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Saturday, April 30, 2011

US Huey helicopters used in Yemen's government assault on protesters...

US Hueys over Yemen
By Nick Turse

In recent weeks, Yemeni protesters calling for an immediate end to the 32-year reign of United States-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been met with increasing violence at the hands of state security forces. A recent pledge by Saleh to step down, one of many that has not met demonstrators' demands, has yet to halt the protests or violence by the troops backing his regime.

During a demonstration this month in the city of Taiz, protesters marching down a central street were confronted by security forces and Saleh supporters, while government helicopters flew overhead. "The thugs and the security forces fired on us with live gunfire," Mahmud al-Shaobi, one of the protesters told the New York Times. "Many people were shot."

In the days since, more demonstrators have been attacked by government forces - with the death toll now estimated to exceed 130. Witnesses have also been reporting the increased use of military helicopters in the crackdown. Some of those aircraft may be recent additions to Saleh's arsenal, provided courtesy of the Barack Obama administration as part of an US$83 million military aviation aid package.

Since the beginning of 2011, under a program run by the US Department of Defense, the US has overseen the delivery of several new Bell UH-1Hs, or Huey II helicopters, current models of the iconic Huey that served as America's primary gunship and troop transport during the Vietnam War. Although these helicopters are only the latest additions to a sizeable arsenal that the Pentagon has provided to Yemen in recent years, they call attention to how US weapons and assistance support regimes actively suppressing democratic uprisings across the Middle East.

How to arm a dictator

Last December, 26-year-old Tunisian fruit-seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a local municipal office, touching off popular protests that continue to sweep across the Middle East and North Africa. By the end of January 2011, the country's US-backed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had fled and demonstrations, which would eventually also topple corrupt autocrat and long-time US ally Hosni Mubarak, had broken out in Egypt.

In Yemen, as is the case elsewhere in the region, anger at government corruption, rampant poverty (40% of all Yemenis live on less than $2 a day), high unemployment (also running at 40%), and decades of harsh rule by an authoritarian strongman brought tens of thousands into the streets.

In January, as freedom struggles were spreading across the region, President Barack Obama publicly avowed support for "certain core values that we believe in as Americans[,] that we believe are universal: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, people being able to use social networking or any other mechanisms to communicate with each other and express their concerns." Just days earlier, however, his government had transferred military equipment to the security forces of Yemen's so-called president for life.

Under the terms of a $27 million contract between the Pentagon and Bell Helicopter, Yemen received four Huey IIs. Prior to this, 12 Yemeni Air Force pilots and 20 maintenance personnel were trained to fly and service the aircraft at Bell's flight instruction facility in Alliance, Texas.

"The swift execution of the Yemen Huey II program demonstrates that the military departments - in this case the US Army - can quickly deliver defense articles and services to US partners with the cooperation of US industry," said Brandon Denecke of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the branch of the Pentagon that coordinates sales and transfers of military equipment to allies.

The recent helicopter deal is just the latest example of Pentagon support for the forces of the Yemeni dictator through its so-called "1206 program", a congressionally-authorized arrangement that "allows the executive branch to rapidly provide foreign partners with military equipment and training ..." Named for section 1206 of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, the program allows the Pentagon to enhance the capabilities of foreign military forces for "counter-terrorism and stability operations".

Since 2006, more than $1.3 billion worth of equipment has been allocated under the 1206 program and Yemen has been the largest recipient worldwide, benefiting from about one-fifth of the funding or approximately $253 million through 2010. This assistance, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, has provided Yemeni security forces with light airplanes, helicopters, small arms, ammunition, light tactical vehicles, trucks, radios, surveillance cameras, computers, body armor, patrol boats, and helicopter parts, among other materiel.

Since 2000, the Pentagon has also transferred weapons and equipment directly from US stockpiles to Yemen's security forces. These items include armored personnel carriers, M-60 machine guns, 2.5-ton military trucks, radios, and motorboats, according to an analysis of Defense Department documents by TomDispatch. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency did not respond to repeated requests for further information.

All told, over the past five years, the US has provided more than $300 million in aid to Yemen's security forces, with the dollars escalating precipitously under the Obama administration. In 2008, under president George W Bush, Yemen received $17.2 million in baseline military assistance (which does not include counter-terrorism or humanitarian funding).

In 2010, that number had risen to $72.3 million while, overall, Yemen received $155.3 million in US aid that year, including a "$34.5 million special operations force counter-terrorism enhancement package". These funds have provided Yemen's security forces with helicopters, Humvees, weapons, ammunition, radio systems and night-vision goggles.

Additionally, US special operations troops (along with British and Saudi military personnel) have been supporting, advising and conducting training missions with some of Yemen's elite forces - including the Republican Guard, Special Operations Forces and the National Security Bureau - which are commanded and staffed by Saleh's sons and other close relatives.

As his part of the bargain, Saleh allowed the US to launch missile strikes against suspected al-Qaeda camps in Yemen while instructing his government to take credit for the attacks (for fear that if their American origins were made clear, there might be an anti-American backlash in Yemen and the larger Arab world), according to classified State Department documents released last year by the whistleblower group WikiLeaks. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh told then-Central Command commander General David Petraeus following strikes in December 2009.

The Yemeni government also came up with a cover story for, and even excused, the deaths of civilians in those strikes. Rashad al-Alimi, a deputy prime minister, claimed that the Yemeni citizens killed in an attack were "acting in collusion with the terrorists and benefiting financially" when, in reality, they were likely Bedouin families involved in little more than peddling food.

Not so tough talk

As Yemen's security forces have escalated their violence against demonstrators this spring, the Obama administration has offered mixed signals regarding Saleh, but has yet to issue an outright condemnation of the dictator, no less sever ties with a leader seen as crucial to the fight against al-Qaeda.

"We have had a good working relationship with President Saleh. He's been an important ally in the counter-terrorism arena," said US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on March 23. "But clearly, there's a lot of unhappiness inside Yemen. And I think we will basically just continue to watch the situation. We haven't done any post-Saleh planning, if you will."

On April 5, White House press secretary Jay Carney came out more forcefully. "The United States strongly condemns the use of violence by Yemeni government forces against demonstrators in Sana'a, Taiz and Hodeida in the past several days," he said. "The Yemeni people have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and we remind President Ali Abdullah Saleh of his responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Yemenis who are exercising their universal right to engage in political expression."

That same day, however, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was more equivocal, justifying enduring US support for Yemen's strongman as a "prudent course of action", while including the protesters as the equals of the security forces in his condemnation of the use of force: "The protests, the demonstrations need to be non-violent. Obviously, the government needs to respond to them in a non-violent manner. So we are - we condemn the violence all around."

Morrell also sought to distance the Pentagon's aid for the country's security forces from the violence being meted out in Yemen's streets. He told reporters, "To suggest that the aid to Yemen has somehow been used against protesters I think is a leap of faith for which there is no evidence to support." Recent reports, however, suggest that Yemen's elite US-trained counter-terrorism troops have now been deployed in the capital, Sanaa, to deal with the massive ongoing protests.

Late last year, the Pentagon floated a new proposal to pump up to $1.2 billion more into Yemen's security forces over the next five years. However, with protesters in the streets week after week in vast numbers and significant elements of the military defecting from the regime, the Obama administration failed to write Saleh a check and began quietly urging him, through back-channel communications, to hand over power - assumedly to a successor likely to favor US interests.

Finally, on April 23, after Saleh seemingly agreed to an arrangement brokered by Arab mediators that would grant immunity from prosecution to his family and him, and eventually shift power to his deputy for an interim period, the Obama administration threw its support behind the plan. A spokesman characterized it as "responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people". Not only have many opposition protesters rejected the deal, while Saleh's troops continue to attack them, but the dictator has slowly backed away from it as well.

And yet, despite weeks of violence that have left hundreds dead or wounded, Obama has yet to publicly and unequivocally call for Saleh to step down as he did, albeit belatedly, with former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and, more recently, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Sending a message

This month, Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni human-rights activist and anti-government protest leader, told the New York Times of her anger at Obama for his failure to issue such a call. ''We feel that we have been betrayed,'' she said. Hamza Alkamaly, another prominent youth leader, echoed the same sentiments: ''We students lost our trust in the United States.''

After watching two allied autocrats fall in Tunisia and Egypt, the United States has focused on its periodic enemy, Gaddafi in Libya, and has done little of substance to advocate for, let alone facilitate, demands for democracy and social change by protesters in allied states that are more integral to its military plans in the region, including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Instead, Washington has continued to support repressive governments to which it has provided training, weapons and other military equipment that has already been used or could be used to suppress grassroots democratic movements.

In the case of Bahrain, the US has provided millions of rounds of live ammunition, helicopters and tanks. For Saudi Arabia, it was a weapons deal worth tens of billions of dollars that will have Saudi pilots training in the US. In Iraq, the US is aiding the very units of the security forces implicated in crackdowns on the free press. And these are only a few examples of recent US efforts in the Middle East.

A survey of Yemeni adults conducted in January and February by the US-based polling firm Glevum Associates found exceptional hostility to the United States. Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed viewed the US government's relations with the Islamic world unfavorably, 82% considered US military influence in the world "somewhat bad" or "bad", 66% believed that the US hardly ever or never took into account the interests of countries like Yemen, and just 4% "somewhat" or "strongly approved" of Saleh's cooperation with the United States.

The numbers could hardly get more dismal, but anger and resentment can deepen and become even more entrenched. When protesters look to the skies over Sana'a in the days and weeks ahead, they may notice new American-made, US taxpayer-financed helicopters hovering above them. Unless the Hueys are seen ferrying the dictator away in a scene reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, Yemenis - more than two-thirds under the age of 24 - are likely to remember for a very long time which side the United States took in their freedom struggle.

Through the years, (Sirhan) Sirhan has claimed no memory of shooting (Robert) Kennedy and said in the recent interviews that his presence at the hotel was an accident, not a planned destination.Under hypnosis, he remembered meeting the girl that night and becoming smitten with her. He said she led him to the pantry."I am trying to figure out how to hit on her.... That's all that I can think about.."I was fascinated with her looks .... She never said much. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability." Sirhan maintained in the hypnotic interviews that the mystery girl touched him or "pinched" him on the shoulder just before he fired then spun him around to see people coming through the pantry door"

Convicted RFK assassin says girl manipulated him
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent
Thu Apr 28, 6:24 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – Convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan was manipulated by a seductive girl in a mind control plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bullets did not kill the presidential candidate, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers.

The documents filed this week in federal court and obtained by The Associated Press detail extensive interviews with Sirhan during the past three years, some done while he was under hypnosis.

The papers point to a mysterious girl in a polka-dot dress as the controller who led Sirhan to fire a gun in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. But the documents suggest a second person shot and killed Kennedy while using Sirhan as a diversion.

For the first time, Sirhan said under hypnosis that on a cue from the girl he went into "range mode" believing he was at a firing range and seeing circles with targets in front of his eyes.

"I thought that I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy," Sirhan was quoted as saying during interviews with Daniel Brown, a Harvard University professor and expert in trauma memory and hypnosis. He interviewed Sirhan for 60 hours with and without hypnosis, according to the legal brief.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney, said prosecutors were unaware of the legal filing and could not comment.

The story of the girl has been a lingering theme in accounts of the events just after midnight on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claiming victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.

Witnesses talked of seeing such a female running from the hotel shouting, "We shot Kennedy." But she was never identified, and amid the chaos of the scene, descriptions were conflicting.

Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no memory of shooting Kennedy and said in the recent interviews that his presence at the hotel was an accident, not a planned destination.

Under hypnosis, he remembered meeting the girl that night and becoming smitten with her. He said she led him to the pantry.

"I am trying to figure out how to hit on her.... That's all that I can think about," he says in one interview cited in the documents. "I was fascinated with her looks .... She never said much. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability."

Brown was hired by Sirhan's lawyer William F. Pepper.

Pepper's associate, attorney Laurie Dusek, attended the interviews. and Brown said in the documents they both took verbatim notes because prison officials would not let them tape record nearly all the sessions.

Sirhan maintained in the hypnotic interviews that the mystery girl touched him or "pinched" him on the shoulder just before he fired then spun him around to see people coming through the pantry door.

"Then I was on the target range ... a flashback to the shooting range ... I didn't know that I had a gun," Sirhan said.

Under what Brown called the condition of hypnotic free recall, he said Sirhan remembered seeing the flash of a second gun at the time of the assassination. Without hypnosis, he said, Sirhan could not remember that shot.

Pepper, a New York lawyer with an international practice, previously tried to prove that James Earl Ray was not the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.

The lawyer said he is convinced that Sirhan was a victim of a mind control project such as those used by the CIA in the 1960s. He is seeking an evidentiary hearing to exonerate Sirhan in Kennedy's killing.

Dusek said in an interview that Sirhan was hypnotized for perhaps 30 percent of the interviews, most of which had to be done through a glass partition with Brown talking to him on a phone.

Only when Sirhan was moved from the state prison at Corcoran to his current location at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga were they allowed face-to-face visits, she said, and a few of those were recorded.

Other portions of the motion allege suppression of ballistics evidence and the autopsy report, and claim ineffective assistance of counsel. It contends previous lawyers for Sirhan accepted from the start that he was the lone shooter, settled on a defense of diminished capacity and did not seek other avenues of defense.

During the trial, Sirhan tried to confess to killing Kennedy "with 20 years of malice aforethought," but the judge rejected the blurted statement.

A large portion of the new documents seek to prove the bullets that hit Kennedy came from a different direction than the spot where Sirhan was standing. The papers do not name any other possible shooter.

Sirhan was denied parole in March by a panel that said he had not shown sufficient remorse for the killing.


RFK Assassination: The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress

9/11 lawsuit from Pentagon worker could lead to sanctions for lawyer...

‘Fantastical’ 9/11 Lawsuit Could Lead to Sanctions for Lawyer, 2nd Circuit Says
By Debra Cassens Weiss
ABA Journal | April 28, 2011

A onetime Pentagon worker and her lawyer who alleged in a suit that the Sept. 11 attacks were arranged or allowed by U.S. leaders could face sanctions as a result of their appeal.

In an opinion (PDF) issued on Wednesday, the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed. The case had been argued only three weeks before. The court said the complaint was frivolous and affirmed dismissal, calling the suit a “fantastical alternative history.”

The plaintiff, April Gallop, said she was working at the Pentagon with her infant son on the day of the attacks, and both sustained head and brain injuries from the collapse of the building’s ceiling and walls. She alleges the Pentagon was destroyed, not by a plane crash, but possibly by a missile or explosives on the orders of U.S. leaders. She claimed the conspiracy was motivated by a desire to create a political atmosphere where officials could pursue their policy objectives and to conceal trillions of dollars in defense misappropriations.

The suit named as defendants former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials.

“The courts have no obligation to entertain pure speculation and conjecture,” the 2nd Circuit said. In this case, the appeals court said, the plaintiff advanced inconsistent theories, including that the defendants may have ordered explosives to be planted in the Pentagon, may have hired Muslims extremists to carry out the attacks, may have used Muslims as dupes or patsies, or may have fired a missile into the Pentagon. Nor did the plaintiff cite any facts to support a conspiracy among the defendants, according to the opinion.

Gallop’s lawyer is identified as William Veale of Walnut Creek, Calif. A website called Lawyers for 9/11 Truth identified Veale as a former instructor of criminal trial practice at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, and a former assistant public defender for Contra Costa County.

In an interview with the ABA Journal, Veale said opinions by the appeals panel and then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin were “both entirely, in all due respect, dishonest. They didn’t mention half of what we presented to them in the complaint. They simply disregarded mountains of evidence.”

In a prior affidavit (PDF), Veale cited “considered support” in the scientific and scholarly communities for the theory that the Sept. 11 attacks were at least partly an inside job.

He elaborated in an interview, urging us to mention what he sees as two pieces of key evidence. The first: One of the substances found at Ground Zero has been used in controlled demolitions, he said. The second: Cheney told a subordinate before the attack on the Pentagon that the “orders still stand.” That direction, according to Veale, was not an order to shoot down the plane. Instead, he claims, it was an order allowing the Pentagon to be attacked.

“You have a job here,” Veale told the ABA Journal, “and I hate to lecture you on your job. … But you’ve got to get up to speed where you at least mention the important things.”

"(Eric) Cantor is listed on Maplight.org as the top recipient of campaign money from "pro-Israel" groups in the U.S. House of Representatives, having taken in over $200,000. These groups, most of them affiliated with AIPAC, dump tens of millions of dollars into U.S. elections each cycle. And they certainly appear to get what they pay for. In February, continuing a decades-long pattern that has made the United States the leader in U.N. vetoes, President Obama instructed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to veto and overrule the other 14 Security Council members' backing of a resolution condemning as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank"...

Is Israel's Rightwing in Eric Cantor's District?
By David Swanson
April 29, 2011 "Information Clearing House"

In May 2009, Congressmen Eric Cantor (R., Va.) and Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) wrote to President Barack Obama about U.S. policy toward Israel. Their staff sent the letter as a PDF but forgot to change the name of the file to something other than "AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf."

AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a group widely recognized as one of the most effective at lobbying Congress, and a group that consistently promotes the positions of the rightwing party of the Israeli government. AIPAC also has the distinction of having lobbied against accountability for an Israeli attack on a U.S. ship and in favor of leniency for a man convicted of selling U.S. secrets to Israel. In a separate case, six years ago, two AIPAC employees were indicted for obtaining U.S. secrets from a U.S. military employee who pled guilty. After powerful Congress members like Jane Harman (D., Calif.) lobbied on their behalf, the charges were dropped.

That's what it means to be an effective lobby group: having your way. Need sanctions on Iran? You got em. Support at the United Nations for illegal settlements in Palestine or a blockade and bombing of Gaza? Not a problem. In fact, it would be our pleasure to provide the weapons needed, whether it's for bombing Gaza, bombing Lebanon, or killing Turkish and American peace activists on an aid ship as happened last year. We'd be honored, and don't let cost be a consideration! That would be an insult in these times of huge budget surpluses in Washington! (Warning, this paragraph contained sarcasm.)

We give $3 billion in "military aid" to Israel every year, more than we give to any other country. This is justified by the need to protect Israel from all the other countries in its region, most of which we also give or sell arms to. Last fall, when pressure was building in Washington to cut off foreign aid spending, Congressman Cantor proposed making an exception for Israel that would help guarantee it $30 billion over the next decade by hiding that funding in the U.S. "defense" budget. That proposal didn’t fly, but neither has any funding of Israeli weapons been cut.

Is there any spending here in Virginia that Congressman Cantor has defended this tenaciously? Would there be if we could afford it?

Cantor is listed on Maplight.org as the top recipient of campaign money from "pro-Israel" groups in the U.S. House of Representatives, having taken in over $200,000. These groups, most of them affiliated with AIPAC, dump tens of millions of dollars into U.S. elections each cycle. And they certainly appear to get what they pay for. In February, continuing a decades-long pattern that has made the United States the leader in U.N. vetoes, President Obama instructed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to veto and overrule the other 14 Security Council members' backing of a resolution condemning as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The problem here is more specific than the wild-west financing of U.S. elections. The problem is that the interests of the Israeli government, far from always representing the Israeli people, in no way represent those of the American people or the people of Virginia. Our views may align or diverge. But the Israeli government's hostility toward Iraq or Iran, Lebanon or Palestine, or to independent democratic rule in Egypt and the rest of the region, need not be our own. That should be for us to decide, open to foreign input, but free of foreign financial pressure. AIPAC raises its money in the United States but advances the agenda of a foreign nation, diverging often from the majority views of both Americans at large and Jewish Americans in particular.

Later this month, Congressman Cantor will be a featured speaker at AIPAC's annual conference in Washington DC, but over 100 peace and justice organizations will be holding a counter-conference called "Move Over AIPAC." I wonder if Eric Cantor will get the message.

Questions about "Hamas-Fatah reconciliation"...

Questions About "Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation"
By Ali Abunimah
April 28, 2011 Electronic Intifada

Big news today about a reported “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation” deal. What does it mean? First, here’s what we know from Reuters:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement has struck an agreement with bitter rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election, officials said Wednesday.

The surprise deal was brokered by Egypt and followed secret talks between the two sides, who fought a brief civil war in 2007 that left the Islamist Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and the Western-backed Abbas in charge of the West Bank.

Forging Palestinian unity is regarded as crucial to reviving any prospect for an independent Palestinian state.

“We have agreed to form a government composed of independent figures that would start preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections,” said Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s negotiating team in Cairo. “Elections would be held in about eight months from now,” he added.

Ordinary Palestinians have repeatedly urged their leaders to resolve their deep divisions, but analysts had long argued that the differences between the two sides on issues such as security and diplomacy were too wide to bridge.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who participated in the talks, said the agreement covered five points, including elections, forming an interim unity government and combining security forces.

“We also discussed activating the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) as well as forming a government consisting of nationalist figures to be agreed upon,” Zahar told Al Jazeera television in an interview.

He also said Hamas and Fatah agreed to free prisoners held by each side

What does any of this mean? At this point, neither side has published the text of an agreement - and certainly Palestinians have a right to see one; they have had enough of secret deals and understandings.

Some immediate questions that come to mind and give rise to skepticism:

If there is an agreement on a joint “government” how can it possibly function without Israeli approval? Will Israel allow Hamas ministers be able to operate freely in the occupied West Bank? Will PA officials be able to move freely between the West Bank and Gaza? Israel is effectively at peace with the current Abbas wing of the Palestinian Authority and at war with Hamas. Impossible to see how such a government can operate under Israeli occupation. If anything this proves the impossibility of democracy and normal governance under Israeli military occupation.

In The Palestine Papers, the main concern of Ramallah officials was always to maintain Western financial aid to the PA, and not to make any agreement with Hamas that would jeopardize American and European financing for the PA. Has the Abbas PA overcome that fear, or have they reached understandings with donors that would allow Hamas to join a Palestinian Authority “government”?

Integration of security forces. Currently, Hamas in Gaza and the Abbas-run PA in the West Bank operate rival security forces. The Abbas security forces cooperate openly with the Israeli occupation including “welcoming” and hosting the Israeli chief of staff, as described by the PA’s Nablus governor yesterday. The Abbas forces are financed and supervised by the United States and their purpose has explicitly been to fight Hamas. Hamas’ forces by contrast are viewed as an enemy by Israel, and are frequently subject to military attacks and extrajudicial executions by Israel. Can such opposing forces really be combined without the Abbas side either renouncing its close ties to the Israeli military, or the Hamas side abandoning any commitment to resistance?

Elections: What is the point of having elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip once more under conditions of brutal Israeli military occupation, siege and control? Neither the West Bank government nor the Gaza government are truly in control of the fate of Palestinians. The power lies in Israel’s hands. As I wrote recently, such elections only further the illusion of self-governance while doing nothing to challenge or change actual Israeli control. And, when there is so much political repression in the West Bank, and indeed in Gaza, how can we have a guarantee of free elections?

Reform of the PLO: If Hamas and Abbas made a deal to reform the PLO which just includes adding Hamas to the dead body of the PLO how will that serve the Palestinian people? What about elections for the Palestinian National Council that include ALL Palestinians, including the majority which does not live in the 1967 occupied territories? A deal where Abbas and Hamas make a cozy deal to share seats in an undemocratic PLO is simply unacceptable.

More broadly, the goal for Palestinians should not be “unity” among factions, but unity of goals for the Palestinian people. What is the purpose and platform of the planned “transitional government” other than merely to exist? A real Palestinian strategy that unites all segments of the Palestinian people has been articulated by the BDS movement:

(a) an end to occupation and colonization of the 1967 territories; (b) full equality and an end to all forms of discrimination against Palestinians in the 1948 areas (“Israel”); and (c) full respect and implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Notably neither Fatah Abbas nor Hamas have endorsed this campaign, and neither has articulated a realistic strategy aimed at restoring the rights of all Palestinians.


The White House has now commented on the reported “unity” deal. From Reuters:

“The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

“To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said

This indicates that the US position opposing Palestinian unity except on terms acceptable to Israel and the United States, has not softened. Given this, it’s very difficult to see this going very far.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Frenzy around Britain's Royal Wedding "should embarrass us all" (Video)


False flag terror attacks gaining in popularity by governments...

False flag terror attacks gaining in popularity by governments
publication date: Apr 17, 2011


Three recent terrorist attacks in Belarus, Gaza, and Indonesia have all the markings of false flag terrorist attacks carried out by state sponsors. False flag terrorist attacks represent a new facet of warfare, with most attacks a form of indirect offensive warfare.

Political objectives can be achieved by covert state sponsors of terrorism who subsequently benefit by using the attacks to whip up popular opinion against opponents of the sponsoring regimes.

On April 11, a massive bomb exploded in Minsk's busiest Metro station at the height of the evening rush hour. Thirteen commuters were killed and some 200 others were injured, many seriously.

President Alexander Lukashenko, called Europe's "last dictator," quickly announced that three suspects arrested on April 12 confessed to the bombing. Lukashenko used the subway bombing to further crack down on the Belarusian opposition, and went do far as to link the opposition to the bombing. Lukashenko's regime appears to be the only party who benefited from the bombing, a clue as to its perpetrator.

On April 15, the body of pro-Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni was found hanging in an house in north Gaza. An "Al Qaeda" affiliate known as "Tawhid and Jihad" claimed responsibility for kidnapping and murdering Arrigoni, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a group despised by Israel's government. Hamas security forces arrested four suspects and were looking for three others, including a Jordanian national. However, the history of Israeli assassinations of foreign activists in Gaza, including American Rachel Corrie and Briton Tom Hurndall, strongly suggests that it is Israel, possibly using Arab proxies as assassins, had the most to gain from Arrigoni's murder. Mossad has used Palestinian, Syrian, and Druze agents to carry out assassinations in Lebanon, which were later blamed on Hezbollah. Hamas security forces in Gaza have vowed to bring Arrigoni's murderers to justice, although that will be all but impossible if it was Israel that ordered the murder of the activist.

Arrigoni received what amounted to a state funeral in Gaza before his body was transported back to Italy.

Israel has shown that it is willing to carry out terrorist attacks in order to drive a wedge between a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation prior to an expected UN General Assembly recognition of Palestinian independence and statehood later this year. Last month's bombing of Jerusalem's central bus station, the first such attack in seven years and which occurred just as preliminary negotiations between Fatah and Hamas were getting underway, remains subject to speculation that it was Israel, itself, that was behind the attack. The "Al Quds Brigade" claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a 59-year old British woman, but Israel's Mossad uses a number of shadowy groups and media networks to paint "false flag" terrorist attacks as being the work of non-state actors. The suitcase bomb used was compact and the metal fragments used appeared to have been designed to limit fatalities but result in a number of injuries. Some 30 people were injured in the bus station attack. Jerusalem's police chief admitted that there were no "concrete leads" pointing to the perpetrators but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other government officials immediately blamed Palestinians for the attack.

Writing on the Al Jazeera website, Jeremy Keenan, author of the book, "The Dark Sahara: America's War on Terror in Africa," advances the idea that it has been the United States, working with Algeria's Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), that has been behind many of the terrorist attacks in the Sahara that have later been blamed on "Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM) and affiliated Salafist groups. Keenan refers to the 2003 abduction of 32 Europeans in the Algerian Sahara by a Salafist nicknamed "El Para" as a "false flag" terrorist attack by the United States and Algeria. Keenan suggests that the United States and Algeria, later joined by Britain, jointly manufactured the AQIM and "El Para" threat in order to justify the expansion of its "Global War on Terror" to the Sahara-Sahel region.

On the same day Arrigoni was found dead in Gaza a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at a mosque inside a police compound in Cirebon in west Java, Indonesia.Some thirty people, most of them policemen, were injured. The bomber was said to be a local man. The attack was the first since the July 2009 bombings of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.

The Java mosque bombing follows reports that the CIA has been covertly working to destabilize Indonesia by creating the perception that Muslim radicals allied to the CIA's contrivance of "Al Qaeda" pose a threat to Indonesia's security. Such a development would give right-wing military officers the pretext to stage a coup, a replay of the 1965 coup against President Sukarno, with the only difference being radical Muslims as the bogeymen instead of Communists.

On March 24, 2011, WMR reported on the planning of an Indonesian coup by the CIA: "Reports now coming out of Jakarta strongly suggest that the Obama administration is involved in backing a generals' revolt with the aim of toppling democratically-elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a former general who is now considered a political reformer. Fears that a possible coup against Yudhoyono is being planned by right-wing active duty and retired Indonesian army elements are being fueled by an Al Jazeera report that a cabal of Indonesian generals have held secret meetings with leaders of Indonesia's radical Islamist groups to help plan terrorist attacks in the country that would then be used as a pretext for an army coup against Yudhoyono. The generals would claim that the ouster of the president was necessitated by his weak leadership in the face of terrorism. In fact, the renegade generals consider Yudhoyono to be too much of a reformist. The rumors of a planned coup against Yudhoyono come amid the publication by WikiLeaks of U.S. embassy Jakarta cables that report alleged widespread corruption, personal enrichment, nepotism, and spying on political opponents by Yudhoyono's administration."

Obama's birth certificate: Not the issue

Obama's Birth Certificate: Not the Issue
by Tony Cartalucci

Bangkok, Thailand April 29, 2011 - Of course, a candidate must meet legal requirements before running for public office. This is a universally agreed upon concept which has been enumerated in laws in every nation, since the beginning of human civilization. However, for those who deeply examine the United States and how it has drifted from a constitutional republic to the corporate-financier oligarchy it is today, they might realize the futility of arguing over "President" Obama's qualifications for an office that has long been ceremonial, if not entirely theatrical.

The corporate-financier agenda transcends presidencies. From Reagan to Obama, US foreign and domestic policy has moved in a continuously linear direction toward increasing corporate-financial monopolies and eroding the role and sovereignty of the US Constitution and the people who are supposed to execute it. In 1991, "Neo-Conservative" war monger Paul Wolfowitz stated that the Middle East would be turned upside down and reordered in America's favor - ironically, this operation which has been piecemeal planned and executed year-by-year since then, is finally unfolding in its entirety under the supposedly "liberal" Obama administration.

Likewise, the seemingly "liberal" free-trade agreements pushed by Clinton, were expanded into the beginnings of the supernational Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America under the supposedly "conservative" Bush administration. Of course, the blueprints for the SPP or the geopolitical reordering of the Middle East weren't drawn up by presidential administrations nor committees amongst America's elected representatives, but rather by unelected corporate-funded think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations or the Brookings Institute. These think-tanks represent the collective interests of the largest corporations and financial institutions on earth and are the real, often obscure architects of both American and European foreign and domestic policy.

The only difference one can delineate then, is the brand of propaganda used during each supposedly ideologically differentiated political administration to sell this unipolar, unilateral, continuous agenda to the public as it creeps forward. But even upon examining each presidential administration, we are struck with names and affiliations of members who directly represent these corporate interests. To illustrate how entirely ineffectual and meaningless "Obama" is as a president, let's examine some key members of his administration and what their affiliations are.

Timothy Geithner (Secretary of the Treasury): Group of 30, Council on Foreign Relations, private Federal Reserve

Eric Holder (Attorney General): Covington & Burling lobbying for Merck and representing Chiquita International Brands in lawsuits brought by relatives of people killed by Colombian terrorists.

Eric Shinseki (Secretary of Veteran Affairs): US Army, Council on Foreign Relations, Honeywell director (military contractor), Ducommun director (military contractor).

Rahm Emanuel (former Chief of Staff): Freddie Mac

William Daley (Chief of Staff): JP Morgan executive committee member

Susan Rice (UN Ambassador): McKinsey and Company, Brookings Institute, Council on Foreign Relations

Peter Orszag, (former Budget Director): Citi Group, Council on Foreign Relations

Paul Volcker: Council on Foreign Relations, private Federal Reserve, Group of 30

Ronald Kirk (US Trade Representative): lobbyist, part of Goldman Sachs, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, and Texas Pacific Group partnership to buyout Energy Future Holdings.

Lawrence Summers (National Economic Council Director): World Bank, Council on Foreign Relations

Who amongst Obama's administration can we honestly presume has the people's, or even America's best interests at heart? Goldman Sachs bankers? JP Morgan bankers? Corporate lobbyists? Indeed, these are the same banking, corporate, and political interests that guided the agenda under Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., Regan and so on. While there is some debate over which US president was in fact the last "real" president who exercised an agenda it genuinely could claim ownership over, there is no doubt that over the last two decades the same corporate interests have been entirely steering America's people and their destiny with but the veneer of "democracy."

Had John McCain won the elections in 2008, you could rest assured he would have taken US policy in the exact same direction Obama is going today. In fact, McCain is one of the key players who has helped fund and organize the current unrest sweeping the Middle East, along with a myriad of other "Republicans" and "Neo-Conservatives." The "Arab Spring" itself was planned and being staged before Obama even took office.

Ideologically, President Obama's qualifications are important and many are right to question them. Realistically, they are a red herring, as is his entire presidency. He is in charge of exactly nothing, most likely not even the tie he puts on in the morning and surely not the words that come out of his mouth. His entire function is to perpetuate the facade that America is still run by an elected government and not an illegitimate oligarchy of corporations and financial institutions. Arguing over his birth certificate engenders him with legitimacy in and of itself - suggesting that if he had proper qualifications he would be a "legitimate" president. But he, like his predecessor Bush, are both entirely illegitimate, as is the system they purportedly preside over.

Recognizing this grave reality, and instead concentrating on the corporate-financier interests that have hijacked American politics is essential to restoring a true constitutional republic. For it is not whose hands we think hold the power, it is in whose hands that really hold the power that shapes US policy. Definitively, US policy does not favor the people, definitively the power is not in the people's hands. As long as we grasp to the illusion that through the futile exercise of elections we are somehow "in control," it will remain this way perpetually. The fact that our president is in charge of absolutely nothing and that his duties have long been shifted to an unelected corporate-financier oligarchy is the issue, not his dubious qualifications.

Iraqi investigative committee confirms US forces helped a dozen Al-Qaeda members escape from prison...

'US helped al-Qaeda jailbreak in Basra'
Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:14AM

An Iraqi investigative committee has confirmed that US forces were involved in the escape of a dozen al-Qaeda members from a prison in the southern city of Basra.

The committee, established by the Iraqi parliament, has found that US forces were behind an operation to help the 12 al-Qaeda members escape from prison, which was carried out by a group of Iraqi officers earlier thsi year.

The fugitives conducted a number of terrorist attacks in Iraq, including a deadly bombing at a market in Basra in 2010.

Earlier in April, amateur footage showed US forces used disproportionate force and live rounds against prisoners at Camp Bucca, a US prison facility located in Iraq.

The Iraqi detainees were protesting the US troops' desecration of Islam's holy book, the Qur'an.

Exxon, Shell post huge first-quarter profits...

Exxon, Shell Post Huge 1Q Profits on High Oil Prices

The world’s two largest oil companies Thursday reported multi-billion-dollar first-quarter profits, up from a year ago, on higher crude oil prices.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s net income was $10.56 billion, or $2.14 per share, up from $6.3 billion, or $1.33.

It was the world’s largest oil company’s biggest profit since its record $14.83 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Revenue rose 26% to $114 billion.

Royal Dutch Shell earned $8.78 billion, up from $5.48 billion a year ago. Revenue rose 28% to $110 billion.

Shell credited the gains to higher oil prices, gains on asset sales and improvements in its refining operations, Bloomberg reported.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why the planes were not intercepted on 9/11: The Wall Street lawyer and the Special Ops hijack coordinator

Why the Planes Were Not Intercepted on 9/11: The Wall Street Lawyer and the Special Ops Hijack Coordinato
by Kevin Ryan
April 27, 2011

Of the many unanswered questions about the attacks of September 11, one of the most important is: Why were none of the four planes intercepted? A rough answer is that the failure of the US air defenses can be traced to a number of factors and people. There were policy changes, facility changes, and personnel changes that had recently been made, and there were highly coincidental military exercises that were occurring on that day. But some of the most startling facts about the air defense failures have to do with the utter failure of communications between the agencies responsible for protecting the nation. At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two people stood out in this failed chain of communications. One was a lawyer on his first day at the job, and another was a Special Operations Commander who was never held responsible for his critical role, or even questioned about it.

The 9/11 Commission wrote in its report that -- "On 9/11, the defense of U.S. airspace depended on close interaction between two federal agencies: the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)."[1]

According to the Commission, this interaction began with air traffic controllers (ATCs) at the relevant regional FAA control centers, which on 9/11 included Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. In the event of a hijacking, these ATCs were expected to "notify their supervisors, who in turn would inform management all the way up to FAA headquarters. Headquarters had a hijack coordinator, who was the director of the FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security or his or her designate.

The hijack coordinator would then "contact the Pentagon�s National Military Command Center (NMCC)" and "the NMCC would then seek approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to provide military assistance. If approval was given, the orders would be transmitted down NORAD�s chain of command [to the interceptor pilots]."[2]

The 9/11 Commission report (the report) indicated that the military was eventually notified about all the hijackings but none of those notifications were made in time to intercept the hijacked aircraft. The report also contradicted a good deal of testimony given on the subject by suggesting that earlier statements made by military leaders, in testimony to the Commission, were "incorrect." The corrections to these statements led to a reassessment of how much time the military actually had to respond to requests for interception from the FAA. Ultimately, the report stated that -- "NEADS air defenders had nine minutes� notice on the first hijacked plane, no advance notice on the second, no advance notice on the third, and no advance notice on the fourth."[3]

The report does not place blame for the failure to intercept on any specific people in the chain of communications, but it specifically exonerates "NEADS commanders and officers" and "[i]ndividual FAA controllers, facility managers and Command Center managers." In fact, the report goes so far as to praise these people for how well they did.[4] Curiously, the hijack coordinator at FAA headquarters was not mentioned in the list of those who were exonerated.

The ATCs did notify their management as required, but further notification to FAA headquarters (FAA HQ) was apparently riddled with delays. FAA HQ got plenty of notice of the four hijacked planes but failed to do its job. One of the most glaring examples was demonstrated by the failure of FAA HQ to request military assistance for the fourth hijacking, that of Flight 93.

On page 28, the report says: "By 9:34, word of the hijacking had reached FAA headquarters." Despite this advance notice, Flight 93 "crashed" in Pennsylvania sometime between 10:03 and 10:07.

To put this in perspective, at 9:34 it had been over 30 minutes since a second airliner had crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC). It was known that a third plane was hijacked and it was about to crash into the Pentagon. Everyone in the country knew we were under a coordinated terrorist attack via hijacked aircraft because, as of 9:03, mainstream news stations including CNN had already been televising it.

That was the situation when FAA HQ was notified about a fourth hijacking. Given those circumstances, an objective observer would expect the highest level of urgency throughout all levels of government in response to that fourth hijacking. But FAA management did not follow the protocol to ask for military assistance. The 9/11 Commission contends that FAA HQ gave air defenders no notice whatsoever of the hijacking of Flight 93 until after the plane had been destroyed. For whatever reasons, the FAA�s Command Center (located in Herndon, VA) did not request military assistance either. In fact, neither the Command Center nor FAA HQ contacted NMCC to request military assistance for any of the hijacked planes.

Therefore it seems reasonable to look at the people whose roles were most important in this failed chain of communications. Once the entire country was aware that we were under attack and that planes were being hijacked and used as weapons, the two people who were most important to the FAA�s response were 1) the person running the FAA�s national Command Center and 2) the hijack coordinator at FAA headquarters.

It turns out that these two people were both new to their jobs. In fact, it was the first day on the job for Benedict Leo Sliney, the national operations manager at FAA�s Command Center.

Benedict Sliney

Benedict Sliney was an ATC in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War and, after that, worked at the FAA for the first half of his professional career. In the 1980s, Sliney went on from the FAA to work as an attorney and continued in that career throughout the 1990s. He worked for several law firms during this time, handling various kinds of cases, and he was a partner in some of those firms.

Sliney�s clients included financial investors who were accused of Securities and Exchange violations. In one 1998 case, he represented Steven K. Gourlay, Jr., an employee of Sterling Foster. It was reported that Sterling Foster was "secretly controlled" by Randolph Pace and was at the center of "one of the most notorious scams ever."[5] Sliney got Gourlay�s charges dropped in 1998 but, in a related 2002 case, Gourlay pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, and was sentenced to six months in prison.[6,7]

In the summer of 2000, Sliney represented Merrill Lynch in a case in which the delay of the transfer of clients� funds to Smith Barney was said to have "caused their investments with Merrill, Lynch to lose some $638,000 in value." Sliney was able to get Merrill Lynch off the hook.[8]

For whatever reasons, Sliney decided to leave his lucrative law career behind just months before 9/11 in order to return to the FAA. It was reported that Jack Kies, FAA�s manager of tactical operations, offered Sliney the job of Command Center national operations manager. Instead, Sliney asked to work as a specialist and he started in that role. Kies offered Sliney the national operations manager position again six months later and Sliney accepted.[9] His first day on the job was 9/11/01.

On 9/11, others present at the FAA�s Command Center outranked Sliney. Interviews of those others, however, including Linda Schuessler and John White, confirm that Ben Sliney was given the lead in the Command Center�s response to the hijackings that day. Despite that critical role, Sliney is mentioned only one time in the narrative of the 9/11 Commission report.

According to the summary of his interview for the investigation, Sliney was first notified of "a hijack in progress" sometime between 8:15 and 8:20 EDT. This was about the same time as communications were lost with American Airlines Flight 11, the first of the planes to be hijacked, and it was about 30 minutes before that plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center (WTC). It was nearly two hours before Flight 93 was destroyed in Pennsylvania. Incredibly, according to Sliney�s interview, it was not until after a second confirmed hijacking occurred and two planes had crashed into the WTC (nearly an hour after he learned about the first hijacking) that Sliney "realized that the hijackers were piloting the aircraft."[10]

After the second tower was hit, Sliney responded by asking for a military response via the special military outfit assigned to the FAA�s Command Center, the Air Traffic Services Cell (ATSC). This was at approximately 9:06 am. At the time, one of the three military officers in the ATSC called the NMCC and that officer was told that "senior leaders" at the NMCC are "in a meeting to determine their response" to the attacks, and will call back.[11] As this example shows, there are at least as many unanswered questions about what went on at the NMCC that morning as there are about what happened at the FAA.[12]

Several of the FAA�s top people confirmed that the military was engaged and knew about the hijackings early on. This included Jeff Griffith at the Command Center and Monte Belger, the FAA�s acting Deputy Administrator, who was present at FAA Headquarters. Belger stated that -- "[T]here were military people on duty at the FAA Command Center, as Mr. Sliney said. They were participating in what was going on. There were military people in the FAA�s Air Traffic Organization in a situation room. They were participating in what was going on."[13]

Sliney�s interview summary is full of phrases like he "did not recall" and "was not aware," although he did recall "being informed" that interceptors were eventually launched (too late). Apparently, Sliney didn�t even know what the fighters would do if they were launched. He recalled thinking: "Well, what are they going to do?" Additionally, in an apparent defensive posture, Sliney claimed -- "definitively that he did not receive a request to authorize a request to the military for assistance."[14]

One might think that the national operations manager for the FAA�s Command Center would not need a "request to authorize a request for military assistance" and that he might know what military assistance would entail. But Sliney�s interview summary suggests that he did not even know what the protocol was for requesting military assistance in the event of a hijacking. Sliney�s understanding on 9/11 "and today" (two years later, when the interview was conducted) was that an FAA request for military assistance "emanates from the effected Center�directly to the military." That is, Sliney supposedly was not aware of any role that the FAAs� Command Center or FAA HQ might have had in the request for interception of hijacked aircraft. This appears to be in contradiction to the protocol given by the 9/11 Commission report and it is definitely in contradiction to the concept of a "hijack coordinator."

In addition to the confusion about the Command Center�s role in requesting military assistance, it seems there was only one person at FAA headquarters who was authorized to request military assistance. On 9/11, Ben Sliney was told that no one could find that one person. Sliney later recounted his experience learning of that fact in this way.

"I said something like, �That�s incredible. There�s only one person. There must be someone designated or someone who will assume the responsibility of issuing an order, you know.� We were becoming frustrated in our attempts to get some information. What was the military response?"[15]

Michael Canavan

The hijack coordinator at FAA headquarters, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Canavan, had been in his position for only nine months and would leave the job within a month of 9/11. Surprisingly, although Mike Canavan was mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report, he was not cited for his role as the FAA�s hijack coordinator, a role that was at the center of the failure to intercept the planes on 9/11.

Instead of being mentioned as the hijack coordinator, Canavan was in the report because he had been the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which ran the military�s counterterrorism operations and covert missions. The report described Canavan�s part in the the failure to follow-through on a carefully laid-out 1998 CIA plan to capture Osama bin Laden (OBL) in Afghanistan. Canavan was quoted as saying that the plan put tribal Afghanis at too much risk and that the "operation was too complicated for the CIA."[16]

Nearly the entirety of Canavan�s career was in military special operations. He was a Special Forces soldier for many years and before he was JSOC Commander he was Special Operations Commander for the US European Command (SOCEUR), which included operations throughout Africa as well. Canavan was SOCEUR from 1994 to 1996 and JSOC Commander from 1996 to 1998.

JSOC is a successor organization to the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which was a secret government-funded organization authorized by the National Security Council in 1948. The OPC was led by CIA director Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner, a State Department official who wielded unprecedented power due to his position in New York law and financial circles. The JSOC was created in 1980 by the Pentagon and run by Ted Shackley�s OPC colleague, Richard Stillwell. According to author Joseph Trento, JSOC quickly became "one of the most secret operations of the US government."[17]

Creation of the JSOC was, ostensibly, a response to the failed 1980 hostage rescue attempt in Iran called Operation Eagle Claw. JSOC immediately went on to engage in an �array of highly covert activities" by way of �black budgets."[18] This included operations in Honduras and El Salvador which supported the illegal wars associated with the Nicaraguan rebels called the Contras.

In 1987, JSOC was assigned to a new military command called the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that came about through the work of Senator William S. Cohen. Senator Cohen went on to become the Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001 and it was he who led the Quadrennial Defense Review of 1997 that reduced the number of fighters actively protecting the continental US from 100 to 14.[19] Cohen is now chairman of The Cohen group, where he works with his Vice Chairman, Marc Grossman, whom FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds says figures prominently in the information she has been trying to provide.

Interestingly, Hugh Shelton was the commander of SOCOM during the same years that Canavan was the commander of JSOC. Shelton went on to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), which is the highest position in the US military. He was in that position on September 11th and was, like Canavan, curiously absent for just the morning hours on that day.[20]

In any case, it seems odd that Michael Canavan occupied what turned out to be the most important position relative to the failure to intercept the hijacked planes on 9/11 and was also involved in evaluating plans to capture OBL just three years earlier. Apart from the coincidence that he was selected as the most qualified person for both of those very different positions, he was also a central figure in these two different reasons why the 9/11 attacks were said to have succeeded.

When he first started the job as FAA�s hijack coordinator, just nine months before the attacks, Canavan was in charge of running training exercises that were "pretty damn close to [the] 9/11 plot," according to John Hawley, an employee in the FAA�s intelligence division.[21] In his comments to the 9/11 Commission, Canavan denied having participated in any such exercises and the Commission apparently didn�t think to reconcile the conflicting comments it had received from Hawley and Canavan on this important issue.

That�s not surprising in light of the fact that Canavan�s treatment by the 9/11 Commission was one of uncritical deference. Reading through the transcript of the related hearing gives the impression that the Commission members were not only trying to avoid asking the general any difficult questions, but they were fawning over him.

Lee Hamilton began his questioning of Canavan by saying "You're pretty tough on the airlines, aren't you?"[22] As with many of the statements and reports made by Hamilton, however, the evidence suggests that the opposite is true.

In May 2001, Canavan wrote an internal FAA memorandum that initiated a new policy of more lax fines for airlines and airports that had security problems. The memo suggested that, if the airlines or airports had a written plan to fix the problem, fines were not needed. For whatever reason, the memo was also taken to mean that FAA agents didn�t even have to enforce corrections as long as the airline or airport said they were working on it. Canavan�s memo was repeatedly cited as a cause of failure to fix security problems in the months leading up to 9/11.[23,24]

Canavan�s job as hijack coordinator was clearly the most important link in the communications chain between the FAA and the military. But the 9/11 Commission did not address this hijack coordinator position in terms of how it was fulfilled on 9/11, and did not mention the alarming fact that we don�t know who actually handled the job of hijack coordinator on the day of 9/11. We don�t know because Canavan said he was in Puerto Rico that morning and claimed to have missed out on "everything that happened that day."[25]

Here is Canavan�s exact statement to the Commission, in response to a question from Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, whose questions were, like Hamilton�s, rather submissive.

"Here's my answer -- and it's not to duck the question. Number one, I was visiting the airport in San Juan that day when this happened. That was a CADEX airport, and I was down there also to remove someone down there that was in a key position. So when 9/11 happened, that's where I was. I was able to get back to Washington that evening on a special flight from the Army back from San Juan, back to Washington. So everything that transpired that day in terms of times, I have to -- and I have no information on that now, because when I got back we weren't -- that wasn't the issue at the time. We were -- when I got back it was, What are we going to do over the next 48 hours to strengthen what just happened?"[26]

One might think that the Commissioners would have expressed surprise at Canavan�s rambling, somewhat incoherent claim that he was just not available during the events of 9/11. We would certainly expect the Commissioners to have followed up with detailed questions about who was in charge that day with respect to the most important role related to the failed national response. But that was not the case. Instead, Ben-Veniste redirected the discussion while "putting aside the issue." None of the other Commissioners said a word about Canavan being missing that day or even asked who was filling in for him as the primary contact between the FAA and the military with regard to hijackings. And, of course, the 9/11 Commission report did not mention any of it at all.

In the interest of finding out what happened we should return to the failure of FAA HQ to request military assistance for Flight 93. We should ask -- what was FAA HQ doing with this information for those 30 minutes in the absence of the one person who was charged to do something about it? Apparently, for fifteen minutes nothing was done. But after fifteen minutes, according to the 9/11 Commission report, the conversations were going nowhere.

At 9:49, according to the report, this was the exchange between the FAA Command Center and FAA HQ.

Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling aircraft?

FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don�t know.

Command Center: Uh, that�s a decision somebody�s gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.

FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room

The Commission report says that ineffectual discussions about scrambling aircraft were still occurring at FAA HQ twenty minutes after it had received notification of the fourth hijacking.

At 9:53 am, "FAA headquarters informed the Command Center that the deputy director for air traffic services was talking to Monte Belger about scrambling aircraft."

Apart from contradicting Benedict Sliney�s testimony that an FAA request for military assistance "emanates from the effected Center�directly to the military," this part of the 9/11 Commission report never mentions who the "deputy director for air traffic services" was. Tape recordings suggest that it was someone named Peter. This might have been Peter H. Challan, an engineer who had worked for the FAA since 1969 and had been Deputy Associate Administrator for Air Traffic Services since July 1999. But the Deputy Director of Air Traffic Services that day was Jeff Griffith. Monte Belger was the Deputy Administrator for the FAA, second in command to the FAA Administrator, Jane Garvey. Belger and Griffith later denied they ever had a conversation about scrambling aircraft, despite the 9/11 Commission stating this as fact.

Jane Garvey was also present during the failed response at FAA HQ. She was the FAA Administrator from 1997 to 2002 and coincidentally, in the years before that, had been the director of Logan International Airport in Boston, where two of the flights took off on 9/11. Apparently Garvey�s record as director for the Logan airport, which had for many years the worst security record of any major airport, was not a problem for her nomination to the top job at FAA. It was Garvey who appointed Canavan to his role as Associate Administrator for Civil Aviation Security and, therefore, hijack coordinator.

In any case, in the absence of the hijack coordinator the FAA was completely incompetent in terms of communicating the need to intercept the hijacked planes on 9/11. Officially, the only notice of the hijackings to the military came directly from the FAA centers, bypassing both the Command Center and FAA HQ. Boston Center reached the North East Air Defense Sector (NEADS) at 8:37 to request help with the first hijacking, and New York Center notified the military of the second hijacking at 9:03. NEADS only found about the third hijacking at 9:34 by calling the Washington center to ask about Flight 11, and the military was said to have first learned about the hijacking of Flight 93 from Cleveland Center at 10:07. Still, none of the planes were intercepted.

9/11 and special operations

Although Michael Canavan was unavailable to perform his critical job function on 9/11, he was fully involved in the response to the attacks. Just two days later, he attended a "Principals Committee Meeting" chaired by Condoleezza Rice that included all of Bush�s "war cabinet."[27] This meeting set the stage for how the new War on Terror would be conducted.

Canavan later cashed in on the windfalls of the resulting wars and the privatization of military operations when he hired on at Anteon International Corporation as president of its Information Systems Group. In doing so he joined a number of prominent defense department alumni, including his former special operations colleague, SOCOM commander and JCS chairman Hugh Shelton, who was on the board of directors at Anteon.

Since 9/11, covert activities have been encouraged at a much higher level but, prior to 9/11, SOCOM was not supposed to conduct covert operations. Therefore, JSOC worked intimately with the CIA�s clandestine division called the Special Activities Division (SAD). Canavan led those kinds of operations in northern Iraq, Liberia and Bosnia. He ran special operations in Croatia in 1996 and, according to President Clinton, was the one who identified Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown�s body after Brown�s plane crashed there.[28]

JSOC regularly works with foreign intelligence agencies, including the Mossad.[29] It has been involved with hijackings, for example that of the Achille Lauro and TWA Flight 847. It has also operated from bases in foreign countries, such as Saudi Arabia, for many years.[30] Presidential Decision Directive, PDD-25, gave JSOC one of the rare exemptions from the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which means that JSOC can legally conduct its missions within the US.[31]

In the "War on Terror", the special mission units of JSOC have been given the authority to pursue secret operations around the world. JSOC effectively operates outside the law, capturing and killing people with or without the knowledge of the host countries in which it operates. JSOC missions are always low-profile and the US government will not acknowledge any specifics about them.

Reporter Seymour Hersh has reported that the JSOC was under the command of Vice President Dick Cheney after the attacks.[32] Hersh also claimed that the leaders of JSOC "are all members of, or at least supporters of, the Knights of Malta" and that "many of them are members of Opus Dei."[33] The ties between the Knights of Malta and high-level US intelligence personnel, including William Casey and William Donovan, have been well-documented.[34] Such accusations have also been made of Louis Freeh, who headed the FBI from 1993 to June 2001 and would have worked closely with Canavan and Shelton in the pursuit of special operations targets.

Other special operations leaders who were involved in the lack of response on 9/11 included Richard Armitage, who was present on the Secure Video Teleconference (SVTS) during the attacks.[35] This was the White House meeting chaired by Richard Clarke, which the 9/11 Commission said convened at 9:25 and included leaders of the CIA, the FBI, the FAA, as well as the departments of State, Defense and Justice. Even with all those leaders in on the call, nothing was done to stop Flight 93 from "crashing" that morning, approximately 40 minutes after the call began. Instead, we were left completely undefended.

Like Canavan and Shelton, Armitage was involved in special operations in Vietnam and later was reportedly involved in several of the most well-known covert operations in US history, including the Phoenix Program and the Iran-Contra crimes.[36] Although he had spent many years in the Defense department, he was Deputy Secretary of State on 9/11. After the invasion of Iraq, he was identified as the one who betrayed CIA agent Valerie Plame by revealing her identity, apparently in retaliation for her husband�s attempt to set the record straight on weapons of mass destruction. Armitage admitted he revealed Plame�s identity but claimed it was done inadvertently.[37]

Another special operations soldier who testified to the 9/11 Commission and played a significant role with regard to the airlines and facilities prior to 9/11 was Brian Michael Jenkins. While Shelton and Canavan were running SOCOM and JSOC, Jenkins was the deputy chairman of Kroll when that company was designing the security system for the World Trade Center (WTC) complex.[38]

Jenkins was appointed by President Clinton to be a member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, where he collaborated with James Abrahamson of WTC security company Stratesec, and FBI director (and alleged Opus Dei member) Louis Freeh. In 1999 and 2000, Jenkins served as an advisor to the National Commission on Terrorism, led by L. Paul Bremer, who went on to be an executive of WTC impact zone tenant, Marsh & McLennan, and then the Iraq occupation governor. Jenkins returned to the RAND Corporation where he had previously worked with Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Frank Carlucci of The Carlyle Group, and Paul Kaminski of Anteon.

Lieutenant Colonel John Blitch was yet another special operations soldier who played a big part in the events immediately following 9/11. Blitch spent his career in the US Army's Special Forces and was said to have retired just the day before 9/11 to become an employee of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Immediately following the attacks, he was put in charge of the team of robotic machine operators that explored the pile at Ground Zero, using devices that had previously been used for elimination of unexploded ordnance.


Despite being given plenty of notice about the four planes hijacked on 9/11, FAA management did not request military assistance to ensure the planes were intercepted before they crashed. The 9/11 Commission attributes this to a string of gross failures in communication between the FAA and the military on 9/11. However, the report places no blame on any of the people who were involved and doesn�t even mention the one person who was most important to this chain of communications.

One of the most important people involved was Benedict Sliney, who had, just before 9/11, left a lucrative law career defending Wall Street financiers to return to work as a specialist at the FAA. It was his first day on the job. With regard to ensuring military interception of the hijacked planes, he said he did not receive a "request to authorize a request." Sliney also claimed to not know that FAA management at the Command Center, where he was in charge, or FAA HQ, had any role in requests for military assistance. This is in contradiction to the stated protocol in the 9/11 Commission report and also the idea of an FAA "hijack coordinator."

The FAA hijack coordinator was Michael Canavan, a career special operations commander who had come to the civilian FAA job only nine months before 9/11. According to an FAA intelligence agent, one of the first things Canavan did in that job was lead and participate in exercises that were "pretty damn close to the 9/11 plot." He was also known within the FAA for writing a memo just a few months before 9/11 that instituted a new leniency with regard to airport and airline security.

With regard to the communication failures, Canavan offered the unsolicited excuse that he was absent during the morning hours of 9/11, in Puerto Rico. The 9/11 Commission did not pursue this excuse nor did it ask who was filling the critical hijack coordinator role in Canavan�s absence. In fact, the 9/11 Commission report didn�t address the hijack coordinator role at all. The report mentioned Sliney only once in the entire narrative and did not refer to Canavan in his role as hijack coordinator.

When a new, honest investigation is finally convened, it should look into why a lawyer, who knew how to handle evidence and get financiers off the hook, was experiencing his first day on the job as national operation manager at the FAA. And if 9/11 was a "special operation" as many people now suspect, that investigation might consider that a number of special operations specialists were in place to ensure that the operation went off without a hitch and was not discovered. Long-time special operations leaders like Michael Canavan, Hugh Shelton, Brian Michael Jenkins, and Richard Armitage played critical parts with respect to the facilities, events, and official story of 9/11. These facts seem worth investigating.

Fox News Chief Roger Ailes spied on employees...

Roger Ailes Spies On His Employees
27th April 2011
Reported by Ellen
News Hounds | April 19, 2011

As far as we know, Ailes has not spied on any Fox News employees but I’d probably start taking precautions if I worked there. What we do know is that Ailes spied on the employees of his rural New York newspapers that he bought in 2008 and 2009, apparently to set himself up for a post-Fox retirement. With the phone hacking scandal at the Murdoch-owned British tabloid News of the World widening, I’m beginning to wonder if spying on people isn’t a job requirement at News Corp.

As Gawker reported, Ailes was not exactly creating some kind of rustic serenity for his golden years with the purchase of the papers.

Ailes—who installed (his wife) Elizabeth as the day-to-day manager of the papers while he finishes his tenure at Fox News Channel—has run the papers with the singularly paranoid and abusive management style he brings to all his projects, resulting in the defection of his hand-picked editor and two top reporters earlier this month after Ailes told them he’d had them followed, and their private conversations surveilled, to catch them saying mean things about him. The spying followed years of intense weirdness between the editor and the Aileses, who once asked him to personally stop a break-in at their home and who implied that, after Roger’s death, he’d be expected to replace him in their marriage.

Gawker also notes that Ailes seems to have used News Corp. personnel to do his personal snooping – a potentially serious offense, I’d think.

It’s unclear why News Corporation shareholders were paying for security guards to tail former staffers for Ailes’ unrelated vanity projects.

But who knows? Maybe they get brownie points for this kind of thing at News Corp.

Then again, this can’t be music to the ears of News Corp. shareholders:

It’s also unclear why Ailes and his wife cared so deeply about what a few of their twenty-something Putnam County staffers thought of them. But former employees say the couple seemed to be unduly preoccupied with the tiny papers, and seemed to devote more energy to paranoid delusions of intrigue there than the far more consequential responsibilities that weighed on Roger. “They obsess about the Putnam papers more than Fox News or world events,” says one former staffer.

Close encounters of the Third Reich...

Close Encounters of the Third Reich
The Sun | April 26, 2011

HITLER fantasised about creating a fleet of flying saucers capable of destroying London and New York as his armies retreated on all fronts.

New movie Iron Sky, due out next year, tells the story of Nazis escaping to the moon to regroup for a new attempt at world domination.

But after trawling through top secret Nazi archives, The Sun can reveal the truth about Hitler’s UFOs is far more chilling.

One alleged site of production of the Nazi UFOs is a series of tunnels buried under the Jonas Valley in Thuringia, central Germany.

Here, under the command of SS General Hans Kammler, legions of slave labourers worked to bring the Fuhrer’s fantasies into existence.

The respected German science mag PM has reported how “advanced” the programme was as scientists toiled in secret factories to produce the “wonder weapon” to win the war.

The magazine quotes eyewitnesses who saw a flying saucer marked with the German Iron Cross flying low over the Thames in 1944. “America also treated the existence of the weapons seriously,” it said.

The US believed Germany could use it to drop weapons on New York – a target the Fuhrer obsessed on as the war progressed.

At the time the New York Times reported on a “mysterious flying disc” with photos of the device seen travelling at extremely high speeds over the city’s high-rise buildings.

“Apparently that machine was capable on its maiden flight of travelling 2,000km,” added the PM report. “The Germans had destroyed much of the paperwork of their activities but there are numerous hints that it did indeed exist.”

This is the latest revelation about odd UFO activity. Two weeks ago we told how 8,000 cows were snatched by mystery aircraft then dropped from the skies in the US.

The Nazi UFO project was driven by engineers Rudolf Schriever and Otto Habermohl and was based in Prague between 1941 and 1943.

Initially a Luftwaffe project, it eventually fell under the control of armaments minister Albert Speer before being taken over once again in 1944 by Kammler.

Eyewitnesses captured by Allies after the war claimed to have seen the saucer fly on several occasions.

Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to the Schriever-Habermohl project, claimed 15 prototypes were built.

He described how a central cockpit surrounded by rotating adjustable wing-vanes formed a circle.

The vanes were held together by a band at the outer edge and were set in rotation by small rockets placed around the rim.

Once rotational speed was sufficient and lift-off was achieved, horizontal jets or rockets were ignited.

A German official recorded that at the Prague-Gbell aerodrome in September 1943, he saw inside a hangar “a disk 5-6 metres in diameter. Its body is relatively large at the centre.

“Underneath it has four tall, thin legs. Colour: aluminum. Height: almost as tall as a man. Thickness: some 30 to 40cm. Along with my friends, I saw the device emerge from the hangar.

“It was then we heard the roar of the engines, we saw the external side of the disk begin to rotate and the vehicle began moving slowly and in a straight line toward the southern end of the field.

“It then rose almost one metre into the air. After moving around some 300 metres at that altitude, it stopped again. Its landing was rather rough. Later, the ‘thing’ took off again, managing to reach the end of the aerodrome this time.”

The theory is further fuelled by Igor Witkowski, a Polish journalist and historian of military and aerospace technology.

In his 2000 book, Prawda O Wunderwaffe, he claims Hitler wanted his top scientists at his disposal to work on bell-shaped aircraft.

So impressive was Nazi technology found at the end of the war, V-2 rocket scientists were hunted down by the US and Soviets and hired for their own missile and space programmes.

More than 120 rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun who became a central figure at Nasa, went to the US. German engineer Georg Klein claimed two types of flying disks had been created by the Nazis:

A non-rotating disk developed by V-2 engineer Richard Miethe, was captured by the Russians.

The Schriever and Habermohl model. Klein claimed he saw this craft’s first manned flight in February 1945 when it climbed to 40,700ft and reached 1,400mph.

Klein, who went on to have a distinguished postwar career as an aeronautical engineer, said: “I don’t consider myself a crackpot or eccentric or someone given to fantasies.

“This is what I saw, with my own eyes – a Nazi UFO.”

British and American bomber crews also reported strange sightings over enemy territory.

They reported seeing objects that were neither aircraft nor ack-ack fire and described them as “fiery” and “glowing red, white, or orange”.

Were these the test flights of the disks meant to unleash terror on Allied cities? But if so where were they flying from?

Jonas Valley is where the secret work is believed to have been carried out. Now officially sealed off, authorities play a cat-and-mouse game with UFO hunters there each weekend.

Captured by the Americans, its secrets were placed under lock and key for 100 years.

Conspiracy theorists believe the Americans found two things in the tunnels – a nuclear bomb and the flying saucers meant to deliver it.

Martin Stade, author of a book on the area, claims 174 flying saucers were developed at the site. He continues to search the tunnels illegally but hasn’t yet found them.

He said: “Research in Third Reich archives points to a secret factory in the Jonas Valley complex.

“Why else would the Americans take away everything they found and place the results under a 100-year secrecy order?”

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern: David Petraeus will expand pro-war agenda as new CIA director (Video)


Prison break in Kandahar blows hole in Pentagon propaganda...

Prison Break in Kandahar Blows Hole in Pentagon Propaganda
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 11:43AM

For more than one year, the Pentagon has been soliciting favorable public relations from the mainstream media and think tanks over its military surge in Kandahar. All that PR went down the Rabbit Hole this week as nearly 500 Taliban prisoners escaped through a tunnel dug under Kandahar’s prison.

The White House, Congress and media should seize the opportunity to examine the stream of propaganda emanating for months about the U.S. success in “the spiritual homeland of the Taliban,” and whether they have been manipulated in a “psy-ops” campaign to promote a favorable image of the surge. [Hastings, Michael. “Another Runaway General,” Rolling Stone, February 23, 2011]

The escape is the second since 2008, when 1,200 Taliban prisoners were liberated in an attack on the same prison. Since 2008, the U.S. has deployed an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, more than half to southern Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

The truth appears to be that the U.S. war has gone from bad to worse. The prison escape is not only a huge psychological boost for the Taliban, but frees hundreds of fighters for the “spring offensive” now underway. It also blows a hole in any U.S. claims of having secured the province. And it suggests that the Afghan security forces, on whom U.S. policy depends, were directly engaged leaving cell doors open and leading the detainees into the tunnel.

A December 2011 survey of Afghan residents in Kandahar and Helmand showed 79 percent demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops by this summer or earlier. Three-quarters of Afghans in the same poll supported negotiations with the Taliban, and two-thirds favored Taliban leaders holding political office. The poll of Kandahar and Helmand residents offered “a rare dose of hopefulness,” according to the Washington Post. [December 6, 2010].

Mystery disease harms penguins...

Mystery disease harms penguins
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The string of strange phenomena involving animal injuries and deaths has once again gotten longer, as new reports emerge about a new mystery disease afflicting Atlantic penguins. According to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), "feather-loss disorder" causes penguins to lose their feathers and become "naked." Many of these same birds also end up displaying erratic behavior, which includes inadvertently baking themselves to death in direct sunlight while the healthy penguins seek shelter.

"We need to conduct further study to determine the cause of the disorder and if this is in fact spreading to other penguin species," said Dee Boersma, an expert from WCS. The team suspects that contaminants, nutrient imbalances, and even thyroid disorders might all play a role in the disease's spread, as well as in the overall decline of penguin health.

Whatever the specific cause of feather-loss disorder, it is clear that various environmental factors including pollution, spilled oil, and toxic chemicals are most likely to blame. Fluoride, for instance, is known to cause thyroid disorders, and tons of fluoride residues likely make their way into the ocean every single year. The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico sent nearly five million barrels worth of crude oil into ocean water, destroying animal life in the immediate area and ultimately affecting oceanic ecosystems all around the world.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of penguins on a series of remote islands near Cape Town, South Africa, are threatened by a recent shipwreck-induced oil spill. Rescue workers have been feverishly trying to save those penguins by helping them escape the polluted area.

Other mysterious animal incidents in recent months include dolphins washing ashore dead in the Gulf of Mexico; a drastic reduction in the number of songbirds, turtle doves, and nightingales migrating from Africa (http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011...); and countless millions of dead fish washing ashore in a California harbor (http://www.naturalnews.com/031645_d...).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top Mexican drug lord admits in Illinois court to working as US government asset for years...

Top Mexican Drug Lord: I Trafficked Cocaine For The U.S. Government
Paul Joseph Watson
April 27, 2011

The “logistical coordinator” for a top Mexican drug-trafficking gang that was responsible for purchasing the CIA torture jet that crashed with four tons on cocaine on board back in 2007 has told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago that he has been working as a U.S. government asset for years.

Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, one of the top kingpins of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization. Niebla was arrested in Mexico in March 2009 and extradited to the United States to stand trial last February.

“The indictment pending against Zambada Niebla claims he served as the “logistical coordinator” for the “cartel,” helping to oversee an operation that imported into the U.S. “multi-ton quantities of cocaine … using various means, including but not limited to, Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, private aircraft … buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, and automobiles,” writes Narcosphere’s Bill Conroy.

In a two page court pleading filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, Niebla claims that he was working on behalf and with the authority of, “The U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”),” since January 1, 2004.

Niebla is also connected to the Gulfstream II jet that wrecked with four tons of cocaine on board on September 24, 2007. European investigators linked the plane’s tail number, N987SA, to past CIA “rendition” operations. The bill of sale for the Gulfstream jet, sold weeks before it crashed, listed the name of Greg Smith, a pilot who had previously worked for the FBI, DEA and CIA.

The plane was purchased by Niebla’s Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization through a syndicate of Colombian drug-traffickers that included a CIA asset named Nelson Urrego, according to another undercover CIA operative, Baruch Vega, who was involved in the deal.

“The Gulfstream II jet, according to Mexican authorities, was among a number of aircraft acquired by the Sinaloa drug organization via an elaborate money laundering scheme involving a chain of Mexican casa de cambios (currency exchange houses) overseen by alleged Sinaloa organization operative Pedro Alfonso Alatorre Damy, according to Mexican government and U.S. media reports,” writes Conroy.

Sinaloa bought the jet by wiring money through the U.S. banking giant Wachovia, now a subsidiary of Wells Fargo. “In total, nearly $13 million dollars went through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia for the purchase of aircraft to be used in the illegal narcotics trade. From these aircraft, more than 20,000 kilograms of cocaine were seized,” states Wachovia’s deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Wachovia was forced to pay a penalty of around $160 million dollars for allowing the money to be laundered through its correspondent bank accounts.

“So, the criminal cases pending against alleged Colombian narco-trafficker Urrego, accused money-launderer Damy and Sinaloa organization logistics chief Zambada Niebla all appear to connect through the Gulfstream II cocaine jet at some level,” summarizes Conroy.

Another private aircraft that was full of cocaine crashed in New Mexico on Sunday morning, but the plane has yet to be identified.

In addition to smuggling narcotics into the United States, Niebla is also accused of obtaining weapons from the U.S. with the intent to use them to cause violence in Mexico City, leading to the murders of several innocent people. Despite the fact that the Obama administration has cited the flow of guns from the U.S. into Mexico as an excuse with which to attack the second amendment rights of Americans, it was recently revealed that the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed guns to be smuggled from the U.S. into the hands of Mexican drug lords under “Operation Fast and Furious”. President Obama later denied that he had any knowledge of the program.

Niebla’s assertion that he smuggled drugs from Mexico into the United States while working for the U.S. government adds further weight to the already voluminous body of evidence that confirms the CIA and U.S. banking giants are the top players in a global drug trade worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year, information made public by the likes of Gary Webb, who it was claimed committed suicide in 2004 despite the fact that he was found with two gunshot wounds to the head and after Webb himself had complained of death threats and “government people” stalking his home.

For more background information on the story, be sure to read Bill Conroy’s excellent article over at Narco News entitled Mexican Narco-Trafficker’s Revelation Exposes Drug War’s Duplicity.


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