By Daniel Tencer
In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated “cognitive infiltration” of groups that advocate “conspiracy theories” like the ones surrounding 9/11.
Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.
As head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs,” according to the White House Web site.
Sunstein’s article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that “our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a ‘crippled epistemology,’ in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.”
By “crippled epistemology” Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public — the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.
Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government “enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the… Continue reading
The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions.
But unlike in the Great Depression, when limited reforms were put in place in response to the crisis, the Obama administration, Congress, and state and local governments are taking no serious measures to provide relief. On the contrary, the two parties of big business are exacerbating the crisis through budget cuts at the state and local level and the federal government is preparing new austerity measures.
Unemployment: At over 10 percent, the official US jobless rate reached in October and November was the highest since June of 1983. A broader measure of unemployment, taking into account those who have fallen out of the official workforce, reveals that something approaching one in five workers is unemployed or underemployed.
The economy has not added jobs since December 2007, and in that same time span has lost 7.2 million jobs overall. Coupling these losses with population growth–the economy must add about 150,000 jobs per month to break even–the net jobs deficit in the period is well over 10.5 million.
It is widely acknowledged that most of the jobs lost will not return for years, if ever. Even by the optimistic forecast of the Federal Reserve Board, the jobless rate will remain above 7 percent through 2011.…Continue reading
by Brad Jacobson
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General is conducting a new investigation into a covert Bush administration Defense Department program that used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage.
Last May, the Inspector General’s office rescinded and repudiated a prior internal investigation’s report on the retired military analyst program, which had been issued by the Bush administration, because it “did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product.” Yet in recent interviews with Raw Story, Pentagon officials who took part in the program were still defending it by referencing this invalidated report.
Gary Comerford, Inspector General spokesman for the Defense Department, told Raw Story last week that his office is conducting an investigation into the retired military analyst program and confirmed that the investigation began during the summer.
Asked when his office expects to conclude the investigation, Comerford said, “As a matter of policy we do not set deadlines since any number of variables or factors could result in a delay.”
He did confirm that investigators in his office have read Raw Story’s recent articles on the topic.
Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, issued a press release (cache link) this past June, announcing that Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell had begun the new investigation.
Yet Raw Story and Comerford could find no other news… Continue reading
By James Risen and Eric Lichtblau
June 16, 2009
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.
The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.
Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.
Both the former analyst’s account and the rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency.
Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, has been investigating the incidents and said he had become increasingly troubled by the agency’s handling of domestic communications.
In an… Continue reading
by Ken Jenkins
How many times has this happened to you? You are explaining to someone some of the rational, logical reasons why the official story of 9/11 can’t be true, perhaps explaining how WTC 7 fell in the exact manner of a professionally planned controlled demolition — a job which would typically take weeks to prepare — when out comes a ‘thought stopper’ phrase like:
“That’s just another conspiracy theory !” or …
“Do you also believe in Big Foot and tin foil hats?”
Or perhaps the person gets angry and/or agitated. Facts no longer matter at that point, and you can tell the person does not want to hear any more. For example, the following response came from someone after they were given a 20-minute summary of 9/11 Truth information:
“I wouldn’t believe that, even if it were true!”
That reaction defies all logic and reason. But it clearly illustrates just how irrational some peoples’ defenses can be. Here are a few more honest responses/defenses:
“As long as my wife and kids are fine and we can live the life style we have, the truth is, I don’t really care what happened on 9/11.” “I would not want to live in a world where such a thing could be true.” “You can’t expect someone to listen to information that turns their world upside down.” “I’m not sure I want to know. If this is true, then up would be down and down would be up. My life would… Continue reading
by Dave Lindorff
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.…Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have “made it.” Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
You might think that as African-Americans, they would be especially outraged by torture, given what blacks have suffered at the hands of white torturers in this country and abroad.
Why is it that they seem to value more their admittance into a privileged white-dominated ruling class than doing the right thing? How else to explain their stunning reluctance to hold torturers accountable and thus remove the stain of torture from our nation’s soul and reputation?
One might say that Attorney General Holder is proving himself to be part of that “nation of cowards” that he called the United States in a different context, i.e. our unwillingness to address the issue of race. What about when the victims of torture are Muslims? Where’s Holder’s courage then?
Surely, I was not the only one stunned by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s public admission that he helped authorize waterboarding of detainees. But, on reflection, there seems to have been a method to his madness; and, so far at least, the method seems to be working.
Have Holder and Colin Powell forgotten from their days growing up in the Bronx the typical reaction of bullies when caught in the act? “Okay, so waddaya gonna do ’bout it!” It was an attempt at intimidation, and it was generally… Continue reading
Wednesday – Britain warns of growing terrorism threat
March 25, 2009
Britain warned of a growing terrorist risk from chemical,
biological and radiological weapons and pinpointed al Qaeda in Pakistan
as a key threat as it revamped its national security strategy.
… Britain has been a target for Islamist militants since it joined the United
States in invading Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In 2005, suicide bombings in London killed 52 people.
Between 2001 and 2008, more than 200 people were convicted of terrorism related
offences, and the national threat level remains at its second highest level
of “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely. [Read
the rest ... ]
Sunday March 29, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld’s Passionate Eye Showcase
An investigation into the deadly world of germ weapons, Anthrax War begins in New York in the days following 9/11. Anthrax-laced letters, mailed to media and U.S. senators, killed five people and spread fear and panic throughout the nation.
For filmmaker Bob Coen, who was raised in Zimbabwe where the former white regime has been accused of unleashing anthrax against the black population, biological weapons have a deep personal meaning. He embarks on a journey that raises troubling questions about the FBI’s investigation of the 21st century’s first act of biological terrorism.
Coen’s investigation takes him from the U.S. to the U.K. and from the edge of Siberia to the tip of Africa. In a rare interview, Coen confronts “Doctor Death” Wouter Basson, who headed Project Coast, the South African apartheid-era bio-warfare program. Project Coast used germ warfare against select targets within the country’s black population.
Anthrax War also investigates the mysterious deaths of some of the world’s leading anthrax scientists, including Dr. David Kelly, the UK’s top military microbiologist, the Soviet defector Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, and Dr. Bruce Ivins. The FBI claims – despite the doubts of highly ranked U.S. officials – that Ivins was the only person behind the U.S. anthrax murders.
In tracing the 2001 bio-terror attacks in the U.S. to the heart of the U.S. bio-defense program, this film raises an alarm. These attacks that helped prepare a country for war have… Continue reading
Declassified documents show U.S. Embassy knew that Guatemalan security forces were behind wave of abductions of students and labor leaders.
National Security Archive calls for release of military files and investigation into intellectual authors of the 1984 abduction of Fernando García and other disappearances
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 273
By Kate Doyle and Jesse Franzblau
English / Español
(See many significant related postings at the source.)
Washington, DC, March 17, 2009 — Following a stunning breakthrough in a 25-year-old case of political terror in Guatemala, the National Security Archive today is posting declassified U.S. documents about the disappearance of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984. The documents show that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government.
Guatemalan authorities made the first arrest ever in the long-dormant kidnapping case when they detained Héctor Roderico Ramírez Ríos, a senior police officer in Quezaltenango, on March 5th and retired policeman Abraham Lancerio Gómez on March 6th as a result of an investigation into García’s abduction by Guatemala’s Human Rights Prosecutor (Procurador de Derechos Humanos–PDH). Arrest warrants have been issued for two more suspects, Hugo Rolando Gómez Osorio and Alfonso Guillermo de León Marroquín. The two are former officers with the notorious Special Operations Brigade (BROE) of the National Police, a unit linked to death squad activities during the 1980s by… Continue reading
March 11, 2009
Can someone explain to me how 5 suspected members of Al Qaeda (although there is no question regarding KSM) suddenly got their own PR machine from inside Gitmo and at the hands of a military judge, not to mention getting a world stage through which to frighten Americans some more? And the media? Well, they are too well versed in stupid to ask any sensible questions:
“Five Guantánamo prisoners accused in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the U.S. staunchly defended their actions, calling the operation “blessed” and “great” and the accusations against them “badges of honor.”
“You are the last nation that has the right to speak about civilians and killing civilians,” the five said in a response this month to the U.S. government’s war crimes charges.
“You are professional criminals, with all the meaning the words carry,” the response said. “Therefore, we will treat you the same. We will attack you, just like you have attacked us, and whomever initiated the attacks is the guilty party.”
The six-page response from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who plotted the attacks, and four others castigates the actions of the United States and its allies in the Middle East and calls the United States “the terrorist country number one in the world.”‘
Okay, now someone explain the following to me:
1. How did 5 alleged Al Qaeda members come together to form this statement, given that they are being held each in isolation at Gitmo?…Continue reading
by Michael Collins
‘Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Herman Goering, Interview at Nuremburg Trials, April 14, 1946
“The Patriot Act was used against me in total contradiction to its stated purpose. Or perhaps it was the most logical use of the law, since it establishes a legal framework to crush free thinking and interrupt individual questioning of the government. It is the beginning of all dictatorship in America .” –Susan Lindauer, March 9, 2009
March 10, 2009 — Washington, DC ( electionfraudnews.com ) — In March, 2004 Susan Lindauer was arrested for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for prewar Iraq. She challenged the government’s assertion and sought the right to prove at Trial that she’d been a United States intelligence asset covering Iraq and Libya from the early 1990′s through 2003 (see articles).
In an unprecedented judicial ploy that lasted five years, federal prosecutors blocked Ms. Lindauer’s rights to trial or any other sort of evidentiary hearings that would test her story. For 11 months, she was confined at Carswell federal prison on a Texas military base and at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, without a conviction or plea bargain.
During the indictment, she was conveniently gagged from sharing… Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
January 7, 2009
Paulson’s Financial Bailout
It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.”1 In addition, as AP reported in October, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. `There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,” he said.”2
Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Learning about self-deception is important for all people today. That’s because many of our problems, both as individuals and as a society, are rooted in self-deception, and many of the ways in which others abuse us relate to our inherent tendency to self-deceive. We can overcome these problems, and have a decent chance at long-term survival as a species, only if we learn about such limitations, and strive to control them. One great way to rapidly learn about self-deception, and other forms of deception, is to learn about the events of September 11th.
It’s easy to see widespread self-deception with regard to 9/11. For one thing, most people don’t know the actual official story, given by the 9/11 Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is despite the fact that everyone, at least in the US, has invested essentially their entire future in that story, whether they know it or not.
Some have gone beyond simple avoidance of the facts, in an attempt to prevent themselves and others from looking closely at 9/11. These folks have gone to the extent of changing the definitions of common words, engaging in wild speculation and exaggerations, and suggesting that long strings of unprecedented events, including violations of the laws of nature, were possible on just that one day. These painful self-deceptions help some people dodge the emotional stress that accompanies careful examination of the events of 9/11.
In order to understand the extreme self-deception surrounding… Continue reading
U.S. Officers’ “Phone Sex” Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers By Brian Ross, Vic Walter and Anna Schecter
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), called the allegations “extremely disturbing” and said the committee has begun its own examination.
“We have requested all relevant information from the Bush Administration,” Rockefeller said Thursday. “The Committee will take whatever action is necessary.”
WATCH THE NIGHTLINE STORY
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”
WATCH Kinne discuss why it was ‘awkward’ listening to her fellow Americans.
She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.
Watch “World… Continue reading
by Bill Simpich tr u t h o u t | Report
The Congressional anthrax hearings of September 16-17 revealed that public pressure is keeping the doors open in the anthrax case. FBI Director Robert Mueller promised that the FBI will provide their evidence to a panel of experts for scientific evaluation. The battle will now turn to the independence of this panel, and whether “all evidence” or merely “scientific evidence” will be under review.
During the hearings, Mueller found himself under fire by Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers for not having answers to their questions. Republican Arlen Specter was furious at Mueller for his unwillingness to assure them that Congress would have a role in determining the panel’s composition.
Meanwhile, new evidence shows just how deeply wrong ABC and Washington Post reporters have been over the years on their coverage of the anthrax attacks. They can’t have it both ways: Either they made repeated “mistakes” by relying on their sources, or several people deliberately lied in order to advance war on Iraq.
In his recent book Taking Heat, former White House secretary Ari Fleischer wrote that Bush was more shook up by the anthrax attacks than by any other event. White House officials repeatedly pressed Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by al-Qaeda or Iraq. After days of provocative statements designed to scare the American people, Cheney himself believed that he had been exposed to anthrax. Although the test results were negative, October 18, 2001… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
The Deep State and 9/11
The unthinkable — that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians — has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools. 1 Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB). 2
Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” — a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.” 3 The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer. 4 On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered… Continue reading