Monday, December 27, 2010

A “Free Fall” Piece? Really, Guys?

This week saw the appearance of a WTC 7 free-fall post over at AE911. The post contains prime examples of everything that is wrong with your average Truther post.

I’m surprised that skeptics have made less light of the incredibly mediocre nature of the average 9/11 denier’s screed. Tell me if the apparent flow of each such “big-claim” type article, each “final proof” disseminated from bobbing head to bobbing head is a mutually assured annoyance, or if I’m just crazy:

1. The meandering, banal prologue.

The post I’m griping about begins with the groan-inducing phrase, “Galileo was the first to describe the amazing fact that…” Does anything make you reach for the scroller faster? Does anything prompt more urgent zoning out of the eyes in desperate search of valuable keywords like “gravity,” “data,” or “the goddamn point of all this?”

This introduction reminds me of an epically bad blog post from the cargo-cult version of an academic organization, the Journal of 911 Studies. The post was as useless as one must come to expect from frauds like Frank Legge, and it managed to open with a

It has been said that the world is one continuous Rorschach inkblot test: we see what we expect to see based on our fears and desires.

The hinge on my laptop lid just rusted a little. Can’t we just get to the point? Can’t your evidence and your reasoning speak for itself?

It has been said that the world is one continuous Rorschach inkblot test: we see what we expect to see based on our fears and desires. All sides of the World Trade Centre (WTC) collapse issue can see definitive corroboration in the same photos and videos, the same laboratory tests and the same reports. In this way both authors of this paper initially accepted the official explanation for the collapse of the buildings, as set out in the technical report of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),[2] but they now undeniably approach the report from a skeptical perspective.

So we first get a post-modern statement that everything is a mere matter of interpretation, then a passive assertion that the authors have got it all figured out. That is, after all, one of the apparent points of the droning intro:

2. The in-your-face appeal to authority.

We all recognize this. Not a post goes by these guys where it isn’t asserted with resolute failure to get the joke that the “authors have studied this issue for year.” They have “thought hard about the evidence.” They have “carefully considered all sides of the issue.” When making his shocking and novel claims about free-fall collapse speeds, the author of this post asserts in describing his methodology,

I used a video analysis tool to carefully measure the velocity profile of the falling building using CBS video footage from a fixed camera aimed almost squarely at the north wall. A video detailing this measurement is available at YouTube/user/ae911truth. I calibrated my measurements with the heights of two points in the building provided in the NIST Building 7 report released in August 2008, so I know the picture scale is good.

The “video analysis tool” is unnamed, the video is unidentified and relies on you to use a broken hyperlink, and the provision of the calibration points is completely unexplained. Which part did he rely on? Why did he use the wrong version of the report (the NIST Building 7 report has been updated multiple times – heck, updates to the report were released the very next day)? What’s worse is that this is one of the more “subtle” appeals to authority 9/11 deniers make – especially when they clothe themselves in the rank condescension of wannabe academic seriousness.

Make your point and be done with it. I don’t care where you worked for twenty years. I don’t care where you got your BS, your MD, your PhD. You don’t impress me.

3. The seemingly overt disrespect for the viewership.

This is the point that inspired this post in the first place: 9/11 deniers condescend to their readers and insult their intelligence. (And yes, it goes without saying, they lie to them as well – that’s a separate point) Why does David Chalmers just expect his readers to take his calibration method on faith? Why does he expect they will just believe him because he told them to do so? I think its because he really doesn’t give a shit about his audience anymore. He doesn’t expect to “convert” anyone anymore. He may very well understand that his cult has failed. Sloppy science is allowed because, well… because who cares?

This blog operates under the possibly naive premise that such technicalities are actually at the core of why conspiracy movements succeed or fail. The Internet has allowed arguments to play out rapidly and thoroughly, with near-instantaneous back-and-forths of links, citations, and back-up claims. The side with the most hyperlinks wins, and the other side has stopped bothering altogether. I think it goes beyond the mere fact that the 9/11 denier blogosphere is an echo chamber for people who already agree with its creators – because that’s true of every blogosphere to some extent (including the skeptical one). I think it goes to the fact that the 9/11 deniers are uniquely unequipped to handle serious refutations of their work – they fundamentally don’t know the science, and unless they’re the OPs, they can’t check the post or the author’s previous works for backup. In a world where everyone who disagrees with you is a CIA spook, your theories get little wiggle-room – it seems hard for 9/11 deniers to recalibrate their refuted ideas without making their audience raise their pitchforks and cry “heretic!” After all, in a world where Dylan Avery, Amy Goodman, Judy Wood, and Sibel Edmonds have all been variously accused of being “plants,” it is unlikely that people are going to be willing to leave their camps. The movement, as Faulkner once wrote, is fucked.

Oh and, just to be clear, the free-fall theory is bullshit – not that Chandler gives us a specific claim of any kind to refute.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Another bumper year is the only one of the major 9/11 denier sites that actually lets people know how its fundraising is going year to year, to wit. We don't mean to keep mocking it in every year-end section, it just... keeps letting us.

Just past the $2,000 mark... a steep decline, even from last year's incredibly paltry effort. The cult is fading fast.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trollfeed, The Blog Post

The Facebook group recently got a post showing a "whistleblower's" talk about how the United States used, and continues to use, depleted uranium in combat zones. I found the talk rather interesting and I've re-posted it below.

Here's why I put "whistleblower" in quotes: I didn't know this was an unknown issue in 2010. I thought it was more or less common knowledge, at least among people who follow news about America's adventures abroad, that depleted uranium was part of the American arsenal. Bushflash did a few videos about it many years ago. It never occurred to me that people could hear phrases like "bunker buster" every day and not wonder what made bunker busters such effective busting devices.

Here's the thing that I think a lot of visitors to our group and this blog from "the other side" don't understand:

Not being a 9/11 denier =/= Support for the actions of any particular politician.

This point is often understated by skeptics, because I think we lack the gene for seeing issues in black and white that 9/11 deniers rely on to make their assumptions about the way the world works. Anyone who has been having the argument for long enough knows that words like "shill" and "spook" are the adjectives of choice 9/11 deniers use for those who refute their ideas. On their planet, it seems, they are part of a golden Crusade, where everyone around them is the unwashed masses, the political sheep who need only be anointed in the homeopathic magic-water of their grainy YouTube videos and fatuous echo chamber of a blogosphere. On their planet, you are either with the 9/11 deniers or you are a die-hard defender of the status quo, 100% copacetic with the proclamations of America's majority party du jour.

The similarities with religious fanaticism have already written themselves in your mind, I'm guessing.

To this video all I can say is, Yep, sounds like depleted uranium is a horrific weapon. 9/11 deniers have to live in a world where it isn't common knowledge that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake (an opinion that at least half this blog's authors have shared since 2003, by the way), for example. No, empirical evidence should not get balled up with your politics. No, not everyone who has a substantive disagreement with you is your enemy on 100% of fronts. I feel this has to get addressed every time I see a 9/11 denier or two hijacking a peace protest or something, but they keep doing it and not getting the un-funny joke they have been spinning this whole time.

"Depleted uranium is a horrific weapon, therefore the government committed 9/11" is a non sequitur. They're unrelated issues, at best part of some epic tu quo que fallacy, spanning decades and continents in some desperately contradictory effort to indict all on all things for an evil utterly unrelated to the debate at hand. The person who posted this video has, at best, conducted a logical fallacy. At worst, he is committing implicit intellectual fraud against his "opponents."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Okay, “911debunkers,” Let’s Walk You Through It

Looks like we really managed to ruffle some feathers over at the debunker-wannabe blog, apparently un-ironically named “Debunking the Debunkers.” Get out your violins:

While repeatedly calling us '9/11 deniers', 'wannabes' and 'cargo-cult skeptics', and mocking me for quoting more of Shermer than I needed to, NR oversimplifies my arguments and engages in the usual fact-free straw man attacks.

And thus follows the usual moaning of those unable to defend a position: They claim that we characterized their arguments in an unfair fashion, that we portrayed their worldview unfavorably, and didn’t define terms in a way that makes their position look good – essentially. For reference, here is the post that got them in such a fuss – and now here’s the next refutation.

D911D starts right off by attempting to backtrack and re-characterize their stance on the “maneuvers” Hani Hanjour “pulled off” on 9/11. The author initially simply gives us

Hani Hanjour would need to have been superhuman to pull off the maneuvres he did. So number 2 definately [sic] applies to the hijackers.

While linking to one of his prior posts that includes, after an impromptu rant about some sort of unemployment difficulties he’s facing,

"Hani Hanjour, a man who was incompetant [sic] in a single engine Cessna, then executed a complex 330 degree downward turn, descending 6000 feet in two and a half minutes. He then entered a steep dive and descended a further 2000 feet in 40 seconds, pulled out of this steep dive at 500mph, overcame enormous G-Forces and knocked down five light poles in less than a second while maintaining the perfect trajectory required to hit the ground floor of a conveniently reinforced section of the Pentagon without touching the lawn. And he accomplished all this without being caught on any of the eighty plus cameras surrounding the Pentagon and without attracting the attention of the US air defence."

I think on some subconscious level I was being charitable by not trotting this out in the original post, because this generally speculative characterization of the plane’s maneuvers was pathetic. Hani Hanjour dipped the nose and the plane descended at a jaw-tearing 45 miles per hour (why, human beings themselves should fly apart at that speed!), then descended again at a face-melting 34 miles per hour and somehow managed to tip the plane back up to overcome the enormous pressure. Things are a lot less scary in perspective, I think. Hani Hanjour tipped the nose twice, and is thus a miracle pilot?

And, as usual, I think it goes without saying that the claim that Hanjour is naught but a flight-school dropout who was “incompetent in a single engine Cessna” is a lie by omission - he was, until he wasn’t.

In 1996, Hanjour returned to the United States to pursue flight training,after being rejected by a Saudi flight school. He checked out flight schools in Florida, California, and Arizona; and he briefly started at a couple of them before returning to Saudi Arabia. In 1997, he returned to Florida and then, along with two friends, went back to Arizona and began his flight training there in earnest. After about three months, Hanjour was able to obtain his private pilot's license. Several more months of training yielded him a commercial pilot certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April 1999... Settling in Mesa, Hanjour began refresher training at his old school,Arizona Aviation. He wanted to train on multi-engine planes, but had difficulties because his English was not good enough.The instructor advised him to discontinue but Hanjour said he could not go home without completing the training. In early 2001, he started training on a Boeing 737 simulator at Pan Am International Flight Academy in Mesa.An instructor there found his work well below standard and discouraged him from continuing.Again, Hanjour persevered; he completed the initial training by the end of March 2001.

(source, quoting page 225 of the 9/11 Commission Report)

His instructor described him as “a very average pilot,” and, from the source cited above,

One 9/11 Commission footnote (to Chapter 7) is relatively positive. 170. FBI report, "Summary of Penttbom Investigation," Feb. 29, 2004, pp. 52¬57. Hanjour successfully conducted a challenging certification flight supervised by an instructor at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg, Maryland, landing at a small airport with a difficult approach.The instructor thought Hanjour may have had training from a military pilot because he used a terrain recognition system for navigation. Eddie Shalev interview (Apr.9, 2004).

And, from pentagonresearch, "Despite Hanjour's poor reviews, he did have some ability as a pilot, said Bernard of Freeway Airport. "There's no doubt in my mind that once that [hijacked jet] got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it," he said."

So this is just a battle of the scare quotes.

In 9/11 denier land, this argument breaks even: “They” have quotes saying the maneuvers were undoable for Hanjour, “we” have quotes saying they were doable for Hanjour. By the denier standard of evidence, this argument is a draw. We have to throw up our hands (ed. note: Wrote “throw up in our hands” the first time. Viva Freud!) and walk away from the table. Fortunately, as a skeptic, I can do better: this kind of crap don’t matter. Who cares what various semi-authorities think about the relative talents of the pilots? Are we meant to conclude that there should’ve been something “likely” about 9/11? Should 9/11 have been a day without the weird, without the inevitable deviations from the mean? This entire line of reasoning is hogwash. What we know is that the positive evidence helps us establish who the pilots were.

Here, in fact, let’s play a thought experiment and grant the 9/11 deniers a premise. Let us falsely render Hanjour a doddering incompetent who couldn’t have flown a paper airplane over his desk. This changes nothing about what we almost certainly already know about Hani Hanjour’s life. 100% of the remaining evidence singles him out as a hijacking pilot, even if we let the 9/11 deniers escape with the obvious lie that he couldn’t have tilted a plane slightly for a brief period. The positive evidence - the records of his training, of his travels, his presence on the plane, his consorting with the fellow hijackers, the many people who came forward to volunteer information about his life (and those who were captured and forced to…) all stand. We know 9/11 deniers are deluding themselves when they make this particularly absurd argument. But even if they weren’t, they’d still be in a very deep hole.

So yes, D911D, you’re wrong on this point. In our previous post, in fact, you were merely wrong; now you’re dishonest.

He next attempts to use the highest form of standard of evidence in 9/11 denier circles – shite YouTube videos – to address the fact that he doesn’t understand how probabilities work. This was in response to a little aside I made about his hypocrisy in saying that skeptics “don’t bother to run the numbers.” Here’s the video he used:

This video is hysterical, so I recommend you give it a view. The presenter begins, in what appears to be a fully honest deadpan, with the following:

“What is the probability of the BBC predicting an unknown event in advance? …100,000.” We can scrap this one because the BBC didn’t predict jack in advance. And yes, it goes without saying, this guy didn’t calculate jack, either. No numbers were “run” here – but by now, it should be obvious we aren’t dealing with the most intellectually rigorous of folks here.

Next up, he asks, “what are the chances of cell phones working at high altitude in 2001?” This entire claim is a non sequitur, as SLC has addressed here. In general, this guy dishonestly calls air phones “cell phones” for most of his claim. Yawn. 2003 called, they want their arguments back.

And in claim three he simply lies. The majority of 9/11 Commission Report members did not “go public saying the investigation was a fraud.” Many members of the Commission complained that the Bush Administration was unhelpful and intrusive, but this guy simply lies about the substance of those complaints. And then he simply decides, “the probability of this one is less than one in a thousand.” That of course is a non sequitur response to the stated question, “how many public enquiry’s have [sic] had a majority of its members go public about fraud?” That question doesn’t even demand a probabilistic answer.

Oh, and have we mentioned, two of the three claims made so far don’t even have anything to do with the actual mechanics of 9/11? The implied theory in number one – of foreign journalists being paid off to start telling “the official story” even before it happens, because apparently the world’s most clever conspirators don’t know what a time zone is – would be completely unrelated to actually pulling off 9/11, and number three is even more obviously so – even if it weren’t a lie.

D911D, you’ve been lied to by people who want you to believe them. Isn’t this the sort of thing you should be angry about? Going to move on now, let me know if you need hand-holding through the remaining five claims.

After all, we now have something more fun to address: D911D’s truly tragic attempt at defending the “thermite” hoax, perpetrated once again by demonstrable frauds whom this author should be dead-set on refuting. He’s a “debunker” after all, dontchaknow.

I’m confused as to why we got the first link he provides, which doesn’t have a lot to say about our case for why the big thermite article is a fraud. It provides one particularly egregious overstep early on: It quotes an article saying that “Nanosized thermitic materials are being researched by the U.S. military with the aim of developing new types of bombs that are several times more powerful than conventional explosives” to argue that nanothermite “IS an incendiary and an explosive,” even though it is literally chemically impossible for that to be true unless you add something else to the thermite (Debunking 911 maths it out here). I’m honestly unsure how to address this claim but with the self-evident fact of how thermite behaves when it “goes off” – a process you can watch here and here). Thus, clearly, its “use in incendiary devices” is the exact same as its use in fireworks – as a pyrotechnic initiator.

Starting off your blog post with an obvious lie is not a good way to get taken seriously, and then trying to quote your way around the serious issues preventing your point from being taken seriously is at least as bad. The entire crux of their argument rests on the appeal to mediocre authority contained in the author’s quote of Jim Hoffman’s article, which reads thus:

These are all features of a nano-engineered material. It is not possible that such a material was formed as a by-product of the destruction of the Twin Towers...
Although these elements -- aluminum, iron, oxygen, and silicon -- were all abundant in building materials used in the Twin Towers, it is not possible that such materials milled themselves into fine powder and assembled themselves into a chemically optimized aluminothermic composite as a by-product of the destruction of the Twin Towers.

And when we go to the article itself, the evidence we find for Hoffman’s claim is… nonexistent. The author claims that the “particles” used to build the case were “very small” without saying how much larger or smaller they were than, say, the average particle found in the wreckage, or the size of other particles of similar chemical composition. You know, the only two things you would want to know to empirically verify that claim. He next says that “the particles are highly uniform in size and shape,” running into the exact same problem, plus another one: he doesn’t bother to provide any metric of uniformity! So no, they are not highly uniform in size and shape – there, an equally valid claim to Jim’s, per unit volume of empirical evidence. I think the closest Hoffman comes to trying to do original science in this regard is to try to come up with the chemical composition of his samples.

As such, it is scientific dishonesty to reject the fact that these are the normal components of the collapse site of a skyscraper. It is an impossible claim to make – and doesn’t even move an inch in the direction of our refutation.

They hint at what to me is the most important point – the ridiculous way in which the sample was gathered – in the second link, but only dig themselves deeper. To be clear, Jones did not gather any samples. People mailed him things, and he took them at their word. From the article itself:

It was learned that a number of people had saved samples of the copious, dense dust, which spread and settled across Manhattan. Several of these people sent portions of their samples to members of this research group. This paper discusses four separate dust samples collected on or shortly after 9/11/2001. Each sample was found to contain red/gray chips. All four samples were originally collected by private citizens who lived in New York City at the time of the tragedy.

And, even better, the original article gives us a map of where the samples were (supposedly) collected, showing that three of the four were uh, well, let’s just say they wouldn’t be the residue of a beam-melting job, that’s for sure:

At least this time they tried to be skeptics, unlike their other two claims. Okay, D911D, 2,300 words later, I have not reduced your fraudulent, dishonest, and/or downright absurd claims to “straw men.” Here they are, and there is why they are wrong. There is why your worldview is still, in fact, utterly false.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Debunking the Wannabes"

This is my new phrase for people who operate under the stated mission of "debunking the debunkers" - i.e., those who defend the faith against skeptical inquiry: Wannabes. Perhaps cargo-cult skeptics. At any rate, check out the incredibly tepid response of the 9/11 deniers to Michael Shermers' now-viral smackdown of Anthony Hall.

Michael Shermer has responded to Anthony Hall's confronting of him in his usual way.

After listing several NWO theories, Shermer writes...
Nevertheless, we cannot just dismiss all such theories out of hand, because real conspiracies do sometimes happen. Instead we should look for signs that indicate a conspiracy theory is likely to be untrue. The more that it manifests the following characteristics, the less probable that the theory is grounded in reality:

1. Proof of the conspiracy supposedly emerges from a pattern of “connecting the dots” between events that need not be causally connected. When no evidence supports these connections except the allegation of the conspiracy or when the evidence fits equally well to other causal connections—or to randomness—the conspiracy theory is likely to be false.
2. The agents behind the pattern of the conspiracy would need nearly superhuman power to pull it off. People are usually not nearly so powerful as we think they are.
3. The conspiracy is complex, and its successful completion demands a large number of elements.
4. Similarly, the conspiracy involves large numbers of people who would all need to keep silent about their secrets. The more people involved, the less realistic it becomes.
5. The conspiracy encompasses a grand ambition for control over a nation, economy or political system. If it suggests world domination, the theory is even less likely to be true.
6. The conspiracy theory ratchets up from small events that might be true to much larger, much less probable events.
7. The conspiracy theory assigns portentous, sinister meanings to what are most likely innocuous, insignificant events.
8. The theory tends to commingle facts and speculations without distinguishing between the two and without assigning degrees of probability or of factuality.
9. The theorist is indiscriminately suspicious of all government agencies or private groups, which suggests an inability to nuance differences between true and false conspiracies.
10. The conspiracy theorist refuses
to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth.
Same old incredulous nonsense. But I found 2, 8 and 10 interesting as they could equally apply to the official conspiracy theory and Shermer's own beliefs.

Hani Hanjour would need to have been superhuman to pull off the maneuvres he did. So number 2 definately applies to the hijackers.

Defenders of the official story mix facts and speculation, and they don't ever calculate the improbability or assess the factuality. If they were to calculate the improbability of all the coincidences surrounding 9/11 being 'just coincidences', they'd probably get a value greater than the number of electrons in the universe. And with regards to the explanation for the towers destruction, the debunkers take computer models over hard evidence. So the official conspiracy theory also ticks number 8.

Finally, the debunkers, including Shermer himself, "[refuse] to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth". I couldn't have put it any better myself, Shermer!

Why they choose to spell out all of Shermer's points and only address three of them is beyond me - especially when their three attempts only make themselves openly look worse. First of all, their point about Hani Hanjour's "maneuvering" is false. Even other 9/11 deniers concede that Hani Hanjour's "maneuvering" was nothing special. Their second attempt is a particularly glaring internal contradiction:

Defenders of the official story mix facts and speculation, and they don't ever calculate the improbability or assess the factuality. If they were to calculate the improbability of all the coincidences surrounding 9/11 being 'just coincidences', they'd probably get a value greater than the number of electrons in the universe.

"Skeptics don't bother to run the numbers... I didn't bother to run the numbers, but they'd probably get some kinda CRAZY number!" They really give nothing meatier here than an underhand-pitch for an amusing aside. The mere phrase "calculate the improbability of all the coincidences" makes my statistics background start to ache. Did they mean "calculate the probability, given their priors?" Let's give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

For their third and final attempt at substance, they trackback to one of their own previous posts where they attack Shermer for daring to refute their beliefs from the standpoint that they lack logical coherence and the mere presence of empirical data. In attempting to rebut him, the author(s) of seem to have repeatedly fallen back on the perpetually resurfacing fraud of "thermate incendiary" [sic] being found at the WTC sites. For their own edification, in case they are as yet unaware (and they seem to be so, as they trotted out that pathetic claim as if it were still relevant to the debate), CrNU has refuted those claims here and here. Thermite was not found at the WTC site, guys - you've been duped.

Wannabes? Cargo-cult skeptics? Whichever they are, they managed to give it their full 30% at rebutting Shermer this time, and even came up 0 for 3 overall.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NIST Tested Bomb, Demolition Hypotheses!

The torrent comes in at a massive forty GB, but if you're interested, 9/11 deniers have epically shot themselves in the foot by obtaining the NIST burn video database, much of which includes video of the various computerized tests NIST ran while trying to assess how the buildings collapsed on 9/11. In theory, this dataset includes virtually every test NIST engineers ran in devising their explanation for what happened.

Kind of makes you wonder why this wasn't bigger news in the conspiracy theory echo chamber.

These videos are just nails in the coffin of an already-defunct movement. Rather than vindicating the faith, this archive proves that not only were the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports based on rigorous testing, but that engineers, academics and scientists working for the government explicitly tested conspiratorial claims. We have gigs and gigs of video proof that NIST and its affiliates considered every possible angle of the event, and were able to rule out the kinds of hypotheses that today guide what remains of the faith's holy writ.

The 9/11 Datasets Project is run by The "International Center for 9/11 Studies" and apparently all of its content was freely obtained by FOIA suit. Has anything ever so beautifully refuted anti-government paranoia? Maybe its the afternoon coffee kicking in, but I'm positively giddy that this has happened. IC911 has destroyed the 9/11 truth movement.

In fact, searching for "International Center for 9/11 Studies" on PrisonPlanet returns the incredibly flaccid response deniers had to actually surveying the footage: All that they cared to report about were things like 'CBS reporters heard explosions on ground floor before collapse' and 'CNN reported third explosion on 9/11' and 'firefighters heard explosions!' All that they really seemed able to deal with was the same old laughably tired fact that mainstream journalists suck at their jobs, and turns out 9/11 was a confusing day. They apparently have no interest in the substantive evidence. There's really no question as to why.

At the very least, we now have definitive proof that NIST didn't "whitewash" jack when it came to their investigation. There is terabytes of data here to deal with. These guys worked damn hard. As 9/11 deniers have themselves demonstrated, anyone who calls the 9/11 investigation a bogus effort is either lying or stupid. We now have a few weeks of video with which to address that claim.

I downloaded one of the archives, "42A0016," which is about 300mb of video and photographic depictions of NIST laboratory activity and photographs of the buildings. One video shows the hours of construction that went into recreating just one of the sections of the tower for a NIST in-lab test, and another shows a theoretical bomb blast on another such in-lab rendering. The files are too big to upload to Blogger and, for some reason, aren't in the uploads the deniers have been making to YouTube...

There really are too many photos, bits of video, and other such stuff to deal with, but make sure to check out the data yourself. Nothing I've seen to date stands as a better refutation of 9/11 denial than the evidence they themselves are presenting here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oops, I called it "new"

In my last post I made the mistake of calling "The Red Flags of 9/11" a "new" series. Its first page contains everything from the Norman Mineta testimony to the shocking revelation that the 9/11 Commission didn't send assassins after Mahmud Ahmed. They get bonus points for mentioning that the Big Evil Corporate Media was their #1 source of information, information that they credulously repeat verbatim. Super bonus points: They base their version of the Mahmud Ahmed claim on a CNN story that doesn't even mention him as a money source. That's good journalism, boys.

They do admit that on 9/11 the hijackers probably did turn off their transponders when the 9/11 Commission reports they did. However, for them, this isn't good enough because apparently they think the U.S. military should have used... satellites designed to monitor orbiting debris?

The 9-11 commission failed to consider the fact that the US military has more than just ground radar at their disposal. In 2006 a golf ball was hit off the International Space Station. New Scientist magazine reported that the ball was too small to be tracked by ground radar, but noted that,

“US military radar can track space debris as small as 10 centimeters across, and can sometimes see things as small as 5 centimeters wide if it is in just the right orbit.”

Man, five years of slow news days have taken a real turn on these guys.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bob McIlvain's interview

The echo chamber has cross-posted ad nauseum this utterly unremarkable with Bob McIlvain who, as with so many 9/11 speakers, seems to rest the "novelty" of his case solely on his own son's tragic death. He repeats the mantra that "the book is closed" on 9/11 for 9/11 deniers because they are, of course, privy to The Golden Truth, but doesn't really make any specific claims about any particular parts of the day that made him "suspicious." He makes a few typical errors - he says that the hijackers were "all from Saudi Arabia" while their identifies had them from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the UAE, and Egypt. Almost as an aside, the interviewer kept referring to the Zapruder Film as the "Zapata Film."

Utterly unremarkable interview, but one of its sponsors, 9/11 Truth News, has released a new special (read: special hobbled together from bogus claims beginning around 2003) that will earn us some lols in the coming days.

Monday, December 6, 2010

AE911's "Global Effort" Reaching Seven Towns

I really don't like to pick on street protesters because they exercise a fundamental human right that is endangered around the world at the moment... but the bombastic windbaggery of my old friends at simply can't go un-highlighted.

This month, AE911T is apparently beginning a monthly series of "action events," coordinated protests and public actions to draw attention to their cause.

We meet each month on a conference call to decide what actions the various groups will take. For this month, December, we decided that we would do “tabling” events in cities throughout the US on the same day - Saturday Dec 11 (on the 11th of course in commemoration of the loss of life on the 11th of Sept 2001). Most of the groups will be setting up information tables with AE911Truth literature at flea markets, or town squares, college campuses, or even in front of the their congressperson’s office. Here’s an example of serious tabling by accomplished AE911Truth activists. You don’t have to be that fancy if you want to join us in this nation-wide (and soon… world wide) effort. But another option, for the advanced supporters among you would be to set up a large TV monitor on the table and show the continuous video loops (found in the Resources Section of of the explosive evidence in the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7. Be prepared to actively hand out literature to passers-by and answer their questions as best you can. The AE911Truth brochures, evidence cards, and, 911 Investigator newspapers are your best bets for initial leafleting. For those that seem particularly interested you can then hand them the enveloped DVD’s. (better actually to sell them for $2 because they will be more likely to actually watch it – and… you can replenish your supplies with the proceeds). Some may be interested in purchasing the $20 special DVD’s in the full presentation plastic cases – which you may at least want to have on hand for display.

"...worldwide." DUN DUN DUN. The only problem? So far, they only have seven action groups, in Phoenix, San Jose, Atlanta, Chicago, Rochester, Houston, and Seattle. That none of these are in, say, New York City or central Pennsylvania appears to be of no concern.

In my experience in the non-profit world, one coordinated action per month is pretty mediocre, especially if your group is small enough that phone conference calls are a viable coordination method. And if your organization has an institutional framework built up over years, even more so. By any reasonable measure AE911T is a failure as an advocacy organization - and I'm curious to see what takes its place.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Don't Know Much 'Bout That There Noam Chomsky

Yes, Noam Chomsky is a complicated fella. His writing is as erudite as it is neat-o. But when "World for 9-11 Truth" runs a piece making this explosive claim:

Noam Chomsky: No Evidence that Al-Qaeda Carried Out the 9/11 Attacks

It is the ultimate Yes, But.

First of all, here is what Dr. Chomsky actually thinks of the level of intellectual shallowness required to be duped by 9/11 denialism.

So right away, we know this claim is rather fishy. What did Chomsky actually say, that this website used to essentially lie about Chomsky's stance on 9/11? They quote this PressTV interview write-up.

“The explicit and declared motive of the [Afghanistan] war was to compel the Taliban to turn over to the United States, the people who they accused of having been involved in World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist acts. The Taliban…they requested evidence…and the Bush administration refused to provide any,” the 81-year-old senior academic made the remarks on Press TV’s program a Simple Question.

“We later discovered one of the reasons why they did not bring evidence: they did not have any.”

The political analyst also said that nonexistence of such evidence was confirmed by FBI eight months later.

“The head of FBI, after the most intense international investigation in history, informed the press that the FBI believed that the plot may have been hatched in Afghanistan, but was probably implemented in the United Arab Emirates and Germany.”

Chomsky added that three weeks into the war, “a British officer announced that the US and Britain would continue bombing, until the people of Afghanistan overthrew the Taliban… That was later turned into the official justification for the war.”

“All of this was totally illegal. It was more, criminal,” Chomsky said.

Ah, so his view of the evidence is that the attacks were "implemented" in countries other than Afghanistan, rendering the Afghanistan invasion illegal. That's a question of geographic location, not organization responsible. Worldfor911Truth lies to its readers - it's up to them to decide what to do about that fact.