Judge Pauley’s Deliberate Blind Spot: Systematic Section 215 Abuses

Sorry for my silence of late, particularly regarding William Pauley’s ruling finding the phone dragnet legal. The good news is my mom can now reach the light switch in her sewing room without risk of falling.

As noted, Judge Pauley ruled against the ACLU in their suit challenging the phone dragnet. A number of commentators have pointed to some bizarre errors or focus in Pauley’s ruling, including,

  • Pauley says the government could not find the “gossamer threads” of terrorist plotters leading up to 9/11. They did find them. They simply didn’t act appropriately with them.
  • He unquestioningly considers the 3 uses of Section 215 (with Zazi, Headley, and Ouazzani) proof that it is effective. He does not note that even Keith Alexander has admitted it was only critical in one case, one not even mentioned in the government’s filings in this case.
  • He ignores the role of the Executive in willingly declassifying many details this program, instead finding it dangerous to allow the ACLU to sue based on an unauthorized leak. The government has actually been very selective about what Snowden-leaked programs they’ve declassified, almost certainly to protect even more problematic programs from legal challenge.
  • He claims Congress has renewed Section 215 7 times (including 2001, it was renewed it 5 times).
  • He claims there is no doubt the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees knew about the rulings underlying the program in spite of the fact that some rulings were not provided until after Section 215 was renewed; he admits that the limits on circulation of notice in 2011 was “problematic” but asserts the Executive met its statutory requirements (he doesn’t deal with the evidence in the record that the Executive Branch lied in briefings about the conduct of the dragnet).

There are also Pauley’s claims about the amount of data included — he says the government collects all phone metadata; they say NSA collects far less data. This is a more complicated issue which I’ll return to, though maybe not until the New Year.

But I’m most interested in the evidence Pauley points to to support his claim that the FISC (and Congress) conduct adequate oversight over this program. He points to John Bates’ limits to the government’s intentional collection of US person data via upstream collection rather than Reggie Walton’s limits to Section 215 abuses.

For example, in 20011, FISC Judge Bates engaged in a protracted iterative process with the Government–over the Government’s application for reauthorization of another FISA collection program. That led to a complete review of that program’s collection and querying methods.

He then immediately turns to Claire Eagan’s opinion reiterating that the government had found and dealt with abuses of the phone dragnet program.

In other words, for some bizarre reason he introduces a series of rulings pertaining to Section 702 — and not to Section 215 — to support his argument that the government can regulate this Section 215 collection adequately.

It’s particularly bizarre given that we have far more documents showing the iterative process that took place in 2009 pertaining directly to the phone dragnet. Why even mention the Bates rulings on upstream collection when there are so many Reggie Walton ones pertaining directly to Section 215?

I suspect this is because Pauley relies so heavily on the adequacy of the minimization procedures imposed by the FISC, as when he cites Claire Eagan’s problematic opinion to claim that without adequate minimization procedures, FISC would not approve Section 215 phone dragnet orders.

Without those minimization procedures, FISC would not issue any section 215 orders for bulk telephony metadata collection.

(Note, Pauley doesn’t note that the government has not met the terms of the Section 215 itself with regards to minimization procedures, which among other things would require an analysis of the NSA using a statute written for the FBI.)

The only way Pauley can say the limits he points to in his analysis — that NSA can only analyze 3 hops deep, that FBI only gets summaries of the queries, that every query got approved for RAS — is if he ignores that for the first 3 years of the program, all of these claims were false.

He uses similar analysis to dismiss concerns about the power of metadata.

But [ACLU’s contention that the government could use metadata analysis to learn sensitive details about people] is at least three inflections from the Government’s bulk telephony metadata collection. First, without additional legal justification–subject to rigorous minimization procedures–the NSA cannot even query the telephony metadata database. Second, when it makes a query, it only learns the telephony metadata of the telephone numbers within three “hops” of the “seed.” Third, without resort to additional techniques, the Government does not know who any of the telephone numbers belong to.

These last assertions are all particularly flawed. Not only have these minimization procedures failed in the past, not only has the government been able to go four hops deep in the past (which could conceivably include all Americans in a query), not only is there abundant evidence — which I’ll lay out in a future post — that the government does know the identities of at least some of those whom it is chaining, but there are two ways the government accesses this data for which none of this is true: when “data integrity analysts” fiddle with the data to prepare it for querying, and when it is placed in the “corporate store” and analyzed further.

All the claims about minimization Pauley uses to deem this program legal have big big problems.

The NSA conducted a fraud on the FISC for 3 years (and still is, to the extent they claim the violations under the program arose from complexity rather than their insistence on adopting all the practices used under the illegal program for the FISC-authorized program). Yet Pauley points to the FISC to dismiss any Constitutional concerns with this program.

And to do that, he ignores the abundant evidence that all his claims have been — and may still be, in some cases — false.

73 replies
  1. pdaly says:

    Thanks again, emptywheel, for taking apart Pauley’s decision. As the ACLU is challenging this judge’s decision, will rules of procedure in the appellate court allow the ACLU to highlight these blind spots of the judge?

    As an aside:
    Do you mean “legal” instead in this sentence near the end?: “All the claims about minimization Pauley uses to deem this program illegal have big big problems.”

  2. Fractal says:

    In the fifth graf after your bullet points, this sentence appears: “Why even mention the Bates rulings on upstream collection when there are so many Reggie Walton ones pertaining directly to Section 702?”

    Did you mean to say “Section 215?”

    It is very reassuring to read your takedown of the flimsy decision by Judge Pauley. It is so Kafkaesque (as even one WaPo blogger observed) that I was starting to get depressed. But you cheered me right up.

  3. bloodypitchfork says:

    I have $1k that says this maggot masquerading as a judge is the very next nominee to the SC. Any takers?

  4. Fractal says:

    @Fractal: WaPo blogpost pointing to the “Kafkaesque” graf in Pauley’s decision saying that Congress didn’t want targets of section 215 collection to know they were targets, and wanted to preclude legal challenges by targets even if they discovered they were targeted by section 215 collection:


    Didn’t the I Con declassify the April 2013 order that was the basis of ACLU’s complaint? If so, that single fact seems to destroy one thread of Pauley’s opinion.

  5. ess emm says:

    @Fractal: How does a prohibition of legal challenges square with the 1st Amendment right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Bmaz?

  6. Don Bacon says:

    One problem I have with the US judicial system, besides it being totally corrupt, is the contention that infractions against civil liberties are just fine if they are “constitutional.” But our civil liberties are not entirely granted by the constitution, they are inherent. The Constitution limits the government from encroaching on some liberties, is all. Accepting that the government has the power to define our civil rights is unacceptable, to me.

    The Founding Fathers, some of them, knew that this might happen so they included the Ninth Amendment.
    Amendment IX – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    So next the Supremos will decide what our rights are in this case. Any hope that they would decide in our favor defies precedent.

  7. bloodypitchfork says:

    @pdaly:quote:”… will rules of procedure in the appellate court allow the ACLU to highlight these blind spots of the judge?”unquote

    Blind spots? I don’t understand the civility given this despicable lying sack of shit. He knew exactly what he was doing. Because he’s a judge, he knows he can say or hide anything he damn well pleases and NO BODY can do a damn thing about it, not to mention sucking up to power for you know what. All I know anymore is we’re heading smack dab into tyranny on steroids. Give these collectivist bastards 5 years and your grandchildren’s grandchildren won’t know what the word liberty means. With the coming deluge of domestic drones, militarized law enforcement, the exponential expansion of DHS and the coming full blown attack on the 2nd Amendment, it’s no stretch of the imagination where we’ll be.

    But there’s one more thing that NO ONE is talking about, and I’d bet $5k the NSA already came up with exploits of security flaws in SmartTV’s, if not made backdoor deals with the manufacturers, similar to what was discovered with NSA compromised NIST standards via RSA conspiracy. After all..it’s already been proven possible…


    I wouldn’t put ANYTHING past these criminals. In fact, I gotta nuther $5k that says this concept is at the heart of Snowdens alleged Doomsday file. And IF, that comes to pass…well, I gotta ‘nuther $5k that says your civility will disappear.

  8. Fractal says:

    @ess emm: I won’t pretend to be a constitutional expert, but IAAL, and I have litigated one civil rights case and a few constitutional cases. I think the first amendment right to petition is generally understood to cover access to legislators & communication of grievances to them. Access to courts is generally covered by the fifth, sixth and fourteenth amendments (due process, jury trial, equal protection of laws).

    None of which is to say that your concern about our first amendment rights is in any way misplaced. We have no “freedom” of association if totalitarian data hoarding can track & analyze every single relationship we have.

  9. emptywheel says:

    @Fractal: I’ve actually been most interested in the EFF suit in CA, given that they argued Freedom of Association as well (and included the NRA, among others). I really want people to be arguing the Associational issues.

  10. Don Bacon says:

    from Web Policy
    a blog about technology, policy, and law
    by Jonathan Mayer, a grad student at Stanford

    “You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number,” explained President Obama in a PBS interview. “[T]here are no names . . . in that database.”

    The ACLU disagrees:

    Although officials have insisted that the orders issued under the telephony metadata program do not compel the production of customers’ names, it would be trivial for the government to correlate many telephone numbers with subscriber names using publicly available sources. The government also has available to it a number of legal tools to compel service providers to produce their customer’s information, including their names.

    So, just how easy is it to identify a phone number?

    Trivial, we found. We randomly sampled 5,000 numbers from our crowdsourced MetaPhone dataset and queried the Yelp, Google Places, and Facebook directories. With little marginal effort and just those three sources—all free and public—we matched 1,356 (27.1%) of the numbers. Specifically, there were 378 hits (7.6%) on Yelp, 684 (13.7%) on Google Places, and 618 (12.3%) on Facebook.

  11. thatvisionthing says:


    the clutter in her sewing room

    The best kind! Cheers to your mom!

    (Did she make the dress you’re wearing in your Twitter pic? I think I remember that fabric. Quilts?)

  12. bloodypitchfork says:

    @Fractal:”We have no “freedom” of association if totalitarian data hoarding can track & analyze every single relationship we have.”unquote

    Well sooprise sooprise sooprise..our beloved Congress of cockroaches just rushed through the 2014 version of the NEW AND IMPROVED NDAA!!
    And guess what…the “if” in your statement is now moot.

    quote:”Finally, there is in the NDAA for 2014 a frightening fusion of the federal government’s constant surveillance of innocent Americans and the assistance it will give to justifying the indefinite detention of anyone labeled an enemy of the regime.

    Section 1071 of the version of the 2014 NDAA approved by the House and Senate committees this week expands on the scope of surveillance established by the Patriot Act and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

    Section 1071(a) authorizes the secretary of defense to “establish a center to be known as the ‘Conflict Records Research Center.’” According to the text of the latest version of the NDAA, the center’s task would be to compile a “digital research database including translations and to facilitate research and analysis of records captured from countries, organizations, and individuals, now or once hostile to the United States.”

    In order to accomplish the center’s purpose, the secretary of defense will create an information exchange in cooperation with the director of national intelligence.

    Key to the functioning of this information exchange will be the collection of “captured records.” Section 1071(g)(1), defines a captured record as “a document, audio file, video file, or other material captured during combat operations from countries, organizations, or individuals, now or once hostile to the United States.”unquote


    quote:”Under the new and “improved” NDAA, I’m a belligerent for writing this, and you’re a belligerent for reading this. God help you if you email someone about it or share it on Facebook. We’re all going to be busted as belligerents under this one.

    See you at Gitmo or the FEMA camps!”unquote

    Tyranny indeed. If anyone doesn’t understand the INTENT of the USG by now, you might as well keep your head buried. Earlier I said give these bastards 5 years. Well, they’ve already done it. Make no mistake. WE HAVE ARRIVED.

  13. Mark says:

    Everything happening now is the direct result of not asking the obvious and serious questions needed to explain what really happened on 9/11. Our Country needs people like yourselves to start seriously rethinking that day.

  14. DWBartoo says:


    No, you can’t go “there”, Mark, that is conspiracy territory.

    As well, when it is said, “911 changed everything”, no one is permitted, ever, to ask, “Why?”.

    Thank you, EW, for this superb initial analysis.

    Thank you, as well, Fractal, for that necessary clarification.


  15. thatvisionthing says:

    @emptywheel: We all did. Good times. My mom made our dresses until we learned to make our own. I loved sewing. Although it was such a relief when we could finally wear T-shirts and blue jeans to school and slack on the ironing.

  16. DWBartoo says:


    Always great to “see” you, TVT.

    And Snowden is correct, ” … it is about power.”

    Absolute power. And some of us recall what was once said about the corrupting influence of such power.

    I would go further and suggest that those who seek such power are, already, fully corrupt in their pathology, and are never to be trusted.

    But then, absolute power doesn’t give a damn about trust, it simply demands obedience, uncritical, unthinking obedience … on pain of personal destruction, or death, for those who do not go along … to “get” along.


  17. thatvisionthing says:

    @Fractal: How about “obstruction of justice”? Same 5, 6 and 14, or more diffuse (or specific)? And wouldn’t this make the court an enemy and harmer of the highest authority in the land, the people? Not to mention a colluder with and material supporter of the other two branches of fraud? I’m thinking impeachment and treason all around. IANAL. Just a citizen. Going cumulonimbus.

  18. klynn says:


    I still love the fact that our moms made the same blouse and jumper out of the same fabric and used the same pattern in the same year!

    Glad your mom is ok and that sewing has been a focus of your trip.

    Thank you so much for this post. You have hit on the import of all Pauley did not consider.

    Mark @ 31 — yep.

  19. bloodypitchfork says:

    @Mark:quote:”Our Country needs people like yourselves to start seriously rethinking that day.”unquote

    And then what? That was 12 years ago. Look what has happened since. No, what this country really needs is a Synthetic Lobotomy Serum antidote.(insert rolling eyes smiley here) Seriously, every conceivable robust contradiction to the absurd 9/11 Committee report has already happened, including the American Pilots Association rebuttal to the alleged Pentagon impact, and a comprehensive Structural Engineers Association rebuttal to the Nist structural steel report. And look what happened. NOTHING. Zilch. Zero. The Dumbest country on the planet aside, the ONLY possible thing that might have an impact now is an insurrection inducing revelation from Snowden proving 9/11 was an inside job. Other than that, this stupid fucking country just yawns while watching Miley Cyrus show her ass to the entire planet.

  20. lefty665 says:

    @Don Bacon: Don’t suppose they would also get from the telcos a separate list of subscriber names and phone numbers? Aka a “phone book”. That would make the statements about no names in the meta data “true” and the ability to associate them with numbers trivial.

  21. Don Bacon says:

    There’s a parallel, it seems to me, to when the Supremos okayed the highway checkpoints that stop us hereabouts and question us regarding citizenship, where we came from, where we’re going, etc.

    Paraphrasing — it’s only a small intrusion, a small inconvenience, the Supremos said, and look at the benefits! Security!!

    Who can argue against security, the argument goes, and in fact many people around here love the fact that the Border Patrol with guns and dogs takes the trouble to interrupt their travel on the freeway to the grocery store.

    It’s what we’ve come to.

  22. Mark says:


    Agreed…but it is important now that sites like this start openly discussing different aspects of that terrible crime and those who were most likely involved. Again see: http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/12/11/will-shifting-loyalties-in-the-middle-east-and-fracking-bring-truth-about-911/#comment-659640

    Further, that arbitrary rule, mentioned above, still seems firmly in place throughout most of the land, as our Country is being destroyed by ever creeping normality. The points you mention are all very important facts that are intensionally not being picked up by the netroots gatekeepers, who are still operating under that crazed, arbitrary (Bushco) law.

  23. thatvisionthing says:

    @Mark: Go EW!

    While it’s very early yet — Congress, many members of which who are funded indirectly by Saudis — are doing everything they can to ensure the Saudis remain ascendant in the Middle East. But if an Iran deal succeeds, and if we continue to wean ourselves from Saudi oil by replacing our ill-considered reliance on them with ill-considered efforts that ruin our own groundwater via fracking, then it may become politically possible to admit that individual Saudis had much more responsibility for 9/11 than, say, Saddam.

    Come on, say it, Cheney, Cheney! Oil and fracking, who’s your daddy!

    I know, I’m hopping ahead. Dot dot dot, hop hop hop! What else is there? Up in the bleachers and looking down at… no common ground. Funny way to secure the homeground of liberty and reason, make it disappear. What is this game? I smell fear…

  24. Don Bacon says:

    Saudi Arabia has better ties with several nations in the area than the U.S. does–
    Pakistan, Gulf States (except Qatar), Egypt, even Israel. Working on Syria.

    but Washington is working on it–
    –John Kerry praises US-Saudi ties as ‘enduring’
    –John Kerry Takes Softer Line Than Hillary Clinton on Saudi Women …
    –Kerry tries to soothe relations with Saudi Arabia but tensions evident …
    –John Kerry Seeks Saudi Arabia Reconciliation On Middle East Tour
    –Kerry Reassures Saudis U.S. Shares Their Goals – NYTimes.com

    Why does the US love for a despotic dictatorial sexist terrorist-supporting kingdom matter in a discussion about a US judge’s abuse of civil rights?
    To ask the question is to answer it.

  25. bloodypitchfork says:

    @Don Bacon:quote:”Why does the US love for a despotic dictatorial sexist terrorist-supporting kingdom matter in a discussion about a US judge’s abuse of civil rights? To ask the question is to answer it.”unquote

    I stand in awe.

  26. thatvisionthing says:

    @P J Evans: Bob Graham, Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch… just scanning through the post Mark linked to above. Let’s you and them fight. I think they’ve got access to more information.

  27. thatvisionthing says:

    @P J Evans: Also we had a conversation about this once before — you never answered:


    What makes you so sure? I’m sincerely curious, because my own conclusion is that we can’t know and have to go on what we see and feel and think, and take note of questions that can’t be asked or won’t be answered. Because if you can’t ask questions or test answers, it’s all just Wizard of Oz and theories, which is an indictment of the government in and of itself. Bringing it back around to the subject of this diary, a judge who says we must trust the – duh! – obviously untrustable… way to fail, man, way to fail. Kind of spectacular, really. 8.7 on the bellyflop.

  28. thatvisionthing says:


    Blind spots? I don’t understand the civility given this despicable lying sack of shit. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    You ever see Sullivan’s Travels? Don’t you wonder at the spectacular bellyflop? Maybe everybody look at my fail? Maybe he’s trying to tell us something, not?

    Or maybe here’s the whole pinata, hit it?

    Maybe some kind of wagging or begging going on here?

    I mean give the man credit. Maybe 8.8 with style points.

  29. ess emm says:

    @Fractal: That was helpful, thanks. And I agree 100% with your observation that the Associational Database©® violates our 1st Amendment rights.

  30. thatvisionthing says:

    @P J Evans: Which ones? And I think NIST (that NIST, the one that corrupted RSA) refused to test for demolition by explosion and said all their testing was a national secret anyway and won’t release it. Something like that? Hello! But I don’t know.

    Up in the bleachers, I look at those buildings fall and I see controlled demolition. It’s just plain. Like I can’t even believe there’s a question. Just me, just my eyes, just pixels, no special knowledge, no proof of anything. And everything that’s happened since, who could have foreseen? Man, who could have NOT foreseen? Whole point of a Pearl Harbor. Actually the whole point of THE Pearl Harbor, turns out. See Robert Stinnett.

    Here’s a funny thing. I saw Chaplin’s The Gold Rush recently. And I’m a fool for special features and commentaries, and the Criterion DVD set is kinda heaven for that. So I’m listening to the expert on the commentary tell us that the ship at the end of the movie is The Lark, right before Charlie and Big Jim stroll down the promenade by the lifeboats, where you can clearly read the name on one of the lifeboats: Emma Alexander. You can find the S.S. Emma Alexander by googling, exactly where she would have been then, sailing the California coast including between Los Angeles and San Diego. She had sister ships, Ruth, Dorothy and H.F. If you know how to look, I think (I swear!) you can even find photographs online of Emma at the dock in San Diego in 1925, about when and where that scene was filmed. I can’t find a Lark. But the expert said it there and in at least two books. Like, how — ? (I actually have my own theory that the Lark is the train Chaplin took to the ship, and the expert found some garbled notation of that in the Chaplin archives, but that’s just a guess.)

    Next thing, Chaplin again. City Lights. Now there’s a Rohrschach test for you, the end of that movie. Maybe it wasn’t intended to be, maybe we were all supposed to see one interpretation, but in fact there’s pages and pages of discussion over at IMDB about what happened at the end and I’m still tussling with it myself. I wonder if Chaplin himself knew. I think he talked about it in the ’60s as being a kind of out-of-body experience, filming that scene, a one-of-a-kind thing that only happened once in his career, even though he’s famous for his many retakes and I think another scene in City Lights may actually hold the record for number of retakes, like 300 and something. Hope I’m not balling this up. Something happened once. This is all Rayne’s fault, she got me watching Avengers, which led to Iron Man, which led to Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.), which led to what is now months of Chaplin immersion, wow. Wow. Anyway, City Lights was my first Chaplin film, and I wasn’t blown away until I saw the end. And then… I was gone. I wanted to know what I saw. I wanted to know what I was supposed to see. I got a book. The author starts off with the ending, and he quotes a famous passage that James Agee wrote about it in 1949 I think. Thing is, they both describe something that physically did not happen, at least to my eyes. But everyone’s been repeating Agee since 1949 and the current author only disagrees with him about one point. Now you figure, Agee, 1949, no VCR, no DVD, he approximated out of his memory or used Chaplin’s notes or something. But the other guy? Or me? Or even Chaplin, who 30+ years after didn’t describe the thing I see but focused on himself? What did we see? I think I could show you that I’m right, or reasonable, but no one’s asking me. And everyone is still quoting Agee, who wrote beautifully and was published in Life magazine.

    So, experts. No.

  31. P J Evans says:

    I don’t think any licensed demolition guy would work in an occupied building, and it’s not something that can be done with people around: they have to have the plans for the building, and then they go around and check to make sure that the building and the plans match … because that’s how they know where to plant the many, many charges it takes to do it without making a hell of a mess.
    Unlicensed, or untrained, might be willing to ignore all that – but they’d botch it.
    It’s easier to understand what happened if you’ve had at least statics and strength of materials: it’s the result you’d expect for a building taking a hit larger than it was designed for (remember, t was designed in the 60s, when large planes weren’t jumbo jets) near the top, that takes out a number of load-bearing supports. Also, bear in mind that buildings are designed so that if they fall, they go straight down, not sideways.
    So, take out a bunch of structural supports, and the floor above falls flat onto the one below, and that causes a chain of collapsing structure, right the way down, even when you don’t add in heat-related deformation of the supports. Also, remember concrete is heavy – a cubic yard weighs about 3000 pounds.
    You can demonstrate it with a plate with a couple of bricks, sitting on top of ice-cream pillars. The ice cream will deform from the weight as it warms – it doesn’t have to come close to melting. (This is one of the big problems with the conspiracy theories: they assume that steel has to melt. No, it doesn’t, it just has to deform enough.)

  32. John Ellis says:

    Our only security — A shield of privacy

    In harm’s way and as vulnerable to disaster as you could you possibly be, such is a man when his shield of privacy has been destroyed, all of his proprietary knowledge has been stolen and his enemies know every matter, fact and thing about him.

  33. Mark says:


    I think I remember reading your version of events 6 or 7 years ago…I didn’t buy then or now. Your “easy to understand” theory has a number of major flaws in it.

    – “I don’t think any licensed demolition guy would work in an occupied building” …WOW, like the perps of the biggest crime in world history would use the demo guys at the corner demo store to wire their target buildings. These crimes probably involved super hi-tech military grade nano-thermite and highly skilled demo teams working months and maybe even years in advance.

    – Sorry, but the WTC towers were built to withstand multiple direct hits of 707s (the largest plane at the time of their construction) which are almost exactly the same size as the planes that hit the towers on 9/11.

    – “Also, bear in mind that buildings are designed so that if they fall, they go straight down, not sideways.” WOW again, where did that come from…are you living in a dream world? First of all the towers didn’t go start down, and in fact where shooting out multi-ton beams and large sections of steel at speeds approaching 700 mph. And damaged areas don’t just go thru and collapse the vast majority of the towers that were completely unharmed by the planes. Also, there were NO pancakes at all to be found anywhere (like those found in every other pancake style collapse)…only dust!

    – Regarding your ice cream theory…the quickly burnt off jet fuel (which is just hi-grade kerosene…and kerosene heaters don’t normally soften or melt) together with office furnishings fires can’t reach high enough temperatures to soften steel like you claim. Remember those poor human beings waving their clothes in windows of the impact area fire zones…that should give you some idea of how hot the temperatures were there. Also, no steel frame skyscraper has EVER collapsed due to fire before that day, when three major skyscrapers miraculously did.

    If you care at all about this issue and can see its incredible importance to what is happening today…I suggest you take the time to watch this well researched recent film by Massimo Mazzucco:

    “September 11 – The New Pearl Harbor”
    Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1GCeuSr3Mk
    Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7mDXHn_byA
    Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DegLpgJmFL8

  34. thatvisionthing says:

    @P J Evans: PJ, what about the burning skyscraper in Chechnya this year? No one even thought it would fall, and it didn’t, but it burned much longer than the twin towers. What about WTC7, not hit by a plane, and whose collapse was announced by the BBC newslady while it was still standing and in the picture behind her? And then it collapsed exactly like a controlled demolition. Why a 9/11 commission report with nothing on WTC7? If there’s evidence of explosions and people saying “I hear explosions” and you can see explosions…why wouldn’t NIST test for explosions? Why get rid of the evidence, sending all the steel to Japan to be reused? IANAE (but come on). It’s a crime scene! And why wreck the Constitution afterward? And speaking of Iron Man, where’s Jeff Kaye to tell us about the [Army intelligence?] guy whose job pre 9/11 was to [uh, keep track of Osama bin Laden? something] but who was thwarted and whose evidence was kept from Congressional oversight? http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1607:exclusive-new-documents-claim-intelligence-on-bin-laden-alqaeda-targets-withheld-from-congress-911-probe

    Mark, I’m curious about your youtubes but I’m afraid I can’t play media when I’m online anymore. I don’t know why but it doesn’t work. I am so tech pitiful, sorry. If any of them makes a particular point you want us to understand, can you please just tell us?

    PJ, what about Bob Graham?

    Thank you both.

  35. thatvisionthing says:

    @emptywheel: I swear I have some of that fabric or really similar in a box in the closet. Glad to know about the book title, I used to think you were holding the flag. It’s just a great picture.

  36. klynn says:

    I did not but I should have. I am related to LI Wilder. When my mom and dad married my mom received a hope chest filled with bed spreads and table cloths crocheted by the Wilder women.
    As for the fabric, years later, my mom used the remaining yards to make my daughter the same blouse and a skort.

    If I remember correctly the fabric and pattern were marketed by Simplicity or McCalls as a Holly Hobbie.

  37. bloodypitchfork says:

    @thatvisionthing: quote:” And everything that’s happened since, who could have foreseen? Man, who could have NOT foreseen? Whole point of a Pearl Harbor. Actually the whole point of THE Pearl Harbor, turns out. See Robert Stinnett.”unquote

    Holy mother of PH. So, here I am a full 12 hours later after researching Stinnett and the whole Jap cryptography stuff. Now I understand your point. Within the scope of post PH investigations, there are EXACT parallels to 9/11 to this day. Too much to research in little time, but I wanted to come back and thank you for the link. Amazing shit.

    However, the next few paragraphs make me think you are trying to cryptographically tell us something, although, without having a clue to your real intent, how bout spitting it out in plain old english what the point is to this….
    quote:”Here’s a funny thing. I saw Chaplin’s The Gold Rush recently. And I’m a fool for special features and commentaries, and the Criterion DVD set is kinda heaven for that. So I’m listening to the expert on the commentary tell us that the ship at the end of the movie is The Lark, right before Charlie and Big Jim stroll down the promenade by the lifeboats, where you can clearly read the name on one of the lifeboats: Emma Alexander…..”unquote(snip)

    Does this relate somehow to the previous subject, or are you just rambling?(ps, I looked up Agee and a few other things but got no clue to what your intent here was.)

  38. thatvisionthing says:

    @bloodypitchfork: You actually read my ramblings and wondered what I was trying to say! Thank you. I was wondering too if I said it right. Try again:

    PJ, who I respect greatly, I think thinks the experts have spoken and the people who don’t buy their answers are loony conspiracy theorists. I, who AM a loon but not an entrenched 9/11 conspiracy theory expert, say but but but. PJ says @44 you don’t trust experts? I reply experts, no. I use the two examples from Chaplin because that’s my latest personal experience with experts and anyone can test what I say, watch the movies, do the googlefluking, check the books, see for themselves. The Gold Rush expert says on the commentary that the ship is the Lark, at almost exactly the same moment the screen is telling us the ship is the Emma Alexander. He says it in at least two books too. People who love Chaplin and The Gold Rush and every little detail crumb pass it on that the ship is the Lark and now the fact widely known is that the ship is the Lark. But a simple google will find no Lark but will find Emma in lots of places that match up to other things known about the making of The Gold Rush. Or you could just look straight at the movie, never listen to the commentary, and if the name on the lifeboat catches your eye you’ll think the ship is the Emma Alexander. It’s not even a plot point, it doesn’t matter, it’s just something you see. I say just look at the WTC buildings fall. It just looks like controlled demolition in each case, whether the building was hit by a plane or not. I say nothing about which story about who/what caused the buildings to fall is true or why; about that I say my best fact is that I can’t know. But would I trash the Constitution and commit my country to megamurder and Big Brother and soul death for the sake of any of the stories? No. What a huge idiotic non sequitur unless you wanted power with no questions asked. And if THAT’S what you want and get, that is the farthest thing from American there is. And things fall apart.

    The second Chaplin story is about what is truth. The Chaplin experts then and now front up describe something that I think physically did not happen, just look, and their retelling changes something that might be fundamental to understanding the scene, what do I know, I’m not an expert. Chaplin himself when describing it over 30 years later remembered the scene in a subjective way that doesn’t answer my question about what happened, what he wanted us to see, even when the screen goes black, which was brilliant btw. I don’t think the actress, Virginia Cherrill, ever said one way or another. I focus on something else, and I keep wondering and thinking new things, still. And Chaplin said it was his favorite of his movies, and the scene that grabs us all was something he said was like a one-time-only out-of-body experience. And it has spawned pages of discussion at IMDB. And here I am.

    My point is, who knows? Could be anyone, could be no one not even Chaplin, could be everyone together, all hands on the elephant. Maybe it’s all rorschach and rashomon. And I’m grateful for experts, I’m not down on the Chaplin experts at all, I share their Chaplin love and I sincerely treasure everyone who can tell me something. But still, look at the two examples I gave. If you just look straight at the thing without an expert filter… if you keep asking questions… now that is something I am committed to.

    I think… I think experts are about answers. I think I am about questions. Seems to me it should be a kind of takes-all-kinds happy perpetual motion thing, a happy ecology thing, a happy American thing, a pursue happiness and think and thrive together thing, but instead the way it’s playing 9/11 wise is the answers we are given are meant to stop questions, stop thinking, stop looking, stop everything. And we get stupid and mean and deadly. And things fall apart. Hello Judge Pauley.

  39. Valley Girl says:


    Okay, I’ll ask, now that the thread has taken on issues apart from Pauley.

    You say- ~~I got a book. The author starts off with the ending, and he quotes a famous passage that James Agee wrote about it in 1949 I think. Thing is, they both describe something that physically did not happen, at least to my eyes.~~

    w/o me following up your research trail, what do you mean by “something that physically did not happen…” in that final scene? Just a short explanation? I’ve just watched the final scene a few times on YT. I’m really curious.

  40. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Funny how a comparative lit. grad can so easily embarrass the “analysis” prepared by or simply signed off by a qualified lawyer and federal judge, of the vaunted S.D.N.Y. no less. Could it be that they disagree more about the ends than the means, and Judge Pauley doesn’t are how he gets there?

  41. Mark says:

    @thatvisionthing 60

    Thank you for your thoughts…and I want you to know, that I find you a beautiful and very wise human being.

  42. thatvisionthing says:

    @Valley Girl:

    1 The Ending

    Let’s start at the end. The final shots of Charles Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) constitute one of the most famous, memorable, and emotionally intricate endings of any movie in film history. In it Chaplin’s iconic tramp character has just been released from prison, falsely accused of stealing money from a millionaire. He has given that money to the blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill), with whom he has fallen in love, to pay for an operation. Returning that love, she also believes the tramp to be a wealthy benefactor. While he has been in prison, the flower girl has had surgery and, her sight restored, has opened a prosperous florist shop, hoping that her beloved will return to her. When the bedraggled Charlie happens by her shop, he spies her through the window, first looks puzzled and surprised, then smiles. She’s amused at this tramp’s reaction, yet comes to the door to offer him a flower and a coin and he shuffles away, afraid that she might recognise him, might see him as he really is. As he reaches a hand back to her into which she places the coin, she identifies the pitiable tramp as her benefactor. The framing tightens as shots of both characters respond to this shock of recognition. The last shot of the film, the tramp’s response to the flower girl’s acknowledgement that now she can see, is reproduced on the cover of this book.

    The ending has entranced countless viewers around the globe since the film was released. It has also generated extensive commentary, perhaps none as memorable as James Agee’s reflections in his 1950 essay, ‘Comedy’s Greatest Era’:

    At the end of City Lights the blind girl who has regained her sight, thanks to the tramp, sees him for the first time. She has imagined and anticipated him as princely, to say the least, and it has never seriously occurred to him that he is inadequate. She recognizes who he must be by his shy, confident, shining joy as he comes silently toward her. And he recognizes himself, for the first time, through the terrible changes in her face. The camera just exchanges a few quiet close-ups of the emotions which shift and intensify in each face. It is enough to shrivel the heart to see, and it is the greatest piece of acting and the highest moment in movies.

    Although Agee is, I believe, wrong in one detail – the flower girl first recognises the tramp not through her sight but through touch, by grasping his familiar hand – he’s dead on target when he says that this ending ‘shrivels the heart.’

    Fuck no.

    What do you say?

    (the physical detail I was referring to above was “comes silently toward her”)

  43. Mark says:

    @JohnT 63

    WOW, I used to go to that site years ago and found it very informative…then he/she stopped writing, as if it was getting to be too much to handle…I was disappointed at the time.

    Thanks for posting that John.

  44. thatvisionthing says:

    @thatvisionthing: This is interesting:

    A good example is a three-page story note headed ‘Story as of Feb. 28, 1930’. The DPRs show that Chaplin and his staff were working on scripting a new sequence from 14 February on. The 28 February story notes summarise the development of the final scenes of the film, from the time the flower girl falls ill until the mutual recognition in the film’s final scene. Although some details are still different, much of the description from the scene in which Charlie gets money from the millionaire to use for the blind girl’s operation through to the conclusion is very similar to the realisation in the final film. Note how this description of the final shots is much closer to the finished film compared to the previous example:

    Slowly the Tramp comes to her and as he stretches his hand out for the flower, she grips his wrist and pulls him closer. A strangeness takes hold of her and there is recognition. She seems dazed. He bows his head in acknowledgement and a great emotion rises in the girl, a thousand things run through her mind and then she smiles through her tears as the scene ends.

    (emphasis mine) Was Agee writing using Charlie’s notes and not looking at the movie itself?

  45. lysias says:

    A Clinton appointee. Thus confirming Glenn Greenwald’s assertion that the most vociferous defenders of the NSA now are Democratic Party diehards.

  46. thatvisionthing says:

    @thatvisionthing: And this is not right:

    She’s amused at this tramp’s reaction, yet comes to the door to offer him a flower and a coin and he shuffles away, afraid that she might recognise him, might see him as he really is. As he reaches a hand back to her into which she places the coin, she identifies the pitiable tramp as her benefactor.

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