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Fear Factors

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The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy

Originally published at Global Research by Prof. Edward Curtin on 12/1/14

Review of Graeme MacQueen’s Book By Prof. Edward Curtin

The anthrax attacks that followed those of 9/11 have disappeared from public memory in ways analogous to the pulverization of the Twin Towers and World Trade Center Building 7. For the towers, at least, ghostly afterimages persist, albeit fading like last night’s nightmare. But the anthrax attacks, clearly linked to 9/11 and the Patriot Act, are like lost letters, sent, but long forgotten. Such disappearing acts are a staple of American life these days. Memory has come upon hard times.

Image of book cover: The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy

The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy

With The 2001 Anthrax Deception, Professor Graeme MacQueen, founding Director of the Center for Peace Studies at McMaster University, calls us back to a careful reconsideration of the anthrax attacks. It is an eloquent and pellucid lesson in inductive reasoning and deserves to stand with David Ray Griffin’s brilliant multi-volume dissection of the truth of that tragic September 11th. MacQueen makes a powerful case for the linkage of both events, a tie that binds both to insider elements deep within the U.S. government, perhaps in coordination with foreign elements.

MacQueen’s thesis is as follows: The criminal anthrax attacks were conducted by a group of conspirators deep within the U.S. government who are linked to, or identical with, the 9/11 perpetrators. Their purpose was to redefine the Cold War into the Global War on Terror and in doing so… Continue reading

Senate report on CIA torture claims spy agency lied about ‘ineffective’ program

Originally published at The Guardian by Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe in New York, and Julian Borger in London on 12/9/14

The full extent of the CIA’s interrogation and detention programmes launched in the wake of the September 11 terror attack was laid bare in a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday that concluded the agency’s use of torture was brutal and ineffective – and that the CIA repeatedly lied about its usefulness.

 

Report released by Senate after four-year, $40m investigation concludes CIA repeatedly lied about brutal techniques in years after 9/11

Photo of floor at CIA Headquarters Building

CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia
Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters

The report represented the most scathing congressional indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency in nearly four decades. It found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information,” said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings. She called the torture programme “a stain on our values and on our history”.

“During the brutal interrogations, the CIA was often unaware the information was fabricated.” She told the Senate the torture program was “morally, legally and administratively misguided” and “far more brutal than people were led to believe”.

The report reveals that use of torture in secret prisons run by the CIA across the world was even more extreme than previously exposed, and included “rectal rehydration” and… Continue reading

Terrorism and the Evolution of Deception

Originally published at digwithin.net by Kevin Ryan on 12/6/14

Politicians and pundits often use terrorism to promote the interests of their financiers. This fear mongering goes hand in hand with attempts at war profiteering, population control, and the concentration of political power. What many are beginning to discover is that deception is integral to the success of the terrorism business. That is, the official accounts of terrorist events are typically fraught with omissions of fact and the concealment of clues that point to the involvement of more powerful people. The success of these false accounts reveals important aspects of human nature and points to ways in which thoughtful people can help to overcome such challenges.

There will always be a few people greedy enough to lie to others for personal gain, but we can live with this. What we can’t live with is large numbers of people lying to themselves because habitual self-deception is fatal. Long-term successful lies require motivated liars but also willing listeners and when millions or billions of citizens engage in such duplicity they make it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to survive.

It’s common to see people blaming the government or the media for lying and taking advantage. That’s not surprising because, in general, politicians are highly evolved lying machines and the media is rewarded for telling the majority what they want to hear in ways that promote business interests. But what is really needed to overcome that pattern is to examine how lies told by… Continue reading

The Unlikely Jihadist from Wichita

Originally published at WhoWhatWhy.com by Kevin Ryan on 9/24/14

Photo of Terry Lee Loewen

Terry Lee Loewen

When neighbors went trick-or-treating at Terry Lee Loewen’s house in Wichita last Halloween, they saw a quiet, unobtrusive, “normal” man. Two months later, federal authorities said they’d seen through the disguise and found a jihadist hiding in the suburbs.

Loewen “planned to die as a martyr” and was charged with trying to drive an explosives-laden vehicle onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent Airport, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said at the time of the arrest. An avionics technician, the then-58-year-old Loewen was really working on behalf of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the authorities.

Yet contradictions in the government account suggest there might be considerably more to know about Terry Loewen and his alleged plot. Was Loewen a Walter Mitty whose dark daydreams bloomed into reality, as the FBI says? Or was he just a hapless suburbanite who chose the wrong online fantasy life?

 

 

***

The official story is this: Loewen decided to engage in terrorism only six months before his arrest, and immediately began devoting all his time to preparations for becoming a “lone wolf” suicide bomber. A letter allegedly written by Loewen and released by the FBI gave the reasons for his radical change of heart: “My only explanation is that I believe in jihad for the sake of Allah + for the sake of my Muslim brothers + sisters.”

“I expect to be called a terrorist (which I am), a psychopath,… Continue reading

NSA Whistleblower William Binney Supports 9/11 Truth

Originally published at The Corbett Report by James Corbett on 9/10/14

Photo of William Binney

William Binney

William Binney was a 30 year veteran official of the National Security Agency who resigned in October 2001 to blow the whistle on the NSA’s deliberate violation of the constitution. Now, 13 years after the events of 9/11 that helped the NSA justify its total surveillance dragnet, Binney has signed the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth’s petition calling for a new investigation into 9/11. Today we talk to Richard Gage, founder of AE911Truth.org, and William Binney himself, about this petition, its significance, and the ongoing quest for 9/11 truth and justice.

CLICK HERE for the full mp3 audio of this interview.

SHOW NOTES:
Architects and Engineeers for 9/11 Truth

AE911Truth Petition

9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out

 

 

 

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The torture meted out by the CIA far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding

Originally published at The Telegraph by by Peter Foster on 9/7/14

Exclusive: As the US Senate prepares to release a report documenting US torture programme after 9/11, Telegraph reveals new details about the scope of CIA excesses

The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.

Photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA.

“They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”

The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents.

Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks.

A second source who is familiar with the Senate report told The Telegraph that it contained… Continue reading

The militarization of the police: To terrify and Occupy

Originally published at TomDispatch by Matthew Harwood on 8/14/14

How the Excessive Militarization of the Police is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents

During a 2011 investigation, reporters Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz discovered that, since 9/11, police departments watching over some of the safest places in America have used $34 billion in grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to militarize in the name of counterterrorism.

Jason Westcott was afraid.

Photo of riot police

Riot police in Oakland in 2010. (Credit: flickr/cc/Thomas Hawk)

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders.  They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic.  He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small… Continue reading

James Risen calls Obama ‘greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’

Originally published at The Guardian by Joanna Walters on 8/17/14

Photo of James Risen

Journalist James Risen

The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.

Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.

Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War.

Risen recently failed in an attempt to have the supreme court review an order for him to testify, and acknowledges that he has exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department’s pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act. In the face of incarceration that could come as early as this autumn, he is resorting instead to journalistic defiance.

• Journalist refuses to reveal source of story about CIA operation
• President’s support for press freedom called ‘hypocritical’

Risen would be the first journalist to go to prison for failing to divulge sources since 2005, when the former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for contempt of court, after refusing to testify about a… Continue reading

Obama: U.S. ‘crossed a line’ and tortured after 9/11 attacks

Originally published at CNN by Ray Sanchez on 8/3/14

(CNN) — President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”

“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”

In the remarks, Obama was referring to a soon-to-be-released Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program following the 9/11 attacks.

Image of tortured Guananamo inmateThe document is a nearly 700 page summary of the full 6,800 page report that was approved a year and a half ago by a committee sharply divided along party lines.

Senators on the committee have said the report is critical of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects, saying it amounted to torture — an allegation CIA officials have denied. It also finds that those harsh interrogation techniques did not help disrupt future terrorist attacks as many in intelligence community have claimed.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said later Friday that the report’s public release… Continue reading

CIA admits to spying on Senate staffers

Originally published at The Guardian by Spencer Ackerman on 7/31/14

Image of CIA Director John Brennan

John Brennan

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, conceding that the agency employees spied on committee staff and reversing months of furious and public denials.

Brennan acknowledged that an internal investigation had found agency security personnel transgressed a firewall set up on a CIA network, which allowed Senate committee investigators to review agency documents for their landmark inquiry into CIA torture.

Among other things, it was revealed that agency officials conducted keyword searches and email searches on committee staff while they used the network.

The admission brings Brennan’s already rocky tenure at the head of the CIA under renewed question. One senator on the panel said he had lost confidence in the director, although the White House indicated its support for a man who has been one of Barack Obama’s most trusted security aides.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd acknowledged that agency staff had improperly monitored the computers of committee staff members, who were using a network the agency had set up, called RDINet. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between [the committee] and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet,” he said.

Asked if Brennan had or would offer his resignation, a different CIA spokesman, Ryan Trapani, replied: “No.”

In March, the committee chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, accused the agency of violating… Continue reading

Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion

Originally posted by Human Rights Watch on 7/21/14

Investigations, Trials of American Muslims Rife with Abuse

Image of FBI agents taking Cromitie to prison

James Cromitie, center, is escorted from Federal Plaza, headquarters of the FBI in New York, by federal agents and police, early Thursday, May 21, 2009. Cromitie and three other men were arrested Wednesday night in what the authorities said was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y. (Michael Appleton/The New York Times)

(Washington, DC) –The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism “sting operations” based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute said in a report released today. Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.

The 214-page report, “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,” examines 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement. It documents the significant human cost of certain counterterrorism practices, such as overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer… Continue reading

Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots

Originally published at the Guardian by Spencer Ackerman on 7/21/2014

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.

FBISome of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.

Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions – 18% overall – are not for thwarted plots but for “material support” charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group.

In one such incident, the initial basis for a material-support case alleging a man provided “military gear” to al-Qaida turned out to be waterproof socks in his luggage.

Several cases featured years-long solitary confinement for… Continue reading

The Newburgh Sting

On May 20, 2009, four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, Newburgh Stingwere apprehended for an alleged terror plot. They had no history of violence or terrorist ties, but had been drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated scheme to bomb Jewish synagogues in a wealthy New York City suburb and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. Their dramatic arrest, complete with armored cars, a SWAT team and FBI aircraft, played out under the gaze of major TV outlets, ultimately resulting in 25-year prison sentences for the “Newburgh Four.”

Amidst the media frenzy surrounding the case, political figures extolled the outcome as a victory in the “war on terror” and a “textbook example of how a major investigation should be conducted,” though others believed the four men were victims of FBI entrapment. THE NEWBURGH STING delves deeply into this case — one of many cases across the country where people have been allegedly drawn into a plot with extreme consequences.

The Imam and assistant Imam of Mesjid al-Ikhlas, Newburgh mosque, recall their first encounters with Shahed Hussain – an undercover informant sent to Newburgh by the FBI in 2008 on a mission to find domestic terrorists. Representing himself as a businessman, Hussain drove expensive cars and made inflammatory statements about newburghwomen and jihad. Suspicious, the Imams told a few of their congregants to stay away from Hussain, but one man, James Cromitie, bought into his story. Cromitie, a low-level drug dealer… Continue reading

US pushing local cops to stay mum on surveillance

Originally published at AP by Jack Gillum and Eileen Sullivan on 6/12/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.

Image of Berkshire Manor neighborhoodCiting security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment.

Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

One well-known type of this surveillance equipment is known as a Stingray, an innovative way for law enforcement to track cellphones used by suspects and gather evidence. The equipment tricks cellphones into identifying some of their owners’ account information, like a unique subscriber number, and transmitting data to police as if it were a phone company’s tower. That allows police to obtain cellphone information without having to ask for help from service providers, such as Verizon or AT&T, and can locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message.

But without more details about how the technology works and under what circumstances… Continue reading

Fisa court grants extension of licence for bulk collection of US phone records

Originally published at The Guardian by Dan Roberts on 6/20/14

Reauthorisation is fifth since the Guardian revealed existence of Section 215 telephony metadata program in June last year.

The Fisa court has granted a 90-day extension of the licence that allows the NSA to collect metadata.

NSA ShieldUS intelligence agencies have made a fifth attempt to extend their bulk collection of American telephone records – more than a year after the controversial practice was first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Despite repeated calls from Congress and President Obama for the mass gathering of private US phone records to be banned, a court has approved the request in secret, allowing the NSA to continue collecting metadata until 12 September 2014.

In a joint statement released late on Friday afternoon, the justice department and director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said it was necessary to continue seeking such legal extensions because the Congressional reform process supported by Obama was not yet complete.

“Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the Section 215 telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program,” said the joint statement.

The 90-day blanket licence granted by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or Fisa court, is the fifth such extension that has been requested, and granted, since the Guardian first revealed the existence of the Section 215 program on 5 June 2013.

Similar 90-day reauthorisations were subsequently… Continue reading

Seymour Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

Originally published by Seymour Hersh at the London Review of Books April, 2014

Image of Obama and Syria mapIn 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British… Continue reading

Working weapons made with junk from airport stores

Originally published at FastCompany by Stan Alcorn on 11/25/13

Evan Booth hacks together working weapons–like a shotgun, a grenade, and a crossbow–with purchases anyone can make after they go through security, to show that the TSA is more spectacle than real protection. And the FBI is taking notice.

Things you can’t bring on a plane: Scissors, gel candles, large snow globes.

Things you can bring on a plane: A homemade shotgun.

Programmer by day, “security researcher” by night, Evan Booth has built, tested, and demonstrated not just a shotgun, but a whole comically named arsenal of DIY weapons, made solely with items purchased in the airport–after the security screening.

“I think people have kind of been suspecting that the type of things I’ve built are possible,” says Booth, “I just don’t think anyone’s ever taken the time to do it.” The object of the research is a demonstration–half silly, half disturbing–that weapons are everywhere and that the “security theater” of the TSA is not doing that much to keep us safe.

“If we’re trying stop a terrorist threat at the airport,” says Booth. “It’s already too late.”
 


Booth’s instructions on using lithium batteries and Axe body spray to create a working shotgun, the Blunderbusiness Class which he tests by firing spare change through dry wall.

 
The project began after the introduction of body scanners. “It just seemed so invasive, really expensive,” he says. “And if you’re going to go through all that trouble getting into the terminal,… Continue reading

Congressional No-Show at ‘Heart-Breaking’ Drone Survivor Hearing

Originally published at Common Dreams on 10/29/13

In “historic” briefing, Rehman family gives heartbreaking account of drone killing of 65-year-old grandmother… to five lawmakers

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Image of the Rehman family waiting to testify at the Congressional Briefing on drone strikes

The Rehman family waits to testify at the Congressional Briefing on drone strikes Tuesday, October 29. (Photo: @akneerudh/ Twitter)

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Image of Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the US drone strike which killed her grandmother. Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.

In her testimony, Nabila shared that she was picking okra with her grandmother when the U.S. missile struck and both children described how they used to play outside but are now too afraid.

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer… Continue reading

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