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Saturday, March 31, 2012

In hiding, Bin Laden had four children and five houses...

In Hiding, Bin Laden Had Four Children and Five Houses
By Declan Walsh, The New York Times News Service | Report
Saturday, 31 March 2012

Via
Islamabad, Pakistan - Osama bin Laden spent nine years on the run in Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, during which time he moved among five safe houses and fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital, his youngest wife has told Pakistani investigators.

The testimony of Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, Bin Laden’s 30-year-old wife, offers the most detailed account yet of life on the run for the Bin Laden family in the years preceding the American commando raid in May 2011 that killed the leader of Al Qaeda at the age of 54.

Her account is contained in a police report dated Jan. 19 that, as an account of that frantic period, contains manifest flaws: Ms. Fateh’s words are paraphrased by a police officer, and there is noticeably little detail about the Pakistanis who helped her husband evade his American pursuers. Nevertheless, it raises more questions about how the world’s most wanted man managed to shunt his family between cities that span the breadth of Pakistan, apparently undetected and unmolested by the otherwise formidable security services.

Bin Laden’s three widows are of great interest because they hold the answers to some of the questions that frustrated Western intelligence in the years after 2001. They are currently under house arrest in Islamabad, and their lawyer says he expects them and two adult children — Bin Laden’s daughters Maryam, 21, and Sumaya, 20 — to be charged on Monday with breaking Pakistani immigration laws, which carries a possible five-year jail sentence.

The wives have cooperated with the authorities to varying degrees. Investigators say the older women, named in court documents as Kharia Hussain Sabir and Siham Sharif, both citizens of Saudi Arabia, have largely refused to cooperate with investigators. However, Ms. Fateh, who was wounded in the raid that killed her husband, has spoken out.

The report, by a joint investigative panel made up of civilian and military officials, was first noted by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn on Thursday; The New York Times later obtained a copy of the filing. In Washington, United States officials said that while they could not confirm every detail of the report, it appeared generally consistent with what is known and believed about Bin Laden’s movements.

In the report’s account, Ms. Fateh said she agreed to marry Bin Laden in 2000 because “she had a desire of marrying a mujahid.” She flew into Karachi in July that year and, months later, crossed into Afghanistan to join Bin Laden and two other wives at his base on a farm outside Kandahar.

The Sept. 11 attacks caused the Bin Laden family to “scatter,” the report said. She returned to Karachi with her newborn daughter, Safia, where they stayed for about nine months. They changed houses up to seven times under arrangements brokered by “some Pakistani family” and Bin Laden’s elder son, Saad.

Other senior Qaeda figures were also in Karachi, a sprawling city of up to 18 million people. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, claims to have personally killed the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl there during this period; he was captured at a house in Rawalpindi in March 2003.

Ms. Fateh said she left Karachi in the second half of 2002 for Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where she was reunited with her husband. The American pursuit of Bin Laden was running high: Qaeda operatives had attacked an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and nightclubs in Indonesia, and with C.I.A. intelligence resources not yet diverted to Iraq, the search was firmly focused on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.

Bin Laden, according to his wife, took his family deep into rural mountain areas of northwest Pakistan — but not, notably, into the tribal belt where much Western attention was focused. First they stayed in the Shangla district in Swat, a picturesque area about 80 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad, where they stayed in two different houses for eight to nine months.

Then in 2003 they moved to Haripur, a small town even closer to Islamabad, where they stayed in a rented house for two years. Here, Ms. Fateh gave birth to a girl, Aasia, in 2003 and a boy, Ibrahim, in 2004 — both of whom were delivered in a local government hospital. The police report states that Ms. Fateh “stayed in hospital for a very short time of about 2-3 hours” on each occasion. A separate document states that she gave fake identity papers to hospital staff.

Finally, in mid-2005, according to Ms. Fateh, Bin Laden and his family moved to Abbottabad, 20 miles east of Haripur, where she gave birth to another two children: Zainab in 2006 and Hussain in 2008.

Mr. Fateh told investigators that the houses in Swat, Haripur and Abbottabad were organized by their Pashtun hosts, identified as two brothers named Ibrahim and Abrar, whose families stayed with them throughout. Ibrahim is believed to refer to Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, a Pakistani-born Pashtun who grew up in Kuwait and who was known for a time to American intelligence as “the courier,” because he carried the Qaeda leader’s messages.

When Navy SEAL commandos stormed the Abbottabad house last May, they killed Bin Laden and shot Ms. Fateh, who was in the same room, in the leg. She survived but four others were killed in the raid: the courier, his wife Bushra, his brother, Abrar, and Bin Laden’s 20-year-old son, Khalil.

Bin Laden’s three wives are now confined to a rented house in Islamabad. On Tuesday, a cousin of Ms. Fateh’s in Yemen claimed that she was being held in a basement. “She limps from a bullet wound in her knee, and she’s suffering from psychological trauma and very low blood pressure,” Hameed al-Sadeh told Reuters.

Ms. Fateh’s account, if proven, suggests that American military forces came tantalizingly close to Bin Laden in late 2005. In October of that year, a giant earthquake struck northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 73,000 people. For weeks afterward, American Chinook helicopters, diverted from Afghanistan and carrying relief supplies, passed overhead on their way into the quake zone. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, then a close ally of the Bush administration, repeatedly asserted that Bin Laden was sheltering across the border inside Afghanistan.

The Pakistani decision to prosecute the three wives and two children goes against an earlier recommendation from the police that they be deported to Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Pakistani analysts said that suggested that Pakistani intelligence may have hidden reasons for detaining the family. “I think the government wants to hang on to them through a trial procedure so that the investigation can be completed,” said Riffat Hussain, a defense analyst. “And I think the Americans are quite keen to have access to Osama’s wives, too.”


Scott Shane contributed reporting from Washington.

National Defense Authorization Act challenged in court by journalists and civilian activists...

Lawyers tested in court over anti-terrorism act
March 29, 2012
By Grant McCool, Reuters

Via
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for the Obama administration were put to the test by a U.S. judge on Thursday to explain why civilian activists and journalists should not fear being detained under a new anti-terrorism law.

Activists and journalists are suing the government to try to stop implementation of the law's provisions of indefinite detention for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda and the Taliban and "associated forces."

Government lawyers argued in federal court in New York that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.

During day-long oral arguments, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest heard lawyers for former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and others argue that the law would have a "chilling effect" on their work.

While the judge said she was skeptical that the plaintiffs would win a constitutional challenge to the act, she also said she wanted to "understand the meaning to the ordinary citizen."

"I can't take the statute and strike it down for what it says, but can Hedges and others be detained for contacting al Qaeda or the Taliban as reporters?" she said.

Hedges told the court that "I don't think we know what 'associated forces' are. That's why I'm here."

The lawsuit, filed in January, cited Obama's statement of his "serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists" when he signed the act.

Forrest asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Torrance if "associated forces" could be interpreted in different ways.

Torrance said the plaintiffs were "taking phrases out of context" and that the law specifically applied to those found to have ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"What does substantially supported mean? How much is enough? When are someone's activities substantial or insubstantial?" the judge asked.

Torrance told her he did not have a specific example and said "it is not proper for plaintiffs to come in and say they are chilled and what not." He emphasized that the activity would "have to take place in the context of armed conflict."

The judge did not immediately rule on the motion.

"In the New Empire success at war no longer matters. The extraction takes place by being at war. Huge sums of American taxpayers’ money have flowed into the American armaments industries and huge amounts of power into Homeland Security. The American empire works by stripping Americans of wealth and liberty...It is ironic that under the New Empire the citizens of the empire are extracted of their wealth and liberty in order to extract lives from the targeted foreign populations. Just like the bombed and murdered Muslims, the American people are victims of the American empire"

Empires Then and Now
By Paul Craig Roberts
March 28, 2012
Paulcraigroberts.org

Via
Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.

The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.

In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.

Parsons does not examine the American empire, but in his introduction to the book he wonders whether America’s empire is really an empire as the Americans don’t seem to get any extractive benefits from it. After eight years of war and attempted occupation of Iraq, all Washington has for its efforts is several trillion dollars of additional debt and no Iraqi oil. After ten years of trillion dollar struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Washington has nothing to show for it except possibly some part of the drug trade that can be used to fund covert CIA operations.

America’s wars are very expensive. Bush and Obama have doubled the national debt, and the American people have no benefits from it. No riches, no bread and circuses flow to Americans from Washington’s wars. So what is it all about?

The answer is that Washington’s empire extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agri-business and the Israel Lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power. The US Constitution has been extracted in the interests of the Security State, and Americans’ incomes have been redirected to the pockets of the 1 percent. That is how the American Empire functions.

The New Empire is different. It happens without achieving conquest. The American military did not conquer Iraq and has been forced out politically by the puppet government that Washington established. There is no victory in Afghanistan, and after a decade the American military does not control the country.

In the New Empire success at war no longer matters. The extraction takes place by being at war. Huge sums of American taxpayers’ money have flowed into the American armaments industries and huge amounts of power into Homeland Security. The American empire works by stripping Americans of wealth and liberty.

This is why the wars cannot end, or if one does end another starts. Remember when Obama came into office and was asked what the US mission was in Afghanistan? He replied that he did not know what the mission was and that the mission needed to be defined.

Obama never defined the mission. He renewed the Afghan war without telling us its purpose. Obama cannot tell Americans that the purpose of the war is to build the power and profit of the military/security complex at the expense of American citizens.

This truth doesn’t mean that the objects of American military aggression have escaped without cost. Large numbers of Muslims have been bombed and murdered and their economies and infrastructure ruined, but not in order to extract resources from them.

It is ironic that under the New Empire the citizens of the empire are extracted of their wealth and liberty in order to extract lives from the targeted foreign populations. Just like the bombed and murdered Muslims, the American people are victims of the American empire.

"A tiny amount of mercury can contaminate a lake and, according to the EPA, cause damage to plumbing pipes and sewage treatment plants.It causes serious organ damage to the unborn, infants and children. But, when called amalgam fillings, it is approved by the FDA, EPA and national dental organizations as safe even when mercury shows up in the urine of children"...

Amalgam Fillings Leach Mercury Vapor Into The Brain
Activist Post
Friday, March 30, 2012

Why is it that what one government department considers an environmental travesty, another department deems completely safe for the human body? Simple answer: semantics.

A tiny amount of mercury can contaminate a lake and, according to the EPA, cause damage to plumbing pipes and sewage treatment plants.

It causes serious organ damage to the unborn, infants and children. But, when called amalgam fillings, it is approved by the FDA, EPA and national dental organizations as safe even when mercury shows up in the urine of children.

The video below shows the conflicting messages about the real danger of mercury leaching. Watch startling footage of where the mercury goes when an amalgam filling is rubbed with an eraser. Or heated to 110 degrees -- the average temperature of coffee and tea. What about teeth grinding, drilling, and gum chewing?

Video shows mercury gas-off from the slightest amount of friction or heat:



More dentists are taking a holistic approach toward their patients instead of denying their legitimate fears about mercury. They know that toxic metals leach and the body's filtering system will naturally try to rid the poison.

If you need dental work or wish to have your fillings removed please look into the following alternative organizations for starters to find mercury-free practitioners in your area:

Holistic Dental Association
Mercury Free Now
International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine

US obstructing investigation into Kandahar massacre?

US obstructing investigation into Kandahar massacre?
Published: 31 March, 2012, 08:03

Via RT
The defense lawyer for Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, is blaming the US for blocking his team’s fact-finding mission into the Kandahar incident. He says he can’t interview witnesses and prosecutors won’t cooperate.

John Henry Browne claims US forces in Afghanistan obstructed him and his associates from reaching the injured civilians at a hospital in Kandahar province to interview them about the incident, Reuters reports.

Brown also said that after investigators interviewed the injured, they let them go freely with collecting any contact information, making it virtually impossible to find them. He further charges they are not sharing the data which was obtained from the witnesses with his team. He says Bales' defense has only managed to talk to US soldiers in Afghanistan, but not the actual victims of the attack.

Browne explains that the military prosecutors who filed the charges against Bales have been possibly been unwilling to cooperate because “they are concerned about the strength of their case.”

The lawyer complained of an “almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client.”

Browne’s statements raise even more suspicion about whether the US really wants to punish the guilty party to the fullest extent of the law, or if the government is concealing some ugly truth about the Kandahar massacre.

An independent Afghan probe into the killings alleges that up to 20 US soldiers were involved. After analyzing reports from witnesses and survivors, an investigative team sent by President Hamid Karzai firmly stated that “one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time.”These suspicions are shared by President Hamid Karzai, who also said that the delegation “did not receive cooperation from the USA regarding the surrender of the US soldiers to the Afghan government.”

In response to the incident, Karzai demanded a full withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghan settlements, further ordering that they be confined to military bases.

US officials still insist that only one soldier was involved in the shootings. They showed their Afghan counterparts images captured by a surveillance camera on a blimp above the base, which allegedly shows Bales returning after the shooting. But the investigators, for some reason, withheld the surveillance video from Bales’ lawyer.

Robert Bales was originally held in military custody following the incident, only to be hastily evacuated from Afghanistan. The suspected homicidal soldier’s identity was revealed only after he was reported to be en route to a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

For the time being, Bales will have his psychological condition examined. Officials also say that due to security concerns, Bales is likely to remain at the Fort Leavenworth, and will not be transferred to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington, DC. The psychological exam, officially called “board 706,” is par for the course when it comes to such instances of mass murder.

FDA says it will deny request to ban BPA chemical in food packaging...

TREASON – FDA Says It Will Deny Request To Ban BPA
Posted by Alexander Higgins - March 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Via
White Oak, Maryland (CNN) — The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it will deny the National Resources Defense Council’s petition asking it to prohibit the use of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in products manufactured in the United States.

However, the federal agency stressed the announcement is not a final safety determination and it continues to support research examining the safety of BPA.

In 2008, the council submitted a petition asking the FDA to regulate the use of BPA in human food and food packaging. The FDA had been silent since the petition was filed more than 41 months ago. The council finally, last December, sued the administration to get some form of action. Friday’s announcement is a response to that suit.

BPA is a chemical used in many consumer products, including clear and hard plastics called polycarbonate used in water and soda bottles, as well as in the resin linings of food and beverage cans and containers of infant formula.

The Natural Resources Defense Council responded by saying it believes the FDA “made the wrong call.”

“BPA is a toxic chemical that has no place in our food supply,” said a statement from Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in the council’s public health program.

“The agency has failed to protect our health and safety in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children,” the statement said.

“The FDA is out of step with scientific and medical research. This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council says the FDA’s approval of BPA for use in packaging food “results in human exposure” to the chemical and is “dangerous to those who use the products.”

It says studies have linked BPA exposure to a number of dangerous side effects, including defects in newborns, harm to the central nervous system, increased rates of prostate and breast cancer, and metabolic changes in the body that lead to obesity and insulin resistance, which are the main causes of diabetes.

In a separate news release, the council noted a group of 38 scientific experts recently published a statement saying the evidence of adverse effects of low doses of BPA from laboratory experiments on mice “is a great cause for concern with regard to the potential for similar adverse effects in humans.”

The FDA, which has been getting pressure regarding BPA exposure from other food safety groups as well the Natural Resources Defense Council, is working to remove the chemical from baby bottles and sippy cups, steps already taken by some states, such as California.

Many food manufacturers have removed or are considering removing BPA from their packaging. Campbell Soup Co. recently announced it would be taking BPA out of its cans.

Separatist war looms in post-coup Mali...

Conflict in Mali - Northern Africa
Separatist War looms in post-coup Mali
Nile Bowie
NileBowie.blogspot.com
March 31, 2012

Via
KUALA LUMPUR – As the inexperienced protagonists of Mali’s military coup receive worldwide condemnation from the international community and neighboring members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), thousands have taken to the streets of the Malian capital of Bamako in support of the newly founded junta. Citizens carried placards and banners reading "Down with the international community” and “Down with Sarkozy," while chanting slogans in praise of junta leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo. Although Sanogo has visited the US several times after being handpicked by the Pentagon to participate in an International Military Education and Training program sponsored by the US State Department, representatives of the United States have called on coup leaders in Mali on to step down and allow for elections to take place.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has threatened the penurious West African state with a staunch diplomatic and financial embargo if power is not returned to ousted Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure within seventy-two hours. While half the population lives on less than $1.25 per day, the imposition of economic sanctions to the landlocked import-reliant nation will inevitably lead to greater social instability and civil unrest. As the prospects of embargo work to further nurture war-like conditions amid longstanding poverty, the ECOWAS bloc has put its troops on standby near Mali’s borders, ready to intervene should the situation deteriorate. During the 2010 - 2011 crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, forces loyal to the French-backed Alassane Ouattara undertook a widespread campaign of atrocities against civilians, a further reminder of the danger posed by the international community’s rush to military intervention in crisis stricken regions of Africa.

As the United States and others espouse the importance of returning to constitutional order while Malians offer their support to the junta, the strength of Mali’s touted democratic institutions appear highly questionably. The primary justification behind the coup came from the civilian government’s inadequate response to an ongoing campaign of Tuareg separatism in northern Mali, although the recent disarray in Bamako has prompted the steady advance of armed Tuareg militias southward. Under the banner of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), armed militias have reportedly seized the northeastern region of Kidal, prompting the poorly equipped Malian army to abandon its strategic northward positions. The Tuareg are a traditionally nomadic and pastoralist ethnic minority group of some 1.5 million people who seek to secede from the Malian republic and form an independent nation called Azawad; the group has traditionally existed in a territory scattered across the Sahel and Sahara countries largely operated by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Although the Tuareg have been credited with the recent destabilization in Northern Mali, a strong possibility exists that AQIM has more accurately been behind insurgent activity in the region. The MNLA has stated that the objective of its independence campaign is develop a stronghold from which to safeguard against violent AQIM activity, while Bamako has asserted that the MNLA seek to found a ridged Islamist state in partnership with AQIM. Subsequent to the fall of Gaddafi in NATO’s Libyan war-theater, armed Malian and Nigerien ethnic-Tuareg fighters were seen descending into the Sahara in army issue Toyota Hi-Lux technical trucks used by al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan rebels. While it may be difficult to distinguish the true protagonists of violence in northern Mali, the resurgence of their activity has been greatly enhanced by their access to mortars, machine guns, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons originally belonging to the radical Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

The presence of a second Tuareg-dominated separatist group, Ancar Dine further complicates the situation; the movement seeks to impose sharia law throughout northern Mali and is led by Iyad Ag Ghaly, a prominent Salafi figure thought to have links with a branch of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s AQIM, led by his cousin Hamada Ag Hama. As separatists now control a third of Mali, a food crisis is approaching over Sahel-Saharan Africa as nearly eighty thousand refugees seek amnesty in neighboring Algeria, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. As the militant Ancar Dine appear to be claiming to control over regions previously attributed to the MNLA, their advance may have wider implications, capable of drastically fomenting regional instability.

An influx of refugees will put further strain on Algeria and Niger, with a heightened prospect for widespread uprisings seen during the Arab Spring unfolding in the Sahel region. Algeria may be further destabilized if the security situation continues to deteriorate in Mali, as France may feel compelled to intervene in the affairs of its former colonial holdings, as seen tragically in Côte d'Ivoire. The crisis in Mali bears a striking parallel to events in Nigeria, a nation struggling with the Islamic insurgent activities of separatist Boko Haram to its north. Given the political instability in Abuja, a coup orchestrated by low-ranking officers against Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan based on the Malian model would not be unthinkable. As the World Bank and African Development Bank suspend all aid to Mali, some form of military intervention is conceivable if the UNSC’s calls for the “immediate restoration of constitutional rule and the democratically elected government" are not heeded.

As Mali's neighbors threaten to use sanctions and military force to depose the current Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDR) led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, the junta has unveiled a new constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech, thought and movement. Sanogo vowed not cling to power and to set up democratic elections when the Tuareg insurgency can be contained; those who took part in the coup would be barred from participation in the elections. The influx of arms from NATO’s regime change programme in Libya has created dire prospects for a heavily armed civil war in Mali; it remains to be seen how the NATO bloc will react if the CNRDR refuses calls to step down and engages in a drawn-out conflict with Islamist separatists. As the US military counters the Lord’s Resistance Army by expanding its military presence through AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) in the Democratic People’s Republic of the Congo, the worsening situation in both Mali and Nigeria provide further justification for foreign intervention and war profiteering.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11...

US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11
Operation Foxden, delayed by turf war between the FBI and the CIA, given green light three days before the al-Qaida attacks
By Ian Cobain
March 27, 2012
Guardian.co.uk

Via
The US government shut down a series of court cases arising from a multimillion pound business dispute in order to conceal evidence of a damning intelligence failure shortly before the 9/11 attacks, MPs were told.

Moreover, the UK government is now seeking similar powers that could be used to prevent evidence of illegal acts and embarrassing failures from emerging in court, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, told the Commons.

The Justice and Security green paper being put forward by Ken Clarke's justice ministry has already faced widespread criticism from civil rights groups, media representatives and lawyers working within the secret tribunal system that hears terrorism-related immigration cases.

Davis demanded to know how its proposals could be prevented from being used to cover up crimes and errors. "In light of previous revelations about the UK government's complicity in torture and rendition of detainees to locations like of Libya, Afghanistan, or illegally into American hands … how will the Government prevent the Justice and Security green paper proposals being misused in a similar way to cover up illegal acts and embarrassments rather than protect national security?"

Davis said that in 1998 the FBI seized upon an opportunity to eavesdrop on every landline and telephone call into and out of Afghanistan in a bid to build intelligence on the Taliban. The Bureau discovered that the Taliban regime had awarded a major telephone network contract to a joint US-UK venture, run by an American entrepreneur, Ehsanollah Bayat and two British businessmen, Stuart Bentham and Lord Michael Cecil.

"The plan was simple" Davis said. "Because the Taliban wanted American equipment for their new phone network, this would allow the FBI and NSA, the National Security Agency, to build extra circuits into all the equipment before it was flown out to Afghanistan for use. Once installed, these extra circuits would allow the FBI and NSA to record or listen live to every single landline and mobile phone call in Afghanistan. The FBI would know the time the call was made and its duration. They would know the caller's name, the number dialled, and even the caller's PIN."

But the plan, Operation Foxden, was delayed by a turf war, during which "the FBI and the CIA spent more than a year fighting over who should be in charge", he said.

The operation was eventually given the green light on 8 September 2001 - three days before the al-Qaida attacks. "A huge opportunity was missed," Davis said.

He added that when Bentham and Cecil sued Bayat in the New York courts, and Bayat lodged a legal claim against the two Britons, the case was struck out and all records removed from the courts public database on the grounds of State Secrets Privilege, a legal doctrine that permits the US government to shut down litigation on the grounds of national security. The Britons attempted to sue in London, Davis said, but the case failed because "so long is the reach of the American State Secrets Privilege" that they were prevented from discussing key details of the US case.

"Through heavy-handed use of State Secrets Privilege, US agencies can dictate what British judges in British courts are entitled to know, and how much British citizens in British courts are entitled to say," Davis told MPs. "What chance did Bentham and Cecil, or anyone else in a similar position, have of getting a fair hearing when American intelligence agencies can shut down cases without explanation in the US, and use State Secrets Privilege to control what evidence courts can see in the UK?"

Davis said that when he talked about this episode with "someone in the know in one of the agencies involved" he was told: "Ten years have passed, and the culpable people have retired or moved on, so it's no longer embarrassing."

Davis said the British green paper proposals are "more Draconian than State Secrets Privilege", and added: "Giving a government agency an absolute right to secrecy encourages bad behaviour.

"This is the same State Secrets Privilege, and same American government, that the British green paper on Justice and Security is designed to protect," Davis said, adding that the case demonstrates "how intelligence agencies misuse these laws, not to protect our security, but to avoid their own embarrassment and cover up criminal activity."

Bayat has previously denied that he or any of his companies acted unlawfully and said that they have never acted as "an agent, informant or spy". He could not immediately be contacted to comment on Davis' speech.

The foreign officer minister Jeremy Browne told MPs: "The green paper proposals will enable better scrutiny [of government], which is a vital element in a healthy democracy." He added that proposals are "not about covering up embarrassment, it is about enabling the work of the courts".

Reprieve's Executive Director, Clare Algar, director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: "This demonstrates just how ready the intelligence services are to cry national security in order to cover up their own embarrassment. It is yet another compelling example - if one were needed - of why we cannot let the UK Government's plans for secret justice go ahead."

Former presidential candidate Rick Perry defends "pink slime" beef as a 'safe nutritious product that is backed by sound science'...

Gov. Perry defends ‘pink slime’

Via
Gov. Rick Perry is defending so-called “pink slime” in a statement issued in conjunction with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels (on behalf of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who’s on a trade mission to China).

Their statement says that the “lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science.”

Here’s how the AP describes the produce, nicknamed pink slime: “The lower-cost ingredient is made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat. The lean mix then is compressed into blocks for use in ground meat. The product is exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.”

Here’s the statement from the coalition including Perry:

“Our states proudly produce food for the country and the world – and we do so with the highest commitment toward product safety. Lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science. It is unfortunate when inaccurate information causes an unnecessary panic among consumers.

“By taking this safe product out of the market, grocery retailers and consumers are allowing media inaccuracies to trump sound science. This is a disservice to the beef industry, hundreds of workers who make their livings producing this safe product and consumers as a whole.

“Ultimately, it will be the consumer who pays for taking this safe product out of the market. The price of ground beef will rise as ranchers work to raise as many as 1.5 million more head of cattle to replace safe beef no longer consumed because of the baseless media scare.

“We urge grocery retailers, consumers, restaurants and members of the media to seek the facts behind lean, finely textured beef. Science supports keeping the lean beef product on grocery store shelves for the benefit of American agriculture and consumers alike.”

The press release from Perry’s office says more than 650 workers have been temporarily laid off in Kansas, Texas and Iowa due to the controversy.

The company that makes the product, Beef Products Inc., has said it is suspending operations at plants in those states.

Plans earlier were announced for Perry and others on Thursday to visit a Nebraska plant where the product still is being made.

The Perry statement says the National Meat Association estimates that up to 3,000 jobs in the United States will be affected if suppliers are included in the tally.

Israel's secret staging ground...

Israel’s Secret Staging Ground
U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?.
BY MARK PERRY | MARCH 28, 2012

Via FP
In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface."

Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran's northern border and, according to several high-level sources I've spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the "submerged" aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance -- the security cooperation between the two countries -- is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.

In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official told me in early February, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel's military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. Military planners, I was told, must now plan not only for a war scenario that includes the Persian Gulf -- but one that could include the Caucasus. The burgeoning Israel-Azerbaijan relationship has also become a flashpoint in both countries' relationship with Turkey, a regional heavyweight that fears the economic and political fallout of a war with Iran. Turkey's most senior government officials have raised their concerns with their U.S. counterparts, as well as with the Azeris, the sources said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency, were all contacted for comment on this story but did not respond.

The Azeri embassy to the United States also did not respond to requests for information regarding Azerbaijan's security agreements with Israel. During a recent visit to Tehran, however, Azerbaijan's defense minister publicly ruled out the use of Azerbaijan for a strike on Iran. "The Republic of Azerbaijan, like always in the past, will never permit any country to take advantage of its land, or air, against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which we consider our brother and friend country," he said. (Following the publication of this article, an Azeri spokesman denied that his government had granted Israel access to Azeri airbases.)

But even if his government makes good on that promise, it could still provide Israel with essential support. A U.S. military intelligence officer noted that Azeri defense minister did not explicitly bar Israeli bombers from landing in the country after a strike. Nor did he rule out the basing of Israeli search-and-rescue units in the country. Proffering such landing rights -- and mounting search and rescue operations closer to Iran -- would make an Israeli attack on Iran easier.

"We're watching what Iran does closely," one of the U.S. sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed. "But we're now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we're not happy about it."

Israel's deepening relationship with the Baku government was cemented in February by a $1.6 billion arms agreement that provides Azerbaijan with sophisticated drones and missile-defense systems. At the same time, Baku's ties with Tehran have frayed: Iran presented a note to Azerbaijan's ambassador last month claiming that Baku has supported Israeli-trained assassination squads targeting Iranian scientists, an accusation the Azeri government called "a slander." In February, a member of Yeni Azerbadzhan -- the ruling party -- called on the government to change the country's name to "North Azerbaijan," implicitly suggesting that the 16 million Azeris who live in northern Iran ("South Azerbaijan") are in need of liberation.

And this month, Baku announced that 22 people had been arrested for spying on behalf of Iran, charging they had been tasked by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to "commit terrorist acts against the U.S., Israeli, and other Western states' embassies." The allegations prompted multiple angry denials from the Iranian government.

It's clear why the Israelis prize their ties to Azerbaijan -- and why the Iranians are infuriated by them. The Azeri military has four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields that would potentially be available to the Israelis, as well as four airbases for their own aircraft, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Military Balance 2011.

The U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials told me they believe that Israel has gained access to these airbases through a series of quiet political and military understandings. "I doubt that there's actually anything in writing," added a senior retired American diplomat who spent his career in the region. "But I don't think there's any doubt -- if Israeli jets want to land in Azerbaijan after an attack, they'd probably be allowed to do so. Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan, and has been for the last two decades."

The prospect of Israel using Azerbaijan's airfields for an Iranian attack first became public in December 2006, when retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Oded Tira angrily denounced the George W. Bush administration's lack of action on the Iranian nuclear program. "For our part," he wrote in a widely cited commentary, "we should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran." The "coordination" that Tira spoke of is now a reality, the U.S. sources told me.

Access to such airfields is important for Israel, because it would mean that Israeli F-15I and F-16I fighter-bombers would not have to refuel midflight during a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but could simply continue north and land in Azerbaijan. Defense analyst David Isenberg describes the ability to use Azeri airfields as "a significant asset" to any Israel strike, calculating that the 2,200-mile trip from Israel to Iran and back again would stretch Israel's warplanes to their limits. "Even if they added extra fuel tanks, they'd be running on fumes," Isenberg told me, "so being allowed access to Azeri airfields would be crucial."

Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Joe Hoar simplified Israel's calculations: "They save themselves 800 miles of fuel," he told me in a recent telephone interview. "That doesn't guarantee that Israel will attack Iran, but it certainly makes it more doable."

Using airbases in Azerbaijan would ensure that Israel would not have to rely on its modest fleet of air refuelers or on its refueling expertise, which a senior U.S. military intelligence officer described as "pretty minimal." Military planners have monitored Israeli refueling exercises, he added, and are not impressed. "They're just not very good at it."

Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, who conducted a study for a think tank affiliated with the Swedish Ministry of Defense of likely Israeli attack scenarios in March 2010, said that Israel is capable of using its fleet of F-15I and F-16I warplanes in a strike on Iran without refueling after the initial top-off over Israel. "It's not weight that's a problem," he said, "but the numbers of weapons that are mounted on each aircraft." Put simply, the more distance a fighter-bomber is required to travel, the more fuel it will need and the fewer weapons it can carry. Shortening the distance adds firepower, and enhances the chances for a successful strike.

"The problem is the F-15s," Gardiner said, "who would go in as fighters to protect the F-16 bombers and stay over the target." In the likely event that Iran scrambled its fighters to intercept the Israeli jets, he continued, the F-15s would be used to engage them. "Those F-15s would burn up fuel over the target, and would need to land."

Could they land in Azerbaijan? "Well, it would have to be low profile, because of political sensitivities, so that means it would have to be outside of Baku and it would have to be highly developed." Azerbaijan has such a place: the Sitalcay airstrip, which is located just over 40 miles northwest of Baku and 340 miles from the Iranian border. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sitalcay's two tarmacs and the adjacent facilities were used by a squadron of Soviet Sukhoi SU-25 jets -- perfect for Israeli fighters and bombers. "Well then," Gardiner said, after the site was described to him, "that would be the place."

Even if Israeli jets did not land in Azerbaijan, access to Azeri airfields holds a number of advantages for the Israel Defense Forces. The airfields not only have facilities to service fighter-bombers, but a senior U.S. military intelligence officer said that Israel would likely base helicopter rescue units there in the days just prior to a strike for possible search and rescue missions.

This officer pointed to a July 2010 joint Israeli-Romanian exercise that tested Israeli air capabilities in mountainous areas -- like those the Israeli Air Force would face during a bombing mission against Iranian nuclear facilities that the Iranians have buried deep into mountainsides. U.S. military officers watched the exercises closely, not least because they objected to the large number of Israeli fighters operating from airbases of a NATO-member country, but also because 100 Israeli fighters overflew Greece as a part of a simulation of an attack on Iran. The Israelis eventually curtailed their Romanian military activities when the United States expressed discomfort with practicing the bombing of Iran from a NATO country, according to this senior military intelligence officer.

This same senior U.S. military intelligence officer speculated that the search and rescue component of those operations will be transferred to Azerbaijan -- "if they haven't been already." He added that Israel could also use Azerbaijan as a base for Israeli drones, either as part of a follow-on attack against Iran, or to mount aerial assessment missions in an attack's aftermath.

Azerbaijan clearly profits from its deepening relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is the second largest customer for Azeri oil - shipped through the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan pipeline -- and its military trade allows Azerbaijan to upgrade its military after the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) slapped it with an arms embargo after its six-year undeclared war with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Finally, modernizing the Azeri military sends a clear signal to Iran that interference in Azerbaijan could be costly.

"Azerbaijan has worries of its own," said Alexander Murinson, an Israeli-American scholar who wrote in an influential monograph on Israeli-Azeri ties for Tel Aviv's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. "The Baku government has expelled Iranians preaching in their mosques, broken up pro-Iranian terrorist groups, and countered Iranian propaganda efforts among its population."

The deepening Azeri-Israeli relationship has also escalated Israel's dispute with Turkey, which began when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship destined for Gaza in May 2010, killing nine Turkish citizens. When Turkey demanded an apology, Israel not only refused, it abruptly canceled a $150 million contract to develop and manufacture drones with the Turkish military -- then entered negotiations with Azerbaijan to jointly manufacture 60 Israeli drones of varying types. The $1.6 billion arms agreement between Israel and Azerbaijan also left Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "sputtering in rage," according to a retired U.S. diplomat.

The centerpiece of the recent arms deal is Azerbaijan's acquisition of Israeli drones, which has only heightened Turkish anxieties further. In November 2011, the Turkish government retrieved the wreckage of an Israeli "Heron" drone in the Mediterranean, south of the city of Adana -- well inside its maritime borders. Erdogan's government believed the drone's flight had originated in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq and demanded that Israel provide an explanation, but got none. "They lied; they told us the drone didn't belong to them," a former Turkish official told me last month. "But it had their markings."

Israel began cultivating strong relations with Baku in 1994, when Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq bought a large share of the nationally controlled telephone operating system. By 1995, Azerbaijan's marketplace was awash with Israeli goods: "Strauss ice cream, cell phones produced by Motorola's Israeli division, Maccabee beer, and other Israeli imports are ubiquitous," an Israeli reporter wrote in the Jerusalem Post.

In March 1996, then-Health Minister Ephraim Sneh became the first senior Israeli official to visit Baku -- but not the last. Benjamin Netanyahu made the trip in 1997, a high-level Knesset delegation in 1998, Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2009, and Lieberman again, as foreign minister, this last February. Accompanying Peres on his visit to Baku was Avi Leumi, the CEO of Israel's Aeronautics Defense Systems and a former Mossad official who paved the way for the drone agreement.

U.S. intelligence officials began to take Israel's courtship of Azerbaijan seriously in 2001, one of the senior U.S. military intelligence officers said. In 2001, Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems contracted with Georgia's Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing to upgrade the Soviet SU-25 Scorpion, a close air-support fighter, and one of its first customers was Azerbaijan. More recently, Israel's Elta Systems has cooperated with Azerbaijan in building the TecSar reconnaissance satellite system and, in 2009, the two countries began negotiations over Azeri production of the Namer infantry fighting vehicle.

Israeli firms "built and guard the fence around Baku's international airport, monitor and help protect Azerbaijan's energy infrastructure, and even provide security for Azerbaijan's president on foreign visits," according to a study published by Ilya Bourtman in the Middle East Journal. Bourtman noted that Azerbaijan shares intelligence data on Iran with Israel, while Murinson raised the possibility that Israelis have set up electronic listening stations along Azerbaijan's Iranian border.

Israeli officials downplay their military cooperation with Baku, pointing out that Azerbaijan is one of the few Muslim nations that makes Israelis feel welcome. "I think that in the Caucasian region, Azerbaijan is an icon of progress and modernity," Sneh told an Azeri magazine in July 2010.

Many would beg to differ with that description. Sneh's claim "is laughable," the retired American diplomat said. "Azerbaijan is a thuggish family-run kleptocracy and one of the most corrupt regimes in the world." The U.S. embassy in Baku has also been scathing: A 2009 State Department cable described Aliyev, the son of the country's longtime ruler and former KGB general Heydar Aliyev, as a "mafia-like" figure, comparable to "Godfather" characters Sonny and Michael Corleone. On domestic issues in particular, the cable warned that Aliyev's policies had become "increasingly authoritarian and hostile to diversity of political views."

But the U.S. military is less concerned with Israel's business interests in Baku, which are well-known, than it is with how and if Israel will employ its influence in Azerbaijan, should its leaders decide to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. The cable goes on to confirm that Israel is focused on Azerbaijan as a military ally -- "Israel's main goal is to preserve Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran, a platform for reconnaissance of that country and as a market for military hardware."

It is precisely what is not known about the relationship that keeps U.S. military planners up at night. One former CIA analyst doubted that Israel will launch an attack from Azerbaijan, describing it as "just too chancy, politically." However, he didn't rule out Israel's use of Azeri airfields to mount what he calls "follow-on or recovery operations." He then added: "Of course, if they do that, it widens the conflict, and complicates it. It's extremely dangerous."

One of the senior U.S. military officers familiar with U.S. war plans is not as circumspect. "We are studying every option, every variable, and every factor in a possible Israeli strike," he told me. Does that include Israel's use of Azerbaijan as a platform from which to launch a strike -- or to recover Israeli aircraft following one? There was only a moment's hesitation. "I think I've answered the question," he said.

Rupert Murdoch linked to pay-tv smartcard hacking...

Rupert Murdoch Linked to Pay TV Smartcard Hacking
29th March 2012
BY MELISSA FYFE AND SHANE GREEN
The Ararat Advertiser, Mar, 29, 2012

Via
The fresh scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch turns on something small and slim. This is not about tabloid-style phone hacking, but the smartcards pay television customers use to operate set-top boxes. Sounds mundane but, it turns out, the pay TV world is much murkier than one would suspect.

By 1999, Australia had a big problem with pay TV smartcard piracy. An underground market of 50,000 dodgy cards – sold over the internet, from car boots and in flea markets – was flourishing, and hackers found a lucrative trade in breaking the smartcard encryption codes so customers could get free pay TV. For the television companies and the then Murdoch-owned NDS, a global maker of smartcards, this was devastating for business.

Yesterday’s revelations in The Australian Financial Review lifted the veil on how NDS protected its own technology in Australia, while attacking the technology of its rivals – actions it insists were not illegal. A cache of 14,400 emails reveal how ex-police and intelligence officers within a secret NDS unit called Operational Security engaged hackers and encouraged piracy against competitors in an aggressive multimillion-dollar battle for the Australian market.

The Australian Financial Review’s investigation is an explosive local version of allegations well-aired elsewhere, particularly through courts across the globe, as competitors accused NDS – unsuccessfully – of ruining their businesses by promoting hacking. Concerns over NDS’ operations were raised by The Guardian in 2002 and most recently by the BBC program Panorama.

Panorama revealed that NDS funded a hacker website, The House of Ill-Compute, that encouraged the hacking and publishing of smartcard codes. Hacker Lee Gibling ran the site and told the BBC that NDS wanted people to freely update the hacked cards of News Corp’s BSkyB rival ONdigital, ”flogging it until it broke”. In 2002, OnDigital did break, although insiders say piracy was just one reason it went bust.

Less clear is how commercially damaging NDS’ alleged behaviour was in Australia. The Financial Review puts the cost of piracy at $50 million a year to pay TV companies and points out that Foxtel’s rival and eventual takeover target Austar wrote off $600 milllion in losses in 2003. Yesterday, News Limited, which partly owns Foxtel, said the notion that NDS would undermine Austar so that Foxtel could bid for it 13 years later were ”so far-fetched as to be laughable”.

Why does the story matter? First, two commercial deals may be affected. The competition watchdog is yet to approve Foxtel’s $1.9 billion takeover of Austar. And some commentators are questioning whether News Corp can hold on to its massive profit from the $US5 billion ($A4.75 billion) sale of NDS, announced two weeks ago.

For the Murdochs, the controversy follows the damaging phone hacking scandal. James will find it difficult to escape the Pay TV controversy as he is currently a director of NDS, as was Lachlan between 2002 and 2005. Panorama said there was no evidence James Murdoch knew of the events it reported.

UK communications regulator Ofcom is examining whether James Murdoch and News Corporation are ”fit and proper” people to be in control of BSkyB, the company that runs Sky TV. News Corporation owns 39 per cent of BSkyB.

The Australian Financial Review aligned the NDS scandal to Murdoch senior, saying it was ”particularly sensitive because Operational Security … operates in an area which historically has had close supervision by the office of the chairman, Rupert Murdoch”.

A key person in the pay TV scandal was Avigail Gutman, the Asia-Pacific head for Operational Security. In the emails obtained by The Financial Review, Ms Gutman wrote in 1999 that they needed to eliminate alleged hacker David Cottle as a threat to NDS ”without disturbing his other hacking activities … We do not want Cottle in jail until he has a successor for the [rival] Irdeto hack.”

THE KEY INDIVIDUALS

AVIGAIL GUTMAN The Asia-Pacific head of for NDS’ operational security, also has an official role fighting pay TV piracy in region.

RAY ADAMS Former Scotland Yard commander turned security chief at NDS.

REUVEN HASAK Head of NDS security group and former deputy director of the Israeli domestic secret service Shin Bet.

DAVID COTTLE Alleged Sydney-based hacker who, according to The Australian Financial Review’s cache of emails, appears to have been used by Gutman to hack NDS’ rival technology Irdeto.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The legacy of Bin Laden...

The Legacy of Bin Laden
Immortal Technique

Via
In a world that has been flooded by news, there is usually nothing that rises far above the smoldering lava of sensation—that which consumes all truth and absorbs all lies mixing them into a fiery lake or stew of bubbling nonsense. So much so, that to discover glanced over facts, to question people of importance within government or the machine itself leads to the branding of one as a “conspiracy theorist.”

Truthfully, there are many people who lived life with doubt over the facts surrounding 9/11, who felt afraid to express it, probably because they feared being accused of “hating America,” of being “with the terrorists,” hence sympathizing with the people who were responsible for killing all of those who died on 9/11. You talk to people like this at work, you see them walking by you everyday, you can read their rants on message boards or in chat rooms around the world, insulting people who present their doubts. Some choose to not question anything to fit in, others just figure their opinion is irrelevant and doesn’t change anything. After all, there is such thing as human error and no matter how much the government or people in it stand to gain, they could have a made a mistake, by mistake, and not on purpose. Some secrets are best kept secrets in the interest of national security. However, if national security means protecting the abuse of power and the negligence of authority, then it is not the security of a nation that is being protected, but the indulgences of the corrupt.

Of course, the counterpart to this position, which creates the fervor of hatred and disrespectful debate, is the believer of all conspiracy theories and repeater of random information with only websites as sources. The angry person who blows up a postal truck because they think that their tax dollars shouldn’t go to excessive spending, or things like bombing people or paying mercenaries triple for what soldiers should be doing. This person is sometimes purposefully placed in that position and given a platform as a deterrent for the people who actually have a truth to be heard and taken seriously. This is what we term an agent provocateur, a mole planted to make the real issues lose credibility mixed in with insanity.

Not all people who doubt the official version of the story are raving lunatics, though. Some have an honest distrust of their own government. Some are veterans of a war like Vietnam who know that the people who run the United States of America are very capable of lying even to the best and bravest of those who risk their lives to defend the dwindling freedoms that we enjoy. Others are youthful minds, seeking to present themselves as different than the bland and overwhelmingly planned out and boring existence that chokes anything original or radical around them.

For the rest of us that are caught in between, it creates a crushing vice. The overflow of information, whether it was naturally evolving or a deliberate blurring mechanism put into place, distorts everything. And so for the sake of logic and truth, and to put the recent events surrounding Osama Bin Laden in perspective, I have decided to address several points about America’s tumultuous relationship with him.

1. First Impressions

There are people in this country who, when they speak, give you the impression that we never negotiate with terrorists; that our mission is to overthrow dictatorships; that we help the people gain true freedom; and that we do not torture people… But without lending any weight to conspiracy, there is documented evidence that at Guantanamo Bay, at Bagram Airforce base, and other secret locations we have tortured thousands, many wrongly accused, to obtain information. We have supported many more dictatorships than we could ever possibly overthrow because it was necessary for us to be able to have access to natural resources including their cheap labor. Why else would the clothing manufacturers in Honduras quietly lobby for the coup in 2009 and support it? Because the people who make their clothes might Unionize. Collective bargaining, health standards (not even American ones, but that of the nation they are in), humane conditions, all mean cutting into the profit margin and, in case you haven’t noticed, that matters more to corporations than people’s lives. Why do you think a dictatorship like Mubarak’s or the King of Saudi Arabia’s never received the same vitriol and hatred as the democratically elected regime of Hugo Chavez? Because it is not Communism or Socialism or even radical Islam that this country is opposed to. It is any form of government, any regime or any person that stands between the United States and it’s interests that should be considered marked for death. (By the United States, I mean the entities—be they corporate or of some other means—that are responsible for our elected officials being in the positions of power they hold.)

Actually, we have always “negotiated with terrorists.” Iran Contra. “The Surge,” not in troop strength, but also the surge in money we paid armed militias and armed gangs to not fire at American troops. Etc… So it’s clear, we only care about one kind of terrorist. Our terrorist. That person or organization is our dog, and our dog alone. When others use such tactics against us, it is evil, unkind and inhumane. But when we use these approaches against enemies who have already been demonized, then we find some gentle complacency over it instead of the anger and betrayal at our American standard of war. For nothing damages the American pride more than to acknowledge that underneath the stars and stripes, we can be just wicked as everyone else in the world.

2. The Love Affair of the Past

In the case of Osama Bin Laden, there was a time when his violence against an enemy and his ability to raise money around sympathetic members of his circle was an asset to this nation’s agenda. When “Operation Cyclone” was put into effect in order to create a Vietnam-like atmosphere for Russia inside Afghanistan, Bin Laden was heralded as a freedom fighter. His belief in an extremely conservative version of Islam was of no consequence; the methods used to kill Russians by Mujahideen fighters, unquestioned. It was a guerrilla war, in which victory would come slowly and at a very high cost to the people of Afghanistan. Only one thing mattered: killing and punishing the enemy.

I often thought of that, especially when I was in Afghanistan. I glanced over mass graveyards full of green flags and wondered what these people were told they were fighting for. Was it their duty as Muslims to repel the invasion of a people whose government didn’t believe in organized religion? On the flipside, sitting inside a tank outside of Kabul broken and deformed by war, I thought of the Russian troops who died in it. I’m sure these kids didn’t want to go to war, they didn’t ask to go; much like our soldiers, they were simply following orders. I’m sure their death left a hole in their mother’s heart, the same kind of hole that is left in an American mothers heart who is told that her son or daughter has perished in Basra or Khandahar. And yet there are people who thought that it was worth it, that the might of Communism, the threat of it was so great that no expense should be spared and that the allies used in this war would be given free range.

The religious fanatics and their antics were of no concern for the advisors to President Jimmy Carter. Some were scarred by memories of Russia’s Imperialist ambition (disguised as Communism at the time) and called for a slow bleeding of the USSR. Afghanistan was chosen to be the cutting tool. They would pay the ultimate price as their methods of war came to life in the ignorance they brewed and inhumanity they praised to gain their objective. So, now, the question becomes, what methods of inhumane deeds, what torture that we have overlooked waits to face us in the future? What rotting half cooked dead body have we made someone cry over and then excuse with a date rape phrase like “collateral damage”? Who is waiting for revenge in the future for the 9/11 that we have visited upon their lives.

After the collapse of the Dr. Najibullah’s regime, the loss of countless Afghan lives and over 20,000 Russian soldiers, Usāmah bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Lādin became another unpronounceable name that, to be quite honest and veer from the formal manner of journalism, nobody here gave a fuck about in 1989. The U.S. and its allies will downplay his roll, saying he just raised money, that he was not a great fighter. But he was a link, and a recognizable one that was considered as an asset to the CIA and to other intelligence services like the Pakistani ISI. In other words, he did to the Russians what we would call terrorism if it were done to us now.

However, we are left with a question. What is a terrorist exactly? Is it a person who commits random acts of violence against civilians or military personnel in order to push forth a political agenda? If that is the case, then when people playing a real video game in some military office fire a drone at a target and kill civilians, are they terrorists? How often do we actually employ people like this in The Middle East, in Latin America, Asian or Africa to affect results? Forgive me, I have left you with more questions than information, but maybe now you at least understand my sincerity. I do not wish to spoon feed you a story, but only to make you think for a moment.

3. Obama vs. Bush

I saw a sign held up by two very young people cheering in front of the white house saying, “Obama, you forgot to say thank you to President Bush.” I almost laughed out loud for a second but, rather than judging them, I thought about it critically. The capture of Bin Laden took place in Abbottabad, which is approximately 30 miles Northeast of Islamabad. The operation took place in a wealthy suburb populated by retired high-ranking Pakistani military officials. Wasn’t it Bush who diverted all of the attention from Bin Laden to topple Sadaam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Wasn’t this at a critical stage in which he could have been close to capture? And if he was captured, could Iraq and our presence in Afghanistan then be justified in 2002? How many American lives could have been saved if Iraq never happened? How will the right wing attempt to spin this in the upcoming election? Bin Laden’s elimination shows that President Obama was willing to give the go ahead, to drive into Pakistan and to commit US forces to America’s agenda more than Bush was. He is truly a Caesar in the tradition of conquerors, but a triumph parade is out of fashion these days; there must be only unscripted (but scripted) praise and joy. But it must never, under any circumstances, look like hatred. We never hate anyone. They hate us. We don’t hate them. Just keep repeating that to yourself.

4. Figures of Hate

It’s easy to blame Hitler for killing 6 million Jews. He’s the figurehead. He was a megalomaniac, an iron fisted dictator and a wild anti-Semite. It’s harder to take a look, though, at the society in Germany that turned everyday human beings, like the people you see walking around in America, into raving nationalists capable of anything. It’s easy to blame Stalin for his purges and millions of lives he destroyed. There are even people in this country ignorant enough to say that it is the inherent evil of Socialism and Godlessness that causes these things. However, it’s harder to pin point the person that is responsible for the African slave trade that cost hundreds of million of lives. There is no one person responsible for covered up massacre of Armenians or the mass genocide of Native American Indigenous people on this side of the world. You cannot hold Europeans collectively responsible, but most certainly those who were “escaping religious persecution” are dwarfed (again) by the hundreds of millions of lives that were lost as a direct result of their migration/invasion.

Bin Laden may be the face of radical Islam, but he was not its only leader. His death leaves a vacuum, a place for others that may wish to find fame and at the same time satisfy their supposedly pious Muslim ego in “accepting their duty” to engage in a Jihad against someone who is occupying their country. This person who wishes to be a singular entity must remember, only a few of those have ever held true power.

Bin Laden was not a devil. He was a regular person who was created by his circumstance, and by his many supporters including this government, but had he been born in Florida he could have owned a business renting boats or cars or running a restaurant. In the end, he chose his own fate, but I believe the radicalization of Islam, brought about by colonialism and harnessed by the Cold War was a factor.

The real question is, though, what do you believe?

5. What to Believe

It’s hard to believe anything these days. Why was he found so easily in such plain sight? So he was just in there, getting room service, relaxing, fucking, checking his Internet, drinking tea and making disrespectful video blogs all day? How many people knew where he was? Did he know they knew? Did he ever go outside during the day? He never had plastic surgery to change his appearance? Was that really him that they just killed? How would we know anyway? Will more details be released about his death? Has he always been alive, waiting for the right time for us to kill him at a time when we needed the bolstering/distraction? Or has he always been dead and this announcement comes at similar time? Was he a coward for attacking the U.S. with suicide bombers? Or were his enemies the cowards for firing missiles from 1,000 miles away? Why buried at sea, and so quickly? That’s not a “Muslim tradition.” Being buried in 24 hours is, but no one has ever said, Hey, Uncle Muhammad died, oh shit let’s find some water throw him in…Really? Will being drowned and not having a body make him any less of a martyr? Can a shrine not be built anyway? No one has in their possession, to my knowledge, the physical body of Jesus Christ, does that stop him from having millions of followers, and thousands of places of worship dedicated to him and what he represents? Maybe they just cut his hands off and sent them to Langley like Che Guevara. The problem with asking these questions is that people brand you as a “conspiracy theorist.”

6. Conspiracy

What if I told you about a conspiracy that involves a group of people who are working on making a weapon never before known to mankind? This thing will change the face of war forever and so anyone who comes into the knowledge of this process is either: absorbed into the project, assassinated or imprisoned.

The mixture of science and military technology is at work night and day until these people secretly achieve their sinister goal. They build a weapon that can kill hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people in one shot. These people conspire to then use that weapon against a sworn enemy of their country, whom they happen to be at war with.

The skeptics are scoffing at me and all rolling their eyes right now, but what if I told you that this weapon really existed, and that this process was real and that on August 6th 1945 we used this weapon… on Japan, producing its desired results. Wouldn’t that be a conspiracy?

There are companies that meet everyday to decide which chemicals are the cheapest to put in their products and how to alter the law to make them sellable. That is a conspiracy. People lobby congress behind closed doors for tax breaks while we cut social services. That is a conspiracy. There are governments who will use men like Bin Laden all the time as a proxy against their opponents. That is also a conspiracy, and since we are one of those governments who used such a man, we are the conspiracy.

7. Justice

We captured the man responsible for 9/11.

That’s how some people feel. But I don’t feel that way.

What ever happened to all of those people who were placing negative bets on the airline stock that plummeted that day and then never claimed their money? I’m sure they knew something, or know someone who knew more than they did. The people who murdered Shah Massoud whom those in Afghanistan said were Pakistani ISI trained killed the only person capable of being a real liaison between a post Taliban government and the world.

But we didn’t want an independent thinking man. We needed a puppet like Karzai to rule once the Taliban who offered Bin Laden without evidence were turned down and it became apparent that they were on their way out. Didn’t these people in the councils of government here know and feel that there was going to be radical shift in policy towards Central Asia and The Middle East? And what about the Pakistani government and the military, doesn’t this prove what people have been saying overall that many high ranking officials knew where Bin Laden was the entire time? That they were taking billions in counterterrorism money all the while laughing and dancing around and entertaining Bin Laden. If you think about it, as repulsing as he is to us what we have done to that region is so repulsing that knowing full well what kind of individual this is people were willing to house him for 10 years. (That’s if you believe the story.)

Also, seeing how the Taliban themselves are not really wholly from Afghanistan but also from subsections of North Western Pakistan and/or orphans of a war displaced and raised in that society, now what? Will they simply abandon their traditions because one man is dead? I would have honestly rather seen Bin Laden captured and brought to trial, to spill all of his dirty little secrets, to expose his contacts within many governments. But we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. Instead we are spoon fed a story about a man who was on the run from the world, living the Beverly Hills of Northern Pakistan. He was descended upon, killed with no evidence remaining, no proof to the world, only the word of the state, and then his body disposed of at sea. Conspiracy theorists will say that is too convenient, those who believe the story will find it difficult to defend but go along with what the news says as their talking points. Not because they want to, but because their pride doesn’t really offer them any other choice.

8. The Question(s) of Occupation

What real justification do we have now to stay in Afghanistan? We were losing a war to Guerrillas and the people themselves who were simply fed up with the unwelcome presence of strangers. The drones that were touted as being the “future of war” turned out to be a video game gone wrong. I’m sure there are kids out there playing Black Ops or World of Warcraft with better hand eye coordination than the individuals in charge of those prototypes from Skynet that we have patrolling the skies of Afghanistan.
That being said, it was recently discovered that Afghanistan is so rich with a diverse amount of natural resources that leaving it after committing so many lives would look like a loss in itself. So do we cover a military failure with a brief victory in the death of Bin Laden and begin the silent conquest, that which is done with treaties heavily in our advantage and completely exploitative of their land? People cheered the Egyptian revolt in Tahrir Square. Yet, since the stepping down of it’s US and Israeli backed dictator, there is little mention of the new government or it’s process of development, no attention to detail paid to the inquest into the secret police, and into the truth seeking that should follow the overturning of such a system. If we remove our legions, will we be able to exact influence in the same manner? I doubt it.

9. Searching for Closure

If my parents or my child or any close friend of mine were killed, I would want justice. I would pursue justice to whatever ends, not just for myself, but also so that no other person in the world would have to endure that pain.

But if I sat back and thought about it, and realized how my struggle for justice killed a hundred times as many innocent people who had nothing to do with it, I wouldn’t feel proud of my achievement. I would think about how I had just created a hundred thousand people around the world to feel like I did when my loved one was killed. I would remember that while the crowds around me were cheering and celebrating. I would think that the people whose families have been destroyed as a result of this war would feel hurt by my jubilation, the way we were angry at Arabs when the news purposefully played that video of Palestinians from 1992 falsely celebrating after 9/11. (Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t think that was done by accident.)

We have spent over a trillion dollars and, according to several Human rights organizations, we have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, which we went into under the premise that Al-Quaeda was there pursuing nuclear and biological weapons. If my search for justice has led to various injustices that I cannot correct, that I offer no apology for, then what have I really achieved in destroying a person, if the process has duplicated the mind state that gave birth to him a thousand fold?

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man who called for any means or method of attacking the Russians during the Afghan Jihad, was heavily criticized after the attacks of 9/11 for his callous looking down upon the issues that could arise from U.S. support for Islamic militants. But he left a quote that resonated with me, “Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.” To quote Tupac, “this be the realest shit I ever wrote.”

As America grows in the number of individuals of mixed ethnicity and stops being driven solely by White supremacy and the dominance of European immigrants, it can no longer rely singularly on its call for war to hold water. It must come up with terrible ways to demonize its opponents. From the simple things like pointing out how much an emeny’s wife makes, while ignoring the lavish and wasteful spending of the several wives, concubines and mistresses of its allies.

The issue of rape and murder are tragic in any circumstance, but when I read the story about a woman who was raped by several men in the Libyan army, I thought about the statistics concerning rape within our own military (look them up please) and the suicide rate of our military forces. Not to mention the practices of our allies’ armed forces which sometimes grossly outweigh the cruelty of our opponents’.

We cannot simply expect nations around the world to thank heaven they still exist. The dominance of the U.S. must remain subtle as it grew to such a magnitude under the previous administration that Washington D.C. looked like Rome in 117 AD. Without the gentle reign over the world, the illusion of a coalition of the willing, the world would rise up, no one in the 3rd world wants to see themselves as a vassal even though, realistically speaking, that is exactly what they are. Colombia is our vassal, Korea is our vassal, Honduras is our vassal, Japan, Mexico, El Salvador, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, the whole of Africa, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Kuwait, the every Caribbean country except Cuba, The Philippines—I could go on, but you get the point.

Never let the pride of where you come from ever let you forget that your neck was made in such a shape as to bend so low that your master may walk over you. The sad reality that befalls your homeland engulfs every aspect of supposed liberty. And though membership has its privileges, most of them will only be enjoyed by the upper 1% of the nation’s ruling elite that usually is closely affiliated with the colonial power that once existed.

Conclusion

I once wrote a song produced by DJ Green Lantern called “Bin Laden,” in which the chorus had already been set and ready to go. I filled this song with a sense of under-reported facts and the real feelings of people who were afraid to speak their minds. I stated in Revolutionary Vol. 2 that I didn’t believe Bush did it because he wasn’t that smart.

I don’t think that the ex-President purposefully planned the entire scheme himself. But I have always had various doubts about a regime that promised to release the photos of the plane that hit the pentagon and gave me one still shot of something that resembled the head of a garden hose superimposed over the actual picture. They couldn’t even tell the truth about the air we were breathing because God knows what the hell was really in those buildings besides asbestos.

The entire premise of the war with Iraq was not true. Whether it was a purposeful lie or a mistake of intelligence, I leave to you, but the bottom line was that it was another red flag. It began to remind me of a child who tells a lie and to cover up that lie he tells, and another one and another one, until the lie becomes so big that it begins to eclipse the truth.

The beautiful thing about the art form that we created was it’s resounding ability to capture on going events and present them in a rhythmic format that others can appreciate. I suggest though that people seeking to include this in their rhymes search beneath the surface instead of snatching a quick punch line. Because this has cost thousands of American lives, ruined people all over the world, and it’s part of the reason this country is going bankrupt, and your children aren’t going to have any Social Security; so, really, brother, the joke’s on you. So before you consider how this will probably play in getting Obama re-elected or some other conspiracy theory, consider that.

Final Goodbyes

I leave you now with this brief story.

After the Russians were ousted from power in Afghanistan, several Mujahideen leaders debated what their next step would be. Two major schools of thought arose. Some, like Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, wished to internalize their success, and to put all of their resources towards rebuilding Afghanistan as a pure Islamic utopia that would provide for it’s suffering population. Others, like Ayman Al-Zawahiri, thought this was just the vision of idiots and dreamers, that their enemy was not just Russia but now America, Europe and secular Islamic states as well. Their opinions clashed but, at this time, Azzam, who had befriended Bin Laden, remained close to his ideological foe, thinking that Zawahiri could not challenge his authority. But it was challenged, and at a crucial time of decision-making about Afghanistan’s future, Azzam was assassinated. If Bin Laden is dead, then his death is another chapter in a book that remains to be finished.

But if he’s alive, then I hope someone can translate this for him. Usama, your television death may have brought on applause, but I know that it was an empty celebration. Empty because you died a long time ago when you were young and Azzam’s car exploded with his sons in it, you helped betray and kill your old teacher in exchange for the approval of old man Zawahiri who held your leash afterwards. You died when Shah Massoud died. You died when you ordered the massacre of the Hazara women and children in the muddy fields outside Mazar-e-Sharif. And if there is a hell, then you confined yourself there when you killed your first Muslim child and lied to yourself that he was collateral damage for Jihad.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone, there are many men like you left in the world, and some of them even used to be your friends. After all, this is America, and we only kill our friends.

Fear of radiation treated as "psychiatric disorder" in Fukushima...

Fear Of Radiation Treated as “Psychiatric Disorder” In Fukushima
Despite proven track record of official deception over disaster
Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Via InfoWars
Despite the fact that the Japanese government and TEPCO were caught red-handed underplaying the severity of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a study has found that almost a quarter of Fukushima residents hospitalized in the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami were treated as having a “psychiatric disorder” because of their concerns over radiation.

“Some 24.4 percent of people who were hospitalized in Fukushima with psychiatric disorders in the wake of the outbreak of the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant had done so possibly because of fears of radiation exposure, according to the results of research conducted by psychiatrists at Fukushima Medical University,” reports the Mainichi Daily News.

The phenomenon of authorities underplaying the threat posed by radiation or even characterizing concerns over it as a mental illness has become a dominant theme since the catastrophe just over a year ago. This is despite the fact that Japanese authorities were caught over and over again lying to cover-up the true scale of the disaster.

After Japanese authorities released thousands on tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, the EPA announced that it was raising the “safe limit” of exposure to iodine-131 by around 100,000 times.

The treatment of Japanese citizens who expressed concerns about radiation sickness only to be told they had a mental illness is similar to how Desert Storm veterans and other U.S. military service members were told that their health problems from exposure to depleted uranium were in fact a result of a psychological disorder.

Skepticism on behalf of Fukushima residents over official assurances about radiation levels, far from being a mental illness, is a perfectly rational and logical response given the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s proven track record of deception in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.

The situation at the Daiichi nuclear power plant is by no means stable. Only yesterday, TEPCO announced that, “it has found that the cooling water in one of the damaged reactors at Fukushima is only 60 centimeters deep, far lower than previously thought.”

Although the Fukushima crisis seldom makes the headlines anymore, the devastation it wrought is unlikely to be quantified for years or even decades. Research published by the New York Academy of Sciences last year found that the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor killed nearly one million people worldwide as a result of cancer-causing nuclear fallout that circulated the globe.

Research has shown that some areas of Tokyo have more radiation than existed in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zones. Indeed, recent soil samples taken in Tokyo were found to be so radioactive that they would be considered radioactive waste in the United States and would have to be disposed of by experts at a secure facility.

Italian newspaper: (Mohammed) Merah was French intelligence asset


Italian Newspaper: Merah was French Intelligence Asset
Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
March 27, 2012

Via InfoWars
The Italian newspaper Il Foglio is reporting that Mohammed Merah was a protected asset of French intelligence. Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent who allegedly told the media he was inspired by al-Qaeda, was killed on March 22 during a police siege following a number of murders characterized as terrorism.

Unidentified sources claim the French Directorate General for External Security (DGES) helped Merah gain access to Israel at the Allenby bridge on the Jordanian border in 2010. “He was here for three days in September of 2010,” a security source told the Jerusalem Post.

“Upon his entrance, he was questioned by security forces before being allowed in. Israeli authorities say his passport was authentic,” writes Yaakov Lappin for the newspaper.

Il Foglio contends Merah’s entrance into Israel was made possible by DGES, France’s secret intelligence and counterintelligence service.

French authorities claim Merah was arrested in Jerusalem for possession of a knife, but Israel’s Shin Bet claims it does not have a record of an arrest. According to the official narrative, Merah was in Israel for three days and then traveled to Afghanistan and North Waziristan in Pakistan, where he supposedly trained at a terrorist camp.

Secret Service failures on 9/11...

Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency
March 25, 2012
WashingtonsBlog

Via
Guest Post by Kevin Ryan, former Site Manager for Environmental Health Laboratories, a division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Mr. Ryan, a Chemist and laboratory manager, was fired by UL in 2004 for publicly questioning the report being drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on their World Trade Center investigation. In the intervening period, Ryan has completed additional research while his original questions, which have become increasingly important over time, remain unanswered by UL or NIST.

The U.S. Secret Service failed to do its job on September 11, 2001 in several important ways. These failures could be explained if the Secret Service had foreknowledge of the 9/11 events as they were proceeding. That possibility leads to difficult questions about how the behavior of Secret Service employees might have contributed to the success of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Answering those questions will require the release of existing interview transcripts as well as follow-up questioning, under oath, of a few key people within the agency.

The most glaring example of Secret Service failure on 9/11 was the lack of protection for the President of the United States after it was well known that the country was facing terrorist attacks on multiple fronts. The interesting thing about this was that it was not a consistent approach. That is, the president was protected by the Secret Service in many ways that day but he was not protected from the most obvious, and apparently the most imminent, danger.

President Bush had been at risk earlier that morning when Middle Eastern-looking journalists appeared at his hotel in Sarasota, Florida claiming to have an appointment for an interview. A Secret Service agent turned them away in a move that might have saved Bush from an assassination attempt. Bush then traveled to an elementary school for a community outreach photo opportunity which had been well-publicized for several days. It was reported that “Police and Secret Service Agents were on the roof, on horseback and in every hallway” at the school. Every visitor at the school was required to attend a preparation meeting two days before, and all the phone lines had been tapped. The school’s principal stated – “It was the safest place in the world. If you blew your nose and it wasn’t time for you to blow your nose, they knew it.”

The agency was protecting Bush very well, but not from terrorists in hijacked airplanes. Bush entered the classroom at 9:03 am that day, after it was widely known that the country was under attack. As stated by authors Allan Wood and Paul Thompson:

By that time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Secret Service, and Canada’s Strategic Command all knew that three commercial airplanes had been hijacked. They knew that one plane had been flown deliberately into the World Trade Center’s North Tower; a second plane was wildly off course and also heading toward Manhattan; and a third plane had abruptly turned around over Ohio and was flying back toward Washington, DC.

Given the widespread knowledge that terrorists were hijacking planes and that planes were crashing into buildings, the Secret Service should never have let the president enter the building where he was scheduled to be located. The situation got worse, however, because shortly after Bush sat down, he was informed by his Chief of Staff that the World Trade Center had been hit again, by a second plane. Still there was no intervention by the Secret Service to remove the president from this well-publicized location.

Either failure to protect the president, or knowledge that he was not a target

Bush remained at the school until 9:35 am, more than 35 minutes after he arrived. He even gave a televised speech during that time, letting the world know he was still there. The actions of Bush and his Secret Service detail indicate that they were not worried at all about a terrorist attack against the school. Philip Melanson, author of a book on the Secret Service, described how odd this was by writing that, in an “unfolding terrorist attack, the procedure should have been to get the president to the closest secure location as quickly as possible.”

This failure to follow Secret Service standard procedures is a glaring discrepancy to this day and it leads to a number of important questions. Who was responsible for making the decision to leave the president and everyone in the building at risk? Were the Secret Service agents traveling with the president in contact with the agency’s offices in Washington or New York? The largest Secret Service field office in the country was located in WTC Building 7, which was evacuated by the time Bush was entering the classroom.

The Secret Service supervisor traveling with the president, who was in charge of the president’s movements that day, was Edward Marinzel. It was Marinzel who should have been in charge of the execution (or non-execution) of the emergency action protocols carried out as the attacks were proceeding.

In an attempt to explain the failure to follow Secret Service procedures, the 9/11 Commission said in its report that Bush “told us his instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see an excited reaction at a moment of crisis,” and that the Secret Service “told us they were anxious to move the president to a safer location, but did not think it imperative for him to run out the door.” These official responses from the Secret Service, given in the 9/11 Commission Report (911CR), were taken from an as-yet unreleased 2004 interview with Edward Marinzel. However, the Commission said nothing about why Bush entered the classroom in the first place, when everyone in government knew that the country was under attack.

It seems possible that Marinzel’s authority was somehow overridden, because reporters noticed that it was White House spokesman Ari Fleischer who appeared to be calling the shots while Bush sat there doing nothing. As Bush’s Secret Service detail failed to protect him, Fleischer maneuvered to get his attention without alerting the press. Several reporters noticed that Fleischer had written the words “DON’T SAY ANYTHING YET” in big block letters on a paper sign and was mouthing these words to Bush as he sat there. Another apparent failure of the Secret Service was that it did not immediately request air cover for either the president’s motorcade as it traveled to the airport, or for Air Force One, which took off at about 9:54. This seems to be another indication that the Secret Service knew that Bush was not in danger.

The lack of immediate request for air cover for the president’s escort becomes more difficult to understand considering the 911CR’s claims of “unnerving false alarm” which was a “threat against Air Force One itself.” This threat was later “run down to a misunderstood communication in the hectic White House Situation Room” (p 325).

The 911CR did not cover the failure to request immediate air cover, but it did attempt to address the circuitous travels of Air Force One after it left Sarasota. Air Force One was redirected throughout the day, first to Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana and then on to Nebraska. The 911CR states that the reason for this wandering about the country was that the “Lead Secret Service agent…felt strongly that the situation in Washington was too unstable for the President to return there,” and although Bush “strongly wanted to return to Washington,” the Secret Service won the argument. Again, the 9/11 Commission got its information on this subject from the unreleased 2004 interview with Edward Marinzel. Exactly why Edward Marinzel’s interview has not been made publicly available is not clear. Given that it was the primary basis for the official account with regard to the failure to protect the president, it seems that the public has a right to see it. Did the Secret Service know that the president was not in danger and, if so, how did it know that? Whatever the case might be, Marinzel’s actions or lack thereof were considered appropriate because his role in protecting the president continued. On Thanksgiving in 2003, Marinzel led the team that planned and executed President Bush’s covert visit to Baghdad which, at the time, “was the first operation in history that took a President of the United States into an active war zone.”

Today, Marinzel works at a consulting company with Ralph Basham, the former Director of the Secret Service (2003-2006), as well as another person who played a critical role in George W. Bush’s travel, communications and protection. This was Joseph W. Hagin, who was Bush’s deputy White House Chief of Staff for Operations (2001-2008). Mr. Hagin had previously been an assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush, from 1981 to 1985, and then Assistant to President Bush from 1989 to 1991. Hagin came to the George W. Bush administration after eight years as a vice president for Chiquita Brands International. Formerly called United Fruit Company, the company was mired in scandal at the time of Hagin’s departure, due to an expose by the Cincinnati Enquirer which claimed that it mistreated the workers on its Central American plantations, polluted the environment, allowed cocaine to be brought to the United States on its ships and bribed foreign officials.

On 9/11, Mr. Hagin had oversight responsibility for Air Force One, the White House Communications Agency and the Secret Service PPD. Despite these far reaching responsibilities, his name does not appear in the 911CR. Hagin was later “one of the principals responsible for planning the formation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” When Hurricane Katrina occurred, Hagin was the White House point person in terms of overseeing response efforts.

Either failure to protect the vice president, or reconstruction of the timeline

The 911CR states that when the Secret Service first learned of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, it immediately initiated a number of precautionary “security enhancements around the White House complex.” This would have begun at 9:03, when the entire nation witnessed Flight 175 hit the south tower on live television. This information was obtained from the interview of Carl Truscott, who served as the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) of the Presidential Protective Division (PPD). Truscott had primary responsibility for supervising all protective matters relating to the president, the first family and the White House. Although Truscott’s interview was not released in transcript form, a summary of the interview was made available as part of several random documents released via FOIA request to 9/11 researcher Aidan Monaghan.

When the second plane hit the WTC, the Secret Service agent responsible for coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Nelson Garabito, called his FAA counterpart, Terry Van Steenbergen. At the time, Garabito was at the Secret Service Joint Operations Center (JOC), located in the White House. It was reported that Van Steenbergen told Garabito that two other planes were possibly hijacked, which caused Garabito to ask someone to run upstairs and pass the information on to other Secret Service agents. The 911CR states that this information was “either not passed on or was passed on but not disseminated.”

This failure relates to the question of when the vice president was evacuated from his office. If Van Steenbergen’s information, given to Garabito just after 9:03 am, was passed on to those protecting the vice president, then it would become important to know why the vice president was not moved to a safer location until 9:36, as stated by the 911CR. If the information was passed on immediately, and the vice president was moved to a secure location just after 9:00 as several witnesses have suggested, then his early presence at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) would substantiate the important testimony of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. According to Mineta, Cheney was being given regular updates on the progress of the hijacked Flight 77 as it came toward Washington.

The documents released by FOIA request include a timeline of “Actions of TSD” on 9/11. TSD is the Secret Service’s Technical Services Division which, among other things, operates the Secret Service’s Tigerwall air surveillance system. The TSD timeline states that at 9:18 am “SAIC Truscott learned that an aircraft had been identified en-route to the Washington area.” Therefore, we have officially prepared documentation that indicates Truscott was aware of a hijacked plane heading for Washington at least 18 minutes before the official account says the vice president was moved from his office. If this is true, the public deserves to know why the vice president not moved to safety immediately. On the other hand, if he was moved earlier, that fact supports Mineta’s astonishing and important testimony.

Failure to request interceptor jets in a timely manner

As described by author Michael Ruppert, the Secret Service was getting information about the ongoing hijacking events at the same time, or before, the FAA was. This was because there was a “parallel command system in play.” This parallel command system was also described by Richard Clarke, who was leading one of the response teams in the White House Situation Room (WHSR). Clarke later wrote that Brian Stafford, the Director of the Secret Service, was in the WHSR with him and was passing him information. That information, according to Clarke, came from the fact that the Secret Service had “a system that allowed them to see what FAA’s radar was seeing.”

The authoritative command system appeared to be below ground in the PEOC, where Dick Cheney was leading the activities. The TSD document released by FOIA shows that when Assistant Division Chief Spriggs arrived in the PEOC, at 9:30 am, Cheney and Rice were already there along with ten other “Presidential and Vice Presidential staff.” Carl Truscott was the lead Secret Service agent in the PEOC, the one who was in coordination with Garabito, and the one who was most closely coordinating with Dick Cheney.

The FOIA-released 9/11 Commission summary of Truscott’s interview says that he escorted NSA Rice from the Situation Room to the “White House Shelter Area” where they met Cheney, who was on the phone, and Mrs. Cheney. Interestingly, the official account gives a contradictory account, stating that Mrs. Cheney did not arrive at the White House for another 30 minutes or more. The FOIA documents say that Truscott led the Cheneys and Rice to the PEOC sometime before 9:30 am. SAIC Anthony Zotto, who was specifically responsible for the vice president’s safety, was in the PEOC at the time. This means that Cheney was in the PEOC at least 8 minutes before Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

The documents released by the Secret Service via FOIA indicate that the Secret Service had knowledge of Flight 77 and Flight 93 and that those flights were headed toward Washington, DC. One of these documents, not well identified but apparently a timeline created by one agent to relate his experiences, indicates that the Secret Service had knowledge of “two more outstanding aircraft, not responding to the Tower, considered suspect and at least one was headed toward DC.” This was several minutes before the agent arrived at “Room 552 en route to the JOC” where the agent learned that “one of the two planes, believed to be hijacked, was approximately 5 minutes out from DC.”

These documents confirm that the Secret Service knew that two hijacked planes were headed toward Washington during the time that Cheney and SAIC Truscott were in the PEOC, and well before Flight 77 was reported to have crashed into the Pentagon. Cheney seemed to confirm the same when he later said, on NBC’s Meet the Press — “The Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was…” — and then cut himself off.

There remains some confusion over whether the Secret Service ordered, or had the authority to order, the scrambling of interceptor jets from Andrews AFB in response to the knowledge about the incoming hijacked aircraft. Author Lynn Spencer, who NORAD Commander General Ralph Eberhart says “tells it all and tells it well,” wrote that “the Secret Service also has certain authority over the military and, in this case, the DC Guard.” That is, the Secret Service had the authority to order the scrambling of interceptor jets on 9/11. And, of course, with the president indisposed for a brief period, the vice president was the commander in chief of the military.

Official reports now suggest that the Secret Service made such a request, although very late in the chain of events, but that Andrews commander General David Wherley did not respond rapidly enough. The reason given is that Wherley did not recognize the Secret Service as having the authority to order jets to scramble and therefore he waited until someone in the military chain of command gave him the order. Unfortunately, General Wherley is no longer available for comment as he died in a freak train accident which was “the most deadly train crash in the history of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.”

However, it is clear that Andrews AFB staff reached out to the Secret Service well before Wherley ever got involved. Just after 9:05, Major Daniel Caine, the supervisor of flying at Andrews AFB, called his Secret Service contact, Kenneth Beachamp. Caine asked, “Are you guys going to need some help?” Agent Beauchamp replied, “No, but I’ll call you back if that changes.” Beauchamp, whose 9/11-related interview is still “national security classified,” never called back. Nearly 30 minutes later, when Flight 77 was coming into Washington, someone else from the Secret Service finally returned Caine’s call to accept the offer of assistance. Upon answering the phone, Caine stated that he “could hear plain as day the vice president talking in the background.” That was when Caine’s newly arrived superior, General Wherley, began spending another 80 minutes or more being confused about the chain of command, according to the official account.

Interceptor jets did not launch from Andrews AFB, which was only ten miles from the Pentagon, until 10:38 am (and those were not armed). This was more than an hour after the Pentagon was hit, almost two and a half hours after the first plane was known to be hijacked and approximately 90 minutes after Major Caine had first offered assistance to the Secret Service.

SAIC Truscott continued as the leader of the Secret Service PPD through 2005, during the times when a gay prostitute came to the White House for overnight visits and during the period when Jack Abramoff was visiting the White House. The White House later tried to hide the records for these visits. Truscott was also at the White House during the period when the Secret Service adopted its secretive processes for records management with regard to visitor records.

Like Marinzel, Truscott’s performance on 9/11 was apparently well received as he was later promoted to Director of the ATF, another major agency of the U.S. Department of Treasury. In the end he was forced to resign in a scandal related to multiple abuses of power including sexist orders given to female employees. Truscott had friends in high places, however, and he was protected from prosecution by order of the White House. Truscott went on to join ASERO Worldwide, an international security and risk management firm run by Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, who was formerly the most senior ranking security official at the Israeli Security Agency.

Overall, the response of the Secret Service to the 9/11 attacks suggests foreknowledge of the events in that the agency failed to protect the president from the obvious danger posed by terrorists. That foreknowledge, combined with the failure of the Secret Service to follow up on the offer of air support from Andrews AFB, leads to the suspicion that the agency was complicit in the attacks. Revealing the truth behind these suspicions will require that the central role players from the Secret Service and the White House, including Edward Marinzel, Ari Fleischer, Joseph Hagin, Carl Truscott, Anthony Zotto and Kenneth Beauchamp, be examined under oath by prosecutors with subpoena power.

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