surveyed by the UCS pointed the finger directly at the White House. As one scientist put it, 'They truly interfere and want to stamp the White House Agenda over every document that is sent to them for review. They have hired their own scientists and play the >>my scientist is better than yours<< game. The EPA has to accept a lot of shit from them to get any documents out.'"


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3) Out of 115 pages, only pages 22-24 (1-1/2 pages) cover explosives as a possible explanation. That is very thin to say the least. They write:

"Considerable effort was expended to compile evidence and to determine whether intentionally set explosives might have caused the collapse of WTC-7... Six combinations of explosive location and column/truss and two implementation scenarios were considered... Attention focused on a single hypothetical blast scenario location... The other scenarios would have required more explosives, or were considered infeasible to carry out without detection."

And therein lies the smoking gun of their report.

"Considerable effort was expended" was boiled down to a mere six explosive combinations, two scenarios, then only one scenario (on 1-1/2 pages), because the other was "considered infeasible to carry out without detection"?

The purpose of the report was to document the "how's" if with fires, bombs, or other things. It is not the document's purpose to make distinctions of infeasibility.

If I thoroughly believed what the US government holds that 19 Arabs pulled off 9/11, then it would be certainly infeasible to me that such foreigners could plant bombs in a building with tenants like the FBI, NSA, CIA, SEC, and a NYC Disaster Command Center. On the other hand, I fail to see what would make it infeasibility if the perpetrators were one or more of those tenants (or the boss of those tenants) doing whatever it likes to the building space it rents.


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4) The NIST report dismisses that explosives were used on WTC-7 in part because the blasts would have been heard and would have broken glass at or around the time of the collapse. (FTR, eye-witnesses did report explosions in WTC-7, but they happened much earlier in the day.)

Are we expected to believe that of the three trillion dollars that on September 10, 2001 Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the Pentagon could not account for, none of that money went into exotic news weapons systems, some of which could have been deployed on 9/11 and had different mechanisms and signatures than explosives?


5) Here is my speculation on what the criticisms will be.

Like the earlier NIST reports on the WTC towers, the analysis will be slammed for assuming worst-case scenarios with regards to the extent, heat, and duration of the fires; for over-driving computer simulation variables well-beyond what is realistic and reasonable in order to achieve cascading failure conditions; for mischaracterizing the architectural design flaws; for insufficient review of the literature and historical precedents; for only entertaining one explanation (e.g., fires) rather than other scenarios (e.g., bombs, exotic weapons) that could also sufficiently explain the destruction observed without having to over-drive assumptions and variables; etc.

Given that the report was just released on August 20, it is still early for there to be lots of review by 9/11 Truthers.


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6) From the video I saw a couple of days ago, what struck me was they were talking about conditions leading to non-uniform collapses of floors within the outer rigid steel shell and how the floors pulled the inner columns and other floors into cascading failure yet not the outer walls of the shell.

They want us to believe that the outer steel shell was strong enough to resist any visible deformity from the pulling of cascading collapsing floors that undermine the inner supports, yet this strong shell isn't strong enough to remain standing. Rather than folding and buckling in on itself now that successive failures on the inside have removed or scooped out the interior, it falls like a box into a paper shredder at free-fall speed. Unbelievable comes to mind.

The video of the computer simulation shows localized and non-uniform failure cascading from right to left on the inside of the structure while presumably the outer steel shell remains unaffected without any buckling or folding to the inside.

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7) Although this report has several pages with the names of contributors, don't expect that any of them will be made available by NIST or the government for a public debate/analysis against other academic scholars from the 9/11 Truth Movement who have reviewed the report and found it lacking.

8) Because the NIST report does not have an extensive literature review or historic overview of how fires have affected steel skyscrapers, the reader will have to do that themselves. There is no historical precedent for fires alone bringing down steel skyscrapers, even when the fires such as one in Spain several years ago burned demonstrably hotter and longer; no steel building has failed to the point of falling, much less uniformly, at free-fall speed, into its own footprint.


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The take-away from the above is that all readers should approach the draft of the final NIST report on WTC-7 with a huge grain of salt and tons of skepticism.

It should not have been the job of this report to pass judgment on what is feasible to carry out without detection. They should have remained scientific and covered in detail how different scenarios could have accomplished the same observed destruction. They did not.

Aside from the aforementioned instances of report padding, the document comes across as a magician's trick: keep your eye on my right-hand; pay no attention to the fingers on my left-hand.

Specifically, read all about the work of my right-hand to model scientifically a case where fires could indeed have causes the WTC-7 to suffer a cascading collapse at free-fall speed into its own footprint. But ignore that the fingers on my left-hand deleted details of explosion scenarios and brushed them off as "infeasible" without even providing explanations of the parameters that separate feasible from infeasible.


If you can't win them over with brilliance, then overwhelm them with bullshit data.

This WTC-7 report should bedazzle the general public (and the government trolls), most of whom do not have the educational background and more importantly the patience to dig into this to determine validity; they're easily "Blinded By Science" as the pop song goes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Discredited Line of Thinking

Craig's line of thinking on all things Bush & now McCain (spanning election fraud, 9/11, WMD, Iraq, Justice Department, Valarie Plame...) has been:
"I won't look at a damn thing, I won't consider the overwhelming evidence, I won't have any doubts about their goodness, I'll keep charging right behind McBush... UNTIL they have been tried and convicted."
The analogy given below was about someone getting away with very serious motor vehicle offenses, public endangerment, and a DUI, because they had a very good lawyer, bribed the judge, and blackmailed the prosecutor.

Aside from calling me "Max", Craig tries to side-step the issue with more ad hominem attacks. He writes across two repetitive postings:
"You are absolutely certifiable... you have tin foil hats at home... You need help man... The guy is certifiable... Bribe the judge blackmail the .... WTF is wrong with you... Another judge bribing conspiracy... Your analogy is ludicrous and your points are left wing , and anti American..."
To assist Craig who has problems making connections, the drunk driver in the analogy refers to the Bush Administration. Is judge appointment for life the same thing as judge bribing?

Bush appointed his own Supreme Court judges with the help of lock-stepping party-line Republican votes, despite large public outcries about conflicts of interests that the judges had. The Justice Department scandal has ramifications about him appointing his own prosecutors. (Is appointment or retention only if you do the administration's bidding the same thing as blackmail?) The justice department appointees in the DC area have been reluctant to arrest Meyers, Rove, etc. for contempt of court for failure to appear to congressional subpoenas in the numerous scandals surrounding the Bush White House, which in turn has almost crippled Congress and forced them to consider re-animating old powers.

In the DUI blackmail analogy, though, the blackmailed prosecutors could also be considered Congress, and even more finely the gang of eight: the House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders. Keep them in check with a combination of carrots and sticks: political contributions & favorable votes on key issues versus fear (e.g., Anthrax, blackmail because what elected official really has no skeletons in their closet). Control the gang eight and you can put a very tight mussle on WH badness ever getting out of committee and to the floor for debate and votes, as justifiable impeachment resolutions have proven.

Craig wrote:
"Most people who get DUI's just pay their fines do their time and go on with their lives."
"Most people" is not "all people," and it is certainly not special elite people like Bush who have lived their entire lives beyond the law that keeps us regular folks in check. How did average Bush get into those elite schools and into the National Guard? How did he avoid fulfilling his National Guard commitment? Did Bush ever serve time for his DUI and cocaine offenses from the 1970's? What about drunk Cheney blowing his friend's face off with a shotgun?

Relevant to the DUI analogy: Did Scooter Libby ever serve time for his obstruction of justice CONVICTION? His sentence was immediately commuted -- no time served --, which unlike a pardon conveniently keeps his self-incrimination 5th Amendment rights in tact. Had he been outright pardoned, self-incrimination would no longer apply and he would have been compelled to spill the beans on his bosses.

Paying fines to the wealthy and influential is as painful to them as the removal of seashells from a beach is to the sea.

So Craig's one phrase that holds true is that THESE special people who get DUI's "go on with their lives" and go on and can repeat the same offenses without fear of retribution, as the analogy relates.

I agree with Craig on one point that what we're seeing is anti-American, but it is neither left wing, nor right wing, nor any wing. It is. And it is not ludicrous; it is serious. Open your eyes.

Bush & Co. should have been tried and convicted before his second term, but they have been exceptionally skilled at gaming the system, stacking the deck, rewriting laws, abandoning treaties, ignoring international law, accumulating favors, and heading off oversight well before their criminal actions would have to call in those favors and utilize well-planned covers for their asses.

Don't believe me? To see it in action, take another look into the torture scandal. Or look into the Iraq War build-up. These establish a pattern... which can be overlaid onto 9/11. (9/11 isn't exclusively Max's domain, Craig.)

Craig wrote:
"You want to try and convict people in your kangaroo court. In America in case you have forgotten we don't pass sentence on people until after they have been convicted in a court of law."
Blah, blah, blah.

This isn't a situation where neighbor Joe Blow gets lynched by the court of public opinion assisted by media hype without benefit of trial and due process. The Bush Administration isn't neighbor Joe Blow.

When it comes to high elected officials, the ultimate jury is the public.

The public can't, like Craig, be anti-American and shirk their duties of becoming a well-informed citizenry, of weighing the evidence, and of escalating their findings with their representatives.

The public can't, like Craig, sit on their sofa waiting for a "trial and conviction" to be convinced of wrong-doing at the highest levels and then at that point become outraged. If the public doesn't consider the evidence now, doesn't come to some conclusion now, and doesn't raise their voices now, there will be no trial to wait for.

When (over-whelming) evidence influences public sentiment, elected officials have no choice but to conduct the trial that can render justice, or they suffer the vote. There is nothing "Kangaroo Court" about it (unlike what Bush has been pulling at Gitmo.)

... But there's that voting thing again, where games were played to rig the election process in Bush's favor. Aside from it following in line with the DUI analogy of judge bribing, it is another scandal Craig refuses to weigh the evidence on.

Of course, the Bush administration even in the realm of public opinion has left nothing to chance. Another of their known offenses is government propaganda imposed on the American public through fake news reports favorable to administration policies. It is no secret about the symbiotic relationship between Bush and big media (like Murdoch's Fox network). Media desired more relaxed laws and oversight to expand market share, while Bush needed a propaganda outlet.

Moreover, the Bush Administration's collusion with media to suppress unfavorable (9/11, Iraq, WMD) discussions demonstrates again that they aren't a Joe Blow neighbor being railroaded. They have been rigging the court of public opinion. (Former FOX news people complained that they were ordered to have "balance" in the form of 2 conservative viewpoints for every liberal one.)

Show me one main stream media news report at prime time that (a) devoted more than 5 minutes to the 9/11 topic, (b) provided knowledgable 9/11 truthers, (c) wasn't stacked 2-to-1 against the truthers, ~and~ (d) didn't have the "moderator" make at least one belittling comment exposing the network's position, like "nutty", "crazy", "far-out", "conspiracy theory." Fair? Balanced?

We've seen plenty of unbalanced news reports and political opinion panels whose members' positions were entirely 9/11 debunking, but none that were entirely 9/11 truthers. Have we ever seen in prime time a panel of exclusively 9/11 truthers? No. Because suddenly "balanced" reporting becomes an issue for the biased media co-conspirators; the panel has to be stacked so the 9/11 truther gets his time gets cut in half or a third and must waste time fending off attacks before making new points.

You dismiss "September Clues" and media's complicity in 9/11 at America's peril. Overwhelming evidence of government involvement, cover-up, and lies (or monumental incompetence) existed before this revelation. This is just another straw.

CRAIG, YOU PROVE YOUR OWN ANTI-AMERICANISM in not being informed, in not weighing the overwhelming evidence, and in not participating in the public jury that is so essentially necessary to move the heavy wheels of justice into handling corruption at the highest levels, which has the motivation and means to apply brakes and insert crowbars to stop those very same wheels.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What would it take to convince you?

[To Craig Hawley]

If the question were posed to you -- what would it take to convince you? -- your lemming-like answer isn't "over-whelming evidence;" it is "tried and convicted." You won't as much harbor a tiny mustard seed of doubt about the rightousness of the leaders who have given America its present criminal course until some higher authority has passed such a judgment.

Here's analogy for you about why that line of thinking is just plain wrong.

Imagine that you are high as kite (which shouldn't be too hard) or drunk as a skunk. For one reason or another, you find yourself behind the wheel of a car and get pulled over by the police. The police officer notes that your license plates tags have expired, your car has many mechanical defects making it clearly unsafe at any speed, you weren't wearing a seatbeat, and you don't have a driver's license, insurance, or registration. He discovers all of these ticketable offenses before he busts your ass for the DUI, which roadside tests and blood tests at the station confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt. But you get yourself a good lawyer, (you bribe the judge & blackmail the prosecutor,) and you accept a plea deal. Everything gets thrown out except the minor offense of not wearing a seatbelt without you even having to appear in a court of law.

Just because you weren't convicted of the DUI and the other offenses doesn't mean you weren't guilty of them. The officer caught you red-handed.

Now put yourself into the shoes of the police officer or the general public.

When you see the same drunk behind the wheel of the unsafe automobile weaving at high speed down the road right at you and other innocents, do you dismiss the empty liquor bottles thrown at your feet, his known history, his known offenses, and the obvious disrepair of the car -- this body of overwhelming evidence -- just because his connections make it highly unlikely that he'll ever be brought to court and convicted?

By your erroneous line of thinking, you would neither recognize the danger nor do all in your power to prevent death and destruction (of innocents). You would not pull the drunk over, force him to stop or go another course. Geez, you probably wouldn't even be courteous enough to drive in front of the drunk while honking your horn furiously to warn people to get out of his way.

Nope. Because you're waiting for that trial and conviction, you'd be following right behind (just as drunk) making sure to runover and cream those wayward pedestrians, signs, and mailboxes that the drunk missed.

And so you do here in this forum [The CSU Rocky Mountain Collegian].