Webfairy's Reign of Error
Updated, 17 September
The following is the third in a series of critiques I have written which concern "Webfairy", aka Rosalee Grable, an internet writer who claims that the World Trade Center was not hit by Boeing 767 airliners on 9/11, and instead was attacked by what she sometimes calls a "whatzit" (or more recently, a "divebombing thingie"). This is, she claims, a secret weapon which is revealed in the footage of the first WTC crash from the DVD "9/11" by the Naudet brothers to be something radically different from a 767. In my first critique, I showed that her analysis was fundamentally flawed, being based on a degraded, half-size version of original broadcast footage which suffered greatly from mpeg compression artifacts, which she then interpreted to represent real objects & phenomena. In addition, I showed that she made numerous mistakes which reveal that she is nowhere near posessing competence in understanding the basic technical issues of video:
First, to state what should be obvious: the DVD footage is clean because the editing and DVD authoring were done in the studio with high quality, noise free connections between the tape deck and editing equipment. The taner.net movie could have picked up artifacts because of signal degradation as a result of satellite transmission, transmission through the local cable system and being recorded on consumer vhs recorder. Plus the tanet.net movie is half size, removing 75% of the original data, and it has been compressed with the mpeg1 codec, introducing compression artifacts.
No camera in existence records images the poor quality shown in the taner.net movie. As is clear from watching the rest of the Naudet video, their cameras were working perfectly well.
There is no filter available in the software I use (Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Photoshop) or in any other professional editing software that can clean up something like the taner.net footage and make it as clear as the DVD version. There is only one layer of data in the types of video files we're dealing with here. Once a compression artifact obscures image data, that data is lost altogether. Also, there are firemen in the footage-no filter would know how to redraw that particular fireman's face!! Nor would it know to what a plane is shaped like or how to redraw the shadow of the plane on the building's face. Trust me, if there was such a filter that could do all these wonderful things, it would be the TV innovation of the century and professional editors like myself would be jumping up and down with joy. But it's all in Webfairy's imagination.
One more thing: the taner.net footage has a graphic "ticker" overlay on the bottom of the picture that is standard with the news networks these days. No filter could remove this graphic and know what to redraw underneath.
Also, bear in mind that Webfairy's argument by default assumes the Naudet brothers are agents.
Webfairy claims that the movie files I used can't have come from the Naudet brother's DVD "911" because a still she grabbed from the DVD looks so different from my version:
In other words, because the frames look different, she's claiming that I've done a better job "cleaning up" the footage. Webfairy has put her foot in it again. The frame titled "naudetflash.jpg" is simply a video frame that is still interlaced. That is, both fields are still present. My file has been deinterlaced. Here is a description of interlacing that I referenced in my original article, a description that Webfairy has either not read or not understood:
Dave from 911blimp.net sent me a vhs copy of the Naudet footage as it originally aired on Sept11 or 12th. (I performed the same processing as I did to the footage from the DVD, increasing the frame rate of the compressed movie from 29.97 to 60 frames per second so that both fields would have their own frame. If I left it at 30 fps I would have had to de-interlace it, removing one of the fields. But even if what I have done is not technically de-interlacing, the visual effect on the image is the same, as 240 horizontal lines are interpolated to create 480.) As you can see, there is no difference between the DVD version and the originally aired version save the noise and artifacts caused by bad satellite or cable signals and low quality VHS recording that Dave's copy suffers from. All the aspects pertinent to my analysis are unchanged: the plane is the same, the shadow of the plane is the same, the flash is the same, the explosion is the same, and there are no dropped frames. This is what makes Webfairy's slander particularly pointless.
Webfairy sometimes claims that the Naudet footage was deliberately edited so that frames are out of order. The origin of Webfairy's suspicions probably comes from the taner.net movie, which just before the plane hits the building switches to slow motion. Switching to slow motion requires an edit, something Webfairy wouldn't know, and it's very easy to accidentally slip the edit forward or back a couple of frames, especially in the fast paced world of news editing. Nothing but a harmless mistake here. Besides, the two versions in the previous paragraph show no dropped frames whatsoever.
She presents more "evidence" of tampering:
I explained the artifact on the right side of the building in theTaner footage as "ringing" in my original article. It's there because the taner.net movie suffers signal degradation. Webfairy continues to fail to use the correct technical term even though I laid it out for her. Any person can digitize the DVD and get the exact same results as I did. The slight ghosting on my version is a result of having to use the analog s-video output of the DVD player routed through my DV deck to digitize instead of ripping the digital mpeg2 data straight from the disk-my ripping software wasn't working. Moreover, since de-interlacing removes horizontal scan lines, it would only affect the data in the image that is horizontal in nature. The vertical "ringing" would be totally unaffected, meaning that the last half of her paragraph is confused nonsense. Webfairy's response to this:
Here is "ringing" defined":
When the data is ripped directly from the DVD it lacks the ghosting on the edge of the tower. Webfairy created this from the DVD and it looks cleaner than my results, which makes one wonder why she thought I had done a better job "cleaning" than the makers of the DVD:
It should be clear at this point, that in a desperate attempt to find mud to fling, Webfairy is finding any differences she can in the movies, differences caused by technical processes she mostly doesn't understand, and touting those as evidence of fraud. When one is debunked she simply moves on to another, usually more subjective and hard to see than the last.
The previous attacks being debunked, Webfairy fails to admit mistakes and tries a new tactic, focusing on interlacing. Evidently she did some studying after her previous mistake with the Naudet flash frame. She claims that deinterlacing always introduces artifacts and produces an image from 100fps.com to demonstrate this. Her assertion is that my movies are too clean, lacking these artifacts, and therefore there is tampering going on.
What she has not so cleverly done is take an image from a section talking about video signals that are abnormal, and therefore produce artifacts in deinterlacing. The Naudet DVD and most video does not produce the kinds of artifacts shown above, which Webfairy says should be present. Once again, she's confused and technically incompetent and cherry picking evidence to justify vicious attacks. Just go to the 100fps.com and read it, noticing the crystal clear fourth image from the top labeled "deinterlaced properly" which looks like the results in my movies. Here is Webfairy's attempt to dodge this rebuttal:
The jpeg compression is actually fairly light and couldn't cover up blocky artifacts like we see in the image she provided above. The artifacts aren't there because it's normal recorded video. Here is an image from the Naudet DVD that Webfairy herself deinterlaced which is devoid of these artifacts. By her own logic, she too must be guilty of image tampering. If anyone wants to confirm what de-interlacing does to an image, they can work with these images using a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop that has a de-interlacing filter:
All deinterlacing does is remove half of the horizontal lines, reducing vertical resolution. The missing field is replaced through interpolation of the remaining field, or by simply doubling the lines of the remaining field. All it normally does to an image to make it less sharp and make horizontally oriented details rougher, for example making diagonal lines have more of a "stair-stepped" appearance. It is absolutely false that it causes misalignment of vertical lines, as is intuitively obvious. As an analogy, would removing half the boards in a wall effect the alignment of the remaining boards? Of course not! And it is not a technique of last resort-it is necessary whenever converting normal, interlaced video that contains motion to either a still or progressively scanned movie file, something that 100fps.com explains excellently. Once again, Webfairy simply can't grasp these technical issues and consistently spews forth mistake after mistake.
As a matter of fact, she has recently come up with this page that attempts to re-invent video technology to fit her needs:
Astonishingly, she still doesn't understand what interlacing is. She starts off with the more or less accurate statement that:
But then states:
The implication being that as NTSC broadcast video there are no frames, only fields, which is incorrect. NTSC video is encoded in a series of frames, and each frame is subdivided into two fields. Not surprisingly, she follows with a bigger mistake:
What she has described is an abnormal condition that is not the definition of "interlaced video". All normal NTSC video is interlaced. I find it hard to believe that even someone as confused as Webfairy still wouldn't understand interlacing at this point. After all, it's described quite clearly in the 100fps.com page that she provided and the page I provided with my original article.
Here is some more evidence that Webfairy doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to video. This is from a recent email:
The United States, along with some other countries, uses the NTSC video standard, which is 29.97 fps, not 29.995. This may seem like nitpicking, but she said this after I had given out the correct value in my original article. Plus is this a number easily verified by a Google search for "NTSC standards". It shows either continued sloppiness or simply an unwillingness to listen to others. 29.97 is a number that is burned into the mind of any experienced video professional, and they would not make Webfairy's mistake.
There is no such thing as twice-interlaced. Video is either interlaced or progressive, progressive meaning that all the lines are displayed in one pass instead of two. When digitized correctly, the scan mode is maintained and not changed.
Webfairy consistently misuses the term "decimated" to refer to footage with missing frames. This term actually refers to removing data to shrink the size, or resolution, of the image and has nothing to do with the frame rate or missing frames.
In a recent post Webfairy announced:
This is the worst version of the Hlava footage I've seen. Worse than a previous version I acquired from Webfairy's site. Every time you recompress a movie with a lossy codec like Windows media, mpeg, Sorenson, etc, you lose data and get more compression artifacts. It's inappropriate, and ostentatious, to call it "restoration". Restoration refers to taking the original footage tape, digitizing it with no or very little compression, cleaning it up and laying it off to the best quality medium possible. Webfairy shows more confusion when she says "Bucking up analog footage to DVD dimension is terribly destructive.". This is nonsensical. First of all, dimension would be referring to resolution and the resolution of an analogue NTSC signal from svhs would be 720x486, and DV and DVD resolution would be 720x480 (a couple of scan lines are dropped.) There is no "bucking up" as far as dimensions and "bucking up" is not even a proper technical term. The loss of quality would come from the compression into another movie file with a lossy compression codec. The loss of quality in this movie has come from compression artifacts, not de-interlacing. Visually, deinterlacing will make the image look a little less sharp, but not blocky.
This no-plane item from Webfairy doesn't address video artifacts, but needs to be addressed. Webfairy attempts to demonstrate that the plane in the Naudet video violates the laws of perspective because it doesn't change size. However, the plane is simply too far away from the camera and moves too short a distance for the change in size to be visually appreciable:
That Webfairy has convinced anyone that she's a video expert makes her, frankly, a con artist. Her ideas wouldn't last 10 seconds out in the real world where other video professionals would quickly back up my findings. Her work can only survive on 9/11 discussion lists and forums where no one knows enough about video to know better the type of circumstance that she apparently thrives on.
But putting the technical issues aside, the other contribution all of us make to the movement is the attitude we bring towards dealing with each other and potentially conflicting theories. It is a well established COINTELPRO technique to wreck movements by fomenting a combative, acrimonious atmosphere. Whether intentional or not, Webfairy's attitude towards others may be even more damaging than her flawed analyses. Some good examples of this are in her responses to my analysis of the WTC no-plane theories:
Webfairy's attitude and behavior have even begun to offend some of those who were her original promoters. For example, in an email exchange several months ago which included more than twenty prominent and active 9/11 researchers, John Kaminsky had this to say to Webfairy and Gerard Holmgren concerning their similarly paranoid and malicious attitude towards those who don't see eye to eye with their particular theories:
Another 9/11 researcher, Jean-Pierre Desmoulins, has written a short essay concerning Webfairy's use of certain types of image processing software, in which his comments concerning his fruitless efforts to engage her in a logical debate reveal an experience very similar to mine:
Fellow researcher Jeff Jorgenson sums up Webfairy's modus operandi perfectly:
As Jeff has said, Webfairy is full of bluff and bravado, using the schoolyard tactic of trying to win the argument by yelling the loudest and making empty boasts of victory. Regardless of her technical mistakes, it's time for physical evidence researchers who have held back criticism of Webfairy because of the utility of her video resources to come out firmly opposed to these obnoxious tactics or consider carefully the implications of supporting them with continued tacit silence or neutrality.
Webfairy's slander campaign commenced a little over a week after I had major surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. I had to spend precious time and energy defending myself from Webfairy's attacks when I could hardly sit at the computer. Needless to say, I would have rather saved that effort for some other long-delayed articles. Webfairy's attitude is revealing:
How grandmotherly. Such a perfect example of the vicious vindictiveness that so often makes Webfairy a toxic presence. After my first article, a supporter of Webfairy grudgingly admitted that my analysis was right, but said that Webfairy had gone wrong because it was a situation of "garbage in, garbage out." In other words, it was only the bad source material like the taner.net movie that created the errors. It should be clear now that this is not the case. A great deal of the problem is due to Webfairy's abusive and apparently megalomaniacal tendencies. Webfairy's own words illuminate what's wrong with her attitude:
No wonder she saw whatzits-she was emotionally, even religiously determined to find them. This is not the attitude of scientific investigation. And once she found the evidence she was looking for, the messiah complex set in and her pet theory was the one truth that would save us all and destroy the New World Order. Naturally, anyone even questioning her research became true evil standing in the way of the salvation of humanity, salvation delivered by none other than Webfairy.
If I'm not mistaken, I've been able to gather from a rambling and incoherent post, sent by Webfairy to a number of lists on September 13th, that she is continuing her malicious slander campaign by insisting that the movies I provided in my articles on the WTC no-plane theory can't have come from the Naudet DVD "911" without some kind of extra processing. Bizarre, considering the nearly identical results she achieved creating her own images from the DVD. The following are Webfairy's and my conversions from the DVD:
Here is a surefire way to reproduce my results exactly: (1) rip or digitize video from DVD (at full NTSC interlaced resolution). (2) in Adobe After Effects, place the footage in a 60 fps composition. (3) scale the footage to 250% of normal size. (4) render movie using Sorenson Video codec at full quality. No magic, no cleaning.
The most bizarre and illogical aspect of this slander campaign is that, as I demonstrated in my article, there are no differences in the plane, flash or explosion between the originally aired footage and what I provided. Thus, whatever processing I am alleged to have committed gains me absolutely nothing and does nothing to change the validity of my analysis. This logic is clearly lost on Webfairy. Of course this is not about logic, but rather a manifestation of her well known tendency to smear and denigrate critics of her ideas. It doesn't really matter if this is a result of a disruptive disinfo op or merely deluded vindictiveness - it should not be tolerated.
[Editor's note: the following is the complete and unaltered text of Webfairy's Sep. 13 email. Significant passages have been bolded. The footage Webfairy used in the "Missilegate" site she refers to was Eric's conversion from the Naudet DVD, as she acknowledges at the site: http://thewebfairy.com/911/missilegate/ (in case this page changes, I have saved an archived version, available upon request).
Thus, Webfairy is reiterating the claim - albeit now using slighlty veiled, indirect language - that Eric's version of the footage is somehow forged or inauthentic, and that he has misrepresented its source. In light of this, her apology for other, less important false claims is hollow and of little meaning.
Incidentally, Webfairy's attempt to discuss high level math and physics in support of her arguments about perspective is pure nonsense. The only math required to analyze the relevant issues in this case is basic trigonometry.
A final comment: it is utterly disheartening and depressing to observe the degree to which both Webfairy's ideas and attitude (not to mention her like-minded partners-in-arms Gerard Holmgren and Scott Loughrey) have been supported or even just tacitly accepted amongst 9/11 researchers, including some of those who proudly like to call themselves "9/11 Scientists". There are many who now have something to answer for, and have some responsibility to make clear where they stand, if they do not wish for their silence to be interpreted as de facto support of Webfairy's position. -QQ Ed.]