Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Magic Bullshit Theory

Maybe you were thinkin' that it didn't matter
Maybe you believed nobody else would care
But once you've added every little lie together
You finally find the truth was always waiting there
- Steve Earle, "Conspiracy Theory"

High officials and their media proxies have been playing the "conspiracy theory" card for as long as there have been, in the popular sense of the word, conspiracies. Any doubt, see the CIA's instructions to media assets re: deflecting criticism of the Warren Report, discovered in 1977, ten years after it was distributed to all CIA station chiefs and marked with the instructions "DESTROY WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED."

Anything which deviates from the official story - any official story - as handed down by the White House is fair game to be slagged off as "conspiracy theory." Dispute the Received Version of Events, and this is how you get slapped down, and told in no uncertain terms that your line of inquiry is out of order, and you are possibly psychologically disturbed for pursuing it.

Kristina Borjesson became a former producer for CBS News by investigating beyond the official cause of the crash of TWA 800. Because, despite the
  • more than 100 eyewitnesses who saw a streak of light ascending from the ocean surface impact the aircraft;
  • FAA tracking of a missile-like radar return, and detection of a high-speed (Mach 2) ejection from the aircraft after the initiating event;
  • localized re-crystallization of metal consistent with a missile impact, which could not be explained by the official breakup sequence;
  • FBI admission of traces of explosives PETN and RDX on cabin seats;
  • seat foam containing missile residue;
  • report of French intelligence that the plane was downed by a missile;
  • cover-up of a US Naval missile exercise off the coast of Long Island;
  • radar track of an unidentified surface vessel speeding from the scene the moment debris began to fall, rather than assist with search and rescue

and more, Borjesson had become a "conspiracy theorist" for challenging the finding of a compromised investigation. For her efforts, she found her phone tapped and her car broken into, with only documents pertaining to the crash stolen. Events she would have had a hard time believing, had she herself not walked "into the buzzsaw":

The buzzsaw is a powerful system of censorship in this country that is revealed to those reporting on extremely sensitive stories, usually having to do with high-level government and/or corporate malfeasace. It often has a fatal effect on one's career.

Borjesson goes on to write that "anyone who doesn't buy the government's unproven theory...is a 'conspiracy theorist'":

Tacitly attached to the term "conspiracy theorist" are all kinds of other nouns and adjectives like "goofball," "nutcake," "bottomfeeder," "crazy," and so on. Using insulting and false labels to marginalize dissenting or politically incorrect voices is a ploy that government and corporations as well as the press use on a daily basis.

Witness the character assassination of Howard Dean. His well-founded charge that the White House was playing politics with terror alerts earned him the smear of "bizarre conspiracy theorist" from Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt. (When someone is called a "conspiracy theorist" in today's America, "bizarre" is usually assumed.)

Observe how Scott McClellan spanks the White House press corp for challenging the lies respecting of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's departure:

QUESTION: Thank you. Can you describe what the United States knows about the conditions under which President Aristide left Haiti? Do we know, did he leave of his own? Was he forcibly --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's nonsense. I would just say -- I've seen some of the reports. Conspiracy theories do nothing to help the Haitian people move forward....

And again:

QUESTION: Congresswoman Maxine Waters told us that she had spoken directly with Aristide, who claims over and over again saying he was kidnapped, that the coup was completed by the Americans, they forced him out, they disabled his American security force; basically saying that he did not resign, he was forced out, America completed the coup.

MCCLELLAN: I think I just answered a question to that effect. As I said, it's nonsense, and conspiracy theories like that do nothing to help the Haitian people realize the future that they aspire to....

Here, McClellan is being pressed by Helen Thomas on the embarrassment of Bush's National Guard record, or rather, the lack thereof:

MCCLELLAN: ... And it was -- it's interesting to see the conspiracy theories that are out there, because there are certain privacy issues always involved when the National Guard or any government agency releases information.... I'm just amazed by the kinds of conspiracy theories that some have chosen to pursue. The facts are very clear. But there are some that are simply not interested in the facts. And the American people deserve better.

QUESTION: -- the personal record of a President is --

MCCLELLAN: No, hang on, Helen, hang on. I've said from this podium, if we have new information that comes to our attention that relates to this issue, we have made it clear we will share that information. You're asking me to go and chase rumors. There was a conspiracy theory....

Tucker Carlson is a master at beating this deafening drum. A selection from his Mockingbird-like work on CNN:
Why is Halliburton so darn bad? Well, that's a long story - a conspiracy theory, really - too complicated to explain here. Or, for that matter, anywhere.


It is the ugliest possible
conspiracy theory and it's a destructive one, too. If you don't like Ashcroft's policy, attack them, critique them. But don't accuse him or any other American of knowing about 9/11 in advance. It's just too much.


So much is happening
: Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest press conference, a court ruling on whether the recall will go forward, not to mention Gray Davis' latest conspiracy theory.


FRANKEN: And remember, they warned in February of 2001 that a catastrophic terrorist attack was coming? And remember what the president did? Nothing. He appointed...

CARLSON: That's part of your conspiracy theory, Al. But the fact is...

FRANKEN: No, no, no, that's not a conspiracy theory. That's a fact.

CARLSON: Well, it sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory.

Just as telling is what is not called a conspiracy theory. For instance, the Rovian smears by the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," who suggest John Kerry and others have lied for 34 years about his war record and is undeserving of his decorations, are rather "allegations", and supposedly worthy of our attention.

Conspirators don't lose sleep over conspiracy theories. It's the conspiracy facts that could get them in trouble. But that's unlikely, so long as "conspiracy" in American culture remains an entertainment genre. To move from the relative innocence of X-Files-like amusement to the hard experience of knowing one's government is a treasonous cabal requires a paradigm shift with a steep learning curve, awful implications and the promise of prompt marginalization. A Paranoid Shift, in Michael Hasty's words.

Who needs a magic bullet anymore, or three or four, when the magic bullshit does the trick just fine?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Which World War is it, Anyway?

"And do not forget the petty scoundrels in this regime; note their names, so that none will go free! They should not find it possible, having had their part in these abominable crimes, at the last minute to rally to another flag and then act as if nothing had happened!" - from the fourth leaflet of the anti-Nazi resistance, The White Rose, 1942.

Among those wise enough to know America is in one and has been for some time, there's disagreement over which World War George Bush is actually waging. Should we call it number III? Or was that the Cold War, and now we're at number IV and counting? ("This is World War IV" is the favoured construct of the neoconservatives. See, for instance, such bloody-minded idealogues as John Woolsey and Norman Podhoretz. I imagine at some point they determined that decades of association with nuclear apocalypse had voided the potential positive spin for "World War III.")

So which World War is it? It's neither the Third nor the Fourth; it's still the Second. Even though the apologists of the Pirate Class in their red, white and blue shirts will never own the name "fascist." As Orwell wrote in Politics and the English Language, "the word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable.'" But that's no reason for us to shy from using it. Just because goosestepping has gone out of style doesn't mean they've kicked off their jackboots.

When we talk about Nazis in America, we're talking about more than the more than passing resemblance to the Bush Cartel. That Prescott's family business profited handsomely by the Nazis is well known, at least by those who think it important to note such things. But the story is larger and uglier than more dirty dealings by a Bonseman.

It also goes deeper than the Republican Party's active recruitment of fascists and racists since the mid-50s through the aegis of its Heritage Groups Council, but since that's seldom recalled, let's pause for a moment to recollect.

When a number of senior members of George HW Bush's 1988 campaign team were revealed to be old school Nazi sympathizers it generated something of a media flap - Pete Hamill titled a New York Post column "George Bush and his fascist fan club" - but the scandal is little remembered today.

Some of Bush's team:

Radi Slavoff, GOP Heritage Council's executive director, and head of "Bulgarians for Bush." Slavoff was a member of a Bulgarian fascist group, and he put together an event in Washington honoring Holocaust denier, Austin App.

Florian Galdau, director of GOP outreach efforts among Romanians, and head of "Romanians for Bush." Galdau was once an Iron Guard recruiter, and he defended convicted Nazi war criminal Valerian Trifa.

Nicholas Nazarenko, leader of a Cossack GOP ethnic unit. Nazarenko was an ex-Waffen SS officer.

Method Balco, GOP activist. Balco organized yearly memorials for a Nazi puppet regime.

Walter Melianovich, head of the GOP's Byelorussian unit. Melianovich worked closely with many Nazi groups.

Bohdan Fedorak, leader of "Ukrainians for Bush." Fedorak headed a Nazi group involved in anti-Jewish wartime pogroms.

Nazis staffing the VP's campaign? Oops! Tut tut tut. We need to run better background checks, wink wink.

The Nazi infection goes back much further. All the way back to the 1930s, when industrialists with fascist sympathies and names like DuPont and Morgan sponsored a coup against Roosevelt to dismantle the New Deal. And then the '40s, when men with names like Bush, Dulles, Favish and Rockefeller traded strategic goods with the enemy, prolonging the war and costing Allied lives.

Worst of all, Project Paperclip saw Nazis virtually co-found the "National Security State," bringing their advanced technology and criminal medical research to America. And something else as well, as Nick Cook is told by the pseudonymous "Dr Dan Markus" in The Hunt for Zero Point:

When the Americans tripped over this mutant strain of nonlinear physics and took it back home with them, they were astute enough to realize that their home-grown scientific talent couldn't handle it. That it was beyond their cultural term of reference. That's why they recruited so many Germans. The Nazis developed a unique approach to science and engineering quite separate from the rest of the world, because their ideology, unrestrained as it was, supported a wholly different way of doing things. Von Braun's V-2s are a case in point, but so was their understanding of physics. The trouble was, when the Americans took it all home with them they found out, too late, that it came infected with a virus. You take the science on, you take on aspects of the ideology, as well.

The Nazi virus entered America's system long ago. It's been Americanized. But what else would one expect, given the CIA was essentially a co-creation of Nazis like General Reinhard Gehlen and his Abwehr anti-Soviet intelligence apparatus and Nazi money launderers like Allen Dulles and the corporatist/intelligence old boy network of Sullivan and Cromwell. No. Such men got exactly what they expected.

"Once the neo-fascists became bold enough to slay the President on the street, they showed their hand," Mort Sahl said early in 1968. So early Dr King and Robert Kennedy were yet to join the body count. "They showed how arrogant they had become. Now it's a question of symptom. That crime was a national symptom. If we can turn our back on that, we will pay a terrible price. That will be the end of this democracy."

They showed their hand, and they've had forty years of getting away with it. And not for lack of evidence. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't read Fonzi's The Last Investigation, Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much or Newman's Oswald and the CIA, to cite just three works. Rather, they got away with it because the truth is too terrible, and many who did not conspire in the killing conspired in the cover-up because they were led to believe that a finding of official complicity in Kennedy's death would shatter the system, when in fact it might have killed the virus.

And undoubtedly the same justification has been used over and over again, to shield Americans from the awful truth of state-sanctioned assassinations, the October Surprise, medical experiments worthy of Mengele, the introduction of crack to the LA underclass, BCCI, 9/11 and on and on. High treason, many times over. But so what? You know what they say about none daring to call it such should it prosper. And brother, has it prospered.

Here's the thing: we're not talking about discrete, singular, sui generis conspiracies here. Indeed, these are not even conspiracies, in the sense of representing aberrant breaks with the system. These are, rather, examples that the system works. It's just not the system Americans were taught in civics class. The examples evidence the criminalization of the state by the deep political nexus of underworld, intelligence, industrial and military interests. "America," to these players, serves as the legit front for their lawless enterprise. The Nazi virus has consumed the host. If it were eradicated and the host miraculously recovered, the poor thing would swear up and down it was still late Autumn, 1963.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Away for a week

On vacation. Please don't let the world blow up without me. I'll want to have something to say about it.

"Where drugs, arms and oil intersect"

Possibly some very important dots being connected here.

First, how well are you acquainted with the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce?

You're certainly well acquainted with its members.

Meet the "Honorary Council of Advisors": James Baker, Lloyd Bentson, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Dick Cheney (resigned after the Nov 2000 election), Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, John Sununu.

That's just for starters. Richard Perle is a Trustee; until his State Department appointment, Richard Armitage sat on the Board. Bigger Names of Big Oil are listed here than in the Houston directory.

The stated goals of the USACC include:

To serve as a liaison with governmental and non-governmental entities, business organizations, think tanks, and to encourage cooperation and information exchange

To sponsor educational programs, trade missions, seminars, conferences and publications to foster cultural and business interests

Interesting, maybe, but...so what?

Think the Caspian Sea. Think pipelines. Oil of course, and also drugs.

Azerbaijan sits between Russia and Iran on the Caspian, and serves as a transit point for Southwest Asian opiates bound for Russia, and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe. Well, that's what the CIA says, and they know their opiates.

And what has Sibel Edmonds said?

From her interview with Christopher Deliso:

CD: At several points you state that such organized crime networks employ "semi-legitimate organizations" as their point of interface with governments and the "legit" world. Can you explain exactly what you mean?

SE: These are organizations that might have a legitimate front – say as a business, or a cultural center or something. And we've also heard a lot about Islamic charities as fronts for terrorist organizations, but the range is much broader and even, simpler.

CD: For example?

SE: You might have an organization supposed to be promoting the cultural affairs of a certain country within another country. Hypothetically, say, an Uzbek folklore society based in Germany. The stated purpose would be to hold folklore-related activities – and they might even do that – but the real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal.

CD: Such as?

SE: Everything – from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences with all these activities and international terrorism.

CD: So with these organizations we're talking about a lot of money –

SE: Huge, just massive. They don't deal with 1 million or 5 million dollars, but with hundreds of millions.

An organization supposedly promoting the cultural affairs of another nation. Hypothetically, Uzbek.

Now, in what languages did Edmonds serve the FBI as a translator?

CD: Now I know you speak Turkish – but what else?

SE: Because of my time in Iran, I also know Farsi. And Azerbaijani.


CD: So you were in the first category, a full linguist?

SE: For Turkish and Azerbaijani I was, yes. But since I hadn't been practicing Farsi for practically 25 years, I was just allowed to be a monitor in that language. I passed all the FBI exams in written Farsi, but not all for speaking. So I didn't do, say, live interviews.

What does this mean? It means whatever Sibel Edmonds uncovered in the translation department, came speaking Turkish or Azerbaijani.

Necessarily cryptic on account of Ashcroft's gag order, she told The Baltimore Chronicle:

You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points - and they (the intelligence community) are separating those portions from just the terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really ugly.... I can tell that once, and if, and when this issue gets to be, under real terms, investigated, you will be seeing certain people that we know from this country standing trial; and they will be prosecuted criminally.

And I'm reminded again of former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow's advice: "When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map:

where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that - they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away.

Again: so what?

Look at the names associated with the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce: Baker, Brzezinski, Cheney, Kissinger, Perle, Armitage.

Look at the clues Edmonds has cautiously provided: a semi-legit front that may promote cultural affairs, "hypothetically" Uzbek; an intersection of drugs, arms and oil; "certain people we know" should stand trial.

Look at the languages Edmonds translated: Turkish and Azerbaijan.

Look at a map.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Suicide? Don't fall for it.

Here's a game we can play: what do the names Forrestal, Olson, Kokal and Weiss have in common?

James Forrestal, 1949: "jumped from building"

At around 2 a.m. on the morning of May 22, 1949, America’s first Secretary of Defense, James Vincent Forrestal, fell to his death from a small window of the 16th floor of the Bethesda Naval Hospital....

Throughout Forrestal’s hospitalization, access to him was severely restricted. One-time visitors were his wife, his two sons, Sidney Souers (a former DCI, NSC executive secretary, and alleged MJ-12 member), Louis Johnson, Truman, and Congressman Lyndon Johnson. Menninger visited twice. Although Forrestal was presumably glad to see his sons, he was not close to any of these visitors, and had a political antipathy to his government colleagues who came by. However, Forrestal was not permitted to see the several people he continually asked to see: his brother, a friend, and two priests....

Father Sheehy had reason to suspect murder. When he arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital after learning of Forrestal’s death, an experienced-looking hospital corpsman approached him through the crowd. In a low, tense voice he said: "Father, you know Mr. Forrestal didn’t kill himself, don’t you?" Before Sheehy could respond or ask his name, others in the crowd pressed close, and the man quickly departed....

Later inspection found heavy scuff marks outside the window sill and cement work. Proponents of the suicide theory claim these were made by Forrestal’s feet while he was hanging by the neck from the radiator, and perhaps that he belatedly changed his mind and tried to climb back in. But the scuff marks confirm no such thing. They could just as easily have been made by his struggle with someone pushing him out the window.

Frank Olson, 1953: "jumped from building"

Frank Olson and Kurt Blome (who had become a protegé of the Americans) later met at Camp King in Germany in the early 1950s when Olson made several visits there to participate in "Operation Artichoke", in which the U.S. Army and the CIA experimented with the use of drugs (including LSD) in interrogation. Olson was present during brutal interrogations by the Americans of Soviet prisoners and suspected double agents, some of whom died under torture. Olson was deeply disturbed by what he had seen....

In November 1953 Olson attended a meeting of a group of CIA agents at a country retreat where they discussed their work. Olson was suspected by the CIA of being a security risk. He was given a drink laced with LSD and when well under the influence of the drug he was subjected to interrogation using Artichoke techniques, probably a very unpleasant experience.

A week later Olson was staying in Room 1018A at the Hotel Statler in New York City under the supervision of a CIA doctor, Richard Lashbrook. The manager of the hotel, Armond Pastore, heard a thump outside and went out to find Olson dying on the pavement, having fallen from the 13th floor. The manager later found that a phone call had been made from Room 1018A to a number in Long Island and the caller had said only, "Olson's gone."

The CIA maintained that Olson had leapt through the closed window to his death. However, an autopsy conducted forty years later on the exhumed corpse revealed an injury to the skull most likely caused by a blow to the head and no evidence of any cuts to the body from broken glass. It seems that Olson, exactly as recommended in a CIA assassination manual, was struck on the head (possibly while drugged) and thrown from the window to his death thirteen floors below.

John Kokal, 2003: "jumped from building"

WASHINGTON — A State Department (search) employee was found dead outside the agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., Friday around 5 p.m., Fox News has confirmed.

State Department sources told The Washington Post that John Kokal (search) worked in a unit that dealt with intelligence and research. Sources said he handled classified documents regularly....

....the man, a white male, was wearing a dress shirt, tie and slacks, but was not wearing shoes....

Mystery Surrounds Death of State Dept. Official

In a case eerily reminiscent of the death of British Ministry of Defense bio-weapons expert, Dr. David Kelly, an official of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research Near East and South Asian division (INR/NESA), John J. Kokal, 58, was found dead in the late afternoon of November 7. Police indicated he may have jumped from the roof of the State Department. Kokal's body was found at the bottom of a 20 foot window well, 8 floors below the roof of the State Department headquarters near the 23rd and D Street location. Kokal's death was briefly mentioned in a FOX News website story on November 8 but has been virtually overlooked by the major media....

Kokal's INR bureau was at the forefront of confronting claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Washington police have not ruled out homicide as the cause of his death. Kokal was not wearing either a jacket or shoes when his body was found. He lived in Arlington, Virginia....

It would have been impossible for Kokal to have gained entry to the roof on his own. INR occupies both a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on the sixth floor that has no windows and a windowless structure on the roof that has neither windows nor access to the roof, according to the former official. The other windows at the State Department have been engineered to be shatter proof from terrorist bomb attacks and cannot be opened.

INR and other State Department officials report that a "chill" has set in at the State Department following Kokal's defenestration. A number of employees are afraid to talk about the suspicious death. It also unusual that The Northern Virginia Journal, a local Arlington newspaper, has not published an obituary notice on Kokal.

Gus Weiss, 2003: "jumped from building"

Nashville native Gus Weiss, adviser to 4 presidents, dies

Gus Weiss, a Nashville native who advised four presidents, served on the National Security Council for 16 years and won numerous awards for his foreign policy and intelligence-gathering skills, has died. He was 72.

Mr. Weiss died Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The circumstances surrounding his death could not be confirmed last night.

Friends of Mr. Weiss expressed shock at his death....

"He was wired into the intelligence community, and there were a lot of mystical secrets we weren't privy to," said Harris Gilbert, a Nashville attorney who had been friends with Mr. Weiss since childhood. "He was very interested in diplomatic strategy and was very, very opposed to the Iraq war. It was the first military action he ever opposed, but he believed we shouldn't go to war in the Middle East without knowing what we were getting into."

Gus W. Weiss, 72; White House Adviser

Gus W. Weiss, 72, a former White House policy adviser on technology, intelligence and economic affairs, died Nov. 25 of a fall from the Watergate East residential building in the District. The DC medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

A spokesman for the D.C. police said that officers found his body at a service entrance to the apartment cooperative. Dr. Weiss lived in the building....

Much of his government work centered on national security, intelligence organizations and concerns over technology transfers to communist countries. As an adviser to the Central Intelligence Agency, he served on the Pentagon's Defense Science Board and the Signals Intelligence Committee of the U.S. Intelligence Board.

During the Carter administration, Dr. Weiss was assistant for space policy to the secretary of defense.

Okay - stumped?

Here's a clue, from the CIA's declassified assassination manual:


For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the "horrified wit ness", no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.

There are many restless ghosts rattling John Ashcroft's cages in the Homeland formerly known as the United States of America. More Americans ought to learn some of their names, and discover the reasons why they were sent to early graves. A reconciliation with the dead marks the beginning of peace for a haunted nation.

But regretably, and not surprisingly, this is not a respectable endeavour, not even among the respectable Left. To admit that the state has been criminalized to such a murderous degree will get you labelled a conspiracy theorist, and before you know it, there goes your endowment from the Ford Foundation.

I'm reminded of David Corn's early and uninformed smear of the 9/11 truth movement. Corn wrote: "to execute the simultaneous destruction of the two towers, a piece of the Pentagon, and four airplanes... is far beyond the skill level of U.S. intelligence. It would require dozens (or scores or hundreds) of individuals to attempt such a scheme."

How respectably foolish is this: 9/11 was "far beyond the skill level of US intelligence," and yet it was not so far beyond the skill level of a cave dweller with bad kidneys and no state sponsorship.

Corn becomes so respectable here, it hurts:

I recall interviewing one former CIA official who helped manage a division that ran the sort of actions listed above, and I asked him whether the CIA had considered "permanently neutralizing" a former CIA man who had revealed operations and the identities of CIA officers. Kill an American citizen? he replied, as if I were crazy to ask. No, no, he added, we could never do that. Yes, in the spy-world some things were beyond the pale. And, he explained, it would be far too perilous, for getting caught in that type of nasty business could threaten your career.

So Corn takes the CIA at its word, body count and assassination manual to the contrary, that No, heaven forfend, we would never kill an American citizen, and thus is his case made against 9/11 complicity: Since the CIA would never kill an American citizen, how much less thousands?

Here's the question: Does the apparatus of the National Security State draw a line at the murder of Americans, regardless of benefit? Corn says yes. And you, Messrs Forrestal, Olson, Kokal and Weiss? Can we see a show of hands?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Yellow Cake and Black Shirts

We should have been paying attention all along, but particularly since the sadly unsurprising revelation that Italian military intelligence looks to have served as a linchpin in the Niger "Yellow Cake" caper, we would do well to brush up on the strange case of Michael Ledeen

You know Ledeen: arguably Washington's most influential neoconservative. He's resident scholar of the senior neoconservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute, and regarded widely as one of the world's leading authorities on intelligence, counter-intelligence and international affairs. From the beginning, and before the beginning, Ledeen has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for the "War on Terror."

Now, do you know of Italy's "Strategy of Tension"? It was a campaign of false-flag terror in the late 1970s, waged by outright fascists who enjoyed the patronage of the CIA, the Mafia and far right elements of the Italian State. These were the Gladio Brigades and Licio Gelli's P2 Lodge, and they intended to discredit the increasingly popular Communist Party, and to ensure it would not take power, by staging terrorist acts in the name of the Left. Their campaign culminated in the Bologna train station bombing of 1980.

Now, do you know where Michael Ledeen was during these years, what he was doing, and with whom he was doing it?

From tompaine.com:

...terrorism has been Ledeen's bread and butter since at least the late 1970s, when he consulted for Italian military intelligence.

From Asia Times:

Ledeen's right-wing Italian connections - including alleged ties to the P2 Masonic Lodge that rocked Italy in the early 1980s - have long been a source of speculation and intrigue, but he returned to Washington in 1981 as "anti-terrorism" advisor to the new secretary of state, Al Haig.

Over the next several years, Ledeen used his position as consultant to Haig, the Pentagon and the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan to boost the notion of a global terrorist conspiracy based in the Kremlin, whose KGB pulled the strings of all of the world's key terrorist groups, especially in the Middle East.

An excerpt from Herman and O'Sullivan's The "Terrorism" Industry:

In 1980 [Ledeen] entered into a collaboration with Francesco Pazienza, an agent of the Italian secret service (SISMI) and a member of Rome's extreme right-wing Masonic Lodge, P2 (Propaganda Due), headed by the fascist Licio Gelli. In an Italian criminal court in 1985, Pazienza was judged guilty of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of criminals and terrorists, among other offenses. Indeed, according to the findings of the court, Pazienza falsified information about the Bologna bombing in order to divert attention away from the real (right-wing) terrorists who had staged the attack.

From Barbara Honegger's October Surprise:

When the Italian police raided (P2 Lodge founder) Gelli's home in March 1981, it was Michael Ledeen who, at the instigation of Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger, offered to buy the list of 953 P2 members in an apparent attempt to keep it from becoming public. Henry Kissinger had also reportedly sent Ledeen to Italy to try to squash an investigation into his and Haig's involvement in the founding of P2.

On the morning of August 2, 1980, a massive bomb since linked to Gelli...exploded in the waiting room of the central train station in Bologna, killing 81 people and injuring 200 others. General Santorito, the chief of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, who was also reportedly a member of P2, testified in the wake of the bombing that it had been planned by the British-Swiss-American Montecarlo Comite, P2's "sister" organization based in Monaco. When P2 had come under increasing scrutiny in 1979, grandmaster Licio Gelli had reportedly made his base of operations the Montecarlo Comite.... Not surprisingly, reported members of the Montecarlo Comite are Gelli, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig and Michael Ledeen.

And this assessment, translated from the Italian:

One of the most dangerous of these "bad teachers" is Michael Ledeen, promoter of the the idea of "universal fascism". These days he does not stop threatening war against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, and has evidently been chosen once more by the establishment to manipulate institutions and threaten those who oppose his dangerous and wicked madness. On the other hand, Ledeen has a long history of interference in Italy's strategic choices. During the Moro case he was among those "most suspected" of having misled the enquiries, with the collaboration of the "bretheren" of the P2. It was wondered and it is still wondered why the Italian magistrates do not carry out adequate enquiries about him and his work

And now, from the man himself. Some of Ledeen's own words, on a leadership trait he admires, from his book Universal Fascism:

In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to 'enter into evil.' This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired and challenging... we are rotten.... It’s true that we can achieve greatness if, and only if, we are properly led.

Back to Italy, for some of his thoughts on the fascist era:

...fascism nevertheless constituted a political revolution in Italy. For the first time, there was an attempt to mobilize the masses and to involve them in the political life of the country.

And on Mussolini himself:

He never had enough confidence in the Italian people to permit them a genuine participation in fascism.

The resemblance between the recent mass murder in Madrid and the Bologna bombing extends, I suspect, well beyond the scale of carnage.

Why do some insist on calling these people neo-fascists? I see nothing new here.


Fintan Dunne, of BreakForNews.com, interviewed me last night.

Here's a direct link to the audio.

Maybe someday I'll find the courage to listen to it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Unknown Knowns

It seems often said of the things that consume me, "We'll never know what really happened." Think of the murder of JFK, and lately the events of September 11. The suggestion is that we who feel something is not right have little more than our unease to guide us, and that the facts are buried daily by the piling upon of time, ignorance and disinformation.

Remember these words from the Pentagon's Baron Sardonicus:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

It's always great fun to make sport of a Rumsfeldism, but I find myself ashamed to admit I understand what he was saying. Though true to form, he didn't say enough. Rumsfeld neglected to add that there are also unknown knowns. That is, there are things we don't know we know.

Since the mutation of America into the National Security State, it has been bedeviled by dark magi with deep bags of tricks: masters of sleight of hand, misdirection and persuasion, who dazzle their citizen-audience and leave them gasping, Now how'd they do that? And while the tricked try to figure out the mechanics of deep black illusions, for years the magi have been getting away with murder. And they will continue to do so, until enough people take their eyes off the tricks, and look at the tricksters.

Someone pretending to be Lee Harvey Oswald made an incriminating series of telephone calls between September 28 and October 1, 1963, allegedly to the Cuban and Soviet consulates, and one supposedly between the Cuban and Soviet consulates at a time when the Cuban consulate was closed and empty. In one of the calls, the Oswald impersonator mentions having met with Valery Kostikov, a man known to the CIA as the chief of KGB assassination operations in the Western hemisphere.

The CIA has lied about the tapes for decades. It claimed they were routinely destroyed before the assassination. But FBI documents have been uncovered which detail how at least two of the tapes were listened to after the assassination by Bureau agents familiar with Oswald’s voice, who determined it wasn't Oswald. There is a tape of a telephone conversation between J Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson, made days after the murder, in which they discuss this monkey wrench. And the Assassination Records Review Board found CIA documents in which the CIA itself states that some of the tapes were reviewed after the assassination, contradicting its long-held public position.

Grassy Knoll or sewer grate? Three shots, four shots or five? It doesn't matter. The CIA was lying about Oswald before November 22, 1963, creating a legend for him that would be used to frame him as the sole assassin. That alone should be enough to open the eyes of all but the most wilfully blind.

We need to return to what first troubled us, because that should inform us what we ought be doing now to put things right. And the most troubling aspects of modern American history are the unrequited demands of justice. This, I believe, is where the investigation into the first Kennedy assassination faltered. Researchers got down on their knees on the knoll, examining blades of grass and calculating trajectories. They became consumed with the minutiae; with the how. After a little while of this, the murder of a President became a puzzle instead of a crime; a pursuit of hobbyists. And it's what I fear for the 9/11 truth movement.

At a certain point, when a critical mass of evidence was reached - and it may have been as early as Ruby silencing Oswald - Americans should have known enough, to say Enough, already. And they should have brought the United States to a standstill until they saw something like justice done.

Americans will only wake from their nightmare of watching their finest liberal leaders, witnesses to high crimes and sundry victims getting lonegunman'd, suicide'd and accident'd, treason unpunished and mass murder rewarded, if they learn that "We'll never know what really happened" is irrelevant. Because these are not puzzles; these are crimes. And crimes are never, in the end, How done its. They are Who done its. And here's the singular unknown known: we know enough, and have for years, to know who.

Now, do something about it.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11

I posted an earlier version of this last week at Democratic Underground. I've added a number of more entries, and links for all.

Happy coincidenting!

That governments have permitted terrorist acts against their own people, and have even themselves been perpetrators in order to find strategic advantage is quite likely true, but this is the United States we're talking about.

That intelligence agencies, financiers, terrorists and narco-criminals have a long history together is well established, but the Nugan Hand Bank, BCCI, Banco Ambrosiano, the P2 Lodge, the CIA/Mafia anti-Castro/Kennedy alliance, Iran/Contra and the rest were a long time ago, so there’s no need to rehash all that. That was then, this is now!

That Jonathan Bush’s Riggs Bank has been found guilty of laundering terrorist funds and fined a US-record $25 million must embarrass his nephew George, but it's still no justification for leaping to paranoid conclusions.

That George Bush's brother Marvin sat on the board of the Kuwaiti-owned company which provided electronic security to the World Trade Centre, Dulles Airport and United Airlines means nothing more than you must admit those Bush boys have done alright for themselves.

That George Bush found success as a businessman only after the investment of Osama’s brother Salem and reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mahfouz is just one of those things - one of those crazy things.

That Osama bin Laden is known to have been an asset of US foreign policy in no way implies he still is.

That al Qaeda was active in the Balkan conflict, fighting on the same side as the US as recently as 1999, while the US protected its cells, is merely one of history's little aberrations.

The claims of Michael Springman, State Department veteran of the Jeddah visa bureau, that the CIA ran the office and issued visas to al Qaeda members so they could receive training in the United States, sound like the sour grapes of someone who was fired for making such wild accusations.

That one of George Bush's first acts as President, in January 2001, was to end the two-year deployment of attack submarines which were positioned within striking distance of al Qaeda's Afghanistan camps, even as the group's guilt for the Cole bombing was established, proves that a transition from one administration to the next is never an easy task.

That so many influential figures in and close to the Bush White House had expressed, just a year before the attacks, the need for a "new Pearl Harbor" before their militarist ambitions could be fulfilled, demonstrates nothing more than the accidental virtue of being in the right place at the right time.

That the company PTECH, founded by a Saudi financier placed on America’s Terrorist Watch List in October 2001, had access to the FAA’s entire computer system for two years before the 9/11 attack, means he must not have been such a threat after all.

That whistleblower Indira Singh was told to keep her mouth shut and forget what she learned when she took her concerns about PTECH to her employers and federal authorities, suggests she lacked the big picture. And that the Chief Auditor for JP Morgan Chase told Singh repeatedly, as she answered questions about who supplied her with what information, that "that person should be killed," suggests he should take an anger management seminar.

That on May 8, 2001, Dick Cheney took upon himself the job of co-ordinating a response to domestic terror attacks even as he was crafting the administration’s energy policy which bore implications for America's military, circumventing the established infrastructure and ignoring the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman report, merely shows the VP to be someone who finds it hard to delegate.

That the standing order which covered the shooting down of hijacked aircraft was altered on June 1, 2001, taking discretion away from field commanders and placing it solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, is simply poor planning and unfortunate timing. Fortunately the error has been corrected, as the order was rescinded shortly after 9/11.

That in the weeks before 9/11, FBI agent Colleen Rowley found her investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui so perversely thwarted that her colleagues joked that bin Laden had a mole at the FBI, proves the stress-relieving virtue of humour in the workplace.

That Dave Frasca of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit received a promotion after quashing multiple, urgent requests for investigations into al Qaeda assets training at flight schools in the summer of 2001 does appear on the surface odd, but undoubtedly there's a good reason for it, quite possibly classified.

That FBI informant Randy Glass, working an undercover sting, was told by Pakistani intelligence operatives that the World Trade Center towers were coming down, and that his repeated warnings which continued until weeks before the attacks, including the mention of planes used as weapons, were ignored by federal authorities, is simply one of the many "What Ifs" of that tragic day.

That over the summer of 2001 Washington received many urgent, senior-level warnings from foreign intelligence agencies and governments - including those of Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Afghanistan and others - of impending terror attacks using hijacked aircraft and did nothing, demonstrates the pressing need for a new Intelligence Czar.

That John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial aircraft in July 2001 on account of security considerations had nothing to do with warnings regarding September 11, because he said so to the 9/11 Commission.

That former lead counsel for the House David Schippers says he’d taken to John Ashcroft’s office specific warnings he’d learned from FBI agents in New York of an impending attack – even naming the proposed dates, names of the hijackers and the targets – and that the investigations had been stymied and the agents threatened, proves nothing but David Schipper’s pathetic need for attention.

That Garth Nicolson received two warnings from contacts in the intelligence community and one from a North African head of state, which included specific site, date and source of the attacks, and passed the information to the Defense Department and the National Security Council to evidently no effect, clearly amounts to nothing, since virtually nobody has ever heard of him.

That in the months prior to September 11, self-described US intelligence operative Delmart Vreeland sought, from a Toronto jail cell, to get US and Canadian authorities to heed his warning of his accidental discovery of impending catastrophic attacks is worthless, since Vreeland was a dubious character, notwithstanding the fact that many of his claims have since been proven true.

That FBI Special Investigator Robert Wright claims that agents assigned to intelligence operations actually protect terrorists from investigation and prosecution, that the FBI shut down his probe into terrorist training camps, and that he was removed from a money-laundering case that had a direct link to terrorism, sounds like yet more sour grapes from a disgruntled employee.

That George Bush had plans to invade Afghanistan on his desk before 9/11 demonstrates only the value of being prepared.

The suggestion that securing a pipeline across Afghanistan figured into the White House’s calculations is as ludicrous as the assertion that oil played a part in determining war in Iraq.

That Afghanistan is once again the world’s principal heroin producer is an unfortunate reality, but to claim the CIA is still actively involved in the narcotics trade is to presume bad faith on the part of the agency.

Mahmood Ahmed, chief of Pakistan’s ISI, must not have authorized an al Qaeda payment of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta days before the attacks, and was not meeting with senior Washington officials over the week of 9/11, because I didn’t read anything about him in the official report.

That Porter Goss met with Ahmed the morning of September 11 in his capacity as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has no bearing whatsoever upon his recent selection by the White House to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

That Goss's congressional seat encompasses the 9/11 hijackers' Florida base of operation, including their flight schools, is precisely the kind of meaningless factoid a conspiracy theorist would bring up.

It's true that George HW Bush and Dick Cheney spent the evening of September 10 alone in the Oval Office, but what's wrong with old colleagues catching up? And it's true that George HW Bush and Shafig bin Laden, Osama's brother, spent the morning of September 11 together at a board meeting of the Carlyle Group, but the bin Ladens are a big family.

That FEMA arrived in New York on Sept 10 to prepare for a scheduled biowarfare drill, and had a triage centre ready to go that was larger and better equipped than the one that was lost in the collapse of WTC 7, was a lucky twist of fate.

Newsweek’s report that senior Pentagon officials cancelled flights on Sept 10 for the following day on account of security concerns is only newsworthy because of what happened the following morning.

That George Bush's telephone logs for September 11 do not exist should surprise no one, given the confusion of the day.

That Mohamed Atta attended the International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base, that Abdulaziz Alomari attended Brooks Air Force Base Aerospace Medical School, that Saeed Alghamdi attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey merely shows it is a small world, after all.

That Lt Col Steve Butler, Vice Chancellor for student affairs of the Defense Language Institute during Alghamdi's terms, was disciplined, removed from his post and threatened with court martial when he wrote "Bush knew of the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. What is...contemptible is the President of the United States not telling the American people what he knows for political gain," is the least that should have happened for such disrespect shown his Commander in Chief.

That Mohammed Atta dressed like a Mafioso, had a stripper girlfriend, smuggled drugs, was already a licensed pilot when he entered the US, enjoyed pork chops, drank to excess and did cocaine, was closer to Europeans than Arabs in Florida, and included the names of defence contractors on his email list, proves how dangerous the radical fundamentalist Muslim can be.

That 43 lbs of heroin was found on board the Lear Jet owned by Wally Hilliard, the owner of Atta’s flight school, just three weeks after Atta enrolled – the biggest seizure ever in Central Florida – was just bad luck. That Hilliard was not charged shows how specious the claims for conspiracy truly are.

That Hilliard’s plane had made 30-round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers who always paid cash, that the plane had been supplied by a pair of drug smugglers who had also outfitted CIA drug runner Barry Seal, and that 9/11 commissioner Richard ben-Veniste had been Seal’s attorney before Seal’s murder, shows nothing but the lengths to which conspiracists will go to draw sinister conclusions.

Reports of insider trading on 9/11 are false, because the SEC investigated and found only respectable investors who will remain nameless involved, and no terrorists, so the windfall profit-taking was merely, as ever, coincidental.

That heightened security for the World Trade Centre was lifted immediately prior to the attacks illustrates that it always happens when you least expect it.

That Hani Hanjour, the pilot of Flight 77, was so incompetent he could not fly a Cessna in August, but in September managed to fly a 767 at excessive speed into a spiraling, 270-degree descent and a level impact of the first floor of the Pentagon, on the only side that was virtually empty and had been hardened to withstand a terrorist attack, merely demonstrates that people can do almost anything once they set their minds to it.

That none of the flight data recorders were said to be recoverable even though they were located in the tail sections, and that until 9/11, no solid-state recorder in a catastrophic crash had been unrecoverable, shows how there's a first time for everything.

That Mohammed Atta left a uniform, a will, a Koran, his driver's license and a "how to fly planes" video in his rental car at the airport means he had other things on his mind.

The mention of Israelis with links to military-intelligence having been arrested on Sept 11 videotaping and celebrating the attacks, of an Israeli espionage ring surveiling DEA and defense installations and trailing the hijackers, and of a warning of impending attacks delivered to the Israeli company Odigo two hours before the first plane hit, does not deserve a response. That the stories also appeared in publications such as Ha'aretz and Forward is a sad display of self-hatred among certain elements of the Israeli media.

That multiple military wargames and simulations were underway the morning of 9/11 – one simulating the crash of a plane into a building; another, a live-fly simulation of multiple hijackings – and took many interceptors away from the eastern seaboard and confused field commanders as to which was a real hijacked aircraft and which was a hoax, was a bizarre coincidence, but no less a coincidence.

That the National Military Command Center ops director asked a rookie substitute to stand his watch at 8:30 am on Sept. 11 is nothing more than bad timing.

That a recording made Sept 11 of air traffic controllers’ describing what they had witnessed, was destroyed by an FAA official who crushed it in his hand, cut the tape into little pieces and dropped them in different trash cans around the building, is something no doubt that overzealous official wishes he could undo.

That the FBI knew precisely which Florida flight schools to descend upon hours after the attacks should make every American feel safer knowing their federal agents are on the ball.

That a former flight school executive believes the hijackers were "double agents," and says about Atta and associates, "Early on I gleaned that these guys had government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose," and was visited by the FBI just four hours after the attacks to intimidate him into silence, proves he's an unreliable witness, for the simple reason there is no conspiracy.

That Jeb Bush was on board an aircraft that removed flight school records to Washington in the middle of the night on Sept 12th demonstrates how seriously the governor takes the issue of national security.

To insinuate evil motive from the mercy flights of bin Laden family members and Saudi royals after 9/11 shows the sickness of the conspiratorial mindset.

Le Figaro’s report in October 2001, known to have originated with French intelligence, that the CIA met Osama bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, proves again the perfidy of the French.

That the tape in which bin Laden claims responsibility for the attacks was released by the State Department after having been found providentially by US forces in Afghanistan, and depicts a fattened Osama with a broader face and a flatter nose, proves Osama, and Osama alone, masterminded 9/11.

That at the battle of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was surrounded on three sides, Special Forces received no order to advance and capture him and were forced to stand and watch as two Russian-made helicopters flew into the area where bin Laden was believed hiding, loaded up passengers and returned to Pakistan, demonstrates how confusing the modern battlefield can be.

That upon returning to Fort Bragg from Tora Bora, the same Special Operations troops who had been stood down from capturing bin Laden, suffered a unusual spree of murder/suicides, is nothing more than a series of senseless tragedies.

Reports that bin Laden is currently receiving periodic dialysis treatment in a Pakistani medical hospital are simply too incredible to be true.

That the White House went on Cipro September 11 shows the foresightedness of America’s emergency response.

That the anthrax was mailed to perceived liberal media and the Democratic leadership demonstrates only the perversity of the terrorist psyche.

That the anthrax attacks appeared to silence opponents of the Patriot Act shows only that appearances can be deceiving.

That the Ames-strain anthrax was found to have originated at Fort Detrick, and was beyond the capability of all but a few labs to refine, underscores the importance of allowing the investigation to continue without the distraction of absurd conspiracy theories.

That Republican guru Grover Norquist has been found to have aided financiers and supporters of Islamic terror to gain access to the Bush White House, and is a founder of the Islamic Institute, which the Treasury Department believes to be a source of funding for al Qaeda, suggests Norquist is at worst, naive, and at best, needs a wider circle of friends.

That the Department of Justice consistently chooses to see accused 9/11 plotters go free rather than permit the courtroom testimony of al Qaeda leaders in American custody looks bad, but only because we don't have all the facts.

That the White House balked at any inquiry into the events of 9/11, then starved it of funds and stonewalled it, was unfortunate, but since the commission didn't find for conspiracy it's all a non issue anyway.

That the 9/11 commission's executive director and "gatekeeper," Philip Zelikow, was so closely involved in the events under investigation that he testified before the the commission as part of the inquiry, shows only an apparent conflict of interest.

That commission chair Thomas Kean is, like George Bush, a Texas oil executive who had business dealings with reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mafouz, suggests Texas is smaller than they say it is.

That co-chair Lee Hamilton has a history as a Bush family "fixer," including clearing Bush Sr of the claims arising from the 1980 "October Surprise", is of no concern, since only conspiracists believe there was such a thing as an October Surprise.

That FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds accuses the agency of intentionally fudging specific pre-9/11 warnings and harboring a foreign espionage ring in its translation department, and claims she witnessed evidence of the semi-official infrastructure of money-laundering and narcotics trade behind the attacks, is of no account, since John Ashcroft has gagged her with the rare invocation of "State Secrets Privilege," and retroactively classified her public testimony. For the sake of national security, let us speak no more of her.

That, when commenting on Edmond's case, Daniel Ellsberg remarked that Ashcroft could go to prison for his part in a cover-up, suggests Ellsberg is giving comfort to the terrorists, and could, if he doesn't wise up, find himself declared an enemy combatant.

I could go on. And on and on. But I trust you get the point. Which is simply this: there are no secrets, an American government would never accept civilian casualties for geostrategic gain, and conspiracies are for the weak-minded and gullible.