Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some Accident: Dissident Russian Website Owner Shot Dead By Police

The owner of a dissident Russian website has been shot dead after being detained by the police.

Magomed Yevloyev [photo] was apparently shot in the temple while in police custody, in what the police are calling an accident.

Yevloyev's website,, was very critical of the Kremlin.

The government had made repeated attempts to shut it down.

If at first you don't succeed ...

There's much more to this story; if you're interested in more details, here and here are good places to start.

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Canadian Greens Claim Spot In Televised Debates

There's been an interesting development in Canada, where Blair Wilson [left in photo], an independent Member of the federal Parliament, has joined the Green Party.

And now that the Greens have an MP, they appear to meet all the requirements for participation in the televised debates that will precede the next federal election. (The criteria for inclusion in debates have been established by a consortium of broadcasters.)

Wilson, who represents part of southwestern British Columbia, was elected in 2006 as a Liberal, but resigned from that party about a year ago. He says the environment is now the number one priority in his district and he believes his move to the Green Party will be welcomed by his constituents.

According to federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May [right in same photo],
"With a Green MP sitting in the House of Commons, it will now be impossible to exclude the Green Party from the televised leaders' debates in the next election ... We believe that under all the criteria that have been put forward ... we now have made thoroughly the case that I must be included ... We have established ourselves as a party that cannot be described as fringe ... We are a party whose ideas and policies are now in the mainstream."
As the Toronto Star notes, the exclusion of the Greens is not at all impossible:
The media consortium is due to meet Tuesday and May's fate in the debates could be discussed then.
May herself appears to understand that her spot is not yet confirmed. The Star quotes her as saying:
"If they decide not to allow me in the debates, what they're really doing is telling voters: `Don't take that party seriously.'"
Perhaps, given her position, Elizabeth May can't say it in plain words, but if the national media decide to bar her from the debates, after she and her party have met the criteria the media themselves have established, what they're really saying to the voters is a very Cheney-esque "GFY".

But it makes me wonder: Would Cynthia McKinney be able to get into televised debates against Obama and McCain if she could recruit somebody ... like ... perhaps ... independent Senator Bernie Sanders?

It wouldn't happen.

It couldn't happen, surely.

But it would be a sight for the ages...

And she would wipe the floor with their sorry butts!!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Judge In Liquid Bomber Trial Says Verdict Need Not Be Unanimous

The judge running the trial of the so-called "Liquid Bombers" has told the jury that it may return a verdict without unanimous agreement.

The judge, Mr. Justice Calvert-Smith [photo], gave the jury the "majority option" on Thursday, their eleventh day of deliberation.

The jury can now convict or acquit the defendants based on an 11-1 or even a 10-2 majority.

The move by Mr. Justice Calvert-Smith was not unexpected.

Three weeks ago, I wrote:
... If I were on the jury, ... I'd be waiting for the judge to indicate that a unanimous verdict wasn't necessary, that 11-1 or 10-2 would be good enough ...
If you're comfortable with basic arithmetic and you understand how the calendar works, you might be asking yourself difficult questions, like:
Is WP clairvoyant? How could he know three weeks ago that the jury wouldn't reach a quick decision, when they've only spent eleven days deliberating?
There's no supernatural explanation. In addition to the time spent deliberating, the jurors have also enjoyed a two-week holiday.

The break may be a meager reward for having spent four months listening to lawyers, but on the other hand, how does it help the jury to focus on a decision?

The "majority option" is considered controversial in some places, where jury verdicts are taken seriously precisely because of their unanimity. It is ostensibly used to avoid mistrials in cases where one or two jury members are unconvinced.

This line of thought is based on the notion that a relatively quick and inexpensive decision is preferable to a correct one. (Any resemblance between this and the idea which brought us our current president is all too real.)

The "majority option" has been effectively used to obtain five convictions (and five life sentences) in a high-profile case which had much in common with this one:

The defendants -- a group of young Muslim men -- were accused of wanting to make HMTD bombs, although they hadn't actually made any. And their alleged plot had been infiltrated at an early stage by a government "informant", whose role has now been wiped from the pages of history.

Was the "informant" an agent-provocateur, driving the plot along and pushing it in directions it wouldn't have gone otherwise? If so, it wouldn't be the first time.

It doesn't take much imagination to see how useful the "majority option" would be in situations where the government's case is less than convincing, or less than legitimate. In such cases it might be considered necessary to sidestep one or two jurors who could see that things weren't right.

Considering that the police had a surveillance camera in the alleged plotters' "bomb-making factory", and that the prosecution obviously doesn't have solid proof of their allegations, I would be one of the jurors the "majority option" was invoked to sidestep.

And this is definitely a case in which things aren't right. The plot as alleged was six kinds of impossible, and that can only mean one thing.


thirty-sixth in a series

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Unhinged At Last: Further Reflections On The NIST/WTC-7 Scam

It may seem too obvious to mention, but I'm going to mention it anyway. Sometimes when we fail to mention the obvious, we get off on the wrong foot and then everything else we do turns out wrong -- and we don't even know why.

And maybe people are saying this all over the place; I don't know. I don't get out much. If I'm adding one more voice to the choir, so be it. If I'm singing a new song all by myself, that's ok too. It wouldn't be the first time.

If you're doing an investigation -- any kind of investigation -- if you're looking into a murder, or a plane crash, or a structural failure, or a suspicious fire, or -- God forbid -- a complex series of events involving all of these things -- you want to start with the physical evidence.

"Bring me the body," you would say, "and the murder weapon, if you can find it." You'd want to see the remains, the wreckage, and/or the scene of the crime, as soon as possible after the event. Physical evidence is the basis of all physical sciences, and you'd be looking to recreate the event based on the remaining physical evidence.

If that evidence were not available, you'd do two things. First, you'd find out why the evidence was unavailable. And if it turned out that the evidence had been destroyed, you'd find out who did that. This person or group of people would move to the top of your list of suspects.

Second, you'd turn to eyewitness (or camera-witness) accounts of the event. You'd interview everybody you could find who was there at the time; you'd examine all the still or moving images of the scene that you could get your hands on. Here your job would be much tougher than if you were working with physical evidence, because witnesses can lie or make mistakes, and video evidence can be tampered with; so everything you collected would have to be validated before it could be used.

But -- if you were running an honest investigation -- you'd have no choice but to gather up all this possibly conflicting testimony and try to piece together the event that the testimony purports to describe.

By their own account, this is exactly what the NIST investigators looking into the destruction of World Trade Center 7 failed to do. They didn't have access to any of the physical evidence, but they didn't see this as a problem; rather than trying to find out who destroyed the evidence and focusing on them as suspects, the NIST investigation turned to the next problem: the eyewitness accounts.

Predictably, NIST didn't pay any attention to the eyewitnesses either, despite the fact that so many of them were trained to respond to emergency situations. The firemen and paramedics who were heroes on 9/11 and in the weeks thereafter were nowhere to be seen in the NIST account of the event, which was based on nothing more than a computer simulation.

In short words, NIST ran as far away from reality as they could get. And they came back with a ludicrous conclusion, telling us that they'd identified a whole new phenomenon that can destroy a skyscraper -- without a shred of physical or other evidence to back up their conclusion.

It would be laughable, if it were not so much worse than that. But the media lap it up and ladle it out, all while pouring scorn on those of us who dare to point out how laughable it all is, or would be, if it weren't so tragic.

It's no wonder that I've come unhinged.

The remarkable thing is that so many other people have remained hinged!

Have we really fallen so far through the looking glass that we can now take transparent lies from our government and media in stride?

Well, I'm sorry, but I can't do it.

I couldn't do it three years ago, either, when I wrote about 9/11 and hinges in a different way:
America wasn't at war [in the summer of 2001]. "911" was the number you dialed in the event of an emergency: it had no terrorist connotation. Not yet, anyway. [...]

Look at us now, just four years later. We've got unimaginable trouble at home and unspeakable horror abroad. [...] Network television is utterly disconnected from reality, and the American government continues to move in a very unhealthy direction, at record speed. How could this have happened?

If it was all planned in advance, then the hinge was 9/11.

And guess what? 9/11 was the hinge, even if it wasn't all planned in advance.

But ... do you ever wonder how that single hinge could allow everything to swing so far so quickly -- unless it was all planned in advance?

Does it ever seem to you that our present situation -- and the future it entails -- makes much more sense if it was all planned in advance, than if it wasn't?
Some questions just don't go away.

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Endless Lies, Endless War: Obama Accepts The Democratic Nomination

Arthur Silber's most recent post draws attention to the speech last night in which Al Gore said:
We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

After they wrecked our economy, it is time for a change.

After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it's time for a change.
Silber highlights Gore's mention of the fact that Iraq did not attack us, and draws the logical conclusion:
Therefore, the United States was not acting in self-defense. The invasion of Iraq was an act of aggression. Thus, the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq constitute an ongoing war crime, indeed a huge, horrifying series of ongoing war crimes. The war crimes continue today, and will continue tomorrow.
There's nothing very startling in this, of course. Regular readers of this page -- and many other websites, such as Silber's -- have known this for a long time. The startling part, as Silber says, is actually hearing it someplace other than the internet.
As I heard that phrase this evening -- "and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us" -- I froze for several seconds. I couldn't believe Gore had said it, or that I had heard it. I doubt that even one commentator will say a word about it.
Kudos to Arthur Silber for catching -- and pointing out -- this tiny bit of truth in Al Gore's speech. Every now and then we get a bit of truth from a politician. It's always unexpected, and it's almost always shocking.

But there was an exceptionally vicious lie in the very same sentence, and Arthur Silber didn't pay it any attention. So I will.

Of the Bush administration, Al Gore said :
they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us
but this is not even remotely true, except when parsed as political code.

If by "they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us", Gore means "they didn't capture Osama bin Laden", then he's technically correct: They didn't capture Osama bin Laden.

But then again, they were never trying to capture him. They were trying to capture Afghanistan!

Furthermore, it wouldn't have done them any good if they had captured him, because Osama bin Laden didn't attack us on 9/11. And if Al Gore or Arthur Silber or anyone else has information to the contrary, they should contact the FBI immediately.

As Barack Obama pointed out in his acceptance speech last night, America is not a nation of whiners.

So rather than whine about how we've been deceived, and how we continue to be deceived, about the facts of 9/11 ... rather than whimper about how all the 9/11 lies are trumpeted by all the national figures of both major parties ... rather than snivel over the fact that these lies are blasted at us every day by both the major and the minor media ... rather than gripe about how all these transparent lies are consistently given a pass in very disturbing places, even by some highly respected and extremely dissident writers ...

No, no, no, no, let's not do any of that!

Instead let's take a moment to savor a few of Obama's remarks on foreign policy:
You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue.
Let's give Barack Obama the courtesy of taking him at his word.

Let's listen when he tells us what he wants to do.

Specifically, then, Obama wants to :
  • defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries
  • finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan
  • protect Israel
  • prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons
  • stand up for Georgia
  • curb Russian aggression
And in general, Obama promises to:
  • rebuild our military to meet future conflicts
  • send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission, and
  • restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future
I find it notable, though not surprising, that even though Obama wants to send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission, he says nothing about whether this future mission might be justified in any way.

There's heavy irony in Obama's conclusion, because he says he wants to "restore our moral standing", but he seems to have no idea how that could be done.

We cannot defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by attacking only two of them, can we? But if we attack all eighty, how will that enhance our moral standing?

How can we finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan? How many more sleeping children will we have to kill to do it? And will that bring us a better future?

Three weeks ago, Georgia started a war against Russia -- with American backing. If we stand up for Georgia, will that show that we long for lives of peace?

Russia, having suffered an unprovoked attack, responded much less violently than America would have done. If we use this event as a reason to curb Russian aggression, will that demonstrate how much we long for a better future?

What if the Russians had attempted to curb American aggression -- in Iraq, for instance? Or in Afghanistan?

Israel, armed to the teeth with the only nuclear weapons in the region, continues to wage a brutal campaign of repression against the Palestinians, and keeps trying to drag America into a war with Iran, which has neither nuclear weapons nor any way to produce them. How can we enhance our moral standing, and move toward our longed-for lives of peace, and protect Israel at the same time? By using nuclear weapons against Iran to make sure Iran never develops nuclear weapons?

No, no, no, no, no! It makes no sense!!

We should start by recognizing that America never was the last or the best hope "for all who are called to the cause of freedom".

We should realize that every time our President -- whoever he may be -- sends "troops into harm's way" without justification, their presence serves to deprive other people of their freedom -- and we should also realize that this is exactly what they are sent there to do.

We should press for full and open investigation of the crimes of 9/11 -- and all the false-flag terror preceding 9/11, too. We should demand that the perpetrators be removed from office and held fully accountable for their actions.

Above all, we should start telling the truth about all these events, because there's no other option: those of us who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future, don't want to see endless war based on endless lies.

We'll never see peace based on lies -- but that's all we're going to get, from any national representative of either major party.

And everybody else is locked out.

I didn't watch Obama's speech last night. I didn't watch Al Gore either. Instead I went to bed early. And as I was drifting off, I had a waking-dream, or a "day-mare", or whatever you want to call it ... in which Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Presidential nomination with these words:
If I am elected, I promise to invade all the countries America hasn't already invaded, starting with the Islamic ones.

And if I am re-elected, I promise to re-invade all the countries America has already invaded.
As a vision of the future, it seemed too ludicrous to mention -- but it was a good deal more accurate than most of what you'll be reading in the mainstream media today.

As Arthur Silber says, you can have your choice of war criminals.

You can have your choice of liars, too.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pakistani Lawyers Protest For Reinstatement Of Judges, Tear Down Posters Of Zardari

In Pakistan, the lawyers' movement for the restoration of the judiciary has finally had enough of Asif Ali Zardari's endless dipsy-doodle.

For the past eight months, since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his former wife and the former leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Zardari has been pretending to support Pakistan's so-called "transition to democracy".

But he's been working against it at the same time, using the support from the other opposition parties to oust Prevez Musharraf, but planning to succeed Musharraf himself, and also planning to retain all the extra-legal powers Musharraf has accumulated.

There's no doubt that all this connivance has suited Zardari's American backers, who have been strangely silent since it became clear that Musharraf's days as President were numbered.

But then again, that depends on what you mean by "silent".

The "militants" in the mountains have stepped up their suicide bombing campaign, just like they always do when the Americans want to put pressure on the Pakistani government.

In recent days they have attacked a police station, the home of a politician, and a defense-industrial complex in the heart of the national capital.

The moves and counter-moves in the most recent campaign seem to have been carefully orchestrated, and the motives are transparent as ever.

It suits America to have as many wars going simultaneously as possible, especially if Americans don't have to fight them all.

It suits America to have a weapon to use against whatever Pakistani government emerges from the upcoming Presidential election.

The majority of the violence has been blamed on Baitullah Mehsud, who is called the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan.

In recent days details have emerged indicating that Baitullah Mehsud is probably a CIA asset, which would hardly be surprising, considering his amazing immunity from reprisals.

It's been reported that the intelligence services cannot crack Baitullah Mehsud's communications, the encryption is so advanced.

It's also been reported that he gets advance notice of Pakistani troop movements from an unidentified foreign government, and that US forces have mysteriously refused to attack him, despite knowing exactly where he was.

I'm normally reluctant to make predictions, but it's easy to see that the violence will continue until the next government is installed -- whoever that may be -- and declares undying loyalty to the US and the GWOT and an unflagging determination to root out the extremists.

Meanwhile, the root cause of the terrorism -- Pakistan's support for the US and the GWOT, especially as applied against Afghanistan -- will remain topic non grata. And the contradiction will sit there, naked in full view and unmentioned in any of the mainstream media.

In any case ... following Nawaz Sharif's announcement earlier this week that the PML-N has left the governing coalition, and that PML-N will not support Zardari's candidacy for President but instead will run a candidate of their own, Pakistan's lawyers for democracy have taken to the streets of many cities simultaneously.

And as you can see in these fabulous photos from Reuters, they're even tearing down posters of Zardari.

They haven't linked him and his takeover of the PPP with his American backers yet, at least not in public.

Just wait.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Children Killed By U.S. Airstrike In Afghanistan Were Guilty Of Sleeping

They had come together for a solemn occasion. But they had no idea how solemn the occasion would become.

An old friend, a friend of their families, a friend of the local police, had died some months ago, and they were preparing for a memorial service.

Los Angeles Times:
The head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Ahmad Nader Nadery, has confirmed reports that a memorial ceremony was being held for a militia commander allied with the police [...], and relatives and friends from outside the area were staying overnight in the village.
The adults were tending fires, cooking the next day's meal. The children were sleeping.

International Herald Tribune:
[Mohammad Iqbal ] Safi, the member of Parliament, said the villagers had been preparing for a ceremony the next morning in memory of a man who died some time before. Extended families from two tribes were visiting the village and there were lights of fires as the adults were cooking food for the ceremony, he said.
Then the bombs started falling. American bombs. NATO in name only. American.

Washington Post:
At least 90 percent of all aircraft being used in the Afghan war belong to U.S. forces operating under their own command structure.

"Civilian deaths are not a NATO problem," said Marc Gerlasco, a military analyst at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"Civilian casualties are primarily being caused in airstrikes in support of the counterterrorism mission that the United States is running completely separate from the NATO-run counterinsurgency conflict," said Gerlasco, who has compiled a report on civilian deaths from airstrikes to be published next month.
When the bombing finally stopped, seven or eight homes had been destroyed and many others had been damaged.

Los Angeles Times:
"The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with some seven to eight houses having been totally destroyed and serious damage to many others," the [UN] statement said.
Washington Post:
Gerlasco said the amount of bombs dropped by U.S. airstrikes in June (317,000 pounds) and July (270,000 pounds) is equivalent to the total tonnage dropped in 2006.

The vast majority of the strikes, Gerlasco said, are unplanned missions called in by U.S. Special Operations ground forces fighting Taliban units or because a "target of opportunity" is located through on-the-ground intelligence.

Unlike in Iraq, where U.S. forces frequently use 250-pound bombs to make attacks more precise, Gerlasco said American troops in Afghanistan "are still using a lot of" 2,000-pound bombs.
By the time the sun came up the next morning, more than seventy people were dead.

At least ninety have died thus far, from this one attack.

Los Angeles Times:
The United Nations said Tuesday that "convincing evidence" exists that an American-led operation killed 90 civilians.
And two-thirds of them were children.

International Herald Tribune:
Mohammad Iqbal Safi, head of the parliamentary defense committee and a member of the government commission, said the 60 children were aged from 3 months to 16 years old and that they were killed as they slept. "It was a heartbreaking scene," he said.

Boston Globe:
Ghulam Azrat, 50, the director of the middle school in Azizabad, said he collected 60 bodies Friday morning after the bombing.

"We put the bodies in the main mosque," he told the Associated Press by phone. "Most of these dead bodies were children and women. It took all morning to collect them."

An AP photographer who visited Azizabad yesterday said he saw at least 20 graves, including some graves with multiple bodies in them. He said he saw about 20 houses that had been destroyed.
It's the sort of damage that can't easily be undone. But that hasn't stopped the Afghan army from trying.

Boston Globe:
Azrat said villagers threw stones at Afghan soldiers when the troops tried to give food and clothes to them. He said the soldiers fired into the crowd and wounded eight people, including one child critically injured.

"The people were very angry," he said. "They told the soldiers, 'We don't need your food; we don't need your clothes. We want our children. We want our relatives. Can you give it to us? You cannot, so go away.' "
Washington Post:
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said military commanders in Afghanistan continued to believe that the attack in Herat "was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target."
Sure it was. A legitimate strike. A Taliban target. Yessir. What-ever-you-say, sir.

An anonymous spokesman blamed the result on bad intelligence -- from the Taliban!

Washington Post:
A U.S. official in Washington, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Taliban has become adept at spreading false intelligence to draw U.S. strikes on civilians. "The fact is that the Taliban now has pretty good insight into where we're picking up information and how we're developing it into actionable intelligence," the official said. "They've figured out a way to misguide us."
It's the Taliban's fault if we bombed innocent women and children. We would never do such a thing on our own. Would we?

They just gave us some bad information, did they? And we believed them, did we?

They called an airstrike on their own people -- innocent sleeping children -- just for some publicity?

Yeah, sure!

What kind of sick mind would even think of something like that?

Oops! That's easy.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NIST Report Ends The 9/11 Truth Movement

I never realized how much damage the upcoming NIST report had already done to the 9/11 Truth movement until I read about it in the Rocky Mountain News. As the RMN says: "Truthers, over and out".

Here's the piece in full with a bit of emphasis; comments to follow.
NIST report credibly explains fall of WTC 7

August 26, 2008

"What about World Trade Center 7?"

That question has always been the trump card for the "9/11 Truthers" - conspiracy buffs who have peddled the mind-boggling theory that the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were an inside job, plotted and even executed by the federal government as a way to justify the war on terror.

The answer to the Truthers' question - how that 47-story building could collapse into a fiery heap when it wasn't hit by a plane - was provided definitively in a report issued last week by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The NIST report is so exhaustive that it should put to rest wild notions, including one suggesting that bombs were planted in the structure and detonated to erase key evidence about the plot.

That said, we're not about to believe for a New York minute that the loopier 9/11 Truthers will accept those findings.

The more level-headed among us have little trouble accepting the uncomplicated (and hence credible) explanation that the 9/11 attacks were devised by Osama bin Laden and fellow jihadists to demonstrate the vulnerability of the "decadent" West to terror attacks.

Not so fast, the Truthers have insisted. What about WTC 7? Why would that structure collapse seven hours after the Twin Towers fell unless it was brought down by a controlled detonation?

The explanation, quite simply: uncontrolled fires, which burned to an intensity hot enough and long enough to compromise the steel girders holding up the structure.

The 66-page report, available at, resulting from a three-year technical investigation, including simulations of the event, noted that the debris from World Trade Center Building 1 ignited fires on at least 10 lower floors of WTC 7. Fires on floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 burned for at least seven hours.

They raged unabated because the building's primary and secondary water source for sprinklers on the bottom 20 floors originated from city water mains - and those water lines were damaged by the impact of the Twin Towers collapse.

Without any way to feed water to sprinklers, fires from office furniture and paper rose to temperatures that caused the steel girders to expand. Temperatures weren't hot enough to melt the girders, but without any relief, over time the expansion compromised their integrity. A girder on the 13th floor lost contact with one of the 81 columns supporting the building. That floor collapsed, taking the eight floors below it.

Then one interior column buckled. When it failed, the 23 other central columns supporting the building soon followed, and the structure could no longer support itself.

"This is the first time that we are aware of that a building taller than about 15 stories has collapsed primarily due to fires," said NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder at a Thursday press conference.

This unprecedented event has highlighted structural vulnerabilities in other skyscrapers. And the report offered 13 recommendations for ways to make those buildings safer - some as minor as redesigning work spaces to prevent fires from spreading from one cubicle to another.

The NIST report might not placate the more unhinged Truthers. But it should prod building owners to take small steps that prevent future tragedies.
Normally I would object to being called "unhinged" and "loopy", and I would point out that no writer with a credible case would use so many heavily weighted words to slant the piece in his favor. I would strive to point out that if the case were there on its own merits, it would be much better to use the space (and the fleeting moment for which you have the reader's attention) to lay out solid facts rather than disparaging those who clearly don't have those facts. Normally I would mention that such transparent ad hominem attacks carry exactly the same weight as the throwing of shoes.

But there's nothing normal about this situation, and the RMN editorial staff is right!

I am unhinged!

This is one of the things that have unhinged me:

A building 47 stories tall disintegrating in a grand total of seven seconds! You'd come unhinged too, if you ever opened your mind and considered the ramifications of that event.

Or maybe it was this that unhinged me.

The thing is: You have to be unhinged to entertain mind-boggling theories. And this is a mind-boggling theory indeed -- it's the most mind-boggling theory ever!

And that's not because I'm unhinged: it's because something truly mind-boggling happened that day.

How can your mind not be boggled by the undeniable fact that the news of the collapse of building 7 was broadcast while the building was still standing?

Something mind-boggling is definitely going on here, surely.

The clip above shows Danny Jowenko, a Dutch demolition expert, seeing video of the collapse of WTC 7 for the first time. He doesn't know it was part of the World Trade Center complex; he doesn't know when the building went down. He just sees the video and describes what he's seen. And he's quite clear: It was a controlled demolition, a professional job; they worked hard.

NIST worked hard too -- and that's the problem with a lie like the one they're required to defend: the more ridiculous the lie, the harder it is to prop it up.

It's encouraging to see the Rocky Mountain News helping its readers along the path to truth by suggesting that uncomplicated explanations are credible -- because such is indeed the case here.

There is a very uncomplicated and very credible explanation for all these contradictions -- the very puzzling contradictions between what we know about the day and what the government keeps telling us. And the explanation is this: They're lying to us! They're covering up an enormous crime!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Pakistan's Broken Coalition Faces A Null Transition

The eyes of the world will be on Denver this week as the Democratic party goes even further through the looking glass than anyone could have expected who wasn't paying attention all along.

Obama-Biden/2008: It's a world-class train wreck in agonizingly slow motion, and if that's not enough for you, there's another agonizing new disaster slowly unfolding in Georgia.

These of course are in addition to all the other disasters slowly unfolding in the rest of the world, most of which were already there three weeks ago.

But things are happening very quickly in Pakistan, where the governing coalition is coming apart, even as I write.

On the other hand, the eventual result of this "unpredictable crisis" appears to be well mapped out, and favorable to Americans of the elite policy-making persuasion.

It's funny how things work out in your favor once you start gaming the system.


The men at the center of the Pakistani drama are Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.

Zardari [on the left in the photo above] is the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who now leads the PPP, the Pakistan People's Party.

Sharif [on the right in the same photo], a former Prime Minister, leads the PML-N, one branch of the fractured Pakistan Muslim League. The other branch, PML-Q, supported former president Pervez Musharraf, who resigned last week rather than face impeachment charges.

Prior to his resignation, Musharraf made a series of moves designed to strengthen his position. He dismissed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after some court rulings displeased him. When that didn't work, he declared a state of emergency, sacked all the judges who displeased him, and kept them under house arrest. He used the Army and the Police to oppress his political opponents. He even changed the Constitution to give himself more power, adding a 17th Amendment which gives the President the power to dissolve the Parliament.

In a true parliamentary government, the power to dissolve the parliament rests with the Prime Minister for a very good reason.

A Prime Minister holds his position at the pleasure of the parliament he leads. If he dissolves it, there will be another election, and the winners of that election will determine who becomes the next Prime Minister.

So no Prime Minister can dissolve the parliament except at the cost of his job -- which he may lose permanently, depending on what happens in the election.

But a President needn't have any such qualms if he can dissolve the parliament, forcing another election, without losing his position. In this case the dissolution of parliament becomes a political weapon of choice, rather than a last resort.


In the most recent parliamentary elections, all the moderate opposition parties did well, especially the PPP and the PML-N.

These parties formed an anti-Musharraf coalition, nominally led by the most successful opposition party, the PPP. But the opposition parties had very different platforms.

Specifically, the PML-N had pledged to reinstate the judges, whereas the PPP had made no such promise. PPP in fact resisted the reinstatement of the judiciary, on the grounds that this might provoke a backlash from Musharraf.

So the PML-N agreed to help PPP to get rid of Musharraf, and in return the PPP promised that when Musharraf was gone they would support PML-N on reinstatement of the judges.

But Zardari never intended to do that, and he still doesn't, and now that Musharraf is gone, he's been forced into a corner where he has no option other than making his position clear. And his position is an ugly one ... but it's politically strong.

Zardari is supported by the Americans (very quietly, now that his wife has been killed) and by the PPP, which for historical reasons is the strongest of the opposition parties, even though it no longer represents true opposition.

But Zardari himself has no experience in politics, unless you count raking in enormous amounts of cash as a military procurement officer while his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, was Prime Minister.

And he's a free man in Pakistan only because of a "reconciliation" agreement promulgated by Musharraf, granting him immunity from corruption charges so he could participate in Pakistani politics in the wake of the assassination of his late wife, Benazir Bhutto.

Benzair Bhutto had been a free woman in Pakistan only because of a "reconciliation" agreement promulgated by Musharraf, granting her immunity from corruption charges so she could participate in Pakistani politics in the wake of Musharraf's dismemberment.

As for Musharraf, he was was torn apart on the rack of American foreign policy, where rogue allies play dangerous double games.


I'm still working on this post but in view of the breaking news I have decided to post it early.

I will continue to update it as frequently as possible, subject to work and other constraints.

For more background see my most recent post on this subject:

Pakistan After Musharraf: Same As It Ever Was, Only A Bit More So; Kinda Like What We Have Here, But Different


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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tipping The Scales: New American "Justice" On Display In Mississippi

Larisa Alexandrovna reports on some "justice" that's way beyond bizarre, but it happened, yesterday, in Mississippi:
Some crazy stuff went down in Mississippi today that has lawyers in Mississippi up in arms. My friend Lotus over at Folo blog does a good job summarizing the situation:
"There was a strange event at the Mississippi Supreme Court today. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the story, which we have courtesy of Patsy Brumfeld of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal this evening. Here’s how her story began:
Something unusual happened Thursday at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

It may be the first time a majority of the justices voted to prohibit a colleague from publishing a dissent in a case.

In other words, Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz of Ocean Springs disagreed with a court decision and wanted to write about it. His fellow judges said, no, he couldn’t and they apparently stopped the court clerk from filing Diaz’s statement into the record.
She goes on to note that Chief Justice Smith and justices Waller, Carlson, Dickinson and Randolph voted to prevent the publication of Justice Diaz’s dissent, and that her paper was seeking the documents on the case through the state public records act."
How bizarre! I've never heard of anything like this -- at least not in America.

Fortunately for us, Larisa is perfectly situated to provide some relevant context on this story:
Yes, you read that correctly. A dissenting opinion is censored from the public record. Why? I have no idea. But, one thing you need to remember, Oliver Diaz has been one of the judges targeted by political prosecutions. He was twice - not once - twice indicted and put on trial along with attorney Paul Minor and judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield. The Rove machine at the DOJ claimed that Diaz was accepting bribes from Minor, despite the FACT that Diaz recused himself from any and all cases relating to Paul Minor - who has been his longtime friend and now guaranteed a loan for him. All four were acquitted - Diaz on all the charges and Minor, Teel and Whitfield on most of the charges - the first trial around. Then all four were indicted and tried again - just in time for the elections. Diaz was again acquitted. The other three were not so lucky, all landing with convictions and stiff prison sentences.

What else you may not know (unless you are religiously following my reporting on this) is that of the 4, three were targets of arson and break-ins and an attorney for one of the judges was burglarized three times. In all three cases, only documents were taken and/or looked through - no valuables.

Given this context, the latest in relation to Diaz is indeed suspicious.

See my investigative series on the political prosecutions in the south, in particular those installments that relate to Mississippi:

Part Three – Running Elections from the White House

Part Four – How Bush pick helped prosecute top Democrat-backed judge

Part V: Mississippi Justice: Bush US Attorney targeted my wife, supporters and friend

Part VI: Break-ins plague targets of US Attorneys

Justice Department investigating two US Attorneys for political prosecution

Part VII: Justice for Sale: How Big Tobacco and the GOP teamed up to crush Democrats in the South
Think about this for a moment: Think about how devastating a dissenting opinion must be, if it cannot even be read into the public record.

Then click those links, and read all about how the Republicans are trying not just to defeat the Democrats, but to eliminate all political opposition, by any means available, beginning in the Deep South.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

"Collateral" Women And Children: Airstrike Kills 76 Civilians In Afghanistan

When you're busy exporting "democracy", this sort of thing happens from time to time.

Coalition air strikes kill 76 Afghan civilians: government
KABUL, Aug 22 (AFP) - An operation by international forces in western Afghanistan Friday killed 76 civilians, most of them women and children, the Afghan interior ministry said, announcing it had opened an investigation into the incident.
Military spokesmen call it "collateral damage", which is sufficiently vague to cover all manner of atrocities. And I use the word "cover" advisedly.

Since the dead people were not legitimate military targets, it would have been a war crime to obliterate them on purpose. So the word "collateral" -- literally: "off to the side" -- in this instance is probably supposed to mean "unintended". And the implication is meant to be, "Oops!" In other words, that's how they keep the killers out of prison.

On the other hand, "collateral" can also mean "off to the side" as in "subordinate" or "meaningless". So when we hear the deaths of innocent foreigners described as "collateral damage", the message is effectively, "It doesn't matter; get used to it". In other words, "... or you could be next!"

But when the citizens of an occupied country strike against the occupying foreigners, that's called "terrorism".
“In its struggle against terrorism, France has just been hard hit,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a statement. He arrived in Kabul on Wednesday, according to Reuters, a trip he made to reassure French troops that “France is at their side.”

But Mr. Sarkozy said France would not be deterred from its Afghan mission, where 3,000 troops are serving in a NATO force of more than 40,000 soldiers from nearly 40 nations.

“My determination is intact,” he said. “France is committed to pursuing the struggle against terrorism, for democracy and for freedom. This is a just cause; it is an honor for France and for its army to defend it.”
Barack Obama wants to end the war in Iraq, as he explained in the New York Times last month, in a piece called "My Plan for Iraq".

He wants to do this by moving the war to Afghanistan. And for once he's speaking clearly about it:
I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

Ending the war [in Iraq] is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters ...
... and more collateral damage, too.

Let me tell you, brother,
You can't have one without the other!


UPDATE: The Americans are denying everything, of course. According to the AP, they say they killed 30 militants -- and no civilians.

And according to The Independent, the coalition of the killing can't get their story straight:
the coalition denied killing civilians. It said 30 militants had been killed ...

A spokesman for the defence ministry in Kabul said US special forces and Afghan troops had struck against a commander named Mullah Sidiq. "Twenty-five Taliban were killed, including Sidiq and another commander," said a spokesman General Zaher Azimi. "Five civilians were killed."
But a statement from the Interior Ministry told a different tale:
"Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province," the statement said.

Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province on Friday afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen victims were women, seven were men, and the rest were children under 15, it said.
The AP ran a photo [republished here] which purports to show the arms and ammunition recovered from the scene after the "30 militants" were killed. Count the rifles: one, two, three, four, five. This in a country where virtually every adult male carries a Kalashnikov. An impressive haul, indeed.

Given the track records of the parties involved, I'm not thinking about changing my headline.

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Stack Of Reports Proves It: Office Furnishings Killed Building 7

In a press conference yesterday, Shyam Sunder, who represents the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] as Lead Investigator of the World Trade Center Disaster, introduced himself and said:
I am here to summarize the findings from our three-year study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7.

The collapse of WTC 7 has been a source of extensive speculation. No planes hit the building. There was damage to the building from the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 1, which was about 370 feet to the south. [...] But despite damage that severed seven exterior columns, Building 7 remained standing.
I've snipped a reference to a map showing the location of WTC 1. I've also snipped other references to visual aids and some more-or-less tangential material, so we can concentrate on Shyam Sunder's explanation of what happened to WTC 7.

Here's how it happened, according to Shyam Sunder:
The debris from Tower 1 [...] started fires on at least 10 floors of the building. The fires burned out of control on six of these ten floors for about seven hours.

The city water main had been cut by the collapse of the two WTC Towers, so the sprinklers in Building 7 did not function for much of the bottom half of the building. Nevertheless, other tall office buildings have burned for as long or longer in similar fires without collapsing—when sprinklers either did not exist or were not functional.

So we knew from the beginning of our study that understanding what happened to Building 7 on 9-11 would be difficult.
It certainly would be. And the difficulty sprang from two sources.

First, NIST had to find a way to dismiss all the evidence that points to the deliberate destruction of the building.

As if that weren't difficult enough, they then had to follow up by "explaining" how the tower could have disintegrated due to "natural" causes.

Shyam Sunder attacks on the first point straight-away, saying:
It did not fit any textbook description that you could readily point to and say, yes, that’s why the building failed.
... except that it did. It fit a textbook description perfectly. But that description was not admissible.

The thing is: we know what happened. We've heard from people who were there that day who were warned in advance; we've seen video of police shooing people away from the building and saying "The building's gonna blow up."

But no...
In August of 2002—exactly six years ago today, with authority and funding from Congress, NIST started its building and fire safety investigation of all three World Trade Center building collapses. The study of Towers 1 and 2 was extremely complex, and as a result, we had to place our study of WTC 7 on hold. In September of 2005, with the study of the towers complete, we began the study of Building 7’s collapse in earnest.

We conducted our study with no preconceived notions about what happened.
That's probably true. But it's clear that they had some powerful preconceived notions about what didn't happen!
We gathered evidence, we analyzed that evidence, we constructed computer models grounded in principles of physics and using detailed data on every aspect of the building’s construction, detailed information on its contents, videos and photos of the event, and witness accounts.
All this evidence would have been carefully selected, to be sure.

Among other damning details, NIST had to ignore:
  • witness accounts of bomb damage in the building before the planes hit the other towers,
  • witness accounts of evacuation and a countdown before the building was demolished,
  • a televised interview with the building's owner, in which he explained when and how and why the decision to destroy the building was made, and
  • the fact that the demolition was announced to the world by an allegedly reputable international news agency, before it even happened!

In the clip above, the BBC reporter on the scene in Manhattan points to Building 7 while describing the hole in the skyline left by its collapse.

As tough as it may be to make all these anomalies go away, fabricating a counter-story seems to have been even more difficult. We'll get to that part of the task shortly.

First, Shyam Sunder gives an overview of the investigative team:
Our investigation team for this building consisted of about 50 people with expertise in structures, fire science and engineering, metallurgy, explosives, blast analysis, evacuation and emergency response, and other technical fields. Our own technical staff was complemented by world-class private sector experts on contract.

We conducted this study without bias, without interference from anyone and dedicated ourselves to do the very best job possible.
The team's lack of bias is readily apparent in the transcript of their leader's press conference. No doubt it will be equally visible in the final report, which is due to be released next month.
We have had only one single-minded goal during this entire effort. We wanted to determine the probable sequence of events that led to the collapse of Building 7 on 9-11, and then to share that information with the public in order to improve building and fire safety.

Before I tell you what we found, I’d like to tell you what we did not find.
This is Shyam Sunder's emphasis, by the way. And it's an important place to put it.

Watch carefully. Don't miss this next bit. Here comes the magic wand!
We did not find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down.
And now the next part is crucial, as we will see ...
We ran detailed computer simulations of blast scenarios. [We determined] the expected air pressures from the smallest possible blast capable of crippling a critical column. This size blast would have produced an incredibly loud sound that was not recorded on videos of the collapse nor reported by witnesses.
There are two problems with this "explanation" and they are very different. The first concerns the content of the argument. Nobody has claimed that WTC was demolished by a single bomb that went "BOOM". You don't need a shock wave that rocks the city to take down a building; you only need to cut some strategic steel in some strategic places. Thermite would do the job quite nicely, as would thermate, and neither would go "BOOM".

This video shows a pound of thermite burning on a frozen lake.

It melted three inches of ice but it didn't make much sound at all.

The second and more telling problem with the NIST explanation is revealed not in the content but in the style.

We can see quite clearly that they didn't "find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down" because they weren't looking for "any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down".

They were looking for a way to rule out any explanation involving the notion that "explosives were used to bring the building down", and this is the "way" that they found:

If the building had been demolished by explosives, the explosion would have made more noise than anybody reported hearing or any video recorded. Therefore the building wasn't demolished by explosives.

We've seen in the previous video how much noise thermite makes when it burns.

So we have no choice but to reject the NIST claim as false. Period.

After three years, this was the best they could come up with!

And sadly, it only "accomplished" half of their "mission".

On the other hand, with a single wave of the magic wand, NIST took us through the looking-glass. And none of the history matters anymore. But if it did, surely something or other in this video would be relevant:

Shyam Sunder continued:
The collapse was also not due to fires from the substantial amount of diesel fuel stored in the building. Such fires from ruptured fuel lines—or from fuel stored in day tanks on the lower floors—could not have been sustained long enough, would not have generated sufficient heat to weaken critical columns, and would have produced copious smoke that was not was not observed on 9-11.
This passage is crucial for two main reasons. First of all, it discredits the vicious serial liars who have claimed for years that WTC 7 collapsed because of "fires from the substantial amount of diesel fuel stored in the building".

Ha! Not even the government agrees with Joey Bananas anymore. Boo-Hoo for vicious idiots everywhere.

But secondly, if fires from the diesel fuel didn't cause the building to collapse, what could have done so?
What we found was that uncontrolled building fires—similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings—caused an extraordinary event, the collapse of World Trade Center 7.

This is the first time that we are aware of, that a building taller than about 15 stories has collapsed primarily due to fires.
Uncontrolled building fires! Very interesting!! What do you suppose fueled those fires? Here's a hint: it doesn't burn nearly as hot as diesel fuel, and it generates an awful lot of dark smoke ...

But nevertheless, NIST
reached [their] conclusion by reconstructing the entire building, beam by beam, column by column, connection by connection into a computer model, a virtual WTC 7 Building.
They "reconstructed" ... "the entire building" .. "into a computer model"! How extraordinary!

Then, they
filled that virtual building with as much detail as possible about exactly what types of furnishings were on each floor.
Yep. Furnishings! They had time and money to find out "what types of furnishings were on each floor", but they couldn't talk to any of the people who had been warned in advance that the building was going to blow up.

It's quite astonishing methodology, isn't it?

No! It's the normal way these sorts of things get covered up. I've been reading about these episodes -- events whose historical importance is routinely denied by people who are allegedly the nation's leading dissidents -- for most of my life.

The NIST approach is almost exactly the same as the approach used by the Warren Commission, which allegedly investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Just like NIST, the Warren Commission prided itself on having produced a huge stack of documents [see photo above]. They were counting on us not reading any of them. But they still hedged their bets.

The Warren Commission never claimed there was no evidence of a conspiracy; instead, the Warren Report said that they had "found no evidence" of a conspiracy.

Former Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford, who became our first unelected president after the resignation of Richard Nixon, stressed the difference in later interviews. He were dumb, but he weren't that dumb!

Back at the computer model, NIST
set fire to those virtual offices on the floors where video and other visual evidence told us the fires burned.

We used a well-validated computer program developed at NIST, for studying the growth and spread of fires, to calculate temperatures throughout the building. [...]

And we used well-established data on the properties of structural steel, the sprayed fire resistive material or fireproofing, and other building materials to determine how those temperatures affected the structure.
This is all theoretical, remember. All they needed to do -- apparently, all they did do -- was to create an animated computer model that looks something like the video of the event itself.

And they spent an incredible amount of time and money trying to develop one. Thus their leader reported that a
typical fire simulation for a single floor of the building took up to two days with a state-of-the-art cluster of Linux computers. The structural model of the building components used to predict the subsequent fire-induced progressive collapse included more than 3 million separate elements and took about 7 to 8 months to complete a single run on some very powerful computers.
Note the wording:

"The ... model ... used to predict the ... collapse ... "

The towers fell in 2001. The NIST study on WTC 7 didn't even get started "in earnest" until 2005. Their final report still hasn't been released. And yet Shyam Sunder can tell a room full of living, breathing, and presumably thinking human beings that his study "predicted" the demise of the building. How astonishing!

As I have discussed in connection with the Keith Seffen hoax, one cannot predict an event which has already happened. The use of such language -- "See! We were able to predict the past!" -- is a sure sign of intellectual dishonesty.

It's an admission that the model was built to specifications -- specifications that must have read like this:

"Explain X without admitting Y or Z"

If there's one thing I agree with the NIST team about, it's their assessment of the difficulty of their task.

It wasn't just difficult; it was impossible!

And that's why it took 50 experts three years to fake it.

What do they say brought down the building? Are you ready?
A critical factor that led to the initiation of collapse was thermal expansion of long-span floor systems located in the east side of the building. [...]

Anyone who has run a tight jar lid under hot water to help loosen it up knows that metal expands when it gets hot. Beyond expansion, heat also causes steel to lose strength and stiffness. In our investigation of the collapse of Towers 1 and 2, loss of strength and stiffness was more important. For WTC 7, thermal expansion was a critical factor. These effects occur at temperatures much lower than those required to reduce steel strength and stiffness.

[...] on the east side of the building, these long beams are connected to a girder here and here, but there are no opposing support beams.

The exterior columns of the building were more closely spaced than the interior ones. When fires heated the floor system, thermal expansion of the floor beams caused damage to connections between the steel beams and concrete slab of the composite floor system. Some of the beams buckled. Others pushed the girders, causing some of them to buckle.
This is very interesting to me personally because I've seen steel columns that had buckled. Not pictures; actual steel. I've inspected it closely; I've held it in my hand. I know what it looks like.

And I've seen hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of pictures from the World Trade Center. Even though I haven't inspected the scene closely or held any of the steel in my hand, I have a good idea of what it looked like, too. And here's a very interesting coincidence:

I've seen many photographs of steel from the World Trade Center that looked as if it had been cut.

I've seen some photographs that showed steel which had obviously been bent.

But I've never seen a single photograph of a single piece of steel that looked as if it had buckled.

And this is a crucial distinction, because if there were photographs of buckled steel from the World Trade Center, you can bet the government and the very complicit media would show them night and day. These photographs would be "proof" that the "conspiracy theorists" are wrong.

But they don't show us anything like that. And do you want to know why? [Click the image to find out.]

Here's the "official" version; see how much sense it makes to you:
A few girders lost their connections to columns, triggering floor failures.

Fires on Floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 were particularly severe. Long-span steel beams on the lower floors of the east side of the building, expanded significantly due to these fires, damaging the floor framing on multiple floors. Eventually, a girder on Floor 13 lost its connection to a critical interior column that provided support for the long span floors on the east side of the building. The displaced girder, and other local fire-induced damage, caused Floor 13 to collapse. This began a cascading chain of failures of eight additional floors—many of which already had been at least partially weakened by the fires in the vicinity of the critical column. With the support of these floors gone, column 79 buckled, which initiated the fire-induced progressive collapse of the building.
It's quite something, isn't it?

From a few grainy videos of the demolition, and a made-to-match computer animation, NIST can "pinpoint" the exact floor that "fell" first, and the exact column that "buckled" first.

It's quite incredible, isn't it?

I mean that literally: it's absolutely unbelievable!
This in turn caused the failure of nearby columns 80 and 81 and floor failures up to the roof line. [...]

In quick succession, the remaining interior columns failed from east to west across WTC 7, until the entire core began moving downward. Finally, the remaining outer shell or façade of the building fell. [...]

In general, tall buildings are very safe. We have decades upon decades of real-life experience to prove this. This was a rare event.
Rare? It's unique!! It's an absolutely unprecedented event in the annals of structural failure, and a grotesque understatement to assert that such an event was "rare"!

But if you want to go beyond unique, wait for the explanation:
This study has identified thermal expansion as a new phenomenon that can cause structural collapse.
There's that magic wand again! Did you see it go by?

Now, thanks to 9/11 and the good folks at NIST, there's "a new phenomenon that can cause structural collapse"!

Nothing like this has ever happened before, and nothing like it has ever happened since, but a representative of NIST -- the leader of the NIST investigation -- can claim, with a straight face,
we have shown that fire can induce a progressive collapse.
Straight face or not, that's a dreadful lie. "Shown" is hardly the word for what NIST has done here.

For the first time ever, somebody has claimed that fire can induce a progressive collapse; but nobody -- not NIST, not anybody else, ever, anywhere -- nobody has shown anything of the sort.

Any clown can make a claim. But it takes real evidence to "show" something, especially in the strict engineering or mathematical sense of the term.

But Shyam Sunder doesn't pause to strengthen his very lame argument. Instead he goes on to the waving of the magic cloth: What can we learn from this?
In the building community the term “progressive collapse” means the spread of local damage from a single initiating event, from structural element to element, eventually resulting in the collapse of an entire structure or a disproportionately large part of it. [...]

WTC 7, which included floor spans as long as 54 feet, had a structural system design that is in widespread use in other tall buildings. The length of floor spans is important. Longer beams can be subject to proportionally greater thermal expansion effects, but such effects may also be present in buildings with shorter span lengths depending on the design of the structural system.

We strongly recommend that building owners, operators, and designers evaluate buildings to ensure the adequate fire performance of the structural system. [...]
So far, with all this talk [and much else that I've snipped], the big question has remained unanswered: What fueled the fires that allegedly caused the building to disintegrate?

Are you ready for this?

It was office furnishings.

Can you believe it?

I can't, either. Watch this short video and see what you think!

But ...
Our take-home message today is that the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery. WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings. It did not collapse from explosives or from diesel fuel fires.

It collapsed because fires—similar to those experienced in other tall buildings—burned in the absence of water supply to operate the sprinklers, and burned beyond the ability of firefighters to control fires. It fell because thermal expansion, a phenomenon not considered in current building design practice, caused a fire-induced progressive collapse. [...]

We will be accepting public comments on our final report until September 15, 2008. Directions for submitting these comments are provided on our web site at

At this point, I’ll be happy to take your questions.

Thank you.
Oh yes ... I have a question for you, sir.

Instead of considering any of the eyewitness and video evidence which shows quite clearly that WTC 7 was deliberately demolished, on a pre-set schedule, and that people were warned and evacuated ahead of time, you and your team have spent three years building and running a computer model so complex that it takes seven to eight months for a single iteration.

You've done all this, knowing it could never prove what actually happened -- that the most it could show would be that one potential explanation for the disintegration of the building was plausible. And your study hasn't even done that.

The impact of your report couldn't possibly be greater. Millions of innocent lives are at stake; and at the same time, the world's most vicious and violent terrorists are still at large.

Instead of helping to rectify the situation, you have led your team to devote three years to building a model and pretending it's reality, while systematically shutting out every conflicting fragment of the real story. You weren't even sly enough to hide it in your press conference.

Your absurd explanation, with its talk of a "new phenomenon", is an insult to the intelligence of all thinking people. It's also a disgrace to the memories of the victims of 9/11, and a betrayal of their families, of all Americans, of all mankind.

So here's my question, sir:

How do you sleep? How can you possibly sleep?

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