Monday, December 10, 2007

Hidden Nuke, Crashed Satellite

Nuclear-armed cruise missiles transported against all Air Force regulations in firing positions on a B-52 bomber, August 30, 2007.

The accompanying links comprise a (non-exhaustive) quasi-chronological sequence starting with one published four days before the notorious flight of a B-52 carrying six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot AFB in Iowa to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. The link below indicates that persons with advance knowledge of a stock-market-crashing event were poised to profit from a crash of 30-40% by September 21st ...and lost about $700-900 million when it didn’t happen (the following link worked originally but has since been taken down).

My first awareness of the B-52 event itself was via an internet publication forwarded with obvious trepidation by Jeff Latas (link below). I include Jeff’s cover e-mail because of his credibility. He is a highly decorated F-15 pilot of the first Gulf War and a former President of U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board (this is still available as of 10-2013. Tip: Use the higher-up download button).

There were at least three Washington Post articles on the B-52 event (links below). The third one below reveals that high-level military officers have been cashiered, and some may yet be court marshaled, for their parts in allowing those warheads to be air transported in direct violation of long-standing rules and virtually unbreakable safeguards. This is very different response than in the wake of 9/11, when the commander of NORAD wasn’t even given a rap on the knuckles for prearranging for the nation's capital to be totally without an air defense on that fateful morning.

Translated: The military high command apparently tolerated the propagation of the myth of 9/11 being the work of 19 incompetent Arabs led by one hiding in a distant cave; but this time they have “drawn the line” against allowing a false-flag attack with a nuclear weapon to occur against Iran ...or on U.S. soil (either of which would crash the financial markets for sure).

The following link notes the subsequent deaths of six servicemen who took part in the mission at Minot AFB, which I suspect means that these six (and likely others) sacrificed their lives to thwart what was likely to have been a false-flag nuclear attack ...which, if on American soil, would have been the trigger for marshal law and cancellation elections, in addition to crashing the financial markets and sending the dollar the way of the peso (The following link still worked as of 10-2013. Tip: The story begins 4 paragraphs below the dedication).

Reports of a "meteorite" impact in Peru, September 15, 2007.

I find the first link below this paragraph to be a very plausible analysis (despite the errors I will mention below) by a woman who writes in Moscow for the newspaper Pravda. The second link below is a western report of the same impact that Pravda reporter Sorcha Faal attributes to a crashed U.S. KH-13 satellite (Both links still worked as of 10-2013).

This second link, appearing eight day’s later than Faal’s column, asserts that “Conspiracy theorists will be disappointed” with what the article purports to be the real story: A meteorite done it.

Oh, really?

Here is the way I approached the “crashed satellite” hypothesis: The orbit of the KH-13 satellite is officially secret, so it can’t be found on the internet (although Russian Military Intelligence surely knows where it is ...or was). So I looked up earlier-vintage satellites of the same series on the Union of Concerned Scientists Data Base:

I found that 4 of the 5 “Keyhole” satellites (all of them advanced KH-11s or KH-12s) are in sun-synchronized near-polar orbits that on passing the North Pole move westward with the sun during their 50-minute trips to the vicinity of the South Pole. Thus, if the KH-13 had such an orbit and was de-orbited during a north-to-south pass over northern South America (see figure at left), it could easily have impacted at Carancas, Peru, following essentially the very same trajectory as reported by eyewitnesses on September 15th (white dashed arrow on the Google satellite view above).

Sorcha Faal went on to assert that “...Americans themselves ...destroyed their own spy satellite with the attack upon it being made by the United States Air Forces' 30th Space Wing located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.” This wording to me implies an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile attack, but that simply could not have been the case, since a kinetic-energy ASAT strike on a satellite this large would have instantly doubled the debris in Low-Earth Orbits (LEO), putting all the rest of our satellites at risk and angering all of the world’s governments who have satellites in LEO (Physics Today, October 2007, p. 35). Since we haven’t heard a peep from a single foreign government, this could NOT have happened. However, all satellites of this size have means of being de-orbited. Indeed, the Keyhole satellites have a propulsion system for changing orbits, which almost certainly would be used in the event the de-orbit command is given.

O.K., now suppose that KH-13 was de-orbited (rather than blown to smithereens in space) by U.S. military officers who absolutely did not want it to be used for an attack against Iran. Assuming it shared the same mass as a KH-12, we’d have a reentry package of dry mass 10,000 kg plus up to 8,000 kg of rocket fuel aboard. The fuel would burn, thus accounting for the daytime visibility of the object that created the crater in Peru. Indeed, the reported light emission at such a low altitude is absolutely incompatible with what is known about meteorites of this size. Otherwise, the diameter of the Carancas crater was misstated by Sorcha Faal as 30 meters, whereas the actually measured crater dimensions were given as 13.3 by 13.8 meters (given in earlier links). Therefore, Faal’s claimed impact-energy release of 1 KiloTon of TNT is over a thousand times too large (vide infra).

I did my own calculations by means of a web-based impact-crater calculator:

For input parameters, I used 7.5 km/second for the orbital speed (typical of LEO satellites), 30 degrees for the impact angle, and for the material density of the impactor I ended up using that of solid iron, because the calculator insists that stony meteorites 10,000 kg or smaller always disintegrate in the upper atmosphere and therefore never impact the earth (except as scattered small pieces). I then varied the projectile diameter until I succeeded in calculating a 13.8 m diameter crater (assumed into sedimentary rock, as evident from the Peruvian altiplano impact site). The calculator noted that that 99.9% of the initial kinetic energy would have been dissipated in the atmosphere, leaving the energy equivalent of less than ½ Ton of TNT to excavate the crater. But the most important result was that the 0.99-meter-diameter pure-iron projectile that gave the correct crater diameter yielded the sought-after mass of the impacting object, that is, 3,050 kg – or about 30% of the dry mass of a Keyhole satellite. This seems like a reasonable number, since many exterior parts would have been aerodynamically ripped off and widely scattered.

The Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators used in deep-space probes and military satellites (including KH-12) typically employ the Pu-238 as the oxide PuO2. While insoluble in water, PuO2 powder could become airborne in the event of a violent explosion (which this impact certainly was). If so, it would have sickened (and probably killed) anyone who breathed in even a small amount. This could explain reports of as many as 600 local villagers near the impact site becoming ill with “headaches, eye problems, irritated skin, nausea and vomiting” (see link below) ...even though their complaints were summarily dismissed as “mass hysteria” (earlier link). No follow-up medical reports have surfaced since the initial reporting.  Could this be because it really was mass hysteria ...or because of a rigorously enforced cover up?  (The following link still existed as of 10-2013.)

I have no idea how much Pu-238 is onboard such satellites as a power source. However, the decay heat of Pu-238 is 0.56 W/g; so, for example, a one kilowatt source would require just 1.8 kg of this extremely radioactive material (half-life 88 years). This amount of Pu-238 might account for reports boiling water in the crater (links above). On the other hand, if it actually was the KH-13 satellite and its fuel continued to burn all the way to the impact point, heated metal parts could have boiled the water for a brief time. In any event, all impact-crater experts would agree that boiling water in the crater doesn’t make any sense at all if the impactor was a meteorite, because ones of this size always reach the ground “stone cold.”

The link below explains why a full-scale air attack on Iran would provoke Iranian retaliation with modern Mach-2.5 “Sunburn” and “Yakhonts” anti-ship missiles which, as already proved in a recent U.S. war game, are virtually certain to sink the entire U.S. Fifth Fleet! And the neocons seem to be good with that ...because they are growing desperate for yet another Pearl Harbor. (The God damned traitorous bastards!!!)

So, what now? Unfortunately, it remains very likely that one of those nuclear-armed AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles from Minot actually WAS stolen. The initial reports from Barksdale were that only 5 of the original 6 missiles arrived there. Then there is the fact that the obvious reason for intentionally downing the KH-13 would have been to prevent its imminent use for targeting the purloined AGM-129 against Iran. (Remember, the Peruvian impact was September 15th whereas the limit on the $900 million options bet was September 21st.)

I sincerely hope that the publicity given the B-52 incident will prevent the use of the stolen warhead on American soil!  Of course, the one person who still retains the motive, means, and opportunity to circumvent the sophisticated multi-layer security system protecting our nuclear weapons is the insane Dick Cheney. Hopefully, however, enough of our high-ranking military officers are sane and know who the real threat is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Concise History of Election-Integrity Investigations, Litigations, and Legislation in Arizona: September 2004 through November 2007

The 2004 Maricopa County Primary

In the 2004 Legislative District-20 (Maricopa County) Republican primary, a candidate for the state House of Representatives, Anton Orlich had a four-vote lead over his opponent John McComish. Under Arizona state law, a recount is mandated whenever the winning margin is less than 0.1%. In the present case, the recount was done with another (ES&S) IVC optical scanner identical with the two used for the (separate) original counts of the At-the-Precinct and Mail-In ballots. And, lo, 489 new votes were counted (an 18.3% increase!) – most of them (464) coming from the Mail-Ins – handing the election to McComish by a margin of 13 votes [1].

The Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) was outraged that County Elections Director Karen Osborne (D) had illegally prepared the Mail-In ballots for a manual recount (which was not carried out due to the intervention of the AZ Secretary of State) [1]. The MCRC took the matter to court. In the interest of getting to the bottom of what had gone wrong with the county’s voting machines, the judge subpoenaed an ES&S technician, Tina Polich, who happened to be stationed in an office very near to Osborne’s in the county elections building. Ms. Polich failed to show up in court on the appointed date and later on gave several excuses [2]. It was brought out in subsequent testimony that Maricopa County Elections officials had lied to the judge about the true reason for her no-show: In fact, she had been told by someone in the Elections office to go home and “lay low” that day [3]. This led to Republican charges of a cover up and their demand for an investigation by the Maricopa County Attorney ...who eventually found insufficient evidence to justify a formal criminal investigation [3].

The problems with the voting machines were never resolved. Arizona Senate Government Accountability and Reform committee chairman Jack W. Harper (R) issued subpoenas to both the Maricopa County Recorders Office and the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office directing them to provide information and access to ballots from the 2004 LD-20 Republican primary race for a review by the committee. These subpoenas were defied by Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer (R), Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas (R), Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell (R), and Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne (D). In the process it was discovered that, instead of being stored in the Maricopa County Treasurer's vault as required by state law, the 17,000 ballots in question were stashed in an unguarded, un-air-conditioned warehouse [4]. Then, just when it appeared that a court would force Maricopa election officials to release these ballots, the FBI unexpectedly swept in and confiscated them ...and many months later reported that it had found no evidence of criminal tampering in the 2004 Maricopa primary [5]. No one knows who summoned the FBI or why. But according to Pima County voting machine expert Dr. Tom Ryan, the FBI’s conclusions “appear to be based on a less-than-thorough investigation and questionable logic.”

Jack Harper went on to propose legislation to assure fair elections, but initially met with knee-jerk opposition from suspicious Democratic Senators. At a Senate session open to the public, Tucson election-integrity activist John R. Brakey placed himself conspicuously alongside Senator Harper and, when allowed an opportunity to speak, he arose to chide the Democrats opposing Harper’s initiative:

“Election integrity is not about right and left. It’s about right and wrong!”

In the end, Senator Harper’s bill failed ...but bipartisanship prevailed. Then-state-Representative Ted Downing (now Chairman of the Election Integrity Committee of the Arizona Democratic State Committee) formed an alliance with his friend Senator Karen Johnson, a Republican who had become deeply concerned about election integrity after the LD-20 problem. Together they put together a very respectable election-integrity bill, with the valuable advice of Tom Ryan. Then they successfully marketed it on both sides of the aisle. This bill, SB 1557, was passed by both houses of the AZ State Legislature with only 5 opposing votes out of 90! Most importantly, it included a 2% hand audit capable of detecting a high percentage of any instances of outcome-determining fraud [6].

Unfortunately, however, in the first audit mandated by SB 1557 carried out in Maricopa County, the rules were found to have been rewritten (by whom?) so as to subvert the law by effectively reducing the required 2% audit to a toothless 0.5% [7].

Origins of the Pima County Democratic Party’s Suit against the Pima County Elections Department

John Brakey has become one of the nation’s finest stolen-elections sleuths ever since he began amassing the evidence for poll-worker fraud in his home precinct (#324 of LD 27) in the wake of the 2004 General election [8]. More recently, John decided to teach himself the “geek Greek” of the Diebold GEMS central tabulator. To help him do this, he urged the State Democratic Party to bring in one of the best election geeks in the Country, Jim March. Jim is an experienced computer tech specialist with 17 years in the IT industry. In 2003 he heard of Bev Harris' work exposing problems with the same Diebold voting systems as are used in Pima County. Soon afterward he began helping Ms. Harris analyze the 40,000 files she had obtained from a Diebold website lacking any security. Jim became the lead plaintiff (along with Ms. Harris) in a California consumer protection suit against Diebold netting that state a $2.6 million refund, and he now sits on the board of directors of Black Box Voting [9], a national non-profit. He was brought to Pima County by the State Democratic Party to help monitor the primaries and General Elections and is currently a tech consultant on the public records lawsuits fought by the county as part of the aftermath.

By Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, John Brakey obtained the computer logs of the Pima County tabulators for the past several years. He quickly discovered that ever since the arrival of Brad Nelson as the Pima County Director of Elections, someone at the Elections Department has been printing summary reports of Mail-In ballot counts up to a week or more before the election. This is strictly illegal under Arizona law: “...there shall be no preferential counting of ballots for the purpose of projecting the outcome of the election.” And, obviously, anyone in possession of such information would have highly accurate advance information, which could be used to trigger targeted “robo calls” (like the one used against Ted Downing in his 2006 primary run for the AZ Senate [10]) ...or to calibrate Trojan Horses placed in the vote-counting software, tailored to infallibly flip just the right numbers of votes to change the outcome of a close race on Election Day without arousing suspicion.

Although merely printing illegal summary reports of early balloting is not prima-facie evidence of election fraud, on 1 February 2007 the Pima County Democratic Party filed a (civil) public records lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court against the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the County Treasurer seeking the production of summary reports of early ballots that were printed without election observers present and were allegedly sealed in the Pima County Treasurer’s vault [11].

Then John Brakey spotted something else. In the 2006 General Election there was a ballot initiative to impose a half-cent sales tax to fund a 20-year, $2-billion(!) Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) plan. Contrary to expectation based on pre-polling, the RTA initiative ultimately appeared to have been approved by the voters. What John discovered was that, after illegally inspecting the first day’s Mail-In returns, Pima County Election Department computer operator Brian Crane backed up the election, and the very next morning he backed it up again, whereupon he immediately printed another summary report. John recognized instantly that Crane had it within his power to take home a copy of the first day’s backup, use it to gauge voter sentiment, and perchance to alter it using Microsoft Access (for example to insert a vote-flipping program in the event that the RTA tax was being rejected). In this case, the next morning’s back-up could have served the purpose of replacing the original ballot definition file with such an altered version. And in that event, the purpose of printing a new summary report would have been to assure that the manipulations he had just inserted had actually “stuck”.

Enter Attorney and Democratic activist William J. (Bill) Risner. As an “officer of the court” bound to report any evidence of possible criminal activity that comes to his attention, Bill immediately filed a criminal complaint with Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard (D). In knee-jerk response, the Pima County Board of Supervisors (BoS) went to court asking for a stay on civil case until the criminal case was settled. However, a judge ruled in favor of Bill Risner’s arguments that these particular civil and criminal cases have so little in common that they are not barred by law from proceeding in parallel. And another piece of good news is that the local media didn’t shy from reporting this story [11 – 16].

But the bad news is the bizarre way in which the Attorney General’s office chose to carry out its criminal investigation. AG Terry Goddard’s idea was for his office and the Pima County BoS to jointly investigate the Pima County Democratic Party’s complaint against the Pima Country Division of Elections. Given that the BoS (1) had never before audited the Department of Elections and (2) had steadfastly opposed all requests of local election-integrity activists to examine voting data, Bill Risner wrote the AG’s office that he was “flabbergasted ...that the Pima County Democratic Party could not get a copy of an investigative report on an examination of Pima County’s Elections Division’s computer data.” He went on to analyze the “roles” of the various parties to this complaint, namely, that of the AG’s office should be “prosecutor” or “investigative,” while surely that of the Pima County Division of Elections and the BoS should be “suspect.” Given those roles, he decried the “astonishing cozy relationship” between the AG’s office and the suspects.

While stating that there was at that point not yet any concrete evidence of criminal wrong doing, Bill Risner called attention in the same letter to the fact that a representative of the AG’s office had recently attended a court hearing where the BoS’s lawyer “...claimed that ‘any attempt’ by lawyers from either side to question ‘anybody involved with Pima County’s Division of Elections or the Pima County elections computer system runs a significant risk of impacting that witness’s constitutional rights and eliciting an assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege.’”

So while the Attorney General was treating the suspects with deference, the suspects’ own lawyers tacitly admitted that the suspects may actually be entangled in a real crime.

Nevertheless, on September 14, 2007, the Arizona Attorney General released a report from iBeta Software Quality Assurance relevant to the issues of Bill Risner’s criminal complaint and claimed that this report showed no evidence of vote flipping or election tampering in the May 2006 Regional Transportation Election [11 – 16]. “We did not find any evidence that the computer technician at the center of this case manipulated this election,” stated Terry Goddard [14].

But Goddard had declined the Pima County Democratic party’s offer of critical evidence bearing on the case, and he neglected to inform his contracted investigator, iBeta, of the existence of this vastly more telling evidence.

The iBeta final report noted (for files they were given to analyze) that the time stamps on the voting data pertaining to the RTA race did not match their creation times according the Diebold audit log. However, being in the dark regarding John Brakey’s crucial evidence, iBeta was inclined to accept the hypothesis proffered by John Moffat, a member of the Pima County election staff, that these irregularities were caused by a July 2006 replacement of the central computers.

John Brakey points out that Moffat’s explanation is plainly absurd when viewed in the light of the evidence offered by the Pima County Democratic Party to the Attorney General (who refused to use it): “We took a ‘snapshot’ of the entire File Allocation Table of both servers as of early Dec 19th 2006 ...creating plain text files containing the filenames, file sizes, date/time stamps and directory locations of every file on both server disks.” Result: “As of Dec 19, 2006 the files with their date/time stamps perfectly match the RTA audit log.”

The Pima County Democratic Party’s Jim March, in a deposition included as Exhibit A on Bill Risner’s (civil) court filing of September 17, 2007, writes: “[W]hen I compare the audit logs and the file listings obtained by the Pima County Democratic Party in December 2006, I note they match perfectly, with no more than one minute’s variation between them. ... This suggests that rather than the timestamps being lost in mid-2006, they were intact as of December 2006 when the Pima County Democratic Party began investigating via public records, and the files were altered sometime before being shipped to iBeta. (Emphasis added.)

Still, some concerned Pima County citizens were willing to take the long view that the Attorney General might not have committed a whitewash because he could have been misled by the county. In a passionate e-mail reply to some of these folks, Bill Risner reminded them that “The ‘Case Opening Sheet’ from the AG lists the ‘Pima County Elections Division’ as the ‘SUSPECTS.’” He went on to ask “Can anyone recall any other investigation where the suspects choose which tests to run?” Bill summed it up: “This was not just a whitewash but an over the top whitewash.” (Emphasis added.)

In the same e-mail Bill listed the issues that disturb him the most: “Bryan Crane and Brad Nelson are still on the job. ... For me the retention of those persons at their jobs who could manipulate another election is an important issue.” “It is a huge issue if the RTA was hacked. It is a huge issue that the county claims the whole department has a risk of criminal prosecution. It is a huge issue that they are still hiding data based upon meritless excuses. Are we not interested in election integrity? Has there been an honest investigation? Can anyone make that statement? ... Is Goddard so out of touch that he has been unconcerned with this investigation and did not inquire about it?” Fill in your own answers but these are not small questions and they demand real answers.” (Emphasis added.)


[1] John Dougherty, “Election Eve Nightmare – Can the Maricopa County Elections Department ensure the accuracy of early voting? Hell No!” Phoenix New Times, 10/14/04;

[2] John Dougherty, “Pandora's Box – Is Arizona's Speaker of the House afraid of what might happen if the truth is learned about a local election?” Phoenix New Times, 10/27/05;

[3] John Dougherty, “Ballot Box Breakdowns – An independent voting-technology expert finds serious problems in the Maricopa County Elections Department” Phoenix New Times, 1/12/06;

[4] John Dougherty, “Ballot Boxing – GOP honchos keep hiding the truth about election foul-ups, as it's learned that local ballots may be stored illegally,” Phoenix New Times, 1/19/06;

[5] Howard Fischer, “FBI uncovers no evidence of tampering in 2004 election,” Capitol Media Services, Tucson, Arizona, 12/1/06;

[6] Kathy Dopp, “History of Confidence Election Auditing Development & Overview of Election Auditing Fundamentals,” National Election Data Archive, 10/22/07;

[7] Michael Shelby, “Arizona manual audit a farce,” Black Box Voting, 11/14/06;

[8] David L. Griscom, Ph.D., “Sleuthing Stolen Election 2004: John Brakey and the "Hack and Stack," OpEdNews, 3/17/07;

[9] Black Box Voting home page:

[10] Recording and press release: “Democrats Blast LD28 Republican ‘Robo’ Phone Calls,” Pima County Democratic Party, 9/10/06;

[11] Jim Nintzel, “Peep Show – Watchdogs worry that someone's been sneaking a peek at early-ballot results before Election Day,” Arizona Citizen, 2/15/07;

[12] Andrea Kelly, “State asked to review '06 RTA vote – Lawyer for Dems says transport tally was possibly altered,” Arizona Daily Star, 5/26/07;

[13] Mark Kimble, “Does the RTA vote really add up?” Tucson Citizen, 6/7/07;

[14] Garry Duffy, “Probe finds flaws in Pima elections system,” Tucson Citizen, 9/15/07;

[15] Andrea Kelly, “No sign of wrongdoing found in RTA vote,” Arizona Daily Star, 9/15/07;

[16] Editorial: “Our Opinion: Pima County must resolve vote-counting security issues,” Tucson Citizen, 9/17/07;

Friday, January 05, 2007

“Hand Waving” the Physics of 9/11

Beginning of the destruction of World Trade Center 2: The upper block lists about 20 degrees just before disintegrating. Photo taken from Saint Paul's Chapel. Millennium Hotel is in the foreground.

Manuel Garcia, who has his Ph.D. in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from Princeton and works as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has written a recent series of articles for CounterPunch, which is described by the editors as a “widely applauded primer on the laws of physics and the myths of conspiracists (sic)” concerning the collapses of World Trade Center towers 1, 2, and 7.

Below, I will take issue with Dr. Garcia’s primer. He doesn’t get MY applause.

I too hold a Ph.D. (in Physics) from an Ivy League university (Brown) and have worked as a physicist at a national laboratory (33 years at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC).

Physicists with international reputations hate to be caught making mistakes. Even Albert Einstein was chagrined by what he regarded as his “biggest blunder,” that is, adding a “cosmological constant” to his general theory of relativity in order to stabilize the universe against gravitational collapse. Einstein threw in the towel after the astronomers determined that the more distant galaxies have greater “red shifts,” thus proving that the universe is actually expanding. Only after his death was it found out from studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation that, “yes, Virginia,” there really is a cosmological constant!

But there was only one Einstein. The rest of us have little hope that history will look kindly on our blunders.

Mercifully, we normally publish in refereed journals, where some of our inevitable mistakes are caught by anonymous peer reviewers prior to publication. Nevertheless, referees tend to be too busy to catch every error, so mistakes can still leak into print. I have made a horrendous number of mistakes in the process of publishing the 108 papers that I wrote fully myself. I know this because I’ve caught virtually all of them myself by double-, triple-, and quadruple-checking my data, logic, and mathematics before allowing my manuscripts to go to press. My published works are highly respected by my peers according to my score (h=43) on the recently devised Hirsch index [J.E. Hirsch, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 0507655102 (2005)]. This means that 43 of the 190 total papers of which I am the principal author or a coauthor have each been cited at least 43 times in refereed publications.

By contrast, informal publications on the internet are not subject to such checks and balances, and no one’s reputation is likely to be badly tarnished if mistakes are made here. So even physicists may be tempted to “shoot from the hip” in a blog. This situation reminds me of my undergraduate and grad-school days when everyone made mistakes – harmlessly.

There were times when a physics professor would forget important steps in deriving a theorem on the blackboard and get away with not admitting it. Thanks to one of my physics instructors with a sense of humor, I learned a term for a credentialed person’s bamboozling of the uninitiated. It’s called “proof by intimidation.”

There is another amusing term that is almost universally used by physicists. Picture a graduate student eager to explain to his mentor a hypothesis he has just hatched to explain some odd data. Almost immediately he experiences difficulty finding the “right” words (generally because his hypothesis is half baked or flat wrong) and so begins to substitute gesticulations. Thus, physicists have come to refer to simplistic use of words in lame attempts to explain complex physical phenomena as “hand waving.”

Part One of Dr. Garcia’s three-part series in CounterPunch is entitled “We See Conspiracies That Don't Exist – The Physics of 9/11” ( He begins with a short history of the mass psychoses of the past half century and shows by example how many of these have resulted from people’s ignorance of science. He further asserts that such ignorance often causes people to construct myths that help to soothe their fears of forces beyond their control – and that many such myths take the form of “conspiracy theories.”

This may well be true, but what does it have to do with physics?

Deeper into his introductory paragraphs, Dr. Garcia still hasn’t quite reached the realm of physics when he introduces the reader to the concept of “Occam's Razor” in these words: “Experience has shown that if the evidence allows for several explanations to a given problem then the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is most probably correct.”

Hold on! Dr. Garcia grossly overrates Occam’s Razor in the matter of what experience actually shows. In my 40 years of doing experimental physics I’ve found that the phenomena I studied in the greatest depth usually turned out to be vastly more complex than my initial hypotheses anticipated. Indeed, the one time I can remember actually using Occam’s Razor to justify a hypothesis in a published paper, I lived to see it disproved 19 years later by a research group in Palermo, Italy.

Score: Physics 1, William of Occam 0.

What I love about doing physics of the material world is that the correct explanation of each and every physical phenomenon eventually emerges, even if it takes many years. Physicists worldwide read each other’s work, gather more and more evidence, and commonly falsify one another’s earlier hypotheses in the process of getting to the core truth.

But leaving behind the physical world for the world of human conniving, all bets are off.

Human conspirators may well choose to deliberately violate Occam’s Razor simply to throw off forensic investigators sophisticated enough to be aware of the concept. In fact, I gave an example of this in the talk “Forensic Statistical Mechanics Applied to Public Documents Prove Poll-Worker Fraud” that I presented in the symposium “Are We a Democracy? Vote Counting in the United States” at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

Dr. Garcia next describes the multi-volume Final Report by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), issued in September 2005, as the "official word" on the events of 9/11, particularly regarding the collapse the World Trade Center (WTC) towers. He tells us that NIST “did not proceed to a detailed simulation of the collapses to the ground” and that “NIST justified this on the grounds that there was sufficient energy in the descending blocks to crush the lower structures, once failures had occurred.”

In other words, Dr. Garcia is telling us that NIST hand waved the physics of 9/11!

In my opinion, this is unforgivable! Americans have a right to know exactly what happened on 9/11, and this right justifies a major effort to simulate every millisecond of the collapses by means of supercomputers and perhaps mechanical scale models. For $20 million taxpayer dollars, NIST should already have delivered such. That they did not is inexcusable.

But let’s return to Dr. Garcia’s physics tutorial.

In the section called “Problem 1 Force Balance” he considers the force due to the “upper block” of a WTC tower (defined as the part of the building above where the airplane struck) pushing downward on the rest of the building. He uses Newton’s 2nd Law of motion (F = ma, where “F” is force, “m” is mass, and “a” is acceleration) to set up equations for the dynamic force that would be imparted to the lower part of the building in the event that all vertical support members between two of the floors (nominally at the airplane-strike level) should instantaneously lose all of their strength. He concludes this section with this tautology: “Clearly, the lower structure will crumble when F is greater than the maximum force it can support...”

Clearly. But what IS the maximum force the lower structure can support? Dr. Garcia never tells us. Indeed, it sounds rather like he is setting us up for a "proof by intimidation"...

In fact, things really ARE known about “maximum force the lower structure can support.” For example, in the April 2, 1964 issue of Engineering News Record, we read about the “tremendous reserve strength” designed into the exterior columns of the WTC towers: “Live loads on these columns can be increased more than 2,000% before failure occurs.”

But let’s hear Dr. Garcia out.

In “Problem 1, Numerical Example of Progressive Collapse,” he sets up equations for free-fall times and speeds as functions of drop distance without air resistance. Specifically, he calculates the free-fall speed after the “upper block” has dropped 3 meters (the approximate height between floor slabs in a WTC tower) assuming no air resistance – AND assuming absolutely zero resistance by the 47 massive central steel columns or the approximately 200 intact exterior support members. Possible fire weakening notwithstanding, this final assumption is totally unjustified, and I shall have more to say about it below.

But first we’ll see where his calculation leads.

He calculates the total (static plus dynamic) force exerted by the “upper block” upon striking the lower structure after this 3-meter free-fall as being 6.1 times the weight of the upper block. The number “6.1,” as given, has two significant figures (the 6 and the 1), normally implying that any error in this calculation should be no larger in magnitude than plus-or-minus 0.9. So is the number 6.1 really so accurate? Well, it’s accurate if you accept Dr. Garcia’s OTHER assumptions to be accurate.

What other assumptions?

Well, he picks out of thin air a value for the change in speed (dv) that the “upper block” experiences when it hits the floor below it. And the value for the time interval (dt) during which this speed is lost is also arbitrarily chosen by him. Hidden a couple paragraphs before his actual calculation is Dr. Garcia’s assertion without proof or argument that “Impact is a very brief process whose duration is dt = 1/100 [second].”

Whoa, Nellie! It turns out that this value, dt = 1/100 second, is critical to his thesis but he doesn’t tell us where it came from!

So how accurate is this number anyway?

Well, to have such a small value of dt would require that the bottom of the falling “upper block” meet the floor below without the slightest tilt. For example, accepting Dr. Garcia’s free-fall speed calculation of 7.7 meters/second, tilting of a 63.4-meters-on-an-edge WTC floor by mere 1 degree would increase dt from his guesstimate of dt = 0.01 second all the way to dt = 0.14 second, giving the instantaneous total force of the falling “upper block” on the lower structure of just 1.3 times the static weight of the “upper block” instead of the 6.1 times as estimated in his “example.”

So did the “upper blocks” of WTC1&2 fall without tilting?

Well, according to NIST’s final report (Section 6.14.4, p. 146): “Failure of the south wall in WTC 1 and east wall in WTC2 caused the portion of the building above to tilt in the direction of the failed wall.” And in films (and the photo above!), the "upper block" of WTC2 is seen to tilt as much as 23 degrees!

Therefore, if we accept NIST’s last word on the subject, Dr. Garcia’s guesstimated dt parameter is egregiously wrong, and his calculations prove nothing – not even “by intimidation.”

Moreover, if for the sake of argument we were to accept Dr. Garcia’s calculation of a static-plus-dynamic force of 6.1 times the weight of the “upper block,” this number is still far less than the “2000%” live loads (20 times the weight of the block) that the exterior columns alone were designed to withstand for brief moments (see above).

And yet the real elephant in the room still remains Dr. Garcia’s tacit assumption that the intact core columns (most of the original 47) and the about 200 visibly intact perimeter columns between the two adjacent floors in question SIMULTANEOUSLY lost 100% of their strength at the precise moment of collapse initiation.

Why simultaneously?

Well, Dr. Garcia’s dynamic-force calculation assumes the “upper block” to have been in unimpeded free-fall for the full 3 meter drop, whereas if some steel columns simply refused to bend or break at the same time, the “upper block” would have descended those 3 meters without picking up nearly as much speed.

In fact, Dr. Garcia’s concealed assumption that all support columns lost ALL of their strength – from floor to ceiling – during a single very short time interval (much shorter than the 0.78-second 3-meter free-fall time) is unsupported by any evidence, or even by any claim made by NIST.

Moreover, even neglecting the different strengths of steel at different temperatures, it is astronomically improbable that approximately 250 steel columns would fail due to “natural causes” within the same very short time interval. In more popular language, this hidden assumption underlying Dr. Garcia's calculation is "statistically impossible."

But there IS one way that all 250 some columns could have lost all strength simultaneously. It's called CONTROLLED DEMOLITION.

David Ray Griffin has web-published a splendid, highly footnoted account of “The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True”:
This scholarly work, rich in eyewitness accounts, includes 11 separate pieces of evidence that the World Trade Center towers 1, 2, and 7 were brought down by explosives.

Thus, with his hidden assumptions exposed, Dr. Garcia's analysis does NOT support the official hypothesis that fires initiated the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/01 and does NOT contradict Dr. Griffin's compilation of evidence that they were brought down by controlled demolition.

I have a feeling that most physicists never completely outgrow their propensity for "hand waving" and that in moments of hubris some may even resort to "proofs by intimidation." But in the end what keeps us honest is our need to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

Therefore, I implore my fellow physicists and engineers who may have the time, expertise, and (ideally) supercomputer access to get to work on the physics of the World Trade Center collapses and publish their findings in refereed journals like, say, the Journal of Applied Physics.

The issue of knowing who was really behind the 9/11 attacks is of paramount importance to the future of our country, because the “official” assumption that it was the work of 19 Arab amateurs (1) does not match the available facts and (2) has led directly to the deplorable Patriot Act, the illegal Iraq war, NSA spying on ordinary Americans, repudiation of the Geneva Conventions, and the repeal of habeas corpus (a fundamental point of law that has been with us since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215).

Surely these Orwellian consequences of public ignorance constitute more than sufficient motivation for any patriotic American physicist or engineer to join the search for 9/11 Truth!

Version 2.02 September 10, 2010