Sunday, July 30, 2006


THE OP-ED DOJO. Wandering through the nation's op-ed pages is like ambling through a dojo. Each writer has his own particular style, technique, finishing move. There's Tom Friedman, who rushes in with the Implausible Conversational Anecdote, links it to an Off-Topic Invocation Of World Travels, and finishes you with a Confusing Metaphor From Above. Or there's Maureen Dowd, who deploys Unfounded Personal Speculation mixed with Confusing Allegories till she's set up her killing blow: Insinuation of Character Defect. It's impressive stuff.

The deadliest op-ed columnist, however, is unquestionably David Brooks. He's the drunken boxer of the opinion page, luring you into a false sense of security with Banal Observations that comfort through Faux Bipartisanship until you're ready for the Illogical Conservative Conclusion. Today's column is an archetypal example of the master at work: a series of cogent critiques of Hillary Clinton's college aid proposals that effortlessly glide through research demonstrating their uselessness, a couple lavish compliments to Clinton and her team, and finally a conclusion that explains the only way to increase college attendance is to encourage two-parent homes, fundamentally reform schools, and increase church-sponsored mentoring programs. Funny thing -- this is exactly the rightwing's agenda! And yet it comes wrapped in such warm bipartisanship and elevated chin stroking that you'd never notice Newt Gingrich silently mouthing along in the background.

jeebus. we're in july 2006, ezra. pointing out the obvious in david brooks is kinda like poking holes in a judy miller article about aluminium tubes. are we really still so screwed up that we need to explain the obvious bollox in a david brooks column? i fucking hope not!

The 'root cause' of everything that spills out of brooks' mouth is that he is a talking point shill - you can literally watch him on lehrer on a friday night reading his talking points. you can watch brithume or the BeltwayBoys and they do exactly the same thing.


damien said...

Just in passing from Prison Planet:

This weekend (29-30 July) sees a very security conscious five-day management retreat for 250 executives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in San Fransisco. Tony Blair will be there along with Shimon Peres, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Newt Gingrich, Bono and a brace of other world leaders.

Curiously, on the same weekend, will be held the finale of the annual gathering of a select private club at BOHEMIAN GROVE, a secluded redwoods setting about 75 miles out of town. This annual retreat - which has previously been attended by Clinton, Shultz, Gore, GW Bush, Kissinger and Gingrich - has been a regular gathering for senior US politicians for decades and has obtained considerable notoriety for the activities that DON'T get reported in our press.

This is a forum for world leaders to discuss policy matters. If previous accounts are to be believed (at least according to Pres. Nixon) they can also engage in blatant homosexual activity or avail themselves of male and female prostitutes shipped in for the occasion. And a lot of heavy drinking.

Oh, and there's that other little thing that never makes our TV screens. A forty foot high owl statue dedicated to the pagan god Moloch who used to be placated in ancient times by child sacrifice. Attendees can't find a spare child this weekend (the quota being used up in Lebanon), but there will be the substitute sacrifice, a burning human effigy. It's supposedly an innocent exercise, discreet fun for the morally challenged who run our lives.

I wonder who'll make the side trip this year?

damien said...

I just noticed, Andrew Bolt from the Melb Herald Sun is over there. What a wacko world we live'd be nice if the Moloch fire just took off and burned the lot of 'em. Throw David Brooks on as well.

Don said...

Speaking of Alex Jones, via BradBlog, the vid from the panel discussion on 9/11 - the NeoCon Agenda is up at Google Vids here.

Interesting watch. One question, though: while the "No Boeing at the Pentagon" theory is mentioned, during the discussion, Steve Jones points to Jim Hoffman's 9-11 Research for more information. What's odd is Hoffman has a section dismissing that theory as a disinfo strawman. What (if any) is the consensus on that?

damien said...

There isn't any consensus, Don. Most 9/11 critics know that 'what hit the Pentagon' has to be avoided as their main argument as long as they don't have access to the various videos of the incident. It allows them to be (wrongly) painted as loonies. Far better to insist on the release of the videos the govt tacitly admits to possessing in its FOI responses.

The physical evidence discrepancies at the Pentagon are real enough. But those discrepancies have been rejected in favour of a number of statements provided by witnesses who 'saw' Flight 77 crash. Unfortunately, their descriptions do not rule out that it was another type of plane than a 767 (perhaps one fitted with a missile fired at the last minute such as from a Global Hawk). Moreover, only a handful saw the actual impact close up and most of those are government or defence industry employees of one kind or another. Their accounts fall into two categories: a 767 type plane, or a smaller commuter plane. There are also considerable discrepancies in their details: you could see passengers in the plane/there were no visible windows; there was a C130 type plane high overhead/there were no other aircraft.

High speed impact studies of fighter aircraft have found massive 'shredding' of the planes into hand sized pieces (although the engines usually survive). This is part of the official claim for the Pentagon - but 90 tones of debris is still 90 tons, shredded or not, and that doesn't appear to be there. Part of the official explanation has been that the impact 'vaporised' much of the aluminium based fuselage. This, of course, is nonsense. The temperature of jet fuel burning simply doesn't get high enough to bring this about. Also the 767 engines are huge and contain titanium components making them exceptionally rugged and heat resistant. Then there's several hundred seats and the luggage for fifty or so passengers. They don't go away in a hurry. And there are no wall markings at the Pentagon that match the alleged impact from the engines of a 767. So the physical evidence is seriously in conflict with the official account.

What does it for me is the damage to three Pentagon rings. No nose cone could cut it's way through 9 feet of reinforced concrete. And I doubt if an engine could have either. That leaves a missile fired just before impact and that's the explanation I'm comfortable with.

There is an interesting story from April Gallop, a Pentagon employee who comes across as credible. Amongst other things, she claims that explosions occurred at 9.33 and that their clocks are stopped at that time (impact was initially reported to be at 9.41, later revised to the official 9.37).

The Pentagon security camera photos that have been released have been heavily doctored. They show an impact flame that is not consistent with jet fuel but a high ordinance explosion. And, of course, the govt refuses to release videos from the nearby 7-11, several hotels, the freeway and a naval base along the flight path.

The subsequent Pentagon photo absurdities raise serious questions about what the hell was going on that day 1 2 3

The best two lines of inquiry AFAICS are:

(1) The admission by Sen.Bob Graham Head of the Joint Congressional 9/11 Inquiry that a soveraign foreign nation assisted the 9/11 terrorists; and

(2) The fact that, out of 200 flight schools in Florida, the 9/11 terrorists chose to attend Huffman Aviation, an international drug-traffic operation that could only have been allowed to operate with the tacit approval of one or more US regulatory agencies. Links: 1 2

...and, yes, I'm still writing like a govt subcommittee on a lubricated lunch :)

damien said...

Lukery, I'd strongly advise you against fp-ing the Bohemian Grove stuff. The urge to post a reptilian-Nazi-illuminati fake moon landing plot would then be almost irresistable. I get these bouts occasionally. You're encouraged to ignore them ;)

Don said...

Thanks for the heads up on that, Damien.

One point: AA77 was a Boeing 757 (as was United 93), not a 767 (AA11 and United 175).

On that, while I don't know offhand the punch power of a 757, I'm leery of the Global Hawk theory, with or without missile(s) (I'm not even touching the idea of an A-3 incongruously re-engined with JT8Ds). For the amount of damage done, particularly to the internal structure, sufficient to cause collapse, I'm leaning towards 80-90 tons of airliner at 250-300 knots. Of course, neither idea considers the possibility that the Pentagon could have been 'prepped' for the attacts as the WTC towers were.

None of the theories precludes stage management of the scenery (wire spools, wreckage, cars, etc.) 'cause these guys love photo ops and they love confusion.

As to the video, the fact that it was the conservative Judicial Watch that 'pried' the released vid out of the FBI does not fill me with warm, fuzzy feelings. I know 4 or 5 guys who could have photoshopped the blast (and the vague motion smudges) depicted in the 'released' video and caps. It could be a total fabrication from a security vid made on any other day, we just don't know.

Which returns to your main point: either way, while there is obviously argument on exactly what hit the Pentagon, you are absolutely correct that the proper statement is a demand for disclosure of the evidence, not just on the Pentagon, but on all of the 'attacks' on 9/11.

damien said...

Don, thanks for the correction. For some strange reason I keep writing 767 instead of 757 even though it has been pointed out to me many times.

The released video clips: they're just all wrong. They prove nothing. The 911 Scholars for Truth link I provided does an adequate debunk. Basically, some of the plane should have been seen in the frames somewhere.

The type of explosion:This is related to the released impact images. The claim is that they show a high charge rather than a jet fuel explosion. It's worth noting that several witnesses record the smell of cordite. Moreover, there seemed to be none of the fuel fireball as seen at the WTC. So, certainly, the explosion looks a lot different and would be consistent with a missile or smaller plane impact.

The damage to the building: The facade only fell down after 20 mins. And the entry hole was far too small for a 757. If you accept the official account then you have to conclude that large parts of the wings and fuselage simply 'folded up' and followed the nose cone into the building. It just doesn't work at all for me. A.K.Dewdney does the missing wings analysis quite well imo.

The type of plane: Size is one of the features that goes astray when people are judging a moving aircraft. So it's possible that witnesses can mistake a smaller aircraft for a larger commercial airliner, particularly if it is made up to look like one. I wouldn't rule out extra fabrication on a Global Hawk, but I say that only because I can find no explanation for the penetrated Pentagon rings other than a missile.

On this issue it's worth noting that the tail on a 757 is HUGE, truly humungous. Since most of the impact would be absorbed by the nosecone, engines and wings I have a lot of trouble accepting that the tail could have shattered into small pieces, or folded up to enter the building.

Right, or wrong, it looks to me (for now) that it had to be a smaller plane rather than a 757 that hit the Pentagon.

Odd Day: I mentioned the Pentagon photo absurdities 1 2 3. They really are strange. I once came across a nightime photo of fires burning on one of the inside rings of the Pentagon on the evening following 9/11. I've lost the photo and the link (damn!!!!!) But there were some media reports that the Pentagon fires "burned for 72 hours". As I say, very bizarre. If you haven't seen the photo links 1,2,3, they're worth a look. This was a very odd day indeed.

Odd Behaviour: We also have that VP Cheney received reports on the approaching Flight 77 and appeared to do nothing. And we have Rumsfeld not entering the chain of command till 10.30 even though officially his permission was required for fighter aircraft to intercept hijacked aircraft. He's out on the lawn at the Pentagon - a job any idiot can do - while the entire Defense command structure is missing a key official. Total crap in my book.

Thanks for your ideas, Don. Cheers.

lukery said...

great work again by both of you

here's a thought. i intuitively understand the 'rational' argument that the reason that there was no debris onsite is becuase planes are basically constructed of tissue paper. - but yet most of the plane actually disappeared into three rungs of the pentagon - which is presumably a pretty strong building.

is there an arugment which straddles the apparent contradiction? are nose-cones made of titanium or some such?

damien said...

There should have been 90 tons of debris and, given the recently reinforced walls, most of it should have ended up outside the building. Moreover, large sections of the wings and especially the huge tail should have been apparent. They weren't.

The nose cone of a 757 is relatively fragile. It would have been destroyed on impact with the outer wall. While parts of the plane, including the engines, may have entered the building, there is no good reason why the plane parts should have proceeded through one reinforced ring of the building, across a vacant yard, through a second reinforced ring, across another vacant yard and through a third reinforced ring only to emerge explosively via a neat circular hole through a brick wall and then come shuddering to an immediate halt.

The whole story is nonsense AFAICS. The physical damage within the Pentagon closely resembles that of a missile strike. link

damien said...

Rumsfeld:"Yeah. And then came in about—between about the first and second floor over here. And it went in through three rings. I’m told the nose is—is still in there, very close to the inner courtyard, about one ring away." (ABC News SHOW: Good Morning America (6:00 AM ET) - ABC September 13, 2001 Thursday)

Rumsfeld is describing how the nose cone of a 757 which is made of carbon fibre material similar to this crashed 100 metres through this - and was "still in there". hmm...

PentagonResearch provides a detailed and thoughtful analysis of the crash, for those interested. They discuss the exit hole and the building performance study (bps) carried out by the American society of Civil Engineers - the official body assigned to assessing the Pentagon damage. Only the team leader was given limited access initially, mostly external to the building, between Sept 14 - 21. Full access to the damaged area was provided for the bps team for four hours only on Oct 4 after ALL the debris had been removed. Almost all of the information used by the 9/11 Commission regarding the damage to the Pentagon was from this pbs report.