New York City activist

December 19, 2007

Screw Loose Change – reply to some recent posts

I’ll now comment on an assortment of recent posts at Screw Loose Change.

Priorities at Ground Zero

In response to The “Crime Scene” Nonsense, Monday, December 17, 2007:

Here, Pat raises various objections to a clumsily worded variant of the 9/11 Truth movement’s objections to the destruction of evidence at Ground Zero. He then says:

You know what really bugs me about this crap? Had the Bush Administration done as the “Truthers” now demand, they’d be howling for his head for having obstructed emergency personnel’s access to the WTC site to search for survivors. I mean, can you see the cops and FBI putting up crime scene tape around the entire lower Manhattan, and saying to the firemen and other rescue workers, “Sorry, but we cannot allow you inside this line, because this is a crime scene. No, you can’t move any of those steel beams to save lives, because we have to investigate each and every piece of steel for evidence of controlled demolition.”

Obviously, steel had to be moved for the purpose of rescue efforts and then searching for human remains. But the following could have been done too:

1) The steel could have been moved to some temporary storage location, rather than putting some of it in a landfill and selling the rest as scrap.

2) At least some effort could have been made to keep track of where the various pieces of steel came from. During the rescue phase, it would have been too time-consuming to take such notes in detail on the spot, but, at the very least, the cleanup work and the removal of each truckload of steel could have been recorded in full (or almost in full) on video, to facilitate note-taking at the receiving/storage end.

We in the 9/11 Truth movement are by no means the only people who have decried the disposal of the steel evidence. See, for example, this editorial in Fire Engineering magazine, January 4, 2002.

FBI’s investigation of hijackings

An Oldie But a Goodie, Wednesday, December 12, 2007:

This post is mostly about David Ray Griffin. Unfortunately, although DRG has helped to give the 9/11 Truth movement a lot of publicity and to open some doors for us, his research left a lot to be desired, at least in his earlier works, which seem to have consisted mainly of putting together a huge collection of other people’s claims without doing much, if anything, to double-check most of them. His stated reason for doing this was that he was just trying to raise questions and to present only a “prima facia” case, not yet at the stage of actually trying to prove anything. It’s valid to discuss as-yet-unanswered questions, but I still wish he had been more careful. Other people need to stop relying on his work, especially when he discusses technical matters.

Anyhow, the interesting thing I found in this post was a link to a page on the FBI’s website about the FBI’s investigation of the alleged hijackers. This particular topic is one I haven’t studied in depth yet, but I’ll make note of that FBI page for future reference. (Note: I am inclined to believe there were real live human hijackers on 9/11, but I will refer to them as “alleged” until I’ve looked more deeply into what’s known about the FBI investigation.)

Pat brings this up in response to Griffin’s overstatement that 9/11 “was not investigated as a crime.”

The problem isn’t that 9/11 was never investigated as a crime at all, but that it was never investigated by any official body that was not beholden to the Bush administration. The 9/11 Commission was supposed to be beholden only to Congress and not to the Bush administration, but in fact it was run by people with ties to the Bush administration, such as Philip Zelikow. This created a conflict of interest in investigating even the possibility of incompetence or negligence, let alone anything worse, on the part of high-ranking people in the Bush administration.

WTC 7 collapse zone testimonies

In response to Kevin Barrett and Richard Gage, Thursday, December 13, 2007:

It is apparent that Gage is one of the world’s lamest arguments to authority, as he presents little more than “This couldn’t have happened, because I am an architect and I don’t think it could have”.

No, he presents quite a bit more than that.

Admittedly his presentation contains errors. One thing I’ve been meaning to do, for quite a while, is to send him an email outlining all the errors I’ve noticed in his slide show, with suggestions for correcting them. Some of these errors have already been discussed in my post Richard Gage’s slide show, WTC 7 section: Reply to charlienneb and the subsequent comment thread, about which I already emailed Gage. He wrote back, thanked me, and has apparently corrected at least some of the errors mentioned there. (I haven’t yet looked through his slide show again to see how many of them he has corrected so far.)

I don’t consider Gage an “authority,” but I do support his aims. I’m hoping that his organization can bring together enough engineers who will be willing not just to join, but also to do the work necessary to develop a solid case. I think we have good grounds for suspicion about the events of 9/11, but we need more people willing and able to do solid research and analysis.

Anyhow, Pat quotes Kevin Barrett as saying:

Barrett: That leads to a question that I want to ask a credentialed person, and you’re the nearest credentialed person right not (laughter). When to the so called debunkers try to tell us, well building 7 had been damaged and so on. They expected it to collapse because it had been so damaged. But yet they didn’t clear the whole area. Wouldn’t if they were expecting some kind of accidental collapse, which of course had never happened in history (laughter), but assuming that they were, wouldn’t they assume it would topple sideways and wouldn’t they clear out a very large area?

In reply, Gage admits his ignorance on that specific point and then makes the mistake of assuming that Barrett knows what he’s talking about:

Gage: Well I am not sure how big the area was, I think it was fairly large. I don’t think it was 47 stories large, that is a great point!

Pat then provides a link to Mark Roberts’s collection of Eyewitness accounts of the withdrawal from WTC 7. Pat quotes the following testimony:

Q: You were still there?

A: Yes, so basically they measured out how far the building was going to come, so we knew exactly where we could stand.

Q: So they just put you in a safe area, safe enough for when that building came down?

A: 5 blocks. 5 blocks away. We still could see. Exactly right on point, the cloud just stopped right there. Then when that building was coming down, that same rumbling.

Pat adds, “And yes, 5 blocks is more than 47 stories.”

In other words, they apparently were expecting WTC 7 to topple a reasonable expectation. That WTC 7 didn’t tilt more than it did is what’s strange.

“Proof by silence”

In response to Umberto Eco on the Truthers, Saturday, December 15, 2007:

Umberto Eco is quoted as saying:

I refer to what I would define as the “proof of silence”. For example, there are those who insinuate that the American moon landing was a televised fake. But there were people checking up on this — in this case, the Soviet Union — who had an interest in speaking out if the American spaceship had not landed on the moon. The Soviets kept quiet, so there’s your proof that the Americans really did go to the moon. And that’s that.

Actually, Pravda has alleged that the moon landing was fake. (See the Pravda article America’s Moon Expedition a Fake?, another copy here.) Admittedly this is a relatively recent article, written after the fall of the Soviet Union. But it’s my impression that they made a similar allegation decades ago, too, though I could be wrong about this. It’s my impression that the “fake moon landing” allegations originated in Pravda, though, again, I could be wrong about this.

I have not studied the “fake moon landing” allegations in any depth at all. Offhand, I think it’s extremely unlikely that the moon landings could have been faked. Huge numbers of people were involved with the project, and, as far as I am aware, the research wasn’t classified, at least for the most part,

Anyhow, I don’t think Umberto Eco’s version of “proof by silence” is a good argument. I don’t think we can count on foreign anti-American propagandists to notice everything that’s genuinely wrong over here, just as we also can’t count on them to be accurate about absolutely everything they do claim is wrong over here. People overseas aren’t in the best position to investigate what is really happening here, after all, even though they might be in a better position than we are to get funding for such investigations. I would similarly doubt, for example, that American newspapers have noticed absolutely everything that might have been genuinely wrong in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, even though they carried the Bush Administration’s lies about alleged WMD findings and Saddam Hussein’s Al Qaeda connection.

In any case, I’m aware of at least one overseas head of state, namely Fidel Castro, who has voiced the opinion that 9/11 is an inside job. Not that this proves anything one way or the other.

Good satire on guilt-by-association:

Alex Jones Proves Ron Paul Is a CIA Stooge!, Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cute spoof, by James B., on the kinds of guilt-by-association charges that are all too often made by political ideologues (especially right wingers) such as Alex Jones. (I’m neither an Alex Jones fan nor a Ron Paul fan.)

However, despite this clever satire on Alex Jones’s version of guilt-by-association, both James B. and Pat C. indulge in their own version of guilt-by-association in various other posts, including the following:

Weird smear against Frank Morales

In response to Yet Another Cautionary Tale, Monday, December 17, 2007:

I’m not sure exactly what the point of this post is, but apparently it’s an attempt to smear New York 9/11 Truth (of which I’m a member) and Frank Morales, pastor of the church where New York 9/11 Truth holds its weekly meetings, by telling us about the suicide of a couple who had been friends of Frank Morales’s and who had rented an apartment in the rectory. If indeed that’s the point, then it’s really a cheap shot, and in seriously bad taste, in my opinion.

Pat, have you never known anyone who committed suicide? How you would feel if you had a friend who committed suicide and then someone used that personal tragedy to cast aspersions, either on you personally or on some group that both you and your late friend happened to have been members of? No doubt there are plenty of people who share your political views who have committed suicide, too. I haven’t done a survey, but I think it highly unlikely that suicide would be limited to people with certain political views, or even that there would be a strong correlation between suicide and people’s political views.

Anyhow, the post quotes a Vanity Fair article which, on page 6, also seems to say that Frank Morales has some sort of close connection with Alex Jones. One of these days, I should try to have a talk with Frank Morales about Alex Jones and his ideology.

The “Franklin coverup” allegations

In response to Late To the Party, Wednesday, December 12, 2007:

Very brief post, mostly about what Pat considers to be belated efforts by people in the Truth Action forum to clean house and to oppose some of 9/11 Truth movement’s nuttier spokespeople.

Pat notes, however, that some people in the Truth Action forum have endorsed the “Franklin Coverup” allegations, which had been discussed in an earlier post by Pat, The Real Franklin Coverup Story, Tuesday, July 24, 2007.

That older post contains a now-dead link to the Grand Jury Report. Alas, I am unable to find a copy of that page on the Internet Archive site, nor was I able to find it via a quick Google search. If Pat or anyone else can find an up-to-date link to a copy of the Grand Jury Report, I would very much appreciate hearing about it.

Anyhow, Pat says about the “Franklin Coverup” case:

Brief background: In the late 1980s, the feds seized control of a credit union known as the Franklin Credit Union, in Omaha, Nebraska. A man named Lawrence King, who had sung the national anthem at the Republican National Conventions in 1984 and 1988, headed the credit union. It is apparent that King embezzled funds from the credit union to support his lifestyle, which apparently included the use of (male) prostitutes.

That’s pretty bad, but later charges surfaced claiming that King had employed underage prostitutes, both male and female to service major figures in the Republican Party. One book claims that George H.W. Bush, the father of the current president, attended sex parties hosted by King. A grand jury was empaneled to investigate these charges and in 1990 they issued their report, which I’ll wager Bohemian Grover has never read, because it is a stinging rebuke to his nutty claims.

We spent most time on the allegations contained in the videotaped statements of four individuals taken by the investigator for the legislature’s Franklin Committee. Two of the victims recanted their video statements and testified that a third victim, Alisha Owen, was perpetrating a hoax for personal gain. All witnesses mentioned by her were sought for corroboration or contradiction. We also viewed videotapes, heard audiotapes, and read depositions of other alleged victims of sexual abuse, which we determined to have no relation to Franklin or persons connected therewith.

Finally, we considered evidence relating to a possible adult male prostitution ring operated throughout the country by Franklin principals, and a possible income tax scheme used by an affluent Omahan to finance male homosexual prostitution. All of the above necessitated our studying satanic and pedophile activity in eastern Nebraska, particularly the Omaha metropolitan area.

When we concluded our investigation, we had met for 82 days, reviewed 395 exhibits, issued 136 subpoenas, heard live testimony from 76 witnesses, watched over 30 hours of videotapes and listened to numerous audiotapes.

And their conclusion?

There is no doubt after reviewing all relevant evidence, that the story of sexual abuse, drugs, prostitution, and judicial bribery presented in the legislative videotapes is a carefully crafted hoax, scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of the people and institutions of Omaha, including personal relationships and shortcomings.

Update: In the original post I referred to King as a black man; as Edmund points out in the comments that has nothing to do with the story.

I have not yet studied the “Franklin coverup” case in depth myself, so I’m in no position to judge it one way or the other. It is different from most other alleged “ritual abuse” cases, in that it’s not based primarily on either (1) “recovered memories” or (2) testimony by children who had been questioned at length by overzealous social workers. Still, I’m not particularly inclined to believe the “Franklin coverup” allegations, and I do wish people would not endorse such allegations if they haven’t studied the issue from both sides.

While on the topic of “ritual abuse,” I should refer back to the following November post by Pat:

“Blood sacrifice”

In response to Who Are the 20% Who Will Live?, Saturday, November 17, 2007:

This post talke briefly about a radio show in which Alex Jones “claims that most of the callers to a show that he was on agreed with him about everything except the killing of 80% of the planet that he claims in Endgame. And they disagreed with him not on whether the elites are planning that, they thought it was a good idea.”

In that same show, Alex Jones interviews Steve Quayle. The two of them, according to Pat “get into weirder stuff; sex with robots, whether clones will have souls (the old Frankenstein question). Apparently the whole idea of killing off 80% of humanity is not Peak Oil, it’s a blood sacrifice required to bring Lucifer into the world.”

In other words, the usual blood libel against Pagans, occultists, “Luciferians,” “Satanists,” atheists, humanists, non-Christians in general, and environmentalists. I see this kind of panic-mongering as extremely dangerous, akin to Nazism. (See my posts The recent growth of anti-Illuminism: Dreadful ideology about the dreaded Illuminati and More about anti-Illuminism.) If Pat could do more to debunk this kind of religiously bigoted crap, it would be very helpful.


  1. Diane Wrote: “Pat adds, ‘And yes, 5 blocks is more than 47 stories.’

    In other words, they apparently were expecting WTC 7 to topple – a reasonable expectation. That WTC 7 didn’t tilt more than it did is what’s strange.”

    No, they didn’t expect WTC 7 to topple. It’s just a security measure to clear an area large enough to prevent any additional casualties. For example, if a building 500ft tall is expected to collapse, I’m sure you would feel more secure 750ft away than, say, 501ft away. It not only about the collapse itself, it’s also about the resulting debris and building materials flying outside the footprint, that are dangerous.

    I have asked Chief Daniel Nigro about his criteria for determining the collapse zone. His response was as follows:

    “Based on our experience earlier that day we cleared an area consistent with the debris field created by the towers’ collapse. Using that as a guide, the size of the collapse zone was probably close to one and one-half times the height of WTC # 7”

    Comment by ref1 — December 19, 2007 @ 5:50 am | Reply

  2. That’s interesting. Did they expect WTC 7 to collapse in the exact same manner as the Twin Towers? That would seem unlikely, given that the Towers collapsed top-down from the airplane impact zones. This type of collapse would naturally produce a huge debris field. WTC 7, on the other hand, collapsed bottom-up, and did not produce anywhere nearly as big a debris field, proportionately speaking.

    Of course, there was no way of knowing for sure, in advance, exactly how WTC 7 would collapse, so it was certainly reasonable to want to play it safe.

    Comment by Diane — December 19, 2007 @ 6:23 am | Reply

  3. Diane wrote: “Of course, there was no way of knowing for sure, in advance, exactly how WTC 7 would collapse, so it was certainly reasonable to want to play it safe.”


    Comment by ref1 — December 19, 2007 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  4. Hi Diane, been busy with the holidays and only sparse posting/checking of regular sites.

    Some comments:

    1. The steel was examined at the site by engineers who decided which pieces they wanted to look at further. Obviously very little was kept beyond those pieces which showed visible deformation. It was taken to a landfill for examination. You can see details of this in the documentary “Why the Towers Fell”.

    2. The next two posts were by James B, not me, but there are no substantial arguments on those posts, or the Umberto Ecco post.

    3. My point in linking the suicides story was that the piece starts out by highlighting their paranoia and belief in conspiracy theories. I also found it very interesting that Pastor Morales was once married to the writer, Nancy Jo Sales, who had written a pretty positive piece on the Loose Change boys for Vanity Fair in the August 2006. I did note that it was only peripherally related to the Truthers.

    Hope you had a great holiday season!

    Comment by patslc — January 2, 2008 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  5. patslc wrote:

    1. The steel was examined at the site by engineers who decided which pieces they wanted to look at further. Obviously very little was kept beyond those pieces which showed visible deformation. It was taken to a landfill for examination. You can see details of this in the documentary “Why the Towers Fell”.

    I would appreciate it very much if you could refer me to written sources rather than video documentaries. I cannot conveniently watch online videos.

    Anyhow, are you claiming that the engineers had an opportunity to look at all the steel pieces before they were shipped out? If so, then how come NIST said its samples did not include steel from the very hottest parts of the buildings? Surely steel from the very hottest parts of the buildings would be the most deformed?

    Comment by Diane — January 3, 2008 @ 5:55 am | Reply

  6. “I’m hoping that his organization can bring together enough engineers”

    This is something I’ve often wondered about the Truth movement. There are many thousands of engineers, world wide. Is there any reason why one or two of them should not be retained to examine various aspects of 911? The fact that they might not be Truth Activists is in fact an advantage, in that their conclusions would be all the more to be trusted.

    Comment by westprog99 — January 31, 2008 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  7. westprog99 wrote:

    There are many thousands of engineers, world wide. Is there any reason why one or two of them should not be retained to examine various aspects of 911?

    If you mean to suggest that an engineer should be paid to do this, who are you suggesting should pay? Are you talking about an official investigation, or a just a group of citizens getting together and raising money for it?

    In the latter case, there’s then the problem of getting published in a mainstream scientific or engineering journal. See this thread in the JREF forum (also archived here), where Apollo20 (Frank Greening) says:

    … You have to accept the REALPOLITIK of the scientific publication process. And I am saying that this is true REGARDLESS of the added sensitivities of publishing, in a mainstream (read conservative) engineering journal, a paper on the collapse of WTC 1 & 2 that even MENTIONS controlled demolition/explosives !

    You may not like or agree with Prof. Bazant, but I commend him for even TRYING to tackle this issue head-on in the open literature when I know that most professional engineers won’t even touch the subject!

    The above is in regard to a paper that champions even the mainstream view, let alone any nonmainstream view.

    Still, there are some mechanical engineers in the 9/11 Truth movement who are working on a volunteer basis and attempting to get papers published in mainstream journals. This effort should, of course, continue.

    P.S.: Regarding some other aspects of the JREF thread referenced above, see the comment thread following my post He oughta know better: Mark Roberts and the iron spherules.

    Comment by Diane — January 31, 2008 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

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