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Black boxes disappear from the WTC site: Bryan Sacks’ and Nick Levis’ of 911Truth.org break story

Black boxes disappear from the WTC site: Bryan Sacks' and Nick Levis' of 911Truth.org break story

Firefighter Said Black Boxes Were Found at Ground Zero

Pulitzer Prize winner William Bunch uses an account from the book, "Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero," as one source for the claim that three black boxes from the aircraft that crashed into the World Trade Center were discovered by authorities during the recovery efforts in 2001-2002. This is contrary to the official story. (Philadelphia Daily News, Thursday, 10/28/04 - a longer version was published on his "Campaign Extra" weblog.)

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Who Is Rich Blee?

Who Is Rich Blee?

Despite threats of prosecution from the CIA, the makers of 9/11: Press For Truth have released their new documentary podcast Who Is Rich Blee?

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Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency

Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency

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

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Bush, Rice and the Genoa Warning: Documenting a demonstrable falsehood

Bush, Rice and the Genoa Warning: Documenting a demonstrable falsehood

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
--Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002

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FBI Headquarters Thwarts Pre-9/11 Moussaoui Search, But Why?

FBI Headquarters Thwarts Pre-9/11 Moussaoui Search, But Why?

An FBI agent who interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui before Sept. 11, 2001, warned his supervisors more than 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist and spelled out his suspicions that the al-Qaeda operative was plotting to hijack an airplane.

What is striking about agent Samit's account, like the account of his office-mate Coleen Rowley, is the assumption of "criminal negligence" on the part of FBI headquarters, and RFU head David Frasca and Michael Maltbie in particular. Best I can see, criminal complicity has not been ruled out whatsoever.

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Edmonds: FBI knew about 9/11 plot in April 2001

Edmonds: FBI knew about 9/11 plot in April 2001

Open Letter To Thomas Kean, Chairman Of The 9/11 Commission, from FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds 


I, Sibel Edmonds, a concerned American Citizen, a former FBI translator, a whistleblower, a witness for a United States Congressional investigation, a witness and a plaintiff for the Department of Justice Inspector General investigation, and a witness for your own 9/11 Commission investigation, request your answers to, and your public acknowledgement of, the following questions and issues:

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Why Louis Freeh Should Be Investigated For 9/11

Why Louis Freeh Should Be Investigated For 9/11

“The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”[1] ...


Judicial Watch pointed to a “legacy of corruption” at the FBI under Freeh, listing the espionage scandal at Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as “Filegate, Waco, the Ruby Ridge cover-up, the Olympic bombing frame-up of Richard Jewell, [and] falsification of evidence concerning the Oklahoma City bombing.”[4]

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Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and 9/11

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and 9/11

Rumsfeld on the morning of 9/11, prior to the attacks: "let me tell you, I've been around the block a few times," he told Representative Cox. "There will be another event."

When did Cheney enter the PEOC beneath the White House?

Why did the Secret Service leave President Bush exposed and vulnerable in the classroom at Emma Booker Elementary for more than 10 minutes after they knew we were under attack?

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9/11 Training Exercise Planned for Simulated Plane Crash Five Minutes before Pentagon Attack Took Place

9/11 Training Exercise Planned for Simulated Plane Crash Five Minutes before Pentagon Attack Took Place

Five minutes before the Pentagon was hit on September 11, 2001, a training exercise being run by a US intelligence agency just over 20 miles from the Pentagon was set to include the scenario of a small private jet plane crashing into a building. It is unclear whether the scenario was played out, or if the exercise had been called off by that time.

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Cui Bono 9/11?

Cui Bono 9/11?

UnAnswered Question #1: Cui Bono?

A spirited and global citizens' media was birthed by our hunger to learn the truth that lay inside the graves of those who gave their lives on 9/11. This citizens' media brought forward the questions that people throughout the world raised and wanted answered.

These are the UnAnswered Questions of 9/11. The persistence of the citizens' media in raising them and demanding answers has illuminated the failure of those responsible to explain what happened or why.

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FAA Communications with NORAD On September 11, 2001

FAA Communications with NORAD On September 11, 2001

FAA clarification memo to 9/11 Independent Commission
Within minutes after the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center, the FAA immediately established several phone bridges that included FAA field facilities, the FAA Command Center, FAA headquarters, DOD, the Secret Service, and other government agencies. The FAA shared real-time information on the phone bridges about the unfolding events, including information about loss of communication with aircraft, loss of transponder signals, unauthorized changes in course, and other actions being taken by all the flights of interest, including Flight 77.

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Co-Chair of 9/11 Inquiry: American Government Covered Up State Assistance to Hijackers

Co-Chair of 9/11 Inquiry: American Government Covered Up State Assistance to Hijackers

The co-chair of the Congressional Joint 9/11 Inquiry (Bob Graham) today alleged a cover up by the U.S. government of state assistance by Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 hijackers.

Graham is no flake. He was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for 10 years (including 18 months as chairman), member of the CIA External Advisory Board, chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, 18-year U.S. senator, two-term governor of Florida, co-chair of the national commission on the BP oil spill, and member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

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White House Terror Chief Alleges CIA 9/11 Malfeasance, Cover Up in New Interview: PBS Colorado’s Exclusive Ignites Battle Among Bush Officials

White House Terror Chief Alleges CIA 9/11 Malfeasance, Cover Up in New Interview: PBS Colorado's Exclusive Ignites Battle Among Bush Officials

In a never-before-seen interview, Richard Clarke, former White House Counterterror "Tsar" to Presidents Clinton and Bush, goes on record about what he believes happened at CIA in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, accusing then-CIA Director George Tenet and two of his deputies of deliberately not informing the White House, FBI, and Defense Department about two future hijackers inside U.S., then covering up from the 9/11 investigations.

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The Wargames of September 11th (beta)

The Wargames of September 11th (beta)

The latest material for the first time casts light on what may have been the day's master wargame:

Global Guardian, run out of Offutt Air Force Base by the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) under Admiral Richard Mies ( official bio ).

He has since retired and taken up a gig as the CEO of Hicks & Associates, a "strategic consultant" to the federal government dealing in "military transformation."

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Important “Open Letter to Norman Mineta” concerning his 9/11 Commission-censored testimony – Please help distribute widely…

Important Open Letter to Norman Mineta concerning his 9/11 Commission-censored testimony - Please help distribute widely...

On May 23, 2003 you testified before the 9/11 Commission in public hearing as to your experience on the morning of 9/11/01. During your testimony you stated that you arrived at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) underneath the East Wing of the White House “at about 9:20 a.m.”, at which time Vice President Richard Cheney ...

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9/11 and Other Optical Illusions

9/11 and Other Optical Illusions

This illusion elucidates a very important principle concerning subjective reality, and helps to illustrate a point about the vastly differing views people can hold about events such as 9/11.

Some people who look at the spinning figure will first affirm that she is bouncing on her left leg while twirling in a clockwise direction.
Others may avow that she is instead bouncing on her right leg and spinning in a counterclockwise direction.

Indeed, you can have many people looking at this animated graphic at the same time and not agree as to what is happening.

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Senator Dayton: NORAD Lied About 9/11

Senator Dayton: NORAD Lied About 9/11

In hearings last Friday, Sen. Dayton (D-MN) raised an obvious point: if the timeline of air defense response as promoted in the Kean Commission's best-selling book is correct, then the timeline presented repeatedly by NORAD during the last two years was completely wrong. Yet now no one at NORAD is willing to comment on their own timeline!

When the official story of 9/11 can be changed repeatedly without anyone ever being held accountable, we have no right to ever again expect honest government. Please read the following story and do your part to support Sen. Dayton for highlighting the contradiction, and to encourage the media to follow up.

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Did the Bush Administration Lie to Congress and the 9/11 Commission?

Did the Bush Administration Lie to Congress and the 9/11 Commission?

By Dave Lindorff

9/11: Missing Black Boxes in World Trade Center Attacks Found by Firefighters, Analyzed by NTSB, Concealed by FBI

One of the more puzzling mysteries of 9-11 is what ever happened to the flight recorders of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers. Now it appears that they may not be missing at all.
Counterpunch has learned that the FBI has them.

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Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

A great deal of controversy has arisen about what was known about the movements and location of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his killing by US Special Forces on May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Questions about what intelligence agencies knew or didn't know about al-Qaeda activities go back some years, most prominently in the controversy over the existence of a joint US Special Forces Command and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) data mining effort known as "Able Danger."

What hasn't been discussed is a September 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) report, summarizing an investigation made in response to an accusation by a Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) whistleblower, which indicated that a senior JFIC commander had halted actions tracking Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11.

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Guns and Butter Interviews Paul Zarembka, Editor of ‘The Hidden History of 9/11′

Guns and Butter Interviews Paul Zarembka, Editor of 'The Hidden History of 9/11'

How much insider trading occurred in the days leading up to 9/11? How compromised is the evidence against alleged hijackers because of serious authentication problems with a key Dulles Airport videotape? To what extent does the testimony of more than five hundred firefighters differ from official reports of what happened at the World Trade Center buildings that day? How inseparably connected are Western covert operations to al-Qaeda?

Listen to Bonnie Faulkner interview with Paul Zarembka, professor of economics, SUNY Buffalo

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Is Anyone Telling Us the Truth?

Is Anyone Telling Us the Truth?

What are we to make of the failed Underwear Bomber plot, the Toothpaste, Shampoo, and Bottled Water Bomber plot, and the Shoe Bomber plot? These blundering and implausible plots to bring down an airliner seem far removed from al-Qaida's expertise in pulling off 9/11.

If we are to believe the U.S. government, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged al-Qaida "mastermind" behind 9/11, outwitted the CIA, the NSA, indeed all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as well as those of all U.S. allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times on one morning, and Dick Cheney, and with untrained and inexperienced pilots pulled off skilled piloting feats of crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon, where a battery of state of the art air defenses somehow failed to function.

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US Government Protection of Al-Qaeda Terrorists and the US-Saudi Black Hole

US Government Protection of Al-Qaeda Terrorists and the US-Saudi Black Hole

Since 9/11 however, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism.

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Does Science Lie?

Does Science Lie?

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we must weigh our collective need for maintaining and promoting what is believed to be "safe" against what is in fact true.

A PhD in physics and former student of physics teacher David Chandler, when showed the compelling research David has put together on the physical improbability of the official story of the building collapses of the Three World Trade buildings on September 11 said, "I understand and accept your data as scientifically accurate and flawless, yet I don't believe it".

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Insiders voice doubts about CIA’s 9/11 story

Insiders voice doubts about CIA's 9/11 story

Former FBI agents say the agency's bin Laden unit misled them about two hijackers.
A growing number of former government insiders -- all responsible officials who served in a number of federal posts -- are now on record as doubting ex-CIA director George Tenet's account of events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Among them are several special agents of the FBI, the former counterterrorism head in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, who told us the CIA chief had been "obviously not forthcoming" in his testimony and had misled the commissioners.

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FBI Documents Support Explosive Claims by Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds

FBI Documents Support Explosive Claims by Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds

Recently released FBI documents prove the existence of highly sensitive National Security and criminal investigations of "Turkish Activities" in Chicago prior to September 11, 2001.

These documents add further support to many of the allegations that former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has claimed, in public and in Congress, since 2002. The documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into an organization called the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (TACA), an organization repeatedly named by Ms. Edmonds as being complicit in the crimes that she became aware of when she was a translator at the FBI.

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Taliban government ‘offered bin Laden trial before 9/11′

Taliban government 'offered bin Laden trial before 9/11'

The Taliban government in Afghanistan offered to present Osama bin Laden for a trial long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, but the US government showed no interest, according to a senior aide to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.
"Even before the [9/11] attacks, our Islamic Emirate had tried through various proposals to resolve the Osama issue. One such proposal was to set up a three-nation court, or something under the supervision of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference [OIC]," Muttawakil said.
"But the US showed no interest in it. They kept demanding we hand him over, but we had no relations with the US, no agreement of any sort. They did not recognise our government."

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9/11 Misinformation: Flight ‘Passenger Lists’ Show ‘No Hijacker Names’

9/11 Misinformation: Flight 'Passenger Lists' Show 'No Hijacker Names'

The assertion that 9/11 passengers lists “contained no Arab names” is frequently seen in the 9/11 truth movement.

Victims lists for the four planes published by CNN and elsewhere are free of Arab names…

This fact has been highlighted as suspicious by some researchers describing the lists as passenger manifests. However, these lists are not passenger manifests, but lists of victims …

CNN describes its criteria for including persons in its memorial in a pop-up window labelled ‘About this site’… ‘

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Another Ex-CIA Official Speaks Out for 9/11 Truth

Another Ex-CIA Official Speaks Out for 9/11 Truth

Why is it important that we not let the so-called conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 be drowned out?

After spending the better part of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism, I have devoted serious time to actually studying them in recent months, and have also carefully watched several videos that are available on the subject. I have come to believe that significant parts of the 9/11 theories are true, and that therefore significant parts of the "official story" put out by the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission are false. I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe. The items below highlight the major questions surrounding 9/11 but do not constitute a detailed recounting of the evidence available.

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Why the Planes Were Not Intercepted on 9/11: The Wall Street Lawyer and the Special Ops Hijack Coordinator

Why the Planes Were Not Intercepted on 9/11: The Wall Street Lawyer and the Special Ops Hijack Coordinator

Why were none of the four planes intercepted?

Some of the most startling facts about the air defense failures have to do with the utter failure of communications between the agencies responsible for protecting the nation. At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two people stood out in this failed chain of communications. One was a lawyer on his first day at the job, and another was a Special Operations Commander who was never held responsible for his critical role, or even questioned about it.

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Former Explosives Loader for Controlled Demolition Interviewed by AE911truth

Former Explosives Loader for Controlled Demolition Interviewed by AE911truth

These videos are raw footage of AE911Truth's exclusive interviews with two of the world class experts appearing in Architects and Engineer's upcoming hard hitting documentary "9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out":

Tom Sullivan - Former Explosives Loader for Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI)

Scott Grainger - Fire Protection Engineer

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Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11

Evidence for Informed Trading on the Attacks of September 11

Just after September 11th 2001, many governments began investigations into possible insider trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day.

Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, and others initiated investigations. Although considerable evidence of insider trading exists, none of the investigations resulted in a single indictment because the people identified as having been involved in the suspicious trades were seen as unlikely to have been associated with those alleged to have committed the 9/11 crimes.

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The Total Failure of the Kean Commission

The Total Failure of the Kean Commission

ISSUE #1: On the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD was running war games involving the scenario of hijacked airliners, while the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was running a drill for the scenario of an errant aircraft crashing into a government building, at the exact same time as an identical scenario was perpetrated in reality.

What role, if any, did Secretary Rumsfeld, Undersecretary Wolfowitz, and acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers play in any war game scenario on the morning of September 11, 2001?

What briefings did they receive about these wargames before, during, and after the morning in question?

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Proof that 9/11 Truthers Are Dangerous

Proof that 9/11 Truthers Are Dangerous

Most Americans don't know what kind of people 9/11 truthers really are. So they can't figure out whether or not they are dangerous.

Below is a list of people who question what our Government has said about 9/11.

The list proves -- once and for all -- that people who question 9/11 are dangerous.

Email this list to everyone you know, to prove to them that 9/11 truthers are all dangerous nut cases.

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London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers

London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers

A Saudi Arabian accused of associating with several of the September 11 hijackers and who disappeared from his home in the United States a few weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, is in London working for his country's state oil company.

Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida -- one of them new -- and flew to Saudi Arabia in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.

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Rewarding Incompetence

Rewarding Incompetence

We strongly agree with President Bush's decision to move Condoleezza Rice out of her position as National Security Advisor. Ms. Rice's statement from her May 16, 2002 press briefing:

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile" made it clear that she was ill equipped to be advising anyone on matters of national security. Condoleezza Rice was the top National Security official with President Bush at the July 2001 G-8 summit in Genoa. This was where "U.S. officials were warned that Islamic terrorists might attempt to crash an airliner into the summit ..."

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The NIST WTC 7 Report:  Bush Science reaches its peak

The NIST WTC 7 Report: Bush Science reaches its peak

In a famous book by Antoine de Saint Exupery, a little prince from another planet asks the narrator to draw a sheep. After several unsatisfactory attempts, the narrator simply draws a box and tells the little prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince then exclaims -- "That is exactly the way I wanted it!"

Just so, the Bush Administration asked its scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for an explanation as to what happened at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11. In response to this request, NIST drew up a series of fanciful stories over a period of years, each story differing from the previous one. Finally, after seven long years, NIST published its last story for WTC 7 by simply saying, in effect: "The explanation is in our computer."

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The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11

The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11

I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."
--Senator Frank Church (1975)
I would like to discuss four major and badly understood events - the John F. Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11. I will analyze these deep events as part of a deeper political process linking them, a process that has helped build up repressive power in America at the expense of democracy.

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Crossing the Rubicon:  Simplifying the case against Dick Cheney

Crossing the Rubicon: Simplifying the case against Dick Cheney

Crossing the Rubicon makes the case for official complicity within the U.S. government and names Dick Cheney as the prime suspect in the crimes of 9/11.  There are 3 major points made within this book that are crucial to proving Cheney's guilt:

Means - Dick Cheney and the Secret Service
Motive - Peak Oil
Opportuniy - 9/11 Wargames

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The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie

The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie

In discussing my second 9/11 book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, I have often said, only half in jest, that a better title might have been "a 571-page lie." (Actually, I was saying "a 567-page lie," because I was forgetting to count the four pages of the Preface.) In making this statement, one of my points has been that the entire Report is constructed in support of one big lie: that the official story about 9/11 is true.

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Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Debunkers with Stewart Bradley

Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Debunkers with Stewart Bradley

The following interview is extremely useful for a couple of reasons:

1) The content of the interview, and

2) the extensive links to information documenting the discussion.

Thank you to John-Michael Talboo for providing this excellent resource, and his permission to repost! Related--Jon Gold's debate last week with ScrewLooseChange founding debunker, Pat Curley, posted below.

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Bush-Linked Company Handled Security for the WTC, Dulles and United

Bush-Linked Company Handled Security for the WTC, Dulles and United

George W. Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines, according to public records. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family.

The security company, formerly named Securacom and now named Stratesec, is in Sterling, Va.. Its CEO, Barry McDaniel, said the company had a "completion contract" to handle some of the security at the World Trade Center "up to the day the buildings fell down."

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The Kean Commission and the September 11th Families

The Kean Commission and the September 11th Families

NEW YORK CITY, May 16, 2004 - The Kean Commission was called to life in Nov. 2002, when the White House dropped its objections to an independent 9/11 investigation, after many months of persistent lobbying by September 11th families. At the time, this was seen as a victory for the relatives of those killed on September 11th, and for their allies in the fight for open government and accountability.
"Mr. Bush, who approved the flight of the bin Laden family out of the United States, when all commercial flights were grounded?"

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The Mineta Testimony: 9/11 Commission Exposed

The Mineta Testimony: 9/11 Commission Exposed

Americans who rely solely on mainstream media might easily be under the assumption that the 9/11 Commission Report put the questions about what happened on 9/11 to rest.

One of the most dramatic lies in the Commission's cover-up has been Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's direct contradiction of the official story timeline in his testimony to the Commission.

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9/11 Commission: The Official Coverup guide

9/11 Commission: The Official Coverup guide

The 9/11 Commission came to New York the second week of May for a two-day set of hearings at The New School University. As hundreds of Sept. 11th family members, reporters and curious New Yorkers lined up for airport-style security checks, they received copies of a new 24-page booklet published by NY 9/11 Truth, with help from 911Truth.org.
"Scamming America: The Official 9/11 Cover-up Guide" is named after a quote by former Sen. Max Cleland, who resigned from the commission last November with the words, "Bush is scamming America."

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Are Members of Congress (and Maybe Even the President) Being Blackmailed?

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by Dave Lindorff
thiscantbehappening.net

For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.

There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).

I’ll admit that I considered the idea of blackmail a bit far out. But now suddenly there is at least some evidence that such seemingly wild speculation may not have been off the mark, with reports that the NSA was indeed monitoring Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and that the Bush Administration used the evidence it had obtained of her improper conversations with and promises to assist agents of the Israeli government and its lobby here in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to blackmail her into supporting the NSA’s warrantless spying program–the very kind of spying that led to her being caught on tape plotting with an agent of a foreign power.

At the time of the taping of Harman’s incriminating phone conversations, the administration was trying desperately (and ultimately successfully) to get the New York Times to hold off on publishing a shocking investigative report by journalist James Risen about a massive campaign of warrantless tapping of Americans’ phone and internet communications.

According to a report by Jeff Stein, published in the latest issue of Congressional Quarterly, the NSA in 2006 recorded Rep. Harman negotiating with an alleged Israeli agent about helping Israel win a reduction in the espionage charges filed by the US in 2005 against two members of the AIPAC lobby accused of providing US intelligence information to the Israeli government (the case against AIPAC’s Stephen Rosen and Keith Weissman is still waiting to go to trial). According to the transcript, a copy of which was obtained by CQ, the Israeli agent offered to have AIPAC lobby, and more specifically to have a it arrange for a wealthy Jewish pro-Israel donor in California donate money to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in order to get her, once she became House Speaker, to name Harman as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. At the end of the phone conversation, Rep. Harman, who offered to help, was heard to say, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

According to reports in CQ and in the New York Times, which ran a story on the scandal as its lead news item on Tuesday, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales subsequently intervened with the FBI to prevent any prosecution of Harman, a key member of Congress on whom the administration was relying to help it persuade the Times to withhold its NSA wiretapping exposé until after the 2006 election. In the event, Rep. Harman did later make calls to a Times, editor, the paper did hold its story until after the election, and Harman later was a leading backer of the administration’s controversial (and, according to a federal district judge, illegal) NSA spying program.

There are several serious issues here. One is the extraordinary glimpse it offers into the extent to which Israel has penetrated the centers of power in Washington. It is illegal for foreign governments to directly lobby and to offer to arrange financial contributions for members of the US government, but here, clearly, Israeli agents were doing just that. The role of AIPAC as a front for the Israeli government in Washington, as exposed here, is simply stomach-turning, and should make it a toxic organization to politicians. Instead, they flock enmasse to its annual meetings, as President Obama did almost immediately upon winning the November election, and a large proportion of both houses from both parties happily accept its campaign largesse.

A second, even bigger, issue is the NSA’s spying activities themselves. According to CQ, the particular wiretap that caught Rep. Harman inflagrante with an Israeli agent was a court-approved tap–part of an investigation into Israeli government spying activities. But even if this is true–and at this point, we’re relying on what the government is telling us about it–it shows how dangerous the broader unwarranted monitoring program of the NSA has been, and remains. Back in 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act FISA) in direct response to the disclosure during the Watergate hearings and subsequent investigations that the Nixon Administration had been using the NSA to conduct illegal monitoring of the communications of anti-war activists, and of members of Congress. To prevent such police-state outrages in the future, Congress passed the FISA legislation, establishing a secret court staffed by a panel of top-security-cleared federal judges, whose sole responsibility was to consider and grant requests from the NSA for warrants to conduct secret electronic surveillance within the US or involving American citizens abroad.

President Bush used the pretext of the 9-11 attacks to secretly order the NSA to begin a massive compaign of surveillance without going through the FISA Court for warrants, even secretly soliciting the cooperation of the nation’s several telecom companies in splicing in routers at their switching hubs to make it possible to monitor all conversations moving across the wires and the internet. It seemed to some observers, myself included, that the only reason the administration could have had for bypassing the FISA court (which over 30 years of operation has been incredibly accommodating of government spying requests) was that it was planning to engage in spying that would outrage the public and the Congress and even the FISA judges. It also seemed likely, given the Bush/Cheney administration’s public stance that everyone was either “with us or against us,” and that critics of the administration’s “War on Terror” or of its plans to invade Iraq, were “unpatriotic” or “soft on terror,” that congressional opponents of the administration would be obvious–and indeed irresistible–targets of that surveillance.

Now that we have seen proof that the administration was not above using its NSA-acquired knowledge to pressure a member of Congress, it becomes absolutely essential that Congress and the Justice Department investigate to see whether other members of Congress were also victims of agency spying, and whether others besides Rep. Harmon were similarly extorted or otherwise compromised.

The American public can, at this point, have zero confidence in the integrity of the Congress or of their own representatives, knowing that politicians and government officials may be acting not in the public interest but rather under duress in the interest of those who control the National Security Agency. We can have zero confidence either in the integrity of the president, who likewise may well have been compromised by NSA surveillance conducted on him before he became president.

The only possible position for the public to adopt as of today is to be suspicious of any politician who opposes a full and public investigation into the NSA’s seven-year-long campaign of sweeping, warrantless electronic eavesdropping, since opposition to such an investigation, in the wake of the Harman episode, could well be an indication that the political figure in question is afraid she or he has been monitored, or worse, that she or he has been threatened by those who have the records. Every citizen concerned about the fate of American democracy should demand that his or her senators and representative promptly call for such a public probe.

It is no longer a wild idea at all to imagine that our Congress has been reduced to the status of a Potemkin legislature because of real or imagined spying by the NSA.

_____________________
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net


Gonzales ‘blocked prosecution of Democrat who helped keep lid on wiretapping story’

By John Byrne
April 20, 2009
RawStory.com

Update at bottom: NYT editor denies report

A powerful California congresswoman was allegedly caught by an NSA wiretap in 2005 pledging to intervene in an espionage case involving Israeli lobbyists, Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein revealed Sunday.

Quoting former senior Bush Administration officials, the article also alleges that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales conspired to drop criminal action against the then-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman (D-CA), because he needed her help when a firestorm of criticism erupted in December 2005 after the New York Times published details about the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program.

He was right.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”

According to a purported NSA transcript of the call between Harman and a suspected Israeli agent — which the article says was tapped legally under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and not part of the warrantless wiretapping program itself — Harman “was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference.”

“In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win,” Stein added.

Harman allegedly hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Harman was not chosen to lead Intelligence. Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped Rep. Silvestre Reyes.

The AIPAC case involved two lobbyists — Keith Weissman and Steven Rosen — who were charged with trying to obtain classified reports on US policy and sharing them with reporters and foreign diplomats.

A Harman spokesman vehemently denied the allegations.

“These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact,” Harman said in a statement to CQ. “I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.”

In 2006, Time revealed that the FBI was investigating Harman for supposedly trying to intervene in the AIPAC case. Later reports indicated, however, that the FBI had dropped the case for “lack of evidence.”

A source “with first-hand knowledge” of the taps told Stein the “no evidence” line was “bullshit.”

“I read those transcripts,” the source is quoted as saying.

However, Ron Kampeas, the Washington, DC bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, charges that “the Harman leaks smell to high heaven.” He suggests that the leaking of the story now may have more to do with the upcoming trial of the two former AIPAC lobbyists — and the weakness of the case against them — than with any past events.

Kampeas notes in particular that “the selected quotes from the alleged transcript do not necessarily add up to a quid pro quo.” He points out that the wiretapped conversation between Harman and the Israeli agent “took place in the summer or fall of 2005? and supposedly involved a promise to have Nancy Pelosi appoint Harman as chair of the Intel Committee if the Democrats took control of the House following the 2006 elections. However, those elections were then well over a year away, and Democratic victory was by no means assured.

Greg Sargent’s The Plum Line blog carries denials from NY Times editor Bill Keller that “Harmanhad any role in persuading him to hold its big warrantless wiretapping expose until after the 2004 elections, a controversial decision that may have altered the election’s outcome and changed history.”

“Ms. Harman did not influence my decision,” Keller stated in a quote relayed to Sargent by Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis. “I don’t recall that she even spoke to me.”

Sargent writes, “If this is right, this deals the story a blow. CQ reports that Harman’s alleged efforts to get the story spiked in 2004 was a key rationale for one of the story’s most explosive charges: That Gonzales knew he could count on Harman’s support for warrantless wiretapping in 2005, and hence got a separate FBI probe against Harman dropped.”

Keller’s December 16, 2005 statement on why the paper held back the wiretaps story only mentioned “the Administration” and “[o]fficials.”

“A year ago, when this information first became known to Times reporters, the Administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country’s security.

“Officials also assured senior editors of The Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions.

“As we have done before in rare instances when faced with a convincing national security argument, we agreed not to publish at that time.

The full CQ story is available here.


Bombshell: Rep. Jane Harman Caught on Tape Agreeing to Lobby for Alleged AIPAC/Israel Spies?

by Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports
April 20, 2009

This is a huge story: Representative Jane Harman, a hawkish, influential “Blue Dog”‘ Democrat “was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington,”‘ according to a report from CQ Politics:

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into”‘ the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,”‘ according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”‘

The case, known as the AIPAC espionage scandal centers around allegations that at least two AIPAC staff members passed sensitive US intelligence on Iran, provided by Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin, to Israel. In early 2006, Franklin pled guilty to espionage-related charges and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The case against two indicted AIPAC staffers, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, is ongoing.

Allegations that Harman intervened in this case in an effort to win the spot as chair of the Intelligence Committee have been widespread since 2006, but an FBI investigation into Harman was dropped for “lack of evidence.”‘ As CQ Politics reports:

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,”‘ it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

When Justice Department officials reviewed the transcript of the wiretaps on Rep. Harman, its attorneys determined she had committed a “completed crime,”‘ which, according to CQ Politics is “a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it.”‘ The Justice Department attorneys wanted to open a case on her, but they needed the green light from top intel officials to confirm it rightly constituted a national security investigation. Porter Goss, who was then the CIA director reportedly approved the investigation and was preparing to notify then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker Dennis Hastert and, through them, Harman herself:

But that’s when, according to knowledgeable officials, Attorney General Gonzales intervened.

According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane”‘ to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program

He was right.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”‘

Pelosi and Hastert never did get the briefing.

And thanks to grateful Bush administration officials, the investigation of Harman was effectively dead.

On his Salon blog today Glenn Greenwald points out:

Jane Harman, in the wake of the NSA scandal, became probably the most crucial defender of the Bush warrantless eavesdropping program, using her status as “the ranking Democratic on the House intelligence committee”‘ to repeatedly praise the NSA program as “essential to U.S. national security”‘ and “both necessary and legal.”‘  She even went on Meet the Press to defend the program along with GOP Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and she even strongly suggested that the whistleblowers who exposed the lawbreaking and perhaps even the New York Times (but not Bush officials) should be criminally investigated, saying she “deplored the leak,”‘ that “it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers,”‘ and that the whistleblowers were “despicable.”‘  And Eric Lichtblau himself described how Harman, in 2004, attempted very aggressively to convince him not to write about the NSA program.

There may be some who attempt to portray Harman as a victim of blackmail by Gonzales (and the wiretapping of members of Congress–and other Americans– should be thoroughly investigated) but Harman is a right wing Democrat who was often in sync with the heinous policies of the Bush administration. Over at TalkingPointsMemo, Josh Marshall raises some interesting issues on this story, particularly relating to the wiretap itself:

Among the many questions the story raises are some that Harman should probably answer, but not all. High on my list would be finding out more about the circumstances under which a member of Congress ended up having her phone conversations recorded by the NSA. The article suggests it was a by-the-books wiretap — part of a highly-classified probe of Israeli agents in the US, which led to the indictments of two AIPAC employees — and not one of the ‘warrantless’ ones. But we’ve seen so much funny business on that front that I’m not sure that’s enough information.

In a prepared statement, Harman said: “These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact… I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.”