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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caught on video: shameful cover-up of the crescent-topped Tower of Voices


For three years, the Flight 93 Memorial Project has been relentlessly dishonest, publicly denying damning facts like the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent while making excuses for these facts in private.
Before the 2007 Memorial Project meeting, Project Partner and Flight 93 family member Patrick White was asked by the press about claims that the giant Crescent of Embrace points to Mecca. He said that all of the claims about what is in the design had been thoroughly investigated and been found to be untrue and "preposterous."

In private conversation at the meeting itself, White acknowledged the Mecca-orientation of the crescent and made excuses for it, arguing that the almost-exact Mecca orientation cannot be seen as a tribute to Islam because the in-exactness of it would be "disrespectful to Islam."
It is difficult enough to comprehend how Flight 93 family members can know that the giant crescent does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca, as critics are claiming, and still be okay with it. But White and the other Project Partners are going even further. They are knowingly covering up this damning information, and even flat lying to the public about it.

Whatever the explanation, this is what we are up against. Memorial Project participants know that the press will only cover our denunciations of the crescent design in those rare instances where we are able to mount a substantial public protest. Since the press never checks the facts, Project partners just issue whatever denials will get them through that news cycle, no matter how dishonest.

The above video

An example of this shameless misdirection was caught on video at last summer's Memorial Project meeting. Alec Rawls, who made the trip to Somerset PA along with Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 hero Tom Jr.), directed public attention to the crescent-topped Tower of Voices. A full-color advertisement in the Somerset newspaper showed the public what the Memorial Project and the press would not: that the Tower of Voices is topped with an Islamic shaped crescent, soaring in the sky above the symbolic lives of the 40 heroes:

Tower of Voices top

At the meeting, Patrick White castigated Rawls for showing the meeting this artist's rendering of the crescent topped tower, even as this very same graphic was on display by the Memorial Project itself just outside of the courtroom where the meeting was taking place.

White angrily denounced any suggestion that the approved plans for the memorial were indicative of what would actually be built, clearly implying that the crescent topped tower is no longer part of the planned memorial. Yet White had asserted exactly the opposite just three months earlier, when he and other family members involved with the Memorial Project declared that they would fight to build the design as approved:
Commission Chairman John Reynolds said he anticipated that people who opposed the memorial design would present a petition to throw it out.

But family members yesterday said they will work tirelessly to have the monument completed according to the design by the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"We're standing up and saying, 'Enough.' We're proponents of the winning design," said Patrick White, whose cousin, Louis "Joey" Nacke II, died on Flight 93.


Mr. White said his group rejected any wholesale change to the design but allowed that it would have to be modified as it shifts from paper to reality.

However, Mr. White added, "They're not going to be changed based upon the idea that someone sees crescents everywhere."
This was shortly after our blogburst group started hitting hard on the crescent-topped tower, which the Project Partners are known to have been angry about. In effect, White was directly insisting that the Tower would not be changed just because people were upset about its crescent shape.

The press ignored White's implied denial that the crescent shaped tower will be built

If the crescent shaped tower is actually to be removed, or changed to some other shape, that is a significant concession, and should have been widely reported, at least by the western Pennsylvania press, but it was not mentioned in any newspaper.

Has the blatant Islamic-Supremacist symbolism of the crescent-topped tower actually penetrated the thick skulls of Patrick White and his cohorts? That is doubtful. When they only faced blogosphere pressure over the crescent-topped tower, their response was angry insistence that the design would NOT be altered. The difference in August was that everyone they had to deal with face-to-face had just seen the crescent topped tower in the local newspaper. The difference was exposure.

Since the press went on to cover up what we worked so hard to expose, there is no reason to think that the Memorial Project will change the design at all. They managed to sneak their cover-up through one more news cycle, which is all they have ever cared about.

Not that any tweaking of the design could ever make it anything but a terrorist memorial mosque in any case. The Tower, for instance, will still be a year round accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial, regardless of any change to the Tower's profile. (The Memorial Project knows about this too, and makes utterly dishonest excuses for it.)

Better stand up and fight America, or there WILL be a terrorist memorial mosque on the Flight 93 crash site.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mehserle did have a Taser, did get control of Grant's arm

A few updates on the shooting of Oscar Grant by BART officer Johannes Mehserle.

BART is now referring questions to the Alameda DA, who is pretty tightlipped. DA spokesman John Creighton would not tell me whether Grant and his cohorts had been searched before the fatal incident. (Michael Rains, an independent legal consultant cited by AP, claims that Grant and his fellow detainees had not yet been searched when Officer Mehserle was called in.)

Creighton did confirm that the officers at the scene were equipped with Tasers, but would not tell me if there were any reports of Officer Mehserle giving verbal Taser warning.

I also managed to find what seem to be full resolution (not high resolution) versions of the two cell phone videos of the shooting. They show some important facts.
1. Oscar Grant was NOT handcuffed at the time of the shooting. Immediately after the shooting, Mr. Grant can be seen with his arms behind his back. The fact that his arms stayed behind his back after he was mortally wounded has led some to claim that Grant had to have been handcuffed at the time of the shooting. This is immediately disproved however, when a few seconds later the two officers turn Grant over and his arm falls freely to the ground:
Oscar Grant's arm, post shooting, not cuffed
Frame-grab (at 1:40), a few seconds after the shooting. Circled in red is the mortally wounded Mr. Grant, his un-cuffed right arm lying out to his side.

2, Officer Mehserle DID get control of Grant’s arm, and got it around behind Grant’s back, before shooting.

Earlier in the above video (1:15-1:21), it looks as if Mehserle is unable to get control of Grant’s arm, but the second video, taken from further to the left , shows that Mehserle DID get control of Grant’s arm (at 30-32).

Does this mean that Officer Mehserle had no legitimate reason to escalate? No, because Mehserle had to fight to get control of Grant’s arm. Remember Michael Rains’ claim that Grant had not yet been searched. With Grant fighting to keep his arm underneath his body, Mehserle had to have been concerned that Grant might've been going for a weapon. That concern would justify pulling either a Taser or a gun, but Mehserle’s couldn’t go for either immediately. His first priority would be getting control of Grant’s arm, so that if Grant did have a gun, the situation wouldn’t turn into a shootout. Thus it makes sense that while he was fighting for Grant's arm, he would have also been thinking of accessing a weapon, so that has soon as he did get control of Grant's arm, he did reach for a weapon (the appropriate weapon at that point being his Taser).

If Mehserle thought he was grabbing his Taser, then the entire sequence makes perfect sense, and it is easy to see how Mehserle might have confused his pistol for his Taser, since until he got control of Grant’s arm, he couldn't have known which Instrument would be called for.

Note also that as soon as Mehserle starts fumbling for his pistol (the fumbling is an indication that he thought he was grabbing his Taser), Grant manages to buck the other officer (the officer with the close-cropped hair) off of his neck. This starts a struggle with the close-cropped officer that lasts until Mehserle finally manages to get his gun out (at 35).

Here is a frame-grab from the first video, showing the end of this struggle, where the close-cropped officer is just getting his knee back on top of Mr. Grant's neck (at 124):

Close cropped officer regains control
Officer Mehserle (behind) is just getting his gun clear of his holster.

In the next second the close-cropped officer either gets a verbal warning, or sees that Mehserle’s gun is drawn, prompting him to pop up and away from Grant, just before Officer Mehserle fires. Here is the fatal moment (at 126):

The fatal moment

A moment later (at 127) Mehserle looks up in horrified surprise:

Mehserle shocked

Taser vs. gun : compliance vs. defense

From the other angle (at 35-37) it seems that just before Mehserle fires, Grant might even be trying to pull his own arms up behind his back. If Mehserle thought he was using his Taser, his failure to instantly re-assess Grant’s compliance is less than ideal, but seems unexceptional. The only issue with the Taser in this situation is whether Grant is complying, and an instant before, he had not been complying.

If Mehserle knew he had his gun in his hand, the standard is completely different. Like anyone else, a police officer can only shoot in order to defend himself or others against imminent threat of grave bodily harm. Because Mehserle had succeeded in getting Grant’s arm under control, Grant did not present any imminent threat, leaving no justification for the use of deadly force.

The fact that Mehserle DID get control of Grant’s arm makes it that much more likely that he confused his pistol for his Taser

Once Mehserle got control of Grant’s arm, going for his Taser is perfectly understandable. Going for his gun makes no sense at all. If he intended to go for his gun at that point, then the shooting was just an execution and Mehserle should be put away for it, but this is a far less plausible explanation than Taser confusion.

The only contra-indication to Taser confusion is Mehserle's failure to speak up. If he did experience Taser confusion, he has gotten very bad legal advice. As prosecutors asserted in the Marcia Noriega case, there is no criminal liability for Taser confusion, but Mehserle has to make that case. If he doesn’t make to the DA, he’ll have to make it to a jury, in a case where, if had offered the Taser confusion explanation earlier, the DA would have almost been precluded from filing charges in the first place. Yikes.

Given the strength of the Taser-confusion defense, I’m guessing that Mehserle must not have given a verbal Taser warning. With such concrete evidence of Taser confusion, the DA would know that reasonable doubt is a certainty and could not responsibly bring any charges, never mind murdercharges, even without Mehserle himself speaking up.

Failure to issue a verbal Taser warning will make it harder for Mehserle to establish a Taser confusion defense, no matter how true the defense is. That is a good point for other officers to remember. Giving a verbal Taser alert will not help to stop Taser confusion, but it should help officers who experience Taser confusion from being wrongly convicted on criminal charges.

An innocent Mesherle (by far the most likely case) should still be able to mount a solid Taser confusion defense based on the reasonableness of using his Taser, his extended fumbling to get his gun out of its holster, and his shocked surprise when the gun went off, but good luck to anyone trying to get race-neutral justice from an Alameda County jury.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dishonest global warming survey counts skeptics as alarmists

"Survey: Scientists Agree Human-Induced Global Warming is Real"

So reads the press release put out by the survey takers. Sounds like evidence that "the debate is over" doesn't it? Until you read what the scientists actually asked:
Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.
Only 90% think the earth has warmed since the 1700's? That doesn't inspire much confidence, but at least the question is clear. The second question turns entirely on the meaning of "significant," which is not provided with any referent.

Both sides of the global warming debate expect human production of CO2 to have SOME effect on global temperature, and most skeptics would have little reluctance to label human effects "significant." Dangerous? No. Small compared to the natural sources of temperature variation? Yes. But that does not mean they are not significant.

Thus the survey utterly fails to distinguish between the two sides of the global warming debate. Yet the University of Illinois researchers pretend that it does:
Doran and Kendall Zimmerman conclude that "the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes." The challenge now, they write, is how to effectively communicate this to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.
They ask a survey question that is designed to elicit the same answer from alarmists and skeptics, then misrepresent the result as evidence that, amongst scientists, there are no skeptics. Pure intellectual fraud, just like Hansen and Schmidt and Mann and Schneider and Holdren and Chu and rest of the global warming liars.

All of these scientists know that global temperature has gone up and down with solar-magnetic activity throughout the millennia, and they all know that solar-magnetic effects are completely excluded from the models that depict 20th century warming as driven by C02. That is, they all know that they are engaged in fraud, just as Doran and Zimmerman have to know that their survey question does not distinguish between alarmists and skeptics, even as they claim that it does.

What an intellectually honest survey would ask

At current levels of industry and agriculture, how would you compare human and natural sources of global temperature variation (choose one):
1. Human effects on global temperature are tiny compared to natural effects.

2. Human effects are modest compared to natural effects.

3. Human and natural effects are similar in size.

4. Natural effects are modest compared to human effects.

5. Natural effects are tiny compared to human effects.
Note that the IPCC's position, about which there is supposedly no debate, is approximately 5. Skeptic positions range from 1 to 3. I myself am a 1, yet I would still have little qualm calling human effects "significant." In particular, I am hopeful that as the current global cooling continues, sucking the CO2 and the water vapor out of the atmosphere along the way, aggressive human burning of coal, oil shale and tar sands might be able to put enough CO2 back into the atmosphere to raise the floor on global cooling perhaps by a degree or two.

The less CO2 and water vapor there is, the more heat trapping work is done by each increment of human produced CO2. Just because human activity is not at present having much warming effect does not mean we CAN'T have a useful effect, if we put our backs into it.


I emailed Doran, politely letting him know that I put up a post calling him on his fraud. He politely emailed back that it seemed I had only read his press release, and directing me to a link to the published article. It is not significantly different from his press release, which is taken pretty much verbatim from the article.

Another article quotes Doran making his alarmist agenda clear:
'It's really dangerous for the public to think we are still debating about global warming,' he said.
And so he comes up with this fraudulent survey, that alarmists and skeptics will give the same answers to, making it look like there is no debate.

An example of skeptics who would be labeled as alarmists under Doran's scheme comes from Luboš Motl's review of the new book by Tim Balling and Patrick Michaels:
The authors classify themselves as believers in man-made contributions to global warming but disbelievers in the climate apocalypse. Rationally speaking, I agree with them.

They explain that the moderate climate scientists such as themselves are being prosecuted [sic].
In Doran's scheme, the views of Balling, Michaels and Motl are evidence that there is no debate, and that we should reject as dangerous the idea that there is still debate. He takes their persecution and recasts it as justification for persecution.

As the hoax of dangerous CO2 caused warming comes unraveled, the work of enablers like Doran should not be forgotten.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Confirmed: BART uses the pistol-shaped X26 Taser

Just got a call back from BART's communications officer. He confirms that Bart officers carry the X26 model Taser; that this is a recent addition to their equipment; and that all officers must complete 6 hours of training before they are allowed to carry a Taser.

The X26 has the same feel and controls as a service pistol, with an ambidextrous safety:

Taser X26

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
BART is looking into a number of [explanations for the Oscar Grant shooting], including whether the officer had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his firearm.
Given the similar operation of the X26 and a service pistol, this explanation for why BART officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant is not just plausible. It is the ONLY plausible explanation.

A more recent Chronicle article questions how Mehserle could be justified even in using a Taser, given that: "Grant had struggled with officers but had already been restrained when Mehserle shot him in the back." A look at the video, however, clearly shows a brother officer struggling to keep Grant down while Mehserle is fumbling to pull his gun out of its holster (at 25 seconds):

Mehserle's fumbling is another sign that he was confusing his pistol for his Taser, as is his stunned reaction when the gun goes off.

As the Marcia Noriega case shows, there is no criminal liability for Taser confusion

In 2002, another California police officer accidentally killed a man by mistaking her pistol for her Taser. Prosecutors studied the case and decided that with no criminal intent, no criminal charges were possible:
Wyatt explained that without the intent of criminal negligence, criminal charges against Noriega could not be sustained.

“The required aggravation ... did not occur in this case,” he said.
The Mehserle case is identical. A lot of commentators are making reckless statements about Mehserle at least being guilty of gross negligence, which is just wrong. Negligence requires that a reasonable person would foresee the likelihood of an injurious outcome. If Mehserle thought he was firing his Taser, he obviously did not foresee ANY of the consequences of actually firing his pistol.

As I commented at Sam Spade's San Francisco:
The only case for negligence at all is if Mehserle skipped out on training, or wore his equipment in a non-regulation way. What happens under duress--trying to access his Taser with a struggling detainee and a mob encroaching--is at that point just an accident. There is no time to "foresee" anything.

You are inciting people with errant legal analyses, just as people did in the Rodney King case, where King's persistent refusal to obey police commands resulted in extended escalation of police actions, in accordance with the letter of department policy. Keep it up and you are likely to have blood on your hands.
At most, a fair jury could decide that Mehserle WAS wrong to Taser an already restrained arrestee, but the only thing he should be liable for in that case is the foreseeable consequences of misusing his Taser, not his gun. But IS it unreasonable to Taser a still struggling arrestee? A fair jury will most likely not find Mesherle guilty of ANYTHING.

An ACCIDENTAL shooting is what Oakland freaks out about?

These little dirtbags that are rioting in the streets murder each-other day-in and day-out while victimizing numerous Oakland innocents. Of course they are eager to use an accidental shooting as an excuse to riot, in accordance with their dirtbag natures. But what is the explanation for all the adults who are pandering to this bogus outrage instead of throwing cold water on it?

At best, Oakland society thinks that "the rule of law" means that if they don't riot, they have a right to the judicial outcome they want. "No justice no peace" is really a threat of violence if there IS justice, as happened in the Rodney King case.

The gang trash and their enablers need to be taught what the rule of law really means, by prosecuting every last rioter.

If there is any liability for Taser confusion, it belongs to the Taser company, and to BART

Taser's designers presumably felt that making their device similar in operation to a standard semi-automatic pistol would make it easier for police officers to learn to operate, which is undoubtedly correct. Did they also consider that it would lead to some officers mistaking their Taser for their pistol and vice versa?

Making the controls similar to a service weapon seems like an unwise design choice, but it might have been the only choice. Taser pistols only offer one shot, which must be well aimed. Suppose they gave the device a thumb trigger instead of the usual index finger trigger. It seems likely that an oddball trigger of this sort would ruin aim, which would make the Taser useless. It would be better for officers not to have a Taser at all than to have one they can't hit with.

Given that Tasers are effective in subduing people who officers might otherwise have to shoot, the occasional accidental shooting caused by Taser confusion seems like a sound trade-off for saving human life. If that is the case, it needs to be codified by exempting the Taser company from civil liability for this confusion, and by limiting the liability of police departments and individual officers, so long as a reasonable standard of training has been met.

Another example of "Taser confusion" here. ("That hurt," said the suddenly compliant victim. I'll bet.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1 in 131 billion: the movie

Set to another Ennio Morricone masterpiece.


Architect Paul Murdoch split his giant Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93 into two separate arcs at the top, in effect creating two separate crescents:

Flashing Entry Portal Walls, Small
Detail view shows the pair of thousand foot long, fifty foot tall, Entry Portal walls. Both walls roughly follow the line of the circle that is symbolically broken by the flight path (seen coming down from the NNE).

The crescent defined by the end of the inner Entry Portal Wall points 1.8° north of Mecca, ± a tenth of a degree. The crescent defined by the end of the outer Entry Portal Wall points exactly at Mecca (± 0.1°):

Exact and inexact Mecca orientations Sm

The hidden exact Mecca orientation of the giant crescent is only one of the ways that Murdoch proves he pointed the crescent towards Mecca on purpose (making it a mihrab, the Mecca direction indicator around which every mosque is built). He also proves intent by exactly repeating both of the Mecca orientations of his giant central crescent in the crescents of trees that surround the Tower of Voices part of the memorial.

That two different crescent structures would by chance turn out to have this exact same multi-Mecca oriented geometry is 1 in 131 billion. Just run the numbers (with some help from Mr. Morricone):


The repeated multi-Mecca-oriented geometry is just one of the many repeated Islamic and terrorist memorializing features in Murdoch's design, yet by itself it is plenty sufficient to secure Murdoch's goal of proving intent. For comparison, the latest DNA fingerprinting technique, admissible in courts of law for finding people guilty of murder, has a chance of misidentification of "one in several billion."

If Murdoch's crescent design gets built, history will not be able to deny his achievement: that he succeeded in planting a terrorist memorial mosque on the Flight 93 crash site, claiming that sacred ground for the murder-cult Islam of Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Hamas and Europe. Who would want to do such a thing? A substantial portion of Saudi Arabians, Pakistanis, Iranians, Palestinians and Europeans, for starters.

The previous two parts of my video series here and here.

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