Flying Snail - News & Views for Remnants of Paradise
Tell-A-Vision = Why Not Try Love Again?

Bodhisattva in the metro

by E. Britton, editor

The Sanskrit term Bodhisattva is the name given to anyone who, motivated by great compassion and wisdom, has generated bodhichitta, a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. What makes someone a Bodhisattva is her or his spontaneous and limitless dedication to the ultimate welfare of others.

(May we suggest that you view this at least two times? Get comfortable.) It’s not the destination, it’s the voyage.

Merci Christine. -

[Note: THANK YOU ALL for participating !!! There WAS a very small, but noticeable, change in 'erp-fabric'. ~@~]

Speaking in Tongues a film by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider
Speaking in Tongues
a film by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider

Ken writes:

Hey Peeps,

In case you've wondered what I've been up to all this time....

Our new doc is screening in Los Angeles in a few weeks. It's a single screening--so save the date & time!

We'll be there (myself, Marcia, and our two boys) to intro the film and answer questions after.

If you can't make it, do tell your friends--especially those working in education, or on immigration issues, language issues, or just plain old folks interested in documentary. It's a family-friendly film, so bring the kids and the teens.

Hope to see you all there:

Audience Award Winner, San Francisco International Film Festival
Sunday, September 12, 2010 @ 3 pm
Fundraiser for Californians Together
Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica

At a time when 31 states have passed "English Only" laws, four pioneering families put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly Chinese or Spanish. Speaking in Tongues follows four diverse kids on a journey to become bilingual. Winner of the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, this charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need in the 21st century.

Special invited guests include the filmmakers, community leaders, policymakers, and advocates from organizations at the forefront of multilingual education.

Tickets can be purchased on-line here.

For each $12 ticket sold, $4 will be donated to benefit Californians Together's Seal of Biliteracy campaign.

(To learn more, check out:

Californians Together is a statewide coalition, of parents, teachers, education advocates and civil rights groups, committed to securing equal access to quality education for all children.

To watch the trailer and learn more, visit the Speaking in Tongues website:

( - PatchWorks Films

Investigate & Jail Neocon War Criminals
Dianne Feinstein Should Have Gone to Jail, Not Martha Stewart?

Senator Feinstein's Iraq Conflict

As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms

By Peter Byrne

IN THE November 2006 election, the voters demanded congressional ethics reform. And so, the newly appointed chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is now duly in charge of regulating the ethical behavior of her colleagues. But for many years, Feinstein has been beset by her own ethical conflict of interest, say congressional ethics experts.

As chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 through the end of 2005, Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.

Each year, MILCON's members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Contracts to build these specific projects are subsequently awarded to such major defense contractors as Halliburton, Fluor, Parsons, Louis Berger, URS Corporation and Perini Corporation. From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein's knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.

While setting MILCON agendas for many years, Feinstein, 73, supervised her own staff of military construction experts as they carefully examined the details of each proposal. She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were or subsequently became URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such MILCON projects.

In her annual Public Financial Disclosure Reports, Feinstein records a sizeable family income from large investments in Perini, which is based in Framingham, Mass., and in URS, headquartered in San Francisco. But she has not publicly acknowledged the conflict of interest between her job as a congressional appropriator and her husband's longtime control of Perini and URS—and that omission has called her ethical standards into question, say the experts.

Insider Information

The tale thickens with the appearance of Michael R. Klein, a top legal adviser to Feinstein and a long-time business partner of Blum's. The vice-chairman of Perini's board of directors, Klein was a partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a powerful law firm with close ties to the Democratic Party, for nearly 30 years. Klein and Blum co-own ASTAR Air Cargo, which has military contracts in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Klein also sits on the board of SRA International, a large defense contractor.

In an interview with this reporter in September, Klein stated that, beginning in 1997, he routinely informed Feinstein about specific federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake. The insider information, Klein said, was intended to help the senator avoid conflicts of interest. Although Klein's startling admission was intended to defuse the issue of Feinstein's conflict of interest, it had the effect of exacerbating it.

Klein said that he regularly gave Feinstein's chief of staff, Mark Kadesh, lists of Perini's current and upcoming contractual interests in federal legislation, so that the senator would not discuss, debate, vote on or participate in matters that could affect projects in which Perini was concerned.

"Earmarks, you know, set asides, you name it, there was a system in place which on a regular basis I got notified, I notified her office and her office notified her," Klein said.

"We basically identified any bid that Perini was going for and checked to see whether it was the subject of already appropriated funds or funds yet to be appropriated, and if it was anything that the senator could not act on, her office was alerted and she did not act on it."

This is an extraordinary thing for Klein and the senator to do, since the detailed project proposals that the Pentagon sent to Feinstein's subcommittee for review do not usually name the firms already contracted to perform specific projects. Nor do defense officials typically identify, in MILCON hearings, which military construction contractors were eligible to bid on upcoming work.

In theory, Feinstein would not know the identity of any of the companies that stood to contractually benefit from her approval of specific items in the military construction budget—until Klein told her.

Klein explained, "They would get from me a notice that Perini was bidding on a contract that would be affected as we understood it by potential legislation that would come before either the full Congress or any committee that she was a member of. And she would as a result of that not act, abstain from dealing with those pieces of legislation."

However, the public record shows that contrary to Klein's belief, Feinstein did act on legislation that affected Perini and URS.

According to Klein, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics ruled, in secret, that Feinstein did not have a conflict of interest with Perini because, due to the existence of the bid and project lists provided by Klein, she knew when to recuse herself. Klein says that after URS declined to participate in his conflict of interest prevention plan, the ethics committee ruled that Feinstein could act on matters that affected URS, because she did not have a list of URS' needs. That these confidential rulings are contradictory is obvious and calls for explanation.

Klein declined to produce copies of the Perini project lists that he transmitted to Feinstein. And neither he nor Feinstein would furnish copies of the ethics committee rulings, nor examples of the senator recusing herself from acting on legislation that affected Perini or URS. But the Congressional Record shows that as chairwoman and a ranking member of MILCON, Feinstein was often involved in supervising the legislative details of military construction projects that directly affected Blum's defense contracting firms.

After reviewing the results of this investigation, Wendell Rawls, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., observes that by giving Feinstein notice of Perini's business objectives, Klein achieved the opposite of preventing a conflict of interest.

Rawls comments, "Sen. Feinstein has had a serious conflict of interest, a serious insensitivity to ethical considerations. The very least she should have done is to recuse herself from having conversations, debates, voting or any other kind of legislative activity that involved either Perini Corporation or URS Corporation or any other business activity where her husband's financial interests were involved.

"I cannot understand how someone who complains so vigorously as she has about conflicts of interest in the government and Congress can have turned such a deaf ear and a blind eye to her own. Because of her level of influence, the conflict of interest is just as serious as the Halliburton-Cheney connection."

Called Into Question

Here are a few examples from the Congressional Record of questionable intersections between Feinstein's legislative duties and her financial interests:

At a MILCON hearing in 2001, Feinstein interrogated defense officials about the details of constructing specific missile defense systems, which included upgrading the early warning radar system at Cobra Dane radar on Shemya Island, Alaska. In 2003, Perini reported that it had completed a contract to upgrade the Cobra Dane radar system. It has done similar work at Beale Air Force Base in California and in the United Kingdom. URS also bids on missile defense work.

In the 2002 MILCON hearings, Feinstein questioned an official about details of the U.S. Army's chemical demilitarization program. URS is extensively involved in performing chemical demilitarization work at key disposal sites in the United States.

At that same hearing, Feinstein asked about the possibility of increasing funding for anti-terrorism-force protection at Army bases. The following year, on March 4, 2003, Feinstein asked why the anti-terrorism-force protection funds she had advocated for the year before had not yet been spent. On April 21, 2003, URS announced the award of a $600 million contract to provide, among other services, anti-terrorism-force protection for U.S. Army installations.

Beginning in 2003, both Perini and URS were awarded a series of open-ended contracts for military construction work around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Feinstein's leadership, MILCON regularly approved specific project "task orders" that were issued to Perini and URS under these contracts.

At a March 30, 2004, MILCON hearing, Feinstein grilled Maj. Gen. Dean Fox about whether or not the Pentagon intended to prioritize funding the construction of "beddown" maintenance facilities for its new airlifter, the C-17 Globemaster. After being reassured by Fox that these funds would soon be flowing, Feinstein said, "Good, that's what I really wanted to hear. Thank you very much. Appreciate it very much, General." Two years later, URS announced a $42 million award to build a beddown maintenance facility for the C-17 at Hickam Air Base in Hawaii as part of a multibillion dollar contract with the Air Force. Under Feinstein's leadership, MILCON approved the Hickam project.

In mid-2005, MILCON approved a Pentagon proposal to fund "overhead coverage force protection" in Iraq that would reinforce the roofs of U.S. Army barracks to better withstand mortar rounds. On Oct. 13, 2005, Perini announced the award of a $185 million contract to provide overhead coverage force protection to the Army in Iraq.

In the 2005 MILCON hearings, Feinstein earmarked MILCON legislation with $25 million to increase environmental remediation at closed military bases. Year after year, Feinstein has closely overseen the environmental cleanup and redevelopment of McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, frequently requesting that officials add tens of millions of dollars to that project. URS and its joint ventures have earned tens of millions of dollars cleaning up McClellan. And CB Richard Ellis, a real estate company headed by Feinstein's husband Richard Blum, is involved in redeveloping McClellan for the private sector.

This investigation examined thousands of pages of documents, including transcripts of congressional hearings, U.S. Security and Exchange Commission filings, government audits and reports, federal procurement data and corporate press releases. The findings were shared with contracting and ethics experts at several nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based government oversight groups. Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit organization that analyzes defense contracts and who examined our evidence says, "The paper trail showing Sen. Feinstein's conflict of interest is irrefutable."

On the face of it, there is nothing objectionable about a senator closely examining proposed appropriations or advocating for missile defense or advancing the cleanup of a toxic military base. Blum profitably divested himself of ownership of both URS and Perini in 2005, ameliorating the conflict of interest. But Feinstein's ethical dilemma arose from the fact that, for five years, the interests of Perini and URS and CB Richard Ellis were inextricably entwined with her leadership of MILCON, which last year approved $16.2 billion for military construction projects.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, remarks, "There are a number of members of Congress with conflicts of interest. [California Republican Congressman John T.] Doolittle, for example, hired his wife as a fundraiser, and she skimmed 15 percent off of all campaign contributions. Others, like [former] Speaker [Dennis] Hastert and Cong. [Ken] Calvert, were earmarking federal money for roads to enhance the value of property held by their families.

"But because of the amount of money involved," Sloan continues, "Feinstein's conflict of interest is an order of magnitude greater than those conflicts."

Family Matters

Californians elected San Francisco's former Mayor Dianne Feinstein to the Senate in 1992. She was overwhelmingly re-elected in November 2006. She is well liked by both liberals and conservatives. She supports abortion rights and gun control laws. She politicked this year for renewal of the Patriot Act and sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban American flag burning. She is currently calling for President Bush to set a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but she strongly supported the invasions, occupations and "reconstructions" of both Iraq and Afghanistan. She sits on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, and she is a consistent hawk on matters military.

And she is wealthy. In 2005, Roll Call calculated Feinstein's wealth, including Blum's assets, at $40 million, up 25 percent from the year before. That made her the ninth wealthiest member of Congress. Feinstein's latest Public Financial Disclosure Report shows that in 2005 her family earned income of between $500,000 and $5 million from capital gains on URS and Perini stock combined. From CB Richard Ellis, Blum earned between $1.3 million to $4 million. (The report allows for disclosure of dollar amounts within ranges, which accounts for the wide variance.)

A talented financier and deal-broker, Blum, 70, presides over a global investment empire through a labyrinth of private equity partnerships. His flagship entity is a merchant banking firm, Blum Capital Partners, L.P., of which he is the chairman and general partner. Through this bank, Blum bought a controlling share of Perini in 1997, when it was nearly broke. He named his close associate, the attorney Michael R. Klein, to represent his interest on the board of directors. Blum declined to comment for this story. Perini CEO Robert Band deferred to Klein for comment.

In 2000, according to public records, Perini—which partly specializes in erecting casinos—earned a mere $7 million from federal contracts. Post-9/11, Perini transformed into a major defense contractor. In 2004, the company earned $444 million for military construction work in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for improving airfields for the U.S. Air Force in Europe and building base infrastructures for the U.S. Navy around the globe. In a remarkable financial recovery, Perini shot from near penury in 1997 to logging gross revenues of $1.7 billion in 2005.

In December 2005, Perini publicly identified one of its main business competitors as Halliburton. The company attributed its growing profitability, in large part, to its Halliburton-like military construction contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the company warned investors that if Congress slammed the brakes on war and occupation in the Middle East, Perini's stock could plummet.

According to Klein and to public records, Blum's firm originally paid $4 a share for a controlling interest in Perini's common stock. After a series of complicated stock transactions, Blum ended up owning 13 percent of the company, a majority interest. In mid- and late 2005, Blum and his firm took their profits by selling about 3 million Perini shares for $23.75 per share, according to Klein and reports filed with the SEC. Klein says Blum personally owned 100,000 of the vastly appreciated shares when they were sold. Shortly thereafter, Feinstein began calling for winding down the Iraq war while urging that the "global war on terror" continue indefinitely.

Perini's Payday

It is estimated that Perini now holds at least $2.5 billion worth of contracts tied to the worldwide expansion of American militarism. Its largest Department of Defense contracts are "indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity" or "bundled" contracts carrying guaranteed profit margins. As is all too common, competitive bidding was minimal or nonexistent for many of these contracts.

In June, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, released a report by the House Committee on Government Reform criticizing the Pentagon's growing use of bundled contracts. Waxman complained that these contracts give companies an incentive to increase costs. One of the "problem contracts" identified by Waxman was a no-bid, $500 million contract held by Perini to reconstruct southern Iraq's electrical grid.

In fact, bundled military construction contracts fueled Perini's transformation from casino builder to major war contractor. As of May 2006, Perini held a series of bundled contracts awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers for work in the Middle East worth $1.725 billion. Perini has also been awarded an open-ended contract by the U.S. Air Force for military construction and cleaning the environment at closed military bases. Perini shares that $15 billion award with several other firms, including URS.

Perini regularly performs military construction jobs from Afghanistan to Alaska. It built a biological warfare laboratory for the Navy in Virginia. It built fuel tanks and pipelines for the Navy in North Africa. Details of these projects are typically examined and approved or disapproved by MILCON.

At a 2001 MILCON hearing, Feinstein, attending to a small item, told Maj. Gen. Earnest O. Robbins that she would appreciate receiving an engineering assessment on plans to build a missile transport bridge at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He said he would give it to her. She also asked for and received a list of unfunded construction projects, which prioritize military construction wish lists down to the level of thousand-dollar light fixtures. While there is no evidence to point to nefarious intent behind Feinstein's request for these details, it is worth noting that Perini and URS have open-ended contracts to perform military construction for the Air Force. The senator could have chosen to serve on a subcommittee where she had no potential conflict of interests at all.

In 2003 hearings, MILCON approved various construction projects at sites where Perini and/or URS are contracted to perform engineering and military construction work. The sites included: Camp Lejeune; the Underwater Systems Lab in Newport, R.I.; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; the Naval facilities at Dahlgren, Va.; projects at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; and military bases in Guam, Diego Garcia and Crete.

There are some serious problems with Perini's work in Iraq. In June 2004, the Government Accountability Office reported that Perini's electrical reconstruction contract in southern Iraq suffered from mismanagement and lack of competition. In 2006, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that Perini was paid to construct multimillion-dollar electrical substations in the desert that could not be connected to the electrical grid. And the company was billing the government for purchasing and subcontracting costs that were not justified, according to the Defense Contract Audit Agency. An October 2005 audit by the Defense Department's Inspector General criticized the execution of Perini's cost-plus military construction work in Afghanistan, saying, "The contractor had an incentive to increase costs, because higher costs resulted in higher profit."

URS and McClellan

URS dwarfs Perini. With more than 100 subsidiaries, it employs nearly 30,000 engineers and workers worldwide. The firm's largest customer is the U.S. Army, from which it booked $791 million in work in 2005 out of a total revenue of $3.9 billion.

URS is not just a construction company; it also develops and maintains advanced weapons systems. In 2002, URS purchased weaponry firm EG&G Technical Services from the Carlyle Group, in which former President George H.W. Bush was a principal. But as profitable as its arms dealing division is, URS reports that its growth sectors are military construction, homeland security and environmental services for military sites under existing Defense Department contracts.

According to a database of federal procurement records made available for this investigation by Eagle Eye Publishers of Fairfax, Va., URS's military construction work in 2000 earned it a mere $24 million. The next year, when Feinstein took over as MILCON chair, military construction earned URS $185 million. On top of that, the company's architectural and engineering revenue from military construction projects grew from $108,726 in 2000 to $142 million in 2001, more than a thousandfold increase in a single year.

As Congress gave the Bush administration the green light on military spending after 9/11, the value of Blum's investment in URS skyrocketed. Between 2003 and 2005, URS' share price doubled. In late 2005, Blum resigned from the URS board of directors, after 30 years as a member. Simultaneously, he sold 5.5 million URS shares, worth about $220 million at market price.

The Congressional Record shows that in year after year of MILCON hearings, Feinstein successfully lobbied defense officials to increase the budget for military base cleanup and redevelopment, especially at the decommissioned McClellan Air Force Base. The detoxification of McClellan is a plum job: it is estimated to cost $1.3 billion and take many years to complete. There is, of course, nothing unusual about a senator advocating for projects that improve environmental health, particularly when the project is in her home state; and the Pentagon is notoriously lax about cleaning up its Superfund sites.

It turns out, though, that URS specializes in environmental consulting and engineering work at military installations. It holds a $69 million contract to manage the cleanup of Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which was awarded in 2004. It has a $320 million contract to remediate pollution at U.S. Army bases in the United States and the Caribbean, which was awarded in 2005. And from 2000 to 2005, URS and its partners were paid $204 million for work at McClellan Air Force Base, according to Eagle Eye.

At a MILCON hearing in 2001, Feinstein cited the environmental work at McClellan as needing more money. "That is a base that I am very familiar with, and I am glad that we were able to provide that funding so that work at McClellan can proceed," she said. Feinstein then asked for and received detailed information concerning the Pentagon's projected schedule to finish the McClellan cleanup and the effect of delaying cleanup upon its potential for commercial reuse.

At a MILCON hearing in March 2002, Chairwoman Feinstein interrogated Assistant Secretary of Defense Nelson F. Gibbs:

Sen. Feinstein: Is the Air Force capable of executing greater [cleanup] funding in 2003 at McClellan?
Mr. Gibbs: Yes, ma'am.
Feinstein: And how much would that be? How about $22 million?
Gibbs: That would be very close. That would be almost exact as a matter of fact. ... If you would like, I can provide for you a list of those individual projects.
Feinstein: I would. If you would not mind. Thank you very much.

The next week, Gibbs sent Feinstein a memo showing the addition of $23 million to the McClellan environmental budget, mostly for groundwater remediation, URS' specialty.

In the 2003 MILCON hearings, Feinstein told Dov S. Zakheim, then the Defense Department comptroller, that she "was really struck by the hit that environmental remediation [at McClellan Air Force Base] took. ... However, I have just [received] a list from the Air Force of what they could use to clean up ... McClellan, and one other base, and it is 64 million additional dollars this year."

Dr. Zakheim replied, "Well, let me first say that I remember your concern last year, and I am glad that we took care of [McClellan]. That is important."

Feinstein remarked that the Pentagon had already spent $7 billion on environmental cleanup of closed bases, and that another $3.5 billion should be immediately allocated so that the clean bases can be transferred to the private sector. Demonstrating her grasp of technical details, she remarked, "I am particularly concerned with the dilapidated condition of the sewer line at McClellan that continues to impede significant economic redevelopment of the base."

That is where CB Richard Ellis comes in.

The real estate firm is politically well-connected. Sen. Feinstein's husband chairs the board of directors. Bill Clinton's secretary of commerce, Michael Kantor, joined in 2004. Former Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle signed on in 2005. The firm specializes in consulting with local governments and developers from California to Puerto Rico on how best to redevelop cleaned-up military bases. It also brokers the sale and lease of redeveloped base lands to the private sector. Since Blum took over CB Richard Ellis, for example, the company has closed deals leasing tens of thousands of square feet of commercial space on cleaned-up portions of McClellan to private developers.

In a 2003 MILCON hearing, Sacramento County redevelopment official Robert B. Leonard told Feinstein, "We wanted to express our appreciation for your efforts over the last year in supporting our needs at McClellan." During the five years that Feinstein led the subcommittee, support for the McClellan cleanup and the redevelopment deals were particular focuses of her attention.

URS declined to comment for this story. The sole comment that Feinstein's office made in response to a series of written questions about facts in this story is that "Sen. Feinstein has never had any knowledge nor has she exercised any influence on the award of environmental cleanup contracts under the jurisdiction of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee."

Let the Sunlight In

Last week, the Senate voted to close some significant loopholes in its ethics rules. But it stopped short of creating an office of public integrity, which would independently monitor lobbyists and members of Congress for ethical compliance. Setting her own limits on the extent of reform she will countenance, Feinstein says she is opposed to the creation of an independent congressional ethics watchdog. "If the law is clear and precise, members will follow it," she assured The New York Times on Nov. 18, 2006.

The problem with the existing rules governing congressional ethics is that they are neither clear nor precise, and neither are they effective. Senate rules governing conflicts of interest are so vaguely worded, say government watchdogs, that short of stashing cash bribes in the refrigerator, the line between serving constituents and serving oneself is often blurred. The public record shows that Feinstein has a history of crossing that blurry line.

Charles Tiefer is a professor of law specializing in legislation and government contracting at the University of Baltimore in Maryland. He served as solicitor and deputy counsel to the House of Representatives for 11 years. He has taught at Yale Law School and written books on congressional procedures and separation of powers. Tiefer observes that, unlike the executive and judiciary branches of government, Congress does not have enforceable conflict of interest rules. It is up to Sen. Feinstein's constituents, Tiefer says, to decide if she has a conflict of interest and to take whatever action they want. To make that possible, Feinstein should have publicly disclosed the details of her family investments in Perini, URS and CB Richard Ellis as they related to her actions on MILCON. Tiefer avers that when Klein gave Feinstein lists of Perini's interests, he worsened her conflict of interest.

"The senator should, at a minimum, have posted Klein's lists on her Senate website, so that the press and the public would be warned of her potential conflicts," Tiefer says, noting that she should also make public her correspondence with the Senate Ethics Committee.

As the arbiter of Senate rules on ethics, it is incumbent on Feinstein to provide the public with an explanation of why she did not recuse herself from acting on MILCON details that served her financial interests, and why she failed to resign from the subcommittee after she recognized the potential for conflicts of interest, which, unfortunately, materialized in an obvious way and over a long period of time.

Project Censored Top 25 of 2008

# 23 Feinstein’s Conflict of Interest in Iraq

Student Researcher: David Abbott, Amanda Spigut, and Ann Marie O’Toole
Faculty Evaluator: David McCuan, Ph.D.

Dianne Feinstein—the ninth wealthiest member of congress—has been beset by monumental ethical conflicts of interest. As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 to the end of 2005, Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband’s firms.

From 1997 through the end of 2005, Feinstein’s husband Richard C. Blum was a majority shareholder in both URS Corp. and Perini Corp. She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were, or subsequently became, URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such projects.

In 2000, Perini earned a mere $7 million from federal contracts. After 9/11, Perini was transformed into a major defense contractor. In 2004, the company earned $444 million for military construction work in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for improving airfields for the US Air Force in Europe and building base infrastructures for the US Navy around the globe. In a remarkable financial recovery, Perini shot from near penury in 1997 to logging gross revenues of $1.7 billion in 2005.

It is estimated that Perini now holds at least $2.5 billion worth of contracts tied to the worldwide expansion of the US military. Its largest Department of Defense contracts are “indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity” or “bundled” contracts carrying guaranteed profit margins. As of May 2006, Perini held a series of bundled contracts awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers for work in the Middle East worth $1.725 billion. Perini has also been awarded an open-ended contract by the US Air Force for military construction and cleaning the environment at closed military bases.

In 2003 hearings, MILCON approved various construction projects at sites where Perini and/or URS are contracted to perform engineering and military construction work. URS’s military construction work in 2000 earned it a mere $24 million. The next year, when Feinstein took over as MILCON chair, military construction earned URS $185 million. On top of that, the company’s architectural and engineering revenue from military construction projects grew from $108,726 in 2000 to $142 million in 2001, more than a thousand-fold increase in a single year.

Beginning in 1997, Michael R. Klein, a top legal adviser to Feinstein and a long-time business partner of Blum’s, routinely informed Feinstein about specific federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake. The insider information, Klein said, “was intended to help the senator avoid conflicts of interest.” Although Klein’s admission was intended to defuse the issue, it had the effect of exacerbating it, because in theory, Feinstein would not know the identity of any of the companies that stood to contractually benefit from her approval of specific items in the military construction budget—until Klein told her.

Feinstein’s husband has profited in other ways by his powerful political connections. In March 2002, then-Governor Gray Davis appointed Blum to a twelve-year term as a regent of the University of California, where he used his position as Regent to award millions of dollars in construction contracts to URS and Perini. At the time, he was the principal owner of URS and had substantial interests in Perini. In 2005, Blum divested himself of Perini stock for a considerable profit. He then resigned from the URS board of directors and divested his investment firm of about $220 million in URS stock.1

1. Peter Byrne, “Blum’s Plums” North Bay Bohemian, February 21, 2007.


Shortly before my expose of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s conflict of interest was published in January 2007, Feinstein, who had declined to substantively comment upon serious allegations of ethical misconduct as reported in the story, resigned from the Military Construction Subcommittee. I then wrote three follow-ups, including a news column on her resignation, an expose of her husband Richard Blum’s conflict of interest as a regent of the University of California, and an expose of Blum’s business partner, Michael R. Klein. With Blum’s financial backing, Klein, a war contractor, operates a non-profit called The Sunlight Foundation that awards millions of dollars to reporters and government watchdog groups to research government ethics.

In March, right-wing bloggers by the thousands started linking to and commenting upon these stories—agitating for a Congressional investigation of Feinstein. In just two days, the stories got 50,000 online hits. Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh did radio segments on my findings. I declined to appear on their shows, because I do not associate with racist, misogynist, homophobic demagogues. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly invited me to be on his national TV show, but quickly uninvited me after I promised that the first sentence out of my mouth would frame Feinstein as a neoconservative warmonger just like O’Reilly.

As the storm of conservative outrage intensified, Joe Conason, from The Nation Institute, which had commissioned the Feinstein investigation, asked to have the tag thanking the Nation Institute for funding removed from my stories because, he said, Katrina vanden Heuval, The Nation’s editor and publisher, did not want the magazine or its non-profit institute to be positively associated with Limbaugh. I told Conason that not only was I required to credit The Nation Institute under the terms of our contract, but that The Nation’s editors should be proud of the investigation and gratified by the public reaction.

The back story to that encounter is that, in October, vanden Heuvel had abruptly killed the Feinstein story, which had been scheduled to run as a cover feature before the November 2006 election in which Feinstein was up for reelection. The Nation’s investigative editor, Bob Moser, who worked closely with me on the project from start to finish, wrote that I had done a “solid job,” but that the magazine liked to have a political “impact,” and since Feinstein was “not facing a strong challenge for reelection,” they were not going to print the story. Moser added that there was no “smoking gun,” which amazed me, since Klein’s admission that he was funneling defense contracting wish lists developed by Feinstein’s husband’s company directly to the senator, who was in a position to make those wishes come true, was a hot and smoking fact pointing toward corrupt practices. Subsequently, vanden Heuval wrote an editorial praising women leaders of the newly-empowered Democratic Party, including Feinstein: go figure.

I then sold the story to, who abruptly killed it right before publication, too. This time the editor’s explanation was that “someone talked to the Sunlight Foundation” and that Salon no longer saw the matter as a serious conflict of interest. So, I pitched the story to Slate, The NewRepublic, Harper’s, the Los Angeles Times and, by way of experiment, to the neoconservative American Spectator and Weekly Standard. Most of the editors praised the reporting, but turned down the story. I cannot help but believe that, considering the precarious balance of power in the post-election Senate, some of these editors were not eager to critique the ethics of a Democrat. As for rejection by the neoconservatives, I theorize that they secretly adore Feinstein, who has consistently supported Bush’s war and homeland security agenda and the illiberal Patriot Act.

So I sold the tale to the North Bay Bohemian, which, along with its sister papers in San Jose and Santa Cruz ran it on the cover—complete with follow-ups. After it appeared, the editors and I received a series of invective-filled emails from war contractor Klein (who is also an attorney) but, since he could show no errors of fact in the story, he did not get the retraction that he apparently wanted. In March, the story crested a Google tidal wave generated by left- and right-wing bloggers wondering why the mainstream media was ignoring the Feinstein scandal. After two dozen newspapers ran a McClatchy wire service article in April observing that no one had found any factual faults in my reporting, the lefty group Media Matters attacked me on its Web site as a right-wing pawn, without even calling me for comment, nor finding any errors in my reporting. I parried their fact-free insults with facts and they were compelled to correct the inaccurate rant.

On April 30, The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C. ran a highly-visible op-ed by a conservative pundit quoting from my story and comparing Feinstein (unfairly) to convicted felon and former Congressman, Duke Cunningham. As the Feinstein investigation gained national traction, mostly outside the realm of the mainstream media, one of Klein’s employees at the Sunlight Foundation posted a “critique” of my story, which was loaded with personal insults, but contained no factual substance. Not coincidentally, Feinstein’s press office distributes, upon request, a similarly-worded “rebuttal,” which insults my personal integrity, finds no factual errors, and does not address the damning fact, reported in the story, that four non-partisan ethics experts based in Washington D.C. found the senator had a conflict of interest after reviewing the results of my investigation.

Also, in April, CodePink and The Raging Grannies held a demonstration in front of the Feinstein-Blum mansion in San Francisco demanding that she return her war profits to the Iraqi people. That was my proudest moment.

Five months after the story was printed, opinion-floggers across the political spectrum continue to loudly ask why the mainstream media has not reported on Feinstein’s ethical problem. Some say that the hurricane of opinion raised by the investigation has killed Feinstein’s chance for a spot on the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket in 2008. Klein has continued to send me e-mails full of verbal abuse, misspellings, and implied threat of lawsuit.

Blissfully, I delete them.

Psychedelic drugs return as potential treatments for mental illness

New research confirms that psychedelic drugs are promising treatments for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia

by Moheb Costandi

Long before hippie poster boy Timothy Leary invited the world to "Turn on, tune in and drop out", a group of pioneering psychiatrists working in Canada began to treat alcoholics with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and reported unprecedented recovery rates.

Far from being at the fringes of medical research, their work was fully supported and funded by the Canadian government, and became a promising new area of research that played a role in modernising the field of psychiatry. But despite the encouraging results, studies of LSD therapy ended abruptly in the late 1960s, and did not resume again until some 40 years later.

At the cutting edge of early psychedelic research was one Humphry Osmond (1917-2004), a British psychiatrist at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was Osmond who gave the novelist Aldous Huxley his first dose of mescaline in 1953, and coined the term "psychedelic" in 1957.

Between the years of 1954 and 1960, Osmond and his colleague Abram Hoffer treated some 2,000 chronic alcoholics with LSD. None of these patients had responded to other treatments, and yet, Osmond and Hoffer reported that up to 45% of those treated with a single large dose of the drug abstained from drinking for at least a year afterwards.

Other researchers in Canada, Britain, the United States and elsewhere began experimenting with LSD therapy, and by the time the drug hit the streets in the early 1960s, there were more than a thousand published research papers that described promising results in over 40,000 patients.

These studies took place alongside trials of newly developed compounds such as the antipsychotic chlorpromazine and the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. This body of work effectively established the new field of psychopharmacology, which led psychiatrists to abandon the psychoanalytical approach they had been using since the turn of the century, and begin to consider alcoholism and mental illnesses in terms of disrupted brain chemistry.

Although the results of many of the early studies into LSD therapy were promising, investigations of the potential therapeutic benefits of the psychedelic drugs stopped towards the end of the decade, for two main reasons.

First, some began to question the methods used in the studies, arguing that they lacked scientific rigour, and few, if any, other researchers managed to replicate the high recovery rates reported by Osmond and Hoffer. Many therefore viewed the early studies as providing nothing more than anecdotal evidence for the therapeutic benefits of LSD.

Second, and more importantly, the cultural and political climate became less conducive to psychedelic research. LSD became a popular recreational drug towards the end of the 1960s, and came to be associated with the hippie counterculture, anti-authoritarianism and social disobedience. As a result, research funding quickly dried up, and the drug was eventually criminalised by the US and other governments in 1970.

The past decade has seen renewed interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and the availability of sophisticated techniques such as functional neuroimaging is beginning to provide fresh insights into how they affect the brain.

The new research confirms that the psychedelic drugs do indeed have therapeutic value for a number of psychiatric conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia. It also points to various brain mechanisms which may underly their beneficial effects.

We now know that the so-called classical hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin and mescaline) activate 5-HT2A receptors – which normally bind the neurotransmitter serotonin – in the deep layers of the prefrontal cortex. This in turn alters nerve cell signalling mediated by the transmitters glutamate and dopamine, and may also lead to changes in the strength of connections between neurons in the cortex and other parts of the brain.

Serotonin and dopamine convey messages in the brain circuits involved in mood, and psychedelic drugs apparently alleviate the clinical symptoms of mood disorders by modulating the activity of the cells in these circuits and by modifying their connections.

The very latest research shows that ketamine, an anaesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, can reduce the symptoms of depression quickly and effectively, and that MDMA (popularly known as ecstasy) can be beneficial to sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder when used in combination with behavioural therapy.

By contrast, new research into the effects of the classical hallucinogens has progressed at a much slower pace, probably because these drugs are categorised as Class A in the UK (Schedule I in the US), and researchers who wish to obtain them therefore face numerous regulatory barriers.

Nevertheless, it now seems quite clear that psychedelic drugs have enormous potential for treating a wide variety of psychiatric conditions. Much still remains to be discovered about exactly how they affect the brain, however.

For example, optimising their clinical benefits will require a better understanding of how their molecular structures are related to their activity, and of how each drug can be combined with psychotherapeutic approaches to achieve the best results.

Furthermore, because most psychedelics can mimic the symptoms of naturally occurring psychoses – they can, for example, induce hallucinations and disorganised thought processes – future research may reveal some of the brain mechanisms underlying schizophrenia and related conditions.

The debate that occurred in the 1960s about the therapeutic use of LSD mirrors the one taking place today over the use of MDMA, so the history of LSD experimentation could provide valuable lessons about how to incorporate these controversial drugs into modern medicine.

Moheb Costandi is a molecular and developmental neurobiologist who writes the Neurophilosophy blog


U.S. schools: grooming students for a surveillance state

August 28, 2010 by Dissent

Schools are increasingly invading student privacy both in school and outside of school. Are schools grooming youth to passively accept a surveillance state where they have no expectation of privacy anywhere? A commentary.

The increasing use of student surveillance and intrusion of school districts into students' extra-curricular conduct should alarm us all. Whether it is a district surveilling students in their bedrooms via webcam, conducting random drug or locker searches, strip-searching students, lowering the standard for searching students to "reasonable suspicion" from "probable cause," disciplining students for conduct outside of school hours, searching - their cellphones and text - messages, or allegedly forcing them to undergo pregnancy testing, student privacy is under increasing threat.

The other day I mentioned a Connecticut school district that wanted to require students to carry an ID card with an RFID chip so that they could track their location. The surveillance capability included locating the student if they were off school premises and in town. Today, I came across another news story from earlier this month that also involves tracking students. KTVU in California reported that the Contra Costa County School District began introducing a tracking system for preschool students that would alert staff when a student leaves school premises. In order to accomplish that, students will reportedly be required to wear a jersey that contains the RFID tag that uses Wi-Fi to send signals to sensors located throughout the school.

I realize that some might argue that these are just little pre-schoolers and of course, we want to protect their safety, etc., but keep in mind that one of the major justifications for the program is to save staff time in terms of having to manually record attendance, etc. In exchange for that time and cost-saving, what price do we pay psychologically as a society? It strikes me that schools are grooming our youth to simply accept being tracked and monitored wherever they go and that anything they do, anywhere, can be used against them in school or elsewhere.

Is this really how we want to raise our children? To be sheep who accept being tracked and who have little sense of privacy or entitlement to privacy?

A study released last year by Fordham Law's Center on Law and Information Privacy found that the education sector was not doing enough to protect the privacy of student information. It did not, however, look at the question of whether schools were actually invading student privacy and systematically eroding student privacy rights and autonomy. It's time for a national dialogue about student privacy, while there are still some remnants of it left.


California School Uses RFID Tags To Track Location Of Preschoolers

By Michael Klurfeld on August 26th, 2010

A school in California has received a $50,000 grant that it's spending in a pretty odd way. It's using the money to put tracking devices on preschoolers.

The Contra Costa County School District has put RFID tags into basketball jerseys which the students will wear while at school. The bulk of the grant went towards setting up sensors around the school to read the tags and computer systems to actually monitor where each student is.

The point is to make it easier to make sure all students are accounted for. As anyone who has spent time with small children knows, they really like to run around. If you are responsible for a child and he gets lost, you want to find him as soon as possible. So while the idea of attaching tracking devices to kids seems a little odd, the usage and reasoning seem sound.

Part of why I'm not going to freak out about this is because it in no way encroaches on anyone's reasonable expectation of privacy. If the school district were, for example, using some grant money to read all text messages sent and received by high schoolers; the school would need a warrant as that would constitute a wiretap (though that might not even be the case any longer). But your location at a public school isn't exactly private information. And again, this facilitates grownups to watch kids and make sure they're not doing dangerous things with scissors.

Michael Klurfeld is a Chicago-based musician and technologist specializing in legal happenings and public policy. [photos on-site]


[Ed Note: The above two links were provided by Rick Davis ... and while we are on the subject of children and what RFID (above) really looks like, here is a depressing WAKE-UP call (science (sic) faction) one might want to be aware of. - dahbud]

Zen and the art of protecting the planet

In a rare interview, zen buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn warns of the threat to civilisation from climate change and the spiritual revival that is needed to avert catastrophe

by Jo Confino,, Thursday 26 August 2010 18.16 BST

It is not exactly a traditional Sunday stroll in the English countryside as 84-year-old Vietnamese zen master Thich Nhat Hanh leads nearly a thousand people through the rolling Nottinghamshire hills in walking meditation.

The silent procession takes on the shape of a snake as it wends its way extremely slowly through a forest glade and an apple orchard. The assembled throng are asked to deeply experience each step they take on the earth in order to be mindful in the present moment.

Thay, as he is known, steps off the path into a field of tall grass and sits quietly in meditation. He exudes a sense of serenity, born of his 68 years' practice as a monk.

Despite having hundreds of thousands of followers around the world and being viewed with the same reverence as the Dalai Lama, Thay is little known to the general public. He has chosen to shun the limelight and avoid the shimmer of celebrity endorsement in order to focus on building communities around the world that can demonstrate his ethical approach to life. There are monasteries in France, America and Germany as well as groups of supporters that meet all over the world, including more than 20 "sanghas" across the UK.

He is seeking to create a spiritual revival that replaces our consumption-based lives with a return to a simpler, kinder world based on deep respect for each other and the environment.

He rarely gives interviews but recognises that the enormous challenges facing the world, combined with his own increasing age and frailty, means it is important to use what time and energy he has left to contribute what he can to re-energising society and protecting the planet.

For a man of his age, Thay keeps to a punishing schedule. After having lectured to thousands at London's Hammersmith Apollo, Thay has come to Nottingham for a five day retreat, then goes on to a three month tour of Asia, before returning for a winter retreat at his Plum Village community in France, where he has lived in exile for more than 40 years.

Thay, a prolific author with more than 85 titles under his belt, has taken a particular interest in climate change and recently published the best-selling book 'The World We Have – A Buddhist approach to peace and ecology.'

Tranquilising ourselves with over-consumption

In it, he writes: "The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We consume to forget our worries and our anxieties. Tranquilising ourselves with over-consumption is not the way."

In his only interview in the UK, Thay calls on journalists to play their part in preventing the destruction of our civilisation and calls on corporations to move away from their focus on profits to the wellbeing of society.

He says that it is an ill-conceived idea that the solution to global warming lies in technological advances. While science is important, even more so is dealing with the root cause of our destructive behaviour: "The spiritual crisis of the West is the cause for the many sufferings we encounter. Because of our dualistic thinking that god and the kingdom of god is outside of us and in the future - we don't know that god's true nature is in every one of us. So we need to put god back into the right place, within ourselves. It is like when the wave knows that water is not outside of her.

"Everything we touch in our daily lives, including our body, is a miracle. By putting the kingdom of god in the right place, it shows us it is possible to live happily right here, right now. If we wake up to this, we do not have to run after the things we believe are crucial to our happiness like fame, power and sex. If we stop creating despair and anger, we make the atmosphere healthy again.

"Maybe we have enough technology to save the planet but it is not enough because the people are not ready. This is why we need to focus on the other side of the problem, the pollution of the environment not in terms of carbon dioxide but the toxic atmosphere in which we live; so many people getting sick, many children facing violence and despair and committing suicide.

Spiritual pollution

"We should speak more of spiritual pollution. When we sit together and listen to the sound of the [meditation] bell at this retreat, we calm our body and mind. We produce a very powerful and peaceful energy that can penetrate in every one of us. So, conversely, the same thing is true with the collective energy of fear, anger and despair. We create an atmosphere and environment that is destructive to all of us. We don't think enough about that, we only think about the physical environment.

"Our way of life, our style of living, is the cause of it. We are looking for happiness and running after it in such a way that creates anger, fear and discrimination. So when you attend a retreat you have a chance to look at the deep roots of this pollution of the collective energy that is unwholesome.

"How can we change the atmosphere to get the energy of healing and transformation for us and our children? When the children come to the retreat, they can relax because the adults are relaxed. Here together we create a good environment and that is a collective energy."

Capitalism as a disease

Thay talks about capitalism as a disease that has now spread throughout the world, carried on the winds of globalisation: "We have constructed a system we cannot control. It imposes itself on us, and we become its slaves and victims."

He sees those countries that are home to Buddhism, such as India, China, Thailand and Vietnam, seeking to go even beyond the consumerism of the West: "There is an attractiveness around science and technology so they have abandoned their values that have been the foundation of their spiritual life in the past," he says. "Because they follow western countries, they have already begun to suffer the same kind of suffering. The whole world crisis increases and globalisation is the seed of everything. They too have lost their non-dualistic view. There are Buddhists who think that Buddha is outside of them and available to them only after they die.

"In the past there were people who were not rich but contented with their living style, laughing and happy all day. But when the new rich people appear, people look at them and ask why don't I have a life like that too, a beautiful house, car and garden and they abandon their values."

While Thay believes that change is possible, he has also come to accept the possibility that this civilisation may collapse. He refers to the spiritual principle that by truly letting go of the 'need' to save the planet from climate change, it can paradoxically help do just that.

The catastrophe to come

"Without collective awakening the catastrophe will come," he warns. "Civilisations have been destroyed many times and this civilisation is no different. It can be destroyed. We can think of time in terms of millions of years and life will resume little by little. The cosmos operates for us very urgently, but geological time is different.

"If you meditate on that, you will not go crazy. You accept that this civilisation could be abolished and life will begin later on after a few thousand years because that is something that has happened in the history of this planet. When you have peace in yourself and accept, then you are calm enough to do something, but if you are carried by despair there is no hope.

"It's like the person who is struck with cancer or Aids and they learn they have been given one year or six months to live. They suffer very much and fight. But if they come to accept that they will die and they prepare to live every day peacefully and they enjoy every moment, the situation may change and the illness may go away. That has happened to many people."

Thay says that the communities his Order of Interbeing is building around the world are intended to show that it is possible to "live simply and happily, having the time to love and help other people. That is why we believe that if there are communities of people like that in the world, we will demonstrate to the people and bring about an awakening so that people will abandon their course of comforts. If we can produce a collective awakening we can solve the problem of global warming. Together we have to provoke that type of awakening."

'One Buddha is not enough'

He stops for a moment and goes quiet: "One Buddha is not enough, we need to have many Buddhas."

Thay has lived an extraordinary life. During the Vietnam War he was nearly killed several times helping villagers suffering from the effects of bombing. When visiting America, he persuaded Martin Luther King to oppose the war publicly, and so helped to galvanize the peace movement. In fact King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968.

In the following decade Thay spent months on the South China Sea seeking to save Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees from overcrowded boats and, in more recent years, he led members of the US Congress through a two-day retreat and continues to hold reconciliation retreats for Israelis and Palestinians at Plum Village.

His whole philosophy is based on watching the breath and walking meditation to stay in the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

He says that within every person are the seeds of love, compassion and understanding as well as the seeds of anger, hatred and discrimination. Our experience of life depends on which seeds we choose to water.

To help the creation of a new global ethic and sustain those positive seeds, Thay's Order of Interbeing has distilled the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path into five core principles.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings, updated in the last year to make them relevant to our fast changing world, are not a set of rules but a direction to head in. Beyond calling for mindful consumption, they encourage an end to sexual misconduct as well as a determination "not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programmes, films, magazines, books and conversations."


1948 Whizzer
1948 Whizzer Nostalgia


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Erik Moll
Erik Moll's new Norwegian album available on the net

New Gospel MP3:
Sweeping Through The City
Bobby Kent provided a track from his free "Still Here" album,
"Sweeping Through The City." Origin: Shirley Caesar

Boots 4 Bush & Cheney

Tony Blair pelted with eggs and shoes at book signing

Former prime minister attacked by anti-war protesters in Dublin as he promotes memoirs

by David Batty and agencies,, Saturday 4 September 2010 11.55 BST, Article history

Violence has broken out at the first public signing for Tony Blair's memoirs, with anti-war protesters hurling shoes and eggs at the former prime minister.

The projectiles did not hit Blair as he arrived at a bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, to be greeted by scores of demonstrators chanting that he was a "war criminal" and had "blood on his hands" because of the invasion of Iraq.

War Criminal Rice has blood on her hands - via Code Pink
Blood On Your Hands Too, War Criminal Rice

Irish police blocked off streets around the Eason store on O'Connell Street following the clashes with activists who tried to push down a security barrier.

The demonstrators also shouted: "Hey hey Tony hey, how many kids have you killed today?"

The city tram service was suspended and shops in the surrounding area also closed.

Buyers at the signing had to hand over bags and mobile phones before entering the store. Undercover detectives mingled with the crowds taking names before Blair arrived at the shop at about 10.30am.

In his memoirs, A Journey, Blair defends his decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003. The book, which was released earlier this week, has become one of the fastest selling autobiographies on record.

The protests came as the BBC World Service aired an interview with Blair in which he said "wicked and backward-looking" radical Islam was the greatest threat to global security.

Blair gave his first live television interview since his memoirs were published to Irish state broadcaster RTE last night.

He tried to convince the audience that he acted against the one million people who marched in opposition to the war in Iraq in 2003 because he simply couldn't take decisions "based on those that shout most".

The former prime minister, who was greeted by about 50 protesters at the RTE studios, also denied he had "blood on his hands" and said he didn't believe he was a "war criminal", showing a flash of exasperation when asked to explain why people thought that he was.

It is believed Blair chose Ireland for his only live interview since his memoirs' publication because he felt he would get a better hearing because of the peace he secured in Northern Ireland.

He said: "When we finally got the whole lot together, literally weeks before I left office in 2007, and there was Martin McGuinness sitting with Ian Paisley, and it was such a strange and extraordinary sight and it was one of the few times in politics I felt really proud actually."

Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement:
Do You Really Believe in Miracles?

by David Ray Griffin via Prez @ usa-exile

An Open Letter to Terry Allen, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, David Corn, Chris Hayes, George Monbiot, Matthew Rothschild, and Matt Taibbi.1

According to several left-leaning critics of the 9/11 Truth Movement, some of its central claims, especially about the destruction of the World Trade Center, show its members to be scientifically challenged. In the opinion of some of these critics, moreover, claims made by members of this movement are sometimes unscientific in the strongest possible sense, implying an acceptance of magic and miracles.

After documenting this charge in Part I of this essay, I show in Part II that the exact opposite is the case: that the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center implies miracles (I give nine examples), and that the 9/11 Truth Movement, in developing an alternative hypothesis, has done so in line with the assumption that the laws of nature did not take a holiday on 9/11. In Part III, I ask these left-leaning critics some questions evoked by the fact that it is they, not members of the 9/11 Truth Movement, who have endorsed a conspiracy theory replete with miracle stories as well as other absurdities.

I The Charge that 9/11 Truth Theories Rest on Unscientific, Even Magical, Beliefs

Several left-leaning critics of the 9/11 Truth Movement, besides showing contempt for its members, charge them with relying on claims that are contradicted by good science and, in some cases, reflect a belief in magic. By “magic,” they mean miracles, understood as violations of basic principles of the physical sciences.

For example, Alexander Cockburn, who has referred to members of the 9/11 Truth Movement as “9/11 conspiracy nuts,”3 quoted with approval a philosopher who, speaking of “the 9-11 conspiracy cult,” said that its “main engine . . . is . . . the death of any conception of evidence,” resulting in “the ascendancy of magic over common sense, let alone reason.”4 Also, Cockburn assured his readers: “The conspiracy theory that the World Trade Centre towers were demolished by explosive charges previously placed within them is probably impossible.”5 With regard to Building 7 of the World Trade Center, Cockburn claimed (in 2006) that the (2002) report by FEMA was “more than adequate.”6

Likewise, George Monbiot, referring to members of the 9/11 Truth Movement as “fantasists,” “conspiracy idiots,” and “morons,” charged that they “believe that [the Bush regime] is capable of magic.”7

Matt Taibbi, saying that the “9/11 conspiracy theory is so shamefully stupid” and referring to its members as “idiots,” wrote with contempt about the “alleged scientific impossibilities” in the official account of 9/11; about the claim that “the towers couldn't have fallen the way they did [without the aid of explosives]”; of the view (held by “9/11 Truthers”) that “it isn't the plane crashes that topple the buildings, but bombs planted in the Towers that do the trick”; and of “the supposed anomalies of physics involved with the collapse of WTC-7.” He had been assured by “scientist friends,” he added, that “[a]ll of the 9/11 science claims” are “rank steaming bullshit.”8

Chris Hayes, writing in The Nation in 2006, did not stoop to the kind of name-calling employed by Cockburn, Monbiot, and Taibbi. Also, he knew, he admitted, of “eyewitness accounts of [people] who heard explosions in the World Trade Center.” And he was aware that “jet fuel burns at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit [whereas] steel melts at 2,500.” He asserted, nevertheless, that “the evidence shows [a 9/11 conspiracy] to be virtually impossible,” so that the 9/11 Truth Movement’s conspiracy theory is “wrongheaded and a terrible waste of time.”9

Noam Chomsky has also declared that the available facts, when approached scientifically, refute the 9/11 Truth Movement. Speaking of evidence provided by this movement to show that 9/11 “was planned by the Bush Administration,” Chomsky declared: “If you look at the evidence, anybody who knows anything about the sciences would instantly discount that evidence.”10 In spite of his dismissive attitude, however, Chomsky in 2006 gave some helpful advice to people who believe they have physical evidence refuting the official account:

“There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists . . . who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis. . . . Or, . . . submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission.”11

In These Times writer Terry Allen, in a 2006 essay entitled “The 9/11 Faith Movement,” assured her readers that “the facts [do not] support the conspiracists’ key charge that World Trade Center buildings were destroyed by pre-positioned explosives.”12

In an essay posted at AlterNet a few months after 9/11, David Corn used a purely a priori argument to demonstrate – at least to his own satisfaction – that 9/11 could not have been an inside job: “U.S. officials would [not have been] . . . good [capable] enough, evil enough, or gutsy enough.”13 In 2009, after having been silent about 9/11 for the intervening years, he addressed the issue again. Referring to “9/11 conspiracy silliness,” “9/11 conspiracy poison,” and “9/11 fabulists,” Corn declared:

“The 9/11 conspiracy . . . was always a load of bunk. You don't have to be an expert on skyscraper engineering . . . to know that [this theory] make[s] no sense.”14

Corn thereby implied that, whereas anyone can know that the 9/11 Truth Movement’s conspiracy theory is false, those people who are “expert[s] on skyscraper engineering” would have even more certain knowledge of this fact.

As to how people (such as himself) who are not experts on such matters could know this movement’s conspiracy theory to be “a load of bunk,” Corn again employed his three-point a priori argument, as re-worded in a later essay, according to which the Bush administration was “not that evil,” “not that ballsy,” and “not that competent.”15 Corn even referred to his three-point argument as “a tutorial that should persuade anyone that the 9/11 theory makes no sense.” Although this “tutorial” does not, of course, convince members of the 9/11 Truth Movement, Corn explained this fact by saying: “I have learned from experience that people who believe this stuff are not open to persuasion.”16

In any case, although his argument against the inside-job theory was almost entirely a priori, he did make the above-mentioned suggestion that one’s a priori certitude would be reinforced by people, such as “expert[s] on skyscraper engineering,” who have relevant types of expertise to evaluate the empirical evidence.

A fuller statement of the general claim made by these authors - that the 9/11 Truth Movement is based on unscientific claims – was formulated by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive. In an essay entitled “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Already,” Rothschild wrote:

“Here’s what the conspiracists believe: 9/11 was an inside job. . . . [T]he Twin Towers fell not because of the impact of the airplanes and the ensuing fires but because [of] explosives. Building 7, another high-rise at the World Trade Center that fell on 9/11, also came down by planted explosives. . . . I'm amazed at how many people give credence to these theories. . . . [S]ome of the best engineers in the country have studied these questions and come up with perfectly logical, scientific explanations for what happened. . . . At bottom, the 9/11 conspiracy theories are profoundly irrational and unscientific. It is more than passing strange that progressives, who so revere science on such issues as tobacco, stem cells, evolution, and global warming, are so willing to abandon science and give in to fantasy on the subject of 9/11.”17

However, in spite of the confidence with which these critics have made their charges, the truth is the complete opposite: It is the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, which has been endorsed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), that is profoundly unscientific (partly because it ignores a massive amount of evidence pointing to use of explosives18), and it is precisely for this reason that the 9/11 Truth Movement has come up with an alternative explanation – namely, that the WTC buildings were brought down in the procedure known as “controlled demolition.”

WTC 7 demolition

II Miracles Implied by NIST’s Explanation of the WTC’s Destruction

The main reason why NIST’s theory of the destruction of the World Trade Center is profoundly unscientific is that it cannot be accepted without endorsing miracles, in the sense of violations of fundamental principles of physics and chemistry. I will demonstrate this point in terms of nine miracles implied by NIST’s accounts of the destruction of Building 7 of the World Trade Center (WTC 7) and the Twin Towers (WTC 1 and 2).

1. The Fire-Induced Collapse of WTC 7: An Apparent Miracle

WTC 7 was a 47-story building that, although it was not hit by a plane, came down at 5:21 PM that day. Unlike the collapse of the Twin Towers, the collapse of this building was not publicized. The 9/11 Commission Report, for example, did not even mention it.19 Many people have, accordingly, never heard of this building’s collapse. A Zogby poll in 2006, for example, found that 43 percent of the American people were still unaware that a third WTC building had collapsed, and even though NIST’s report on its collapse appeared in 2008, many people today still do not know that this building also came down.20 For the purposes of the present essay, in any case, the main point is that, insofar as people profess belief in the official account of this building’s collapse as articulated by NIST, they imply an acceptance of several miracles.

I begin with a fact about WTC 7’s collapse that at least appears to entail a miracle: that it was (according to the official account) the first steel-frame high-rise building in the known universe to be brought down solely by fire. The Twin Towers were hit by airliners, so the official account could attribute their collapses to the airplane impacts as well as to the ensuing fires. But WTC 7 was not hit by a plane, so its collapse apparently had to be attributed to fire alone.

The unprecedented nature of a fire-induced collapse of a steel-frame high-rise building was expressed a couple of months after 9/11 by New York Times reporter James Glanz. Calling the collapse of WTC 7 “a mystery,” Glanz reported that “experts said no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.” Glanz also quoted a structural engineer as saying: “[W]ithin the structural engineering community, [WTC 7] is considered to be much more important to understand [than the Twin Towers],” because engineers had no answer to the question, “why did 7 come down?”21

The mystery was not lessened in 2002 when FEMA issued the first official report on this building’s collapse. Saying that its “best hypothesis” was that flaming debris from the collapse of the North Tower had ignited diesel fuel stored in the building, resulting in large, steel-weakening fires that made the building collapse, FEMA admitted that this hypothesis had “only a low probability of occurrence”22 (although Alexander Cockburn years later, as we saw above, would declare this report to be “more than adequate”).

This cautionary statement by FEMA did not, however, prevent defenders of the official account from claiming that WTC 7’s collapse was not really very mysterious after all. In a 2006 book, Popular Mechanics told its readers what they could probably expect to find in the report on this building to be put out by NIST – which had taken over from FEMA the responsibility for issuing the official reports on the Twin Towers and WTC 7. Citing NIST’s “current working hypothesis,” Popular Mechanics said that WTC 7’s diesel fuel had probably fed the fires “for up to seven hours.”23

Also, using NIST’s then-current thinking in order to claim that “WTC 7 was far more compromised by falling debris than the FEMA report indicated,” Popular Mechanics argued that critics could not reject the official account on the grounds that it would make WTC 7 the first steel-frame high-rise to have failed “because of fire alone,” because, Popular Mechanics claimed, the causes of WTC 7’s collapse were analogous to the causes of the collapses of WTC 1 and WTC 2: “A combination of physical damage from falling debris [analogous to the damage caused in the Twin Towers by the airplane impacts] and prolonged exposure to the resulting [diesel-fuel-fed] fires [analogous to the jet-fuel-fed fires in the Twin Towers].”24

Popular Mechanics called this twofold explanation a “conclusion” that had been reached by “hundreds of experts from academia and private industry, as well as the government.” This claim evidently impressed many people, including Chris Hayes and Matthew Rothschild, both of whom said that Popular Mechanics had disproved the claims of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Rothschild, repeating Popular Mechanics’ twofold explanation, wrote:

“Building 7 . . . is a favorite of the conspiracy theorists, since the planes did not strike this structure. But the building did sustain damage from the debris of the Twin Towers. ‘On about a third of the face to the center and to the bottom - approximately ten stories – about 25 percent of the depth of the building was scooped out,’ Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, told Popular Mechanics. What's more, the fire in the building lasted for about eight hours, in part because there were fuel tanks in the basement and on some of the floors.”25

Hayes, saying that “Popular Mechanics assembled a team of engineers, physicists, flight experts and the like to critically examine some of the Truth Movement's most common claims,” reported that these experts “found them almost entirely without merit.” This counter-claim by Popular Mechanics evidently settled the matter for Hayes.26

Also, although Terry Allen did not mention Popular Mechanics, her article was apparently dependent on it. Assuring her readers that she had found it “relatively easy” to undermine the “facts” employed by the 9/11 Truth Movement, she wrote:

“Many conspiracists offer the collapse of WTC Building 7 as the strongest evidence for the kind of controlled demolition that would prove a plot. Although not hit by planes, it was damaged by debris, and suffered fires eventually fueled by up to 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored near ground level.”27

Like Rothschild, therefore, she gave the same twofold explanation for WTC 7’s collapse that had been provided by Popular Mechanics.28

However, when NIST finally issued its WTC 7 report in 2008, it did not affirm either element in the twofold explanation that had been proffered by Popular Mechanics. With regard to the first element, NIST said: “[F]uel oil fires did not play a role in the collapse of WTC 7.”29 With regard to the second element, NIST said: “Other than initiating the fires in WTC 7, the damage from the debris from WTC 1 [the North Tower] had little effect on initiating the collapse of WTC 7.”30

This second point means that, contrary to what Popular Mechanics had claimed it would say, NIST actually asserted that WTC 7 was brought down by fire, at least primarily. In NIST’s words, the collapse of WTC 7 was “the first known instance of the total collapse of a [steel-frame] tall building primarily due to fires.”31

One ambiguity needs clearing up: Although in these just-quoted statements, NIST seemed to indicate that the debris damage had a “little effect” on initiating the collapse, so that this collapse was only primarily (rather than entirely) due to fire, NIST generally treated fire as the sole cause: Besides repeatedly speaking of a “fire-induced” collapse,32 Also, in a press release announcing its Draft for Public Comment in August 2008, NIST called the collapse of WTC 7 “the first known instance of fire causing the total collapse of a tall building.” This press release, moreover, quoted lead investigator Shyam Sunder as saying: “Our study found that the fires in WTC 7 . . . caused an extraordinary event.”33 The brief version of NIST’s final report said: “Even without the structural damage, WTC 7 would have collapsed from fires having the same characteristics as those experienced on September 11, 2001.”34 The long version said: “WTC 7 sustained damage to its exterior as a result of falling debris from the collapse of WTC 1, but this damage was found to have no effect on the collapse initiating event.”35

It is not wrong, therefore, to say that NIST portrayed WTC 7 as the first (and thus far only) steel-frame high-rise building to have come down because of fire alone. NIST said, in other words, precisely what Popular Mechanics, knowing that claims about unprecedented physical events are deeply suspect, had assured people it would not say.

In doing so, moreover, NIST contradicted both parts of Popular Mechanics’ explanation for WTC 7’s collapse, which, according to Rothschild and Allen, had provided the basis for discounting the 9/11 Truth Movement’s claims about this collapse. To review: Rothschild said that the official account was credible, contrary to the Truth Movement’s claims, because “the building did sustain damage from the debris of the Twin Towers” and the “fire in the building lasted for about eight hours,” due to the “fuel tanks in the basement and on some of the floors.” Allen likewise said the official account was believable because, although WTC 7 was not hit by a plane, “it was damaged by debris, and suffered fires eventually fueled by up to 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored near ground level.”36

But then, when NIST later denied that either the debris-damage or the diesel fuel played a role in the collapse of WTC 7, Rothschild and Allen did not retract their prior assurances. It seems that they, in effect, simply said – like Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s – “Never mind.” Their attitude seemed to be, in other words, that whatever the government says, that is what they will believe. Whatever kind of journalism this is, it is certainly not truth-seeking journalism.

In any case, NIST’s claim that WTC 7 suffered an unprecedented, fire-induced collapse is made even more problematic by the fact that the fires in this building were relatively unimpressive, compared with fires in some other steel-frame high-rises. In 1991, a huge fire in Philadelphia’s One Meridian Plaza lasted for 18 hours and gutted eight of the building’s 38 floors. In Caracas in 2004, a fire in a 50-story building raged for 17 hours, completely gutting the building’s top 20 floors. In neither case, however, did the building, or even a single floor, collapse.37

In WTC 7, by contrast, there were long-lasting fires on only six of the building’s 47 floors, according to NIST, and by “long-lasting,” NIST meant only that they lasted up to seven hours.38 It would be exceedingly strange, therefore, if fire had produced a total collapse of this building. The claim becomes even stranger when one discovers that NIST had no evidence that the fires on any of the floors lasted for much over three hours.39

Accordingly, besides undermining the confident explanations of WTC 7’s collapse offered by Popular Mechanics, NIST’s conclusion about this building - that it was the first steel-frame high-rise building ever to be brought down by fire – appears to constitute a rather remarkable miracle-claim.

2. WTC 7’s Collapse: A Perfect Imitation of an Implosion

More clearly miraculous, given the official account, was the precise way in which WTC 7 collapsed: symmetrically (straight down, with an almost perfectly horizontal roofline), into its own footprint. In order for this symmetrical collapse to occur, all the (vertical) steel columns supporting the building had to fail simultaneously. There were 82 of these columns, so the fire theory of WTC 7’s collapse entails that the fires in this building caused all 82 of these columns to fail at the same instant.

Even if otherwise possible, such a symmetrical failure would have been essentially impossible even if the building had been entirely engulfed by fire, so that all the floors would have been evenly covered with fire. As it was, however, there were fires on only a few floors, and these fires never covered an entire floor at the same time. The official account implies, therefore, that a very asymmetrical pattern of fires produced an entirely symmetrical collapse. If that is not a genuine miracle, it will do until one comes along.

Another problem is the fact that, even if a symmetrical, total collapse could be caused by an asymmetrical pattern of fires, a fire theory could not explain the sudden onset of WTC 7’s collapse. Popular Mechanics, which is unreliable on every aspect of 9/11 (as I showed in my 2007 book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking40), apparently misled Chris Hayes on this point by suggesting otherwise. Attempting to illustrate his claim that Popular Mechanics had shown the core ideas of the 9/11 Truth Movement to be “almost entirely without merit,” Hayes wrote:

“To pick just one example, steel might not melt at 1,500 degrees [Fahrenheit], the temperature at which jet fuel burns, but it does begin to lose a lot of its strength, enough to cause the support beams to fail.”41

However, even if the fire could have heated the steel up to this temperature in the time available (which would have been impossible42), the fire would have weakened the steel gradually, causing it to start sagging. Videos would, therefore, show deformations in the building before it came down. But they do not. One moment the building was perfectly immobile, and the next moment, as videos show,43 it was accelerating downward in free fall (the significance of free fall will be discussed below). As Australian chemist Frank Legge has observed: “There is no sign of the slow start that would be expected if collapse was caused by the gradual softening of the steel.”44

Because of these two features of the collapse, anyone knowing anything about such things can tell, simply by seeing a video of WTC 7’s collapse, that it was brought down in the procedure known as “controlled demolition.” For example, Daniel Hofnung, an engineer in Paris, has written:

“In the years after [the] 9/11 events, I thought that all I read in professional reviews and French newspapers was true. The first time I understood that it was impossible was when I saw a film about the collapse of WTC 7.”45

Kansas City civil engineer Chester Gearhart wrote:

“I have watched the construction of many large buildings and also have personally witnessed 5 controlled demolitions in Kansas City. When I saw the towers fall on 9/11, I knew something was wrong and my first instinct was that it was impossible. When I saw building 7 fall, I knew it was a controlled demolition.”46

Jack Keller, emeritus professor of engineering at Utah State University (who had been named by Scientific American as one of the world’s leaders in using science and technology to benefit society), wrote simply of WTC 7’s collapse: “Obviously it was the result of controlled demolition.”47

In revealing the collapse of WTC 7 to be an example of controlled demolition, moreover, the videos show it to be the type of controlled demolition known as “implosion,” in which explosives and/or incendiaries are used to slice the building’s steel support columns so as to cause the building to collapse into its own footprint.

In 2006, for example, a Dutch filmmaker asked Danny Jowenko, the owner of a controlled demolition company in the Netherlands, to comment on a video of the collapse of WTC 7, without telling him what it was. (Jowenko had been unaware that a third building had collapsed in New York on 9/11.) After viewing the video, Jowenko said: “They simply blew up columns, and the rest caved in afterwards. . . . This is controlled demolition.” When asked if he was certain, he replied: “Absolutely, it’s been imploded. This was a hired job. A team of experts did this.”48

Moreover, the reason to implode a building, rather than simply causing it to fall over sideways, is to avoid damaging nearby buildings, and engineering an implosion is no mean feat. An implosion, in the words of a controlled demolition website, is “by far the trickiest type of explosive project,” which “only a handful of blasting companies in the world . . . possess enough experience . . . to perform.”49 Mark Loizeaux, the president of the afore-mentioned demolition firm, Controlled Demolition, Inc., has explained why: “[T]o bring [a building] down . . . so . . . no other structure is harmed,” the demolition must be “completely planned,” using “the right explosive [and] the right pattern of laying the charges.”50

Would it not be a miracle if a fire-induced collapse, based on scattered fires on a few of WTC 7’s floors, had produced a collapse that perfectly imitated the kind of planned, controlled demolition that can be carried out by only a few companies in the world?

Chris Hayes suggested that the 9/11 Truth Movement, by doubting the government’s account of 9/11, exemplifies a resurgence of the “paranoid style” in American politics. But in accepting the government’s account, as defended by the pseudo-scientific Popular Mechanics, he illustrated the other target of his article, the “credulous style,” which, he pointed out, is generally exemplified by the American media.51 Surely, however, his credulity does not extend to the acceptance of miracles.

3. WTC 7’s Descent in Absolute Free Fall

Even if some readers question whether the two previously discussed features of the collapse of WTC 7, when understood within the framework of NIST’s fire theory, imply miracles, there can be no doubt about a third feature: the now-accepted (albeit generally unpublicized) fact that WTC 7 came down in absolute free fall for over two seconds.

Although members of the 9/11 Truth Movement had long been pointing out that this building descended at the same rate as a free-falling object, or at least virtually so, NIST had long denied this. As late as August 2008, when NIST issued its report on WTC 7 in the form of a Draft for Public Comment, it claimed that the time it took for the upper floors – the only floors that are visible on the videos - to come down “was approximately 40 percent longer than the computed free fall time and was consistent with physical principles.”52

As this statement implied, any assertion that the building did come down in free fall, assuming a non-engineered collapse, would not be consistent with physical principles – meaning basic laws of Newtonian physics. Explaining why not during a “WTC 7 Technical Briefing” on August 26, 2008, NIST’s Shyam Sunder said:

“[A] free fall time would be [the fall time of] an object that has no structural components below it. . . . [T]he . . . time that it took . . . for those 17 floors to disappear [was roughly 40 percent longer than free fall]. And that is not at all unusual, because there was structural resistance that was provided in this particular case. And you had a sequence of structural failures that had to take place. Everything was not instantaneous.”53

In saying this, Sunder was presupposing NIST’s theory that the building was brought down by fire, which, if it could have produced a collapse of any type, could have produced only a progressive collapse.

In response, high-school physics teacher David Chandler, who was allowed to submit a question at this briefing, challenged Sunder’s denial of free fall, stating that Sunder’s “40 percent longer” claim contradicted “a publicly visible, easily measurable quantity.”54 Chandler then placed a video on the Internet showing that, by measuring this publicly visible quantity, anyone understanding elementary physics could see that “for about two and a half seconds. . . , the acceleration of the building is indistinguishable from freefall.”55 (This is, of course, free fall through the air, not through a vacuum.)

In its final report on WTC 7, which came out in November 2008, NIST – rather amazingly - admitted free fall. Dividing the building’s descent into three stages, NIST described the second phase as “a freefall descent over approximately eight stories at gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s[econds].”56 NIST thereby accepted Chandler’s case – except for maintaining that the building was in absolute free fall for only 2.25, not 2.5, seconds (a trivial difference). NIST thereby affirmed a miracle, meaning a violation of one or more laws of physics.

Why this would be a miracle was explained by Chandler, who said: “Free fall can only be achieved if there is zero resistance to the motion.”57 In other words, the upper portion of Building 7 could have come down in free fall only if something had suddenly removed all the steel and concrete in the lower part of the building, which would have otherwise provided resistance (to make a considerable understatement). If everything had not been removed and the upper floors had come down in free fall anyway, even if for only a fraction of a second, this would have been a miracle – meaning a violation of physical principles. Explaining one of the physical principles involved, Chandler said:

“Anything at an elevated height has gravitational potential energy. If it falls, and none of the energy is used for other things along the way, all of that energy is converted into kinetic energy – the energy of motion, and we call it ‘free fall.’ If any of the energy is used for other purposes, there will be less kinetic energy, so the fall will be slower. In the case of a falling building, the only way it can go into free fall is if an external force removes the supporting structure. None of the gravitational potential energy of the building is available for this purpose, or it would slow the fall of the building.”58

That was what Sunder himself had explained, on NIST’s behalf, the previous August, saying that a free-falling object would be one “that has no structural components below it” to offer resistance. But NIST then in November, while still under Sunder’s leadership and still defending its fire theory of WTC 7’s collapse, agreed that, as an empirical fact, free fall happened. For a period of 2.25 seconds, NIST admitted, the descent of WTC 7 was characterized by “gravitational acceleration (free fall).”59

Besides pointing out that the free fall descent of WTC 7 implied that the building had been professionally demolished, Chandler observed that this conclusion is reinforced by two features of the collapse mentioned above:

“[P]articularly striking is the suddenness of onset of free fall. Acceleration doesn’t build up gradually. . . . The building went from full support to zero support, instantly. . . . One moment, the building is holding; the next moment it lets go and is in complete free fall. . . . The onset of free fall was not only sudden; it extended across the whole width of the building. . . . The fact that the roof stayed level shows the building was in free fall across the entire width. The collapse we see cannot be due to a column failure, or a few column failures, or a sequence of column failures. All 24 interior columns and 58 perimeter columns had to have been removed . . . simultaneously, within a small fraction of a second.”60

For its part, NIST, knowing that it had affirmed a miracle by agreeing that WTC 7 had entered into free fall, no longer claimed that its analysis was consistent with the laws of physics. Back in its August draft, in which it was still claiming that the collapse occurred 40 percent slower than free fall, NIST had said – in a claim made three times – that its analysis was “consistent with physical principles.”61 In the final report, however, every instance of this phrase was removed. NIST thereby almost explicitly admitted that its report on WTC 7, by affirming absolute free fall while continuing to deny that either incendiaries or explosives had been employed, is not consistent with basic principles of physics.

Accordingly, now that it is established that WTC 7 came down in absolute free fall for over two seconds, one cannot accept the official theory, according to which this building was not professionally demolished, without implying that at least one miracle happened on 9/11.

George Monbiot, as we saw, described members of this movement as “morons” who “believe that [the Bush regime] is capable of magic.” Unless Monbiot, upon becoming aware of NIST’s admission of free fall, changes his stance, he will imply that al-Qaeda is capable of magic.

Matthew Rothschild said he was “amazed” at how many people hold the “profoundly irrational and unscientific” belief that “Building 7 . . . came down by planted explosives.” Given the fact that progressive members of the 9/11 Truth Movement “so revere science on such issues as tobacco, stem cells, evolution, and global warming,” Rothschild continued, it is “more than passing strange that [they] are so willing to abandon science and give in to fantasy on the subject of 9/11.”

NIST’s report on WTC 7, however, provided the final proof that the 9/11 Truth Movement had been right all along – that those progressives who credulously accept the Bush-Cheney administration’s explanation for WTC 7’s collapse are the ones who “abandon science and give in to fantasy on the subject of 9/11.”

4. The Twin Towers: Descending in Virtual Free Fall

Miracles are implied not only by the official account of WTC 7’s collapse but also by the official account of the destruction of the Twin Towers. According to this account, the North Tower (WTC 1) and the South Tower (WTC 2) came down because of three and only three causes: (i) the airplane impacts, which caused structural damage; (ii) the ensuing fires, which were initially fed and spread by jet fuel from the planes; and (iii) gravity. NIST’s negative claim here is that neither explosives nor incendiaries helped bring the buildings down.

One of the miracles implicit in this account is that, although each building had 287 steel support columns - 240 perimeter columns and 47 massive core columns – and although neither explosives nor incendiaries were used to destroy these columns, each building came down, as NIST itself put it, “essentially in free fall.”62 How would that have been possible?

According to NIST, each airliner took out several perimeter and core columns at its area of impact and also created huge fires, which began weakening the steel. After a period of time (56 minutes for the South Tower, 102 minutes for the North Tower), “the massive top section of [each] building at and above the fire and impact floors” fell down on the lower section, which “could not resist the tremendous energy released by [the top section’s] downward movement.”63 Accordingly, NIST’s report said:

“Since the stories below the level of collapse initiation provided little resistance to the tremendous energy released by the falling building mass, the building section above came down essentially in free fall, as seen in videos.”64

Trying to describe more fully its theory of how this happened, NIST wrote:

“The potential energy released by the downward movement of the large building mass far exceeded the capacity of the intact structure below to absorb that energy through energy of deformation. . . . As the stories below sequentially failed, the falling mass increased, further increasing the demand on the floors below, which were unable to arrest the moving mass. In other words, the momentum [of the top stories] falling on the supporting structure below . . . so greatly exceeded the strength capacity of the structure below that [the latter] was unable to stop or even to slow the falling mass.”65

Even before we think about any specific law of physics violated by this account (assuming that no explosives or incendiaries were used to remove the steel columns), we can see intuitively that this explanation implies a miracle: As NIST critic Jim Hoffman has pointed out, it “requires us to believe that the massive steel frames of the [lower structure of the] towers provided no more resistance to falling rubble than [would] air.”66

As to why physics rules out NIST’s account, William Rice, who has both practiced and taught structural engineering, pointed out that NIST’s account “violates Newton’s Law of Conservation of Momentum,” which requires that, “as the stationary inertia of each floor is overcome by being hit,” the speed of descent must decrease.67 A paper by physicists and engineers published in an engineering journal agreed, stating:

“NIST evidently neglects a fundamental law of physics in glibly treating the remarkable ‘free fall’ collapse of each Tower, namely, the Law of Conservation of Momentum. This law of physics means that the hundreds of thousands of tons of material in the way must slow the upper part of the building because of its mass.”68

A letter to NIST signed by physicist Steven Jones, chemist Kevin Ryan, and architect Richard Gage, among others, made a similar point, saying:

“Basic principles of engineering (for example, the conservation of momentum principle) would dictate that the undamaged steel structure below the collapse initiation zone would, at the very least, resist and slow the downward movement of the stories above. There is, indeed, a good chance that the structural strength of the steelwork below would arrest the downward movement of the stories above.”69

NIST, as we saw above, claimed that the lower portion would not retard – let alone arrest - the downward movement of the upper part, because the “tremendous energy” of the upper part’s downward momentum would be irresistible. Let us examine this claim with regard to the North Tower. It was struck at the 95th floor, so the upper portion consisted of only 16 floors. Also, the structure at this height had relatively little weight to bear, compared with the structure lower down, so the steel columns in the upper part, above the area of impact, were much thinner than those in the lower part. This means that the upper 16 floors probably constituted less than 15 percent of the building’s total weight. Also, the top portion would have fallen only a story or two before hitting the lower portion, so it would not have acquired much velocity before striking the lower portion. For these reasons, the top portion would have not had much momentum, so its energy would not have been so “tremendous,” it would seem, as to be irresistible by the lower part, with its millions of pounds of interconnected steel.

This conclusion, based on a purely commonsense analysis, was confirmed by a technical analysis of the North Tower collapse by mechanical engineer Gordon Ross. Far from failing to retard the downward movement of the building’s upper portion, his analysis showed, the lower portion would have quickly and completely stopped the top portion’s descent. Having made the necessary calculations (which NIST failed to do), Ross concluded that the “vertical movement of the falling section would [have been] arrested . . . within 0.02 seconds after impact. A collapse driven only by gravity would not continue to progress beyond that point.”70

If Ross’s calculations are even close to accurate, then NIST’s account – according to which the Twin Towers came down “essentially in free fall,” even though they were not professionally demolished - implied two enormous miracles (one for each building).

Another element in NIST’s account, to be sure, is the claim that the fires in the buildings weakened the steel, so that it provided less resistance than normal. “[W]hen bare steel reaches temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius,” NIST wrote, “it softens and its strength reduces to roughly 10 percent of its room temperature value.”71 NIST thereby, without actually saying it, implied that the steel columns had been heated up to the point where they lost 90 percent of their strength.

NIST was in this way able to mislead some nonscientific journalists into thinking that fire could have caused the Twin Towers to collapse. Alexander Cockburn, stating that the collapses did not require preplaced explosives, said: “High grade steel can bend disastrously under extreme heat.”72 Chris Hayes, stating that the 9/11 Truth Movement’s claims about the Twin Towers are without merit, wrote (in a passage quoted earlier): “[S]teel might not melt at 1,500 degrees (Fahrenheit], the temperature at which jet fuel burns, but it does begin to lose a lot of its strength, enough to cause the support beams to fail.”73

However, the idea that steel heated up by fire could account for the collapses of the Twin Towers is wrong for at least two reasons. In the first place, even if the steel had indeed lost 90 percent of its strength, it would still have offered some resistance, because the law of conservation of momentum would not have taken a holiday. So a collapse “essentially in free fall” would have been impossible.

In the second place, there is no empirical basis for claiming that either tower’s steel had lost any strength, let alone 90 percent of it. On the one hand, as MIT engineering professor Thomas Eagar has pointed out, structural steel only “begins to soften around 425°C [797°F].”74 On the other hand, scientific studies on 16 perimeter columns carried out by NIST scientists found that “only three [of these perimeter] columns had evidence that the steel reached temperatures above 250˚C [482˚F].” These NIST scientists also found no evidence that even this temperature (250˚C [482˚F]) had been reached by any of the core columns.75

Accordingly, far from having evidence that any of the steel in the columns reached the temperature (1,000°C [1,832°F]) at which it would have lost 90 percent of its strength, NIST had no evidence that any of the columns would have lost even one percent of their strength. If neither explosives nor incendiaries were used to remove the 287 steel support columns, therefore, the top portion of the building came down through the lower portion as if it were not there, even though the steel in that portion was at full strength.

In claiming, therefore, that both of the Twin Towers came down essentially in free fall without the aid of either incendiaries or explosives, NIST implied enormous violations of the physical principle known as the conservation of momentum. Although Rothschild accused the 9/11 Truth Movement of being “irrational and unscientific,” this characterization applies instead to NIST’s report on the Twin Towers and anyone who accepts it.

5. The South Tower’s Mid-Air Miracles

Having illustrated the previous miracle primarily in terms of the North Tower, I turn now to a miracle unique to the South Tower. It was struck at the 80th floor, so that its upper portion consisted of a 30-floor block. As videos of the beginning of this building’s collapse show, this block began tipping toward the corner that had been most damaged by the airplane’s impact. According to the law of the conservation of angular momentum, this section should have fallen to the ground far outside the building’s footprint. “However,” Jim Hoffman and fellow 9/11 researcher Don Hoffman have observed,

“as the top then began to fall, the rotation decelerated. Then it reversed direction [even though the] law of conservation of angular momentum states that a solid object in rotation will continue to rotate at the same speed unless acted on by a torque.”76

And then, as if this were not miraculous enough:

“We observe [wrote physicist Steven Jones] that approximately 30 upper floors begin to rotate as a block, to the south and east. They begin to topple over, not fall straight down. The torque due to gravity on this block is enormous, as is its angular momentum. But then – and this I’m still puzzling over – this block turned mostly to powder in mid-air! How can we understand this strange behavior, without explosives?”77

If someone were to ask how even explosives could explain this behavior, we could turn to a statement by Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition, Inc. In response to an interviewer’s question as to how he made “doomed structures dance or walk,” Loizeaux said:

“[B]y differentially controlling the velocity of failure in different parts of the structure, you can make it walk, you can make it spin, you can make it dance. We've taken it and moved it, then dropped it or moved it, twisted it and moved it down further - and then stopped it and moved it again. We've dropped structures 15 storeys, stopped them and then laid them sideways. We'll have structures start facing north and end up going to the north-west.”78

If we suppose that explosives were used, therefore, we can understand the mid-air dance performed by the upper portion of the South Tower.

If we refuse to posit explosives, however, we are stuck with a major miracle: Although the upper block was rotating and tipping in such a way that its angular momentum should have caused it to fall down to the side, it somehow righted itself by disintegrating.

This disintegration, incidentally, further undermines the official theory, according to which the “tremendous energy” of this block’s downward momentum caused the lower part of the South Tower to collapse. This theory requires that the upper part smashed down, as a solid block, on the lower part. Videos show, however, that it did not. As Gage, Jones, Ryan, and other colleagues pointed out to NIST:

“[T]he upper portion of WTC 2 did not fall as a block upon the lower undamaged portion, but instead disintegrated as it fell. Thus, there would be no single large impact from a falling block . . . [but only] a series of small impacts as the fragments of the disintegrating upper portion arrived.”79

6. Horizontal Ejections from the Twin Towers

Dwain Deets, former director of the research engineering division at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, has written that the “massive structural members being hurled horizontally” from the Twin Towers “leave no doubt” in his mind that “explosives were involved.”80

Deets was referring to the fact that the collapse of each of the Twin Towers began with a massive explosion near the top, during which huge sections of perimeter columns were ejected out horizontally so powerfully that some of them traveled 500 to 600 feet. Although this feature of the collapses was not mentioned in NIST’s (2005) report on the Twin Towers, there could be no doubt about it, because some of these sections of steel implanted themselves in neighboring buildings, as can be seen in videos and photographs.81

These ejections are now, in any case, part of the official account, because NIST, apparently finding them necessary to explain how fires got started in WTC 7, mentioned them in its report on this building. In Shyam Sunder’s opening statement at the August 2008 press briefing to announce the release of NIST’s final report on WTC 7, he said: “The debris from Tower 1 . . . started fires on at least 10 floors of the building.”82 NIST’s WTC 7 report said: “The fires in WTC 7 were ignited as a result of the impact of debris from the collapse of WTC 1, which was approximately 110 m[eters] (350 ft) to the south.”83

NIST thereby admitted that debris had been thrown out horizontally from the North Tower at least 350 feet.84 NIST’s report also stated:

“When WTC 1 collapsed at 10:28:22 AM, . . . some fragments [of debris] were forcibly ejected and traveled distances up to hundreds of meters. Pieces of WTC 1 hit WTC 7, severing six columns on Floors 7 through 17 on the south face and one column on the west face near the southwest corner. The debris also caused structural damage between Floor 44 and the roof.”85

Debris that caused such extensive damage, including the severing of seven steel columns, had to be quite heavy. NIST seemed to be granting, therefore, that sections of steel columns had been hurled at least 650 feet (because “hundreds of meters” would mean at least 200 meters, which would be about 650 feet). Enormous force would be needed to eject large sections of steel that far out.

What could have produced this force? According to NIST, as we saw earlier, there were only three causal factors in the collapse of the Twin Towers: the airplane impacts, the fires, and gravitational attraction. The airplane impacts had occurred 56 minutes (South Tower) and 102 minutes (North Tower) earlier, and gravitational attraction pulls things straight downward. Fire could, to be sure, produce horizontal ejections by causing jet fuel to explode, but the jet fuel had, NIST pointed out, burned up within “a few minutes.”86 Therefore, although NIST admitted that these horizontal ejections occurred, it suggested no energy source to explain them.

High explosives, such as RDX or nanothermite, could explain these horizontal ejections. According to NIST, however, explosives did not contribute to the destruction of the Twin Towers. Those who accept NIST’s account must, therefore, regard these horizontal ejections as constituting yet another miracle.

7. Metal-Melting Fires

In light of the above-discussed unprecedented effects produced by the fires in the WTC buildings (according to the official account), it would seem that these fires must have had miraculous powers. This conclusion is reinforced by an examination of still more extraordinary effects.

Swiss-Cheese Steel: Within a few months of 9/11, three professors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) had issued a brief report about a piece of steel recovered from the WTC 7 debris, stating that it had undergone “microstructural changes,” including “intergranular melting.”87 A greatly expanded version of this report, which contained a description of a similarly eroded piece of steel from one of the Twin Towers, was included as an appendix to the first official report on the destruction of the World Trade Center, which was issued by FEMA in 2002.88

A New York Times story, noting that parts of these pieces of steel had “melted away,” even though “no fire in any of the buildings was believed to be hot enough to melt steel outright,” said that these discoveries constituted “[p]erhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”89 Describing these mysterious pieces of steel more fully, an article in WPI’s magazine, entitled “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel,” said:

“[S]teel – which has a melting point of 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit – may weaken and bend, but does not melt during an ordinary office fire. Yet . . . [a] one-inch column has been reduced to half-inch thickness. Its edges – which are curled like a paper scroll – have been thinned to almost razor sharpness. Gaping holes – some larger than a silver dollar – let light shine through a formerly solid steel flange. This Swiss cheese appearance shocked all of the fire-wise professors, who expected to see distortion and bending – but not holes.”90

One of the three WPI professors, Jonathan Barnett, was quoted by the Times as saying that the steel “appear[ed] to have been partly evaporated in extraordinarily high temperatures.”91

That the steel had actually evaporated – not merely melted – was also reported in another New York Times story. Professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl of the University of California at Berkeley, speaking of a horizontal I-beam from WTC 7, reportedly said: “Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized.”92

Why do these phenomena involve miracles? Because the fires could not possibly, even under the most ideal conditions (which did not obtain), have been hotter than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (the maximum possible temperature for hydrocarbon-based building fires, which these fires were said to be), whereas the melting and boiling points of steel are only slightly lower than those of iron, which are 2,800°F and 5,182°F, respectively.93 So if one accepts the official account, according to which all the heat was produced by the building fires, then one must believe that these fires had miraculous powers.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which took over from FEMA the task of writing the official reports on the WTC, avoided this issue by simply not mentioning any of these pieces of steel, even though two of them had been discussed in a FEMA report appendix. NIST even claimed that no recovered steel from WTC 7 could be identified, because the steel used in this building, unlike that used in the Twin Towers, “did not contain . . . identifying characteristics.”94

In making this claim, however, NIST was clearly not being truthful. For one thing, it had previously published a document in which it had referred to steel recovered from WTC 7 – including the piece discussed by the WPI professors.95 Also, NIST’s claim about not identifying any WTC 7 steel was made in August 2008, shortly after the airing in July 2008 of a BBC program on WTC 7, in which one of those WPI professors, Jonathan Barnett, had discussed an “eroded and deformed” piece of steel from WTC 7, which he and his colleagues had studied in 2001. These professors knew “its pedigree,” Barnett explained, because “this particular kind of steel” had been used only in WTC 7, not in the Twin Towers.96

So, although it called the collapse of WTC 7 “the first known instance of fire causing the total collapse of a tall building,”97 NIST had demonstrated its awareness of a recovered piece of steel from this building that only a very miraculous fire could have produced. NIST was surely also aware of the similarly eroded piece of steel from one of the Twin Towers, which had likewise been reported by the WPI professors in their paper included as an appendix to the 2002 FEMA report.

If the fires in WTC 7 and the Twin Towers had miraculous powers, we would expect still more miraculous effects to have been discovered, and this was indeed the case.

Melted Iron: The RJ Lee Group, a scientific research organization, was hired by Deutsche Bank, which had a building close to the World Trade Center, to prove that the dust contaminating its building after 9/11 was not ordinary building dust, as its insurance company claimed, but had resulted from the destruction of the World Trade Center. The RJ Lee Group’s reports showed that the dust in the bank’s building shared the unique chemical signature of the WTC dust, part of which was “[s]pherical iron . . . particles.”98 There were, moreover, an enormous number of these particles: Whereas iron particles constitute only 0.04 percent of normal building dust, they constituted (a whopping) 5.87 percent of the WTC dust.99 The existence of these particles, the RJ Lee Group said, proved that iron had “melted during the WTC Event.”100 The scientists conducting the EPA’s WTC dust signature study, incidentally, had at one time considered including “iron spheres” among the components to be mentioned; it would be interesting to learn why this idea was dropped.101

In any case, the identification of iron spheres by both the EPA and the RJ Lee Group was another miraculous discovery, for the reason given above: The melting point of iron is 2,800°F, whereas the WTC fires could not possibly have gotten above 1,800°F.102

Melted Molybdenum: Scientists at the US Geological Survey, in a study intended to aid the “identification of WTC dust components,” discovered an even more miraculous effect of the fires. Besides finding the spherical iron-rich particles, these scientists found that molybdenum, the melting point of which is 4,753°F (2,623°C), had also melted. Although these USGS scientists failed to mention this discovery in their published report,103 another group of scientists, having obtained the USGS team’s data through a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, reported evidence showing that the USGS scientists had devoted serious study to “a molybdenum-rich spherule.”103

8. Inextinguishable Fires

Besides having the power to produce the miraculous effects already reported, the World Trade Center fires were also miraculously inextinguishable. The fact that fires continued burning in the Ground Zero rubble for many months, in spite of every attempt to put them out, was widely reported. The title of a New York Times story in the middle of November, two months after the attacks, referred to the “Most Stubborn Fire.” A New Scientist article in December was entitled “Ground Zero’s Fires Still Burning.” Very hot fires continued to burn in the Ground Zero debris piles, these stories reported, even though heavy rains came down, millions of additional gallons of water were sprayed onto the piles, and a chemical suppressant was pumped into them.105

According to Greg Fuchek, vice president of a company that supplied computer equipment to identify human remains at the site, the working conditions at Ground Zero remained "hellish" for six months, because the ground temperature ranged from 600 to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.106

These inextinguishable fires were a mystery. Assuming the truth of the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, there would have been nothing in the debris pile other than ordinary building materials, and these can burn only in the presence of oxygen. There would have been little oxygen available in the densely packed debris piles, and wherever it was available, the fires should have been easily suppressed by the enormous amounts of water and chemical suppressants pumped into the piles. The fires’ seemingly miraculous power to keep burning could not be explained by the airplanes’ jet fuel (which some people seem to think of as having miraculous powers, even though it is essentially kerosene), because it would have all burned out, as mentioned above, within a few minutes.

A non-miraculous explanation is suggested by the discovery of a large amount of nanothermite residue in the WTC dust, which was reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2009.107 Being both an incendiary and a high explosive, nanothermite is one among several types of “energetic nanocomposites” – described by an article in The Environmentalist as “chemical energetic materials, which provide their own fuel and oxidant and are not deterred by water, dust or chemical suppressants.”108 The discovery of nanothermite residue in the dust provided, therefore, an empirical basis for a non-miraculous explanation of the long-lasting fires at Ground Zero.

According to the official account, however, the buildings were all brought down without the aid of any incendiaries or explosives. WTC 7 was said by NIST, as we saw above, to have been brought down by fire alone, and this fire, NIST added, was “an ordinary building contents fire.”109 As for the Twin Towers, they were brought down through the combined effects of the airplane impacts and the ensuing fires: NIST explicitly rejected “alternative hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives.”110

For anyone who accepts the official account, therefore, the inextinguishable underground fires at Ground Zero provide still another demonstration of miraculous powers that must have been possessed by the World Trade Center fires.

9. Supernatural Sulfur

In the seventh section, I discussed the two Swiss-cheese-appearing pieces of steel that had been recovered from the World Trade Center rubble – one from WTC 7, the other from one of the Twin Towers. In that discussion, however, I ignored one of the central features of these pieces of steel, which was central to the reason they were said by the New York Times to constitute “the deepest mystery.”

This was the fact that the thinning of the steel had resulted, according to the three WPI professors’ report, from sulfidation, but there was no explanation for the source of the sulfur or the mechanism through which it entered into the steel. According to a preliminary analysis reported by the professors, said the NYT article, “sulfur released during the fires – no one knows from where – may have combined with atoms in the steel to form compounds that melt at lower temperatures.”111

This phenomenon was discussed more fully in the article, “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel,” in WPI’s magazine, which attributed the holes and the thinning to “a eutectic reaction” that “occurred at the surface, causing intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese.”112

In summarizing their findings in the paper included in the FEMA report, the three professors wrote:

“1. The thinning of the steel occurred by a high-temperature corrosion due to a combination of oxidation and sulfidation.

“2. Heating of the steel into a hot corrosive environment approaching 1,000°C (1,832°F) results in the formation of a eutectic mixture of iron, oxygen, and sulfur that liquefied the steel.

“3. The sulfidation attack of steel grain boundaries accelerated the corrosion and erosion of the steel.”113

Then, having mentioned sulfidation in each of these three points, the professors added: “The severe corrosion and subsequent erosion of Samples 1 and 2 are a very unusual event. No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified. . . . A detailed study into the mechanisms of this phenomenon is needed.”114

However, although Arden Bement, who was the director of NIST when it took over the WTC project from FEMA, said that NIST’s report would address “all major recommendations contained in the [FEMA] report,”115 NIST ignored this recommendation. Indeed, as we saw earlier, it did not even mention these Swiss-cheese pieces of steel.

Also, when NIST was later asked about the sulfidation, it tried to maintain that the source of the sulfur was not actually a mystery, saying that “sulfur is present in the gypsum wallboard that was prevalent in the interior partitions.”116

But there are three problems with this explanation. First, gypsum is calcium sulfate, so if all the sulfur discovered had been from gypsum wallboard, it would have been matched by about the same percentage of calcium. That, however, was not the case.117

Second, the WPI professors reported not merely that there was sulfur in the debris, but that the steel had been sulfidized. This means that sulfur had entered into the intergranular structure of the steel (which the New York Times article had indicated by saying that sulfur had “combined with atoms in the steel”). As chemist Kevin Ryan has said, the question NIST would need to answer is: “[H]ow did sulfates, from wallboard, tunnel into the intergranular microstructure of the steel and then form sulfides within?”118 Physicist Steven Jones added:

“[I]f NIST claims that sulfur is present in the steel from gypsum, they should do an (easy) experiment to heat steel to about 1000°C in the presence of gypsum and then test whether sulfur has entered the steel. . . . [T]hey will find that sulfur does not enter steel under such circumstances.”119

Chemistry professor Niels Harrit has explained why it would not: Although gypsum contains sulfur, this is not elemental sulfur, which can react with iron, but sulfur in the form of calcium sulfate, which cannot.120

The official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, therefore, implies that the sulfidized steel had been produced by a twofold miracle: Besides the fact that the fires, as we saw earlier, could have melted steel only if they had possessed miraculous powers, the sulfur in the wallboard could have entered into this melted steel only by virtue of supernatural powers.

Once again, a non-miraculous explanation is available: We need only suppose that thermate, a well-known incendiary, had been employed. As Steven Jones has written:

“The thermate reaction proceeds rapidly and is in general faster than basic thermite in cutting through steel due to the presence of sulfur. (Elemental sulfur forms a low-melting-temperature eutectic with iron.)”121

Besides providing an explanation for the eutectic reaction, thermate could also, Jones pointed out, explain the melting, oxidation, and sulfidation of the steel:

“When you put sulfur into thermite it makes the steel melt at a much lower temperature, so instead of melting at about 1,538°C [2,800°F] it melts at approximately 988°C [1,820°F], and you get sulfidation and oxidation in the attacked steel.”122

NIST, however, insists that no incendiaries were employed: WTC 7 was brought down by fire alone; the Twin Towers by the fires combined with damage from the airplane impacts. Those who endorse the official account, therefore, are stuck with yet another miracle.

III Which 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Is Truly Discrediting and Distracting?

In light of the above facts, I ask Terry Allen, David Corn, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Chris Hayes, George Monbiot, Matthew Rothschild, and Matt Taibbi: Are you still comfortable with endorsing the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center?

A symposium on “State Crimes Against Democracy” in one of our major social science journals, American Behavioral Scientist,123 has recently addressed this issue. Likening Orwell’s “secret doctrine” that 2 + 2 = 4, which intellectuals must safeguard in dark times, to unquestioned laws of physics, one of the symposium’s authors criticized “the awesome intellectual silence making permissible the blithe dismissal of more than one law of thermodynamics in the World Trade Center Towers’ collapse.”124 Part of this silence has involved the failure of the academy to protest when “Professor Steven Jones found himself forced out of [a] tenured position for merely reminding the world that physical laws, about which there is no dissent whatsoever, contradict the official theory of the World Trade Center Towers’ collapse.”125

I wonder if you are still comfortable with giving your own consent to NIST’s “blithe dismissal” of otherwise unquestioned physical principles – as did Cockburn, when he ridiculed the 9/11 Truth Movement for its “delirious litanies about . . . the collapse of the WTC buildings,” and Taibbi, when he wrote contemptuously of people who have tried to educate him “on the supposed anomalies of physics involved with the collapse of WTC-7.”126 I would think that, if there are good reasons to suspect that these physical principles have been dismissed in the interests of covering up a major state crime against democracy, you would be especially uncomfortable with giving your consent to it.

Some of you have expressed fear, to be sure, that the left will be discredited insofar as it is seen as endorsing a 9/11 conspiracy theory. Having asked in 2007, “Why do I bother with these morons?” George Monbiot replied: “Because they are destroying the movements some of us have spent a long time trying to build.”127 In 2009, David Corn wrote: “[W]hen the 9/11 conspiracy theories were first emerging on the left, I wrote several pieces decrying them [for] fear . . . that this unsound idea would infect the left and other quarters – discrediting anyone who got close to it.”128

Some of you, moreover, have objected to the 9/11 Truth Movement on the grounds that it has served as a distraction from truly important issues. The 9/11 conspiracy theories, Corn wrote in 2002, serve to “distract people from the real wrongdoing.”129 Cockburn, writing in 2006, agreed, saying: “The Conspiracy Nuts have combined to produce a huge distraction.”130 That same year, Chomsky said: “One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state.”131 And Monbiot, naming in 2007 some truly important issues from which, in his view, the 9/11 conspiracy theory has distracted us, mentioned “climate change, the Iraq war, nuclear proliferation, inequality, . . . [the fact] that corporate power stands too heavily on democracy, [and] that war criminals, cheats and liars are not being held to account.”132

I will address these two fears – of being discredited and of being distracted – in order.

1. The Fear of Being Discredited

You are certainly right to fear that the left would be discredited by being aligned with a conspiracy theory that is scientifically unsupportable and even absurd. It is hard to imagine, however, what could discredit the left more than having many of its recognized leaders endorsing the Bush-Cheney administration’s 9/11 conspiracy theory, especially at a time when more and more scientists and people in relevant professions are pointing out its absurdities.

Conspiracy Theories and the Official Account of 9/11: I realize, of course, that most of you do not like to acknowledge that the official account of 9/11 is itself a conspiracy theory, given the one-sided, propagandistic meaning with which this term is now commonly employed. As New Zealand philosopher Charles Pigden has pointed out in a superb essay entitled “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom”:

“[T]o call someone ‘a conspiracy theorist’ is to suggest that he is irrational, paranoid or perverse. Often the suggestion seems to be that conspiracy theories are not just suspect, but utterly unbelievable, too silly to deserve the effort of a serious refutation.”133

However, Pigden continues, using the term in this way is intellectually dishonest, because “a conspiracy theory is simply a theory that posits a conspiracy - a secret plan on the part of some group to influence events by partly secret means.”134 And, given this neutral, dictionary meaning of the term:

“[E]very politically and historically literate person is a big-time conspiracy theorist, since every such person subscribes to a vast range of conspiracy theories. . . . [T]here are many facts that admit of no non-conspiratorial explanation and many conspiracy theories that are sufficiently well-established to qualify as knowledge. It is difficult . . . to mount a coup [or an assassination] without conspiring. . . . Thus anyone who knows anything about the Ides of March or the assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or the Tsar Alexander II is bound to subscribe to a conspiracy theory, and hence to be a conspiracy theorist.”135

In light of the neutral meaning of the term provided by Pigden, everyone is a conspiracy theorist about 9/11, not only people who believe that the US government was complicit. According to the government’s theory, the 9/11 attacks resulted from a conspiracy between Osama bin Laden, other al-Qaeda leaders (such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), and 19 young members of al-Qaeda who agreed to hijack airliners.136

Failure to recognize this point can lead to absurd consequences. For example, after an article about 9/11 by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, which had been posted at the Huffington Post, was quickly taken down, the HP editor gave this explanation: “The Huffington Post’s editorial policy . . . prohibits the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories — including those about 9/11. As such, we have removed this post.”137 In response, I pointed out that this policy entails that the HP “cannot accept any posts that state, or imply, that al-Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, for that is a conspiracy theory.” This fact has been acknowledged, I added, by former Harvard law professor and current Obama administration member Cass Sunstein – who referred to the above-quoted article by Charles Pigden. One implication of this fact combined with HP’s policy, I concluded, is that HP “cannot allow President Obama to say that we are in Afghanistan to ‘get the people who attacked us on 9/11,’ because he’s thereby endorsing the Bush-Cheney conspiracy theory about 9/11.”138 But HP, evidently not bothered by logical inconsistency, has not changed its policy.

In any case, once it is acknowledged that both of the major theories about 9/11 are conspiracy theories, the 9/11 Truth’s Movement’s theory cannot rationally be rejected on the grounds that it is a conspiracy theory. Making a rational judgment requires comparing the two conspiracy theories to see which one is more plausible. And when the issue is posed in this way, the official theory does not fare well, whether viewed from a scientific or a merely prima facie perspective.

The Prima Facie Absurdity of the Official Conspiracy Theory: Even when viewed only superficially (prima facie), the central elements in the official story, if evaluated in abstraction from the fact that it is the official story, is certainly implausible – it probably would have been even too implausible to pass muster as the plot for a bad Hollywood movie. Matt Taibbi has made such a statement about the story implicit in the various claims made by the 9/11 Truth Movement, saying that if you combine those claims into a coherent script, “you get the dumbest story since Roman Polanski's Pirates.”139 However, aside from the fact that Taibbi failed to support this claim, he simply ignored the absurdity of the official story, which, boiled down to a one-sentence summary, says:

Inexperienced Muslim hijackers, armed only with knives and box-cutters, took control of four airliners, then outfoxed the world’s most sophisticated air defense system, then used two of these airliners to bring three skyscrapers down (indeed, straight down, in virtual free fall),140 and then, almost an hour later - when the US air defense system would have been on highest alert - flew a third one, undetected, from the mid-west back to Washington DC, where – thanks to heroic piloting by a man who had never before flown an airliner and who was, according to the New York Times, known as a “terrible pilot,” incapable of safely flying even a tiny plane – this third airliner went through an extremely difficult trajectory (even too difficult for them, said some experienced airline pilots) in order to strike the first floor of the Pentagon – surely the most well-protected building on the planet – without scraping the Pentagon lawn.

What could discredit “the left” more than the fact that you, some of its leading spokespersons, have endorsed such nonsense?

The Scientific Status of the Two Conspiracy Theories. Actually, there is one thing that would be even more discrediting: If, after having it pointed out to you that at least nine miracles are implied by this story, you fail to renounce your former acceptance of it.

Also, it is not only the miracles implicit in the official account that undermine your apparent assumption that good science supports the official account rather than that of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Although that assumption was less obviously unreasonable a few years ago, at least by people who either could not or would not look at the evidence for themselves, that assumption is now completely and obviously unreasonable, due to developments that have occurred in the past few years.

In 2006, as we saw above, Chomsky suggested that there would be two decisive tests for the physical evidence touted by the 9/11 Truth Movement: (i) “submit it to specialists [with] the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, [and] building construction.” (ii) “submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication.”

To begin with the second test: A few months before December 2006, when Chomsky made this suggestion, physicist Steven Jones, at that time a professor at Brigham Young University, and some other scientists started a new online outlet, the Journal of 9/11 Studies. By now, it has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers, five of which were cited earlier: “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?” (by Jones himself); “9/11: Acceleration Study Proves Explosive Demolition” (by Frank Legge); “Revisiting 9/11/2001: Applying the Scientific Method” (by Jones); “Momentum Transfer Analysis of the Collapse of the Upper Storeys of WTC 1” (by Gordon Ross); and "Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction" (by Jones and seven other scientists).

Of course, people who are skeptical of the 9/11 Truth Movement’s claims may assume – albeit wrongly, from what I have learned - that this journal, being favorable to such claims, may have a less than rigorous peer-review process. And what Chomsky had suggested, in any case, was that 9/11 Truth Movement scientists should submit articles to mainstream science journals, to see if they could pass their peer-review processes.

Jones and other scientists, deciding to take up Chomsky’s challenge, started working on papers to submit, and since 2008, at least six papers disputing the official account of the WTC have been published in mainstream journals:

· “Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction,” by Steven E. Jones, Frank M. Legge, Kevin R. Ryan, Anthony F. Szamboti, and James R. Gourley, published in 2008 in the Open Civil Engineering Journal.141

· “Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for Energetic Materials,” by Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones, published in 2009 in The Environmentalist.142

· “Active Thermitic Material Observed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” by University of Copenhagen chemistry professor Niels Harrit and eight colleagues (including Jones, Ryan, Legge, and Gourley), published in 2009 in The Open Chemical Physics Journal.143

· “Discussion of ‘Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis’ by K.A. Seffen,” by physicist Crockett Grabbe, published in 2010 in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, which is published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).144

· “Discussion of ’Mechanics of Progressive Collapse: Learning from World Trade Center and Building Demolitions’ by Zdenek P. Bazant and Mathieu Verdure,” by chemical engineer James R. Gourley, published in 2010 in the ASCE’s Journal of Engineering Mechanics.145

· "Discussion of ‘What Did and Did Not Cause Collapse of World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York?’ by Zdenek P. Bazant, Jia-Liang Le, Frank R. Greening, and David B. Benson," by Anders Björkman, published in 2010 in the ASCE’s Journal of Engineering Mechanics.146

Given the time it takes to write scientific papers and get them through the peer-review process, combined with the relatively small number of scientists writing about these issues, this is an impressive achievement. It would seem that this part of Chomsky’s test has been met.

These publications demonstrate, moreover, that many of the same scientists who had been publishing in the Journal of 9/11 Studies have now written papers that have gotten through the peer-review process of mainstream science journals. There is no empirical basis, accordingly, for the assumption that the Journal of 9/11 Studies’ peer-review process is any less critical. We can, therefore, add the 25 scientific papers about the WTC collapses in the Journal of 9/11 Studies to the six recent papers in mainstream journals, giving us a total of over 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles challenging the official theory about the destruction of the WTC that have appeared since 2006.

I turn now to Chomsky’s other suggested way for members of the Truth Movement to test physical evidence that they see as disproving the official story: “submit it to specialists [with] the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, [and] building construction.” This has now been done and, as a result, the movement has large and continually growing numbers of physical scientists, engineers, and architects.

The physical scientists (beyond those already mentioned) include:

· Dr. A. K. Dewdney, professor emeritus of mathematics and physics, University of Western Ontario.

· Dr. Timothy E. Eastman, Consultant, Plasmas International, Silver Spring, Maryland.

· Dr. Mark F. Fitzsimmons, senior lecturer in organic chemistry, University of Plymouth.

· Dr. David L. Griscom, former research physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory; principal author of 100 papers in scientific journals; fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

· Dr. Jan Kjellman, research scientist in nuclear physics and nanotechnology, École Polytechnique Federale, Lausanne.

· Dr. Herbert G. Lebherz, professor emeritus, Department of Chemistry, San Diego State University.

· Dr. Eric Leichtnam, professor of mathematics and physics, University of Paris.

· Dr. Terry Morrone, professor emeritus, Department of Physics, Adelphi University.

· Dr. John D. Wyndham, former research fellow, California Institute of Technology.147

With regard to architects and engineers: In December 2006, when Chomsky issued his suggestion, there were few if any architects and engineers who had publicly questioned the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center. But in January, 2007, architect Richard Gage, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), began Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and by now its membership includes over 1,200 professional architects and engineers.

Here are a few of the architects:

· Daniel B. Barnum, AIA fellow; founder of the Houston AIA Residential Architecture Committee.

· Bertie McKinney Bonner, M. Arch; AIA member; licensed architect in Pennsylvania.

· David Paul Helpern, AIA fellow; founder of Helpern Architects.

· Cynthia Howard, M. Arch; licensed architect in Maine and Massachusetts; past president, AIA’s New England Chapter.

· David A. Johnson, PhD, internationally known architect and city planner; chaired the planning departments at Syracuse and Ball State universities; former president of the Fulbright Association of the United States.

· Kevin A. Kelly, AIA fellow; author of Problem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer, which has become a standard textbook.

· Anne Lee, M. Arch, AIA member; licensed architect in Massachusetts.

· Dr. David Leifer, coordinator of the Graduate Program in Facilities Management, University of Sydney; former professor at Mackintosh School of Architecture.

· Paul Stevenson Oles, fellow of the AIA, which in 1989 called him “the dean of architectural illustrators in America”; co-founder of the American Society of Architectural Perspectivists.

· David A. Techau, B. Arch., MS; AIA member; licensed architect in Hawaii.148

Here are a few of the engineers:

· John Edward Anderson, PhD; professor emeritus, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota; licensed Professional Engineer (PE).

· Robert Bowman, PhD; former head, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, US Air Force Institute of Technology; director of Advanced Space Programs Development (“Star Wars”) under Presidents Ford and Carter.

· Ronald H. Brookman, MS Eng; licensed Professional Civil and Structural Engineer in California

· Dwain Deets, former Director for Research Engineering and Aerospace Projects, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, which awarded him the NASA Exceptional Service Award.

· Joel Hirschhorn, PhD; former professor, Metallurgical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison; former staff member, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

· Richard F. Humenn, licensed PE (retired); senior Project Design Engineer, World Trade Center electrical systems.

· Fadhil Al-Kazily, PhD; licensed Professional Civil Engineer.

· Jack Keller, PhD; professor emeritus, Civil Engineering, Utah State University; member, National Academy of Engineering; named one of the world’s 50 leading contributors to science and technology benefiting society by Scientific American.

· Heikki Kurttila, PhD; Safety Engineer and Accident Analyst for Finland’s National Safety Technology Authority.

· Ali Mojahid, PhD, Civil and Architectural Engineering; licensed PE.

· Edward Munyak, Mechanical and Fire Protection Engineer; former Fire Protection Engineer for California and the US Departments of Energy and Defense.

· Kamal S. Obeid, MS, licensed Professional Structural and Civil Engineer.149

In addition to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, many other 9/11 organizations of professionals with relevant types of expertise have been formed, including Firefighters for 9/11 Truth,150 Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth,151 Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth,152 Pilots for 9/11 Truth,153 S.P.I.N.E.: The Scientific Panel Investigating Nine-Eleven,154 and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.155

Less obviously relevant, but surely not entirely irrelevant, are some other professional organizations, including Journalists and Other Media Professionals for 9/11 Truth,156 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth,157 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth,158 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth,159 and Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.160 If we combine the membership of these organizations with those in the previous paragraph, we can see that several thousand professional people have publicly announced their alignment with the 9/11 Truth Movement.

In light of the above-mentioned developments, could any fair-minded person deny that the 9/11 Truth Movement’s evidence has passed Chomsky’s twofold test with flying colors?

Given the make-up of the 9/11 Truth Movement, could any such person agree with the claims about this movement quoted in Part I of this essay, according to which its members are “conspiracy nuts,” “idiots,” and “morons,” who, being devoid of “any conception of evidence,” are “willing to abandon science” in favor of “magic”? In one of his 2009 essays, David Corn expressed concern about “9/11 conspiracy silliness.”161 But it is hard to imagine anything sillier, and hence more self-discrediting, than making such claims about the scientists, architects, engineers, intelligence officers, lawyers, medical professionals, political leaders, and other professionals who have publicly aligned themselves with the 9/11 Truth Movement.

As I stated on a lecture tour in early 2009:

“Among scientists and professionals in the relevant fields who have studied the evidence, the weight of scientific and professional opinion is now overwhelmingly on the side of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Whereas well over 1,000 such people have publicly supported the stance of this movement, there are virtually no scientists or professionals in the relevant fields who have gone on record in defense of the official story---except for people whose livelihood would be threatened if they refused to support it. This caveat is important, because, as Upton Sinclair famously observed: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”162 Except for such people, virtually everyone who has expertise in a relevant field, and who has seriously studied the evidence, rejects the official conspiracy theory. It is time, therefore, for journalists and everyone else to take a second look.”163

A More General Problem with the Official Conspiracy Theory: In addition the twofold fact that the official conspiracy theory’s account of the WTC destruction implies miracles and has been increasingly rejected by informed and independent people in relevant professions, this theory is rendered unworthy of belief by a more general problem: when its various details are subjected to critical scrutiny, the entire story falls apart – as I showed in my 2008 book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited164 (which, incidentally, was a Publishers Weekly “Pick of the Week” in November 2008,165 an honor not normally bestowed on books written by morons and idiots).

One of the things that falls apart is the idea that there were al-Qaeda hijackers on the airliners. Having in my book examined the various types of evidence for this idea, I will here focus on the type of evidence usually considered the strongest: the alleged phone calls from the planes, during which the presence of hijackers was reported. All of you have evidently accepted these calls as genuine.

For example, Matthew Rothschild, defending the government’s account of what happened on United Flight 93, wrote: “we know from cell phone conversations that passengers on board that plane planned on confronting the hijackers.”166 However, about ten of the reported calls from this flight were said to have been made on cell phones, most of them when the plane was at 35,000 feet or higher, and the technology at that time did not allow cell phone calls to be made from airliners at such altitudes, as pointed out by members of the 9/11 Truth Movement – most definitively by A. K. Dewdney and Michel Chossudovsky in 2003 and 2004.167

Chris Hayes faulted the Truth Movement for focusing on what he called “physical minutiae,” such as “the altitude in Pennsylvania at which cellphones on Flight 93 should have stopped working.”168 It would appear, however, that the FBI took such “minutiae” seriously: When it issued a report in 2006 on the (alleged) phone calls from the 9/11 airliners, the FBI designated only two of them as having been made on cell phones, and both of those, the FBI said, had been made from Flight 93 when it, about to crash, was at a low altitude. All the other reported calls from this flight (as well as all the reported calls from the other flights) were said to have been made from onboard phones, including three to five calls that Deena Burnett reported having received from her husband, Tom Burnett.169

This change of story got rid of the problem of technologically impossible (miraculous) phone calls, but it created another problem: How to explain the reports of approximately ten calls from this flight that, according to the recipients, had been made on cell phones? In some cases, we might assume, the recipients had misunderstood, or misremembered, what they had been told. But Deena Burnett said – and she reported this to the FBI on 9/11 itself – that she knew her husband had used his cell phone, because she recognized his cell phone number on her own phone’s Caller ID. If Tom Burnett had really called his wife using an onboard phone, as the FBI now claims, the fact that his cell phone number repeatedly showed up on her Caller ID would have to count as a miracle.

I would think people generally skeptical of the claims made by the government, especially claims from which the military-industrial complex is benefiting, would consider this problem – which is documented at length in The New Pearl Harbor Revisited170 - worthy of investigation.

I have also raised questions about the alleged phone calls from CNN correspondent Barbara Olson, which had been reported that day by her husband, US Solicitor General Ted Olson. She had phoned him twice, he claimed, from American Flight 77 (which allegedly crashed into the Pentagon shortly thereafter).

In a list of my views treated derisively by Rothschild, he said: “Griffin casts doubt on whether the phone calls actually happened.”171 Perhaps Rothschild will be more impressed by the fact that, in its 2006 report on phone calls from the 9/11 airliners, the FBI did not support the claim that the calls from Barbara Olson “actually happened.” Although Ted Olson said he had received two calls from his wife, with the first call lasting “about one (1) minute”172 and the second one lasting “two or three or four minutes,”173 the FBI report on calls from American Flight 77 says that Barbara Olson attempted one call, which was “unconnected,” so that it (of course) lasted “0 seconds.”174

The reported calls from Barbara Olson were very important: They provided the first evidence given to the public that the planes had been hijacked; they were instrumental in getting the American public ready to strike back at Muslims in a “war on terror”; and they were also the only source for a piece of information that everyone “knows” – that the hijackers had box-cutters. One would think, therefore, that it would be of more than passing interest to people concerned about the direction of US foreign policy since 9/11 that an FBI report in 2006 indicates that these calls never happened.

This is the same FBI that – in spite of Rothschild’s confident claim that there is no doubt of Osama bin Laden’s responsibility for the attacks, because he (allegedly) claimed responsibility for them in a video (allegedly) found in Afghanistan by the US military – does not list him as wanted for 9/11. Why? Because, an FBI spokesman explained, “the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”175 The FBI must be less certain than Rothschild about the evidentiary value of that so-called confessional video – and for good reason, as I have shown elsewhere.176

Accordingly, insofar as you left-leaning despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement have been concerned not to discredit yourselves by endorsing an unsupported, implausible, irrational, and even scientifically impossible conspiracy theory, that is precisely what you are doing so long as you stand by your endorsements of the Bush administration’s – and now the Obama administration’s – 9/11 conspiracy theory.

2. The Fear of Being Distracted

The second fear – that the focus on a false conspiracy theory has been distracting many people from more important matters – is equally valid. But this fear has been directed toward the wrong conspiracy theory. Nothing has distracted the United States and its allies from issues such as global apartheid, the ecological crisis, nuclear proliferation, and corporate power more than the “war on terror” - with its huge operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, its incessant terror alerts and stories of attacks prevented, and its depletion of our national treasuries. Lying at the root of this so-called war on terror, both historically and as present justification, is the official account of 9/11. So it is, as I wrote in response to Cockburn in Le Monde Diplomatique three years go, “The Truly Distracting 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.”177

Had the falsity of this account been exposed within weeks – as it certainly could and should have been – the war in Afghanistan, which has now been using up our time, talent, and treasury for almost a decade, could have been avoided altogether. If the falsity of the Bush-Cheney 9/11 conspiracy theory had at least been exposed within a year, the fiasco in Iraq could have been avoided. If the truth had been exposed within three years, those wars could have been closed down long ago and the Bush-Cheney administration dismissed before it had a second term. If so, the next administration, not distracted by two major wars and exaggerated fears about terrorist attacks on the “homeland,” might have focused on the fact that many environmental regulations needed to be tightened up. One consequence might have been that the Gulf oil blowout (not “spill”), which could turn out to be extremely destructive to our planet’s ecosystem, might never have occurred. The fact that the official conspiracy theory about 9/11 has distracted the United States and its allies from the ecological crisis is, therefore, no trivial matter – and this is merely one of many illustrations that could be given.

That the 9/11 Truth Movement, by contrast, cannot be rationally considered a distraction from more important matters was persuasively expressed in August 2006 by former CIA official Bill Christison, who by the end of his 28-year career had risen to the position of Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis (and who, sadly, died while this essay was being written178). In an article entitled “Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11,” Christison wrote:

“After spending the better part of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism, I have devoted serious time to actually studying them [and] have come to believe that significant parts of the 9/11 theories are true, and that therefore significant parts of the ‘official story’ put out by the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission are false.”179

Then, after listing nine judgments that had led him to this conclusion – one of which was that the “North and South Towers of the World Trade Center almost certainly did not collapse and fall to earth because hijacked aircraft hit them” - he added:

“If [these] judgments . . . are correct, they . . . strongly suggest that some unnamed persons or groups either inside or with ties to the government were actively creating a ‘Pearl Harbor’ event, most likely to gain public support for the aggressive foreign policies that followed – policies that would, first, ‘transform’ the entire Middle East, and second, expand U.S. global domination.”

Then, explaining why the evidence for this conclusion cannot reasonably be dismissed as a distraction from more important matters, he wrote:

“A manageable volume of carefully collected and analyzed evidence is already at hand . . . that elements within the Bush administration, as well as possibly other groups foreign or domestic, were involved in a massive fraud against the American people, a fraud that has led to many thousands of deaths. This charge of fraud, if proven, involves a much greater crime against the American people and people of the world than any other charges of fraud connected to the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It is a charge that we should not sweep under the rug because what is happening in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, and Iran seems more pressing and overwhelming. It is a charge that is more important because it is related to all of the areas just mentioned – after all, the events of 9/11 have been used by the administration to justify every single aspect of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East since September 11. It is a charge that is more important also because it affects the very core of our entire political system. If proven, it is a conspiracy, so far successful, not only against the people of the United States, but against the entire world.”

In this passage, Christison expressed this charge of fraud conditionally, saying “if proven.” He later made clear, however, that he had personally found the evidence convincing, referring to the 9/11 attacks as “an inside job.”180

In any case, besides saying that 9/11 is more important than America’s crimes in the Middle East because “the events of 9/11 have been used by the administration to justify every single aspect of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East since September 11,” he also, in saying that the 9/11 fraud “affects the very core of our entire political system,” anticipated the above-cited symposium in the American Behavioral Scientist, which treated 9/11 as a probable instance of its topic: State Crimes against Democracy. Christison’s implicit message to Chomsky, therefore, was: Given your concern with “real and ongoing crimes of state,” I would respectfully suggest that you do what I finally did: Actually examine the evidence that 9/11 was one of these crimes.

As for the concern to prosecute war criminals, what bigger war criminals could there be than people within our own government who engineered these attacks, then used them as a pretext for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have killed millions?181

As for the hope of stopping these horribly deadly and terribly expensive wars, what better means could be had than proof – which scientists, architects, engineers, firefighters, and pilots in the 9/11 Truth Movement have provided – that the official account of 9/11 is a lie and that the attacks had to be, at least in part, an inside job?

Concluding Statement

I recently completed a 15-city tour, presenting a lecture entitled “Is the War in Afghanistan Justified by 9/11?” My hope was that, by providing clear evidence that it is not – because the official account of 9/11 is false from beginning to end – “the 9/11 Truth Movement and more traditional Peace and Anti-War groups [would] be able to combine forces to oppose this illegal and immoral war.”182 I have written the present essay with the same hope. But if this hope is to be fulfilled, erstwhile left-leaning despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement will need to prove that Cockburn’s charge about this movement’s members – “They’re immune to any reality check” – and Corn’s charge – they “are not open to persuasion”183 – are not instead true of themselves.

David Ray Griffin is the author of 36 books dealing with various subjects: philosophy, theology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and 9/11 and US imperialism. In September 2009, The New Statesman ranked him #41 among “The 50 People Who Matter Today.” His most recent book is The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (2009). His next book will be Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory (September 2010). He wishes to thank four scientists – Jim Hoffman, Frank Legge, Kevin Ryan, and John Wyndham – and three other superb critics - Matthew Everett, Tod Fletcher, and Elizabeth Woodworth – for help with this essay.


1 As those who know the history of modern theology are aware, one of its seminal writings was Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Speeches on Religion to Its Cultured Despisers (1799). These “cultured despisers” of religion were people whom Schleiermacher admired and with whom he agreed on most issues. He believed, however, that they had a blind spot with regard to religion, mainly because they did not understand its true nature and the experience on which it is based. I address those I call “left-leaning despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement” in the same spirit.

2 David Ray Griffin is the author of 36 books dealing with various subjects: philosophy, theology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and 9/11 and US imperialism. In September 2009, The New Statesman ranked him #41 among “The 50 People Who Matter Today.” His most recent book is The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (2009). His next book will be Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory (September 2010). He wishes to thank four scientists – Jim Hoffman, Frank Legge, Kevin Ryan, and John Wyndham – and three other superb critics - Matthew Everett, Tod Fletcher, and Elizabeth Woodworth – for help with this essay.

3 Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts,” ZNet, September 20, 2006
A shorter version appeared in the September 24, 2010, issue of The Nation.

4 Alexander Cockburn, “The Conspiracists, Continued – Are They Getting Crazier?” The Free Press, September 16, 2006

5 Alexander Cockburn, “Conspiracy Disproved: Distractions from Awful Reality,” Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2006

6 Ibid.

7 George Monbiot, “9/11 Fantasists Pose a Mortal Danger to Popular Oppositional Campaigns,” The Guardian, February 20, 2007

8 Matt Taibbi, “The Idiocy Behind the '9/11 Truth' Movement,” AlterNet, September 26, 2006
This date, incidentally, refers to the original posting of the article at It was not posted on AlterNet until May 7, 2008. In another article, posted on a couple of weeks earlier (September 14, 2006), Taibbi had offered a different diagnosis, saying that people who thought that the towers had been wired with explosives were “clinically insane” (Matt Taibbi, “Americans in Denial about 9/11,” AlterNet June 6, 2008

9 Christopher Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia,” The Nation, December 8, 2006

10 “Chomsky: 9/11 Truth Movement Pushes Non-Scientific Evidence,” YouTube

11 “Chomsky Dismisses 9/11 Conspiracy Theories As 'Dubious'”, December 13, 2006

12 Terry Allen, “The 9/11 Faith Movement,” In These Times, July 11, 2006

13 David Corn, “When 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Go Bad,” AlterNet, March 1, 2002

14 David Corn, “How 9/11 Conspiracy Poison Did in Van Jones,” Politics Daily, September 7, 2009

15 Ibid.

16 David Corn, “Van Jones and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Poison,” Mother Jones, September 7, 2009

17 Matthew Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Already,” The Progressive, September 18, 2006

18 David Ray Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False (Northampton: Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2009), Chs. 4 and 5.

19 See David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press [Interlink Books], 2005), 29.

20 See David Ray Griffin, “Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight,”, May 27, 2010

21 James Glanz, “Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center,” New York Times, November 29, 2001

22 See FEMA, World Trade Center Building Performance Study, ed. Therese McAllister, ed. (Washington D.C., and New York: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2002), Chapter 5, by Ramon Gilsanz, Edward M. Depaola, Christopher Marrion, and Harold “Bud” Nelson
, 31. As the title of Glanz’s article in the previous note indicates, he had already suggested that the diesel fuel might provide an explanation.

23 Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts: An In-Depth Investigation by Popular Mechanics, ed. David Dunbar and Brad Reagan (New York: Hearst Books, 2006), 53, 56.

24 Ibid., 53-54, 29.

25 Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Already.”

26 Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.”

27 Allen, “The 9/11 Faith Movement.”

28 As this example shows, Allen’s rejection of the 9/11 Truth Movement’s empirical claims seems to be based entirely on her taking on faith the claims of the Bush-Cheney administration as mediated through Popular Mechanics. It is quite ironic, therefore, that she caricatures the 9/11 Truth Movement as the “9/11 Faith Movement.” But she seems to have a special knack for getting things backwards: With regard to an In These Times editor’s question about me, “What could have transformed this sober, reflective scholar into a conspiracy theorist?” (which was his way of asking why I had rejected the government’s conspiracy theory in favor an alternative conspiracy theory), she replied: “I think part of it is that he's a theologian who operates on faith” (quoted in Salim Muwakkil, “What’s the 411 on 9/11?” In These Times, December 21, 2005
Given the fact that the primary issue at hand was my belief “that the towers were toppled by a controlled demolition,” for which there is (as we have seen) an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence, it is especially strange that she would say that the reason I believe this must be that I am “a theologian who operates on faith.” Besides the fact that she was obviously the one who was operating on faith with regard to 9/11, she was also assuming that, because I am “a theologian,” I must operate in the way she assumes all theologians operate. Since the 18th-century Enlightenment, however, there has been a great methodological divide within theology. Many theologians still do operate on the traditional basis, in which questions of truth are settled by appeals to authority, the pronouncements of which are taken on faith. But I have always practiced the Enlightenment-based type of theology, which, as I explained in a book subtitled A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith, rejects the “method of authority” in favor of the method of “settling questions of truth and falsity on the basis of common experience and reason – that is, by reasoning on the basis of experience that is at least potentially common to all people” (David Ray Griffin, Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith [Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004], 62). Also central to this type of theology is the rejection of “miracles,” in the sense of “supernatural interruptions of the world’s most fundamental causal processes” (ibid., 98). The centrality of this element in my theology is illustrated by the titles of two of my other books, Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000), and Reenchantment without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001). My explicit rejection of miraculous interruptions of the world’s normal causal processes may make me more sensitive to this issue than are some left-wing critics of the 9/11 Truth Movement, who to me seem puzzlingly unconcerned about the official account’s cavalier violations of principles that have long been considered inviolable laws of nature.

29 NIST NCSTAR 1A, Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (brief version), National Institute of Standards and Technology, November 2008, xxxvi
This document is henceforth cited simply as NIST NCSTAR 1A, which will always refer to the final (November 2008) version (as distinct from the Draft for Public Comment, which was issued in August 2008).

30 Ibid., xxxvii.

31 Ibid., xxxv.

32 See, for example, Shyam Sunder, “Opening Statement,” NIST Press Briefing, August 21, 2008
NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Structural Fire Response and Probable Collapse Sequence of World Trade Center Building 7, November 2008, Volume 2: 493, 617, 618

33 “NIST WTC 7 Investigation Finds Building Fires Caused Collapse,” NIST, August 21, 2008

34 NIST NCSTAR 1A, xxxvii.

35 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Structural Fire Response and Probable Collapse Sequence of World Trade Center Building 7, November 2008, Vol. 1
( 341.

36 Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Already”; Allen, “The 9/11 Faith Movement.”

37 J. Gordon Routley, Charles Jennings, and Mark Chubb, “High-Rise Office Building Fire, One Meridian Plaza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), 1991
Robin Nieto, “Fire Practically Destroys Venezuela’s Tallest Building,” Venezuela News, Views, and Analysis, October 18, 2004

38 Sunder, “Opening Statement.”

39 Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: 170-77.

40 David Ray Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2007), Chap. 4.

41 Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.”

42 Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, 152-63.

43 See “WTC7 Demolition on 9/11 – Video Compilation,” YouTube
For video and analysis, see “WTC7: This Is an Orange,” YouTube
and David Chandler, “WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall (Part III)”
( , at 2:25-4:00.

44 See Frank Legge, “9/11: Acceleration Study Proves Explosive Demolition,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 5, November 2006

45 Daniel Hofnung, Patriots Question 9/11

46 Chester W. Gearhart, Patriots Question 9/11

47 Jack Keller, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

48 See “Danny Jowenko on WTC 7 Controlled Demolition,” YouTube
For more of the interview, “Jowenko WTC 7 Demolition Interviews,” in three parts

49 “The Myth of Implosion” (

50 Liz Else, “Baltimore Blasters,” New Scientist 183/2457 (July 24, 2004), 48

51 Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.”

52 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Draft for Public Comment, Vol. 2
(, 596.

53 “WTC 7 Technical Briefing,” NIST, August 26, 2008. Although NIST originally had a video and a transcript of this briefing at its Internet website, it recently removed both of them. However, Nate Flach has made the video available at Vimeo
and the transcript, under the title “NIST Technical Briefing on Its Final Draft Report on WTC 7 for Public Comment,” is available at David Chandler’s website

54 Ibid.

55 David Chandler, “WTC7 in Freefall - No Longer Controversial,” September 4, 2008
( , at 2:45.

56 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Vol. 2: 607.

57 Chandler, “WTC7 in Freefall – No Longer Controversial,” at 3:27.

58 Chandler, “WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall (Part III),” January 2, 2009
( , at 1:19.

59 “Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation,” NIST, August 21, 2008, updated April 21, 2009. Whereas the original version of this document denied free fall, the updated version affirms it. Although both versions have been removed from NIST’s website, Jim Hoffman’s website has both the 2008 version
( )
and the 2009 version

60 Chandler, “WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall (Part III),” at 2:20, 3:15.

61 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Draft for Public Comment, Vol. 2: 595-96, 596, 610.

62 NIST, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, September 2005
( , 146.

63 NIST, “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” August 30, 2006
(, Question 2.

64 NIST NCSTAR 1, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, 146.

65 NIST, “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” Question 6. In the italicized portion of this statement, NIST was quoting NIST NCSTAR 1, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, Section 6.14.4 (page 146).

66 Jim Hoffman, “A Reply to the National Institute for Standards and Technology's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions”

67 William Rice’s statement is quoted at Patriots Question 9/11

68 Steven E. Jones, Frank M. Legge, Kevin R. Ryan, Anthony F. Szamboti, and James R. Gourley, “Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction,” Open Civil Engineering Journal, 2/1 (2008): 35-40

69 “Request for Correction Submitted to NIST,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 12: June 2007
This letter, dated April 12, 2007, was also signed by Bob McIlvaine, Bill Doyle, and Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.

70 Gordon Ross, “Momentum Transfer Analysis of the Collapse of the Upper Storeys of WTC 1,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 1: June 2006
( : 32-39, at 37.

71 NIST, “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” Question 7.

72 Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts: How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook,” Counterpunch, September 9/10, 2006

73 Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.”

74 Thomas W. Eagar and Christopher Musso, “Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation,” JOM, 53 (12), 2001

75 NIST NCSTAR 1, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, 90.

76 Don Paul and Jim Hoffman, Waking Up from Our Nightmare: The 9/11/01 Crimes in New York City (San Francisco: Irresistible/Revolutionary, 2004), 34.

77 Steven Jones, “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 3 (September 2006), 1-47, at 28

78 Quoted in Liz Else, “Baltimore Blasters” (see note 50, above).

79 “Request for Correction Submitted to NIST.”

80 The statement by Deets is at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

81 See “911 Eyewitness: Huge Steel Sections Ejected More than 600 Feet”
or “9/11 Mysteries: Demolition”

82 Sunder, “Opening Statement.”

83 NIST NCSTAR 1A: xxxvi.

84 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Vol. 1: 125.

85 NIST NCSTAR 1A: 16.

86 NIST NCSTAR 1, Final Report on the Twin Towers, 183, 184.

87 Jonathan Barnett, Ronald R. Biederman, and Richard D. Sisson, Jr., “An Initial Microstructural Analysis of A36 Steel from WTC Building 7,” JOM 53/12 (2001), 18

88 Jonathan Barnett, Ronald R. Biederman, and R. D. Sisson, Jr., “Limited Metallurgical Examination,” Appendix C of World Trade Center Building Performance Study, FEMA, 2002

89 James Glanz and Eric Lipton, “A Search for Clues in Towers’ Collapse,” New York Times, February 2, 2002

90 Joan Killough-Miller, “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel,” WPI Transformations, Spring 2002

91 James Glanz, “Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center,” New York Times, November 29, 2001
( I have here quoted Glanz’s paraphrase of Barnett’s statement.

92 See Kenneth Change, “Scarred Steel Holds Clues, And Remedies,” New York Times, October 2, 2001

93 WebElements: The Periodic Table on the Web: Iron

94 “Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation,” August 21, 2008
This statement was repeated in a version of this document that was updated April 21, 2009
Thanks to Jim Hoffman for preserving these documents at his website, after NIST had removed them from its own website.

95 See NIST NCSTAR 1-3C, Damage and Failure Modes of Structural Steel Components, September 2005
in which the authors, Stephen W. Banovic and Timothy Foecke, referred to “the analysis of the steel from WTC 7 (Sample #1 from Appendix C, BPAT/FEMA study) where corrosion phases and morphologies were able to determine a possible temperature region” (233).

96 The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 – The Third Tower, BBC, July 6, 2008 (available at
the statement by Barnett is at 48:00. I am indebted to Chris Sarns for this discovery as well as the one in the previous note. Barnett during this interview, incidentally, speculated that the steel had “cooked” in the underground fire. This explanation was, however, deceptive at best, for three reasons: First, the effects being discussed by Barnett could have been caused only by something producing much higher temperatures than ordinary hydrocarbon fires could have produced – fires fueled, for example, by nanothermite or some other energetic nanocomposites, as explained below in Section 8. The second and third reasons also involve facts discussed in that section: Ordinary hydrocarbon fires would not have been able to keep burning underground without oxygen; and they would, in any case, have been extinguished by the water and chemical suppressant that were pumped into the rubble.

97 “NIST WTC 7 Investigation Finds Building Fires Caused Collapse.”

98 RJ Lee Group, “WTC Dust Signature,” Expert Report, May 2004
Documents/Signature%20of%20WTC%20dust/ : 11.

99 RJ Lee Group, “WTC Dust Signature Study: Composition and Morphology,” December 2003
Documents/Signature%20of%20WTC%20dust/WTC%20Dust%20Signature.Composition%20and%20Morphology.Final.pdf): 24.

100 Ibid., 17.

101 See “Comments on WTC Signature Study and Peer Review from Greg Meeker, Paul Lioy and Mort Lippmann, November 3, 2005”
I am indebted to Kevin Ryan for this information.

102 WebElements: The Periodic Table on the Web: Iron

103 Heather A. Lowers and Gregory P. Meeker, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, “Particle Atlas of World Trade Center Dust,” 2005

104 Steven E. Jones et al., "Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction," Journal of 9/11 Studies, January 2008
( 4.

105 Eric Lipton and Andrew C. Revkin, “The Firefighters: With Water and Sweat, Fighting the Most Stubborn Fire,” New York Times, November 19, 2001
Jonathan Beard, “Ground Zero's Fires Still Burning,” New Scientist, December 3, 2001

106 Trudy Walsh, “Handheld APP Eased Recovery Tasks,” Government Computer News, 21/27a: September 11, 2002

107 Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, et al., “Active Thermitic Material Observed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2: 7-31

108 Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones, “Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for Energetic Materials,” The Environmentalist, 29 (2009): 56-63, at 58, 56.

109 NCSTAR 1-9, Vol. 1: 330.

110 NIST, “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” Question 2.

111 Glanz and Lipton, “A Search for Clues in Towers’ Collapse.”

112 Killough-Miller, “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel.”

113 Barnett, Biederman, and Sisson, “Limited Metallurgical Examination.”

114 Ibid., C-13.

115 Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Testimony before the House Science Committee Hearing on “The Investigation of the World Trade Center Collapse,” May 1, 2002
In the quoted statement, the name “FEMA” replaces “BPAT,” which is the abbreviation for “Building Performance Assessment Team,” the name of the ASCE team that prepared this report for FEMA.

116 “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” NIST, Question 12.

117 Jones et al., "Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction,” 3.

118 Email letter from Kevin Ryan, October 16, 2008.

119 Email letter from Steven Jones, October 17, 2008.

120 Personal communications from Niels Harrit, May 8, 2009, and June 25, 2010.

121 Steven E. Jones, “Revisiting 9/11/2001: Applying the Scientific Method,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 11: May 2007
(, 81.

122 Ibid., 75.

123 Symposium on State Crimes Against Democracy, American Behavioral Scientist 53 (February 2010): 783-939

124 Matthew T. Witt, “Pretending Not to See or Hear, Refusing to Signify: The Farce and Tragedy of Geocentric Public Affairs Scholarship,” American Behavioral Scientist 53 (February 2010): 921-39
(, at 934.

125 Ibid., 932 (emphasis in original).

126 Cockburn, “The Decline of the Left,” The Free Press, September 30, 2006
Taibbi, “The Idiocy Behind the '9/11 Truth' Movement.”

127 “9/11 Fantasists Pose a Mortal Danger to Popular Oppositional Campaigns.”

128 Corn, “How 9/11 Conspiracy Poison Did in Van Jones.”

129 Corn, “When 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Go Bad.”

130 Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts: How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook.”

131 “Chomsky Dismisses 9/11 Conspiracy Theories As 'Dubious.'”

132 Monbiot, “9/11 Fantasists Pose a Mortal Danger to Popular Oppositional Campaigns.”

133 Charles Pigden, “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom,” Episteme, 4 (2007), 219–32, at 219.

134 Ibid., 222.

135 Ibid., 223.

136 Although political leaders, the mainstream press, and even much of the left-leaning press have been reluctant to admit that the official account of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory (often because they like to use this label to discredit people without examining their evidence), former Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, who was appointed to a senior post in the Obama administration, acknowledged this fact in a co-authored essay: Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 17/2 (June 2009), 202-27, at 208. Sunstein also helpfully referred to Charles Pigden’s above-quoted article, which criticizes the widespread use of the “conspiracy theory” label to avoid substantive issues. I deal with the Sunstein-Vermeule essay in Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory (Northampton: Olive Branch [Interlink Books], September 2010).

137 Quoted in “Jesse Ventura’s Piece on 9/11 – KILLED BY HUFFPOST!” News from the Underground, March 9, 2010

138 “HuffPost’s Absurd Stand on ‘Conspiracy Theories’ (David Ray Griffin),” News from the Underground, March 11, 2010

139 Taibbi, “The Idiocy Behind the '9/11 Truth' Movement.”

140 See “Two Hit, Three Down – The Biggest Lie,” by National Medal of Science-winner Lynn Margulis, Rock Creek Free Press, January 24, 2010

141 Jones et al., “Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction.”

142 Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones, “Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for Energetic Materials,” The Environmentalist, 29 (2009): 56-63 (published online, August 4, 2008

143 Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, and Bradley R. Larsen, “Active Thermitic Material Observed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade
Center Catastrophe,” The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2: 7-31

144 Crockett Grabbe, “Discussion of ‘Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis’ by K.A. Seffen,” Journal of Engineering Mechanics 136/4 (April 2010): 538-39

145 James R. Gourley, “Discussion of ’Mechanics of Progressive Collapse: Learning from World Trade Center and Building Demolitions’ by Zdenek P. Bazant and Mathieu Verdure,” Journal of Engineering Mechanics 134/10 (October 2008): 915-16

146 Anders Björkman, "Discussion of ‘What Did and Did Not Cause Collapse of World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York?’ by Zdenek P. Bazant, Jia-Liang Le, Frank R. Greening, and David B. Benson," ASCE, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 136/7 (July 2010): 933-34

147 Some of these scientists belong to Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice
others belong to S.P.I.N.E.: The Scientific Panel Investigating Nine-Eleven
and still others have been quoted on Patriots Question 9/11
The remainder will be announcing their affiliation with the 9/11 Truth Movement in the near future.

148 Information about these and other architects who question the official story can be found at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
or under “Engineers and Architects” at Patriots Question 9/11

149 Information about these and other engineers who question the official story can be found under “Engineers and Architects” at Patriots Question 9/11

150 Firefighters for 9/11 Truth (

151 Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth (

152 Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth (

153 Pilots for 9/11 Truth (

154 Scientific Panel Investigating Nine-Eleven: Physics 911 (

155 Veterans for 9/11 Truth (

156 Journalists and Other Media Professionals for 9/11 Truth (

157 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth (

158 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth (

159 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth (

160 Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice (

161 Corn, “How 9/11 Conspiracy Poison Did in Van Jones.”

162 Upton Sinclair, “I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935; University of California Press, 1994), 109.

163 “9/11: Time for a Second Look.” For the text, see, April 18, 2009
For the lecture as delivered in Boston, see the YouTube video at
( ).
For the lecture as delivered in Hamburg, see the YouTube video at

164 David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008); henceforth NPHR.

165 Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2008

166 Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Already.”

167 A. K. Dewdney, “The Cellphone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93,” Physics 911, June 9, 2003
Michel Chossudovsky, “More Holes in the Official Story: The 9/11 Cell Phone Calls,” Global Research, August 10, 2004
For discussion of this issue, see Griffin The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, 112-14.

168 Hayes, “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.”

169 The FBI’s report on the phone calls from the four flights is at United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Exhibit Number P200054
But these documents can be more easily viewed in Jim Hoffman’s “Detailed Account of Phone Calls from September 11th Flights”

170 Griffin, NPHR 115-18.

171 Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Already.”

172 FBI, “Interview with Theodore Olsen [sic],” 9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronological, September 11,, March 14, 2008,

173 “America’s New War: Recovering from Tragedy,” Larry King Live, CNN, September 14, 2001

174 See the graphic at Jim Hoffman’s website
and my discussion in NPHR 60-62.

175 Griffin, NPHR 206-07.

176 See David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2009), 22-36.

177 Dr. David Ray Griffin, “The Truly Distracting 9/11 Conspiracy Theory: A Reply to Alexander Cockburn,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Nordic Edition, March 2007
a response to Alexander Cockburn, “US: The Conspiracy That Wasn’t,” Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2006
which was headlined: “Distractions from Awful Reality.”

178 See the obituary I wrote, “William A. ('Bill') Christison (1928-2010),”, June 20, 2010

179 Bill Christison, “Stop Belittling the Theories about September 11,” Dissident Voice, August 14, 2006

180 Paul Joseph Watson, “28-Year Career CIA Official Says 9/11 An Inside Job,” Prison Planet, September 7, 2006

181 Mainstream sources estimate the total number of deaths due to the invasions and occupations at about one million for each country. But Dr. Gideon Polya, author of Body Count: Global Avoidable Mortality Since 1950, has put the numbers much higher. See his “Iraqi Holocaust: 2.3 Million Iraqi Excess Deaths,” March 21, 2009
and “January 2010 – 4.5 Million Dead in Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide,” Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide, January 2, 2010

182 Both this statement and the Chicago version of my lecture can be seen at Ed’s Links: Is the War in Afghanistan Justified by 9/11?
A slightly revised version has been posted as David Ray Griffin, “Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan? Using the McChrystal Moment to Raise a Forbidden Question,” Global Research, June 24, 2010

183 Cockburn, “The Decline of the Left”; Corn, “Van Jones and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Poison.”

Dick Cheney's Oily Dream

Sunday, September 5, 2010 via Prez @ usa-exile

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is currently saying that Dick Cheney's vision of policy towards the Middle East after 9/11 was to re-draw the map:

Vice-President Dick Cheney's vision of completely redrawing the map of the Middle East following the 9/11 attacks is "not stupid," and is "possible over time," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says.

In his new book, A Journey, the former Labour Party leader wrote that Cheney wanted a wholesale reorganization of the political map of the Middle East after 9/11. The vice president "would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it -- Hezbollah, Hamas, etc," Blair wrote.

What does this mean?

Well, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the "war on terror" in the Middle East has nothing to do with combating terror, and everything to do with remaking that region's geopolitical situation to America's advantage.

For example, as I noted in January::

Starting right after 9/11 -- at the latest -- the goal has always been to create "regime change" and instability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Lebanon; the goal was never really to destroy Al Qaeda. As American reporter Gareth Porter writes in Asia Times:

Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.
Feith's book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing "new regimes" in a series of state...
General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign in the Kosovo war, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia [and Lebanon].
When this writer asked Feith . . . which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, "All of them."
The Defense Department guidance document made it clear that US military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties to terrorism. The document said the Defense Department would also seek to isolate and weaken those states and to "disrupt, damage or destroy" their military capacities - not necessarily limited to weapons of mass destruction (WMD)...
Rumsfeld's paper was given to the White House only two weeks after Bush had approved a US military operation in Afghanistan directed against bin Laden and the Taliban regime. Despite that decision, Rumsfeld's proposal called explicitly for postponing indefinitely US airstrikes and the use of ground forces in support of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in order to try to catch bin Laden.
Instead, the Rumsfeld paper argued that the US should target states that had supported anti-Israel forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
After the bombing of two US embassies in East Africa [in 1998] by al-Qaeda operatives, State Department counter-terrorism official Michael Sheehan proposed supporting the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against bin Laden's sponsor, the Taliban regime. However, senior US military leaders "refused to consider it", according to a 2004 account by Richard H Shultz, Junior, a military specialist at Tufts University.
A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a "small price to pay for being a superpower".

No wonder former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Senate that the war on terror is "a mythical historical narrative".

But can Cheney's desires can't be equated to U.S. foreign policy as a whole? Well, the number two man at the State Department, Lawrence Wilkerson, said:

The vice president and the secretary of defense created a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" that hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

And Cheney was the guy who set up the secret shop at the Pentagon to bypass the intelligence agencies and push fake "intelligence" showing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

And as I wrote in 2009:

5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said "my interest is to hit Saddam".

He also said "Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement "judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time", is the statement "Hard to get a good case." In other words, top officials knew that there wasn't a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

Moreover, "Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda".

And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.

And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Moreover, President Bush's March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this.

Indeed, the torture program which Cheney created was specifically aimed at producing false confessions in an attempt to link Iraq and 9/11.

So it should be clear to any honest, thinking person that Cheney and the U.S. used 9/11 as a pretext to redraw the map of the Middle East.

Cheney's Oily Dream

But that doesn't mean the Cheney's goals had any impact on 9/11, right?

Well, it is surely just a coincidence that the Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11. See this and this.

And that top British officials, former CIA director George Tenet, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and many others say that the Iraq war was planned before 9/11.

Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, a high-level National Security Council officer and others say that the Iraq war was really about oil. They must be conspiracy theorists.

And it is surely meaningless that Cheney made Iraqi's oil fields a national security priority before 9/11. As I pointed out in 2008:

You may have heard that the Energy Task Force chaired by Dick Cheney prior to 9/11 collected maps of Iraqi oil, Saudi and United Arab Emerates fields and potential suitors for that oil. And you might have heard that the oil bigs attended the Task Force meetings.

But you probably haven't heard that - according to the New Yorker - a secret document written by the National Security Council (NSC) on February 3, 2001 directed NSC staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the "melding" of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy:

"The review of operational policies towards rogue states," such as Iraq, and "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields".
It is difficult to brush off Cheney's Energy Task Force's examination of arab oil maps as a harmless comparison of American energy policy with known oil reserves because the NSC explicitly linked the Task Force, oil, and regime change.

But don't believe me...

The above-linked New Yorker article quotes a former senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the NSC said:

If this little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and laying grand, global plans.
See also this essay.

As I wrote last year:

CIA director Leon Panetta told the New Yorker:
When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.
News commentator Ed Schultz said today that Cheney is wishing for a terrorist attack on the U.S.

What should we make of all this?

Well, everyone knows that Cheney is ruthless:

Cheney is also the guy who:

A well-known writer said of Dick Cheney:

For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him . . . .

Cheney also knew 9/11 was going to happen. The government knew that terrorists could use planes as weapons -- and had even run its own drills of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, using REAL airplanes -- all before 9/11. Indeed, the government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers' own mouths before 9/11.

Indeed, Cheney was in charge of all counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11 (see this Department of State announcement; this CNN article; and this essay).

The Secretary of Transportation testified to the 9/11 Commission:

"During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President … the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president "do the orders still stand?" And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said "Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!?"

(this testimony is confirmed here and here).

Could it be that Cheney got so lost in his dreams of redrawing the map of the Middle East (and grabbing some oil along the way) that he - as the guy in charge of all counter-terrorism efforts for the United States on 9/11 - spaced out and forgot to engage America's standard air defenses?

I don't know ... But - unfortunately - Cheney's oily dream has turned into a nightmare for America. See this, this and this.


Is Rev Terry Jones Just Another Toad Sucker?
What Is A Minister of Satan?
Do Evangelicals Understand "Love One Another?"
All these questions?

by Herb

Christians are to no longer execute sinners, so they should not wage carnal war, but spiritual warfare (John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 6:11-14; 2 Timothy 2:3-5; 4:6-8)

Christians must be peacemakers forgiving those who do them harm treating their enemies with love and not seeking revenge (Matthew 5:9; Romans 14:19); (Ephesians 4:29-32; Colossians 3:12-14; Matthew 6:9-15; Mark 11:25-26); (Luke 6:27-36); (Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:8-12).

Hatred which is the same as murder is unforgiving, vengeful and hostile towards one's enemies (1 John 3:15)

... Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and a large group of the world's spiritual leaders were sitting inside a coffee house having a wonderful discussion about religion.

Outside, their devotes are killing one another over who's leader was the true spiritual leader. == Why Not Try Love Again?

Apple IOS 4.1 update 'still susceptible to jailbreaking'

Hackers have already identified an exploit in Apple's latest software update that could allow them to jailbreak iPhones running IOS 4.1 - Published: 12:55PM BST 09 Sep 2010

Hackers have identified a way of “jailbreaking” iPhones running Apple's new IOS 4.1 operating system, just hours after the software update was released.

A team of hackers, known as pod2g, said they had found a possible exploit, which takes advantage of a loophole in devices running Apple's IOS platform.

Other hackers said it would be difficult for Apple to plug the exploit, because the company would need to make significant changes to the underlying code of the operating system in order to resolve the problem, rather than simply patch the flaw.

Previous 'jailbreaks' – including JailbreakMe, which could be installed on an iPhone just by visiting on the device – exploited software bugs within the platform, and were subsequently easily patched by Apple.

Dev-Team, a team of hackers responsible for writing much of the software used to jailbreak iPhones, said it was still working on a jailbreak for IOS 4.1, and advised users of jailbroken iPhones not to update to the newest software.

“This time of year there are lots of new iPhone owners, and not everybody knows that accepting new IOS updates is the surest way to lose your jailbreak and/or unlock,” said the team in a blog post. “While those of you who have Cydia or TinyUmbrella backups of your FW hashes will always be able to get back to 4.0.1 if you make this mistake, this doesn't hold for unlockers.”

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, has acknowledged that his company is involved in a “cat and mouse” game to try and keep hackers and jailbreakers at bay.

The IOS 4.1 update brings a variety of new features to the iPhone, including High Dynamic Resolution photography, a Game Centre social gaming service, Ping integration and high-definition video uploads.

Lies, Lies, Lies -

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. - Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002, War Criminal

Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States. - Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-CT - September 4, 2002, War Criminal

Think of the faces in Afghanistan when the people were liberated, when they moved out in the streets and they started singing and flying kites and women went to school and people were able to function and other countries were able to start interacting with them. That's what would happen in Iraq. - Donald Rumsfeld, September 2002, War Criminal

I think that the people of Iraq would welcome the U.S. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means. And our experience was after the Gulf War in '91 that once the United States acted and provided leadership that in fact, the community, the region was more peaceful for some considerable period of time. That is what made possible a lot of progress in peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians back in the early '90s. - Dick Cheney, September 2002, War Criminal

Sympathy for the Denial...
I read stories during the 9/11 Attack,
Bush reading a children's book during 9/11 and playing guitar during Katrina
I played guitar while Nawlins Sank,

Spoken by War Criminal George W. Bush:

lie 1
lie 2
lie 3
lie 4
lie 5
lie 6
I am truly not that concerned about him.
The Above Is In Flash Video Format:

When Histroy Repeats, Do We Notice?


On Friday 14 December 2001 a videotape of Osama bin Laden "confessing" to the 9/11 attacks was released. The tape was supposedly found in a house in Qandahar, Afghanistan. The recording was of very poor audio and visual quality and the authenticity of the tape was questioned.

This annoyed President Bush who said "[It is] preposterous to think this tape was doctored."

Okay, since Republicans lied about Iraq & WMD, let's have a look:
5 Osamas'
Here's 5 Osama's - which is the odd one out?

The Bin Laden Tape Is A Fake [short version] - YouTube

Martin Rowson cartoon showing Condi saying, "as I was saying Isn't Democracy Wonderful with Iraq and Iran in the background
Martin Rowson

Sweet Condi & the Asspirate Neocon Band

According to a Senate Intelligence Committee Memo, George Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was the first person to verbally approve torture during July 2002 and then there was this:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 [2001] PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States [using planes]."

An 'Off the Table' Piglet Could Have Spared Lives



He Said It !!!

Send the Cowards to Iraq

Nobody Gets It the First Time Around!
None of the Above
should be on Voter Ballots

Will PG&E Executives
Ever Be Charged With MURDER?

PG&E's history of blowups

By Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Bay Guardian

We don't yet know if the San Bruno fire is a horrific accident or an equally horrific mistake. But Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which owns and operates the gas line that ruptured, has a history of incidents that look a lot like this one. Some of these incidents have caused power outages. Others have blown things up, or injured people.

The company also has a history taking money that ought to go to maintenance and diverting it into fat corporate profits.

In December of 2003, a cable fire at the Mission Substation of the Golden Gate Control Center caused a more than 100,000 people to lose power. The California Public Utilities Commission inspected the incident and found that PG&E suffered from general procedural laziness, and that "PG&E failed to follow three recommendations made in its 1996 Root Cause Analysis Report following [a] 1996 fire."

At the time, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera noted: “The evidence is clear that PG&E knew about problems that endangered public safety and threatened to cost San Francisco businesses millions—and yet did nothing to fix them.”

Then, in August 2005, something exploded underground the intersection of Kearny and Post. A manhole cover shot into the air and the escaping fire severely burned a passer by. The event's catalyst was a failed transformer, owned and operated by PG&E.

In June last year, a fire peeked and then roared from a manhole [4] with enough force to resemble an explosion to onlookers. The electrical fire, at O'Farrell and Polk, was coming from a PG&E vault. The impact? 8,600 customers lost power [5]. This, like Thursday's fire at San Bruno [6], was a fire bigger and more resilient than what emergency responders at first assumed. At least in 2009, nobody died.

Another difference: In 2009, leading up to the explosion, PG&E didn't know about the problem beforehand. [7]

Why hadn't PG&E replaced this natural gas pipe (the San Bruno fire's origin) since its installation in 1948? [8] Was the problem one of cost? If so, would replacing such a pipe cost more than the $46 million the company spent trying to push Proposition 16 [9]in June's election?

Or could this be a replay of the Rough and Ready fire of 1994?

That year, an inferno raged through the small Nevada County town, destroying a dozen homes and causing $2 million in damage. The cause of the fire? Tree limbs that PG&E was supposed to trim brushing against the company’s power lines.

The local district attorney sued, and during the trial, evidence came to light [10]that PG&E had taken $80 million from ratepayers -- money that was supposed to be used for tree trimming -- and diverted it to executive salaries and to pad the bottom line.

The company was found guilty of criminal negligence and fined $2 million.

So if PG&E in fact failed to maintain its facilities, at great cost to the public, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Source URL:


[Republican] Ashcroft wants people who go into American homes to snoop while they're there.

Were PG&E Executives the Real SNOOPS when Republicans, with Democrat Support, Passed the ILLEGAL PATRIOT ACT?
Never Forget SNOOPS = Criminal Republicans & Democrats Wanted to SPY On U.S. Citizens !!!

Time For A Corporate Death Penalty

by Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report managing editor, Wed, 06/09/2010 -10:35, corporate rule

There are more than 40 federal offenses for which the death penalty can be applied to human beings, most of them connected to homicide of one kind or another. But countless homicides committed by the artificial persons we call corporations go unpunished every day. Apparently “personal responsibility” applies only to humans who are not operating behind the legal shield of corporate personhood.

Click to download or play the MP3 of this BA Radio commentary

Over the last hundred or so years, corporations have gained many of the rights previously accorded only to human beings. Corporations have the right to buy and sell anything or anyone that can be bought or sold. Corporations have claimed the right to lie in their advertising and PR as "free speech," along with the right to help us mere humans choose our judges and elected officials with unlimited amounts of cash, including anonymous cash. Corporations have been awarded the right to patent genetic sequences of diseases and to monopolize their cures, as well as patent rights to living plants and animals not of their invention. A whole type of new anti-pollution regulation called "cap and trade" actually enshrines a corporate right to pollute and establishes exchanges upon which speculators can bid, trade and capture rents for those alleged rights. And unlike a working person, who has no right to next month's let alone next year's wages, legal scholars working for corporations have devised and popularized something they call the "regulatory takings" doctrine, under which corporations may claim and recover from the government rights to profits they might have made in years to come. And let's not even talk about trillions in corporate welfare for banks, military contractors, Wal-Mart and others.

While many argue that corporations have too many rights as it is, this might be a good time to extend them at least one more right we humans have kept for ourselves until now; the right to be put to death for serious crimes. Right now federal statutes alone offer individuals more than 40 different ways to earn the death penalty, including kidnapping, treason, aircraft hijacking, espionage and many varieties of murder, conspiracy, threatening murder and some drug crimes. Individual states offer the death penalty for a host of similar offenses.

Putting bad corporate actors down the way we do rabid dogs and serial killers is not a new or even a radical idea. Corporations are created by the charters of individual states, so states DO have the power to revoke them. Early in this country's history, corporate charters used to limit a company's existence to a set number of years, to confine their operations to manufacturing a certain item, building a specific road or canal and prohibit them from changing ownership, dumping or concealing their assets or engaging in other kinds of business. These are legal powers that our governments have not used in a long, long time, but which it's high time to reclaim.

Homicidal profit-seeking on the part of corporations has become an everyday fact of modern life. Whether it's employers cutting health and safety corners, marketers pushing unsafe drugs, food and products of all kinds, or the deadly industrial fouling of the planet's air, soil, oceans and climate we are living in the midst of a corporate crime wave of murderous and epic proportions. If we value human life, it only makes sense to treat corporate serial killers like, well, corporate serial killers, to confiscate their ill-gotten assets, to revoke their corporate charters and sentence the artificial personae of corporate malefactors to death. If corporations are legal persons, it's time to enforce some personal responsibility upon them with a corporate death penalty.

After we accomplish that, it will be time to think about extending a little of that personal responsibility to the actual humans who operate behind the legal shield of the corporations. But right now, as the saying goes, a corporation can't even get arrested in this country, which, come to think of it is still another right we humans ought to bestow upon them.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at . - Article source - WATCH:

Trailer 2010

Karl Cohen writes:

The September 2010 ASIFA-SF NEWSLETTER is available. THIS ISSUE INCLUDES A REVIEW OF AN EXCEPTIONAL SET OF DVD's from Acme Filmworks, an interview with Paul Fierlinger who with his wife Sandra created MY DOG TULIP, an article on a controversial issue about artists provoking and offending the public titled WALT'S MOUSE HAS BECOME A POWERFUL ICON FOR ARTISTS TO ABUSE, lots of news items plus Nancy Phelps excellent article on a festival in Poland. Our Sept. event is LET'S GO CRAZY!* Animation depicting mental health from Looney Tunes to new shorts that confront how our minds work. A preview of a program that will be presented at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2010 by Karl Cohen in October - Continue

9/11 Inside Job - WTC 7  Controlled demolition

WTC 1 and 2: Justice and 9/11 Demands Accountability.
Forensic Evidence Indicates Presence of Controlled Demolition Material

by Dick Gregory via Prez @ usa-exile

It was so painful for me as my wife Lil and I watched the events of September 11, 2001 on television. Seeing a plane hit the World Trade Center (WTC) North Tower at 8:46, then a second plane hit the South Tower at 9:02. Shortly, we saw the firefighters and other first responders courageously going into the buildings hoping to extinguish the fires, but it was impossible to foresee what followed.

Then we watched in shock as nearly a dozen people were jumping from the upper floors to their deaths.

We felt profound horror at 9:59 as the South Tower cascaded in freefall into its own footprint, and then 29 minutes later when the North Tower came down in the same impossible freefall way.

The new forensic evidence which is being released today by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth demonstrates the presence of controlled demolition materiel in the World Trade Center buildings One and Two.

Just one week after September 11, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christine Todd Whitman declared “I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink” and that we “. . . need not be concerned about environmental issues as [we return to [our] homes and workplaces”.

Yet to this day, at least 900 first responders have since died as a result of the effects of toxic “dust” from the buildings and the some 3,000 human remains that enveloped lower Manhattan and which Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared “We must clear the rubble”. This “rubble” in fact constituted evidence from a massive crime scene, but was hauled away, first to Long Island, and then was eventually placed on barges and shipped to China.

One thing I know is that the official government story of those events, as well as what took place that day at the Pentagon, is just that, a story. This story is not the truth, but far from it.

I was born on October 12, 1932. I am announcing today that I will be consuming only liquids beginning Sunday until my eightieth birthday in 2012 and until the real truth of what truly happened on that day emerges and is publicly known.


Cannabis should be licensed and sold in shops, expert says

Leading cannabis researcher calls for legalisation with controls similar to alcohol and tobacco

by Ian Sample, Science correspondent, The Guardian, Tuesday 14 September 2010, Article history

[Photo On-Site: Cannabis is no more dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, according to Professor Pertwee. Photograph: David Bebber/Reuters]

Cannabis for recreational use should be available in shops under similar restrictions to those used to control the sale of alcohol and tobacco, according to Britain's leading expert on the drug.

Under one scenario, people would be able to apply for a licence to buy cannabis products once they reach the age of 21, provided they have the approval of a doctor, he said.

The drug would be regulated by a body that ensures the quality and safety of the products before they go on sale.

A rethink of the laws surrounding cannabis and related products was necessary to take cannabis out of the hands of criminals, said Roger Pertwee, professor of neuropharmacology at Aberdeen University.

In the 1970s, Pertwee co-discovered THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Speaking ahead of a talk this week at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, Pertwee said: "In my view, we don't have an ideal solution yet to deal with recreational cannabis. We should consider licensing and marketing cannabis and cannabis products just as we do alcohol and tobacco.

"At the moment, cannabis is in the hands of criminals, and that's crazy. We're allowed to take alcohol, we're allowed to smoke cigarettes. Cannabis, if it's handled properly, is probably not going to be any more dangerous than that."

The government upgraded cannabis to a class B drug late last year against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. The council's chairman, Professor David Nutt, was sacked after criticising the government's drugs policy, a move that prompted five others to resign in protest.

Possession of class B drugs, which include amphetamines, such as speed and barbiturates, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison plus a fine. Dealing the drugs can lead to a 14-year prison sentence. The most recent Home Office figures show there are 158,000 convictions for cannabis possession a year.

Pertwee said he wanted to reopen the debate on cannabis, saying he favoured legalisation if the drug was well regulated. He added that healthier alternatives to smoking cannabis were available.

Outlawing the drug forced users to either grow it illicitly or buy it from an illegal dealer. "They have no idea what the composition is, what has been added to it, and they are at risk of being invited to take other drugs," he said.

Attempts to relax the ban on cannabis have been countered by concerns that it can cause schizophrenia in a minority of people who are susceptible to the condition. Pertwee said it might be possible for doctors to assess people's backgrounds and risk of mental health problems before allowing them to buy a cannabis licence.

"You would need a minimum age of 21, but I would go further: that you have to have a licence. You have to have a car licence, you have to have a dog licence; why not a cannabis licence, so you can only take it if it's medically safe for you to do so?" he said.

Nutt, who is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said: "I welcome this attempt by the UK's leading expert on cannabis to bring rationality to the debate on its legal status.

"As cannabis is clearly less harmful than alcohol, criminalisation of people who prefer this drug is illogical and unjust. We need a new regulatory approach to cannabis. The Dutch coffee-shop model is one that has been proven to work but some of Professor Pertwee's new suggestions may well have extra benefits and should be actively debated."


[Later On Down the Road, In Case It Would Be Needed: Resource Link 1 - Resource Link 2]

Lady GaGa in her Meat Dress
Join Lady Gaga in repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'!

Karl Rove: Lying Republican Cannibal
says Christine O'Donnell
Beware of Zombies

Christine O'Donnell on Rove's 'Un-factual' Remarks and 'Republican Cannibalism'

by George Stephanopoulos, September 15, 2010 7:50 AM

The Republican nominee for the Delaware senate seat fired back at Karl Rove today for what she called "un-factual" accusations about her record.

“Everything that he is saying is un-factual. And it’s a shame because he is the same so-called political guru that predicted I wasn’t going to win. And we won and we won big,” Christine O’Donnell told me this morning. “And again he is eating some humble pie and he is just trying to restore his reputation.”

Following O’Donnell’s victory over Republican congressman Mike Castle – her third bid for the Senate seat-- Rove questioned O’Donnell’s record and the reports of her financial troubles.

“Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How did she make a living? Why didn't she sue a well-known…conservative think tank,” Rove said on Fox News.

Rove also took on her “checkered” background, “a lot of nutty things she has been saying” and predicted she would cost the GOP a Senate seat.

Castle was expected to win the nomination and challenge Democrat Chris Coons for Vice President Biden’s old Senate seat. But an endorsement and last minute push by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin made the difference, O’Donnell told me.

“When Governor Palin stood up and...boldly supported me and allowed them to get past the politics of personal destruction and look at the message…she helped bring it back on track,” O’Donnell said.

So could the third time be a charm for the Tea Party backed candidate? Or could she hurt the GOP’s chances to win back the Senate in November?

Despite her decisive win – the Republican Party has said that it will not spend any money to help her Senate bid, Jon Karl reported this morning.

O’Donnell called that “a shame.”

“I was ahead in the general election according to Rasmussen, before this Republican cannibalism started,” she said on “GMA.” “So if they were serious about winning we can repair the damage done and move forward and that is a challenge I put out to them. And if not I truly believe that we can win.”

Mike Wilhelm at Hamilton Field

Mike writes:

Hi Curtis, Playing at Hamilton Field on Saturday (solo) but I don't have the time yet or the other acts. Yours truly, Mike Wilhelm

Saturday September 18, 2010
Hamilton Field in Novato, Marin County, California

Hope and Beyond event poster
Celebrate California's Wetlands, Wildlife Habitats, and Coastal Waters
FREE - 11 AM to 5 PM - FREE.... Hamilton Amphitheater Park

Celebrating the advancements and prospects of innovative technologies that benefit the environment, health, and communications. The Hope and Beyond students, in service and awareness projects, recognize the importance of technological advances supporting our natural environments. The student projects are giving focus to our Earth's waters, where life sustaining Oxygen is produced. ♥ Student participants learn while engaging in touring Wetland Habitat Coastal Water sites, interviewing site keepers, and sharing their multimedia recordings via social networking and Website Reports. The Kick-Off starts on Sept. 18, 2010 and runs through to the Earth Day 2011 events. -

We Know You Cheated On Your Wife, BUT...
What Was Going On At That Little Airport In Arkansas ???

Allegations regarding Bill Clinton - During the Clinton presidential administration, there were accusations (most notably in the controversial film Clinton Chronicles) that Clinton, during his time as governor of Arkansas, and other high-ranking state officials were involved in some way with alleged illegal cocaine importation, money laundering, and drug use centered upon the airport in Mena. These allegations have been disputed by several different investigations, including one by the Banking Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives [Note: Dig a little deeper and the Bush family pops up too]. - Wikipedia

Andy Ross siting at ~@~'s home in front of an IMSAI 8080
Andy Ross in front of IMSAI 8080 at ~@~'s S.F. home.
5th Annual Coyote Film Festival 2010
Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – On Saturday, Sept. 18, there will be two screenings of "Paperback Dreams" with filmmaker Alex Beckstead on hand for audience question and answer after each screening.

The afternoon matinée is at 1:30 p.m. and evening screening at 7:30 p.m. at Cartwright (Calpine) Geothermal Visitors Center, 15500 Central Park Road, Middletown.

Admission is $10 at the door and $5 kids 16 and under.

"Paperback Dreams" is the story of two landmark independent bookstores and their struggle to survive.

The film follows Andy Ross, owner of Cody's Books, and Clark Kepler, owner of Kepler's Books, over the course of two tumultuous years in the book business.


Another Republican Monster
The US Republicans have created a Frankenstein monster

Karl Rove and the neocons were the inspiration for the Tea Party. But they've lost control and now it threatens to overwhelm them

by Michael Tomasky,, Thursday 16 September 2010 21.30 BST, Article history

Carl Paladino stood at the victory podium and bellowed: "Tonight the ruling class knows. They have seen it now. There is a people's revolution." Paladino, the Tea Party-backed candidate whom New York Republicans nominated for governor on Tuesday, crushed his establishment opponent – a former congressman with a somewhat moderate reputation – by two to one. This was after a campaign in which he went round the state with a pit bull at his side, tried to bury his opponent in demagogic rhetoric about the proposed Manhattan Islamic centre, and likened the Democratic and Orthodox Jewish speaker of the state's lower legislative chamber to Hitler.

Within the Tea Party movement, a group that has about as many Jews as an average al-Qaida meeting, such antisemitism was not judged a terribly great offence. In other respects, though, Paladino is an unlikely vanguardist in this revolution against the state: he's a multimillionaire real-estate mogul who makes at least $10m a year leasing office space to various state agencies. (The government is good for some things after all, I guess.)

It is unlikely Paladino will defeat Democrat Andrew Cuomo to actually become governor. But he typifies what's going on in the Republican party this year, a process that gathered steam on Tuesday with Paladino's win and Christine O'Donnell's victory in Delaware. She is the eighth Tea Party insurgent to defeat an established Republican in a Senate primary this year, and her win has set off an unprecedented feud between Karl Rove on the one side (who at first said she can't possibly win in November, before rowing back from that the next day) and Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin on the other (who say she can win).

Democrats have spent the week rejoicing over O'Donnell's victory. The recent media narrative has been that the Republicans may not only take control of the House of Representatives – which is essentially a conventional-wisdom given – but of the Senate, as well. Winning in Delaware was a necessary ingredient of that mix, so that talk has been stopped cold for the time being.

But the larger question is where the Tea Party is going and how profound its long-term impact will be. The optimistic answer is that if it gets mixed results in the midterms this November, the economy improves, and Barack Obama's approval numbers go back up above 50% while Sarah Palin's act starts wearing thin, then 2010 will prove to be the Tea Party's zenith.

At the other extreme, the most worrisome possibility goes something like this. This tendency has always existed in the US. In the early days of the republic they were the anti-federalists. Their base was in the south, as it is still, but they were everywhere; and while they didn't necessarily oppose union (that is, creating an entity called the United States of America), they wanted the loosest possible affiliation among what were then called "the several states".

They had the habit of losing a bunch of elections to federalists of various sorts. They brought on the civil war (and you should watch the American readers thrash out this sentence in the online comments!). Their side lost, and then they were really tamed – the south was essentially occupied. Before you know it, the 20th century had arrived, with urbanisation and industrialisation and Wall Street replacing the City of London as the home address of world capital and the US's rise to global power.

Then came the cold war. Vast power became concentrated in Washington. Domestically, the great moral cause of racial equality provided the perfect basis on which to give Washington still more power to enforce that equality, because many states would not. All this time, the proto-Tea Partiers were surrounded and outnumbered, and held their tongues.

Yes, the Reagan years were fine for them, and the George W Bush years. But let's face it, the Obama years are their heyday. It took economic calamity, large government bailouts, and perhaps most of all a president who is so utterly alien to them – and who embodies American ruination and turpitude just by standing there – for them to rise up as one.

Thus the historically situated question is this: is the Tea Party movement a flash in the pan, or is it a historic fulfilment of an urge that has been building for 230 years and is on the cusp, with the help of Rupert Murdoch's "news" channel, of becoming a permanent fixture in American politics?

If most of those eight candidates lose on 2 November, the more establishment Republicans will attempt to rein in the movement. Whether they can do so is another question. Meanwhile the Democrats now have an opportunity, in a year that has largely been bereft of them, to make the Beltway politics chatter focus on the other side's problems, rather than their own. Democrats have a tendency to play by the old rules. One old rule of politics is that when the other side is shooting itself in the foot, do nothing – just stand back and watch.

But we are in a new media and political environment. In fact it's not even new any more. It's been around for 15 years, but still Democrats think the old rules apply. One old rule is, don't respond to nutty allegations because you only give them oxygen. Well, Democrats have spent two years not responding as "birthers" spin their conspiracies about Obama, and the result is that between 20% and 25% of American adults doubt that the president is a genuine American.

So I propose a new rule: when the other side is shooting itself in the foot, stand close by and keep handing out bullets. Democratic strategists should be thinking of fresh ways to demonstrate to the American people that these Tea Partiers are not the sons and daughters of John Adams but people who stand almost entirely outside the country's best mainstream traditions.

Republicans like Rove will have to spend the next several days explaining why the Grand Old Party is not being taken over by the Tea Party movement. Democrats need to say that the movement is merely a logical culmination of the stroke-the-hardcore-base party that Rove created. Now, like Doctor Frankenstein, he doesn't like the monster raising himself from the table, but it's a little late for that. If the Democrats are smart and aggressive – always two big ifs in American politics – Paladino's revolution may yet sputter.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Chicken Loves Hawk

Police chief issues call to decriminalise cannabis and redirect resources

Intervention comes amid growing warnings from experts that prohibition does not deter drug use

by Mark Townsend, home affairs editor,, Saturday 18 September 2010 22.03 BST, Article history

One of Britain's most senior police officers has proposed decriminalising the personal use of drugs such as cannabis to allow more resources to be dedicated to tackling high-level dealers.

Tim Hollis, chief constable of Humberside police, said the criminal justice system could offer only a "limited" solution to the UK's drug problem, a tacit admission that prohibition has failed.

Hollis's dramatic intervention comes as the government is reviewing its 10-year drug strategy amid growing warnings from experts that prohibition does not deter drug use and that decriminalisation would liberate precious police resources and cut crime.

Hollis, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs committee, said he did not want to criminalise young people caught with minor amounts of substances such as cannabis. A criminal record that could ruin their career before it began was disproportionate, he said.

Hollis said budget cuts had forced police to "prioritise" resources towards tackling organised criminal networks rather than individuals carrying drugs for personal use. He also backed calls for the current drug classification system into class A, B and C to be re-examined following concerns that bracketing substances such as heroin and ecstasy in the same class is confusing.

"We would rather invest our time in getting high-level criminals before the courts, taking money off them and removing their illicit gains rather than targeting young people. We don't want to criminalise young people because, put bluntly, if we arrest young kids for possession of cannabis and put them before the courts we know what the outcome's going to be, so actually it's perfectly reasonable to give them words of advice or take it off them."

Hollis said financial constraints meant it was impractical to arrest everybody caught with new designer drugs available online and added that a debate was needed over whether alcohol and nicotine, which together kill more than 120,000 people a year, should be included in attempts to tackle illegal drugs.

"My personal belief in terms of sheer scale of harm is that one of the most dangerous drugs in this country is alcohol. Alcohol is a lawful drug. Likewise, nicotine is a lawful drug, but cigarettes can kill," he said. "There is a wider debate on the impacts to our community about all aspects of drugs, of which illicit drugs are one modest part."

The comments by Hollis come as a row continues between scientists and politicians over cannabis. One of Britain's leading researchers into the drug, Professor Roger Pertwee, argued last week that policymakers should consider allowing the licensed sale of cannabis for recreational use, claiming the current policy of criminalising cannabis was ineffective.

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are on record as questioning the effectiveness of Britain's drug laws.

Officially the Home Office insists decriminalisation is not the right approach and there is clear evidence cannabis can damage mental health. Insiders, however, have told the Observer that officials are looking at "non-prosecution" strategies. The government has recently studied Portugal's approach in which the authorities have discreetly decriminalised the use and possession of substances including heroin.


Robbie Rotten
Every Hero Needs A Good Villain
Lazy Town - Magnús Scheving (Sportacus) - Stefan Karl (Robbie Rotten) - Ahora En V-me, TV

twitter: Something Is Technically Wrong.
Twitter worms spread quickly thanks to blatant security flaw

By Peter Bright

Anyone checking this morning was probably greeted with a mess of JavaScript, mouseover effects, and spam retweets, after a flaw in the site's handling of hyperlinks allowed attackers to inject scripts into Twitter's pages. The mere act of visiting the site with scripting enabled was sufficient to cause exploitation. Payloads ranged from the harmless—tweets with a black background—to the more malicious—redirection to porn sites.

The flaw was classified as a cross-site scripting (XSS) bug. Due to an error in the way that Twitter processed messages, it was possible to include JavaScript in tweets, and that JavaScript could then do more or less anything, including sending more JavaScript-containing tweets. The technique was devised last night by Twitter user Magnus Holm. Holm says that he didn't find the XSS flaw itself, but he appears to have been the first to write a worm that exploited it.

Generally, Web applications that incorporate text from untrusted sources should ensure that text is safe before displaying it to people. Today's flaw was a result of a failure to do that correctly. The website converts URLs in tweets into clickable hyperlinks. However, if that URL contained an "at" symbol (@), the conversion process was not handled properly, converting part of the URL into JavaScript embedded into the page. Because this JavaScript is embedded in pages on, it has free and unfettered access to other website features, including the ability to send tweets. This allows embedded JavaScript to propagate itself further, hence forming the basis of today's worms that saw many tens of thousands of tweets sent automatically.

The flaw only affected the "old" Twitter site. "New" Twitter, which started being rolled out to users last week, apparently handled the malicious messages properly, though reports are inconsistent. Third-party applications, which have to do their own parsing of tweets, typically weren't vulnerable. Using third-party clients does not make one immune to such flaws—Web-based clients are, at least in principle, susceptible to similar coding errors—but an XSS attack coded to exploit is unlikely to affect any other client.

Twitter has now fixed the flaw, making the site safe to visit again. Today's problem will raise further questions of Twitter's ability to secure its service. The company's implementation of OAuth, used by third-party applications to authenticate account access, has a number of problems, and a similar worm spread last year. The attack last year inserted JavaScript into Twitter users' profiles, rather than their actual tweets, but the basic concept was identical. XSS bugs are not new, nor even particularly clever; for Twitter to yet again fall foul to one, with such public, widespread repercussions, is sure to be an embarrassment to the site. Source:

Evil Cookies Have Returned: Clean Your Cache Now!
Evil Cookies Lurking [Your Browser Can't Handle] - Be Aware !

 Israeli troops confront flotilla activists - A Steve Bell Cartoon
Steve Bell - The Guardian - Israeli troops confront flotilla activists

UN panel accuses Israel of war crimes for 'unlawful' assault on Gaza flotilla

[As Expected, Zionist] Israel dismisses report of 'unnecessary and incredibly violent' attack as 'politicised and extremist'

by Chris McGreal in New York, The Guardian, Thursday 23 September 2010, Article history

A United Nations panel of human rights experts has accused Israel of war crimes through willful killing, unnecessary brutality and torture in its "clearly unlawful" assault on a ship attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May in which nine Turkish activists died.

The report by three experts appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council (UNHRC) described the seizure of MV Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel, by Israeli commandos as illegal under international law.

It condemned the treatment of the passengers and crew as brutal and disproportionate. It also said that the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian enclave is illegal because of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the fourth Geneva convention: wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health," the report said.

"A series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."

Israel swiftly dismissed the accusations as "politicised and extremist". But the report is likely to be welcomed by Turkey which has dramatically cooled once-close relations with the Jewish state since the attack on the ship.

The 56-page report – compiled by a former UN war crimes prosecutor, Desmond de Silva, a judge from Trinidad, Karl Hudson-Phillips, and a Malaysian women's rights advocate, Mary Shanthi Dairiam – accuses Israeli forces of various crimes including violating the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression, and of failing to treat the captured crew and passengers with humanity.

"The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel toward the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality," the report said.

The UN security council is expected to debate the findings on Monday.

The report does not have any legal force and the UN human rights council, which has been accused of a disproportionate focus on Israel, is viewed with scepticism by many western countries because it is dominated by the developing world.

But the report will be a further severe embarrassment to Israel after the assault on the ships brought widespread international condemnation even by generally sympathetic countries and breached relations with Turkey.

Israel, which refused to co-operate with the inquiry, said the report is biased.

"The Human Rights Council blamed Israel prior to the investigation and it is no surprise that they condemn after," said Andy David, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry.

Israel has claimed that its troops only resorted to force and opened fire after coming under attack by activists with metal bars, axes and wooden clubs. The pro-Palestinian activists said they were defending the ship from what amounted to a pirate attack on a vessel in international waters.

The raid prompted an international outcry and focused attention on the blockade of Gaza. Israel has since lifted most of the restrictions on the flow of medicines, food and many goods into the territory but still maintains a ban on some items, such as building materials, on the grounds they can be used to manufacture weapons.

Israel is working with another UN inquiry under the former leaders of New Zealand and Colombia, Geoffrey Palmer and Alvaro Uribe, that is still in progress.

The Jewish state is also carrying out its own inquiry into the attack on Mavi Mamara.

Last month, Israel's military commander, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, defended his forces' use of live ammunition during the assault on the ship, saying that commandos had not expected to meet such violence from the activists and were forced to defend themselves when they came under attack.

"Israel is a democratic and law-abiding country that carefully observes international law and, when need be, knows how to investigate itself," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "That is how Israel has always acted, and that is the way in which investigations were conducted following Operation Cast Lead, launched to protect the inhabitants of southern Israel from rockets and terror attacks carried out by Hamas from Gaza."

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said that the report is further evidence that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories violates human rights "not only against Palestinian people but against innocent people who came to show their sympathy".

He said the report should be used as the basis for international prosecutions of Israeli commanders responsible for the attack.


Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there [? 9/11 ?], I don’t care. And I don’t mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal… What you lot don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it. - Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Political Bi-Partisan Unity
(sic) Bye-Partisin

What ??? You've Never Seen Animal Planet?

Politicians Are Lying Cowards Who Despise Truth ?
Nobody Knows the Truth About 9/11
None of the Above = Should Be On Voter Ballots

Heads Up Award
Speaking of Republican Pledges

A Republican Contract with America was a Lie introduced by a Serial Adulterer six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election. The following version of that contract was slightly modified for reality, with original text still visible:

Newt's [1994] Republican "Contract With Lie to America"

As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

This year's election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;

SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;

THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;

FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;

SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;

SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

Thereafter, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny.

1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.

2. THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's "crime" bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.

3. THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.

4. THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society.

5. THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: A S500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief.

6. THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: No U.S. troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.

7. THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.

8. THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfounded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages.

9. THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: "Loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation.

10. THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators.

Further, we will instruct the House Budget Committee to report to the floor and we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation described above, to ensure that the Federal budget deficit will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills.

Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.

Message from Lady Gaga
Message from Lady Gaga September 21, 2010

"Today was an enormous disappointment, for myself, and for many young American people. Not only because don't ask don't tell was not repealed by our senators, but moreover because legislative procedure is being abused to stop public business, public debates, from happening while America is watching. There was a debate today, we just didn't get to watch it. Instead, it has been customary now for antiquated procedures and partisan politics to take precedence over debate, America's needs, and today, sadly, over the needs of U.S. troops. I will keep fighting, i will not give up. I am passionate about the rights of the LGBT community and SLDN and I will continue to activate as many young people as I can, and encourage them to get politically involved in their future." - Lady Gaga, September 21, 2010


Lies, Lies, Lies -

AT&T chief: All your iPhone are belong to us
Google news: AT&T chief: All your iPhone are belong to us

Pacific Gas & Electric:
Wanted for Murder in San Bruno, CA

by Tom Harper

Or negligent homicide in any case. If Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) cared about anything besides their balance sheet, they would have prevented last week’s raging inferno in San Bruno, CA which killed at least four people and destroyed dozens of homes.

In 2007, PG&E requested permission from the Public Utilities Commission for a $5 million rate increase. This $5 million was requested specifically so PG&E could repair a section of the exact same natural gas line that exploded last week.

The Public Utilities Commission granted PG&E the $5 million rate hike, with the understanding that PG&E would repair the gas line in 2009. It never got done.

A spokesperson for the Utility Reform Network said:

“And they said they would replace that section in 2009 and the Public Utilities Commission gave them that money.”

When PG&E requested the $5 million rate hike so they could repair that gas line, their written statement said:

“A pipe failure has a potential impact radius of 415 feet” and “the risk of a failure at this location is unacceptably high.”

They got that right.

Give Wall Street a trillion dollars to keep the economy from collapsing, and Wall Street keeps the money and gives everybody else the finger. Give Pacific Gas & Electric $5 million to prevent a deadly pipe explosion, and the pipe explodes anyway.

51 Humor

You've all heard of the Air Force's ultra-high security, super-secret base in Nevada, known simply as "Area 51?"

Well, late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base.

They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel.

The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the Security Police surrounded the plane...only this time there was a man and a woman in the plane.

The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but you have to tell my wife where I spent last night !!!!" - via Joe

"Intensive" Socnet Users: Listen Up !!!

via ~@~ 201009.29 1400 UTC - 7 AM PDT

If = you are heavy into Socnets
[Note: other than (not) = Facebook or Twitter]
And = have my direct email address
Then = email me [intensive Socnetters only] because I am noticing, what appears to be, a compromise.
[I am hesitant to publish info until some authority picks up on it; that is, if it is a real threat.]
For everyone else: Do Not Open any email with a subject similar to: new messages, for a few days.

How evil is Facebook?

Film cannot contain the true depths of its evilness. Let us dim the lights . . .

Opening scene: an office. A young man, MIKE, should be doing some work. Instead, he is flicking through the recent holiday photos of a guy he went to school with and hasn't spoken to in 27 years. This activity seems to bring him no joy, yet he persists for about 17 minutes, becoming increasingly subsumed with despair at why everyone always has better holidays, sexier partners and cooler lives than him.

Enter GOD.

GOD: Mike, I must show you something.

Suddenly, an image of a giant whirlpool appears, topped by the numbers 117:47:56

MIKE: What is that, God?

GOD: That is your life, going down the drain while you have spent a total of 117 hours, 47 minutes and 56 seconds on Facebook.

Suddenly, the whirlpool disappears and is replaced by three enormous Pulitzer prize-winning novels, an award-winning film, two symphonies and a cure for cancer.

MIKE: What is that, God?

GOD: That is what you would have achieved if you hadn't spent so much time on Facebook, looking at the holiday photos of people you never liked anyway.

Cut to Mike's computer screen. A notification has just flashed up that Mike has been poked by . . . his mother. Close up on his mouth, screaming in horror, and the celluloid bursts into flames in disgust.

by Hadley Freeman, Wednesday 29 September 2010, Click to Read Entire Article at The Guardian.

Realtà utopiche e psichedeliche.
Incontro con Chris Carlsson e Matteo Guarnaccia
Giovedì 30 settembre 2010 - Ore 21.30 - Spazio Pubblico Shake - viale Bligny 42 Milano (in cortile)

Today: Due grandi protagonisti della scena alternativa internazionale e italiana, insieme per un incontro di alto livello. Chris Carlsson, da San Francisco, autore di "Nowutopia", la summa sul ciclismo creativo, l’orticoltura comunitaria, la permacoltura, la galassia P2P e l’ecohacking..." da almeno 30 anni al centro dell'intelligenza trasformatrice della città americana, fondatore della Critical Mass, e Matteo Guarnaccia, milanese autore di "Psichedelica. Eroi, situazioni, arte e letteratura" e di "Ribelli con stile", artista poliedrico, dagli anni sessanta on the road. Un libero flusso di idee, con video, musica, drink and cake. Porta la tua mente (possibilmente in bici)!

Source: - Google: translate

Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find money cannot be eaten. - Cree Prophecy

Artist, John Flores

The man whispered, "God, speak to me" and a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear. So the man yelled "God, speak to me" and the thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen. The man looked around and said, "God let me see you" and a star shined brightly. But the man did not notice. And the man shouted, "God show me a miracle" and a life was born. But the man did not know. So the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are there" Whereupon God reached down and touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Somebody is looking at whatever you do, so always present your most charming you
Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way you expect.