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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ocean oscillations are not "masking" global warming: the cooling is real

Warming alarmists are trying to spin recent global cooling as just a cool phase of the Pacific oscillation, "masking" ongoing global warming. This explanation is KNOWN to be false.

The geologic record proves beyond any doubt that global temperature is driven by the solar wind (or sunspot activity), and that changes in CO2 are of immeasurably little consequence. Thus the present lull in solar activity means that global temperature is now falling. If solar cycle 24 fires up strong, global temperature could rise again, but given that solar activity has been at historical highs since 1940, a long term fall off IS coming, and when it does, it WILL cause long term cooling.

Figuring in ocean oscillations

The simple relationship between global temperature and solar activity is obscured somewhat by the difference between global temperature and surface temperature. Global temperature is the average temperature of the oceans, which are the planet's primary heat sink. In comparison, the heat storage capacities of the land masses and the atmosphere are trivial.

Ocean temperatures are not evenly distributed. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans both experience oscillations, where unusually warm or cold waters take turns at the ocean surface. This surface water is a primary determinant of the earth's surface temperature, so the ocean oscillations cause surface temperature to oscillate with respect to the actual global temperature.

Our current global cooling phase, caused by the lull in solar activity, happens to coincide with the onset of a cold "la nina" phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Thus as the earth cools, surface temperatures will cool even faster.

The warming alarmists are pretending that all the cooling is due to the ocean oscillations, which is only masking continued global warming:
Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.
In the press they are even bolder:
However, temperatures will again be rising quickly by about 2020, they say.
But present cooling is not just cold ocean oscillations masking overall warming. It is cold oscillations on top of a fall off in solar activity that is predicted by solar cycle 25 to become serious (if it isn't already).

The warming alarmists are actively covering up the real threat, even as it becomes manifest. Thirty years of la nina, compounded by thirty years of declining solar activity, at a time when Milankovitch cycles are approaching ice age conditions, is a time to be doing everything we can to forstall the possibility of runaway global cooling. Global warming never was a threat. Warming has negative feedback effects that stop it from becoming harmful. Global cooling does not. Positive cooling feedbacks regularly descend all the way into 100,000 year long ice ages, with the next one due any century now.

20th century solar activity and ocean oscillations

It is not that ocean oscillations can't mask global warming. This isn't what is happening now, but it actually did happen in the 1940's and 50's. The comparison is instructive.

Solar activity was at that time reaching "grand maximum" levels, just as a thirty year cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (or PDO) was starting. The intense solar activity warmed the oceans as a whole (and hence the earth), but having the colder Pacific water at the surface caused surface temperatures across the planet to fall, so it felt like the earth was cooling.

This phenomenon can be seen in the following three graphics: sunspot count, PDO, and the surface temperature record:

Cap'n Bob's sunspot count graphic. Solar activity reaches "grand maximum" levels in the early 1940's and stay there through the 50's and early 60's.

Steven Hare's PDO grapic
Steven Hare's Pacific Decadal Oscillation graphic. The PDO went into a cold surface water phase at the same time the sun was heating up.

Roy Spencer's graphic of HadCRUT3 temperature series
Roy Spencer's graphic of the HadCRUT3 surface temperature record. The surface temperature cooled in the 40's and 50's as the cold PDO masked the warming being caused by high solar activity.

Continuing forward, the graphs show that the cold phase of the Pacific oscillation continued through the 60's, where the resulting cold surface temperatures were compounded by a weak solar cycle. By the early seventies, there was justified concern about the possible onset of the next ice age. Solar activity would be heading back down sooner or later, and it could have been sooner. What was unjustified was anti-capitalist environmentalists like Stephen Schneider blaming the cooling on human burning of fossil fuels, just so they could have an excuse for urging restrictions on fossil fuel burning and economic growth.

Shortly after Newsweek took global cooling fears mainstream in 1975, solar activity returned to "grand maximum" levels and the Pacific oscillation turned to its warming "el nino" phase. Throughout the 80's and 90's, these warming effects worked together to drive surface temperatures up. Solar activity and the Pacific oscillation both leveled out over the first five years of the 21st century, and in the last couple of years both have turned in the cooling direction.

In sum, if the surface temperature record is "corrected" for the influence of ocean oscillations (so that it tracks global temperature) the correlation to solar activity becomes much stronger.

Just how strong IS the correlation between solar activity and temperature, once the ocean oscillations and volcanic aerosol effects are corrected for?

The correlation is almost exact, all the way down to annual time scales. In the geologic record, the correlation in the geologic record is about 90% all the way down to decadal time scales. (Fred Singer and Henrik Svensmark both amass the evidence in their landmark books.) But the geologic record doesn't account for ocean oscillations and volcanic sulfates. For the modern period over which we have measures for these further determinants of surface temperature, the residual temperature anomaly tracks solar activity practically year by year. Here is Svensmark's graph of the temperature anomaly (trend removed), once ocean oscillations and volcanic aerosol effects are accounted for:

Svensmark, via The Reference Frame

Svensmark graphic (via the reference frame).

Notice that Svensmark plots temperature against Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR), not solar activity. Higher levels of solar activity shield the earth from GCR, so GCR serves as a proxy for solar activity and vice versa. It is GCR that can be measured directly in the geologic record, and in Svensmark's theory, it is GCR that causes global cooling (by ionizing the atmosphere and seeding cloud formation).

Very impressive correlation. In contrast, there is no empirical evidence whatsoever that CO2 drives anything. The warming alarmists have a theory with NO EVIDENCE behind it, and they are willfully blind to the overwhelming evidence that temperature is driven by solar-magnetic-activity/GCR. Despite the fact that ALL THE EVIDENCE points to solar activity and GCR as the drivers of global temperature, the IPCC's General Circulation Models completely omit this competing theory.

According to cooling denier Richard Wood:
Natural variations over the next 10 years might be heading in the cold direction.
But, he adds:
If you run the model long enough, eventually global warming will win.
Yes. But not because the model is distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic warming. The model ASSUMES that CO2 drives temperature, and assumes that solar effects do not. As the IPCC climatologists admit (when pressed): these models do not produce forecasts. They are simulations that extrapolate assumptions, and the assumptions that are being extrapolated are those of environmental religionism, completely divorced from the evidence. They omit from their assumptions what there IS evidence for and assume what there is NO evidence for. Pure scientific fraud.

Environmentalist religion

CO2 has no role to play anywhere in this story. Theoretically higher levels of CO2 should have a very slight warming effect, but empirically, this effect is unmeasurable. We are NOT in a state like the 40's and 50's where a cooling PDO was masking the warming effects of high solar activity. We are in a very dangerous cooling phase where cold ocean oscillations are compounding the cooling effects of diminished solar activity. The only masking going on is from the dishonest warming alarmists, covering up the very real perils of global cooling with their hot air about CO2.

This gives them an excuse to proceed with their real agenda: placing restrictions on fossil fuel burning and economic growth. The warming alarmists are not actually concerned about global warming at all, and never were. They are environmental religionists who see economic activity as gobbling up the environment. The only thing they actually care about is securing restrictions on fossil fuel burning as a way to curtail economic activity and save the environment from human encroachment.

The alarmists don't care whether their claims about CO2 driven warming are true. In fact, they all KNOW that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax, but it gets them the policy prescription that they are driven to on religious grounds, and so they embrace it.

Error Theory

Distrust in truth is the fundamental human moral failing. In every arena, half the population imagines that it can somehow be right or in their interest to avoid or suppress the truth. The inevitable consequence of this truth avoidance is that the truth avoiders end up divorced from reality, which inevitably makes them wrong in their assumptions about what is right or in their interest.

In reality, warming is completely benign, while cooling is extraordinarily dangerous. It can easily wipe out, not just most of mankind, but most of the biosphere, as it has done like clockwork for the last 2 million years. When it comes to gobbling up flora and fauna, nothing compares to an ice age. If we want to save the planet, we ought to be pumping out greenhouse gases as fast as we can, and tailoring them to patch the infrared "holes" in our greenhouse blanket. Instead, thanks to the global warming alarmists, we are not going to do anything to warm up our greenhouse blanket, and will only be able to pray that this isn't the big one. Pretty damned stupid. Such are the wages of distrust in truth.

Jesus tried to tell us all: be a witness for truth. That is what he was doing--"I came into the world to be a witness for truth" (Jn 18:37)--and he asked us to follow him. The environmentalists think they are beyond Christianity. Fools. They don't begin to get it. If you don't trust in truth, if you just assume that curtailing fossil fuel burning is the right thing to do, regardless of what is really happening with global temperature, then you get divorced from reality and EVERYTHING you think you know will be WRONG.

These idiots will get us (or our children) killed.

Related posts

February 18, 2008
Global warming alarmists knew cooling was coming, were hoping to secure restrictions on economic activity first

March 21, 2008
Time to start adding a thicker blanket of greenhouse gases

February 14, 2007
My commentary on the draft IPCC report

Congressman Ramstad comes out in opposition to the Flight 93 memorial

Blogburst logo, no accident

Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN) gave a House speech this month, supporting Mr. Burnett's opposition to the crescent design. The speech is entered in the Congressional Record here, along with supporting statements from Tom Burnett Sr. (father of murdered Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.).

That makes two Congressmen now who have come out publicly against the crescent memorial. (Tom Tancredo took the lead last November, asking the Park Service to choose a completely new design.)

News coverage revs up confrontation at this Saturday’s public meeting

Ramstad's speech, and our ongoing petition drive, netted a full width banner headline on the front page of the Somerset Daily American, with the story continuing full width on an inside page as well. This high profile local news coverage should make for an interesting Memorial Project meeting at the Somerset County Courthouse this Saturday. Several critics will be speaking during the public comment period, and the first batch of petitions will be delivered in bulk (over 5000 signatures to date, 4700 online and 500 on paper).

The Daily American article includes lots of powerful language from Mr. Burnett and other critics of the crescent design, along with some remarkably disingenuous evasions from the usual defenders. Most egregious is Patrick White, vice president of Families of Flight 93, who tries to pretend that the criticisms of the design are all about Mr. Burnett trying to get an undemocratic "do over" after failing to stop the Crescent of Embrace design when he served on the design competition jury.

While on the jury, Mr. Burnett only complained about the giant Islamic shaped crescent and the minaret-like Tower of Voices. No one on the jury, including Mr. Burnett, knew anything about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent; or about the placement of the 9/11 date in the exact position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag; or about the 44 glass blocks on the flight path; or about the fact that the Tower of Voices turns out to be a year-round accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial.

Not that the jury is beyond reproach. It was bizarre for these family members and design professionals to plant a bare naked crescent and star flag on the graves of our murdered heroes, but given everything that the jurors did NOT know, this configuration at least COULD have been an accident. What came out after the design was selected is absolute proof of terrorist memorializing intent, with every Islamic and terrorist memorializing feature being repeated in the Tower of Voices portion of the memorial.

One example is the 38 Memorial Groves. (There were supposed to be 40.) By itself, it is merely suspicious that the arc of 38 groves can be seen as a set of 19 nested crescents: one for each 9/11 hijacker. But architect Paul Murdoch proves this terrorist memorializing intent by surrounding the Tower of Voices with a second set of 19 nested crescents. And on it goes. EVERYTHING gets repeated in the Tower of Voices, and the 93 foot tall Islamic sundial is itself a very precise structure that could NEVER occur by accident.

Patrick White wants to dodge all this by pretending that the controversy is about the initial jury decision, instead of the ensuing blindness to voluminous evidence of terrorist memorializing intent. No one exemplifies this willful blindness better than Patrick White himself.

Patrick White denies the Mecca orientation in public while admitting it in private

At the July 2007 Memorial Project meeting, a critic of the crescent design engaged Mr. White in private conversation, asking how he could be unconcerned about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. White's reply was to suggest that this orientation cannot be seen as a tribute to Islam because the inexactness of it would be "disrespectful to Islam." (The crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca, ±.1°.)

But this isn't what White was telling the public. That same week, Patrick White told the press that all of the claims about Islamic symbolism had been thoroughly investigated and been found to be untrue and "preposterous." In private, White was acknowledging the almost exact Mecca orientation of the crescent and making excuses for it, while issuing sweeping denials in public.

He is still doing the same thing. He KNOWS that the giant crescent points almost exactly to Mecca, yet claims that such "assumptions," have been "repeatedly shown-to-be-false." In fact, not a single factual claim about what is in the design has ever been rebutted. If the crescent did not point to Mecca, it would be trivially easy to demonstrate. This is a simple geometric claim. But all the Memorial Project has ever offered is unsupported denials; denials that they acknowledge in private to be FALSE.

Patrick White’s dishonest attack on Tom Burnett

The jury process is irrelevant. No one is criticizing it. The jurors bear no responsibility for hidden Islamic and terrorist-memorializing features that they knew nothing about when they chose the crescent design. If it were not for two ugly bits of misinformation, put forward by Patrick White in his effort to make the jury process the issue, there would be no reason to mention the jury process at all. Both of White’s falsehoods are aimed at discrediting Tom Burnett Sr.

1. In the Daily American article (half way down) White claims that Mr. Burnett: “gave his consent to support what the majority picked.”
Mr. Burnett was incensed in 2005 when the Memorial Project announced that the jurors had united behind the majority choice. Without ever consulting with Mr. Burnett, the Memorial Project wrote in their jury report that: "By consensus the Stage Two jury forwards this section of the Flight 93 memorial to the partner [Paul Murdoch] with the full and unqualified support of each juror." Tom has been trying to correct the record ever since, and Patrick White OUGHT to know it.
2. White also claims that: “No one agreed then with Mr. Burnett’s preferred choice for a final design.”
"To the contrary" says Mr. Burnett, "the vote not unanimous; it was 9 to 6." Five people were with Mr. Burnett in rejecting the crescent design. This on a jury made up of 8 design professionals and 7 family members. It could even be that a majority of family members opposed the Crescent of Embrace. Tom requested the vote tally in a formal letter to the Memorial Project which was never answered. Now Patrick White throws the vote tally in Tom’s face, and completely misrepresents it.
3. Bonus badness. White claims that: “Jurors gave all of Mr. Burnett’s concerns a complete airing.”
In fact, the design professionals on the jury tried to shut Mr. Burnett up. Tom Sokolowski, director of Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum called Mr. Burnett “asinine” just for noticing that the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam. This overt hostility to Mr. Burnett’s concerns is not what most of us would call “a complete airing.”
So no, the jury process is not the issue here, but if it were, it couldn't stand up to scrutiny either.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pennsylvanians build an organization to stop the Flight 93 memorial

The following press release was sent to Pennsylvania news outlets yesterday:

Angry over the Islamic symbolism contained in the Flight 93 Memorial Design, which appears to honor both the heroes and the terrorists, a group of concerned citizens asked Harry Beam (Lt. Col. U.S. Army Retired) to lead an organized effort to have the design changed.

Col. Beam said he examined several different factors before agreeing to lead the effort. First, he found that the people making the request are credible. Tom Burnett (father of a Flight 93 Hero) is demanding change to the memorial design. Additionally, Col. Beam states that he has talked to MD’s, PhD’s., Attorneys, School Teachers, Nurses, Pastors, Skilled and Unskilled Workers, Veterans and Retirees who are upset with the actions of the Flight 93 Planning Committee and the National Park Service. Second, Beam said he had to determine the validity of the assertions that there is Islamic symbology in the memorial design. He stated, “I will be the first to admit that several years ago, when I first heard about the Red Crescent, I assumed that it was a matter of co-incidence. After researching the design, I found there are many (8) additional co-incidents which cause one to question the design and the designer.” The fact that the Red Crescent points towards Mecca in the same manner a Mosque would if it were built on the site. The fact that there are 44 glass blocks included in the design (40 passengers and crew; 4 terrorists) are just two more of the eight examples of co-incidence.

The third factor was that the statements from Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) opining on the symbolism issue were not credible. Their opinions, presented to the U.S. National Park Service and the Memorial Project, were contradictory. One SME stated “because the earth is round, you can face any direction and be facing Mecca.” Most 5th graders know that is false. The statement also conflicted with another SME who said “the orientation to Mecca must be exact.” Many mosques do not have an exact Mecca orientation. One of the SME’s was a classmate of the designer, Paul Murdock.

When asked, how do you hope to accomplish your goal of changing an approved national Flight 93 memorial plan? Beam responded “I know that it will be an up-hill fight, but our Flight 93 Heroes deserve a better memorial than one that also pays tribute to the Islamic terrorists”. This will be a massive grassroots effort throughout the country to sway the opinions of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the Flight 93 Planning Committee and our lawmakers to change the current design. When people hear the facts concerning the current design, they are angered and ask “How was the fraudulent design approved?” Email and written petitions are being circulated not only locally but throughout the nation. Although we have just started, we have thousands who have signed petitions. We are certain that number will increase. Currently, letters and phone calls are beginning to be made to lawmakers. Congressman Tancredo has asked the National Park Service to change the design and remove the Islamic symbology; we hope to get other lawmakers to support his efforts. This fight transcends politics. It is not a Republican or Democrat issue – It is Americans demanding that our Flight 93 Heroes get a National Memorial that honors their memory – not the memory of Islamic terrorists. Anyone wishing to obtain a written petition or sign an electronic petition, can go to www.crescentofbetrayal.com. Persons interested in assisting in this effort can contact Col. Beam at hibeam@atlanticbb.net.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

40 infidels, strung like fish beneath symbolic Islamic heavens

Just for this post, a new blogburst logo:

Blogburst logo, Tower top

Tom Burnett's letter to the American people is bringing lots of signatures for our online petition. People can also join our blogbursts here

Damned to Hell

Time to emphasize the ugliest aspect of the terrorist memorial mosque that is now being built in Shanksville Pennsylvania. It does not just INCLUDE the terrorists in some kind of reductio ad absurdum of multiculturalist moral relativism. Actually, there is not a single speck of moral relativism in the entire design. Rather, the terrorists are explicitly championed, while the 40 infidels are again and again depicted as symbolically damned to Islamic Hell.

This is the evil genius of architect Paul Murdoch's use of the crescent and star layout. Everywhere the four hijackers are memorialized, they are symbolically placed inside the Islamic heavens (the crescent and star parts of the memorial). Everywhere the 40 infidels are memorialized, they are represented outside of the symbolic Islamic heavens, which in Islam signifies damnation.

In most instances, the immense scale of the design makes this theme difficult to grasp from ground level unless you know what to look for. The one exception is up at the Tower of Voices part of the memorial, where the symbolic damnation of the 40 heroes will be immediately visible to visitors.

The 93 foot tall Tower of Voices is formed in the shape of an extruded crescent, cut at an angle at the top so that its crescent arms reach up into the sky:


As seen from the base of the tower, the top of the tower will be a clear Islamic-shaped crescent, projected against the sky above. Hanging down below these symbolic heavens will be forty tubular steel chimes, one for each of the murdered passengers and crew. In Islam, if you don't go to Heaven, you go to Hell, thus those forty symbolic souls, strung below the symbolic Islamic heavens like fish on a line, are symbolically damned.

The imagery could not be clearer. Here is what hundreds of thousands of visitors will see when they look up the crescent tower:

40 tortured souls,100%
40 tortured souls, gonging restlessly though heat, cold, wind, snow and rain (pictured).

What are patriots going to do when they see that Islamic crescent in the sky, soaring triumphantly over those forty symbolic infidel souls? Is the Park Service trying to start a rebellion? We are talking literally hundreds of people every day being confronted by this outrage.

Never to rest in peace

The crash site is a graveyard, from which the remains of our forty heroes can never be extracted. A cemetery is supposed to be a place for resting in peace, but these symbolic forty souls are to gong mournfully though the ages in their symbolic Islamic hell.

Over and over the defenders of the crescent design accuse us critics of seeing what we want to see in the design, as if we could see forty symbolic souls hanging down from an Islamic shaped crescent in the sky if the architect did not PUT these things there for us to see. Look at the architect's own drawings people. Do you not see the Islamic shaped crescent in the sky? Do you not see the forty wind chimes hanging below, specifically designated to represent the lives of the 40 passengers and crew? We are describing FACTS.

One of the most obvious facts is that it is the defenders of the crescent who are seeing what they want to see, or more precisely, who are choosing NOT to see what they DON'T want to see. It's like gate security, trying desperately NOT to see the bearded man in the suicide vest.

The irony is that Flight 93 is supposed to be the symbol of our woken vigilance. Those charged with the memorialization of Flight 93 are not just un-vigilant. They are relentlessly anti-vigilant, absolutely determined not to even consider the possibility of untoward intent.

We hosted an open design competition in time of war and literally invited the entire world to enter, yet the idiots who sent out this invitation cannot concieve that the enemy might have actually taken them up on it. They are outright hostile to anyone who points out the overwhelming evidence that this is in fact what happened.

Other places where the 40 heroes are depicted as symbolically damned

In the sequence of 44 glass blocks that are to be emplaced along the flight path (equalling the number of passengers, crew AND terrorists), all four "extra" blocks are placed in the Islamic heavens.

The three that are to be inscribed with the 9/11 date will be placed on a separate upper section of Memorial Wall that is centered on the bisector of the half mile wide central crescent: exactly the position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag. Thus the date goes to the Islamic star. The date goes to the terrorists.

The 44th block is at the upper crescent tip, commemorating the spot where, in architect Paul Murdoch's description, the terrorists broke our circle and turned it into a giant (Mecca oriented) crescent, to be inscribed: "A field of honor forever."

In contrast, the forty blocks inscribed with the names of the forty heroes are placed just above the crash site, down below the star on the Islamic flag. They are outside of the symbolic Islamic heavens, which makes them symbolically damned.

Murdoch continues this theme with the 38 Memorial Groves. There CAN'T be 40 because the Memorial Groves are part of the giant crescent, which makes them part of the symbolic Islamic heavens, and infidels can't be depicted in the Islamic heavens. The full analysis of the 38 groves shows Murdoch's evil genius at its fullest flower. Sickening, but well worth comprehending, if you can stomach it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Petition picking up steam

Blogburst logo, no accident

World Net Daily has a very informative article today about our petition to investigate the Flight 93 memorial. It includes excerpts from Tom Burnett's letter to the American people; it includes information about the fraudulent Park Service investigation (where an Islamic scholar said not to worry about the half mile wide Mecca oriented crescent because nobody has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before); and it reviews the four specific complaints highlighted in the petition (the giant crescent, the Mecca orientation, the Islamic sundial and the 44 blocks).

Those last four links are to graphics that Tom Burnett is going to have on poster-boards when he addresses a Republican convention in Wisconsin at the end of the month. World Net Daily is looking to add video content these days so Tom is going to try to get video of his speech that we can edit down to five minutes of highlights for WND.

The first place we will be delivering the petitions is to the Memorial Project's public meeting on May 3rd in Somerset PA. It looks like we are going to have quite a few signatures, both from the electronic petition (zooming towards 2000 already), and from the paper petitions (now circulating on the ground in PA).

At least one state legislator from Pennsylvania has signed the petition, and a Congressman has expressed interest in entering the whole thing into the congressional record. That would be a second Congressman coming out publicly against the memorial. (Tom Tancredo asked the Park Service last fall to scrap the crescent design entirely.)

Will any of the big radio radio voices wake up to the evidence that al Qaeda accepted our open invitation to the ENTIRE WORLD to enter our design competition? All they have to do is look at the FACTS.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

UK Independent reports the Mecca orientation of the Flight 93 crescent

Blogburst logo, no accident

On Saturday, the conflict over Islamic symbolism in the Flight 93 memorial got its first international news coverage. One highlight is the conversation that Leonard Doyle, U.S editor of the UK Independent, had with Tom Burnett Sr.:
Tom Burnett, whose son Tom Jnr died in the crash, said of the design that it is "aesthetically wonderful," but "a lot of it contains Islamic symbols". He added: "We ought to just throw the design out and start anew because it really dishonours those who died."
Towards the end, Doyle moseys around to the bombshell, reporting the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent as a fact. The bad news is that Doyle immediately tries to dismiss this explosive information by making a completely irrelevant and factually preposterous counterclaim:
Part of the blame must lie with Paul Murdoch, architect of the winning design who initially described it as a "Crescent of Embrace". The title caused the internet to erupt with conspiracy theories. Then someone noticed that the arc actually pointed towards Mecca. The fact that this was also the direction to Washington DC was lost on the conspiracy theorists.
No, the direction to Mecca is NOT the direction to Washington. The shortest-distance direction to Mecca (the way that Muslims calculate the direction to Mecca) heads northeast from the western Pennsylvania crash-site. Some people find that counterintuitive, but Pennsylvania and Mecca are both in the northern hemisphere, with Mecca being about 2/3rds of the way around the hemisphere. Thus the direction to Mecca takes a shortcut towards the north pole. D.C., in contrast, lies southeast from the Shanksville crash site.

The errant claim that D.C. and Mecca lie in the same direction is a red herring anyway. What difference would it make if people facing into the giant crescent were facing Washington? Is there a religion of facing Washington five times a day for prayer? Were the hijackers of Flight 93 followers of such a religion. No. They faced MECCA five times a day for prayer. That is why the Mecca direction matters.

A crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a "mihrab," and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. The memorial now being built in Shanksville will be the world's largest mosque by a factor of about fifty (and there are some really big mosques).

Doyle is not the first person to try to dismiss the Mecca orientation of the Flight 93 crescent by claiming that the crescent also points to something else. Of course it DOES point to a host of other places. It points to everything on the line between the crash site and Mecca. Earlier this year the crazy Dr. Daniel Griffith noted that one of those points turns out to be the Vatican. So what? There is no religion of facing the Vatican for prayer.

The Independent should issue a correction

Given that Doyle's attempt to dismiss the Mecca orientation of the crescent was based on an absurdly wrong factual claim (that the direction to Mecca is the same as the direction to Washington), the Independent ought to issue a correction, especially given the importance of this error to Doyle's reporting. Without the factual error, his illogical pretense that the Mecca orientation would not matter if the crescent happened to also point to Washington simply disappears. The Mecca orientation would then stand in naked disgrace before the Independent's international readership. Is that enough of a prize to make a serious push for?

Doyle has already been asked for a correction, without reply. Our petition, however, gives us a new tool for dealing with such recalcitrant parties. We are up to about four hundred signees after one week, and over half say they are willing to engage in activist measures like forwarding emails. Maybe this is a good opportunity to fire a test shot, and unload a minor deluge of correction requests on the Independent.

If you want to pitch in, just copy and paste the following short note into an email
To the Editors of the Independent:

Please correct a glaring factual error in Leonard Doyle's article on the Flight 93 Memorial ("Conspiracy or coincidence? Flight 93 memorial attacked over crescent shape," March 29, 2008). Doyle's reporting of the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent is much appreciated, but he then tries to dismiss the significance of this orientation by making the factually ridiculous assertion that the direction to Mecca from the Shanksville Pennsylvania crash-site is also the direction to Washington:
… someone noticed that the arc actually pointed towards Mecca. The fact that this was also the direction to Washington DC was lost on the conspiracy theorists.
The shortest distance direction to Mecca is to the northeast from Shanksville. Washington is to the southeast.

It is important to correct Mr. Doyle's errant excuse for dismissing the Mecca orientation of the crescent because orientation on Mecca is actually very significant. A crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a "mihrab" and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. The planned memorial will be the world's largest mosque. Please include this significance of the Mecca orientation in your correction.

Respectfully yours,
If you haven't yet signed our online petition, please give it a look. Also, Tom Burnett Sr. just released a public appeal for people to spread the word about our petition effort. If anyone wants to forward or post Tom's letter, it is available for copy and paste here (scroll to bottom for HTML format).

Glaring omissions in Doyle's report, amounting to cover up

If the Independent's correction policy extends to dishonest reporting by omission, there are two other key facts, fully known to Mr. Doyle, that the Independent should publish. While he was driving to Shanksville, I talked to Mr. Doyle for almost a half an hour, mostly about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent.

Doyle was fully apprised of the double dealing of Memorial Project spokesmen who in private conversation admit the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent and make excuses for it (basically, they all assume it is coincidental), while in the newspapers they deny that the crescent points to Mecca. For example, when Superintendent Hanley was asked directly about the Mecca orientation by a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette last summer, she claimed that:
"The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site."

Thus Doyle was fully aware of the controversial nature of the Mecca orientation claim, yet he did not report it as a matter of contention. He reported it as an fact. That means one of two things. When Doyle talked to Hanley (who is quoted in his article), she may have acknowledged the Mecca orientation of the crescent to him. Alternatively, Doyle could have checked the Mecca orientation of the crescent for himself. (I told him how. It takes literally 2 minutes to verify.)

Which is it Mr. Doyle? Either is explosive and should be reported. If a reporter for a major newspaper verifies for himself that the Flight 93 crescent points to Mecca, he damned well ought to say so! If Memorial Project personnel admitted the Mecca orientation of the crescent, after a long history of denying it to the press, that is newsworthy!

Why is Doyle holding back? This is cover-up, just like his attempt to dismiss the Mecca orientation with the red herring about the direction to Mecca also being the direction to Washington.

A perverted concept of "balance"?

Doyle's behavior is a puzzle. If he wanted to cover up the Mecca orientation of the crescent, why did he report it at all? In two and a half years, only one other reporter bothered to fact-check and report the orientation of the crescent. (Kirk Swauger at the Johnstown Tribune Democrat wrote last summer that: "[The Mecca orientation claims] seem to be backed up by coordinates for the direction of qibla from Somerset that can be found on Islam.com. When superimposed over the crescent in the memorial design, the midpoint points over the Arctic Circle, through Europe toward Mecca.")

One possibility is that Doyle may be pursuing a perverted concept of balance, akin to the left wing preference for equality of outcomes over equality of opportunity. The facts tilt in favor of the critics of the crescent, so in order to write a story that presents the two sides as equally valid, Doyle buries the facts, not completely, but enough to write a story that does not advantage either side. Of course if the facts went against critics of the crescent, this concept of balance would go out the window (as it should). But when the facts support conservative voices, this perverted concept of balance seems to be a second mode that the West's left wing media falls into.

That's just a theory. Perhaps Mr. Doyle can offer a better explanation. His article is in many ways quite a nice one, telling the story of Flight 93, and of Tom Burnett Jr.'s decision to do something to stop the hijackers. Give Doyle credit also for reporting the most explosive fact (the Mecca orientation). Then he dismisses the Mecca orientation with a completely fraudulent dodge, and omits how the Project has been denying the Mecca orientation for years. Very odd.

Doyle also fails to mention that every particle of the original Crescent of Embrace design remains completely intact in the so-called redesign.

In contrast to his fabricated grounds for dismissing the Mecca-orientation of the crescent, Doyle simply repeats without comment the Memorial Project's claim that the design was changed to remove "any perceptions relating to Islamic symbolism":
The crescent became a circle, with two symbolic breaks, one where visitors will walk along the flight path, the other at the crash scene.
Would it have been too much to note, as was clearly explained to Mr. Doyle, how every particle of the original Crescent of Embrace design remains completely intact in the so-called redesign, which only added a few irrelevant trees to the rear of a person facing into the giant crescent?

The circle is still "broken" in the exact same spots, creating the exact same crescent. This is even how architect Paul Murdoch explains the crescent design: the terrorists broke the circle, turning it into a giant (Mecca-oriented) crescent. The only change in the "redesign" was to include a broken off chunk of the circle, which now floats out behind the mouth of the crescent.

After long conversations with Tom Burnett, myself, and Bill Steiner (who has been organizing opposition on the ground in Pennsylvania for two years) Doyle actually knows more about the Islamic symbolism in the crescent design than any other reporter who has covered this story. If he would just report the truth, he could do some real good, and advance his own career at the same time, by breaking the story of a lifetime. Instead, he has decided to hide the truth, even using blatant disinformation to do it. Sure looks like ideological bias.

Insist on a correction.

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