Monday, November 16, 2009

RE: seaint Digest for 14 Nov 2009

Mr. Astaneh -

You make it far too easy to attack your character when slinging relatively
unqualified slander. You provide reasoning for your comments about the WTC
and BPAT, so I won't go there. I honestly don't know enough about the
investigation to credibly discuss your accusations.

However, your comment of "...these small number of corrupt engineers such as
most members of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board" is a too easily and
casually dropped accusation. Especially since it slanders numerous people.

I caution you about using such language. Not because I am defending those
people (Other than Dr. Seible, I don't even know who they are). But, I
caution you because such seriously defamatory language dropped so
nonchalantly makes you seem like a paranoid conspiracy theorist. I'm not
saying that is what you are, I'm just saying that's how these types of
messages come across.

If that's the image you want to present of yourself and of the UC Berkeley
structural department, then please continue with these types of postings.
Just be aware that these types of comments are definitely diminishing my
respect for the research that bears your name and for the department to
which you belong. I doubt that I am the only one.


Josh Plummer, SE
From: Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl <>
Subject: RE: Being Outspoken

Dear Harold: Until we take our own individual responsibility and
participate in cleansing our profession of these small number of corrupt
engineers such as most members of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board, the
corrosion of reputation of honorable structural engineers such as yourself
and thousands of hard working and ethical members of our profession will
continue. Your suggestion of ASCE ethical panel looking into this is good
one , but, in my experience, at least in two cases, the case of WTC Building
Performance Assessment Team, and the Katrina investigation team, ASCE did
not follow its ethical rules.

When ASCE formed the WTC Building Performance Team, to investigate collapse
of World Trade Center Towers, two people were on the ASCE/FEMA BPAT team.
One was Mr. Jon Magnuson , who was the top officer of the firm Skilling,
Ward, Magnusson Barkshire , the firm that did the structural design of the
WTC. The name Skilling Ward Magnuson Barkshire after collapse of World Trade
Center changed to Magnusson Klemencic Associates. ASCE did not find it
ethical to put the top officer of the firm that did the structural design of
the WTC on the investigative team that was investigating why buildings

The other member of the ASCE/FEMA BPAT was Ms. was Ms Saw-Teen See,Managing
Partner, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, RLLP. Ms. See is also wife of Mr.
Leslie Robertson who was working at the time of design of WTC at Skilling
Ward Magnusson Barkshire and is the structural engineer of the record with
his signature on all structural sheets. If ASCE is serious about ethical
issues, it can start at home. When you are forming a team to investigate why
a building collapsed, you do not put the wife of structural engineer who did
the structural engineering of the building on the team to investigate her
husbands design.

Of course the result of having these conflicts of interest was that the
ASCE/FEMA Report stated that in essence there was nothing wrong with
structural design of the WTC. The truth is the opposite . There were many
things wrong about it including the use of "steel Bearing Walls" with very
high strength steel and extremely vulnerable to fire.

As I have always stated, the 2595 people who died at the WTC, were murdered
by those 19 murderers and their supporters and organizers. But, we had to
learn from this tragedy to see if we have to change anything in our
practices to avoid people loosing their lives because of our design. But of
course, since there was nothing wrong with WTC design according to the
morally corrupt ASCE BPAT, then we did not need to change anything!

When I stated that this is nothing but "moral corruption", many of you,
including yourself, were attacking me for bringing up these facts. In doing
so, or even by keeping quite, , perhaps unknowingly and perhaps based on a
very mis-guided sense of pride or belonging to your profession, were on the
side of the ASCE and some even personally attacked my character.

It took only the courage of my honorable colleague and very dear friend
Professor Ray Seed , who wrote a 40+ letter to bring ASCE before an
investigative panel which admonished ASCE for its unethical conduct in New

As for the WTC BPAT case, ASCE not only has not accepted any wrong doing, it
has showered awards on those who organized the WTC BPAT including the WTC
BPAT leader Dr. Gene Corley and The ASCE WTC BPAT Project Manger Mr. James
Rossberg who were directly involved in knowingly inviting and accepting Mr.
Jon Magnusson and Ms. Saw-teen See with such a clear conflict to be a member
of the investigative team.

Harold, we know each other for more than 20 years and I have utmost respect
for your integrity as well as for your vast knowledge of the filed, but, do
you really believe ASCE will be able to review the case of unethical conduct
of Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board?

Best regards

A.Astaneh, Ph.D., P.E.


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