January 30, 2008

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

WTF Happened In Kuala Lumpur?

I have no frickin idea:
The Kuala Lumpur Deceit

By CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

The possible link between pre-9/ 11 Israeli warnings and the watch-listing of the hijackers Mihdhar and Hazmi was pointed out in late 2004 by a retired top corporate lawyer named Gerald Shea, who compiled a 166-page memo detailing the alleged operations of the Israeli groups in New Jersey, Florida and elsewhere. In the Memo, which is drawn from publicly available source material and which he sent to members of the 9/11 Commission and the joint House and Senate intelligence committees, Shea notes that neither the 9/11 Commission's final report nor the joint report of the intelligence committees "specifically mentions any such [warnings] from the Israeli government". Instead, both reports, hewing closely to the CIA's public stance, attribute the watch-listing of Mihdhar and Hazmi solely to the bumbling work of U.S. intelligence. But a review of the alleged facts in this route to the watch list, Shea insists, makes one doubt their veracity. "The issue is important", Shea argues, "because any downplaying of Israeli warnings draws attention away" from the surveillance role the Israeli groups may have played.

The key element in the CIA's account is the claim that in January 2001 the agency had identified an operational link between the Mihdhar-Hazmi duo and one of Bin Laden's most trusted lieutenants, Khallad, a.k.a. Tawfiq bin Attash, who was suspected of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. According to the CIA, Mihdhar, Hazmi and Khallad had together attended a high-level al-Qaeda meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000. This meeting was historic in the annals of Islamic terrorism, for it was here that the germ of 9/11 was seeded. The significance of the establishment of the link with Khallad was such that CIA Director George Tenet lauded the discovery in his testimony before the Joint Inquiry of Congress in 2002, noting that "this was the first time that CIA could definitively place al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar with a known al-Qaeda operative [Khallad]". Khallad, it was claimed, had been identified in January 2001 from photographs taken at Kuala Lumpur. That identification was noted officially in an alleged January 5, 2001, CIA cable.

According to the CIA, in the spring of 2001 there were reported threats of al- Qaeda attacks on U.S. interests abroad. A CIA agent whom the Commission calls "John" ­- who was later identified as agent Tom Wilshire by New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright ­- "wondered where the attacks might occur". Wilshire was particularly interested in cable traffic relating to the Kuala Lumpur meeting the previous year, specifically the January 5, 2001, cable that identified Khallad as having been present at that January 2000 meeting. It was Wilshire's efforts, beginning in May of 2001, that the CIA claims led to the watch-listing of Mihdhar and Hazmi on the eve of the attacks.

Yet a mile-wide hole quickly appears in this account, because the purported "definitive" identification of Khallad in January 2001 had been entirely mistaken. In other words, George Tenet in his statement before the Joint Inquiry was either lying or woefully uninformed. According to the CIA's account, the identification of Khallad, which occurred a year after the actual Kuala Lumpur meeting, came as the result of an FBI/CIA source, who reportedly was able to pinpoint the photographs of Khallad taken at the meeting.

But, according to the CIA's own Jan. 5, 2001, cable on the matter, the FBI/CIA source was said to have been shown photographs only of Mihdhar and Hazmi. He was not shown a photograph of Khallad. According to the Joint Inquiry report, it was later discovered, after Sept. 11, 2001, that the supposed photograph in question -- the one reviewed by the informant in January 2001 -- was not of Khallad but of Hazmi himself. And in fact the source erroneously identified Hazmi as Khallad. Or so the Joint Inquiry report claims. But in fact there is substantial doubt as to whether even a mistaken identification was ever made. Three people were said to have been present when the FBI/CIA source made the identification. These included the questioning CIA agent, an FBI agent observing, and the joint source. But, according to the 9/11 Commission's own staff statements, the FBI agent later said that he was unaware of any identification of Khallad. And the CIA agent, who supposedly conducted the interview, "does not recall this particular identification [at all]", according to the Commission's staff statements.

So it turns out no one who was said to have witnessed the pivotal identification of Khallad actually recalls any such identification as having been made at all. This in turn suggests it may never have happened.

Indeed, when in May 2001 CIA agent Tom Wilshire allegedly asked another agent, whom the 9/11 Commission does not identify but whom we can here dub "Alice", to review the cable traffic relating to the Kuala Lumpur meeting, Alice later "could [even] recall this work", according to the Commission's staff statements. (The reference to Alice's failed memory was later deleted, without explanation, from the Commission's final report.) In late July or sometime early in August, the CIA's account continues, Wilshire, still inspired by the purported identification of Khallad in the January 2001 cable, asked another agent, "Mary", to "resume" the work that Alice could not recall. Mary is said then to have discovered, on August 21, 2001, that Mihdhar, and possibly Hazmi, were in the United States. They were both placed on the watch list on August 24 in a tortuous culmination of CIA work that supposedly began with Tom Wilshire in the spring.

Given the litany of unlikelihoods in the CIA's account -- not least of which is the "uncertain, unwitnessed, unremembered" identification of Khallad, as Gerald Shea notes -- the reported Mossad warnings appear to lead a far straighter course to the watch-listing of Mihdhar and Hazmi.

See Also:
You tell me!
DO NOT COPY THIS LINK! And do not reproduce the following text:
The Shea Memo: Mapping out the Israelis Next Door to Mohammed Atta

In the autumn of 2004, on the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a retired international corporate lawyer named Gerald Shea drafted an extensive memo that detailed the operations of alleged Israeli spies suspected of surveilling the 9/11 hijackers in the year prior to the attacks. Written in the cold logic of a courtroom complaint, the 166-page memo gathers up most of the evidence available in the public record regarding possible 9/11-related Israeli espionage. Shea, who was educated at Yale and Columbia and worked for 20 years at one of New York’s top law firms, said his purpose in writing the memo was to spur a Congressional investigation “for the sake of U.S. national interest.” “I’m a lawyer first and foremost,” Shea wrote me in an e-mail. “I wanted to separate these difficult factual problems from the politics in the hope that people who have the power and obligation to do so will conduct a public inquiry to resolve the issue.”

Al Felzenberg, spokesman for the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, confirmed that the commission received the memo in mid-September 2004. But Felzenberg noted it was three and a half weeks too late: the commission closed shop on August 21, 2004, its security clearances and investigative power limited by act of Congress. According to Shea, copies of the memo were also sent to the private offices of specific members of the 10-member 9/11 commission. These included: Thomas H. Kean, commission head and now chairman of THK Consulting; commission vice chair Lee H. Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Richard Ben-Veniste, partner in the Washington law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw; Washington, D.C., lawyers Fred Fielding, Jamie S. Gorelick, and Slade Gorton; and Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator, now president of the New School for Social Research. (None of the commissioners returned phone calls for comment on the Shea Memo.) Shea also forwarded his report to the offices of members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, including then-committee chair Jay Rockefeller, and Sens. Trent Lott, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, Richard Durbin, Carl Levin and Evan Bayh. Also included in the mailings, says Shea, were at least six members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Anna Eshoo. For good measure, Shea sent a copy to the office of his Boston senator, Ted Kennedy. He also peppered the news media, submitting copies to the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, PBS’ Frontline, ABC News’ investigative team at 20/20, and various smaller venues.

With the sole, and notable, exception of the tiny Philadelphia Times-Herald, which ran a brief overview of the memo, the document was ignored. Not a single member of the major media, not a single Commission member or U.S. lawmaker responded, “not even Richard Ben-Veniste, who was in my class at law school,” says Shea, referring to Columbia Law’s 1967 graduating class.

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

SIBEL!!! A MUST READ!!!

Gary Leupp:
I am not one to easily embrace conspiracy theories, and in particular have found the idea that 9-11 was somehow an inside job too incredible for serious consideration. On the other hand, there are some very fishy aspects to some officials’ behavior pertaining to the attacks. Justin Raimondo has made a very good case for the fact that Mossad agents posing as “Israeli art students” were tracking al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S. before 9/11.

Over 120 Israelis were detained after 9/11, some failing polygraph tests when asked about their involvement in intelligence gathering. But they were not held or charged with any illegal activity but rather deported. As former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has revealed, there was a curious failure of the government before 9/11 to act upon intelligence pertaining to an al-Qaeda attack. Most importantly Edmonds, defying the gag order that former Attorney General Ashcroft imposed on her in 2002, is implicating Marc Grossman, formerly the number three man in the State Department, in efforts to provide US nuclear secrets to Pakistan and Israel. She suggests this was done through Turkish and Pakistani contacts, including the former head of Pakistan’s ISI who funneled funds to Mohamed Atta! Now there’s a conspiracy for you.

Edmonds claims that during her time at the FBI (September 20, 2001 to March 22, 2002) she discovered that intelligence material had been deliberately allowed to accumulate without translation; that inept translators were retained and promoted; and that evidence for traffic in nuclear materials was ignored. More shockingly, she charges that Grossman arranged for Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students to acquire security clearances to Los Alamos and other nuclear facilities; and that nuclear secrets they acquired were transmitted to Pakistan and to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the “father of the Islamic bomb,” who in turn was selling nuclear technology to Libya and other nations.

She links Grossman to the former Pakistani military intelligence chief Mahmoud Ahmad, a patron of the Taliban, who reportedly arranged for a payment of $100,000 to 9/11 ringleader Atta via Pakistani terrorist Saeed Sheikh before the attacks. She suggests that he warned Pakistani and Turkish contacts against dealings with the Brewster Jennings Corp., the CIA front company that Valerie Plame was involved in as part of an effort to infiltrate a nuclear smuggling ring. All very heady stuff, published this month in The Times of London (and largely ignored by the U.S. media).

She does not identify Grossman by name in the Times article, but she has in the past, and former CIA officer Philip Giraldi does so in an extremely interesting article in the American Conservative. From that and many other sources, I come up with the timeline that appears below.

But first, some background on Grossman. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara and the London School of Economics, he was a career Foreign Service officer from 1976 when he began to serve at the US embassy in Pakistan. He continued in that post to 1983, when he became the Deputy Director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, the Secretary General of NATO. From 1989 to 1992 he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Turkey, and from 1994 to 1997, US Ambassador to Turkey. As ambassador he strongly supported massive arms deals between the US and Ankara.

Thereafter he was Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, responsible for over 4,000 State Department employees posted in 50 sites abroad with a program budget of $1.2 billion to 2000. In 1999 he played a leading role in orchestrating NATO’s 50th anniversary Summit in Washington, and helped direct US participation in NATO’s military campaign in Kosovo that same year. As Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from the beginning of George W. Bush’s administration to January 2005, he played a bit role in the Plame Affair, informing “Scooter” Libby of Plame’s CIA affiliation.

Grossman is close to the American Turkish Council (ATC) founded in 1994 as a sister organization to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Its founders include neoconservatives involved in the Israel-Turkey relationship, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, as well as Henry Kissinger, Brent Snowcroft and former congressman Stephen Solarz. (Perle and Feith had earlier been registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith’s company, International Advisors Inc. Perle was at one point making $600,000 per year from such activity). Edmonds says this is “an association in name and in charter only; the reality is that it and other affiliated associations are the US government, lobbyists, foreign agents, and Military Industrial Complex.” (M. Christine Vick of Grossman’s Cohen Group serves on the Board of Advisors.) Grossman is also close to the American Turkish Association (ATA), and regularly speaks at its events.

Both ATA and ATC have been targets of FBI investigations because of their suspected ties with drug smuggling, but Edmonds claims she heard wiretaps connecting ATC with other illegal activities, some related to 9/11. The CIA has investigated it in connection with the smuggling of nuclear secrets and material. Valerie Plame and the CIA front group Brewster Jennings were monitoring it when Bush administration officials leaked her identity in July 2003. Edmonds, Giraldi, and researchers Christopher Deliso and Luke Ryland accuse him of suspiciously enriching himself while in government service. Nevertheless he was awarded the Foreign Service’s highest rank when President Bush appointed him to the rank of Career Ambassador in 2004, and received Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award the following year.

A dual Israeli-American national, Grossman has promoted the neocon agenda of forcing “regime change” in the Middle East. “[T]he time has come now,” he declared on the eve of the Iraq invasion, “to make a stand against this kind of connection between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq is a place to make that stand first . . . the great threat today is the nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.” But he has not been as conspicuous a war advocate as Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, Bolton, and some others. (Perle and Feith, one should note, were also deeply involved in lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey as well as Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Edelman was ambassador to Turkey 2003-05 where, chagrined by the Turkish failure to enthusiastically support the US occupation of Iraq, he deeply offended his hosts.) Grossman seems less an ideologue driven to make the world safer for Israel than a corrupt, amoral, self-aggrandizing opportunist. Anyway, here is an incomplete chronology of his alleged wrongdoing, along with other relevant details.

2001

As newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Grossman assists Turkish, Israeli and other moles — mainly Ph.D. students — godfathering visa and arranging for security clearances to work in sensitive research facilities, including the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico. FBI taps his phone 2001-2, finds he is receiving bribes (one for $15,000). Edmonds states: “I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more.”

Between August and September: Grossman warns his Turkish associates seeking to acquire nuclear secrets that Brewster Jennings (for whom CIA agent Valerie Plame works) is a CIA front.

Sept. 4: Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the chief of Pakistan ’s intelligence service (ISI) arrives in US, meets with Grossman and other U.S. officials.

Sept. 10: Report by Amir Mateen in Pakistani newspaper Dawn ( Karachi ): “[Ahmad] also held long parleys with unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with Mark Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. US sources would not furnish any details beyond saying that the two discussed ‘matters of mutual interests.’”

Sept. 11: Gen. Ahmad is having breakfast in Washington with Congressman Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and Senator Bob Graham (D) when attacks occur.

(Goss had had 10 years in clandestine operations in CIA and later — September 22, 2003-May 5, 2006 — heads the organization. Graham and Goss later are the co-chairs of the joint House-Senate investigation that proclaimed there was “no smoking gun” as far as President George W. Bush having any advance knowledge of September 11.)

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, FBI arrests people suspected of being involved with the attacks — including four Turkish and Pakistani associates of key targets of FBI’s counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Grossman: “We need to get them out of the U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans.” Grossman facilitates their release from jail and suspects immediately leave US without further investigation or interrogation.

Sept. 12-13: Meetings between Ahmad and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage threatens to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” unless it cooperates in US attack on Afghanistan. Ahmad also meets Secretary of State Colin Powell. Agreement on Pakistan’s collaboration is secured.

Sept. 20: Sibel Edmonds, a 32-year-old Turkish-American, hired as a translator by the FBI.

According to Edmonds, she overheard an agent on a 2000 wiretap discussing with Saudi businessmen in Detroit “nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama,” and stating: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000.” She also claims she listened to recordings of a high official (Grossman) receiving bribes from Turkish officials.

Early October: Indian intelligence reports that Gen. Ahmad had in summer of 2001 ordered Saeed Sheikh (convicted of the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl) to wire US$100,000 from Dubai to one of hijacker Mohamed Atta’s two bank accounts in Florida. FBI confirms story, reported on ABC news.

Oct. 7: US-led Coalition begins air strikes against Taliban.

Oct. 8: Gen. Ahmad, Taliban supporter and an opponent of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, forced to retire from his post as director-general of ISI.

Late Oct.: Pakistani government arrests three Pakistani nuclear scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected connections with the Taliban.

2002

Early March: Edmonds sends faxes to Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy on the Judiciary Committee, is called in for polygraph test; Department of Justice inspector general’s report states “she was not deceptive in her answers.”

March: Grossman keynote speaker at ATC conference.

March 22: Edmunds fired, allegedly for shoddy work, security breaches.

Oct. 27: Edmonds appears on CBS’ 60 Minutes program.

Dec: Grossman visits Turkey, approves $3 billion US aid to Turkey for the Iraq Cooperation deal.

2003

March 3: In interview for Dutch television, Grossman says, “[T]he time has come now to make a stand against this kind of connection between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq is a place to make that stand first . . . the great threat today is the nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.”

May 29: Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff “Scooter” Libby asks Grossman for information about news report about the secret envoy sent by the CIA to Africa in 2002. Grossman requests a classified memo from Carl Ford, the director of the State Department’s intelligence bureau, and later orally briefs Libby on its contents.

Mid-June: Powell and his deputy secretary Richard Armitage may have received a copy of the Grossman memo.

June 10: Grossman asks the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) for a briefing on the Niger uranium issue, and specifically the State Department’s opposition to the continuing White House view that Iraq had tried to buy yellow cake. The resulting memo is dated the same day, and drawn from notes on the February 19 meeting at the CIA on the Wilson mission and other sources. Memo is classified “Top Secret,” and contains in one paragraph, separately marked “(S/NF)” for “Secret/No dissemination to foreign governments or intelligence agencies,” two sentences describing in passing Valerie “Wilson’s” identity as a CIA operative and her role in the inception of the Wilson trip to Niger. This June 10 memo reportedly does not use her maiden name Plame.

June 17-July 9: Senate Judiciary Committee holds unclassified hearings on Edmunds’ allegations.

June 19: letter from Senior Republican Senator, Charles Grassley, and Senior Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy to Inspector General Glenn A. Fine concerning Edmonds’ allegations.

July 14: Robert Novak reveals Plame’s CIA identity.

July 22: Edmonds files suit against the Department of Justice, the FBI, and several high-level officials, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated from the FBI in retaliation for reporting criminal activities committed by government employees.

Aug. 13: letter from two senators to Attorney General Ashcroft concerning Sibel Edmonds’ allegations.

Aug. 15: 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks file suit (Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp.), request from Edmonds deposition providing evidence for US government foreknowledge of 9-11 attacks.

Sept. 22: Goss made CIA Director (resigns May 5, 2006).

Oct. 18, 2002: Attorney General John Ashcroft invokes the State Secrets Privilege (requested not by Justice Department but by State department) in order to prevent disclosure of the nature of Edmonds’ work on the grounds that it would endanger national security, and asked that her wrongful termination suit be dismissed, in effect placing Edmonds under a gag order.

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) expresses outrage at gag order, promises that a Democratic majority in Congress would conduct hearings. (This has not been done.)

Oct. 28: Letter from two senators to FBI Director Robert Mueller concerning Sibel Edmonds’ allegations.

Dec. 11, 2003, Attorney General Ashcroft again invoking the State Secrets Privilege, files a motion calling for Edmonds’ deposition in Burnett v. Al Baraka case be suppressed and for the entire case to be dismissed. The judge, seeking more information, orders government to produce any unclassified material relating to the case. In response, Ashcroft submits further statements to justify the use of the State Secrets Privilege.

Dec: Grossman back in Turkey to approve Turkey ’s eligibility to participate in tenders for Iraq’s reconstruction.

2004

Grossman achieves Foreign Service’s highest rank when President Bush appoints him to rank of Career Ambassador.

Patrick Leahy calls for investigation; Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican Chairman of the Senate, blocks it.

May 13: Ashcroft retroactively classifies all material that had been provided to Senate Judiciary Committee in 2000 relating to Edmond’s lawsuit, as well as the senators’ letters that had already been posted on-line by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

June 23: POGO files lawsuit against Justice Department for classifying material it had published; Justice Department fails to get the case dismissed.

July 6: Edmonds suit dismissed on state secrets grounds.

July: Edmonds files appeal. On same day, Inspector General releases unclassified summary of a highly classified report on an investigation that had concluded “that many of her allegations were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services. . . Rather than investigate Edmonds’ allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract.”

August: Edmonds founds the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) to address US security weaknesses.

December: Grossman the key speaker at an ATC Conference held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

2005

Grossman receives Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.

January: Grossman quits his government job. Eric Edelman, another former ambassador to Turkey, takes job of Under Secretary of Defence for Policy.

January: Pakistani nuclear engineer A.Q. Khan confesses to having been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Feb. 5: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf announces he has pardoned Khan. US response is mild.

March: Grossman made vice-chairman of Cohen Group.

Feb. 18: Justice Department under new attorney general backs away from claim that documents posted by POGO were classified.

April 21: In the hours before the hearing of her appeal, three judges issued a ruling that barred all reporters and the public from the courtroom. During the proceedings, Edmonds was not allowed into the courtroom for the hearing.

May 6: Edmonds’ case dismissed, no reason provided, no opinion cited.

May 14: In open letter, Edmonds states the governments wants to silence her to “protect certain diplomatic relations” and to “protect certain U.S. foreign business relations.” Says the “foreign relations” mentioned in the gag order “are not in the interest of, or of benefit to, the majority of Americans, but instead serve and protect a small minority.”

June 20: Edmonds writes: “(In) April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden. For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists’ plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the US. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the ‘use of airplanes’, ‘major US cities as targets’, and ‘Osama Bin Laden issuing the order.’ Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ.”

July 20: Unidentified as a “retired state department official” Grossman tells AP that a classified State Department memo disputed the legitimacy of administration claims that Iraq sought to acquire uranium from Niger, also contained a few lines about Plame Wilson’s CIA employment, marked as secret.

August 5: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) petitioned for the Supreme Court of the United States to review the lower courts’ application of the State Secret Privilege in both lawsuits. The ACLU claims that the courts conflated the State Secrets Privilege and the Totten rule.

Sept. 28: Washington Post cites unnamed former administration source (Grossman) as stating that the outing of Plame was “Clearly . . . meant purely and simply for revenge.”

Oct. 28: In Patrick Fitzgerald’s indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Grossman is the Under Secretary of State mentioned as giving information about Plame to Libby.

November: Grossman attends lavish Turkish Ottoman Dinner Gala, receives award from Turkish lobby group, the Assembly of American Turkish Association (ATAA) in Chicago.

Nov. 28: the Supreme Court declined to review the decisions made in the Edmonds case.

2006

March: Grossman the key speaker at the ATC annual conference.

June: Grossman key speaker at MERIA Conference, discussing Turkey’s importance to US and Israel.

Sept. 2006: a documentary about Sibel Edmonds’ case called Kill The Messenger (”Une Femme à Abattre”) premiers in France. (watch film here)

2007

January 24: Grossman first to testify in Libby trial. Says he informed Libby of Plame’s involvement “in about 30 seconds of conversation” in June 2003.

November: Grossman subpoenaed by defense in AIPAC trial.

Nov. 26: Grossman, now Vice Chairman of the consulting firm the Cohen Group, attends a major Security Conference in Riga, Latvia.

2008

January: Edmonds posts, without comment, photos of current and former officials and Turkish associates on website: Richard Perle, Eric Edelman, Marc Grossman, Brent Snowcroft, Larry Franklin, Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Tom Lantos (D-Ca.), Bob Livingston (ex-House Speaker, R-La.), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Graham Fulle (RAND), David Makovsky (WINEP), Martin Markovsky (WINEP), Yusuf Turani (president in exile of Turkmenistan), Prof. Sabri Sayari (Columbia University, WINEP), Mehmet Eymur (former head of Turkish counter-terrorism).

Jan. 6: The Times of London carries story, “For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets.” States that a high official “was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.” Claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials — including household names — who were aiding foreign agents.

“If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials.”

Jan. 22: White House issues statement declaring its intention to approve sale of nuclear secrets to Turkey; Joshua Frank writes on January 25, “It appears the White House has been spooked by Edmonds and hopes to absolve the US officials allegedly involved in the illegal sale of nuclear technology to private Turkish ‘entities’.” Frank identifies Grossman as one of these officials.

* * * * *

Edmonds is tirelessly and fearlessly campaigning for Congressman Waxman, now chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to hold hearings. She says that FBI agents and even former Turkish intelligence officials are willing and able to validate her charges. But the congressman hesitates, perhaps fearing the storm of indignation that explosive evidence will produce in a country sick of its politicians, the lying neocons, and the war. Should they discover that, while disseminating disinformation about foreign nukes in order to fearmonger and build support for aggressive war, some of these officials were actually peddling nuclear secrets — committing treason while receiving honors for their patriotic service — the response could be explosive.

The Office of Special Plans under Abram Shulsky and Douglas Feith cherry-picked the intelligence vetted through the New York Times to terrify people into supporting an attack on Iraq. Democratic leaders have in the past urged an investigation of that spooky office, but furnished the opportunity since November 2006, they have declined to hold hearings. The Italian parliament conducted a study of the Niger uranium hoax, fingering neocon Michael Ledeen as a key suspect in forging documents designed to provide a casus belli before the Iran attack. Congress does nothing to follow up. In effect they are saying that the administration has a right to lie to the people. The presidential pardon granted Libby is a clear statement that it’s okay to punish whistleblowers like Joseph Wilson. The Supreme Court refuses to hear Edmonds’ appeal. It seems that all three branches of government compete to coddle the most unscrupulous and lawless officials, while marginalizing or punishing honest citizens who expose the rot.

The publication of the National Intelligence Estimate undercutting the administration’s case for attacking Iran indicates that there are in the US intelligence community persons alarmed by the administration’s lies and efforts to justify more aggression based on lies. It enrages the neocons who, with Norman Podhoretz in the lead, have been praying for Bush to bomb Iran. The arrest and conviction of Feith subordinate Larry Franklin shows that within the FBI there are forces disturbed at the close connections between the neocons, Israeli intelligence, and the Israel lobby and are willing to take action against lawbreaking. But Feith and Perle have both been investigated before, Perle for discussing classified information with Israeli Embassy staff in an FBI-monitored phone call in Washington in 1970. But the cases dropped for apparent political reasons. Perhaps the Grossman story will gain some traction. Maybe it will prove egregious enough that the tide will turn. Maybe Bush’s last year of office will see the neocons’ thorough exposure, humiliation and defeat.

Or maybe Waxman, Rep. Conyers and others in positions to honestly confront this most mendacious of administrations will continue to dither, feeding the assumption of the most vicious, cynical and corrupt that they are indeed above the law. And earning the contempt of those naïve enough to expect serious congressional oversight of a rogue regime.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu.

January 29, 2008

Cartoons!

Well, it beats paying any attention at all to Buish's SOTU speech!



Sadly, Ted Rall is right.

And Steve Bell's latest is brilliant...

January 24, 2008

What If Sibel Is Right?

Let's just think for a minute about exactly what Sibel Edmonds says:
She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Now, ignoring all the official silence and water-muddying, let's just assume that Sibel's allegations are 100% correct. What does it MEAN?

Let's break the story down into its constituent parts:

1. There are highly placed US officials leaking important secrets about nuclear weapons (and other things too, presumably).
2. These officials are being "controlled" (paid) by Israel and Turkey. So both those governments (and others?) have infiltrated the top levels of US government and intelligence agencies.
3. These nuclear (and other?) secrets are being sold on an "international black market".

But surely the most damning fact of all is this:

4. The FBI, the Bush administration, the US Congress and even the US media have all conspired to silence Sibel's allegations.

If you are wondering how far the tentacles of corruption reach, that last one spells it all out, doesn't it?

Now, it would be one thing for spies to betray their country by leaking information to another nation because they felt some compassion or loyalty to that other nation, for whatever reason. But these appear to be corrupt officials who are basically just cashing in on their positions of privilege, and not giving a damn about the consequences. The same can be said for the Israeli and Turkish folks who are on-selling these secrets to the highest bidder. The network does not appear to be motivated by anything other than profit-making. The fact that these secrets are being sold to unstable nations further belies this lack of morality.

But wait a minute, I hear you say - what about the War On Terror? Isn't this exactly the sort of thing that the Bush administration and it's intelligence agencies are most committed to stopping? Hasn't this been their top priority since 9/11/01?

Well, no.

In fact, the entire Bush administration has been complicit in this greedy corruption. The entire War On Terror has been a hoax foisted upon the citizens of the USA (and the world) in order to fill the coffers of Bush's friends in the military-industrial complex.

And these allegations from Sibel Edmonds confirm that. And the more the FBI tries to gag her, and the more they hide the evidence, the more they confirm our worst fears.

The US government has been bought up by corrupt profiteers, who have taken the people of the USA for all they can get. And they are not going to stop until - and unless - you can stop them.

War Profiteers

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know? Within 48 hours, Omar post some more drivel. Are these guys reading my blog?

Is it time to declare IRAQ THE MODEL dead yet? No new posts from my old friends since December 5th, and only a smattering of posts since Omar declared he was in New York studying international affairs at Columbia University (I kid you not) way back on September 5th, 2007. Brother Ali is also going to college at Sony Brooks in Long Island.

I assume that's the end of their gig as "Baghdad Editors" at the notorious Pyjamas Media, where no new Fadhil bylines are to be found. Of course, you can still find plenty of rabidly delusional rightwing crap, like Michael Ledeen slamming Gandhi and his entire family as disgusting anti-Semites, or some rather bizarre coverage of the Sibel Edmonds story:
And the State Department hates Israel with a passion, so why are they cooperating with Israeli spies?
It's hard to believe that people are dying because of such blatant idiocy. These imbeciles remain dangerous as long as anyone keeps taking them seriously.

PS: It's quite possible that I blew Omar's cover with this post on September 3rd.

UPDATE: This link has some interesting info too:
At first glance, Omar might not appear to have the background or the personal history that would vault him to international attention as one of the strongest Iraqi proponents of liberal democracy and the American invasion and a pioneer of the nascent Iraqi blogosphere.He was born in 1980 into a Sunni family in Baghdad, the youngest in a family of three boys and one girl. His mother, Rasmia, taught elementary school to third and fourth graders in Baghdad, while his father, Fadhil, spent decades years in Saddam’s army before retiring in 1990 as a high-ranking general.

Omar and his siblings grew up in an upper-middle class Baghdad suburb as a privileged part of the ruling elite. In the afternoons, after homework was finished, he and his friends would gather to play soccer in the streets or at school. When Baghdad baked in the summer heat, his father would drive the family to a social club to swim, an activity that Omar hated as much as his brothers loved. In Iraq, to succeed meant becoming, in order of prestige, a doctor, dentist or engineer. His older brother Ali and older sister Rasha* (name changed to protect her identity) became doctors, while Omar followed the footsteps of his brother Mohammed into dentistry. He liked the ratio of work to play that the career offered, and couldn’t imagine ten years of training required to become a doctor. Eight years for dentistry was more than enough.

In spite of his family’s relatively privileged position, Saddam’s rule of fear shaped Omar’s political views from a young age. His father, Fadhil, had a military career as a commander in Iraq’s air defense system where he continued to steadily work his way up the chain of command. A professional soldier, he abhorred having to defer to incompetent and inexperience military officers appointed by Saddam’s family. The situation came to a head in 1990 when he directly opposed a decision made by a non academic officer. Luckily, his only punishment was early retirement, a gift from military friends that allowed him to escape the hanging that awaited had the disagreement escalated up to Saddam. It was a lesson about freedom of expression that Omar never forgot.

Fear of the regime remained constant as he grew older...

Omar’s on-the-ground reporting quickly earned him the attention of the international media. Reporters from USA Today read the brothers’ blog and interviewed them in Baghdad. Editors from the WSJ, New York Daily News, and the Philadelphia Enquirer contacted them to write OpEds, and the BBC was soon regularly calling Omar for information whenever something happened in Iraq. He also became the de factor Baghdad correspondent for Pajamas Media.

In addition, Iraq The Model (ITM) began providing its own content, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of the second parliamentary Iraqi elections in 2005. At its peak, it was receiving tens of thousands of hits per day. The blog was a demanding mistress however, and ITM’s allure soon made his under-funded dentistry practice seem insignificant by comparison. The blog’s pull proved too strong and eventually, as Omar puts it, “I lost the dentist within me.”. With ITM he had found his medium and his mission. “Gradually you get the feeling that what you are doing is worthwhile, you are providing information that people appreciate. You tend to feel committed to doing this mission.” says Omar...

Almost five years have passed the US invasion, and Omar and I now sit talking over a beer at a bar on the Upper West Side near Columbia University. He came to the United States in August of this year to study international security policy at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He plans to return to Iraq and run for public office in the 2013 parliamentary elections. In addition to handling a crushing academic workload, he continues to contribute periodically to ITM.
The writer of that piece, Aaron Ernst, seems to have established a bit of an anti-Hillary policial rapport with Omar, if these Google responses are to be believed:

I can't see more than that, because clicking the links just gives you a "Deleted Account" message.

January 23, 2008

SIBEL!

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer:
Sibel Edmonds makes a number of accusations about specific criminal behavior that appear to be extraordinary but are credible enough to warrant official investigation. Her allegations are documentable: an existing FBI file should determine whether they are accurate. It’s true that she probably knows only part of the story, but if that part is correct, Congress and the Justice Department should have no higher priority. Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.

THE BIG JHING!!!

I am beginning to think there is a lot more to this global financial crisis than meets the eye. As Barak Obama said today:
"The world continues to fear that the United States government won't do enough to prevent a recession."
But in fact, the world is way (way!) beyond that.

The rest of the world watched in horror as the people of the USA elected a blatantly idiotic chimpanzee to the most powerful position - evuh! - in the history of human evolution. We watched in horror as he lied about WMDs and dragged the globe into a totally bogus war for control of Iraq's oil reserves.

We have watched in mute disgust as both sides of US politics have tried to justify the use of torture, cluster bombs, white phosphorous and other horrors in their pursuit of a totally ridiculous "war" on terrorists (who, we notice, they are not really all that intent on capturing and/or rendering to justice).

So now, predictably, the economic chickens have come home to roost in downtown DC. And what do you frikkin' EXPECT the rest of the world to do?

I mean, sharemarkets are controlled by money, and that money is controlled by real human beings with real emotions and real opinions and (in many, many cases) real disgust at what nearly eight years of George W. Bush has done to our planet.

The Bush-Cheney cabal has pushed their luck way (way!) too far, and people around the globe have woken up to what has been going on for the past fifty years. Why should WE continue to bankroll the US military-industrial establishment, which continues to threaten our very existence?

Or why should WE be expected to bankroll the USA's profligate addiction to polluting fossil fuels, which (again) threaten our very existence?

Maybe the people of Teh USA have not quite woken up to reality yet, consumed as they are by MTV, Nascar, Oprah and FOX TV, but we, the people of the world at large, are now very well aware of what is going on.

So why should WE come to the financial rescue of the Federal Reserve?

Why should WE not sit back and watch with a certain smug satisfaction as the US economy tanks, lilts to starboard, and (hopefully) sinks forever into the muddy shoals of ancient history?

NB: No, I have no idea what "the Big Jhing" means either. It just came to me like a revelation.

January 22, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The BRAD BLOG:
For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.

For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network.
Aussie readers must explain why the US media refuses to cover this explosive story, and why our own media is also ignoring it.

More at Common Dreams. Have we got traction yet???

Retribution?

The wave of panic unfolds:
In the media sector, Fairfax shed eight cents to $4.11, News Corp lost 44 cents to $21.32 and its non-voting scrip was down 74 cents to $20.51. Ten Network lost six cents to $2.51 and Seven Network was down 23 cents to $11.55.
These are the people who failed to warn us about the coming crisis, who lauded the fools who engineered it.

Wouldn't it be nice if ANYONE in Ozblogistan was actually reporting this as it is? But it seems the post-election Aussie blogosphere is nearly as dead as a dodo. We've "moved on", it seems...

It's A Small, Small World

Tony Snow writes to fellow wingnut cancer patient Tim Blair:
"Keep your spirits up, your attitude aggressive and positive. We live in an age of miracles, and researchers are finding new treatments every day.

"At any rate, I'm one of many thinking of and praying for you. If you need to bounce things off a fellow cancer patient, don't be shy. But in any event, fight - and enjoy every moment!"
Sounds like a familiar attitude...

A Wierd Mob

From Richard L. Hasen at The Canberra Times:
For Australians, many features of US election administration must seem peculiar. Even for national polls, US elections are administered on the local, not even state, level, with up to 14,000 different electoral jurisdictions each using different types of ballots, different voting machines and different voting rules. In most electoral jurisdictions, election administrators are openly partisan with an allegiance to the Democratic or Republican Party. Not only is voting not mandatory, enrolment, called registration, is the responsibility of the voter, not the state.

The Florida 2000 debacle, in which the fate of the US presidency was determined by whether and how to count partially perforated punch-card ballots, should have taught the US to emulate Australia's professionalised, non-partisan, and nationalised system of election administration. But instead, the US has gone in the opposite direction...
Hasen's article documents a whole host of un-Democratic scandals besetting the USA (who, let us not forget, frequently go to war to "spread" their ideas of "Freem" and "Moxy"). More at his blog, www.electionlawblog.org.

Open Letter To Professor Juan Cole

I urge all readers to go read Juan Cole's blog today, in which he pays an inspiring tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King. His post inspired me to write this comment...

Juan, your continued efforts on your blog and elsewhere are testimony to your inspiring faith in your readership. But as you note MLK said:
"If we assume that mankind has a right to survive then we must find an alternative to war and destruction. "
Under current circumstances, the assumption that mankind has a (divine) "right" to survive must be questioned. If nothing else, the Iraq War has provided us with a ghastly insight into the base failings of human nature. Is this is who and what we are, the world is better off without us.

Men like MLK and Gandhi rise up from among the thronging masses of the deprived. They are feted as heroes. Their message of peace is trumpeted around the globe.

And then we kill them.

And then we forget them.

What is wrong with us? How do we transcend the greed, hatred, fear and bloodlust that holds us down in the pits of evolutionary primordialism?

In the end, perhaps it is only faith and hope that offer a solution. And I am not talking about faith in a divine being who offers us a "right" to survive all our self-made horrors, but faith such as you, sir, show in your own readers.

Thank you.

January 21, 2008

When I Said "One World" This Is Not What I Meant

Gordon Brown's new world order:
Gordon Brown has begun secret talks with other world leaders on far-reaching reform of the United Nations Security Council as part of a drive to create a "new world order" and "global society".
More here:
Proposing sweeping changes to international institutions, Brown called for rapid response teams of police and experts to be set up that could be sent quickly to trouble spots to restore order and begin rebuilding after conflicts.

He also called for the creation of a multi-billion dollar global climate change fund within the World Bank to finance environmentally sustainable development in the poorest countries.

Brown believes that the rapid spread of the credit crisis last year after problems with US subprime mortgages points to failings in global financial supervision that must be fixed.

"With financial markets and flows transformed by globalisation, I propose that - acting with the same independence as a central bank - the IMF should focus on surveillance of the global economic and financial system and thus prevent crises, not just resolve them," he said in excerpts of a speech he will deliver to business executives in New Delhi.

The IMF, working with the Financial Stability Forum - a group of central banks, regulators and international bodies - "should be at the heart of an early warning system for financial turbulence affecting the global economy," he said.
Yeah, let's all take those massive budget surpluses that are propping up the failed capitalist economic model and throw them to the IMF and World Bank. Great idea.

Tonight's Top Story?

The Sunday Times keeps faith with Sibel:
One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.

Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up by the FBI because its contents are explosive.
You have to wonder what Rupert and his friends think when real journalism like this pops up.

BushWorld: Where Did All The Money Go?


Follow the M3:
If jobs have not increased, salaries have gone down, and the value of business has not risen, where is that 35 percent growth in the economy?

There is a number called the M3 money supply.

The M1 is basically cash, plus checking and "current" accounts. The M2 adds savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs up to $100,000. The M3 adds in the big CDs, Eurodollar accounts and other large exotics.

Already rising very fast, the M3 took off like a rocket after 2001. The Fed stopped publishing the M3 in 2006 (conspiracy theorists, please note.) But a quick look at the chart of its growth, and assuming its trajectory continued, clearly shows that the M3 grew by something in the range of 35 percent.

The entire growth of the economy under Bushenomics is accounted for by growth in the money supply.

The administration did not directly inflate the economy by 35 percent.

They pumped it by the size of the deficit. The rest happened this way....
Read the full article by Larry Beinhart for details, but basically the Bush administration printed off wads of money to keep everything looking better than it was.
The subprime crisis, the housing bubble, whatever you want to call it, is not the problem.

It's a symptom of pumping in money with no place to go.

Other symptoms are no job growth, no business growth, no stock market growth, falling median incomes, disappearing pensions and health plans, and the fall of the dollar...

One way to think of what the administration has done, is as a leveraged buyout. That's when someone buys a company, using the company itself as the collateral for the loan used to purchase it, usually at very high interest, then pays off the interest by cutting the work force and salaries, selling outsets and even breaking up the company.

It's good for the guy who makes the deal, skims the cream off the top and gets rich. (The company that Mitt Romney got rich working for specialized in doing that.) It's good for the lenders, who get a good return (if the buyer is able to squeeze enough money out of his purchase), but it's bad for the work force, bad for the company, and, if no one comes along to replace it, bad for the business as a whole.

We've experienced a leveraged buyout of the national economy.
Beinhart calls for some more responsible fiscal policy goals, financed by increased taxes on the rich. But he feels compelled to add this disclaimer:
By the way, this is not a call for socialism! Or other ism! Except a call for sensible and effective capitalism.
Denouncing capitalism remains the great thoughtcrime of US society! Are we allowed to ask why???

Also interesting to read the comments on that story at AlterNet - there is a lot of anger brewing out there in BushWorld.

Stop The Clock!

This article by Steven Weber really highlights what a disaster Bush has been:
In 2001, the Administration declared a revolution in the practice and substance of US foreign policy. It ridiculed liberal internationalist ideals of multilateral cooperation. It opposed using US military power dressed up as "nation-building". It wrote off global warming as Al Gore's obsession, and it said it wouldn't get bogged down, as its predecessors had, in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Then after 9/11, the Administration went further, developing a radical new doctrine for the pre-emptive use of military force. The war on terrorism became its defining issue indeed its supreme purpose superseding all else, strategically as well as morally.

Today, the world looks very different...
Weber cites a whole host of issues on which the USA has back-tracked, wasted time, and squandered opportunities. For example, last month Bush, who called Kim Jong-il a "tyrant" and "pygmy" in 2003, wrote the North Korean leader a personal "Dear Mr Chairman" letter.
The Republican candidates who would build on Bush's old approach to foreign policy clearly don't get how the world has changed. But neither do Democrats who stress reversing what Bush has done. No one should feel vindicated by the Bush Administration's reversals, because defining the future of US foreign policy in terms of the past would be as big a mistake for the next president as it was for Bush.

The Next US President?

God help us all. Mike Huckabee is being seriously presented as a viable GOP alternative to 71-year-old John "Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain. Here's how Huckabee excites his evangelical fan base:
"I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."
Then there's Mitt "The Mormon" Romney:
Romney supported the invasion of Iraq, and supports the "troop surge." Upon hearing the testimony of David Petraeus, Romney reemphasized his agreement with current policy in Iraq and has called for a "Surge of Support" for the military. Romney has called for increased military spending to at least 4 percent of the United States GDP and wishes to increase the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops.
There are the US right's best and brightest? Really???

January 18, 2008

Hillary's N.H. Surprise: Did Murdoch Know?

The editor of Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper, Rebekah Wade, yesterday told a House of Lords communications committee that Rupert Murdoch called her at 1.30am on the day of the New Hampshire primaries to warn her that the exit polls were wrong.

There has been heated speculation in the blogosphere that Hiliary Clinton's win in New Hampshire was rigged. And everybody is well aware that Murdoch favors Clinton in 2008.

So was Murdoch just (a) hanging on the wires, keeping a close eye on results, and checking that his UK morning editions didn't stuff up? Or was (b) he in on the vote rigging and controlling the story he wanted to see in print?

If you answered (c) we'll probably never know, you are probably right.

January 17, 2008

You Were Warned


In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was campaigning against George Bush Snr for the Republican Party ballot, Reagan's camp ran an advertisement which claimed:

"A coalition of multinational corporate executives, big-city bankers, and hungry power brokers... want to give you George Bush... their purpose is to control the American government."

At that time, the widely unpopular George H. W. Bush was considered "unelectable". Does anyone remember that?

Before WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a warning:

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power... Among us today, a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."

That "concentration of private power" included George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was later convicted by the US government under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Then there's President Eisenhower's dire warnings in 1960 about the growth of the "military-industrial complex", a term he himself invented:
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
There were other warnings too. Here's Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, in 1941:
“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
Here's Huey Long, who won fame by taking on the powerful Standard Oil Company, which he sued for unfair business practices:
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag.”

How Trivial Can the Media Make the Presidential Race?


Rolling Stone:
I'm amazed. Here we are, the world's lone superpower, holding elections at a time when we're engaged in a catastrophic war in Iraq, facing a burgeoning nuclear crisis in Pakistan, dealing with all sorts of horrible stuff. And at the crucial moment, the presidential race turns into something from the cutting-room floor of Truly Tasteless Jokes #50: "Three change-promisers walk into a bar ...."

I mean, is this a joke, or what? What the hell is the difference between "working for change" and "demanding change"? And why can't we hope for change and work for it? Are these presidential candidates or six-year-olds?

This 2008 presidential race looked interesting once, a thrillingly up-for-grabs affair in which real issues and real ground-up voter anger threatened to wrest control of America's politics from the Washington Brahmins who usually puppeteer this process from afar. And while the end result in Iowa -- a historic and inspirational Obama victory, coupled with a hilariously satisfying behind-the-woodshed third-place ass-whipping for status quo gorgon Hillary Clinton -- was compelling, the media has done its best to turn a once-promising race into an idiotic exchange of Nerf-insults, delivered at rah-rah campaign events utterly indistinguishable from scholastic pep rallies. "If there's policy in this race," one veteran campaign reporter tells me with a sad laugh, "I haven't noticed it."

And while it's tempting to blame the candidates, deep in my black journalist's heart I know it isn't all their fault.

We did this. The press. America tried to give us a real race, and we turned it into a bag of shit...

Both the Huckabee and Ron Paul candidacies represent angry grass-roots challenges to the entrenched Republican party apparatus, while the Edwards candidacy is a frank and open attack on his own party's too-cozy relationship with corporate America. These developments signaled a meaningful political phenomenon -- widespread voter disgust, not only with the two ruling parties, but with a national political press that smugly enforced the party insiders' stranglehold on the process with its incessant bullying of dissident candidates.

But there was no way this genuinely interesting theme was going to make it into mainstream coverage of the campaign heading into the primary season. It was inevitable that different, far stupider story lines would be found to dominate the headlines once the real bullets started flying in Iowa and New Hampshire. And find them we did.

A month ago, I was actually interested to see who won these first few races. But now that this whole affair has degenerated into a mass orgy of sports clichés and celebrity catfighting, I find myself more hoping that they all die in a fire somehow. And something tells me that most of America would hope that my colleagues and I burn up with them.
In not-unrelated news, it's interesting how the media has been increasingly ignoring John Edwards as his anti-corporate message gets louder.

And this bit of Guardian analysis was interesting to me:
The apparent inability of the Republicans to select a candidate to replace George Bush in the White House signals a fundamental internal debate about what the party stands for.

"This is clearly a battle for the future of the Republican party," said David King of the Kennedy school of government at Harvard. He said the fight was between Huckabee's social and moral conservatism and Romney's economic conservatism.

"They represent two sides of a coalition that was put together by Ronald Reagan and has held together only tenuously. I think it will be split apart for all time by this election, though which side triumphs within the party is not clear."
Gordon Brown is struggling to hold the UK Labour Party together in the trail of Tony Blair's stewardship, John Howard's Australian Liberals are now howling like a pack of hoons in the wilderness of political irrelevance... Does the same destiny await Bush's GOP? One can only hope so.

January 16, 2008

Comment at Prof Q's Blog

By gandhi:
G.W. Bush has set a new standard for incompetence, but it’s not really his fault. We should blame the people who pushed him through the door: if ever there was a puppet President, this guy is it!

And of course all roads lead to Dick Cheney and his Big Oil mates. No wonder they wouldn’t release the details of those Energy Taskforce meetings in the early days of the Bush 43 administration! Big Oil took over the White House in 2000.

So if we accept that fact, we need to look at things from this viewpoint. US-based Big Oil going to the casino with trillions of US taxpayer dollars in their pockets… and losing. Big time. Year after year.

Because oil has peaked, the US military is a pack of ignorant teenagers, the world has long had a gutful of US exceptionalism, the theatrical drama of 9/11 didn’t survive the post-release scientific reviews, and it turns out that US allies in the Middle East never liked them anyway.

So where are we? You can come up with all kinds of conjecture, but the basic fact remains: we are smack bang in the middle of a massive global economic disaster. It just hasn’t played out yet.

I’m tempted to say, “put on your sunglasses and get out the popcorn”, but it’s far too serious for that. We are all fucked.

George "The War Monger" Bush Descends Into Self-Ridicule

From The Huffington Post via TPM:
"My image [is] 'Bush wants to fight Muslims.' And, yes, I'm concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I'm concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans," he said.

"I'm sure people view me as a war monger and I view myself as peacemaker," the president said. "They view me as so pro-Israeli I can't be open-minded about Palestinian peace, and yet I'm the only president ever to have articulated a two-state solution. And you just have to fight through stereotypes by actions."
OMFG.

Dinner With The Devil

Glyn Myerscough wonders why JP Morgan would want to employ a man like Blair?
Why would they want to pay him a purported £2 million salary? We might find the answer in France where the US’s new poodle in new Europe, President Sarkozy is touting Blair for the EU Presidency. Since his resignation Blair has effectively been airbrushed from political existence - like the failed Soviet Siloviki of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Could Blair, the rising son of JP Morgan, be the New World Order’s chosen man in the new European century? Are we witnessing the rehabilitation of Blair as a ‘political asset’?
Myerscough ridicules the idea that Blair has anything to offer JP Morgan, and suggests this is just payback for (a) the Iraq War profits and (b) numerous trans-Atlantic single market economic "bridges".

Myerscough recalls how the US Federal Reserve was established in 1910, following a secretive meeting of powerful banking families on Jeckyll Island:
The one attempt in the 20th century to break the power of this defacto-private bank, for this is precisely what the Federal Reserve is - when founded its board comprised 80% private bankers 20% government representatives – failed spectacularly. 44 years ago John F Kennedy attempted to end the Federal Reserve System to eliminate the national debt this ‘so called’ central bank creates by printing money and lending it to government.

On June 4, 1963, presidential order EO 11110 authorised the president to issue currency. Kennedy ordered the US Treasury to print $4 billion worth of "United States Notes" backed incidentally by US bullion reserves, to replace Federal Reserve Notes, which were backed by nothing, so he could end the Federal Reserve System and the control it gave international bankers over the US government and its citizens. Kennedy’s strategy to bring US troops home from Vietnam by the end of 1965, combined with the removal of the Fed’s control of the US money supply would have killed the profits of this private bank. Literally as Kennedy’s dollars went into circulation he was assassinated in Dallas.
I am pretty sure George H. W. Bush knows exactly who killed Kennedy, because he was involved. At the time, of course, he was working undercover for the CIA. But he attended a secretive dinner of powerful men the night before Kennedy's death.

"Liberals Are The New Fascists" M'kay?

And up is down:
They attacked me. They went after all my advertisers. They learned good from their friends at Media Matters, that rat-bum -- it's a homosexual, fascist website. Let me explain who Media Matters is. It was founded by Hillary Clinton. It's run by a bunch of fascist homosexuals. They're the brownshirts of our time.

When are you gonna wake up to the fact that liberals are not liberal? When are you gonna wake up to the fact that the liberals are the new fascists. They are the brownshirts! And they're gonna take this country over the cliff if you don't stand up to them and stop them.
OMFG! We gotta get mobilized right now, dudes!

January 15, 2008

Stressed?

Layla Anwar puts it in perspective:
I will tell you what real stress is all about you motherfuckers.

Stress is when you have been no with water and no electricity for over 5 years. That is stress.

Stress is when you have no job because some fucking backward retard came and occupied your country, pillaged it and stripped you of your livelihood. That is stress.

Stress is when you run from hospital ward to hospital ward, from prison to prison, from militia to militia looking for your loved one only to recognize them from their teeth fillings in some morgue...That is stress alright.


Stress is when you pack your bags quickly and run to the nearest border only to be asked to return and in the meantime some american western motherfucker has bombed your house into a pile of stones... Yeah, that is stress.

Stress is when you see your family and loved ones dying in front of your eyes and you can't afford to buy them the basic medication to ease their pain...That is stress.

Stress is when your baby girl or baby boy is born looking like fucking Frankenstein, because some american motherfucker who is stressed out bombed your country with D.U.

Stress is when they walk into the middle of the night and you sleep with your clothes on, because you don't want them to see you half naked just in case, when they smash your door down, pull you from your hair or shirt out into the cold and place a sand bang over your fucking head. That is stress.

Stress is when you are a prisoner in your own country by some smelly shit faced, pimpled stinking american who has not even finished high school, and stress is when that same motherfucker rapes you and sodomizes you, tortures you and calls you a dirty Iraqi in your own fucking country...That is stress.

Bend Over


Has anyone ever done an economic analysis of where the USA might be without its massive global arms industry?

I'm just trying to work out what the US taxpayer gets out of this obscene charade:

1. The Bush Gang abuses political power to send billions of US taxpayer dollars to the Saudis via oil deals, aid deals, and straight-out corruption.

2. The Saudis send billions of dollars back to The Bush Gang's friends in the US military-industrial complex.

3. The US military-industrial complex lobbies for the Bush Gang to achieve even more political power.

Repeat, repeat, repeat...

But what does the US taxpayer get out of this cycle? Increased poverty, an increased threat of terrorism, and an economy set to collapse.

When and if the US economy does collapse, Bush's Big Money friends will just take their money and walk away. They already operate as global corporate elites, they are not going to be bound by the limitations of one nation, one government, or one set of tax laws.

I think you can compare what is happening today in global business with what happened back in the days of C.18th English colonialism. Then, British companies traveled the world, exploiting native workers and plundering natural resources, and taking all the profits back home to London. Today, corporate giants spread their tentacles around the world, exploiting native workers and exploiting natural resources, but now the profits are held in offshore accounts and safe havens, ready to be shifted whenever and wherever the next business opportunity arises.

January 14, 2008

Psycho Bloggers - Qu'Est-Ce Que C'est?

I present to you three psychopathologically compulsive bloggers who (coincidentally?) have arrived at very similar conclusions about the nature of the world we live in:

1. Darryl Mason,

2. Winter Patriot, and

3. My good self.

All three have multiple blogs and blog compulsively on international political issues. All three enjoy minimal public support and/or recognition.

So I ask you...

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

Choosing To Believe What We Want To Believe

The story of "Caesar", an Iraqi soldier who opened fire on his US colleagues when they assaulted a pregnant woman, has become the top item in Iraqi news, although it has been virtually ignored in the Western media. Now it is also the top story at Alternet.

When I first saw a bland report on this incident in the Fairfax press (straight off the wires), it related the incident for an official US government and military point of view. I emailed the editors with details and URLs for the Iraq version of the story. They replied that there was already a (very, very tiny) mention of the Iraqi version of events, and that was enough for them. Little wonder most Westerners do not understand what is going on in Iraq, or why.

In the comments on the story at Alternet, I read this plaintive cry:
I don't understand this need to believe that US is a benevolent power, and we generally do what is right except for the occassional 'bad apples' who screw up things.

Consider the following scenarios since WW2:

1. Bay of Pigs
2. Gulf of Tonkin
3. USS Liberty
4. Coup against Mossadeq
5. Coup against Allende (the original 9/11/73)
6. Iran-Contra
7. Shooting down Iranian Ariliner flight
8. FBI infiltration of antiwar movement in 60's
9. Mai Lai massacre
10. Falluja and the use of illegal chemical weapons
11. Haditha Massacre
12. Iraq-WMD and AlQaeda connections

There are so many other examples. Why is it that a majority of us continue to buy the US government propaganda?
There was only one reply:
I seriously doubt that any significant portion of American citizens know anything about the events you listed; and more significantly, I doubt any care. Americans generally prefer to approach their government as they approach their God, with religious faith. There is no questioning it. The academic performance of American youth is infamous, and getting worse. They are too busy to read a book, probably fighting over who is the father of their illegitimate child. I say these things because you asked why. In a democracy that depends upon the active participation of highly literate intelligent citizens it should be obvious why this country has become a monstrosity.
Are we supposed to just write off the whole Iraq War, the Bush administration, and even the "dream that was America", as just a harsh lesson in human nature? Is that really the best we can do?

Eschaton!

Three interesting posts from Atrios overnight. First up:
Iraq Logic

People shot and killed are victims of sectarian violence.

People killed by bombs are victims of "al Qaeda."

"Sophisticated" bombs are all built by Iran.

"Al Qaeda" are Sunni.

Iranians are Shiite.

And only stupid bloggers notice this stuff.
Secondly, I've been wondering when this story would start to surface:
The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.

Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing. More than half the killings involved guns, and the rest were stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings. Twenty-five offenders faced murder, manslaughter or homicide charges for fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving.

About a third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives, among them 2-year-old Krisiauna Calaira Lewis, whose 20-year-old father slammed her against a wall when he was recuperating in Texas from a bombing near Falluja that blew off his foot and shook up his brain.
Finally, a juicy bit of irony: a Saudi Prince who was criticized for saying US policies contributed to 9/11 has stepped in as a saviour for Citibank. That's almost as ironic as the recent story I saw predicting the Chinese would become world leaders in green power technology.

If you don't read Atrios regularly, you should. From an international perspective, he does get a little bogged down in local politics, but he has a brilliant knack of encapsulating complex issues in a nutshell.

January 12, 2008

Why Tony Got The Job

Surprise:
JPMorgan is heading a consortium set to make billions as Iraq's economy recovers from the war spearheaded by Mr Blair and U.S. President George Bush.

It was chosen to run the new Trade Bank of Iraq, which has raised billions in trade guarantees by mortgaging future oil production and will make huge profits from the deals.

Westminster watchdogs have ordered Mr Blair not to attempt to lobby his former Government colleagues on behalf of the bank for the next 12 months.

Did Diebold Win New Hampshire For Hillary?

Maybe.

January 11, 2008

Naked News!


Surely this is the logical next step in mainstream media? See here for more, er... info.

Gordon Gecko Lives!

From The Canberra Times:
All last year, as the housing market worsened in the United States, I've been waiting to read of ex-millionaire/billionaires taking high dives from their New York penthouses. Yet it seems, no matter what, for Wall Street's high rollers these days, you just can't lose.
The system is rigged.

Where Now On The Financial Front?

Mike Whitney delivers his verdict:
Bush is going to have to give away the farm just to keep the economy from crashing. Good luck. Clearly, the prospect of a system-wide meltdown in banking, real estate and equities has become a "Road to Damascus" moment for lame-duck George.
This is a comprehensive article by Whitney and should be required reading for everybody with any sense at all.

Feminism And Beyond

John Pilger looks at the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which he calls "the high bar of feminism, home of the bravest of the brave":
Year after year, Rawa agents have traveled secretly through Afghanistan, teaching at clandestine girls' schools, ministering to isolated and brutalized women, recording outrages on cameras concealed beneath their burqas. They were the Taliban regime's implacable foes when the word Taliban was barely heard in the west: when the Clinton administration was secretly courting the mullahs so that the oil company UNOCAL could build a pipeline across Afghanistan from the Caspian.
A RAWA spokeswoman criticizes Western double standards: we rail against the Taliban but support the regional warlords whose oppression of women is no different.
The reason the United States gave for invading Afghanistan in October 2001 was "to destroy the infrastructure of al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11." The women of Rawa say this is false. In a rare statement on 4 December that went unreported in Britain, they said: "By experience, [we have found] that the US does not want to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and work towards the realization of their economic, political and strategic interests in the region."

The truth about the "good war" is to be found in compelling evidence that the 2001 invasion, widely supported in the west as a justifiable response to the 11 September attacks, was actually planned two months prior to 9/11 and that the most pressing problem for Washington was not the Taliban's links with Osama Bin Laden, but the prospect of the Taliban mullahs losing control of Afghanistan to less reliable mujahedin factions, led by warlords who had been funded and armed by the CIA to fight America's proxy war against the Soviet occupiers in the 1980s...

The "moment in history" was a secret memorandum of understanding the mullahs had signed with the Clinton administration on the pipeline deal. However, by the late 1990s, the Northern Alliance had encroached further and further on territory controlled by the Taliban, whom, as a result, were deemed in Washington to lack the "stability" required of such an important client.
Pilger argues that "the tactical victory in Afghanistan in 2001, achieved with bombs, has become a strategic disaster in south Asia".

Credibility Is A Bitch

When the USA first accused Iranian gunboats of harassing their warships, I was skeptical. When the USA released video of the incident, I was intrigued. But when the Iranians claimed that the US video was a hoax, the whole thing started to sound like just another sorry charade. That has been confirmed now that the USA had admitted that they doctored the video.

Then there is the latest Iraq body count from the World Health Organization, which puts the number of deaths from violence from April 2003 through June 2006 at between 101,000 and 224,000. As Juan Cole notes, whatever the discrepancies with the Lancet guesstimate of over 600,000 deaths, "the last time Bush admitted his war had killed civilians, he quoted the figure of 30,000, and we can definitely dismiss such tiny numbers as woefully inaccurate. Bush has to face up to what he has done."
One of the arguments warmongers gave for overthrowing Saddam Hussein was that his regime was responsible for the violent deaths of some 300,000 civilians between 1968 and 2003. That estimate now appears exaggerated, since the number of bodies in mass graves has not borne it out. But what is tragic is that in 4 1/2 short years, a foreign military occupation has unleashed killing on a scale achieved by the murderous Saddam Hussein regime only over decades. Bush did not kill all those people directly, of course, but he did indirectly cause them to be killed, since these are excess deaths beyond what you would have expected if there had been no invasion and occupation.

I am often struck by how clueless the American public is to the vast destruction we have wrought on Iraq and its people, directly or indirectly. It strikes me as a bitter joke that 4 million are displaced, often facing hunger and disease, and the rightwing periodicals and presidential candidates are talking about how the "surge" has "turned things around." For whom? How many orphans have we created? How many widows? How many people who weep and cry every night while trying to fall asleep on straw mats?
The fact that Bush would even dare to push such a ridiculously low figure speaks for itself.

Gone are the days when anyone ever took the USA at its word. The US military in particular has disgraced itself over the past 8 years or more. Bush's "war" on terrorism may be a bogus construction, but Truth (starting with lies about 9/11 and WMD) has nevertheless been its first casualty.

January 10, 2008

Tony Blair Heads To Wall Street

Now that Herr Dubya is helping fulfill the role of special super ambassador envoy dove of peace to the entire Middle East, Tony Blair is picking up some lucrative "work" at US bank JP Morgan:
The former prime minister's first City job will be to provide JP Morgan with strategic and political advice. Mr Blair, who is not paid for his role as a Middle East envoy, said he expected to accept a "small handful" of similar posts in other sectors.

"I have always been interested in commerce and the impact of globalisation. Nowadays, the intersection between politics and the economy in different parts of the world, including the emerging markets, is very strong," he told the Financial Times.
"Intersection"? Or just an increasingly blurred distinction? You decide!

Blair's soul brother Nick Sarkozy is also touting Blair as a future EU President. That should go down well.

Gross(man) Indecency

Larisa Alexandrovna follows up Sibel Edmonds' recent claims in the Sunday Times:
The person against whom these allegations are being made is Marc Grossman. The Times could have published the name and also provided the denial from Grossman's camp. I find it incredibly disturbing that they would not name the official.
Explosive stuff! But wait, there's MORE:
Those senior DOD officials who are not mentioned in the Times article, all but one are no longer in government. They are alleged to be Doug Feith, Richard Perle, among others. There is also one person who is part of these allegations, still serving in a high level position at the DOD. His last name begins with an E [hint from gandhi: Edelman].

I have tried getting someone in broadcast and print media to run this story. My sources did not include Edmonds, but because of the sensitive nature of the information, I was concerned that she would go to jail anyway, unless I proved she was not a source - which would require me to reveal my sources.

I thought if I approached a big enough news outlet, the pressure generated by the public response would spare Edmonds jail time and I would not be pressured to reveal sources - something I would not have done anyway. Even a former high ranking CIA officer offered to byline the article with me if that would help sell a broadcaster/publication on running the story. No one was interested.

That the Times ran these allegations (she is under a state secrets gag folks, so it is not like she is gagged for lying) is encouraging. But that they omitted all names from the allegations is unethical. The point of a free press is not to protect the powerful against the weak, but to protect the public from the powerful. The Times was willing to stick a toe in, but was not willing to risk upsetting a foreign government (This is, after all, a British paper).
Sibel Edmonds could well be facing prison time for divulging this information to Rupert Murdoch's Times. Will it be worth it? That's up to you and me, folks.

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