Thursday, July 13, 2006

Is the Flight 93 Memorial a Islamic Prayer Center?

I don't consider myself a conspiracy nut. Usually when I see people making fantastic claims like the "9/11 Truth groupies, I usually get quite annoyed. There has been much talk on blogs in the last several months about the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania not being up to snuff. The accusations started out on September 8th 2005 from a website called RealClearPolitics. RealClear stated that the original design looked to much like the Red Cresent of Islam. This ended up being also covered over at LGF and where flame wars ensued. When I first took a look at what all the commotion was about, I initially didn't see what the big deal was.

The proposed Memorial design seemed rather simple and bland non denominational. I at first did not see any secular religious overtones, not that I would have objected to it but if there were any religious overtones than it should represent a cross section of the victims beliefs. When I saw another overlay of the an Islamic cresent overlayed on the memorial plans, I was struck with curiosity. It does seem to look like a Red Crescent. This was editorialized by political cartoonists Cox & Forkum on 9/16/2006 . The controversy blew up and it got national attention. Michelle Malkin reported that upon confronted, the architect decided to change the site to 'appease' the critics of the site. Did I mention that they stone walled for quite a bit before relenting. After some time they released the new design in mid 2006. The new designed still looked much like the old design. Alec Rawls from Error Theory blog points out the following:

The redesigned flight 93 memorial, announced today, still contains all of the features that made it a terrorist memorial. Architect Paul Murdoch’s infamous red crescent is still there, still planted with red maple trees, still inscribed in the exact same circle as before, and with the same two crescent tips still intact. Thus the crescent bisector defined by these crescent tips is also the same as before. It still points almost exactly to Mecca, making the crescent a Mihrab (an Islamic prayer station, where the believer faces into a crescent, towards Mecca, to perform his ritual prostrations). The design still incorporates a separate upper terrorist-memorial wall, centered precisely on the red-maple crescent. There are still 44 translucent blocks on the flight path to the crash site, matching the total number of dead, instead of just the forty translucent blocks that are dedicated to the forty murdered Americans. Lastly, the Tower of Voices part of the memorial is still an Islamic prayer-time sundial.

Wow. That's one hell of a claim. Alec is stating that he believes it to be an Islamic prayer circle that aligns directly with Mecca. How can that be? Alec back's it all up with some very compelling analysis. The is allot of forethought into the design and placement of every feature in the memorial, if there if forethought then there is purpose, What's the purpose? Even Cox & Forkum weighed in with this clear comment:
Yes, crescents and the color red are used in many ways unrelated to Islam. Likewise, red circles are used in ways unrelated to Japan. But for good reasons I doubt you'll find a red circle as the centerpiece of any Pearl Harbor memorial.
To take that comment a little further, I don't think that the Pearl Harbor memorial geometrically aligns to Japan so the Emperor can be honored. The Memorial Project was Accepting Comments on the New Design. Alec Rawls again, pointed out the problems with the new design again.
There is now an internal investigation ongoing at the Department of Interior to determine whether Hanley has properly examined the information I sent her. Even so, Murdoch’s terrorist-memorial proceeds like a juggernaut. The current comment period may be the last chance to stop it.
Here's what was bugging me about some of the points in Alec Rawls' rebuttal, some of the critiques of Alec have pointed out that Alec is using inaurate 2D graphics to prove his point and claimed that the curavture of the earth will not be the same. Alec claimed that the crescent faces Mecca and another point hit may even directly at the White House in DC which was believed to be the Hijackers original target.

So I decided to that a 3D view would be more accurate. I've looked at the Memorial Official graphics samples graphics and decided to check out all these claims on my own. I knew that Google Earth is a very accurate application that uses 3D vectoring graphics to very accurately overlay Satellite Imagery around a true 3D globe to include street maps and geological features. This globe has 3D buildings and 3D landscapes, Roads, and a 'path calculations'. It also has the unique ability to add your own graphics to overly on the 3D Globe with great accuracy. This would be a much more accurate simulation in my opinion.
I took the graphics of the Memorial from the Memorial Project website to overlay the site onto the real world satellite imagery. This is the original view from Google Earth Crash Site of Flight 93. Also make note of the lat / lon map coordinates in the graphic.

The tricky part was to use PhotoShop and cut out the side graphic from the PDF doc so and save it as a GIF with transparency so that just the shape of the site is visible and not the background. I then overlaid this image over top of the crash site in Google Earth. Taking extra care to make sure that is was laid in exact orientation and position according to the roads, terrain and land marks. I got it all to match perfectly to the existing site albeit you had to do a little bit of stretching, but I was impressed with the accuracy. As you can see below, it was almost a perfect overlay. Even all the lake features and roads match up beautifully.

Using Alec Rawls' calculation for the bisect, I traced a path from the Bisect angle on the graphic to see where it went. I dragged the line all the way around the world making sure it stayed aligned with the bisect. I sent the path all the way to the other side of the globe until it reach somewhere in Saudi Arabia.

Here is a view of the line path as it crosses the globe from the Memorial Site to the final destination of Saudi Arabia. It aligned perfectly with the Crescent markings.

This is the end point of the project path. The line sits only 111.10 miles east of Mecca. Wow! The distance to Mecca from the crash site bisect reads 6,666.7 in Google Earth. Now that Creepyl

Here is the kick in the pants. I wanted to test Alec's theory that the original crescent design took a path towoard the White House. I used his bisecting image and overlaid it onto the site as seen above. I then chose to send distance path line starting at the inside points of the Red Cresent. Let's see where it goes shall we?

The line hugs the terrain of the land but it actually does do a direct hit to the White House from that angle. Amazing. The view here is from about 41,000 feet high.

As we rotate the world view towards the end of the line we can see thatBulls Eye! It's a direct hit to the White House. WOW! The path was exactly showing 131.85 miles distance. This is an incredible coincidence to have two geometric features align the Memorials features towards Mecca and also towards the white house, which is believed the original Hijacker's target.

So, we have a Cresent, a bisect to mecca from the center. And then we have another bisect from the Crescent it's self that points to the White House very precisely. Coincidence or intentional. Well, I'd like to think that as an architect with some skill, one would to be very deliberate and, intentional about design features. Why not put the site in the shape of a Christian cross and aim it towards Jerusalem or Bethlehem? Each feature is placed carefully. I not so skeptical of Alex Rawls claims anymore.

LGF Blogger commenter BEN F. points out this little piece of information:

According to the Flight 93 National Memorial Act, Pub. L. No. 107-226, the purpose of the memorial is to honor the passengers and crew of the flight, and the last section of the law expressly excludes the terrorists from the definition of passengers and crew. Even if there were no crescent in the design, much less a crescent indicating the direction of Mecca, the fact that the design has no affirmative message disqualifies it under the terms of the law, because such a design fails to distinguish between the murdered, who are to be honored, and the murderers, who are not to be honored.

Ben F. That's a good point. The Law and the Technical evidence appears to be ignored on this issue. This is not about creating a conspiracy this is about getting it right and informing about what this Crescent really means.


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