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Fear Factors

Cowardice in the Time of Torture

By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
ConsortiumNews.com

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

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

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.…

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The Truth is Not Enough: How to Overcome Emotional Barriers to 9/11 Truth

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

5 Monkeys – A Video about People

 

Artwork and Music Produced by Peter Zaza
http://casazaza.blogspot.com/

Special thanks to David Dees for the use of his poster in this video.…

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E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress

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

Four Years Ago: The London 7/7 Bombings

Global Research brings to the attention of its readers key articles on the London July 7, 2005 bombings


7/7 Mock Terror Drill: What Relationship to the Real Time Terror Attacks?
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2005-08-08
A fictional “scenario” of multiple bomb attacks on London’s underground took place at exactly the same time as the real bomb attack on July 7, 2005. There have been several documented cases of mock terror drills in the US and the UK, held prior or on the same day as the actual terror event.

London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence?
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2005-08-01
“This is the guy, and what’s really embarrassing is that the entire British police are out chasing him, and one wing of the British government, MI6 or the British Secret Service, has been hiding him”


The London Police’s Mossad-style Execution of a ‘Suspect’
– by Professor John Gardner – 2005-07-27
There is no special police licence to injure or kill. If they injure or kill, the police need to rely on the same law as the rest of us. It is no defence in law that the killing was authorised by a superior officer. A superior officer who authorises an unlawful killing is an accomplice.


British Cops trained in Israel
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2005-07-24
The shoot to kill policy was undertaken under the auspices of “Operation Kratos”. It was carried out by the London Metropolitan’s elite SO19 firearms unit often referred to as the Blue… Continue reading

Decoding Scheuer’s Call for Osama to Kill More Americans

“War on Terror” advocates want civilians to die to justify “War on Terror”
James Corbett
The Corbett Report
6 July, 2009

CIA analyst Michael Scheuer’s recent call for bin Laden to kill more Americans would be shocking if we hadn’t already heard it dozens of times before from other “War on Terror” advocates. “It’s an absurd situation,” Scheuer told FOX News personality Glenn Beck on his program last week. “Only Osama can execute an attack that will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.”

The comments have provoked much shock and outrage among pundits and websites like Jon Stewart and  NewsHounds who may have considered him to be on their side. After all, he seemed to be a vociferous and effective critic of the neocons, having authored books like Imperial Hubris and having supported Ron Paul during the 2008 Presidential debates by asserting that 9/11 was merely blowback for American  interventionism in the Middle East. With his latest comments, Scheuer is now relegated to the ignoble company of neocon shills like Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who dreamed of another terrorist attack back in 2007 to rally people around the flag (and, presumably, George W. Bush) once again; Donald Rumsfeld, who complained in 2006 that the Bush regime was a victim of its own success in the “War on Terror” and that another terrorist attack was needed to remind people that the war was still necessary; and… Continue reading

FBI Whistleblower: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Other Members of Congress ‘Bribed, Blackmailed’

Brad Friedman
September 5, 2009
Huffingtonpost.com

Breaking Down the Under-Oath Disclosures of the Formerly-Gagged Sibel Edmonds…

It has now been over a week since the video tape and transcript from the remarkable 8/8/09 deposition of former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was publicly released. Previously, the Bush Administration invoked the so-called “state secrets privilege” in order to gag Edmonds, in attempting to keep such information from becoming public.

The under-oath, detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey. The broad criminal conspiracy is said to have resulted in, among other things, the sale of nuclear weapons technology to black market interests including Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and others.

Even as many of these allegations had been previously corroborated to varying extents, by a number of official government reports, documents and independent media outlets (largely overseas), not a single major mainstream media outlet in the U.S. has picked up on Edmonds’ startling claims since her deposition has been made fully available.

Granted, last week was a busy news week, with the death of Ted Kennedy, the release of the CIA Inspector General’s report on torture, and the announcement that Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. And, it’s true, a 4-hour deposition and/or 241-page transcript [PDF] is a lot of material to review, particularly given the wide scope of the charges being… Continue reading

The BRAD BLOG : Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds

The BRAD BLOG : Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds ‘Outs’ Video-taped, ‘Blackmailed’ Dem Congresswoman; Alleges State Dept. Mole at NYTimes; MUCH MORE…

‘American Conservative’ mag’s description of interview with previously-gagged FBI whistleblower as ‘explosive’ may prove to be a gross understatement

Blackmail, bribery, infiltration, theft and sale of nuke secrets by Turkey,
Israel explained in clearer detail than ever before…

It seems it may be difficult to not notice it, given that Edmonds finally names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman she has previously described as married with grown children and having been “hooked” into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent, as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.

Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI’s counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some… Continue reading

Senior official in Bush domestic propaganda program remains Obama’s Pentagon spokesman

September 29th, 2009
by Brad Jacobson
RawStory.com

A key senior figure in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program, which used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage, remains in his same position today as a chief Obama Defense Department spokesman and the agency’s head of all media operations.

In an examination of Pentagon documents the New York Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — which reporter David Barstow leveraged for his April 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning expose on the program — Raw Story has found that Bryan Whitman surfaces in over 500 emails and transcripts, revealing the deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations was both one of the program’s senior participants and an active member.

Whitman’s conspicuous presence in these records is notwithstanding thousands of documented communications the Bush Pentagon released but for which names were redacted and an untold number the prior administration successfully withheld after its two-year legal battle with the Times.

Barstow’s Times expose revealed a comprehensive, covert Pentagon campaign — beginning during the lead-up to the Iraq War and continuing through 2008 — that shaped network military analysts into what internal documents referred to as “message force multipliers” and “surrogates” who could be trusted to parrot Bush administration talking points “in the form of their own opinions.” Barstow’s reporting also detailed how most of the military analysts, traditionally viewed as authoritative and independent, had ties to defense contractors with a stake in the same war policies they were interpreting… Continue reading

Pentagon pursuing new investigation into Bush propaganda program

by Brad Jacobson
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
RawStory.com

Image of Pentagon Briefing[Read Part I, Part II and Part III of this series.]

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

Poverty and Unemployment Equal Misery In America

Published at the DailyCensored.com; originally at wsws.org

Photo of homeless guy with sign: more beer
New Year in America: A portrait of social misery
By Tom Eley
5 January 2010

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.…

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Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of 9/11 conspiracy groups

By Daniel Tencer

RawStory.com

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

Presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens

By Glenn Greenwald
January 27, 2010
Salon.com

(updated below – Update II)

The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest today reports that “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people.” That’s no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization. The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.

But buried in Priest’s article is her revelation that American citizens are now being placed on a secret “hit list” of people whom the President has personally authorized to be killed:

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. . . .

The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”

Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists… Continue reading

Amid media blackout – Congressional hearing reveals US intelligence agencies shielded Flight 253 bomber

Originally published by Alex Lantier on February 3, 2010 at wsws.org

A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The Nigerian student, whom US officials suspected of being affiliated with the Yemeni terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off a bomb on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day. Revocation of Abdulmutallab’s visa would have prevented him from boarding the airplane.

The hearing was reported in a brief article posted January 27 on the web site of the Detroit News, headlined, “Terror Suspect Kept Visa to Avoid Tipping Off Larger Investigation.”

The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport screening, has been buried in the media. As of this writing, nearly a week after the hearing, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.

This is despite–or perhaps more accurately, because of–the fact that this information exposes the official government story of the near-disaster to be a lie. President Obama, who has joined with top US intelligence, FBI and Homeland Security officials to insist that Abdulmutallab was inadvertently allowed to board the plane carrying explosives because of a failure to “connect the dots,” has… Continue reading

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

A 50-year mystery over the ‘cursed bread’ of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

Henry Samuel in Paris
11 March 2010
Telegraph.co.uk

Image of man holding cursed breadFrench bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment: An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD

In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.

For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.

The mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread) still haunts the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, southeast France.

On August 16, 1951, the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire.

One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: “I am a plane”, before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Another saw his heart escaping through his feet and begged a doctor to… Continue reading

Deep Background

by Philip Giraldi
April 1, 2010 edition of American Conservative

Even in World War II, the United States did not attempt to assassinate U.S. citizens who went over to the enemy, but that has now changed with President Obama’s overseas contingency operations. On Feb. 3, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that the United States government has developed procedures for killing American citizens abroad who are “involved” with groups threatening to carry out terrorist acts directed against other Americans. Three U.S. citizens have already been approved by the White House for summary execution as soon as actionable intelligence is developed to enable a pilotless drone’s hellfire missiles to do the killing. One is Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi; the second is American al-Qaeda member Adam Perlman, who goes under the name Adam Yahiye Gadahn; and the third is believed to be a Somali from Minnesota who has joined the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab in the Horn of Africa. Anwar al-Aulaqi, linked in the media to the Christmas underwear bombing and with Major Malik Nadal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, has denied any involvement in either incident. Perlman, a propagandist for al-Qaeda, is in Waziristan. Killing these men would involve using military drones to attack targets in three countries with which the United States is not at war.

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee a citizen due process and a public trial, as well as the right to confront his accuser. The Obama administration… Continue reading

UK Conservatives may reopen probe into Iraq war whistleblower’s death

Daniel Tencer
April 5, 2010
RawStory.com

The death of a whistleblower who said the UK government had “sexed up” a dossier on Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities in order to sell the Iraq war has been one of the most intriguing and confusing elements of the war’s history.

Now the UK’s Conservative Party is signaling that it plans to reopen the inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly if it wins the next election. The move could potentially harm the ruling Labour Party, which championed the Iraq war effort and is now trailing in the polls for this spring’s election.

On Sunday, Dominic Grieve, the Conservative Party’s “shadow” justice minister, said members of the public “have not been reassured” that Kelly’s death was a suicide, and if his government wins the election, he would want to reopen the case, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.

Kelly, a weapons expert with Britain’s Ministry of Defence, was found dead in a forest near his home in  Oxfordshire in 2003, shortly after he gave an interview to the BBC in which he said that the British government was lying about its claim that Saddam Hussein could launch biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of giving the order.

Kelly’s death sparked suspicions that he may have been killed for undermining the government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair as the British leader stood with US President George W. Bush in pushing for an invasion of Iraq.

A former British ambassador quoted Kelly as having… Continue reading