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Open Peer Review & Accountability

Circling the Wagons: 3 Decades and a Generation Later

by Henry MacLean

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

One of the things I prize most about my relationship with NESEA colleagues (over the last 30 years) is the deep commitment we share towards due diligence and open peer review. Wikipedia tells us that peer review: functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are used to maintain quality standards, improve performance, and provide credibility. These processes help insure that our mission is successful, that it cultivates a community where practitioners share, collaborate and learn, so that our vision is supportive of connection and community.

Living in what we pray is an abbreviated “age of Trump”, we have arrived at a time when our culture now accepts the reality of crimes in plain sight. Corrupt intent stares out at us from every corner of this administration, encouraging the violation of human and environmental rights while dismantling the most cherished values of what our “democracy” should stand for, in this country and around the world. While open criminal behavior certainly did not begin with Trump, his war on science is now “calculated to serve the fossil fuel industry at the entire planet’s expense”.

In his latest book entitled Falter, Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out, Bill McKibben takes us to a new plateau in understanding climate reality. He not only lays out how precarious our current situation is on the planet, he reveals the underhanded methods used by the powerful fossil fuel industry to get us here. I’ve paraphrased some of his key points below.

1. We knew that when we burn coal, gas and oil we put carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which traps heat in its molecular structure. But we did not know how fast we were going to see the change we now have: 70 percent less sea ice in the summer Arctic; oceans 30 percent more acidic; a vast melt in the Arctic the destabilization of the great ice sheets of the Antarctic, with the planet's hydrological system fully discombobulated. By 2050, we might expect one billion climate refugees. What we thought would unfold in maybe 100 years has now unfolded in 30.

2. It dawned on me lately that we were not really in an argument. We were in a fight. The people on the other side of this fight were the fossil fuel industry, the richest industry in the planet's history. To extend their business model a few decades, they were willing to break the planet. Remarkable investigative reporting from the L.A. Times, Columbia Journalism School and InsideClimate News has revealed that beginning in the 1980s, the fossil fuel industry knew absolutely everything there was to know about climate change.

A. Exxon began to build all of its drilling rigs higher to compensate for sea level rise

B. They began planning where they would bid for leases in the Arctic they knew would melt.

C. But instead of informing people on the perils, they began spending billions creating an architecture of deceit, denial and disinformation, hiring veterans of the tobacco and DDT wars. They designed a 30-year phony debate about whether or not global warming was real.

3.  Instead of the fairly minor course corrections we could have taken in 1990, we not only wasted 30 years, we sprinted in the opposite direction, while emitting more C02 since 1990 than in all the years before 1990!

The potential upside of the wholesale deception outlined by McKibben can be seen as a call to arms. He believes there is a window of hope based on the the meteoric rise of groups like 350.org, a generation of climate activists ready to engage the tools of non-violent resistance and divestment in this fight. City and national governments are beginning to divest. The New Green Deal has been launched, and is engaging militarism to switch hundreds of billions towards green infrastructure. All the potential rivals to Trump are poised to fully engage in this public debate. Yet the hoped for outcome may elude us, given that over three degrees Celsius of warming is now headed our way. Hanson declared in 2011 “a target of two degrees is actually a prescription for long term disaster”. McKibben has also pointed out, that the fundamental negotiation between human beings and physics is the hardest kind of negotiation, “because physics just doesn't care.”

Both McKibben and Hansen are included in a list of activists and thinkers, called Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) developed by artist Robert Shetterly. Set to inspire a new generation of concerned Americans to act for the good of our communities and the planet, these “portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness.” Our colleague and friend Steven Strong introduced me to AWTT last winter, and my wife and I were grateful to hear Robert present 20 or so of his compelling 235 portraits he's completed in the last 18 years. He explained that this effort began with his desire to paint a portrait of Walt Whitman, as a way to help heal his deep grief following the events of 9/11.

Another brave American selected by Shetterly is theologian and author David Ray Griffen, whose theological work has focused on reconciling “the pervasive divide between science and religion”. David has also written extensively on Climate Change, with his 2015 book, Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the C0-2 Crisis? , and follow up workbook in 2016 with co-author Elizabeth Woodworth, Unprecedented Climate Mobilization: A Handbook for Citizens and their Governments. Citing the work of McKibben, Hanson and many others, Griffen has also concluded that the “denialist movement was formed and financed by the fossil-fuel industry, and the doubt it created has been used to delay legislation to restrict the use of fossil fuels, a delay that may result in the destruction of civilization.”

Griffen has also authored several books of the equally disturbing research he and others have taken on regarding the full facts behind the events of 9/11, which led to nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 and 2009. As with the inconceivable betrayal outlined by McKibben concerning the “architecture of deceit” orchestrated by the fossil fuel industry, the Norwegian professors wrote the following about Griffen and the 9/11 Truth movement.

We believe the most important contribution to peace in the 21st century is the disclosure of these elite political games and the removal of the false reasons for its aggressive wars. This Griffin and the 9/11 Truth Movement have done in an excellent way. If the attack on 11 September was a US 'false flag operation' to justify wars in the Middle East, the disclosure of that fact should be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Griffen outlines his understanding of the imperative role science plays in both arenas of climate science and 9/11 forensics, both exposing extraordinary existential challenges, leading most to look for and duck for cover. He writes the following:

1. The 9/11 Truth Movement, which is supported by scientific evidence, is disputed by the U.S. government, which the 9/11 Truth Movement regards as behind the 9/11 attacks. And the theory of global warming, which is based on scientific evidence, is disputed by the fossil-fuel industries, which climate scientists see as primarily responsible for global warming. So in each case, the views of independent scientists are disputed by huge enterprises, which clearly have self-interested reasons for challenging the scientific evidence.

2. Again, if there is an analogy between 9/11 and global warming, it is not between the official 9/11 story and the theory of global warming. It is between climate science and the 9/11 Truth Community’s position. Just as large numbers of independent scientists have rejected the official 9/11 story, most climate scientists reject the idea that global warming is a hoax.

3. The relation between climate denial and the 9/11 attacks has been described as even closer by a former U.S. Senate candidate from Vermont, Craig Hill. “[W]hat the 9/11 false-flag op and denying global warming have in common,” wrote Jerry Mazza in a summary of Hill’s thesis, “is oil, and gas . . . , and the desire to quench an unquenchable thirst for these fossil fuels.” Moreover, Hill said, just as the perpetrators of 9/11 shrouded it in unscientific myth and lie, the oil companies have also “shrouded the evil effects of warming in unscientific myth and lie.”

This September 3rd, Leroy Hulsey Ph.D., P. E., S.E. (Chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept.) and his team at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), will be delivering the final conclusions of their four year study on the collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7), funded by the 3,000+ members of AE911Truth. The building (which fell at 5:20 P.M. on September 11, 2001) was a steel-frame office building located north of Vesey Street in the World Trade Center Complex in New York City’s Financial District.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its final report on WTC 7 in 2008, finding that the fires that were ignited by falling debris from WTC 1 caused the collapse of WTC 7. This UAF building failure analysis has concluded that fire could not bring down this building, yet the entire inner core of this building failed nearly simultaneously. The presentation will be live streamed and then fully available on this UAF site. Hulsey is also presenting the study two days later at the UC Berkeley faculty club on September 5. The draft report will be published that same week on the UAF site (as well as at AE911Truth.org) and will be open for public comment (peer review) for a two-month period ending November 1, 2019.

As I’ve shared in previous in depth blogs on this site in 2018 and 2017, sadly, the WTC 7 story is just an introduction to the deeper troubling news concerning the Official Theory for the collapse of Towers WTC 1 & 2, a collapse scenario fully challenged by Newton’s laws of gravity, as outlined in this 7 minute video. This work is also the ongoing focus of a group of Engineers at AE911Truth engaged in addressing the Due Diligence related to those Twin Towers. The extensive research is also covered in the book Beyond Misinformation, and movie Experts Speak Out, the groundbreaking film with testimony from 43 experts in high rise architecture, structural engineering, metallurgy, other scientists, physicists and explosive experts.

This summer, the commissioners from the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which oversees a volunteer fire department serving 30,000 residents outside of Queens, New York, unanimously passed a resolution supporting a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001. In so doing they became the first legislative body in the country to do so. I recommend listening to this inspiring interview with lead commissioner Christopher Gioia who worked at the World Trade Center site in the weeks after 9/11.

Here is some of what Gioia had to share:

I started telling people about the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York …. petition to get a grand jury investigation going.” … organized by the Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry. Being a fireman, and being a firefighter...after 18 years, I’m still looking for justice for my friends, because I know that there are people out there who need to be held to account.

You know it's a brotherhood, and we've been trained that when you fight the fire, you go in. You don't go in alone. You go in with your brother or your sister. You go in together, and if something happens, you come out together. We're not leaving our brothers ... these people behind. These were Americans. These were firefighters, cops, EMS, and they were just ordinary people who went about their business that day. We're not leaving them behind. We're not forgetting about them. They deserve justice, and we're going to see that justice is done.

At 10 am on September 11, 2019, a livestream news conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC, will feature Commissioners Christopher Gioia and Joseph Torregrossa, along with Bob and Helen McIlvaine (parents of 9/11 victim Bobby McIlvaine), Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry President David Meiswinkle, and AE911Truth founder Richard Gage. That afternoon, supporters will deliver copies of the Bobby McIlvaine Act to all members of Congress.

Many of us believe our building industry holds a sacred responsibility to fully examine the research behind the 9/11 tragedy. We all carry around with us buried emotional scars from what we witnessed that day 18 years ago. As difficult as it might be, we all stand to gain in healing these collective scars, by openly tracking the facts to where they lead us. We can’t ignore the  9/11 evidence any more than the climate evidence responsible for a compromised environment we are passing to the next generation, foisted on us by the very same groups who disproportionately stood to gain from the aftermath of 911. One has to wonder, for those capable of carrying out the malfeasance outlined by McKibben that could break a planet, what would stop them from taking on the destruction of 13.4 million s.f. of office space and the risk of collateral damage. As inconceivable as that might sound at first glance, 9/11 turns out to be the classic crime in plain sight.

Engaging in projects of this sort takes years of dedicated perseverance, not unknown to those who have been supporting and tracking NESEA's mission for the last 45 years. Acknowledging our shadow and the role our government has played internationally is all of our concern. McKibben and others have suggested we all need to take off the blinders that he even admits to have donned for a time himself. It is high time to also take off the kid gloves as well, and engage in what was never an argument, but always a fight, with one side willing to break everything we hold dear in an effort to secure their investments.

There is a natural, potentially mutually beneficial alliance between those committed to solving the climate crisis and those dedicated to securing the truth about 9/11. Here is an opportunity for NESEA Members to use their well honed building industry skills, their interdisciplinary peer review and due diligence abilities, to fully examine this UAF study over the coming two months. I would also suggest exploring the information related to the federal crimes reported by the Lawyers’ Committee sitting at the doorstep of US Attorney at the Southern District of New York, since they agreed in writing to follow the law and impanel a Grand Jury on this in November of 2018.

Harvard professor Amy Edmondson has suggested applying Bucky Fuller’s concept of thinking like a trim tab to the climate change challenge. Fuller… pointed out that anyone can act as a trim tab, in part by recognizing the potential downstream influence of small, high-leverage actions pointing in the right new direction. The trim tab’s tiny movement has leverage. The right shift in the right place at the right time. I would suggest that we apply this concept to 9/11 Forensics as well. Accountability and peer review can shift the role 9/11 served in sparking a generation of endless wars, to a new direction. A new leverage point, a trim tab heading us forward, as a supportive ally in securing that future window of hope, we are all striving for.

Our Mission

NESEA advances sustainability practices in the built environment by cultivating a cross-disciplinary community where practitioners are encouraged to share, collaborate and learn.

Henry MacLean AIA, LEED AP is an architect, educator, and principal of his firm Timeless Architecture. Promoting green design in the northeast since 1987 as an active member of the Boston Society of Architects, he has developed curricula and taught at the Sustainable Design Institute (at the Boston Architectural College) and the Architecture Dept. at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He chaired the Town of Milton Alternate Energy committee between 2006 and 2015 (where he lives and works) and has has been an active member of NESEA since 1992.

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