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Other Important News

Gary Hart warns Iranians to beware Cheney framing them as provocation for U.S. attack.

 

Gary Hart warns Iran to beware Cheney false-flag provocation for U.S. attack

 

Sept. 28. The following brief open letter is from Gary Hart, the former Democratic senator from Colorado and winner of presidential primaries in 1984, also the co-author of the much-cited 2000 Hart-Rudman report on terrorism, writing in the Huffington Post yesterday in the form of

 

“Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran”

 

Presuming that you are not actually ignorant enough to desire war with the United States, you might be well advised to read the history of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor in 1898 and the history of the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964.

 

Having done so, you will surely recognize that Americans are reluctant to go to war unless attacked. Until Pearl Harbor, we were even reluctant to get involved in World War II. For historians of American wars the question is whether we provoke provocations.

 

Given the unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, you are obviously thinking the rules have changed. Provocation is no longer required to take America to war. But even in this instance, we were led to believe that the mass murderer of American civilians, Osama bin Laden, was lurking, literally or figuratively, in the vicinity of Baghdad.

 

Given all this, you would probably be well advised to keep your forces, including clandestine forces, as far away from the Iraqi border as you can. You might even consider bringing in some… Continue reading

‘9/11 Truthers’ flip the bird at Bill Maher

‘9/11 Truthers’ flip the bird at Bill Maher

by Jason Rhyne

After being broadly denounced as “crazy people” by HBO’s sharp-tongued Bill Maher, some members of the so-called 9/11 Truth movement — a group convinced that US government accounts of the Sept. 11 tragedies do not fully explain the events of that day — decided to give Maher a taste of his own caustic medicine.

In a new video making its rounds on the internet, one band of miffed Los Angeles-based “Truthers” borrows the graphics, theme music and trademark bite of Maher’s popular “New Rules” segment to push back at the comedian’s charges that conspiracy theorists are lunatics. “Crazy people are defined by acting crazy,” activist Stewart Howe says in the clip, sitting alongside a Maher-esque video window depicting Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in a straight jacket. “9/11 Truthers,” he continues, “are defined by a patriotic quest for the truth.”

“I love Bill Maher, but he’s wrong about 9/11 Truth,” Katy Kurtzman, who also appears in the video, told RAW STORY . “We wanted to give it back to him the way he gives it out, which is ‘I’m smarter than you and I’m gonna make fun of you about it.'”

“We had no idea it was going to go as viral as it has,” she said of the project, which is the subject of more than 35,000 hits to date on YouTube and has received widespread postings on websites skeptical of the official 9/11 story.

“It’s a response… Continue reading

Treason in Shreveport

Image of DOJ shield
Will DOJ Look into the First Death of a U.S. 9/11 Researcher?

By Sander Hicks
October 14, 2007

From 9/24 to 10/1/07 I traveled throughout Louisiana and Texas, with reporter Jordan Green, investigating the death of 9/11 researcher Dr. David Graham.

Our suspicions were validated: there’s a huge story here. It’s almost overwhelming. The best way to summarize is to publish my complaint filed last week with the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.

If you support an investigation into the death of Dr. Graham, please say so, in the comments section, at the end. (Please send me your email, too, I may be doing some sort of activism around this. Mine is sander [at] voxpopnet.net)

Editor’s Note:
Readers: Please take action to support an investigation into Dr. Graham’s death, as suggested by the author.

 

October 11th, 2007

Office of the Inspector General
Department of Justice
1425 New York Ave NW
Suite 7100
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Inspector,

I am writing to request a special investigation into possible FBI corruption inside the Shreveport, LA. office. I have been researching the strange death of Dr. David M. Graham since I was passed his unpublished manuscript, last spring. This case is of the utmost importance, and is about to receive serious media attention.

A week ago, I returned from a fact-finding mission in Shreveport, New Orleans and Houston. Alongside reporter Jordan Green, I met many of Dr. Graham’s surviving friends and coworkers. Every one of them indicated that Dr.… Continue reading

9/11 and Other Optical Illusions

by Peter Zaza

There’s a wonderful optical illusion which involves a graphic of a ballerina spinning around on one leg. It’s called:

“The Spinning Silhouette Optical Illusion”

Image of a Spinning Silhouette Optical Illusion 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. This idea is not really foreign to many people who have made the journey from one belief about 9/11 to its diametrical opposite.

First – we must try and deconstruct the illusion and find out what is going on. When you look at a silhouette of a figure it is not possible to determine if it is facing you, or facing away from you. There is no depth to the figure, it’s just an outline – our Left/Right designation of what we visually perceive will set the stage for our belief of what follows. If the human cut-out is interpreted to be facing you then you will assume it is her left foot touching the ground, and vice versa if not. The information is not sufficient when viewing a black and white silhouette, our brain makes an assumption at first glance and then proceeds toward a logical eventuality based upon that assumption.…

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The War on Whistleblowers

U.S. officials have long retaliated against employees who speak out, burying the dangers they expose. Now, Congress wants to give whistle-blowers greater protection — but President Bush vows to stop it.

By James Sandler

Nov. 01, 2007 | If there is any doubt about how the Bush administration treats government whistle-blowers, consider the case of Teresa Chambers. She was hired in early 2002, with impeccable law enforcement credentials, to become chief of the United States Park Police. But after Chambers raised concerns publicly that crime was up in the nation’s parks, she was rebuked by superiors and fired. When Chambers fought to regain her job through the legal system meant to protect whistle-blowers, government lawyers fought back, and associated her with terrorists. Despite a multiyear legal struggle, she is still fighting for her job.

Whistle-blowers have faced hostility not only under Republican administrations. During President Clinton’s tenure, Bogdan Dzakovic, an undercover security agent with the Federal Aviation Administration, suffered retribution for speaking out about weak airport security — three years before Sept. 11, 2001. Dzakovic was passed up for promotion time and again, and today, he says, he remains consigned to data entry duties for the Transportation Security Administration.

Every year, hundreds of federal workers sound the alarm about corruption, fraud or dangers to public safety that are caused or overlooked — or even covered up — by U.S. government agencies. These whistle-blowers are supposed to be guaranteed protection by law from retaliation for speaking out in the public’s interest.… Continue reading

Madrid: Families angry at terror verdicts

MADRID, Spain (AP) — They’d been longing for justice for more than three years and instead got what they call a gut punch of acquittals and convictions on lesser charges.

People who lost parents, children or spouses in the 2004 Madrid train bombings plan to appeal the verdicts and sentences handed down Wednesday by Spain’s National Court.

“It was like a slap in our face,” Jesus Abril, who lost his 19-year-old son Oscar, said of the verdicts.

Three Muslims were charged with masterminding the bombings of four crowded commuter trains at rush hour, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800. None was convicted of the main charge of mass murder, and one was acquitted altogether.

Two of those alleged ringleaders and two others also facing murder charges were convicted of the lesser charge of belonging to a terrorist organization. Rather than sentences of nearly 38,000 years as sought by prosecutors, some got terms of 12 years. And of nine Spaniards charged with supplying stolen dynamite for the attack in exchange for drugs and cash, five walked free. Altogether, of 28 people tried, seven were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Abril, a 54-year-old former teacher, attended each of the 58 trial sessions, and was in court to hear the verdicts. He and others whose loved ones died in the maelstrom of explosions and burning metal on March 11, 2004, said they could not believe the decisions read by Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez.

“Some of us were crying, hysterical, angry.… Continue reading

Madrid bombing convictions despite flimsy evidence

Informant gave advance warning to Civil Guard
By Paul Bond
7 November 2007

The sentences handed down at the culmination of the Madrid train bombing trial have served to underscore its political character.

The court placed the main responsibility for organising the March 2004 bombings, which killed 191 people, on the suspects who blew themselves up in the Madrid suburb of Leganes three weeks later. Much of the case against the accused related to their links to these men. However, many of the 29 accused were petty criminals and informants, who claim to have given the police information that could have prevented the attacks. In addition one of the chief suspects was acquitted for lack of evidence.

The 20 Arabs and nine Spaniards were charged with offences ranging from murder, stealing explosives, and forging documents to membership in terrorist organisations. All pleaded not guilty. The prosecution was seeking sentences of 38,656 years for the three men suspected of having masterminded the attacks, who were charged with 191 murders and 1,841 attempted murders. Other defendants faced sentences of between four and 27 years.

Seven of the defendants were acquitted. Maximum sentences were passed down against three of the main suspects but another accused of having been the mastermind behind the atrocity was acquitted because of the flimsiness of the evidence against them.

In his sentencing, Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez said that the convictions were based on “solid evidence” of involvement. The trial had established the chain of events leading up to… Continue reading

Online Privacy/Safety Issue

It has been brought to our attention that Google.com offers a feature whereby entering a phone number into the search bar brings up the name, address, and even a map to the location associated with that phone number. We found this to be the case also with Windows MSN’s live.com search engine, and may be the case with others, as well. It does not work with every phone number, but we verified that many do reveal this personal data. This information is significantly more thorough than what is available via reverse phone number lookup services. Many people have their phone number printed on their checks or other documents and the safety issues for anyone, particularly for children, are obvious and alarming. It may be wise to pay prompt attention to this safety and privacy issue and take action to protect yourself and your family. Google offers a “remove your name from this list” option, which promises to do just that in 48 hours.

We encourage you to share this information with friends and family, as a practical safety matter. Thank you.

A Case for Hearings — Reps Wexler, Gutierrez and Baldwin, House Judiciary Committee Members

By Representatives and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction — this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half… Continue reading

What Happened on 9-11? Scott Ritter, Former U.N. Weapons Inspector, Says “Absolute Requirement to Know What Happened on 9-11”

By Jason Charles
TruthAlliance.net

In his usual form, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter told a packed crowd at the Oriental Theater in Denver to stop whining about corporate media and become their own intelligence operatives. We the people have the same resources and tools that intelligence networks rely heavily on; it’s called “Google” he said.

In his hilarious analogy, the American people like baby birds wait each night in front of their television sets for the corporate news bird to land in their living room and lovingly puke down our necks with that day’s regurgitated news. Suggesting that as our own intelligence operatives we can’t allow CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC to edit and cherry pick information, but ask questions and find the answers ourselves.

In that vein TruthAlliance.net Editor Jason Charles had a few questions for Mr. Ritter which he graciously allowed us to film. We explored 3 topics, if the Bush admin got its way in the mid-east what would it look like, how can these dis-separate yet justice driven revolutions in America unite, and his amazing thoughts on a new, fully empowered investigation into the cause of 9-11.

He asked, “Did Bush and Cheney Plan the demise of the building? Was this a terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda? Or was it something in between? Well frankly we don’t know.” How important is this to establishing justice? Mr. Ritter seems to think it is an “absolute requirement to know what happened on 9-11.”

http://truthalliance.net/News/Vault/tabid/67/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/416/Default.aspx

BAE: Secret papers reveal threats from Saudi prince

Spectre of ‘another 7/7′ led Tony Blair to block bribes inquiry, high court told

David Leigh and Rob Evans, The Guardian
Friday February 15 2008

Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7″ and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

He was accused in yesterday’s high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.

The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered an international outcry, with allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.

Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have “rolled over” after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was “just as if a gun had been held to the head”… Continue reading

Crimes by Homeland Security agents stir alert

BY JAY WEAVER AND ALFONSO CHARDY
The Miami Herald

Bribery. Drug trafficking. Migrant smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is supposed to stop these types of crimes. Instead, so many of its officers have been charged with committing those crimes themselves that their boss in Washington recently issued an alert about the “disturbing events” and the “increase in the number of employee arrests.”

Thomas S. Winkowski, assistant commissioner of field operations, wrote a memo to more than 20,000 officers nationwide noting that employees must behave professionally at all times — even when not on the job.

“It is our responsibility to uphold the laws, not break the law,” Winkowski wrote in the Nov. 16 memo obtained by The Miami Herald .

Winkowski’s memo cites employee arrests involving domestic violence, DUI and drug possession. But court records show Customs officers and other Department of Homeland Security employees from South Florida to the Mexican border states have been charged with dozens of far more serious offenses.

Among them: A Customs and Border Protection officer at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was charged in February with conspiring to assist a New York drug ring under investigation by tapping into sensitive federal databases.

Winkowski, a former director of field operations in Miami, called the misconduct “unacceptable.” He told The Miami Herald that while he wrote the memo because of an uptick in employee arrests last fall, he didn’t believe the problem was pervasive.

“Do I believe this is widespread in our organization? No, I do… Continue reading

DHS Holds Cyber Storm II Exercise to Further Cyber Security Preparedness and Response Capabilities

Release Date: March 10, 2008
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is conducting the largest cyber security exercise ever organized. Cyber Storm II is being held from March 10-14 in Washington, D.C. and brings together participants from federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and the international community.

Cyber Storm II is the second in a series of congressionally mandated exercises that will examine the nation’s cyber security preparedness and response capabilities. the exercise will simulate a coordinated cyber attack on information technology, communications, chemical, and transportation systems and assets.

“Securing cyberspace is vital to maintaining America’s strategic interests, public safety, and economic prosperity,” said Greg Garcia, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications. “Exercises like Cyber Storm II help to ensure that the public and private sectors are prepared for an effective response to attacks against our critical systems and networks.”

Cyber Storm II will include 18 federal departments and agencies, nine states (Calif., Colo., Del., Ill., Mich., N.C., Pa., Texas and Va.), five countries (United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom), and more than 40 private sector companies. They include ABB, Inc., Air Products, Cisco, Dow Chemical Company Inc., Harris Corporation, Juniper Networks, McAfee, Microsoft, NeuStar, PPG Industries, and Wachovia.

Cyber Storm II objectives include:

* Examining the capabilities of participating organizations to prepare for, protect against, and respond to the potential effects of cyber attacks
* Exercising strategic decision making and interagency coordination of incident response in accordance with national level policy and procedures
* Validating information sharing relationships and communications paths for the collection and dissemination of cyber incident situational awareness, response and recovery information
* Examining means and processes through which to share sensitive information across boundaries and sectors without compromising proprietary or national security interests

For more information on Cyber Storm II visit:http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/training/gc_1204738275985.shtm

###

Source: http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1205180340404.shtm

See also:

Many more details about this at this DHS Fact Sheet.…

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AlterNet Editorial: Iraq Vets Will Detail U.S. Atrocities in Winter Soldier Hearings

By Editorial Staff, AlterNet
March 11, 2008

This week, on March 13-16, a new generation of “Winter Soldiers” — veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq — will descend on the nation’s capitol to tell America in their own words what they saw during their service in the “war on terror,” the Bush administration’s signature policy. They’ll give a ground’s eye perspective on the occupation’s toll on the people of those countries and the costs to the military, and they’ll tell stories of what it was really like in places like Fallujah and Ramadi — places that are just names on a map to most of the people back home.

They’ll be following large footsteps. In the early months of 1971, a group of Vietnam vets, organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), gave two days of testimony about the Vietnam that they had seen, up close and all-too-personally, in the original “Winter Soldier” investigation. While largely dismissed by the political establishment, their wrenching testimony redoubled the peace movement’s efforts to end that war.

In his opening statement 37 years ago, William Crandell, a 26 year-old lieutenant who served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division — the division that committed the infamous My Lai Massacre — told the hushed room, “The Winter Soldier Investigation is not a mock trial. There will be no phony indictments; there will be no verdict against Uncle Sam.” He promised “straightforward testimony — direct testimony — about acts which are war… Continue reading

Iraq war veterans answer one last call of duty

By DAVID GAMBACORTA
Philadelphia Daily News
March 1, 2008
gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994

The call of duty has brought them together again, for one more vital mission.

Their hair is a little longer, their faces are a little scruffier and their military garbs are a little more disheveled.

But when the signal is given shortly before 10 a.m. today at the Constitution Center, 20 members of the Philadelphia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War will march once more.

They’ll trek along Kelly Drive, past the Art Museum and Boathouse Row, across the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and continue out west until they meet about 90 other veterans at Valley Forge on Sunday afternoon.

Along the way, they hope to dispel a few myths about the Iraq war and give regular people an idea of the grim reality that their fellow soldiers still face overseas.

“We wanted to do something in solidarity that could send a message to the American people,” said Steve Mortillo, the president of the Philadelphia chapter of IVAW, who served in Iraq with the U.S. Calvary 1st Squadron Infantry Division.

“It’s been five years since the war started, and a lot of us have feelings that Americans only should die in combat if it’s a cause that’s going to save more American lives than it’s going to cost.”

Today’s march also will promote IVAW’s Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, a three-day gathering for veterans of both wars that will take place next month in Washington, D.C.

The organization boasts… Continue reading

3% of News Covers War, after 5 Years

Banner of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Dear IAVA Supporter,

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, but you might not have seen much about it on TV recently. Just 3% of the news in February was dedicated to the war and fewer than one in three Americans know how many American troops have died in Iraq. Believe it or not, a study just released by the Pew Research Center shows that press coverage of the war is at the lowest point since the war began.

Please take a minute now to sign an open letter to the media and demand that major networks increase their coverage of the Iraq war.

The economy and the presidential campaigns are both important stories, but news of the ongoing wars shouldn’t fall by the wayside. The media must demonstrate that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Over 80% of Americans are aware that Oprah Winfrey endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president, while just 28% know how many troops have died in Iraq- even though we are rapidly approaching 4,000 casualties.

An unprecedented detachment between the American public and the men and women at war makes the media’s coverage of the conflicts more vital than ever. Just because the coverage has waned doesn’t mean our troops aren’t facing daily dangers or major issues once they return home.

Men and women continue to serve in Iraq, though you might not realize that just from watching the news. Please sign this open letter and honor the sacrifice of those who have served in the past five years by making sure they remain in the public eye.…

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A Call to Lament and Repent

From Sojourners:

The following statement is being issued by over a dozen Christian leaders to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. We invite you to join us in adding your name as a gesture of lamentation and repentance.

This season of Lent, we are truly living “in darkness and in the shadow of death” as we mark, on March 19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the war with Iraq. It is a war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes, and fought by our sisters and brothers. As U.S. Christians, we issue a call to the American church to lament and repent of the sin of this war.

We lament the suffering and violence in Iraq. …

We lament the effects of this war on our country. …

We repent of our failure to fully live the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers.

We believe repentance means more than just being sorry. …

We dedicate ourselves to the biblical vision of a world in which nations do not attempt to resolve international problems by waging war on other nations.

Click here to see the full statement and signers

The mission of Sojourners is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.

Source URL: http://go.sojo.net/campaign/iraqstatement1/xgk7u76rl76twt5x?

Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation

March 23, 2008
By Robert Pear

WASHINGTON — New government research has found “large and growing” disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.

Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said, but affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap.

One of the researchers, Gopal K. Singh, a demographer at the Department of Health and Human Services, said “the growing inequalities in life expectancy” mirrored trends in infant mortality and in death from heart disease and certain cancers.

The gaps have been increasing despite efforts by the federal government to reduce them. One of the top goals of “Healthy People 2010,” an official statement of national health objectives issued in 2000, is to “eliminate
health disparities among different segments of the population,” including higher- and lower-income groups and people of different racial and ethnic background.

Dr. Singh said last week that federal officials had found “widening socioeconomic inequalities in life expectancy” at birth and at every age level.

He and another researcher, Mohammad Siahpush, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, developed an index to measure social and economic conditions in every county, using census data on education, income, poverty, housing and other factors. Counties were then classified into 10 groups of equal population size.

In 1980-82, Dr. Singh said, people in the most affluent group could expect to live 2.8 years longer than people in the most deprived group (75.8 versus 73 years).…

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