Monday, January 31, 2005

Repealing Godwin's Law

"Evil is real and it must be called by its name and
it must be confronted"
- Dick Cheney at Auschwitz

It's been several days now, but I still can't get past the peculiar disgrace of Dick Cheney. The green parka with white fur, and the brown, lace-up hiking boots were inappropriate enough for a solemn ceremony at the world's most notorious symbol of runaway eugenics. But the toque, with the words "Staff 2001" - that's almost too much, even for a conspiracy theorist. Cheney might as well have been cradling Flight 11's "unrecovered" flight recorders in his lap, and sneering into the camera, "What you gonna do about it?"

It's easy to ask, What was he thinking? Harder, is to answer, Was he thinking that? Because without knowing his mind, we can assert with some confidence that Cheney's choices were deliberate. Unlike a thoughtless tourist, the Homeland's acting President would have been conscious of the impression he was making. And if, somehow, he wasn't, he had the fail safe of a staff well-versed in protocol to set him right. (In other words, no need to call Putin the night before and say, "So, what are you wearing to Auschwitz?")

But I'm going to cut myself some slack on this singular morbidity. As I said, it's been just a few days. And after all, it's been 60 years, and we still can't get past the Nazis. None, more so than the CIA.

Saturday's New York Times:

CIA Said to Rebuff Congress on Nazi Files

The Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to provide hundreds of thousands of pages of documents sought by a government working group under a 1998 law that requires full disclosure of classified records related to Nazi war criminals, say Congressional officials from both parties.

Under the law, the C.I.A. has already provided more than 1.2 million pages of documents, the vast majority of them from the archives of its World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services. Many documents have been declassified, and some made public last year showed a closer relationship between the United States government and Nazi war criminals than had previously been understood, including the CIA's recruitment of war criminal suspects or Nazi collaborators.

For nearly three years, the CIA has interpreted the 1998 law narrowly and rebuffed requests for additional records, say Congressional officials and some members of the working group, who also contend that that stance seems to violate the law.

These officials say the agency has sometimes agreed to provide information about former Nazis, but not about the extent of the agency's dealings with them after World War II. In other cases, it has refused to provide information about individuals and their conduct during the war unless the working group can first provide evidence that they were complicit in war crimes.

Former Congresswoman and member of the working group Elizabeth Holtzman contends that "the CIA has defied the law, and in so doing has also trivialized the Holocaust, thumbed its nose at the survivors of the Holocaust and also at Americans who gave their lives in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War II." Looking at Cheney, maybe there's a pattern emerging.

If the Nazis are truly in the dustbin of history, what are we to make of the fact that, 60 years on, the Agency is still keeping secrets about their post-war recruitment, even violating the law to do so? (And these are just the secrets that we know they're keeping. I would expect that the most privileged secrets have left no paper trail. As, I believe, Richard Helms advised.)

But when we talk about the relationship between the Nazis and American institutions, we must talk about more than Project Paperclip. Because there's more going on here than the virtual co-founding of America's National Security State by thousands of Nazi scientists. Before the CIA existed, before the War, even before Hitler's rise to power, Anglo-American eugenics was informing and inspiring apt pupils in Germany, including the future architects of genocide.

The Carnegie Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, JP Morgan and Averell Harriman can be counted among the head cheerleaders and principal financiers of the American eugenics movement, which found keen partners in great academies like Harvard and Yale and in numerous state and federal departments. Edwin Black writes in War Against the Weak that "they were all bent on breeding a eugenically superior race, just as agronomists would breed better strains of corn. The plan was to wipe away the reproductive capability of the weak and inferior." Sixty thousand Americans were sterilized in the process, many without their knowledge.

Black adds:

American eugenic crusades proliferated into a worldwide campaign, and in the 1920s came to the attention of Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, careening out of control into the Reich's infamous genocide. During the pre-War years, American eugenicists openly supported Germany's program. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. One of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute doctors in the program financed by the Rockefeller Foundation was Josef Mengele who continued his research in Auschwitz, making daily eugenic reports on twins. After the world recoiled from Nazi atrocities, the American eugenics movement — its institutions and leading scientists — renamed and regrouped under the banner of an enlightened science called human genetics.

Investigative journalist Jon Rappaport makes a similar point regarding MK-ULTRA and related programs, and draws an even more distressing conclusion, in his 1997 lecture "The CIA, Mind Control and Children":

I would say this is a Nazi project, but a lot of the Nazis are American-born. It shouldn't be excused or explained away on that basis because as we know, if we look at Nazi psychiatry for example, they learned a lot from the Americans, especially about eugenics. This is not something where we should say, " ... well, the Nazis took over ..." This is home-grown stuff. This is Americana at its worst, at its lowest form. This is also the sub-sub-basement that you walk into when you are a materialist, when that is your philosophy. And I don't mean you are a materialist in the sense that you want money, possessions ... I mean, philosophically. The materialist position is that we are meat, and tissue, and cells, and electrical impulses, and that's it. When that system collapses, we are gone, never to return. My own feeling is that when you espouse and embrace that philosophy, the ultimate, ultimate sub-basement that you end up in is that sub-basement ... that's where you end up. Finally, that's where it all comes out.

Formally stated, Godwin's Law, or the Rule of Nazi Analogies, posits that, "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." The law was articulated about ten years ago by Mike Godwin, then-legal counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to counter a proliferation of Nazi analogies online which he regarded as illogical and offensive rhetorical overreach. As popularly understood, the law implies that the first person to invoke the Nazis in a debate loses the argument.

Godwin can be forgiven for believing, in the mid-90s, that Nazi comparisons were overraught. To think the same now must require a massive infusion of Kool Aid from Sidney Gottlieb's punchbowl. But as suggested, much of what we're seeing in America today has antecedents which pre-date Nazi Germany, with a significant homegrown component, that give the appearance of German Naziism but which actually served in part as its inspiration.

It is a project which Franklin Roosevelt frustrated, and the heirs of the project mean to see through now to conclusion. We can see it show its public face in such things as the recent New York Times article "Can Anyone Unseat FDR?" ("Social Security is the soft underbelly of the welfare state," says Stephen Moore, who wants to "jab a spear through it"), and Bush's only seemingly empty jargon of an "ownership society." If the project succeeds, then Nazi Germany, rather than a grotesque aberration of modern history, will be regarded as merely "ahead of its time."

As we trundle on towards this century's astonishing convergence of crises, we should remember there are many powerful people with familiar names who believe the problem is not that there are too few resources; the problem is there are too many people. And what are we going to do about them?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Hell, frozen over

A somber Dick Cheney, dressed to the nines for the Auschwitz memorial ceremony:

Justice Antonin Scalia would seem to be just out of the frame, leaning on the limo's horn, calling "C'mon Dick, those ducks won't shoot themselves!"

Robin Givhan, in today's Washington Post:

Just last week, in a frigid, snow-dusted Washington, Cheney sat outside through the entire inauguration without so much as a hat and without suffering frostbite. And clearly, Cheney owns a proper overcoat. The world saw it during his swearing-in as vice president. Cheney treated that ceremony with the dignity it deserved -- not simply through his demeanor, but also through his attire. Would he have dared to take the oath of office with a ski cap on? People would have justifiably considered that an insult to the office, the day, the country.

Vladimir Putin and Dick Cheney paying their, ahem, respects:

Speaking of Hell, a story today about the release, by Brazilian federal police, of more of Josef Mengele's letters from exile. ("How is the Fatherland, is it still the Fatherland?" he wrote a friend in 1972.) Mengele also complained about his lazy housekeeper, and had words of praise for the local strudel.

The "Last" Nazi (a pity about those quotation marks), a 20-year old biography of Mengele, also offers some fascinating details of his life in South America.

For instance, in a letter smuggled to his son Rolf, Mengele claimed his Auschwitz career was in defense of "indisputable traditional values." He did not expect to face justice, because, as he told Rolf, "There are no judges. There is no guilt."

Which reminds me of a story today about another Hell. And there are no judges there, either.

The US media is at last reporting stories of sexual abuse at Guantanamo Bay. This comes nearly a year after The Mirror ran the story of former detainee Jamal al-Harith, entitled "My Hell at Camp X-Ray":

Jamal's most shocking disclosure centred on the use of vice girls to torment the most religiously devout detainees.

Prisoners who had never seen an "unveiled" woman before would be forced to watch as the hookers touched their own naked bodies. The men would return distraught. One said an American girl had smeared menstrual blood across his face in an act of humiliation.

Jamal said: "I knew of this happening about 10 times. It always seemed to be those who were very young or known to be particularly religious who would be taken away.

"It was a profoundly disturbing experience for these men. They would refuse to speak about what had happened. It would take perhaps four weeks for them to tell a friend - and we would shout it out around the whole block."

[And as we remember al-Harith's sensational, now-corroborated, story, let's make note of his other memories of the camp: punishment beating handed out by the "Extreme Reaction Force" with victims paraded in front of other prisoners; a diet of foul black water and food ten years out-of-date; water turned off before prayers so inmates couldn't wash themselves; unneccessary amputations ("All the men who had lost limbs complained they would chop them off high up and not bother to try to save as much as possible.") ]

There are some interesting discrepancies between today's for-American-ear's story, based on an "insider's" manuscript, and al-Harith's. For instance, the former claims only "skimpy" clothing, not nudity, and that the menstrual blood smeared on detainees' faces was "fake." And I won't be surprised if, in another year, there's a "shocking" correction. Because how much more must we see, to know that if something seems inconceivable to us, it's only because we didn't conceive it?

The perverse exploitation of sexuality, even of children's sexuality, by military-intelligence, is one of the most bizarre, and almost certainly the most disturbing, chapters in the samizdat history of the National Security State. (One in which, to some telling, Dick Cheney plays no small part.) It would be nice to have the confidence of intellect and experience to dismiss it all out of hand; to think that some things are beyond their comprehension, because they're beyond ours. But there are too many incredible stories, told by credibile people, not to wonder at just how deep America's rabbit hole goes. Because when you follow that thread, it leads into to the abyss of ARTICHOKE, MK-ULTRA, the Franklin Cover-Up, Project Monarch and "Dr Greene."

In 1995, before a US presidential advisory committee investigating government radiation experiments after World War II, a survivor of this curious Hell, named Claudia Mullen, gave the following testimony:

Good afternoon. Between the years 1957 and 1984 I became a pawn in the government's game. Its ultimate goal was mind control and to create the perfect spy, all through the use of chemicals, radiation, drugs, hypnosis, electric shock, isolation in tubs of water, sleep deprivation, brainwashing, verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I was exploited unwittingly for nearly three decades of my life and the only explanations given to me were "that the end justifies the means" and "I was serving my country in their bold effort to fight communism". I can only summarize my circumstances by saying they took an already abused seven year old child and compounded my suffering beyond belief. The saddest part is, I know for a fact I was not alone. There were countless other children in my same situation and there was no one to help us until now. I have already submitted as much information as possible including conversations overheard at the agencies responsible. I am able to report all of this to you in such detail because of my photographic memory and the arrogance of the people involved. They were certain they would always control my mind. Although the process of recalling these atrocities is not an easy one, nor is it without some danger to myself and my family, I feel the risk is worth taking.

Dr. L. Wilson Greene [who] received $50 million dollars from the Edgewood Chemical and Radiology Laboratory as part of the TSD, or Technical Science Division of the CIA, once described to Dr. Charles Brown that "children were used as subjects because they were more fun to work with and cheaper too. They needed lower profile subjects than soldiers and government people so only young willing females would do. Besides," he said, "I like scaring them. They in the Agency think I am a God, creating subjects in experiments for whatever deviant purposes Sid and James could think up" (Sid being Dr. Sidney Gottlieb; James is Dr. James Hamilton).

In 1958 they told me I was to be tested by some important doctors from the Society, or the Human Ecology Society and I was instructed to cooperate. I was told not to look at anyone's faces, and to try hard to ignore any names because this was a very secret project. I was told all these things to help me forget. Naturally, as most children do, I did the opposite and remembered as much as I could. A Dr. John Gittinger tested me, Dr. Cameron gave me the shock, and Dr. Greene the x-rays. Then I was told by Sid Gottlieb that "I was ripe for the big A" meaning ARTICHOKE. By the time I left to go home, just like every time from then on, I would remember only whatever explanations Dr. Robert G. Heath, of Tulane Medical University, gave me for the odd bruises, needle marks, burns on my head, fingers, and even the genital soreness. I had no reason to think otherwise. They had already begun to control my mind.

The next year I was sent to a lodge in Maryland called Deep Creek Cabins to learn how to sexually please men. I was taught how to coerce them into talking about themselves. It was Richard Helms, who was Deputy Director of the CIA, Dr. Gottlieb, Capt. George White, Morris Allan who all planned on filling as many high government agency officials and heads of academic institutions and foundations as possible so that later when the funding for mind control and radiation started to dwindle, projects would continue. I was used to entrap many unwitting men including themselves, all with the use of a hidden camera. I was only nine years old when the sexual humiliation began. I overheard conversations about part of the Agency called ORD which I found out was Office of Research and Development. It was run by Dr. Greene, Dr. Steven Aldrich, Martin Orne and Morris Allan. Once a crude remark was made by Dr. Gottlieb about a certain possible leak in New Orelans involving a large group of retarded children who had been given massive doses of radiation. He asked why was Wilson so worried about a few retarded kids, after all they would be the least likely to spill the beans.

More about Dr Greene later. I'll just say, for now, that it leads us all the way back to Auschwitz.

Where Cheney wasn't the only invitee who dressed down for the occasion.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sounds like "Terror"

Remember the "War on Terror"? That was the one just before the "War on Tyranny," which is America's sacred mission for Bush's second term. (Here's another blast from the past: remember Bush's "humble foreign policy"?)

I can see how easy it is to confuse Terror and Tyranny. That would appear to be the idea. Slur them like the lord of Crawford's potemkin farm, and they sound pretty much the same. After all, they both start with "T," and have, according to the Pentagon accounting office, the same number of syllables.

Clearly this is part of the Iran rollout, Tehran having been found to have a terror deficit. And everything seems on track for a summer strike:

USAF playing cat and mouse game over Iran

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Air Force is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Iran's ayatollahs, flying American combat aircraft into Iranian airspace in an attempt to lure Tehran into turning on air defense radars, thus allowing U.S. pilots to grid the system for use in future targeting data, administration officials said.

"We have to know which targets to attack and how to attack them," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The flights, which have been going on for weeks, are being launched from sites in Afghanistan and Iraq and are part of Bush administration attempts collect badly needed intelligence on Iran's possible nuclear weapons development sites, these sources said, speaking on condition of strict anonymity.

"These Iranian air defense positions are not just being observed, they're being 'templated,'" an administration official said, explaining that the flights are part of a U.S. effort to develop "an electronic order of battle for Iran" in case of actual conflict.

In the ramp-up to Iraq, many historical analogies were drawn to Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. I think they were mistaken. Iraq was more of a Czechoslavakia circa 1938, as the world's powers conceded a "small country far away of which we know little." Tut-tut, and all that, but Hitler had the Sudetenland, and then the rest. It was when he took the rest, the Czech territories, and absorbed for the first time non-Germanic people into the Reich, that Europe braced for war before the tripwire of Poland.

The UN washed its hands of Iraq and let Bush have his war to "disarm Saddam." Two years later, with no weapons to show for the blood and Iraqis staring at a perpetual occupation, the world knows appeasement is worth less than zero. The neocons will either be stopped, or they'll carry the world before them. They are in their strength, and there's no compromise.

Where to stop them.

Iran, I believe, is the tripwire. The point of no return for America.

Hitler didn't really believe Britain would go to war over Poland. He thought Chamberlain would back down again, and concede him another easy conquest. But Britain and France, finally, had their "Fool me once, shame on you" moment.

Though Russia and China are not obligated to its defence, let's not kid ourselves: Iran is of strategic importance to both. Particularly China. Iran is its principal source of petroleum and natural gas. American control of its reserves could be calamatous to its, and Russia's, 21st Century energy strategy. The Chinese leadership can read the PNAC documents as well as we can. They know encirclement when they see it. They would be foolish not to do something. And don't think they aren't now.

It needn't be military. As I write, China may be launching a pre-emptive economic war against the United States. Yesterday's announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos that China, America's largest creditor, has lost faith in the US dollar and will seek to broaden the yuan's exchange rate with a "basket of currencies," could be the equivalent of a decapitation strike.

And meanwhile, there's the big story. The one my children will inherit:

Study finds Earth temperature "skyrocketing"

The largest ever climate-change experiment reveals that scientists may have dramatically underestimated the threat of global warming.

The study by British scientists, which is published today, found the planet's global temperature could climb by between 2C and 11C because of skyrocketing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. That more than doubles the current prediction of a 1.4C to 4.5C rise this century.

"When we started out we didn't expect anything like this," said Oxford University's David Stainforth, chief scientist for "If this is the case, it's very dramatic and very scary," Mr Stainforth said.


Even rises that are more modest are expected to trigger disastrous changes, including melting glaciers, sea-level rises, shut-down of the Gulf Stream, and increases in droughts, cyclones and other extreme weather events. The new results follow two reports in last week's edition of Science, showing that global warming probably caused the "Great Dying".

Human life is simply too short for most of us to care much about environmental consquences. Or, it has been. What's changed is not our lifespan, but the Earth's carrying capacity for our bad choices.

Even if the Bush White House doesn't trigger a fiscal meltdown, or a global hot war, or both, we have maybe five or ten good years left to enjoy the poisonous fruits of our over-devoloped world. We could spend that time making good choices for a change - make a deathbed conversion with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energies. But that would take a Manhattan Project-like commitment on a global scale, and Manhattan Projects have only arisen when there are people to kill, not planets to save. So I'd say the choice has been made, and it's not a wise one.

The Earth can be a bit of a tyrant, too. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Exceptional hypocrisy

I don't know, maybe it's the border talking. (I'm not far from it, yet it seems to put me at sufficient ironic distance.) But to me, the doctrine of American Exceptionalism seems about as funny a thing as there is in the world today. Which says something about the world, and the funny things therein. That's funny ha ha, and funny strange.

So I don't know whether to laugh, or cry, or pull the covers over my head and read a comic book by flashlight, when I see a headline such as "U.S. Presses Venezuela on Terrorism."

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department expressed concern Monday about reports that Venezuela is harboring leftist rebels from Colombia, and it urged the Caracas government to take action against any who are linked to U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

Spokesman Adam Ereli took note of reports that the Colombian government has given to Venezuelan authorities the names of 10 "major Colombian terrorists" allegedly operating in Venezuela.

"We expect the Venezuelan government to examine this information," Ereli said.

There are many things hilariously wrong with this picture. Here are two of them.

One, the Republic of the Philippines has, likewise, expressed its concern to the United States government with respect to that International Man of Mystery, American national Michael Meiring. (About whom we've written here, here and here.) December 21st, the chief of the Philippines' Department of Justice said regarding Meiring's bombing of the Evergreen Hotel in Davao City, "which clearly appears to be an act of terrorism, I am certain the US government will not tolerate this terrorist act," [ironic emphasis added.] And yesterday Aquilino Pimentel, the Senate Minority Leader, reacting to reports of at least 70 American spies operating on the island of Mindanao, "warned the United States against taking advantage of its military presence and intelligence operations in the Philippines to engage in activities that may subvert the country’s sovereignty." Pimentel pointedly raised the Meiring case, saying the Philippine government should finally demand his extradition. "Arrogant FBI agents," yesterday's MindaNews reminds us, "spirited" Meiring out of the Davao Doctor's Hospital three days after the blast, in which he was critically injured.

Meiring passed himself off as a treasure hunter but a check with the Mines Bureau showed he was not accredited. Warrants of arrest had been issued as well as hold departure orders but Meiring managed to slip out of the country and fly back to the United States.

Could it be: the United States government, "harboring" a terrorist? Meiring would not be the first. Hell, Orlando Bosch wasn't even the first.

The second funny thing about the US "pressing" Venezuela on "harboring" members of FARC is that in late June 1999 Richard Grasso, then-Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, flew to Colombia to meet with its representatives, "to bring a message of cooperation from US financial services."

Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of HUD under GHW Bush, explains that weird scene in her "Narco Dollars for Beginners":

Some reading in between the lines said to me that Grasso's mission related to the continued circulation of cocaine capital through the US financial system. FARC, the Colombian rebels, were circulating their profits back into local development without the assistance of the American banking and investment system. Worse yet for the outlook for the US stock market's strength from $500 billion - $1 trillion in annual money laundering - FARC was calling for the decriminalization of cocaine.


It was only a few days after Grasso's trip that BBC News reported a General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress as saying: "Colombia's cocaine and heroin production is set to rise by as much as 50 percent as the U.S. backed drug war flounders, due largely to the growing strength of Marxist rebels."

I deduced from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange was sufficiently dependent on high margin cocaine profits that the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange was willing for Associated Press to acknowledge he is making "cold calls" in rebel controlled peace zones in Colombian villages. "Cold calls" is what we used to call new business visits we would pay to people we had not yet done business with when I was on Wall Street.

Bush's faith-based imperium has elevated the statecraft of hypocrisy to a height so dizzying the media dare not look down. That, at least, is exceptional.

Do you know this woman?

Coincidentalists - the Warren Report Loyalists, the Kean Commission Deadenders - love their conspiracy theories. And I do mean theirs.

It would be positively uncanny, if it wasn't as predictable as bombing Tehran, how on the rare occassions the media addresses alternative readings of 9/11, it's the no-plane-hit-the-Pentagon chestnut which invariably gets roasted. To mass infotainment's passive consumer, that's about as good as it gets for hearing a contrary interpretation of the events of September 11.

In part, this is can be ascribed to institutional laziness. We shouldn't discount this; media laziness is profound. Going for the cheap, sensational hook is always the default option. After all, "it was a missile!" doesn't require much exposition. And the visuals!

But there is something else going on, and it has to do with strawmen. Provide an airing for the most outlandish theorizing, knock it down ("Gerald Posner joins us now..."), and consider all alternative views debunked. It's always been an important step in bleaching legitimacy out of "conspiracy theory." Sometimes, the strawmen are constructed by useful idiots who are indiscriminate with the facts, and make unwitting conduits of disinformation. And sometimes, they know precisely what they're doing. (By the way, Mark Robinowitz has an excellent resource here re: the muddying of the 9/11 waters with bogus claims.)

So yes, they love conspiracy theories. But try raising conspiracy facts - complex dirty business like BCCI, the CIA's drug trafficking, and Sibel Edmonds - and they're suddenly as scarce as a Senator's son in Iraq.

So, since the blog's drawing a number of new readers, I thought I'd ask: do you know this woman?

This is Sibel Edmonds, a 9/11 whistleblower, formerly of the FBI translation department. She speaks English, Farsi, Turkish and Azerbaijani. She does not speak Arabic.

She is someone the Department of Justice doesn't want you to know. She is subject to an extraordinary "State Secrets Privilege" gag order, which prohibits her going public with her classified testimony. The DOJ even retroactively classified her public testimony. Quietly, it recently also admitted the validity of her claim of espionage in the translation department, just so you know we're not talking about a crazy woman here.

Edmonds is prohibited from speaking in detail - naming countries, business, names - but she's still been able to tell us much. She has hinted that people ought to look behind administrations, to the confluence of state, business and criminal interests. Including big oil, and big drugs.

From an interview Edmonds gave Jim Hogue of The Boston Chronicle:

JH: I understand why you can't say anything about this, but there are several books out about the Bush ties to the Saudis and the bin Ladens in particular. And in David Griffin's book, The New Pearl Harbor, there is a very good synopsis of the ISI, which is the Pakistani intelligence service. He shows the direct connections between the CIA, the ISI, and Mohamed Atta. He makes a very convincing case that the Pakistani ISI had been helping to plan 9/11 for a long time.

I don't imagine that you are allowed to say much about that.

SE: You are correct. But I can tell you that the issue, on one side, boils down to money--a lot of money. And it boils down to people and their connections with this money, and that's the portion that, even with this book, has not been mentioned to this day. Because then it starts touching some people in high places.

JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?

SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.

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.

Wait a sec - The ISI? Money laundering? Drugs? I thought we were talking about 9/11 here - when do we get to the missile part?

What Edmonds tells us lies in the deep background of 9/11 - money laundering, narcotics, arms dealing and covert terrorist support - corroborates the testimony of other whistleblowers like Indira Singh and Michael Springmann, and the work of investigative journalists such as Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C Ruppert. It begins to look a lot like what the late Danny Casolaro described, before it took his life. It looks like Casolaro's Octopus.

Yeah, I know; it sounds crazy. Crazy spooky. It sounds like tinfoil hat time. And yet John Ashcroft justified her gag order by pleading with the courts that what she knows could grievously harm national security. Are fabrications so dangerous?

Would it surprise you to learn the Kean Commission Report doesn't mention any of this?

Yet if you don't know this woman, you don't know what you're talking about when you talk about 9/11.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"Heeeere's Justice!"

Try to imagine Jay Leno devoting an entire Tonight Show to Michael Ruppert, and the topic of Dick Cheney's role in the attacks of 9/11. Or David Letterman conversing for an hour with Dr Nick Begich, co-author of Angels Don't Play this HAARP, on the weaponization of the ionosphere.

Because as bizarre and unlikely as those scenes would be, 37 years ago this month, Johnny Carson spent 50 minutes with New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison - and millions of Americans - on the subject of the state-sanctioned murder of John F Kennedy.

Audio files of Carson's Garrison interview can be downloaded from this page, but a big note of caution: distortion makes them all but unlistenable. If anyone knows of better quality samples (or even better, video), please let me know.

Considering today's total absence of serious mainstream dialogue regarding controversial subjects, the first thought that might come to some of us is Man, the past rocked! Well no, it didn't, regardless of how tempting it is to succumb to ill-founded nostalgia whenever we can rightly say Man, the present sucks! The awful truth is that America's media was compromised then as well, and riddled with Intelligence assets doing Mockingbird journalism. (See, for instance, James DiEugenio's essays regarding the obstruction of the Garrison investigation and the exposure of Jim Phelan in The Assassinations.)

In its favour, the media wasn't yet so dumbed down and concentrated in the hands of a few defense contractors. And on that account, Garrison was able to tell a prickly and incredulous Carson:

The function of the Warren Commission was to make the American people feel that the [JFK assassination] had been looked into so that there would be no further inquiries, so that the American people would not find out the involvement of elements of the Central Intelligence Agency, so that they would think the matter was closed.

Carson was uncomfortable with Garrison's material, and his performance so querelous and off-key that NBC issued a press release that said "the Johnny seen on TV that night was not the Johnny we all know and love. He had to play the devil's advocate, because that makes for a better program." Apparently Johnny was furious at the apology, and vowed Garrison would never be on his show again.

Not that there was much chance of a return visit, anyway. Carson and NBC had to be shamed by Tonight Show guest Mort Sahl into extending an invitation in the first place.

As Garrison tells it, in On the Trail of the Assassins:

The articulate satirist, who was spending an extended period of time in New Orleans helping the office in a variety of ways, was well aware of my problems communicating with the people through the news media. Even the simplest press conference involved a process of "translation," so that what came out in the media never seemed to be precisely what I had said. Sahl, being in show business, had access to places I did not, like the Johnny Carson show. One night when he was on the program, the conversation drifted to the subject of the assassination and my investigation. Suddenly Sahl turned toward the audience and asked if they did not think Carson should invite me to be a guest on the show so that I could explain my side of the case. The response was so demonstrably affirmative that it left Carson and the network with no alternative. A few days later I received a telegram of invitation, which I promptly accepted.

Sahl is one of my favourite undersung heroes of the Sixties, for having spent the capital of a successful career in the Quixotic pursuit of justice for the murderers of America.

From the cover of Time

to "conspiracy monger"

That strikes me as the trajectory of an honourable man.

There's an interview with Sahl a couple of months later in 1968, before the epochal one-two of Dr King and Robert Kennedy, that is as prophetic as anything I've read from that time:

ARGO: Why is the truth behind the assassination of President Kennedy the last chance of America for its survival?

SAHL: Because the evidence developed by District Attorney Garrison indicates that certain people had to take President Kennedy's life in order to control ours. In other words, as Richard Starnes of the New York World-Telegram said, the shots in Dallas were the opening shots of World War III. There's been a great change in this country since Kennedy. I'm afraid a great deal of our hope was interred with his remains.


ARGO: What would you say are the roots of this whole era?

SAHL: Fascism. It started with the death of Roosevelt. They moved in and they negated every treaty we made with every world leader who didn't fit the fascist/militarist mold. We went back on our word. As David Schoenbrun says very well, "I am not a dissenter for saying this. Those who betrayed American policy are the dissenters." We've gone back on the dream of national independence and we were the model for the rest of the world. Then when they followed our model, we attacked them for it. Shameful. No one has a right to stain the American flag. And unfortunately, we have people in this country who did it. If America goes, it will surely be an inside job.


ARGO: Why is the trial that Mr. Garrison's pursuing really the trial of the American people?

SAHL: Because we have to decide. Once the neo-fascists became bold enough to slay the President on the street, they showed their hand. 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. As a matter of fact, it's been dying since Kennedy's death. We have to cleanse our soul. It's much the same as the French when they regained their national honor, not by framing Dreyfus, but by admitting that they did.

ARGO: What does Garrison mean: "The key to the whole case is through the looking glass. Black is white; white is black"?

SAHL: He means that the first thing the government did when the President was killed was to ratify his death and to appoint a group of honorable men to initial a fraudulent report. To eventually say there is no fourth bullet, even though there's a fourth bullet hole. The man was shot at from three sides, but there was only one side. In other words, the government decrees it is so. And that eventually the government may be forced to form a Ministry of Truth which will rule there was no John Kennedy, if it becomes convenient. That's what he means. When Lyndon Johnson says to us, as an example, "We have continually keep up brush fire wars to protect the peace." Well, that's Orwell. War is peace, and peace is war, and love is hate. And you finally sell it just that way; the contradiction. And you do it by making the American people mad because those are the mouthings of a madman. We can be driven mad; it's the same virus that bit the Germans.

Rest in peace, Johnny Carson.

Mort Sahl, where have you been?

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Occult History of the National Security State

A little High Weirdness, on the heels of the Merlin Project.

Saturday, The Independent reported on the release of thousands of declassified documents, held by the UK's Ministry of Defense UFO department, SF4, "detailing credible observations of unidentified flying objects reported by RAF personnel, British Airways pilots and senior police officers."

The files contain incidents such as this:

In July 1977 Flt Lt A M Wood reported "bright objects hanging over the sea''. The MoD document adds that the RAF officer said the closest object was "luminous, round and four to five times larger than a Whirlwind helicopter". The UFOs were reported to be three miles out to sea at a height of about 5,000ft.

The officer, whose report is supported by Cpl Torrington and Sgt Graham, said: "The objects separated. Then one went west of the other, as it manoeuvred it changed shape to become body-shaped with projections like arms and legs." The men who were positioned at the picket post at the RAF station were able to observe the strange objects for an hour and 40 minutes.

At the same time a radar station detected the objects in exactly the same position as the men had observed them. It registered them to be between 30 to 35 degrees before they disappeared from the screen.

The report describes Flt Lt Wood as "reliable and sober". It adds: "Two contacts were noted on radar, both T84 and T85, at RAF Boulmer. They were also seen on the Staxton Wold radar picture which is relayed to West Drayton... On seeing the objects on radar the duty controller checked with the SRO at RAF West Drayton as to whether he could see the objects on radar supplied from RAF Staxton Wold."

I know this is an intellectually embarrassing topic. I know because I embarrass myself by raising it. Even on the rare occasions when unidentified aerial phenomena are accorded a serious treatment in the reputable press, it seems inappropriate to draw attention to the stories as somehow newsworthy, rather than regard them as sensationalist trifle. I think this is unfortunate, because the declassified records show that this subject is taken extremely seriously deep within the same Defense establishments which foster its ridicule. As seriously as they take it, so should we.

The Independent calls the above incident "among the most credible reports of a possible visit by extraterrestrial life-forms." As much as I respect The Independent, drawing such a conclusion seems to me sloppy work. Of course it's entirely predictable, as the UFO = alien spacecraft is a pretty hard meme to crack. But consider the story. The declassified report is a sober telling of something fantastic; something which shouldn't be, yet is. Why must it be ascribed to ETs, when the report doesn't even include the observation of a life-form?

Respected researcher Jacques Vallee says, "I will be disappointed if UFOs turn out to be nothing more than spaceships." Me, I think I would be relieved.

Why? Here's a for instance.

In 1918 in New York City, occultist and British spy Aleister Crowley conducted a ritual he called the "Amalantrah Working" intended to create a "magick portal" - a dimensional rift - through which certain intelligences would be invited to cross and manifest themselves in the world. Crowley claimed that one being he called "Lam" did cross, and he drew a portrait. The image bears striking resemblance to the "Greys" of later UFO mythology.

Crowley and "Lam":

In 1946 in New Mexico, Jack Parsons and L Ron Hubbard conducted a ritual they called the "Babalon [sic] Working," to reopen the portal. Parsons was a rocket scientist, co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and "true father of US space exploration," according to Werner von Braun. (He was to die in 1952 in a mysterious explosion.) Hubbard, the future founder of the Church of Scientology, was an officer of US Naval Intelligence. Both were adepts of the Ordo Templi Orientis, which was originally an "Illumined" high Masonic order, and led at the time by Crowley.

Jack Parsons and L Ron Hubbard:

Ardane Stewart picks up the story:

The gist of it was that Parsons desired to take the spirit of Babylon, the “Whore of Babylon,” and invest it in a human being. The idea was to create a child in the spiritual world, and then call down the spiritual baby and direct it into a human womb. When born, this child would incarnate the forces of Babylon, which they considered to be a good thing.

...the rites were duly performed as written from January 4th to 15th of that year. It is not known if a spiritual child was enwombed from them. What is known is that the Magickal Portal first created by Crowley - and which originally let Lam into the earth-world - was reestablished with considerable intensity by Parsons and Hubbard. From the diaries of the participants, it is also clear that they were not as adept as Crowley in the closings of portals. What they seemed to have accomplished was the drastic enlargement and ripping of an existing Magickal Portal and the subsequent non-closure of it. Perhaps the rip they created was not possible to close. In any event, the modern UFO era began exactly a year and a half later on June 24th, 1947, with Kenneth Arnold's sighting over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.

Stewart quotes Kenneth Grant, current head of the OTO, as saying “Lam is a Great Old One whose archetype is recognizable in accounts of UFO occupants.” Grant has organized an OTO "Cult of Lam," and a number of members claim remarkable success in their invocation of the "trans-mundane" being, or perhaps type of being. One contactee, Michael Bertiaux, regards Lam as the “subterranean burgeoning of Lucifer-Gnosis,” which represents the "appropriate path of human spiritual growth at this time."

None of this would merit much attention from me, apart from these four facts:

1. The UFO phenomenon remains unexplained.
2. The modern phenomenon exploded at the time and place of the "Babalon Working."
3. The phenomenon is the subject of an abiding cover up.
4. US military-intelligence has demonstrated a deep and ongoing interest in the occult and cult organizations, including the OTO.

For instance, Alex Constantine writes that a "number of intelligence agents with occult interests already had their hooks into the OTO. One of them was Gerald Yorke, a veteran British intelligence agent working...'with American intelligence in an attempt to absorb the OTO into the idealogical warfare network of the political right.'" And it may be worth noting that Retired Colonel and Satanist, Michael Aquino (about whom we've written before), writes that his Temple of Set "recognizes and enjoys cordial relations with the US OTO."

In Messengers of Deception, Vallee writes:

The social process caused by the belief in the [UFO] phenomenon takes the form of new sects, movements, and "contact" cults. Close observation of these cults shows that they are monitored and in some cases deliberately manipulated by occult groups, government organizations, and extremist political movements.... The group of people who will first manage to harness the fear of cosmic forces and the emotions surrounding UFO contact to a political purpose will be able to exert incredible spiritual blackmail.

He adds

I believe there is a very real UFO problem. I have also come to believe that it is being manipulated for political ends. And the data suggest that the manipulators may be human beings with a plan for social control. Such plans have been made before, and have succeeded. History shows that having a cosmic mythology as part of such a plan is not always necessary. But it certainly helps.

Since it's at last becoming respectable to compare Bush's America to Hitler's Germany, perhaps we should also remember the occult history of the Nazis, and wonder whether that fascination is another legacy adopted by the National Security State. Because as much as George Bush quotes, or rather misquotes, the Bible, he governs more as a follower of Crowley than of Christ. From Crowley's Book of the Law: "We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world."

In Messengers of Deception, Vallee recounts two briefings in the mid-70s with American and French officials. While the White House Assistant Science Advisor was only concerned with public relations - how the "flying saucer" business was spun - the French cabinet minister demonstrated genuine concern about the nature of the phenomenon.

Vallee asked him whether he thought the "phenomenon, or at least its social effects, might be under the control of a human group - not necessarily a government?"

The cabinent minister replied:

That possibility does exist. But we know what human beings would do with such power. I have seen the effects of power, believe me, in my years in government. If that turns out to be the answer, I will jump into the Seine without waiting for developments.

But no worries. George Bush just really, really likes the Texas Longhorns.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Freedom's just another word for oil

Today's most important story, from Reuters:

Oil Rebounds, China's Crude Imports Surge

Oil rebounded from sharp recent losses on Friday as China reported a fresh record in crude imports and a U.S. cold snap was expected to keep up demand for heating fuels.... Customs data released on Friday showed China's crude imports hit a record 12.1 million tonnes in December, sending total 2004 imports to 122.7 million tonnes, a rise of almost 35 percent from last year.

Sharply higher oil demand in China, now the world's second biggest consumer, was partly behind the surge in oil prices last year to a record peak above $55 a barrel.

"We should expect record import volumes from China every month. Demand growth is slowing but is still growing faster than domestic production," said Gordon Kwan, director of oil and gas research at CLSA in Hong Kong.

And today's most important analysis, from Petroleum World:

China's risky scramble for oil

Look at this imbalance: The average American consumes 25 barrels of oil a year. In China, the average is about 1.3 barrels per year; in India, less than one. So as the 2.4 billion Chinese and Indians move to improve their living standards, they're going to want more oil - likely more than can be produced.

That perceived shortage is setting off an intensifying scramble to tie up oil reserves around the world. So far, China has been the most aggressive player. But the competition is just getting going.

The pattern is clear. China has been weighing buying Unocal, a major US oil firm. Last month in Beijing, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez promised to open that nation's oil and natural gas fields to China. Russia, in effect renationalizing the giant oil subsidiary of Yukos, may offer China a 20 percent chunk of the new firm. China's efforts to tie up oil and gas resources - in places such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan - have not been cheap....

"There is a growing recognition of future oil scarcity, or at least the end of growth," says Jim Meyer, director of The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre in London. "The challenge of producing more and more oil is getting more and more difficult."

I don't know if this is you, but me, whenever I hear the petro-fascist alibis of spreading democracy and ending tyranny in the world, swallowed whole and regurgitated by the American media, I need a helmet. A thick one, well-padded, with which to bang my head against the desk. And I would soon need a new desk.

I would have thought it impossible to watch the pending tragedy in Iran play itself out, or the dark designs against democratic Venezuela unfold (Condoleeza Rice says the Bush administration finds Hugo Chavez "really very deeply troubling"), without being informed by the fact that energy policy is national security. Yet still, even after the debacle of the phantom WMD crusade, many do.

What to do? Once we've connected the dots, what can we do? It's like stumbling upon a murder scene, and the killer, still with blood on his hands, smirks "Scream all you want - no one's going to believe you!"

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"If we despise our own government we have no future"

The words of Jimmy Carter, from his inaugural address, January 20, 1977.

Carter's administration wasn't "progressive," or even particularly "liberal," as the terms were understood in the United States of the mid-70s, which is the last time those terms really meant anything in America. (To anyone who wants to champion the liberal bona fides of the Carter White House, I have two words: Zbigniew Brzezinski.) Carter himself was the safe, "centrist" choice of the Democratic establishment. And that says much about where America's middle was 30 years ago, and about the scary, dark place to which it has since been absconded.

I'm old enough to remember the Seventies as a decade of disappointment in North America. Lots of promise, extinguished. Carter began well, but faltered. And as a young Canadian on the left, I was perpetually frustrated by Pierre Trudeau's half-measures.

To think that there's a very good chance now that the Seventies might have been the high-water mark of social democracy, liberal policy and industrial-age civilization - well, I can't begin to tell you how that depresses me.

From Carter's address:

You have given me a great responsibility--to stay close to you, to be worthy of you, and to exemplify what you are. Let us create together a new national spirit of unity and trust. Your strength can compensate for my weakness, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes.

Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end we will triumph together in the right.


Let our recent mistakes bring a resurgent commitment to the basic principles of our Nation, for we know that if we despise our own government we have no future. We recall in special times when we have stood briefly, but magnificently, united. In those times no prize was beyond our grasp.

But we cannot dwell upon remembered glory. We cannot afford to drift. We reject the prospect of failure or mediocrity or an inferior quality of life for any person. Our Government must at the same time be both competent and compassionate.


We have learned that "more" is not necessarily "better," that even our great Nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems. We cannot afford to do everything, nor can we afford to lack boldness as we meet the future. So, together, in a spirit of individual sacrifice for the common good, we must simply do our best.

Now it's Midnight in America, Carter's words sound like a faint transmission from a galaxy far, far away. George Bush's inaugural dragon breath - his vow to bring the "untamed fire of freedom to the darkest corners of the world" - is rhetoric worthy of Pyongyang. Just not nearly as amusing, because unlike Kim, Bush has the means to act out his mania, which is forever being fanned by his Straussian cadres. "Fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause." Katie, bar the door!

How they must laugh, away from the microphones. How often then do you think their much-abused word, "freedom," passes their lips?

I'm sure it plays well to his doped-up, ditto-headed base, who can't wait for the flat-screen spectacle of "Showdown: Tehran." For everyone else, this headline in The Scotsman should do: "A Shiver Runs Round the World."

Extreme enough for ya?

Just how weird must the weather get before some people acknowledge that even Kansas isn't in Kansas anymore?

I'm not talking earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, although I could. I'm talking about the ordinary everyday stuff, which daily seems to be getting more extraordinary.

As extreme as North America's winter has been, it's nothing compared to Europe's. Unseasonal warmth in Central and Eastern Europe has caused bears to wake, grumpy, months early from their hibernation. Meanwhile, Scotland and Norway recover from hurricanes, for God's sake.

Fans of Michael Crichton will be quick to point out that last week's storms which battered Northern Europe were not true hurricanes, since they were not tropical. But that's a bit like saying George Bush can't be President, because President's can't be that stupid. The storms were severe and cyclonic, with torrential downpours and hurricane-force winds. So call it a "very bad storm" if you prefer, the results are the same. And it's going to get worse:

Storms 'to get more destructive'

The storms which devastated parts of Scotland last week will become more frequent and more destructive in future, experts are predicting.

Residents of the west coast and islands said the storm, which brought hurricane-force winds reaching 124mph, was the worst in living memory. It caused the death of a family of five whose cars were swept into the sea as they tried to escape the fierce conditions on South Uist, and left a trail of destruction in its wake.

Power and telephone lines were brought down, roads and bridges were closed, schools and offices shut and buildings damaged or destroyed. But, according to researchers studying the seas off the west coast of Scotland, last week may be just a taste of things to come.

Scientists from Thurso and Southampton predict that a trend of more frequent storms may be set to intensify as a result of climate change, driving up winter wave heights off the west coast. The work has been done by Thurso’s Environmental Research Institute and Southampton Oceanography Centre.

The theory, popularized in The Day After Tomorrow (and perhaps so sensationalized it was raised for some to the level of an apparent absurdity), says the Atlantic Conveyor is vulnerable to an influx of fresh water from glacial melt. If it shuts down, or even slows down, severe weather will result, and Northern Europe's temperatures will plummet. The weather Europe is seeing now suggests we're getting close to the Conveyor's tipping point.

Into this strange new world of hurt strides the Bush administration, and today's headline:

US tries to remove climate change references in UN disaster talks

The United States, which opposes the Kyoto protocol on global warming, is trying to remove references to climate change in UN talks aimed at setting up a disaster early warning system, a US official said Wednesday.

The US has voiced objections to "multiple" references to climate change in drafting documents for the global conference in Kobe, Japan on disaster reduction, said Mark Lagon, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department bureau of international organization affairs.

He said the United States believed climate change was a "well-known" controversy and that there were "other venues" to discuss it.

Good on Mr Lagon to bite his tongue, and stop short of calling climate change a "conspiracy theory."

So what is going on with the stubborn refusal of the US to admit and act upon climate change? I think it's wrong to believe the policy-makers ignorant. We saw last year what the Pentagon's secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by the UK's Observer, made of it: climate change "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern." Britain could be Siberian by 2020, and major European cities sunk beneath rising seas. According to the report, an imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is "plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately."

But with a challenge to US national security, also comes an opportunity.

Climate change impacts everyone, but short of a runaway greenhouse effect (and no worries - we have a good 50 years or so to squander before that eventuality), some will be impacted more than others. Europe, for instance, would be expected to fare worse than the United States if the Atlantic Conveyor shuts down. The continent depends upon the moderating current to keep it out of the deep freeze. If it fails, then so will Europe.

And which continent of former allies is it, which is now viewed with suspicion as a potential 21st Century rival to American hegemony?

Having read the CIA's laughable reverse-psychology "advice" to Europe, I think there are likely some people in places of influence who wouldn't object to putting the continent on ice. ("The current EU welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalisation could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the EU." Oh yes; the CIA would just hate to see the EU fail.)

Perhaps the Bush administration isn't as ignorant as it seems regarding climate change. Perhaps it knows, even better than we know, what is coming. And perhaps, weighing everything in the balance, they are saying, in effect, "bring it on!"

In other words, perhaps what we're seeing in environmental policy is another instance of Letting It Happen On Purpose.

If Condoleeza Rice can call the South Asian tsunami a "wonderful opportunity," what must Donald Rumsfeld be calling climate change?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"The military is investigating the incident."

"In an incident Tuesday in Tal Afar, Iraq, U.S. soldiers opened fire on a car that failed to stop, even after warning shots were fired." - Getty Images

"U.S. soldiers approach the car after it rolls to a stop. The car held an Iraqi family of seven of which the mother and father were killed. Their five children in the backseat survived." - Getty Images

"A wounded boy tumbles out of the car as soldiers approach." - Getty Images

"Two children are held by U.S. soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division out of Ft. Lewis." - Getty Images

"An Iraqi girl screamed Tuesday after her parents were killed when American soldiers fired on their car when it failed to stop, despite warning shots, in Tal Afar, Iraq. The military is investigating the incident." - The New York Times

And here's another, ongoing investigation for the military.

Apologies for the graphic nature of the following images. I found these on Factiva today, and haven't seen them picked up by a wire service. And frankly, don't expect to.

"An undated handout photograph, issued on January 18, 2005, that is to be used as evidence in a court martial in Osnabrueck, Germany, purports to show Iraqi detainees who had been forced by British soldiers to 'simulate' sexual acts." - Reuters

"An undated handout photograph, issued on January 18, 2005, that is to be used as evidence in a court martial in Osnabrueck, Germany purports to show Iraqi detainees during simulated oral sex." - Reuters

Note that in the caption to the first image of prisoner abuse, Reuters places quotation marks around "simulate." Why not in the second?


"Armed U.S. special forces escort Iraq's Interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi (L) following the delivery of a C-130 transport plane to the Iraqi Air Force in Baghdad's International Airport, January 19, 2005." - Reuters

This would be the same Allawi who, it is now admitted by a US official, executed six "insurgents" with a hand gun at a Baghdad police station last year.

Just another day in Iraq.

Hadn't we better seize the day?

So tell me that you don't support this war, or don't tell me nothin'
'Cos if this song of mine don't change your heart, then it was not worth singing.
But I believe you did your best, chasing life and happiness,
Never wondered never guessed, how the news had been suppressed
Of a never-ending killing-fest, rip the kid from the Mama's breast,
Shrapnel thru her daddy's chest while we're all singing "Glory Hallelujah!"
I'm talking to ya

Somebody made a killing in your name.
So take your power back, or take the blame.

9/11 in the Courts. Sort of. Almost.

Judge Richard Casey has dismissed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a defendant in six civil lawsuits which had accused them of "providing support to al-Qaida before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

While the reason for his decision shows the limitations 9/11 justice may find in American courts - only the president, Casey says, has the authority to label a foreign nation a terrorist - I don't disagree with his ruling. The Saudis make excellent fall guys for those who balk, for whatever reason, at drawing the more reasonable, yet more troubling conclusions. Michael Moore, for one, has been a perfect "useful idiot" in the propogation of this limited hangout.

To Moore's thinking, the awful, hidden truth of 9/11 is that the White House "screwed up": Bush was "double-crossed" by his Saudi pals. And to get there, he needs to ignore or misrepresent virtually every salient fact of the event, and plays right into the neoconservatives' long-game with his "Saudis did it" drumbeat. (There's an excellent summary of materials on this at Oil Empire.) Because one day, you'd better believe it, Americans will be asked to get their hate on for Saudi Arabia. At some point, it will be important for the FoxNews America to know that 15 of the hijackers were Saudi nationals.

With regard to state-sponsorship of al Qaeda, Pakistan deserves to be on a list of defendants before Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda could be called a creature of the ISI, and the al Qaeda-ISI-CIA triangle is much more important than the price of Prince Bandar's cigars. (And speaking of the CIA, when is it going to be in the dock? For anything?)

By the way, I see that Stanley Hilton's $7 billion federal class action lawsuit against the Bush Administration for its complicity in the attacks has been thrown out. While I've been, and remain, skeptical of Hilton and his motives, it's interesting to note the ruling was based on the "Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity". "In other words, the suit was not dismissed because of lack of evidence, but rather because the judge reasoned that U.S. Citizens do not have the right to hold a sitting President accountable for anything, even if the charges include premeditated mass murder and premeditated acts of high treason."

9/11 needs to find its Jim Garrison.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Is everybody okay?"

View from the Robert F Kennedy funeral train

I haven't read Peter Evans' Nemesis so I can't make an informed comment on its merits. (Though I will admit I'm habitually leery of an Onassis-did-it theory. Can it account for the cover up?) Still, it was heartening to see the article it inspired in yesterday's Independent:

Was Robert Kennedy killed by a real 'Manchurian candidate'-style assassin?

It happened nearly 38 years ago, but doubts and suspicions have lingered on. Now the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Robert Kennedy are being resurrected and re-examined in an attempt to establish the truth of what happened that night in the cramped pantry of a Los Angeles hotel.

New evidence has emerged and pressure is mounting on authorities to reopen the case of Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of the assassination and who remains in the California state prison in Corcoran.

Celebrities and journalists are joining the campaign for a federal investigation, which has been sparked in part by a new book, Nemesis, by the British author Peter Evans. Evans, who spent 10 years researching the book, has unearthed evidence to support Sirhan's contention that he was hypnotised into being the "fall guy" for the murder. Evans identifies the hypnotist, who had worked on CIA mind control programmes and who was later found dead in mysterious circumstances.

It's good and right that Evans names the late William J Bryan, but it's not for the first time "America's most famous medical hypnotist," who helped crack the Boston Strangler case, has been linked to the crime. The veteran of MK-ULTRA and, ironically, technical advisor to The Manchurian Canadidate, was named as Sirhan's likely programmer in William Turner's and Jonn Christian's invaluable and, naturally, out-of-print book from 1978, The Assassination of Robert F Kennedy.

The Independent repeats Evans' claim that the hypnosis

had been done over three months, a period known as the "white fog" when the Los Angeles police task force later investigating the assassination - and trying to construct a meticulous timetable of Sirhan's activities up to the shooting - lost track of him.

Sergeant Bill Jordan, the detective who was Sirhan's first interrogator, told Evans: "We took him back for more than a year with some intensity - where he'd been, what he'd been doing, who he'd been seeing. But there was this 10- or 12-week gap, like a blanket of white fog we could never penetrate, and which Sirhan himself appeared to have a complete amnesia about."

In the last years of Bryan's life he was deeply depressed, and to ameliorate his misery he would boast about his famous subjects to his frequent prostitutes.

Turner and Christian write:

In the spring of 1977 Bryan was found dead in a Las Vegas motel room, "from natural causes" the coroner said. (Curiously, this word was issued before the official autopsy.) Shortly thereafter we were put in contact with two Beverly Hills call girs who claim to have known Bryan intimately. They had been "servicing" him on an average of twice a week for four years, they said, and usually were present at the same time....

The girls said that to relieve Bryan's depression they repeatedly titilated his enormous ego by getting him to "talk about all the famous people you've hypnotized." As if by rote Bryan would begin with his role of deprogramming Albert Di Salvo in the Boston Strangler case for F Lee Bailey, then boast that he had hypnotized Sirhan Sirhan. The girls didn't sense anything unusual in the Sirhan angle, for Bryan had told them many times that he "worked with the LAPD" on murder cases, and they didn't know that he had absolutely no contact with Sirhan following the assassination. Once of the girls though that Bryan had mentioned James Earl Ray once, but wasn't sure. But both girls were certain of the name Sirhan Sirhan.

Bryan's having worked with Di Salvo, and having often boasted of it, says much. Because in Sirhan's notebooks of automatic writing, which contain the trance-induced repeated phrase "Robert F Kennedy must be assassinated," there is also this peculiar passage: "God help me...please help me. Salvo Di Di Salvo Die S Salvo."

When we asked Sirhan about the Di Salvo entry in his notebook, he replied that the name was entirely foreign to him. Was it possible that Bryan had placed Sirhan in a trance state and, given his propensity to boast constantly about the Boston Strangler case, repeated Di Salvo's name over and over - thus etching it into Sirhan's subconscious? In any case, Sirhan would not remember either the circumstances of his exposure to the name or who mentioned it.

The Independent suggests Nemesis could reopen the case. The actor Robert Vaughn, a close friend of Bobby Kennedy's who has long held he was murdered by a conspiracy, wrote to Sirhan that "some are talking of it opening the door to a long overdue federal investigation."

I'm sure Sirhan doesn't need to be told, but don't hold your breath.

It's been known for close to 40 years now that RFK was shot point blank from the rear, at a nearly vertical trajectory, and yet Sirhan was standing a foot or two directly in front of him. And it hasn't changed anything.

It's been known just as long that Thane Eugene Cesar, a security guard hired on for the night employed by CIA contractors, was standing precisely where Coroner Thomas Noguchi insisted the shots must have been fired. And nothing has changed, besides Noguchi losing his job.

The LAPD destroying evidence? The surfeit of magic bullets? Cesar lying about his gun? It doesn't matter. The diabolical truth of Robert Kennedy's murder has been before America's eyes since the night he carried California. And it doesn't matter. Not enough, anyway, for America to live with the burden of self-knowledge. It will never matter that much. So Sirhan's handler and hypnotic trigger, the girl in the polka dot dress, will always be skipping out of the Ambassador hotel, exulting "We killed him! We killed Kennedy!"

When Bobby was shot he grabbed at Cesar and fell clutching the guard's clip-on tie. Most photos of Kennedy on the floor of the pantry crop the tie. But it's there, just beyond his outstretched hand.

Cesar's alive, and free.

Sirhan's alive, and he still can't remember what happened that night, or for the three months of "white fog" he'd gone missing from the family home. As though false imprisonment for nearly 40 years isn't monstrous enough.

"Is everybody okay?" Robert Kennedy asked, on his back, in his blood, at the end.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Unholy mess brewing on the Temple Mount

Just when you thought it couldn't get more apocalyptic, the Sanhedrin goes into session.

It's been nearly 1,600 years since the Jewish religious tribunal has been convened in Israel. The present body of 71 rabbinical scholars, "composed largely of [Meir] Kahane sympathizers," according to The Jerusalem Post, was inaugurated last October 13, as the self-appointed senior authority on Jewish Law.

Issues on the table during last week's conclave in Jerusalem's Old City included restoring the Davidic monarchy, determining the precise location of the Temple altar ("determined through prophecy," reports the paper Arutz Sheva), and re-establishing the Temple sacrifices.

Perhaps surprisingly, designating an heir to the Throne of David may be the Sanhedrin's easiest task. Touted as a likely candidate for King of Israel is Rabbi Yosef Dayan, "known," says the Post, "for his recent threats to place a death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon." Dayan is reported to have "two documented ancient sources which draw a direct line between him and the males in his family to King David," which apparently puts him ahead of the game.

Restoring Temple sacrifices is another matter. For one, there is the business of the Temple of the Mount to contend with. As the Post reports, some members of the Sanhedrin are thinking outside the box:

One of the ideas, members said, is to climb the Mount and build the altar within minutes and sacrifice the lamb before security forces can stop them. Another, said leading Sanhedrin member Baruch Ben-Yosef, is to pray for a tsunami-like disaster on the Mount.

"In one second, God wiped out 150,000 people," he said. "Who knows? Maybe he'll help us if we show him we are ready."

Yet, even with a providential disaster, one thing is lacking: the ashes of a red heifer, required for a rite of purification before entering the Temple. Well, actually ....

It can now be revealed that less than one month ago, a red heifer was born in Israel. After the heifer's owner contacted the Temple Institute, on Friday, April 5th, 2001, Rabbi Menachem Makover and Rabbi Chaim Richman traveled to the farm where the heifer is located, to inspect and validate her status. The rabbis found her to be kosher and were satisfied that this heifer could indeed be a candidate to be used in the process of purification described in the book of Numbers, chapter 19. This is a prerequisite for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

Tradition records that a red heifer in our generation is a herald of the Messianic era. It is certainly an important development towards the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Our sages taught that Israel’s redemption can be compared to the dawn. "In the beginning, it progresses very slowly...but as it continues, it grows brighter and brighter."

Of course the minds obsessing about this - the Kahane-influenced Sanhedrin, and its far right religious constituency - are neither representative of Judaism nor of Israel. This is a fanatical minority of fundamentalist zealots hoping to fulfill their eschaton of a Messianic kingdom on Earth. While it may seem strange to us, you can bet their fundamentalist brethren in the Christian and Islamic camps can relate. Because doctrine aside, all fundamentalists view the end of the world as we know it as a good and necessary thing.

The world we knew is already receding into memory. And in the dusk of this new Dark Age, extremes of belief are being exploited by cynics, and worse, to cover a multitude of crimes, and to hide the true fragility of our condition until it's too late.

While most Jews, most Christians, most Muslims, most everybody abhor and eschew the harness of fundamentalist thinking, history is not driven by most of us. (Christian Dominionists sound hilarious, going on about the legal obligation for stoning disobedient children, until you realize their unaudited machines count America's votes.) As a rule, majorities are ruled. It's the fanatical few, at whom we may laugh one day and cower before the next, who are history's engine. It's a minority of single-minded maniacs who can take a holy place and make an unholy mess.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

MI5 asset in Gitmo?

Sorry about that, old chap.

The Independent is reporting today that in his testimony before a US military tribunal, Bisher al-Rawi claims that he acted as a "go-between" for MI-5 and Abu Qatada, "the militant Islamic cleric alleged to be al-Qa'ida's "spiritual leader" in Europe." Al-Rawi was seized (kidnapped?) by US intelligence agents in 2002 while on a business trip to Gambia, on the strength of his relationship with Qatada.

Al-Rawi has named three MI5 agents - "Alex", "Matthew" and "Martin" - and asked that they be called as defence witnesses. The tribunal agreed, but "the British Government refused to allow them to give evidence."

This is not surprising. When intelligence assets becomes liabilities, they're cut lose and the doors shut. Embarrass their client agency and they'll find they have a short shelf life, if not a short lifespan. Disposibility is one of their chief attributes.

The Independent closes with this:

His claims follow allegations, by Islamist militants as well as French security sources, that Abu Qatada had contacts with British intelligence, which the Palestinian strongly denies. His legal advisers are adamant that he was only questioned as part of routine attempts by MI5 to gather intelligence about Islamist groups in the UK.

If Al-Rawi is to be believed, then once again the oft-repeated implausibility that al Qaeda resists intelligence penetration is shown to be a joke at the expense of the indefatigably gullible.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Michael Chertoff and the sabotage of the Ptech investigation

Remember Ptech? That's the Boston software firm financed by Saudi businessman Yassin Al-Qadi, who also happens to be an al Qaeda bagman, whose clients happened to include numerous sensitive US federal branches and agencies, including the FAA, the FBI, the military and the White House.

A little background, from the mainstream, even, thanks to WBZ-TV:

Joe Bergantino, a reporter for WBZ-TV's investigative team, was torn. He could risk breaking a story based on months of work investigating a software firm linked to terrorism, or heed the government's demand to hold the story for national security reasons. In mid-June, Bergantino received a tip from a woman in New York who suspected that Ptech, a computer software company in Quincy, Mass., had ties to terrorists. Ptech specialized in developing software that manages information contained in computer networks.

Bergantino's investigation revealed that Ptech's clients included many federal governmental agencies, including the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Naval Air Command, Congress, the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, NATO, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and even the White House.

"Ptech was doing business with every federal government in defense and had access to key government data," Bergantino said.


Bergantino was ready to air the story by September, but the government had different plans. Federal authorities told Bergantino not to air the story because it would jeopardize their investigation and would threaten national security. According to federal authorities, documents would be shredded and people would flee if we ran the story, Bergantino said.

But Bergantino claims the government's demand to hold off on the story was merely a pretext.

In October 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order freezing the assets of individuals linked to terrorism. According to Bergantino, the list identified Saudi Arabian businessman Yassin Al-Qadi as a key financial backer of Osama Bin Laden. As it turns out, Bergantino said, Al-Qadi also is the chief financier of Ptech. The government failed to investigate Ptech in October 2001 and didn't start it's investigation until August 2002 when WBZ-TV's investigation called attention to Ptech.

Even if Ptech was unaware that the President's October 2001 order contained the name of its chief financier, documents seized in a March 2002 government raid revealed Ptech's connections with another organization linked to terrorism, Bergantino said. And again, the government failed to investigate Ptech.

Bergatino's tipster was Indira Singh, who has said she recognizes the separate command and control communications system Mike Ruppert describes Dick Cheney to have been running on September 11th as having "the exact same functionality I was looking to utilize [for] Ptech."

Now, how does Chertoff figure in the Ptech story? It goes back to the turf war of two years ago over Operation Greenquest, "the high-profile federal task force set up to target the financiers of Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups." The aggressive, Customs-led task force was folded into Homeland Security, sending both the FBI and its minders at the Department of Justice into a tizzy. They "demanded that the White House instead give the FBI total control over Greenquest."

Now, consider this, also from the two-year-old Newsweek:

The FBI-Justice move, pushed by DOJ Criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials, however. They accuse the bureau of sabotaging Greenquest investigations—by failing to turn over critical information to their agents—and trying to obscure a decade-long record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases.


One prime example of the tension is the investigation into Ptech, the Boston-area computer software firm that had millions of dollars in sensitive government contracts with the Air Force, the Energy Department and, ironically enough, the FBI. In what turned into a minor embarrassment for the bureau, the firm’s main investors included Yasin Al-Qadi, a wealthy Saudi businessman whom the Bush administration had formally designated a terrorist financier under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Al-Qadi has vigorously denied any connection to terrorism.

The Ptech case turned into an ugly dispute last year when company whistleblowers told Greenquest agents about their own suspicions about the firm’s owners. Sources close to the case say those same whistleblowers had first approached FBI agents, but the bureau apparently did little or nothing in response. With backing from the National Security Council, Greenquest agents then mounted a full-scale investigation that culminated in a raid on the company’s office last December. After getting wind of the Greenquest probe, the FBI stepped in and unsuccessfully tried to take control of the case.

The result, sources say, has been something of a train wreck. Privately, FBI officials say Greenquest agents botched the probe and jeopardized other more promising inquiries into Al-Qadi. Greenquest agents dismiss the charges and say the problem is that the bureau was slow to respond to legitimate allegations that an outside contractor with terrorist ties may have infiltrated government computers.

Whatever the truth, there is no dispute that the case has so far produced no charges and indictments against Al-Qadi or anyone else connected with Ptech. The company has denied wrongdoing.

The turf war was won on May 13, 2003, when John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge signed a "Memorandum of Agreement bet7ween the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, giving the FBI "unprecedented unilateral control of all terrorist-financing investigations and operations."

Several seasoned government agents fear for the nation’s security should the FBI be tackling most terrorism cases, as their ineptitude in preventing terrorism has been established time and time again. Yet, the memorandum between Ashcroft and Ridge places the FBI in an incredibly powerful position over Homeland Security. According to the memorandum, "all appropriate DHS leads relating to money laundering and financial crimes will be checked with the FBI."

Well, no reason to fear now, now that Michael Chertoff is heading up Homeland Security. Right?

Also, a noteworthy admission today from the Department of Justice, released in a "37-page, unclassified summary of a broader, 100-page internal review over Edmonds' case":

From Associated Press:

Evidence and other witnesses support complaints by a fired FBI contract linguist who alleged shoddy work and possible espionage within the bureau's translator program in the months after the September 2001 terror attacks, according to a report Friday by the senior oversight official at the Justice Department.

The department's inspector general, Glenn Fine, said the allegations by former translator Sibel Edmonds "raised substantial questions and were supported by various pieces of evidence." Fine said the FBI still has not adequately investigated the sensational claims.

A show of hands: how many have heard US cable news whisper, even once, the name "Sibel Edmonds"? I have. Once. It was about the time of Edmonds' press conference last Spring, held between sessions of Thomas Kean's 9/11 Commission. Paul Begalia, the designated liberal of CNN's Crossfire, gingerly raised her more reasonable-to-mainstream charges. (At least, those of which John Ashcroft's gag order permits her to speak.) Tucker Carlson, as if on cue, called her a "conspiracy theorist" and, I seem to recall, a "nutjob."

And according to CNN, that's the last we've heard of her.

Naturally, neither Sibel Edmonds nor Indira Singh, nor Ptech, warrant a mention in the official 9/11 Commission report. Though Edmonds is gagged, Singh did give testimony to the 9/11 Citizens' Commission, Sept 9, 2004 in New York. She read an open letter from Edmonds, and added "what I have uncovered in Ptech connects with some of the things that she has discovered. Sibel is not allowed to disclose content but she can ask me questions. I know some of the things that she mentioned there connect directly to what I discovered."


INDIRA SINGH: I did a number of things in my research and when I ran into the drugs I was told that if I mentioned the money to the drugs around 9/11 that would be the end of me. That is a current threat that I’m under and therefore I will speak out about the drugs at another forum.

I did not expect the Kean Commission to go anywhere near the FBI and Ptech. But I hope all Americans will demand answers regarding the FBI and Ptech. I would like to leave you with this one question. Not only why is Ptech still operating but why did Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff state that they cannot differentiate between terrorism, organized crime and drug dealing and is that the reason the Kean Commission will not make terrorism financing a priority in the future?


Ptech was with Mitre Corporation in the basement of the FAA for two years prior to 9/11. Their specific job is to look at interoperability issues the FAA had with NORAD and the Air Force in the case of an emergency. If anyone was in a position to know that the FAA, that there was a window of opportunity or to insert software or to change anything it would have been Ptech along with Mitre. And that ties right back to Michael Ruppert’s information.... The functionality that Michael is claiming that Dick Cheney utilized is the exact same functionality I was looking to utilize Ptech for in the bank. I was looking to set up a shadow surveillance system on everything going on, every transaction and the ability to backdoor, to look at information unobtrusively and to backdoor intelligent agents out there to do things that other people would not be aware of. To stop… in risk the whole shift is from bad things going on and finding it after the fact to preventing it from happening. So we were looking for patterns and have the intervention in there. So we were looking for interventive software, something that would stop. What Mike Ruppert is referring to is exactly the same kind of functionality…surveillance and intervention.

Another show of hands: have you heard anything like that, ever, on US cable news?