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Mother of Flight 93 hero calls for “a full and transparent review” of the crescent-shaped memorial

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For two years, Tom Burnett Sr. has been speaking out against the crescent-shaped memorial to Flight 93. This week Beverly Burnett (mother of Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.) stepped into the public eye to support her husband, and to make her own appeal for a full investigation:

Today, I am adding my voice for a full and transparent review of the National Park Service and Flight 93 design selection process that produced Crescent of Embrace. Does it have Islamic symbols or doesn’t it? Let’s settle this once and for all.

Why do you think Tom Sr. opposed this design? It is pretty simple; Tom Sr. saw the Islamic symbols and knew those symbols did not belong at the crash site of Flight 93.

Tom Burnett Sr. traveled to Pennsylvania last August to attend the Task Force Meeting to voice his opposition to the memorial design. A Family Board member as well as a commissioner accused Tom Sr. being “just like the Islamic terrorists” that killed our son.

Why didn’t someone speak up and defend Tom Sr.’s right to voice his opinion?

Thanks to The Somerset Daily American for publishing Mrs. Burnett’s complete statement, which she also entered into the record of the most recent Memorial Project meeting. Read the whole thing.

Two other mentions of the memorial controversy in the local PA press this week

In a letter to the editor, a local woman echoed Mrs. Burnett’s sentiment in favor of preserving the site as it is, instead of demolishing the highly regarded Temporary Memorial and radically transforming the landscape, as the Memorial Project intends.

At present the Temporary Memorial looks down over the “field of honor.” Because this temporary memorial is located roughly in the center of the planned half-mile wide crescent, it will be eliminated. Visitors who stand at the location of the Temporary Memorial will no longer look out over the original landscape, but will instead see the crash-site framed between the pincer tips of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent.

They call the crescent a broken circle now, but the unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11 (originally called the Crescent of Embrace) remains completely unchanged.

Nice words from a local columnist, but no fact-checking

In the area’s second local paper, The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, columnist Ralph Couey offers a very nice tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 in which he mentions Mr. Burnett’s opposition to the planned memorial. Unfortunately, Mr. Couey goes on to describes Mr. Burnett’s opposition as “hopeless intransigence,” and expresses his optimism that it can be gotten past.

Given that newspapers are supposed to get to the truth, one would hope that those who gain the privilege of this public platform would bother to check the facts. If Mr. Burnett is correct in his warnings about Islamic symbolism, then finding a way to get past these objections is like finding a way to sneak a hijacker past gate security. It is a bad thing, not a good thing.

The petition that Mr. Burnett sponsored along with our blogburst group lists four damning facts about the approved design that can all be verified in a matter of minutes. Can Mr. Couey check just one: that a person standing between the tips of the giant crescent and facing into the center of the crescent will be facing within 2° of Mecca?

The Muslim prayer direction in this animation (qibla) is from the Mecca-direction calculator at Islam.com. (If you have trouble getting their calculator to work–your Java has to be configured correctly–there is another Mecca direction calculator at QiblaLocator.com.)

This Mecca-orientation makes the giant crescent a mihrab, the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. Does Mr. Couey really want to see the world’s largest mosque planted on the Flight 93 crash site? It is fine to speak highly of the heroes of Flight 93, but it would be a lot more meaningful if he would honor the Burnett’s urgent appeal for fact-checking by stepping over to a globe and checking this one simple factual claim.

Mr. Couey is not the only one who wants the crescent controversy to go away without caring to know the truth. Sorry, but that is insufficient. Planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent on the crash-site will dishonor the heroes of Flight 93, and it fails to follow their example. They didn’t just have good intentions. They got the job done, and we have to get the job done too. We can’t be asleep at the wheel while an al Qaeda sympathizing architect hijacks our memorial.

What? Is it just too outlandish to think that the enemy might try to hijack one of our memorials? The same way that it is just too outlandish to think that the enemy might dare to hijack our commercial airliners? Do these people even know what they are memorializing?

But they CAN wake up. All they have to do is actually check the facts. Then they will know. So please Mr. Couey, take the time to check a few facts, then write a second column, reporting your findings. Somebody out there in Somerset needs to start telling the truth. It might as well be you.

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“They had some forewarning and they chose to take action.” The defenders of the crescent also have forewarning, and are trying to cover it up.

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Gordon Felt, president of the Flight 93 family group that supports the crescent shaped memorial, offered a nice summary statement of the heroism of Flight 93:

They had some forewarning and they chose to take action.

“It’s that citizen soldier, heroism message,” he said “that we want to get out and memorialize their actions.”

Mr. Felt also has forewarning of an enemy plot, but he and the other defenders of the crescent design are choosing not to act. They are displaying a perfect anti-spirit of Flight 93.

According to Flight 93 Advisory Commission member Tim Baird, they all know that all of our basic claims about the crescent design are accurate: the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent; the 44 translucent blocks that are to be placed along the flight path, etcetera. Yet they and their allies in the press are doing everything in their power to keep the public from knowing what they know.

Example 1: PA paper reports Mecca orientation controversy, omits its own verification of the Mecca orientation of the crescent.

In last week’s anniversary coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Johnstown Tribune Democrat noted the controversy over the orientation of the crescent. We say it points to Mecca. The Park Service denies it:

The project also has been dogged by complaints spearheaded by California author Alec Rawls that the memorial points to Mecca and is a veiled tribute to the Islamic terrorists – a claim family members and developers maintain has been investigated and refuted.

What reporter Kirk Swauger fails to mention is that he himself fact-checked the Mecca-orientation claim last year, and published his findings:

Rawls maintains that the midpoint between the tips of the crescent points almost precisely toward “qibla,” the direction to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to face for prayer.

His 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.

This is the only instance in three years now where any news organization has ever published any fact-checking of our easy to fact check claims about the memorial design. Alec has several times emailed Kirk’s published confirmation of the Mecca-orientation to every newsdesk in Pennsylvania and to every reporter covering the memorial story. They ALL know about it. Yet even Kirk continues to present the Mecca orientation claim as a “he said, she said” conflict, without letting his readers know that he has verified the Mecca-orientation for himself (and this isn’t the first time he has made this omission).

If Mr. Swauger really wanted everyone to forget his confirmation of the Mecca-orientation, he could just avoid any mention of the orientation of the crescent at all. Alec’s best guess is that Kirk is being held back by Tribune Democrat editor Chip Minemyer, who has tried to sweep the memorial controversy under the rug from day one, but the reporters are also neck deep. Several have suggested that to investigate and report on the accuracy of our claims would be taking sides. Of course that phony “scruple” would disappear in a second if the facts showed our criticisms to be bogus.

Example 2: Gordon Felt himself misled the public about the 44 blocks.

The Crescent of Embrace design, now called the (broken) Circle of Embrace, calls for a total of 44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks to be placed along the flight path. (There were forty passengers and crew on Flight 93 and four terrorists.)

In trying to get this information out to the public, we need to be brief, so “44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks” sometimes gets shortened to “44 glass blocks,” or “44 blocks.” Asked last spring about the 44 blocks, Gordon Felt declared it a lie:

Opponents also claim there is a plan to have 44 glass blocks — for the 40 victims and four hijackers — in the design.

“That’s an absolute, unequivocal fabrication that is being portrayed as fact,” said Edward Felt’s brother, Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93. “It’s misleading and helps drive the conspiracy theory.”

But he follows this denial with a footnote, indicating that he knows full well that there will be 44 memorial blocks:

Felt said the names of the passengers and crew will be placed on the memorial, but no final decision has been made on how they would be displayed or on what material.

In other words, he is nit-picking over our occasional description of the blocks as “glass blocks,” when they might not all be technically made of glass.

As Alec’s original report to the Memorial Project made clear, 43 of the blocks are described in the design drawings as “polished, translucent white marble”:

Memorial Walls, 43 "glass" blocks, 45%

Click pic for larger image.

The lower section of wall, on the left, contains forty of the “translucent white marble” blocks or panels (backlit at night), inscribed with the names of the forty heroes. The upper section of wall, on the right, contains three more blocks, inscribed with the 9/11 date.

That upper section of wall, by the way, is centered on the bisector of the giant crescent, placing it in the exact 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.

Here is the 44th block on the flight path. It marks the upper crescent tip, where according to the Park Service’s own website, the flight path symbolically breaks our (Christian) circle, turning it into the giant (Mecca oriented) crescent. A clearer depiction of al Qaeda victory is hard to imagine, and it all comes together right here:

Large glass block at upper crescent tip

At the end of the Entry Portal Walkway (after the walkway symbolically “breaks” the towering Entry Portal Walls) sits a large “glass memorial plaque” that dedicates the entire site.

This 44th translucent block on the flight path marks the spot where the terrorists symbolically broke our harmonious circle and turned it into a giant Islamic shaped crescent. To be inscribed: “A field of honor forever.”

Gordon Felt knows ALL of this, and is trying to keep the public from knowing. It’s as if someone on Flight 93, hearing from the ground that airplanes had crashed into the Trade Towers, insisted to the other passengers that NO airplanes had crashed into the Trade Towers.

Apparently grief has made these people crazy. They have forewarning, and are struggling with all their might to keep others from being forewarned as well.

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What if a Chinese rebel pulled off the biggest practical joke in history, and nobody got it?

In contrast to architect Paul Murdoch’s dirty trick (trying to plant a terrorist memorial mosque on the Flight 93 crash site), Zhang Yimou’s trick at the Beijing Olympics was moral, beautiful, and hilarious.

In case you missed it, the Beijing closing ceremony was an extended dramatization of the sexual act, ending with the fertilization of an egg.

Here is a still image of the final tableaux. After the circle of a thousand yellow-clad egg-girls has finally been penetrated by the couple hundred bouncing sperm-boys, the sperms rush to the center to form the nucleus of the fertilized egg, while the egg girls spread out to form the albumen:

Here is the video (two minutes):

If this WMV file won’t play on your computer, you can try reading this post over at Error Theory, where Alec’s original Blogger Video upload might still be working. (Access to the video is difficult because the NBC footage cannot be posted at YouTube or Google Video. The full video has been available at uZood. We claim that our shorter clips are FAIR USE, based on news value.)

Zhang Yimou’s drama began with WHAT LEADS to the fertilization of an egg (1 minute):

In between The Act and its result was a parade of floats, dramatizing the journey of the sperm through guess which body part: closing ceremonies

Anatomical drawing, for comparison.

Wondering where the ovaries are? Floating 40 feet above the entire production:

No anatomical drawing needed to recognize this. Georgia O’Keefe would be scandalized.

But the performance wasn’t just a sex scene followed by a biology class. The whole production is rendered out of passion and spirit, which connect to the wellspring of spirit in the middle part of the performance, where the circulatory “chi” of the Tai Chi masters is depicted by lit circular bicycles, circulating through bordered pathways around the still pulsating sexual center:

closing ceremonies

Chi bicycles circulate the pathways of spiritual energy before passing through the red center itself, presumably symbolizing the delivery of the chi to the zygotes.

The philosophy behind this representation may be Taoist or Buddhist, but the result is hardly distinguishable from Catholicism, which also sees the spirit inhabiting the body at conception (an idea that the Chi-Coms, with their policies of forced abortion, might prefer to suppress).

In all a beautiful, profound, life affirming, and wonderfully amusing practical joke. The fertilization of the egg at the end is meant to be the punch line, confirming everyone’s suspicions about the obvious POSSIBLE sexual connotations of the preceding. This is not hidden folks. You are SUPPOSED to get it. (Original expose here.)

Choreographer Zhang Yimou is China’s most decorated film-maker, with a long history of butting heads with Communist censors, and of making sexy female-centered movies. It is not surprising that he would find a female-centered ode to procreation irresistible.

If some of his Communist overseers were in on the trick that is great news. If they have that much humor, maybe we can feel a bit better about them. The other possibility is that Yimou was able to keep his overseers from seeing enough of the production at once to figure it out. That would be a magnificent story of defiance, which will be lost if people don’t get it!

Life affirming vs. murder-cult affirming

This makes two examples of semi-hidden symbolism in a mega-scale production. We have architect Paul Murdoch’s dirty trick and Zhang Yimou’s wonderful, beautiful and very funny trick. Zhang is the good twin to Murdoch’s evil twin. In contrast to Zhang’s life-affirming symbolism, Murdoch is hiding the most disgusting tribute to evil and murder ever concocted.

If we can break the story of the good twin, and see Zhang’s production properly celebrated for what it truly is, that spotlight will shine on the evil twin as well, and reveal him for what he truly is. Zhang’s trick should also be a much easier story to break, and not just because half the world saw his production. If people are loathe to witness evil, either out of political calculation, or simply because they want to give the benefit of the doubt, everybody loves a good joke.

Zhang and Murdoch (Zhang is the surname) both needed for their symbolism to be semi-hidden. If it was too obvious, the hidden meaning would erupt in controversy and threaten the completion of the project. But the meaning couldn’t be too hidden. Once the production is a fait accompli, people have to get it. The symbolic accomplishment has to be demonstrable, or all is for naught.

The positive morality of Zhang’s display explains how he was able to get away with it. There can’t be a woman in that fertilized egg scene who, after multiple rehearsals, did not know that she was dramatizing the fertilization of an egg. There cannot be a man on spring shoes who did not know he was playing a sperm, but because it was beautiful and fun, everyone was willing to go along with the joke.

Ditto for any Chi-Coms who figured it out (probably as the performance date loomed). And why not? With such a lovely trick, if it comes out that the party knew, it will be to their credit that they let it proceed.

These dynamics of positive morality are not available to Paul Murdoch. For his evil scheme to advance, he needs a very different moral dynamic to be in play, a dynamic of willful blindness, where people look at the world in terms of what they think is most advantageous for them to see, instead of in terms of what is actually there. Unfortunately, this is the dominant cognitive style in much of America today.

It is no surprise that people who could choose a memorial that is laid out in the shape of an Islamic crescent and star flag would be determined not to be concerned that the crescent actually points to Mecca. After all, the crescent and star flag configuration is obvious:

Crescent and flag22%

Click for larger image.

Anyone who can be willfully blind to THAT can easily ignore what seems to them to be much more esoteric, like the orientation of the crescent. It doesn’t matter to them that the orientation of the crescent is actually the most important thing to Muslims, turning the crescent into the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. What MUSLIMS think? Why that is positively arcane, to anyone who finds it advantageous to think so.

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I did a 45 minute interview with Washington D.C talk-radio host Joe Ardinger Saturday night (3-8-08, Segment 3).

It rips. We exposed a lot of the terrorist memorializing parts of the Flight 93 Memorial, and went over the clear proofs of intent that architect Paul Murdoch included in the design.

Joe’s interests: “Ghosts, UFO’s, The Lizard People from The Hollow Earth, Politics, True Crime, Conspiracies, you get the idea…” If he wants outlandish, the truth about the Flight 93 Memorial is tops, which could just make Joe the man for the Job.

I know nothing about the Lizard People, or Joe’s politics, but this issue ought to transcend all domestic divides, and for Joe it certainly does. Very fun interview. Joe is a great host, and he says he wants to keep after this.

That’s excellent. Thank you Joemericans!

(If Joe’s 3-8-08 Segment 3 link ever disappears, there is a backup copy here.)

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It points to Mecca! Push it!

Flight 93 is the symbol of our woken vigilance. We are supposed to be alert now, to jihadist enemies that hide amongst us, pretending to be trustworthy friends.

Those charged with the memorialization of Flight 93 have instead embraced an anti-spirit of Flight 93, regarding vigilance as somehow beyond the pale even of contemplation.

Listen to the words of Clay Mankamyer, one of the founders of the Flight 93 Memorial Project, describing the Project’s reaction to warnings of Islamic symbolism in the Crescent of Embrace design. They asked the accused architect Paul Murdoch about it. They agreed with him that it was “too big a stretch” to think that he had conspired to intentionally include Islamic symbolism, and so they decided that: “we’re just not going to address the issue.” They made an up-front decision NOT to look at the facts.

Here is the audio (50 seconds) followed by a transcript:

Audio button, reel to reel
The controversy then arose. When I first heard it, it was a street preacher who had drawn attention to the similarities to the red crescent, and when you heard what he had to say about it, and looked at the design, there were without a doubt some striking similarities. He went to, I went to, Paul Murdoch and expressed some concern and wondered what they were going to do about it. Their decision was that, well, certainly everybody is going to see that any similarity is going to be just coincidental and it’s too big a stretch to think that anybody conspired to create anything but a memorial to the heroes who WON the battle that fateful morning, and so they decided that, ‘we’re just not going to address the issue.’

Mankamyer is not ideologically disposed to be politically correct. He is a conservative Christian patriot, speaking in this instance to a Christian Coalition meeting (recorded by Bill Steiner, with the knowledge and permission of those in attendance, 9-18-2007, Greensburg PA). What seems to be operating here is a generous spirit of goodwill, unwilling to believe anything bad about this architect they had all worked with and put their trust in.

Goodwill only towards the man accused of an enemy plot

The problem is that Mankamyer et al. failed to similarly give the benefit of the doubt to those who were issuing warnings about the design. If they had treated the critics as credible people too, they would have let the facts decide, and Murdoch’s dishonesty would have been quickly exposed.

When the controversy over the crescent name and shape first erupted, Murdoch denied that his giant crescent had the same shape as an Islamic crescent:

Theirs is a lunar crescent. Ours isn’t based on that.

Oh yeah? Zombie posted a “throbbing crescent” animation (no longer active) that showed otherwise, and Michelle Malkin broadcast it to the online masses. Here is a three panel re-creation:

Throbbing crescent 50%
“Throb on” shows the Tunisian crescent, matching the geometry of the Crescent of Embrace almost exactly: about 2/3rds of a circle of arc, with a circular inner arc. (Most definitely NOT a lunar crescent, which covers half a circle of arc and has an elliptical inner arc.) “Throb off” shows bare crescent site plan. (Click pic for larger image.)

All that people like Mankamyer had to do was actually look at what people were telling them and they would have known immediately that Murdoch was deceiving them. Instead, they explicitly decided that they were NOT going to look at the facts. They extended good will only to the man who was accused of perpetrating an enemy plot, while extending nothing but ill will towards his accusers.

“A shrine to Micky Mouse”

Mankamyer’s presentation includes some wrenching examples of just how willfully blind he and others have become as they continued down their chosen fact-free path. Listen to the crazy excuse he comes up with for not being concerned about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent (ten seconds):

Audio button, reel to reel
You see what we are up against though. I could come in here and say… I could draw a point from this window to that window, and it goes right to Orlando Florida and this is a shrine to Micky Mouse. [laughter]

This is clever? A Mecca-oriented crescent or arch shape is the central feature around which every mosque is built. A line across two windows does not orient anything, and the scumbags who hijacked Flight 93 did not pray to Micky Mouse five times a day.

Of course Mankamyer was intentionally offering the stupidest example he could concoct as a way of suggesting that it is just as stupid to be concerned about planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent on the Flight 93 crash site. If he had said that directly everyone in the room would have been disgusted, so instead he made the most disingenuous comparison he could come up with.

This is what their spirit of goodwill has degenerated into: pure malignant bias.

They all know about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent

Notice that Mankamyer does not deny the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. This squares with what Flight 93 Advisory Commission member Tim Baird told Alec Rawls in July 2007: that everyone involved in the Memorial Project is fully aware that the giant crescent does in fact point within two degrees of Mecca. They all just have excuses for why they are not concerned about it.

“I won’t be concerned unless you can prove intent,” Baird said, “and it is impossible to prove intent.” i.e. Baird does not care what the facts are. There is absolutely nothing that could ever wake him up from his anti-vigilant slumber.

They all know that the public would never accept a giant Mecca oriented crescent on the crash site, regardless of whether it was intentional or not, so they lie about it. One project spokesman after another keeps declaring that factual claims like the Mecca orientation of the crescent are false and “preposterous.”

How long before one of these fine upstanding citizens recognizes that it is wrong to keep lying to the public about explosive information that they all know to be true?

Mankamyer says that he would like to see a Congressional investigation

The scenes are quite astounding. Clay Mankamyer, a conservative Christian, manages to get a Christian Coalition meeting laughing about the Mecca orientation of the Flight 93 crescent. How do you ever live that down?

You start by trying. In the question and answer part of the meeting, Bill Steiner asked for an independent investigation, and Mankmyer said he would join Bill in that (10 seconds):

Audio button, reel to reel
Bill Steiner: “The only concerns we have is that this design be fully vetted by a Congressional investigation before it goes any further.”

Bill talks over Mankamyer’s reply, but Mankamyer repeats himself enough to be heard: “And I would like … I would join you in that.”

If Mr. Mankamyer would insist publicly on a Congressional investigation, it would go a long ways. So would admitting to the public that he and others in the Project are aware of the factual accuracy of the Mecca-orientation claim.

Tom Burnett Sr. is asking everyone to help him get state and Congressional investigations started. It would certainly help if at least a few people from inside the Memorial Project would start telling the truth.

“I came into this world to be a witness for truth”

The heroes of Flight 93 did not obfuscate. They faced the harsh truth of their situation and acted as love required. Mankamyer understands that. He is a genuine patriot, who dedicated himself to the memorialization of Flight 93.

Somehow–apparently at the urging of architect Paul Murdoch–he let himself be guided by presumption, finding excuses to avoid unpleasant truths. (It was in talking to Murdoch that Mankamyer and others decided it was “too big a stretch to think anyone conspired” and they should therefore “not … address the issue.”)

Facing threat of death, Jesus told Pilate that he “came into the world to be a witness for truth” (Jn 18:37). This is his most fundamental instruction to his followers: trust in truth. Never EVER put presumption ahead of witness. For those who make this mistake, it is never to late to undo it.

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