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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No, the Mecca-orientation of the Crescent of Embrace is NOT a product of the landform

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Defenders of the Flight 93 memorial repeatedly insist that the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent HAS to be a coincidence. It is completely determined, they insist, by the landform, the path of Flight 93, and the impact point, leaving no room for intent to enter.

Of course it is crazy to think that, so long as it is just an unfortunate coincidence, there is nothing wrong with planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent (the central feature of a mosque) on the graves of our murdered heroes. About as crazy, actually, as thinking that the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent could really be a coincidence. First architect Paul Murdoch just innocently comes up with a half mile wide Islamic-shaped crescent to honor the victims of Islamic terrorism, then he innocently places the Sacred Ground Plaza between the tips of the giant crescent, in the position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag, then he innocently just happens to point this entire crescent-and-star-flag configuration at Mecca (and on and on and on).

When the nation saw the second airliner hit the Trade Towers, everyone immediately knew that the first impact was no accident. The more airplanes that Paul Murdoch flies into the Flight 93 memorial, the more the Memorial Project thinks it HAS to be an accident. Its just TOO OUTLANDISH to think that an Islamic enemy could attack us out of the blue and unawares in such a heinous way. What precedent is there for thinking that such a thing could even be possible? (Knock, knock, knock.) And so the more evidence they are confronted with, the more impossible it seems, and the more they insist that Murdoch HAS to be innocent.

Okay, so they are WILLFULLY blind. Even so, they still need an excuse to hang their willful blindness on, and part of Murdoch's evil genius is to supply these excuses. That is where this trope about the crescent design being dictated by the landscape comes from. It comes from Murdoch, and is actually one of his most brilliant deceptions.

Murdoch' PRELIMINARY DESIGN actually can be seen as dictated by the landform, the flight-path, and the point of impact

Before any designs were submitted, the Memorial Project gave all the design contestants a site organization map that labeled the "the ridgeline," "the bowl," "the crash site," and "the flight path." Architect Paul Murdoch claims that all he did was combine these elements by having the flight path symbolically "break" the circular bowl shape, creating the giant Crescent of Embrace design. If you start a crescent at the point where the flight path crosses the ridgeline, and follow the rim of "the bowl" around the ridgeline to create a crescent that "embraces" the Sacred Ground where Flight 93 crashed, then you get the Crescent of Embrace design. Since this procedure uniquely determines the orientation of the crescent, there is no room for the orientation to be determined by anyone's intent. If it faces Mecca, it HAS to be a coincidence.

This argument actually works, but only when applied to Paul Murdoch's ORIGINAL Crescent of Embrace design, which did NOT point to Mecca. Take a look:

Site features and preliminary crescent design, small

The Site Organization Map (left), shows "the bowl," bordered by "the ridge," along with the flight path and the crash site. Murdoch's preliminary Crescent of Embrace design (right), uses the point where the flight path crosses the ridge/bowl as the end point for a crescent that has the Sacred Ground centered between its crescent tips. Resulting orientation: 11.1°. clockwise from north, which is 44.1° north of Mecca.

The explanatory notes in the preliminary design are perfectly accurate when they describe the crescent as focused on the Sacred Ground:
A curving arc of maple trees along a walkway unites the ridge and forms an edge to the bowl, with a focus on the Sacred Ground.
It is also correct to say that this crescent and its orientation are uniquely determined (to within 5° or so) by the landform, the flight path and the crash site. If the crescent arc were extended much further then the bisector of the crescent would no longer point to the Sacred Ground. (The amount of curve between the end points of the crescent does not affect the crescent's orientation. Murdoch established the curve of his original crescent by smoothing the curved shape of the ridge line.)

Murdoch's final crescent design ignores the landform and the crash site

If Murdoch's preliminary crescent design is uniquely determined by the combination of landform, flight path and crash site, then his final Crescent of Embrace design, rotated 42.3° further to the east, obviously CANNOT be determined by these factors. By extending the crescent in his final design to match the full Islamic crescent shape (covering about 2/3rds of a circle of arc), Murdoch created a crescent that no longer points to the Sacred Ground:

The bisector of the crescent in Murdoch's final Crescent of Embrace design points approximately 1.8 ° north of Mecca (marked "qibla"). Notice that the bisector of this Mecca-oriented crescent does not even touch the Sacred Ground, but crosses through the upper portion of the Sacred Ground Plaza that sits up the flight path from the Sacred Ground.

While the crescent no longer points to the Sacred Ground, Murdoch still PRETENDS that it does. Asked last summer about the orientation of the crescent, Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley and architect Paul Murdoch both claimed that it points to the Sacred Ground:
Further, [Hanley] added, it is still unclear exactly where on the landscape the memorial will even be situated. It could move as much as 200 yards, she said, discounting the idea that it faces Mecca.

"The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site," she said.

Mr. Murdoch reinforced that idea.

"It's oriented toward the Sacred Ground," he said. "It just couldn't be clearer."
Hanley may be honestly duped, but Murdoch knows full well that the crescent does not point to the Sacred Ground. Such an orientation would ruin his mosque design, not just because a Sacred Ground oriented crescent would no longer point to Mecca, but also because it would place the graves of the infidels in the location of the star on an Islamic flag, leaving them inside the symbolic Islamic heavens. Blasphemy!

Murdoch has a very different symbolism in mind for the star on his giant crescent and star flag. In the top third of the Sacred Ground Plaza, centered on the bisector of the giant crescent, in the exact position of the star on an Islamic flag, sits a separate upper section of Memorial Wall, inscribed with the 9/11 date. The date goes to the star on the Islamic flag. The date goes to the terrorists.

The duping of David Beamer

At this August's public meeting of the Memorial Project, David Beamer (father of Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer) came out to counter Tom Burnett Sr.'s protests against the crescent design.

Mr. Beamer declared that he had performed several months of due diligence investigating the warnings about the crescent design, by which he presumably meant that he had checked at least a few of our factual claims, like the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent (now called a broken circle). But instead of reporting the results of his fact-checking, Beamer changed the subject. He did not say a single word about the accuracy of any of our claims, but only reported how he had met with architect Paul Murdoch and was satisfied that Murdoch's design properly honors his son and the other murdered heroes of Flight 93.

If he actually did any fact checking, then he is fully aware that the giant crescent DOES point within 2° of Mecca, in which case there is only one plausible explanation for Beamer declaring the design innocent. Murdoch must have convinced him that the crescent orientation is determined by the landform, the flight path and the crash site, so that its orientation on Mecca HAS to be coincidence.

If Mr. Beamer had bothered to talk to the person who has been warning of an enemy plot then Alec Rawls would have explained to him that no, these physical facts about the crash site do NOT yield a Mecca-oriented crescent. They yield a crescent that points 44° north of Mecca. It is a very strange concept of due diligence to trust the assurances of the person one is being warned is an enemy operative while refusing to talk to the person who is issuing warnings

Very strange too, to think that just because one is convinced that the Mecca orientation of the crescent is a coincidence, that somehow makes it okay to deny the Mecca orientation when speaking to the press and the public, as several Project spokesmen have now done. The fact that Beamer and Hanley and other Project Partners have been duped by Murdoch's explanations would be of little consequence if they just let the public know what they know, so the American people can decide for themselves whether the fact that it might be a coincidence makes it okay to plant the world's largest Mecca-direction indicator on the Flight 93 crash site.

Obviously the answer would be "NO!" and this nightmare would be over. It is the lying that is the problem. Hanley et. al. can be a bunch of dupes if they want, but they have no right to deceive the public about what they know.

Hello Mr. Rawls;

I got to your material on the Flight 93 memorial through a link to your latest AGW-skeptic piece, to which I am sympathetic.

On first reading, I thought you made a compelling case on this (Flight 93). Here are my problems with your interpretation.

Q. Is the axis of the circle/segment (which is aligned within 1.8 degrees of a line intersecting Mecca) perpendicular to to the actual flight path, or not?

If it is perpendicular to the flight path, then a 90 degrees right angle to such is at _least_ as reasonable explanation as anything else. The onus is on you to say why a 1.8 degrees deviation from an alignment with Mecca is more meaningful. Why not 1.9 or 1.7 while we're at it? Why any deviation at all? Occams razor suggests the simplest explanation - that of a 90 degrees/perpendicular axis.

Q. Is the "star" point you refer to, at the intersection of this perpendicular axis of the circle segment, and the flight path, or not?

If it is, again, the onus is on you to show why this is less significant than as the centre-point of an imaginary star which is not actually manifest as a star-shape, even implicitly.

Q. Would a cross, an equal-armed "X" or "+", with one axis aligned with the flight path, and the other at 90 degrees, have produced a different result? Wouldn't one of the arms be still pointing to within 1.8 degrees of Mecca?

Actually, it would also be pointing in the direction of the Vatican - but that wouldn't inherently symbolise that the Catholic Church should launch a crusade against Mecca, would it?

Q. Would a square or rectangular shape aligned with the flight path have made any difference in the 1.8 degree central axis-alignment?

No. And plus you could argue that it symbolised the Kaaba shrine, right?
Q. What about a Star of David aligned with the flight path?

One side's centre would still be within 1.8 degrees of pointing at Mecca. Even with an explicitly religious, ethnic and national symbol as this, involved in struggle with the Islamic world, would anyone take seriously a Muslim who brought up the fact that one of the sides' centres is within 1.8 degrees of pointing at Mecca, and this was an implicit threat by Israel?

Q. Does Islam own some sort of patent on circles or circle segments? Does Mecca hold a property lien on all directional lines that come within 2 degrees of it (Why not 3, or 1)?

Does the Vatican own the copyright for cruciform shapes or "X"'s and any thing pointing within 2 degrees of St. Peter's, for that matter?

Q. Are you suggesting that anytime someone uses a circle, or circle segment in design or architecture, there should be a suspicion of Islamic influence?

Circles have been universally fundamental to design and art since the stone age. A circle bisected by a flight path doesn't imply an Islamicising plot because the perpendicular to the path is 1.8 degrees away from pointing at Mecca. It is, however, explicity a universal design element and fundamental geometric shape, that happens to be bisected by a flight path.

Q. You say yourself that the original design was a round shape intersected by the flight path, but more closely following the natural landscape. Fair enough. But why should a formal geometricising of this idea, and an alignment with the perpendicular of the path - which still fits within, and flows with the topography of the of the land - be anything other than a more geometric design whose axis is actually aligned with the path of the people we are remembering?

Q. Has it occurred to you that your good selves have been the ones making all the publicity and inferences to Islam and crescents and so on, and that if you do that, you can't but expect members of the public to "See" it by virtue of your own actions, rather than by any alleged intent of the designers?

Q. You've made an awful lot of claims and assumptions about the motivations and intentions of other people. Isn't it at all possible you were mistaken, and now have dug yourself into such a hole that you would be too embarrassed to concede that your passion has carried away with itself?
Hi Saoirsi:

Thanks for looking that the memorial issue.

No, the crescent is not oriented 90° to the flight path, and that was never the architect's claim. He claimed that the crescent came from letting the surrounding ridgeline be "broken" by the flight path, then letting the remaining part of this "broken circle" extend far enough so that the bisector of the crescent would point to the crash site. His Stage I design actually followed this plan, but as you can see in the first figure above, the resulting crescent doesn't point anywhere near Mecca. The first version of the Crescent of Embrace (on the right side of the image) points 11 degrees clockwise from north, while Mecca is 55.2 degrees clockwise from north.

The winning Stage II design extends the crescent into a full Islamic-shaped crescent, covering 2/3rds of a circle of arc. Once extended, it points within 2° of Mecca, but the bisector of the crescent no longer points to the crash site (as the architect claims). Instead, it points to the Sacred Ground Plaza which sits a little ways up the flight path from the crash site.

More precisely, the Stage II plan includes a separate section of Memorial Wall that is centered on the bisector of the giant crescent, which is the exact position of the star on an Islamic flag. That wall is to be inscribed "September 11, 2001." Thus the date goes to the star on the flag that the terrorists claim as their own. The date goes to the terrorists.

I'm not sure what your question is about the star, but my point is very simple. I am referring to the location of star vis a vis the crescent. Most Islamic flags are modeled on the Ottoman flag, which places the star on the centerline of the crescent.

You note that if there was a cross in this location, pointing in the same direction, it would be pointing at the Vatican. That's right. The Vatican turns out to be on the great-circle line between Shanksville and Mecca. But what difference does that make? The direction indicator is not a cross, it is a crescent, and there is no religion of facing the Vatican for prayer. The Islamic terrorists who murdered the heroic passengers and crew of Flight 93 faced Mecca for prayer. That is why the orientation on Mecca matters. Facing Mecca is THE central symbol of Islam.

Much of your commentary is questioning whether the Mecca orientation might be coincidental. Of course that would not make it okay for the Memorial Project to lie about these things. A crescent that points to Mecca is called a "mihrab" and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. (Some mihrabs are pointed arch shaped, but the archetypical mihrab is crescent shaped.) If the Project admitted that they were building a giant Mecca-oriented crescent, the American people would not accept it, coincidence or not.

That said, the architect provides endlessly redundant proof that the Mecca orientation is NOT coincidence. He does this by repetition. I have a video on the repetitions here here

Your last "questions" (accusations actually), suggest that if we would just pretend that the planned memorial is not actually a terrorist memorial mosque, then everything would be okay. We tried that at Fort Hood. Evidence of hostile Islamic intent was ignored. You saw the result.

... continued:

The U.S. media has also been turning a blind eye for 20 years to the vast evidence that the scare about man-made global warming is a fraud. This willful blindness has almost succeeded in unplugging industrial capitalism (read "modernity"), and may yet succeed. You are really an advocate of this approach? What matters is the truth, and everyone should care about it.

On your last suggestion that I have somehow dug myself into an embarrassing hole, there is nothing embarrassing about trying to stop an al-Qaeda memorializing mosque from being erected on the Flight 93 crash site. Can you name a single claim I have ever made that has not been stated with proper care and accuracy? What in the world do I have to be embarrassed about?

Maybe you should try following the evidence, instead of latching onto lame excuses to accept the inexcusable. You acknowledge that the giant crescent points to Mecca, but somehow think that the fact that the Vatican lies between Shanksville and Mecca makes this okay. You are the one who should be embarrassed. It is really pretty bizarre that you can look at the facts as much as you have and hold your eyes wide shut.

You Europeans are doing the same thing at home too of course. You've got the Muslim knife at your throats, yet anyone who expresses even the least concern gets condemned as a bigot.

I hope you all can start witnessing reality in time to save your lives. The memorial debacle has great potential to be of service here. Exposure of architect Paul Murdoch's plot provides an opportunity for people to wake up to the willful blindness that they have accommodated to without anyone getting killed. The memorial is a symbolic attack. We can learn our lesson here the easy way, with our lives intact.

How about starting small Mr. Ireland? I have answered your questions. Please just answer one of mine. Can you recognize how thoroughly and completely irrational it is to think that the Islamic symbolism of a giant Mecca-oriented crescent is in any way affected by what sits on the path to Mecca? Have you ever heard of Muslims worrying about whether in facing Mecca they are also facing the Vatican, or anything else? Do you understand that in their religion, they are not ALLOWED to care about anything else? So where does your crazy idea come from? Do I actually have to tell you?

You ought to be able to recognize for yourself that you are grasping at irrational excuses to dismiss obviously alarming facts. You aren't trying to follow evidence. You are grasping any excuse, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid following evidence.

If you can learn to recognize this dysfunctional mental process and can learn to set it aside, then you can start making sense, as your survival requires.

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