February 6, 2008 email from Dr. Daniel Griffith to Alec Rawls, cc'd to Joanne Hanley, Jill Hawk, Jennifer Reeger, Bob Fryer and Kevin Jaques.
Body plus attachment.
Below this email is my response, sent the next day to Griffith, Hanley, Hawk, et al, pointing out these people that the reason the crescent can be seen as pointing to the Vatican is because the Vatican sits on the line from Shanksville to Mecca.
At the bottom is a short exchange with Griffith that preceded the email that went out to Hanley et al.
Body of email:
Griffith, Daniel A [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 7:55 AM
To: Alec Rawls
Cc: Joanne_Hanley@nps.gov; Jill_Hawk@nps.gov; Jennifer Reeger; email@example.com; Jaques, Robert Kevin
Subject: [SPAM] Flight 93 memorial
FYI, attached is a letter to Alec Rawls in response to his most recent harassment of me.
I also have faxed a copy to Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Please note my concluding sentence: based on Alec’s arguments, one could claim that the memorial is oriented toward the Vatican. Alec simply does not understand the nature of mathematical proof!
For the past 18 months I have tolerated, by ignoring, your attempts to bully and threaten me to agree with your analysis of the Flight 93 memorial controversy. Apparently this tactic is not new to you, given that you even brag in print about how you try to win arguments by bullying your opponents (see pp. 125, 159 and 160 of your book www.crescentofbetrayal.com/DirectorsCutDownload.htm), rather than by logic. Since July of 2006, your web page references to me include: idiot, liar, moral imbecile, and stinker (all from your book); diabolical, academic fraud, lunatic, radically dishonest and America-hating academic, Rasputin-like, and pecksniff; you even have constructed a rather nasty webpage about me: www.crescentofbetrayal.com/Griffithpecksniff.html. You threatened my reputation in your initial telephone conversation with me; and now you are threatening my colleagues: “all the [m]ore so if they decide to go down with you” (e-mail to me dated 1/30/2008), while circulating inaccurate materials to them. Rather than bullying your opponents, I suggest that you would benefit from the study of S. I. Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action (5th ed., 1990), and begin using logic in place of emotion in your arguments. Meanwhile, someone needs to expose you for the bully that you are! Furthermore, in reply to one of the questions in your most recent e-mail to me, the answer is no─I am not a convert to radical Islam. I also do not need to be saved!
I have no intention of debating your voluminous amount of discussion about me word for word. I will address three points here, emphasizing that my previous analyses were based on the information provided to me, much of it coming directly from you. My task was to evaluate your claims, not prove them or complete them where they were incomplete. When you posit statements, the burden of proof is on you about what you say, not on others to disprove what you say. This rule of debate remains true whether or not you resort to name calling; I am confident that a reinvention/resurrection of McCarthyism will fail in today’s United States. This context is why I remained (and still remain) unconvinced by your arguments. I suggest that you also would benefit from the study of a book like R. Garnier and J. Taylor’s 100% Mathematical Proof. I tried to clarify why I am unconvinced in a 2006 e-mail to you, but you simply choose to overlook flaws in, rather than bolster, your argument: you need to establish both necessary and sufficient conditions for a mathematical proof; arithmetic calculations alone do not constitute a mathematical proof. You can state that your arithmetic is correct (I did not say it was incorrect), but you cannot state that your correct calculations in and of themselves constitute a mathematical proof.
My first point: you originally claimed that the orientation to Mecca “take[s] a short cut over the North Pole … even though Mecca is south of Shanksville” (p. 11 of your document); not surprisingly, you fail to provide documentation for your claim. Figure 1 illustrates that this is not the standard great circle arc: the memorial would need to be located in Alaska for the arc to go through the North Pole (Figure 1a). Rather, the arc fails to go anywhere near the North Pole (Figure 1b). Although you can draw an arc that goes through the North Pole, the only way that you can make this claim is if a direction-specific shortest-path arc is drawn from where a person faces (hence in any direction) to Mecca; in other words, a person can face in any direction and still be oriented toward Mecca, if your statement is true. I fail to be convinced that only 2, rather than the infinity of possible, arcs are acceptable to Muslims. This situation is similar to airplane routings, which for various reasons do not always follow great circle arcs. More recently, you tried to finesse this issue by stating “There is only one great circle arc from the crash site to Mecca, and Griffith certainly knows that this is the only arc I am saying anything about” (etuhomer.nestsites.net/2007/10/08/is-there-such-a-thing-as-the-direction-to-mecca/). So part of your criticism of me is that I am not a mind reader, substituting your thoughts in lieu of what you write! I will not go into detail about margins of error here, other than note that you should have addressed accuracy and precision issues about your calculations. I tried to do that only to a very modest degree because it is a time-consuming task; again, the burden of this task is on you, not others. When I consulted the far more reliable (i.e., in terms of geographic resolution) qibla locator at www.qiblalocator.com (whose Beta 0.8.10 version became available only on 9/24/2007; see nomi.ibnmasud.com/qiblalocator#references)─the one you referenced earlier, at least, again involves a resolution that can propagate error (in fact, the literature reveals quite a controversy about the accuracy of qibla locators; e.g., Abdali, 1997)─I think I began to understand some of the statements you have been making about me. Nevertheless, additional calculations with this qibla locator (Figure 1c) failed to change my mind; in question is the “without exception” feature associated with a mathematical proof? Perhaps I did obfuscate (your word) by talking about azimuthal projections, which was my interpretation of what you were trying to describe. But I think Ms. Hanley was far too kind when she stated that "Alec Rawls bases all of his conclusions on faulty assumptions." I think you also deliberately distort and selectively omit relevant evidence and information.
Figure 1. Great circle distances. Top left (a): Anchorage, Alaska to Mecca. Top right (b): Flight 93 memorial site to Mecca. Bottom (c): five disparate locations (including Shanksville) all yielding the same angle.
My second point: your group now claims that an interpretation of intent is irrelevant, whereas you constantly claimed in the materials I analyzed that it is: e.g., “it cannot possibly be an accident” (p. 15), “this … is intended” (p. 16). Meanwhile, part of my assessment was to address your claims of intent. Again, I remain unconvinced by your mostly emotional arguments that are littered with logical fallacies (e.g., appeal to force, abusive argument, appeal to people). Similarly, the entire discussion about crescents on flags (whose emphasis I note has disappeared from you current rhetoric) is quite suspect; I doubt that the good people of South Carolina would agree that their flag is a radical Islamic symbol!
My third point: the Nazi concentration camp. Unfortunately, my MSWord program automatically changed Drancy to Darcey, a typographical error change that went undetected by me. The listing of Drancy can be verified at
The locational information for Drancy can be obtained from
I had executed this exercise only for illustrative purposes because it is something that was mentioned in the blogs (i.e., Jewish people would be offended if such a memorial [was connected by a great circle arc] to a Nazi concentration camp) to which I was directed; note that I phrase this in terms of the great circle arc rather than orientation (vis-à-vis your more recent complaints). I think you have converted this point into a red herring. And, given that some typographical errors might be in this current document, I put a disclaimer here: any subsequently discovered typographical errors do not constitute my lying. Given that you have been so nasty toward me, I had absolutely no inclination to inform you of the correction. As an aside, I did notify the National Parks Service.
This letter is more for the people that I cc than for you. I fully expect that you will continue to disparage me. If a Congressional investigation is convened, you should be investigated, too: you have wasted so much time and so many resources without bothering to solidly establish your arguments; and, you have harassed so many people, including the families of the victims of Flight 93. I also go on record here as pointing out that your rebuttal to my initial evaluation that you post (dated July 26, 2006) was never sent to me. Ironically, on July 22, 2006 I sent you a copy of my commentary in response to your July 22, 2006 e-mail request, to which you replied:
From: Alec Rawls [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 2:15 PM
To: Griffith, Daniel A
Subject: RE: Flight 93 Memorial
Dear Professor Griffith:
I appreciate your sending along the comments. Unfortunately the document you sent me has a restriction that only allows it to be opened by Microsoft Office 2003 or later, which I do not have. Could you please paste the contents into an email for me so I can take a look?
I then sent you a secured *.pdf file that very day. I contest the truth about your claims regarding my not being forthcoming with these materials. And, regardless of what you contend about not needing my permission to distribute my analysis, as my intellectual property, you have no legal right to put it in your book and copyright it!
I have submitted my evaluations, and have spent considerable time with repeated reassessments that were done so with full consideration of your complaints over the past 18 months. Your bullying of me has not forced me to state that I “have been used by some” (from your 1/30/2008 e-mail to me). I do not intend to continue engaging you about this matter; and, I am doing no further reassessments. Rather, by following your reasoning, I could easily claim that facing into the memorial in the way that you describe is oriented toward the Vatican: “[l]ess than two degrees off [the Vatican] is plenty close enough” (p. 11).
Daniel A. Griffith
Fac cc: Congressman Tom Tancredo, 202-226-4623
My response, sent to Griffith, Hanley, et al, February 7, 2008:
Alec Rawls [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 12:52 PM
To: 'Griffith, Daniel A'
Cc: Joanne_Hanley@nps.gov; Jill_Hawk@nps.gov; 'Jennifer Reeger'; firstname.lastname@example.org; 'Jaques, Robert Kevin'
Subject: RE: Flight 93 memorial
Dear Joanne, Jill, Jennifer, et al:
As Dr. Griffith notes, a person facing into the giant crescent (still present in the redesign) will indeed be facing almost exactly at the Vatican. That is because the Vatican sits on the “great circle” or “shortest distance” line between the crash site and Mecca. A person facing Mecca from the crash site will be facing everything on the line between the crash site and Mecca.
Here is the great circle line from the crash-site to Mecca:
Here is the great circle line from the crash-site to the Vatican:
Orientation on the Vatican is of no consequence. There is no religion of facing the Vatican for prayer. Flight 93 was not hijacked by people who face the Vatican for prayer. What is of possible significance is the orientation on Mecca.
What Griffith is addressing here is really the question of intention. Since the crescent can be seen to point at everything between here and Mecca, there is no grounds, Griffith is suggesting, to conclude that the orientation on Mecca is intentional. But intention is a separate question from the simple geometric question of whether the crescent is indeed oriented almost exactly on Mecca. Griffith knows that it is, and keeps misleading the public about it, saying things like: anything can point to Mecca because the earth is round, which is a patent falsehood.
I never said that the mere fact that the crescent points to Mecca is sufficient to prove intent. Architect Paul Murdoch proves intent elsewhere, by elaborate repetition of his Mecca orientations.
When I first questioned Jennifer Reeger about her quote of Griffith in July 2006, I said that I thought she had to be conflating his remarks about the geometric facts with his assessment of intent. She said no, this was Griffith’s doing. She was quoting a written report. So I contacted Griffith and told him that he was being quoted as denying the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. I asked HIM if his analysis of the geometric facts was being conflated by Jennifer with his remarks about intent. He vehemently denied that he had said that the crescent did not point to Mecca and sent me his report so that I could see for myself. The report confirmed just what Jennifer said: it was Griffith who was conflating the geometric facts with questions about intent.
I most certainly did not threaten Mr. Griffith when I called him. I did warn him that if he stayed on record as denying such an explosive and easily verifiable fact as the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent, it would ruin his career. I have given similar warnings to Joanne Hanley, and to others who are being willfully blind about easily verifiable facts. A warning is NOT a threat. It is to protect someone from a threat. The threat here is Murdoch, not me. The truth will come out. Careers will be ruined. So save yourselves! Stop blocking this crucial information from reaching the public. Stop being part of the problem.
P.S. If anyone bothered to read Griffith’s letter, note that it puts front and center a typical example of his breathtaking incompetence and/or dishonesty. Griffith claims that I said that the great circle line from the crash site to Mecca “takes a short cut over the North Pole,” and uses this to construct an elaborate fantasy about how, since the great circle line between the crash-site and Mecca does not actually go over the North Pole, it was really me, not him, who first said that you can face different directions to face Mecca.
But my report to the Memorial Project did not say that the line from the crash site to Mecca goes over the North Pole. I was explaining why the shortest distance line to Mecca “points in a northeasterly direction” (not due north), even though Mecca is south of Shanksville. The reason is because both are in the northern hemisphere and: “The shortest distance between points on the opposite sides of the northern hemisphere will take a short cut over the North Pole.”
Griffith cut out the first half of this quote (“The shortest distance between points on the opposite sides of the northern hemisphere”) and pretended that I was talking about a line between Shanksville and Mecca, which are not on opposite sides of the hemisphere. Mecca is about 2/3rds of the way around the hemisphere. Hence, as put it in my book (which Griffith also read), the shortest-distance line from Shanksville to Mecca “takes a shortcut towards the North Pole” (emphasis added).
This section of my report to the Memorial Project was just an aside, to explain what Griffith, as a “professor of geo-spatial information,” already knows full well: that even though Mecca is south of us, the shortest distance route to Mecca will start out with a northerly component. He deliberately misquotes this aside in order to pretend that I am the one who is not talking geometric sense. He even criticizes me for failing to document that the great circle line from Shanksville to Mecca goes over the North Pole, when I never said that it did.
This is what Griffith does: he searches for ways to misunderstand that will allow him to reach his desired conclusion. Do not hang your careers on this man’s credibility!
Lastly, an exchange with Dr. Griffith that immediately preceded the above emails.
I had sent an email to Griffith's colleagues, explaining that they have a unique responsibility to correct the disinformation that Griffith has been feeding the public about the Mecca orientation of the crescent. Griffith answered with a link to the dictionary page I put up, with a picture of himself as the paradigmatic Pecksniff:
From: Griffith, Daniel A [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:45 PM
To: Alec Rawls
Subject: [SPAM] RE: Flight 93 memorial
You forgot to include the link
I responded with some questions about how he was justifying to himself all the disinformation that he was putting out to the public:
Alec Rawls [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 3:28 AM
To: 'Griffith, Daniel A'
Subject: RE: Flight 93 memorial
When I called you July 2006, you insisted quite hysterically that you had not denied the Mecca orientation of the crescent, and indeed, in the report you sent me, you affirm the Mecca orientation of the crescent, though in the most inverted language.
For instance, you claim that on the line between the crash site and Mecca there is a Nazi concentration camp site (I can’t find it). You then say that the crescent can be seen to point to the concentration camp, which would of course imply that it also points to Mecca. But when you told this anecdote to the Tribune Democrat, you left out that the concentration camp is in line with Mecca, making it sound, as you said to reporter Kirk Swauger, that anyone can face anywhere to face anything.
How are you justifying these deceptions to yourself? Do you think that you are doing the families a favor by telling them what they want to hear? Do you have connections to Paul Murdoch? Are you a convert to radical Islam?
If the explanation is that you have been used by someone who you have come to realize that you shouldn’t have trusted, it is not too late to save yourself. Just come clean about what you did and why.
I think you are going to owe an explanation to your colleagues as well, all the more so if they decide to go down with you.
I am curious to see how that one is going to turn out.
A comparison of my remarks with Griffith's characterization of them at the top of this page yields a few more examples of Griffith's penchant for quoting phrases out of context in ways that skew their meanings. For instance, he tries to make it sound as if my suggestion that he save himself is an offer for me to save him from radical Islam, when it is explicitly stated as conditional on his being innocent of ill intent. His brain apparently just works this way. Any opportunity to misunderstand is simply irresistible to him.
He constructs technical analyses the same way. Notice that he is explicitly not looking at the the evidence about the orientation of the crescent in a balanced way, but claims that the concept of mathematical proof requires that the tiniest bit of contrary evidence must outweigh any amount of positive evidence for the Mecca orientation of the crescent:
I think I began to understand some of the statements you have been making about me. Nevertheless, additional calculations with this qibla locator (Figure 1c) failed to change my mind; in question is the “without exception” feature associated with a mathematical proof?
He is just grasping for any way to frame the question (even as he questions how he is framing the question), that will allow him to avoid what is demonstrably obvious. Crazy. He has no idea at all how to analyze evidence, which doesn't stop him from exclaiming that: "Alec simply does not understand the nature of mathematical proof!"
So far, none of Griffith's colleagues are willing to correct him. If this keeps up, he will indeed take them down with him. Everyone who is touched by this story is going to have their character revealed by it. That's just the way truth is. It is a light, and it is going to be shining into some very damning places.
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