Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Honest Difference of Opinion

Prof. Jim Fetzer invited me as a guest to his internet radio program, Real Deal, to discuss my recent presentation at the DC 9/11 Truth Conference, “The Pentagon 757.” In it, I argue a Boeing 757 could very well have struck the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, although under very different circumstances from those posed in the official story. In my supposition, a group of technically competent planners set up a high-speed impact of a 757 into a hardened wall of the Pentagon. They did so to produce a crash scene unlike any previous airplane crash scene. I can’t offer a reason for carrying out such a spectacle, other than to bring a great deal of confusion to the day’s overall treachery.

My supposition is based on what can be inferred about the cr. 2000 state-of-art in analysis of high-speed airplane impacts into hardened walls. Also, my supposition assumes use of automated aircraft control available by government insiders shortly before 2001.

Our sharp differences of opinion were, I think, quite interesting, in that we both strongly believe the official explanations are completely false. Narrowing in on the specific question, did a Boeing 757 crash into the Pentagon?, Fetzer holds strongly the mainstream 9/11 Truther belief — NO.
In stark contrast, I believe the evidence available to the public is consistent with a 757 crash, and thus, the answer should be a tentative YES. I’m not insisting a 757 did crash, but rather, the evidence that one didn’t crash needs to be very persuasive to overcome that pointing to a 757 impact.
Fetzer’s first argument against my supposition was that aerodynamic forces would prevent a high-speed airplane flying that close to the ground. He backed up his opinion with that of a number of commercial pilots, who say it is impossible to fly that close to the ground because of what’s called ground effect. My response is that pilots make that case under the assumption the plane would have been flown by a pilot (according to the official story), and configured as a commercial airliner (again, assuming the official narrative). My supposition is that the plane would have been rigged in advance to make close-to-ground flight possible, and that it was not flown by a pilot, but rather by an automated control system. The rigging might have included center-of-gravity control through use of ballast, which could have included water tanks within the cabin, with pumps to transfer water between tanks.

A second area of dispute was the applicability of a F-4 Phantom fighter rocket-sled crash into a massive solid concrete block conducted by Sandia. Fetzer argued it had no applicability, whatsoever. saying the weights of the two airplanes were so different, there would simply be no relationship between the two. Fetzer furthermore argued that the F-4 was filled with water, which would make it completely unrelated to an airplane filled with aviation fuel. I countered, saying the water was used in the F-4 test to simulate the weight and fluidity of aviation fuel. The overall F-4 test was used to validate the analysis tools, so these tools could be applied with confidence to other airplane-impact situations. Although, we Truthers don’t have the ability to use these tools to model a 757 impact into the hardened Pentagon wall, my guess is that the planners did their analysis in advance, assuring themselves the crash after effects would be roughly what they desired.

The third area of discussion involved the lack of debris on the lawn. Fetzer maintained the lack of debris was evidence a 757 couldn’t have hit. I argued the lack of debris is what should be expected, based on the results of the Sandia F-4 test. Fetzer then did, what I consider to be an “appeal to authority,” by bringing up the opinion of General Albert "Bert" Stubblebine. General Stubblebine is featured on a widely viewed YouTube video stating a 757 couldn’t have hit the Pentagon, because there were no aircraft remains to be seen. My response is, although I greatly respect General Stubblebine, he is not aware of what the validated airplane-impact analysis tools would predict, and therefore, he is “wrong” on this matter.

The last area of discussion caught me by surprise. Fetzer showed a photo of the collapse of the Pentagon structure that occurred some time later, taking down a section of the Pentagon to the south of the alleged impact point. We both agreed that section was probably brought down on purpose. Fetzer concluded, the appearance of the Pentagon prior to bringing it down was apparently “not what the authorities desired.” Therefore, they must have brought it down to make the building appear more like a major impact had occurred. I agreed. However, that put my logic in a bind. Whereas I had been arguing the planners probably achieved the result they wished to achieve, this later “adjustment” suggests they fell short of their objectives.

Oh, if we could only know what the planners had planned.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Shift in Reasoning: 757, Pentagon, and heliport debris

The question on the Pentagon airplane or airplanes is, I think, complicated. A number of apparent conflicts in lines of reasoning has made it difficult for me to settle in on one set of consistent answers. For the past several years, I have favored CIT's north-path airplane with flyover. This hypothesis implied, I thought, either no airplane struck the Pentagon, or an airplane struck in tight time correlation with the flyover airplane. 

Recently, I've taken a more careful look at many of the issues, and have gradually shifted my thinking toward an airplane impacting the Pentagon. One shift was deciding the north-path airplane was more likely not time correlated with the explosive event at the Pentagon face.

Another shift came relative to the "no debris on the lawn" issue. I was bothered the "no-Boeing" folks didn't have much of a comeback to the Sandia F-4 sled test implications. That test provides empirical evidence suggesting that "confetti" is what should be expected when an airplane crashes at high speed into a hardened wall.

An "ah ha" moment occurred when I ran across a photo in a different setting with "confetti-like" debris on the ground. I was familiar with the photo, as Jim Hoffman described the photo as "...portion of the lawn near the heliport." I stumbled across the same photo in the book, Pentagon 9/11, but the ledger read, "...debris-covered helipad."  The helipad, it turns out, is in the exact right spot for deflected debris from a plane flying directly over the cable spools before impacting the Pentagon centered on column 14, the official impact column. This gave a boost to the 757-on-south-path hypothesis.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Battling Media’s Pro-Keystone Advocacy

San Diego's mainstream newspaper, U-T San Diego, recently published an opinion piece advocating approval of Keystone-XL pipeline. I quickly submitted a letter to editor arguing against that project. The letter was published, along with three others in U-T’s print edition, but my letter did not get included in the online edition.  The other three were included. My letter follows:
U-T San Diego’s editorial supporting Keystone XL is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Getting construction jobs in the U.S. or circumventing a Canada-China pipeline partnership are going for pennies. The real issue not even mentioned in the editorial is the massive quantity of greenhouse gasses that would be released from the Alberta tar-sands. The U.S. should be taking the lead internationally against such foolish projects as extracting bitumen for usable oil. Obtaining useful oil in that manner releases three times the greenhouse gas per barrel as does conventional oil. 
The pound-foolish part of this will push global climate over the tipping point. To achieve climate safety (getting CO2 in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million) will require leaving four-fifths the current fossil fuel reserves in the ground. The Alberta tar-sands project says, “safety be damned.” 
Shortly thereafter, another opinion piece was published, again strongly advocating the pipeline. It almost seamed as if they were shouting louder in response to those opposing their viewpoint.

I followed up with a second letter, assuming it would not be published because it was too soon after my previous letter. Nevertheless, I wanted the editor to get the message I was still against it. True enough, it was not published. This letter said the following: 
If all we did was reject Keystone XL, it would be “the end” for our grandchildren and beyond. And by “our” grandchildren, I mean all grandchildren. More importantly, we must transition completely away from fossil fuels well before extracting even half the conventional reserves still in the ground. But failing to reject Keystone XL would make it dramatically more difficult to bring a halt to fossil-fuel burning. Rather, it would open the pipe filled with even dirtier fossil fuels, three times dirtier than conventional reserves. 
On the one hand, it would be fairly easy to transition away from fossil fuels thru establishment of an ever increasing price on CO2, coupled with an equal dividend to all legal residents. It could be revenue neutral. But no, Keystone XL pipeline would take us in the opposite direction.

In response to these two opinion pieces, several letters opposed to Keystone XL were published. Of these, the predominant message was, given a rejection of the Keystone by the U.S., Canada would not likely build a pipeline to the west coast and ship the oil to China. There is strong opposition by the Canadian citizens and indigenous peoples to such a pipeline.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Counter Climate Change Now. It’s Urgent!

LA Times published a Bill McKibben opinion piece calls out President Obama for not really understanding the importance of countering climate change. Failure to get this right will take away all hope for our grandchildren’s children. We must stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in this century's first quarter, and steadily reduce emissions in its second quarter. 
To do this, the global community must leave four fifths of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground [McKibben]. There is a solution according to the leading federal scientist on this subject, Dr. James Hansen -- immediately institute an ever increasing price on oil, gas, and coal extractions. Collect fees at the wellheads domestically, or equivalent tariffs for imports. Exempt imports from countries with similar policies [Hansen]
How best to distribute the fees? Referred to as "fee-and-dividend," return 100% in equal parts to all legal residents (full shares to adults, half shares to the first two children). This would put the money directly back into the economy, letting the market choose among energy alternatives. Those who use fossil-fuel energy least will be net winners overall. Energy corporations would see the futility of continuing to invest in fossil-fuel explorations. You can count on them to redirect their massive current-day profits into alternative energy technologies.
Admittedly, taking the logical path will not make it an easy path. Special interests will do what they are prone to do -- attempt to get it rigged to their benefit. That is why the 100% distribution is so important. Anything less would surely be a sign special interests had success in rigging the system. Cap-and-trade is such an approach. In general, this approach facilitates rigging to benefit some special interests. The system can be and probably is gamed, and is viewed with suspicion by many. Because of these deficiencies, it will not provide the necessary greenhouse gas reductions, which, in turn, extinguish hope for our grandchildren’s children.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Treachery in Wedge One

There is much arguing within 9/11 Truth community about what, if anything, struck the Pentagon’s recently refurbished Wedge One. I am on record supporting the idea the plane overflew the Pentagon, with planted explosives as the explanation for the fireball and internal damage. I stated that opinion on Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” TV show back in December 2010. Since that time, I have mulled over more information, and today, find myself more on the fence if not on the other side. 
It is worthwhile to examine that change in viewpoint. Citizen Investigation Team (CIT) is the primary proponent of the overflight hypothesis. They base this on on-camera interviews of about a dozen witnesses who independently attest to the plane flying north of a CitGo service station to the west of the Pentagon. The most crucial interviews are of the witnesses who were at the CitGo station, Sgt. William Lagasse and Sgt. Chadwick Brooks, interviewed by Craig Ranke. Ranke asks Lagasse how confident he is the plane passed to the north, and he answered, “100%, bet my life on it.”
This idea of asking how confident a person is of their answer is a good idea. If the “Conspiracy Theory” interviewer would have asked me how confident I was of my “overflight” explanation, I probably would have said about 80%. The reasoning -- deduct 10% because there might have been a way to pass north of CitGo and still strike the Pentagon at the location of damage, and another 10% as Sgts. Lagasse and Brooks might have been lying.
At the time, one of my reasons in support of the overflight hypothesis was the flight data recorder (FDR) indicated an altitude higher than the Pentagon as the airplane passed across structure’s face [Balsamo]. 
New information became available with the publication in January 2011 of a new FDR analysis [Legge and Stuttthat decoded 4 additional seconds of data that apparently was on the file released by the NTSB, but had not been decoded. If these additional seconds of data are valid, the radar altitude measurement indicates the airplane did level off at a low enough altitude to strike the Pentagon. There are reasons to be cautious of the FDR, as it has no identifying numbers to authenticate it as having been installed in a particular aircraft, or even that the data came from a plane in flight. All the recorded parameters could have been outputs from of a very complete simulator. Nevertheless, I think these additional 4 seconds of decoded data warrants adjusting my 80% confidence level downward by about 30%, lowering my overall confidence in an overflight to about 50%.
More recently, I have come upon an article reporting on a careful examination of the photographic evidence of damage to the face of the Pentagon. I find it difficult to come up with explanations other than a 757-sized airplane that would cause the damage photographed. With that said, I conclude my 50% confidence should be reduced a bit more, down to 30%. The compliment of this statement, is I now have 70% confidence a medium-size transport airplane struck the Pentagon.   
This idea of making probability estimates for something that is unknowable, at least with available evidence, has been used in other areas of science. Most notably, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) makes use of the Drake Equation. That is, it provides a systematic approach to estimating the probability there is intelligent life on another planet close enough to communicate with Earthlings. As applied to the Pentagon question, possibly stated as the “probability a large airplane struck the Pentagon.” Such a percentage (if expressed that way) would be the product of a number of conditional probabilities. An example of a conditional probability related to the FDR would be “probability the data file provided by NTSB is valid, given the FDR came from aircraft debris recovered from the Pentagon.” 
If probability numbers were used on this “what struck the Pentagon?” issue, it might loosen the polarization between the two sides that now exist within the 9/11 Truth movement. As it is now, people on the two sides sound as if they have 100% confidence in their respective positions. Maybe they do, but they might be willing to back off these hard-over positions if there was a pattern of dialogue which facilitated taking more moderate views.
If we set aside the polarizing issue of what (if anything) struck the Pentagon, it may be easier to reach agreement on which military organizations had significant numbers of victims, and possibly the implications. Of the 125 deaths, the Army had 78, the Navy and Defense Intelligence Agency combined had 46, and Office of the Secretary of Defense had one [Navy History]. This Army section was primarily a financial management/audit area, and may have been devoted to trying to track the $2.3 Trillion Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld publicly announced as possibly “missing” the day before [Honegger]. The Navy and Defense Intelligence Agency personnel are characterized as being part of the Naval Command Center [ibid]. Part of this unit was the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot (CNO-IP), as described by Washington Post writer Richard Leiby. CNO-IP was responsible for production of daily intelligence briefings and other intelligence materials for the Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy, and other senior military and civilian officials, including the Director of the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence). The ONI was also part of the Command Center [Heidner]. The ONI, it was reported, was at odds with Bush and his primary enforcement agencies -- the CIA and NSA.
The possibility emerges these two functions, Army budget auditors and ONI investigators, may have been moved into the first floor of the vacant Wedge One to be “targets” in the larger scheme for 9/11.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Reflections

For the first ten years, the 11th was the day to reflect on September 11th. This, the 11th anniversary, for me, the day itself was less of an event, whereas, the whole month seemed to bring on the reflections. Maybe because the background of the upcoming Presidential election, or maybe because the magnitude of the ongoing global financial crisis, whatever the reason, this anniversary of the 9/11 events seemed much different.
Notable in the Presidential campaign is the complete avoidance of the real underlying causes of the global financial crisis. Without singling out which cause is the biggest, lets just say there are several, each would be an elephant in the room. The two major candidates, Barack Obama and George Romney, as well as all their handlers, manage to find fault with their opposition without hinting at the elephants in the room. 
Likewise, there are a half-dozen or so major 9/11 issues within the Truth movement. The leading figures on either side of these issues, and their supporters, seem to be falling into the same polarizing patterns as the politicians in their Presidential races. Here are two examples:
Did a large plane strike the Pentagon?  Of course, the Official Story says American Airlines Flight 77, a Boing 757 did strike the Pentagon. But some questioning the Official Story say no, and others say yes. Citizen Investigation Team (CIT) argues on the basis of a dozen well-placed witnesses that the plane (a large one) that approached the Pentagon was on a path that couldn’t have caused the physical damage. Therefore, the plane couldn’t have struck the Pentagon -- it must have flown over, and the physical damage caused in some other manner. CIT concluded the strongest evidence against their no side, a combination of flight data recorder, radar, and other eyewitnesses, must have all been wrong. The most recent technical article on the yes side was The Pentagon Attack: Problems with Theories Alternative to Large Plane [ (2011) by John D. Wyndham  (PhD, Physics). In concluding in favor of a large plane strike, Wyndham comes close to not even mentioning the strongest evidence on the no side. That strongest evidence came from three eyewitnesses situated at the pivotal point where they could see if the plane flew north of the CITGO station, or south of the station. Since they were at the station, they stated very clearly, independently, that the plane flew on the north side. No question in their minds. However, if the plane did in fact fly on the north side, it couldn’t have caused the damage path at Pentagon.
As an aside, I am on record on the no side. However, the more I continue to study it, the more I think I could change my mind. If I do, I will have to decide the three eyewitness at the CITGO station must have misremembered what they thought they saw. A politician would never admit to such a change of their mind. If they did change their mind, they would find a way glossing over it.
The second example is -- were nuclear devices used at the World Trade Center? At  The 9/11 Toronto Hearings held the weekend of the 10th Anniversary, the question wasn’t even raised. Most probably, any speaker known to have considered nukes wouldn’t have been invited. At The 9/11 Vancouver Hearings held in June, 2012, the question was not only raised, but answered by two speakers (Don Fox [Fox presentation slides] and Jeff Prager [Prager presentation slides]) in the affirmative. I followed their presentations with an assessment of several theories of Twin-Tower destructions [Deets written version]. Nuclear devices came out in first position based on the nine issues I considered.
As a second aside, I included in my “several theories”, one which has received little attention among 9/11 Truth researchers. Going by the name Runaway Open Office Space Destruction (ROOSD)[Global Characteristics of Twin Tower Collapses], it did well in my assessment, coming in second place. However, that I even included it at all drew severe criticism from one of the Vancouver Hearings co-organizers, Jim Fetzer. Furthermore, the advocates for ROOSD were angered their theory was included in a presentation that included nuclear devices, so even though their ROOSD theory received favorable treatment, they prefer to ignore its presence on the list. 
In both these examples, the different sides tend to argue at poles length. They seem to adopt similar tactics as the Presidential campaigns. Either avoid the elephant in the room, or avoid mentioning any topic that might point to evidence favorable to one’s opponent. Seeking the truth doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s play book. 
The elephant in the room for 9/11 Truth may be that it doesn’t matter which side is correct on the detailed “what happened” questions. In the bigger picture which pertains to the “why it happened” questions, it appears a decision has been made at some very high level to do what ever was necessary across international lines to keep hidden massive illegal activities, using illegal methods, with confidence the true reasons could be hidden from the public by a compliant U.S. media, controlled governments, and intelligence agencies to snuff out any potential whistleblowers. Not just hiding the true reasons, but substituting a false reason, in this case, al Qaeda hijackers who supposedly “hate our freedom.” Hopefully, next September, more evidence on the “why it happened” will be known to the public.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Which is the Bigger Problem -- Terrorism or Exhaustion of Earth’s Resources?

As frequently happens, I find myself reading multiple books more or less at the same time. At present, two non-fiction books have my attention. One argues that terrorism is our biggest problem. The other argues that limitations on resources is the biggest problem. The manners in which this topic is approached couldn't be more different.

First, taking terrorism as the problem. The book is International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, edited by Benjamin Netanyahu (1981). One of the essays was written by Paul Johnson, a noted British writer and historian (and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006). One statement captures the extent to which he thinks terrorism is the number-one problem: "It is almost impossible to exaggerate the threat that terrorism holds for our civilization. It is a threat which is in many respects more serious than the risk of nuclear war, of population explosion, of global pollution, or the exhaustion of the earth's resources. I believe these dangers to our civilization can be, have been, or are being contained. I believe the threat of terrorism is not being contained."

In stark contrast, the problem of limited resources is the topic of the second book, Winner Take All: China's Race For Resources and What it Means For the World by Dambisa Moyo (2012). In this book, Moyo describes how China is methodically securing the rights to the four essential resources; water, food, energy, and minerals -- sufficient in quantity to satisfy the essential needs of its population well into the future.

Apparently, based on observations of the acquisitions and agreements China is pursuing, its government has adopted a strategy placing acquisition of resources worldwide as its number one priority.   Apparently, China's leadership believes exhaustion of the earth's resources is very much our biggest problem. It is not, as Johnson says, "a danger...being constrained."

How do we decide between these widely differing viewpoints? Johnson, speaking on behalf of what he calls civilization -- would have helped this discussion had he called it western civilization, as he names terrorism as the biggest problem. China has a very different view, and is acting on that view.

Quoting Moyo, "The sad truth is that governments with regular election cycles, government officials rationally focus on 'immanent dangers.' Under the pressures of the ballot box, the urgent usurps the important. A more brutal way to put it is that governments tend not to care for future generations; these supposedly desirable models of government actually encourage political myopia." Western civilization is mostly represented by these types of governments.

China, on the other hand, concerns itself much more with the long term. China's government makes sure its populations of the future have their needs met. Keeping their needs met avoids future revolutions. Providing the four essential resources makes it possible to feed their populations, thereby keeping the ruling party in power.

We decide by caring for our future generations. Our biggest problem is exhaustion of earth's resources.