Email exchange with Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner, 2/26/2010 - 3/4/2010

My first email to Mr. Lehner:

From: Alec Rawls [mailto:alec@rawls.org]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 12:49 PM
To: richard.lehner@mda.mil
Cc: cschilling@wnd.com; 'Alec Rawls'
Subject: Request for correction: the exact circle-in-circle crescent shape used in the MDA logo is employed by several jihadist groups

Dear Mr. Lehner:

I saw the World Net Daily interview where you:

... laughed at the comparisons [between the MDA logo and an Islamic crescent] and said, "I don't know where they would even begin to come up with something like that. It's ridiculous."

I believe you when you say that you don't know where the comparison comes from. That lack of knowledge shows an astounding failure of due diligence on your part. Here you were called upon to answer public questions about the likeness between your agency's logo and a well known Islamic symbol shape, and you revealed that you had never even bothered to examine the Islamic symbols in question.

For your information, the exact peculiar geometry of the full circle-in-circle crescent design used in the MDA logo is used by several jihadist groups. Here is an excerpt from my post on the subject:

The classic Islamic crescent (based on later flags of the Ottoman Empire) is defined by its circular inner and outer arcs. Contrast this to a crescent moon, which has an elliptical inner arc (when projected onto two dimensions). Several jihadist organizations use a full circle-in-circle crescent in their insignias, just like the one in the MDA logo.

Here is the insignia of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine:



Similar insignias are used by Hamas:


by the Islamic Palestine Block:


and by the Muslim American Society, which was created by the Muslim Brotherhood (the parent organization of al Qaeda) in 1928:



The MDA logo for comparison:

As with the Missile Defense Agency logo, the inner circle in the MAS logo represents the earth. The 360 green crescent formed by the space between the two circles represents Islamic domination of the planet. This Islamic triumphalism is also the depicted on the Hezbollah flag, which uses 2/3rds of of the outline of a globe to create an Islamic crescent covering the more typical 2/3rds of a circle of arc:




It is unclear what the blue crescent formed by the inner and outer circles of the MDA logo is supposed to represent. It's not a missile trajectory (that's in red), and if it were supposed to be atmosphere, the thicker side would be the near side (as defined by the missile trajectory). All we are left with is the geometric similarity to the jihadi insignias.

Friend vs. foe identification is as basic as military fundamentals get. Every soldier is drilled on every available identifier, over and over and over, and it never stops. It is simply inconceivable that our Defense Department could employ an Islamic symbol shape--in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists--and not be aware of it.

In my opinion, Mr. Lehner, you need to issue a correction. Not only were you wrong to suggest that the MDA does not employ an Islamic symbol shape, but you cast ugly aspersions on those who are conducting the oversight that your agency never did by pointing out the Islamic symbol shape to you:

"I think it's just people who are just," he hesitated for a moment, "different."

If you really didn't know better, okay, people make mistakes, but now that you know you made a mistake, it needs to be corrected. Your agency IS using a well known Islamic symbol shape, one embraced in particular by several of the worst terrorist groups. When people try to expose that fact, it is wrong of you to try to cover it up with mis-information, and if you don't issue a correction once you know that you have issued misinformation, it is malfeasance.

Since your misinformation was passed through World Net Daily reporter Chelsea Schilling, I am including her as an addressee. Please arrange a correction as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Alec Rawls

Palo Alto, CA

 

Lehner's first response:

From: Lehner, Richard CIV MDA/PA [mailto:Richard.Lehner@mda.mil]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 1:04 PM
To: 'alec@rawls.org'
Subject: [SPAM] Re: Request for correction: the exact circle-in-circle crescent shape used in the MDA logo is employed by several jihadist groups

Thank you for your email, I apologize, but I am not at all familiar with the various designs you mentioned. MDA is the Defense Department's agency for developing, testing and acquiring missile defense technology to protect our homeland and deployed forces against missile attack. So, it is this type of technology that I know. I am a retired Air Force officer with 24 years of service, and have been at MDA since 1994. I am just not well-versed on the subject matter in your email as my entire career has been spent in strategic missiles and missile defense programs. I am surprised at the reaction to the graphic design at the top of our website pages, it is supposed to just be a contemporary design that was to be used on recruiting materials and fact sheets for universities and job fairs, and was developed in 2007 by TMP Government, a well-known design firm, for our Human Resources department. It did not replace our official logo. Thanks again for your email, I really do appreciate hearing your opinion.

 

 

From his response, it seemed Mr. Lehner might be open to new information, so I sent a second email, discussin the possibility that the Islamic shape of the MDA logo was no accident, citing a couple known examples of free-lance jihadists inserting hidden Islamic symbolism  in inappropriate places, and suggesting that an investigation of the specifics was warranted.

From: Alec Rawls [mailto:alec@rawls.org]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:02 PM
To: 'Lehner, Richard CIV MDA/PA'
Cc: 'Alec Rawls'
Subject: Re: Request for correction: the exact circle-in-circle crescent shape used in the MDA logo is employed by several jihadist groups

Rick:

Thanks for responding. Now that you know that you were wrong, I believe you need to issue a correction. MDA also needs to launch an investigation into how this happened. You have been assuming a) that any likeness between the MDA logo and Islamic symbol shapes is an innocent coincidence, and b) that if it is innocent, that makes it okay. But it very likely is NOT innocent, and using the symbol shapes of our terror war enemies is not okay in any case. 

This is a very serious matter. To see an example of how free-lance Islamists will take any opportunity to advance Islam by stealth, look at the case of the sound engineer at the Mattel toy company who snuck "Islam is the light" onto the sound track of a toy doll intended for 2-5 year old girls, tens of thousands of whom have been getting indoctrinated by this message every 30 seconds without the knowledge of their parents.

http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2008/12/another-stealth-jihadist-plants-another.html

Our jihadist enemies are waging war on every possible front. Of all people, DOD personnel need to understand how this enemy operates, but MDA may well have let a free-lance Islamist waltz in the back door and onto the front page.

This is a learning process for all of us. For several years now I have been working with the father of one of our Flight 93 heroes to try to stop the Park Service from planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent atop his son's grave:

Left: publicity mock-up of Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93. Right: Wikipedia's "typical" Islamic crescent and star, colored red and viewed from a similar angle. The copse of trees that sits roughly in the position of the star on the Islamic flag is the Sacred Ground Plaza. It sits just above the impact point of Flight 93.

This giant crescent points to Mecca. That makes it a mihrab, the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. The planned memorial, now being built in Shanksville PA, will be the world's largest mosque.

What is the Park Service's reaction to the revelation that its giant Islamic-shaped crescent points within 2 degrees of Mecca? They managed to find a fraudulent academic from the University of Texas to deny that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca:

Daniel Griffith, a geospatial information sciences professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round.

As someone who is in the business of shooting down missiles, you will know how ludicrous it is to claim that, because the planet is round, there is no such thing as a direction on planet earth. (Muslims calculate the direction to Mecca by the great circle method, which the Park Service and Dr. Griffith all know, since they were responding to my explanations.)

This is what we are up against: government functionaries who, when faced with the most alarming evidence of a hidden Islamic plot, think it is okay to flat out lie to the public about the facts. I trust you are not one of those people, so please step up and do the right thing here.

Thanks for listening.

Alec

 

My outreach elicited an angry response:

From: Lehner, Richard CIV MDA/PA [mailto:Richard.Lehner@mda.mil]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:27 PM
To: 'alec@rawls.org'
Subject: [SPAM] Re: Request for correction: the exact circle-in-circle crescent shape used in the MDA logo is employed by several jihadist groups

No, I didn't say I was wrong, I said I wasn't familiar with Islamic symbols. I do know that TMP used a standard design team in the development of the graphic along with several other recruiting materials. The graphic symbolizes the worldwide protection of our homeland and deployed forces by showing an interceptor missile striking its target missile, thus the flash--not a star. To provide context, please look at the Careers section of our website to see how it is used for recruiting materials. Thanks again

 

I in turn ripped Mr. Lehner to shreds:

From: Alec Rawls [mailto:alec@rawls.org]
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 1:25 PM
To: 'Lehner, Richard CIV MDA/PA'
Cc: 'Alec Rawls'
Subject: Re: Request for correction: the exact circle-in-circle crescent shape used in the MDA logo is employed by several jihadist groups

Rick:

The issue is very simple. You provided mis-information to the American people. Now that you know you provided wrong information, any moral person would want to correct that mistake. But it seems that you have some different idea.

No, I didn't say I was wrong,  

I never said you admitted to being wrong. I said that you know that you were wrong, which I know that you know because I pointed out to you exactly what you were wrong about. You scoffed at any likeness between the MDA logo and an Islamic crescent, when in fact the circle-in-circle centerpiece of MDA's logo is virtually identical to the circle-in-circle crescents used by several of our terror war enemies. Do I need to show you again?

 

 I said I wasn't familiar with Islamic symbols.  

It is quite obvious that you were not familiar with Islamic symbols when you did your interview with World Net Daily, but you are familiar with Islamic symbols now, at least on the critical point. You now know that the MDA logo uses the same peculiar geometry as the insignias of several of our terror war enemies (where a smaller circle is set inside and near the edge of a larger circle).

There are some insignificant differences. The Islamic-shaped crescent in the MDA logo points to the northeast, while the crescents in the jihadist insignias point in various other directions, and if you look closely, the outer circle of the MDA logo appears to be slightly oblong. Visually, the crescents are all identical.

I do know that TMP used a standard design team in the development of the graphic along with several other recruiting materials.  

Nobody ever suggested that anyone in your department intended to commission an Islamic symbol shape. Maybe the the company MDA went to (TPM government) came up with the Islamic symbol shape by accident. Maybe it was the work of a freelance jihadist. Either way, it is a terrible mistake. The Department of Defense cannot use the same highly specific visual identifier that is embraced by our terror war enemies. In particular, the normalcy of the process that led to this mistake does not alter the fact that you mis-informed the American people.  

The graphic symbolizes the worldwide protection of our homeland and deployed forces ...   

I could say that the Swastika represents a helicopter rotor in motion, making a great logo for our Apache squadrons, but no such interpretation can obviate the established meaning of the symbol shape. That circle-in-circle crescent has an established meaning too. It represents Islamic domination of the planet. For you to protest that this isn't what it means to you is as ludicrous and irrelevant as me saying that I see the Swastika as a spinning propeller.

...by showing an interceptor missile striking its target missile, thus the flash--not a star.  

As for the flash looking like a star, I never said a word about the flash part of the logo and none of the jihadist insignias I showed you has a star in it. This is another complete irrelevancy, yet you offer it as an excuse to dismiss what I DID show you: that the MDA logo uses the same central symbol shape as used by several terror groups. You scoffed at the idea that there was any such similarity. You were wrong, and at this point, you are fully aware of it, whether you admit it or not.

You seem to think that your job is not to tell the truth to the American people but is just to defend the MDA logo, no matter how evasively or dishonestly. You work for the American people. You cannot justify providing the public with wrong information and then refusing to correct it.

This kind of willful blindness cannot be ignored. The same willful blindness led to the Fort Hood massacre, when colleagues and superiors of Nidal Hasan pretended then did not hear his violent jihadist diatribes. It is the same willful blindness that enabled the underwear bomber when State Department employees were ordered NOT to scrutinize Muslims seeking to enter the United States. Now you want to do the same thing with this Islamic shaped logo, doing your utmost to cover it up, first giving misinformation to the American people then refusing to correct it.

Refusing to "knuckle under" to a nobody like me is not showing spine. Spine means knuckling under to the truth, wherever you find it. Everything else is arrogance or cowardice. You ought to know that by now too, but if you don't, there is nothing wrong with learning it from a nobody like me.

Alec

 

That was the end of my exchange with Mr. Spineless. Presuming that Lehner was keeping his superiors in the dark about the actual similarity between the MDA logo and several jihadist insignias, I tried to contact the agency's directorship. Whether the old emails I was able to dig up for several directors and ex-directors ever got through to somebody I do not know. I never received any response.

From: Alec Rawls [mailto:alec@rawls.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 9:36 AM
To: Randall.Hendrickson@navy.mil; David.Altwegg@mda.mil; oberingh@hanscom.af.mil; kadishr@hanscom.af.mil
Cc: Alec Rawls
Subject: Request for oversight from MDA directors, Re MDA's crescent shaped website logo

Dear directors and ex-directors of the Missile Defense Agency:

There was an uproar in the news last week about what seems to be an Islamic shaped crescent in MDA's new website logo. Agency spokesman Rich Lehner was dismissive, telling reporters:

"I don't know where they would even begin to come up with something like that. It's ridiculous."

Mr. Lehner is misinformed. In fact, the MDA's logo shape, where a smaller circle is placed inside of and near the edge of a larger circle, is a common and well-known Islamic symbol shape. The resulting 360 crescent represents Islamic domination of the planet:

Left: MDA's new website logo (used on recruiting advertisements in 2008 and added to the website more recently). Right: the emblem of the Muslim American Society, which was created by the Muslim Brotherhood (the parent organization of al Qaeda) in 1928.

The basic similarity can be seen in the Turkish flag, or Ottoman flag, which most Islamic flags are based on:

Unlike a crescent moon, which covers a half a circle of arc and has an elliptical inner arc, an Islamic crescent has an intentionally unnatural shape (to avoid idolizing the moon). Thus it uses a circular inner arc and covers more than a half a circle of arc.

It is common for Islamic terror groups to extend this circle-in-circle crescent design to a full circle, as used in MDA logo. The full enclosed crescent is often used to visually depict Islamic domination. Here is the insignia of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine:



the Hamas insignia:


and the Islamic Palestine Block insignia:


At first sight, the MDA logo is indistinguishable from the Islamic crescents in these terror group insignias. If you look closely, the MDA logo is actually slightly different in that its circles appear to be slightly oblong. This small difference suggests that the likeness was probably unintended (the obvious likelihood in any case), but if the logo designer 
is a free-lance jihadist, this is just the kind of thing he might have done to cover his tracks. The slightly oblong circle shapes do not matter from an Islamic point of view, where the idea is simply to create a stylized crescent shape instead of a natural crescent shape. Some Islamic crescents use non-circular arcs just for this reason: to look even less like the moon. 

The visual similarity between the MDA logo and the jihadist insignias raises two issues that call out for oversight. First, Mr. Lehner's scoffing denial that there is any likeness between the an Islamic crescent and the MDA logo was misinformation. When I showed him the above circle-in-circle crescents, Mr. Lehner acknowledged that he "wasn't familiar with Islamic symbols," yet he presented himself to the press and the American people as competent to speak to this issue, and since learning that he was wrong, he has refused to issue a correction. To myself, as an American citizen, this is unacceptable. If a branch of the military misinforms the American people, then absent some national security necessity, a correction needs to be forthcoming.

It doesn't matter whether the likeness to an Islamic crescent is coincidence or if it is the work of a free-lance jihadist en the employ of the TPMgovernment company that designed the logo. The likeness itself is important. We are in the midst of a declared war against those who attacked us on 9/11. Our terror war enemies have their symbols. We have our symbols, and it is a matter of interest to the entire nation that their symbols not get planted on our institutions. That's what happens when a war is lost. In particular, nobody wants to see a symbol shape that our enemies use to denote Islamic supremacism showing up on our military.

Second, if Mr. Lehner is telling the public that the MDA logo is not similar in shape to an Islamic crescent, it seems likely that he has been communicating the same dismissive view internally, thereby blocking your agency from receiving important information that outsiders were trying to apprise you of. It is the Missile Defense Agency most needs to know it is using what appears to be an Islamic symbol shape on its website, recruiting materials, etcetera. If your media liasons are blocking this information from getting in, then the directorship needs to get involved, which means that someone like me has to apprise you. You are the one's who are inadvertently walking around with the jihadist stickers on your backs. Somebody has to let you know.

Sincerely,

Alec Rawls

Palo Alto, CA

P.S.  I was able to find email addresses for four of you: Deputy Director Hendrickson, Executive Director Altwegg, and ex-directors Obering and Kadish. Whether these are current addresses I do not know, and I was unable to find an address for current director LTG Patrick O'Reilly. If any recipients of this mail agree that the other directors should see it, please forward to whoever I missed.

Can you please let me know if you received this message, and keep me apprised of what actions are being taken?