By Robert O’Harrow Jr.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.
Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. They are expected to play important roles in national information-sharing networks that link local, state and federal authorities and enable them to automatically sift their storehouses of records for patterns and clues.
Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.
Those details have come to light at a time of debate about domestic intelligence efforts, including eavesdropping and data-aggregation programs at the National Security Agency, and whether the government has enough protections in… Continue reading
History Commons Projects, Update on April 2, 2008
Significant new material was added to three projects this week: 9/11, Loss of Civil Liberties, and Watergate.
The entries added to the 9/11 Timeline range from the 9/11 Commission and attempts to get it to come down in favor of an Iraq-al-Qaeda link, an al-Qaeda cell in Italy that was closely monitored by the authorities, and the 9/11 hijackers, who were profiled as high-risk potential banking clients due to their terrorism links. There is also more on BCCI, terrorism finance in general, and two CIA employees — bin Laden unit chief Rich B and contractor Billy Waugh. In addition, there is a new category dealing with internal US security after 9/11.
The Loss of Civil Liberties Timeline takes a look at the recent passport file breaches of presidential candidates, as well as the Protect America and Military Commissions Acts, and constitutional amphibian Dick Cheney.
There are a lot more entries in the Watergate Timeline covering the Committee to Re-elect the President, the Plumbers, and Nixon suggesting the IRS retaliate against Jews who donate money to the Democratic Party.
The Decision to Invade Iraq Timeline has more about the invasion being a project to enhance US dominance of the world.
Finally, the A. Q. Khan Timeline points out that Jimmy Carter gave Pakistan’s nuclear program the ‘green light.’
The History Commons’ fundraising goal has still not been met and any donations will be gratefully received.…Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 1, 2008
Events of the last week offer a metaphorical glimpse at the delusion pervading President George W. Bush’s White House and other enclaves of Iraq supporters in Washington. Bush and the First Lady spent last Monday clowning with the Easter Bunny (White House counsel Fred Fielding having donned the costume).
At the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), war cheerleaders, dressed as academicians, were delivering a panegyric on how peaceful and stable the situation in Iraq had become. The “surge,” they announced, had nipped a civil war in the bud.
“The civil war is over,” AEI’s Fred Kagan, co-author of the surge, declared proudly. Brookings twins Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack led the cheering section.
Meanwhile, back in the southern Iraq city of Basra and elsewhere, full-blown civil war seemed about to explode. And in Baghdad, formerly protected folks were getting killed by mortar and rocket fire in what is customarily referred to as “the highly fortified Green Zone,” which has sequestered U.S. embassy and military officials as well as those of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.
Two American officials and two Iraqi guards of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi died in the Green Zone attacks, which are continuing.
At ABC in New York, Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer was trying hard Thursday to understand it all. Shaking her head in disbelief after four straight days of attacks on the Green Zone, she asked how a round “can actually get inside the embassy; how fortified is that?”… Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
In August 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the House that he and the rest of his Committee had been barred from reviewing parts of National Security Presidential Directive 51, the White House supersecret plans to implement so-called “Continuity of Government” in the event of a mass terror attack or natural disaster. ( 1 )
Norm Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, commented, “I cannot think of one good reason” for denial. Ornstein added, “I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House.” ( 2 )
The story, ignored by the mainstream press, involved more than the usual tussle between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government. What was at stake was a contest between Congress’s constitutional powers of oversight, and a set of policy plans that could be used to suspend or modify the constitution.
There is nothing wrong with disaster planning per se. Like all governments, the U.S. government must develop plans for the worst contingencies. But Congress has a right to be concerned about Continuity of Government (COG) plans refined by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld over the past quarter century, which journalists have described as involving suspension of the constitution. ( 3 )
In the 1980s, a secret group of planners inside and outside the government were assigned, by an Executive Order, to develop a response to a nuclear… Continue reading
March 31, 2008
By Paul Craig Roberts
The US Congress, the US media, the American people, and the United Nations, are looking the other way as Cheney prepares his attack on Iran.
If only America had an independent media and an opposition party. If there were a shred of integrity left in American political life, perhaps a third act of naked aggression–a third war crime under the Nuremberg standard–by the Bush Regime could be prevented.
On March 30, the Russian News & Information Agency, Novosti, cited “a high-ranking security source: “The latest military intelligence data point to heightened US military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran.”
According to Novosti, Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said “that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.”
The chief of Russia’s general staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, said last November that Russia was beefing up its military in response to US aggression, but that the Russian military is not “obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans.”
On March 29, OpEdNews cited a report by the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz, which was picked up by the German news service, DPA. The Saudi newspaper reported on March 22, the day following Cheney’s visit with the kingdom’s rulers, that the Saudi Shura Council is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.”… Continue reading
March 28, 2008
By Audrey Hudson
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today stood
by its decision to require a Texas airline passenger to remove a nipple ring
with pliers before boarding a flight, but says more discreet screening procedures
may allow the sensitively placed piercings to be worn in the future.
"TSA acknowledges that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger
involved and regrets her discomfort with the situation," said TSA spokesman
"In the future, TSA’s procedures will meet the security need while giving
additional flexibility for this kind of screening situation," Mr. White
said. "This could include a visual inspection without removal."
Mandi Hamlin, 37-year-old graphics artists, says she was forced to remove the
nipple ring with pliers on Feb. 24 before boarding Southwest Flight 35 from
Lubbock to Dallas.
Gloria Allred, Ms. Hamlin’s lawyer, read from a letter to the TSA during a
video teleconference Thursday asking the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties
to investigate the incident.
"After nipple rings are inserted, the skin can often heal around the piercing,
and the rings can be extremely difficult and painful to remove," Allred
said in the letter.
"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove
it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said
"This encounter was one that she will never forget," Ms. Allred said.
"The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary. The last time that I checked
a nipple was… Continue reading
Tuesday March 25, 2008
Posted at AJFan’s
blog at 911blogger.com; reprinted here with gratitude.
Air America Radio’s Richard Greene chats with Matthew Rothschild, 9/11 truth
sceptic and editor of The Progressive Magazine, about Presidential
Directive 51 (seize control of the country) which is apparently modeled after
one of GW’s mentors in the early 1940’s. John Conyers (202.225.5126) reveals
that he doesn’t know what it is.
White House Directive 51
This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity
of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity
Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation
of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential
Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments
and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal
governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive
and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility
of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response
to and recovery from a national emergency.
Hitler Directive Number 51 (yes, we’re recycling Nazi directives)
In this directive, issued in late 1943, the German leader formally responded
to concerns caused by the ominous buildup of Allied forces in the British
Isles. Hitler displayed here his tendency to issue detailed orders far below
the strategic level, and he divided responsibility for military operations… Continue reading
By Jerry Meldon
Hamilton’s carefully honed skill for balancing truth against political comity has elevated him to the status of a Washington Wise Man. In this guest essay, however, Jerry Meldon suggests that attendees at a Tufts conference on the Middle East might want to ask Hamilton about his past compromises with history.
(Plus, at the end of the essay, you may want to read an addendum from reporter Robert Parry on two questions that might be posed to Hamilton about decisions he made in wrapping up the so-called “October Surprise” case):
When former Rep. Lee Hamilton gives the keynote address – entitled “Iraq: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond” – at a Tufts University symposium on March 27, he may be thankful if he doesn’t have to discuss “yesterday.”
He probably would prefer not to revisit fateful decisions he made while chairing investigations into Republican dirty work, especially those that let George H.W. Bush off the hook and cleared George W. Bush’s path to the White House.
Whenever the Republicans have a touchy national-security scandal to put to rest, their favorite Democratic investigator is Lee Hamilton. Over the years, Hamilton has developed a reputation as a very reasonable fellow who knows how far he can go without ruffling too many important feathers.
As veteran journalist Robert Parry has persuasively argued at Consortiumnews.com, the Bush family name squeaked through the 80’s and early 90’s essentially mud-free, only because:
–On Christmas Eve 1992, lame-duck President George H.W.… Continue reading
by Jon Gold
This will be the final film in this series. I want to thank the family members that were shown in these clips for speaking truth to power. I truly believe and hope that, at the very least, you will one day feel the satisfaction of knowing those responsible were held accountable. I also want to thank Ray McGovern for taking my question in July 2006, which gave me this most important question.
What’s being covered up?
Here are each of the clips in this series along with a brief description of where they came from, and who is in them.
First Time Asked… Donna Marsh O’Connor at the National Press Club on 9/11/2006. Mother of Vanessa Lang Langer.
Second Time Asked… Michele Little at the National Press Club on 9/11/2006. Sister of David M. Weiss.
Third Time Asked… Christina Kminek at the National Press Club on 9/11/2006. Sister of Mari-Rae Sopper.
Fourth Time Asked… Patty Casazza at the “9/11: Families, Responders & Experts Speak Out” event in West Hartford, CT. on 11/03/07. Wife of John F. Casazza.
Fifth Time Asked… Bob McIlvaine at the “9/11: Families, Responders & Experts Speak Out” event in West Hartford, CT. on 11/03/07. Father of Robert G. McIlvaine.
Sixth Time Asked… Lorie Van Auken at the NYC Ballot Initiative event on 11/24/2007. Wife of Kenneth Van Auken.
Seventh Time Asked… Daniel Wallace at St. Mark’s Church in NYC on 12/3/2006. Son of Robert Wallace. Daniel passed away on January 29, 2007.
Sources: Air marshals missing from almost all flights
By Drew Griffin, Kathleen Johnston and Todd Schwarzschild
March 26, 2008
(CNN) — Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board, armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.
That means a terrorist or other criminal bent on taking over an aircraft would be confronted by a trained air marshal on as few as 280 daily flights, according to more than a dozen federal air marshals and pilots interviewed by CNN.
The Transportation Security Administration flatly denied those reports.
Greg Alter, assistant special agent in charge of the federal air marshal program, said the 280 number “grossly understates coverage by an order of magnitude” and that the number is “four digits,” but he would not elaborate.
In a post on its Web site responding to the CNN story, the TSA said it would not disclose the number of air marshals flying each day so as not to “tip our hand to terrorists.” However, it said, “The actual number of flights that air marshals cover is thousands per day.” Read the full response
The investigation found low numbers even as the TSA in recent months has conducted tests in which it has been able to smuggle guns and bomb-making materials past airport security screeners.
The air marshal program began in 1970, after a rash of airline hijackings, and it was expanded significantly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.…Continue reading
March 26, 2008
The April issue of the Rock Creek Free Press has gone to press.
As usual, the "newspaper not afraid to print the truth" is covering
the news that the corporate controlled media won’t touch.
The lead stories this month include one about Thimerisol in vaccines (the government
concedes the link to autism) and Wayne Madsen’s coverage of Winter Soldier.
We continue our coverage of US torture practices and the use of bogus terrorism
threats to justify the creeping police state.
This month we published three important 9/11 related stories:
FBI Refuses to Document Identity of 9/11 Planes — coverage of Aidan Monaghan’s
attempts to get 9/11 information from the FBI.
Half Great, Half Terrible — A book review by David Ray Griffin of Phil Shenon’s
book, The Commission.
International Demands for a New 9/11 Investigation — by Carol Brouillet
The paper is available online: www.RockCreekFreePress.com
By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer
March 25, 2008
The professional organization for engineers who build the nation’s roads, dams
and bridges has been accused by fellow engineers of covering up catastrophic
design flaws while investigating national disasters.
After the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the levee failures caused
by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the federal government paid the American Society
of Civil Engineers to investigate what went wrong.
Critics now accuse the group of covering up engineering mistakes, downplaying
the need to alter building standards, and using the investigations to protect
engineers and government agencies from lawsuits.
Similar accusations arose after both disasters, but the most recent allegations
have pressured the organization to convene an independent panel to investigate.
“They want to make sure that they do things the right way and that they
learn lessons from the studies they do,” said Sherwood Boelhert, a retired
Republican congressman from New York who heads the panel. He led the House Science
Committee for six years.
The panel is expected to issue a report by the end of April and may recommend
that the society stop taking money from government agencies for disaster investigations.
The engineering group says it takes the allegations seriously, but it has declined
to comment until completion of the panel’s report and an internal ethics review.
In the World Trade Center case, critics contend the engineering society wrongly
concluded skyscrapers cannot withstand getting hit by airplanes. In the hurricane
investigation, it was accused of… Continue reading
Popular Mechanics Book Alleges FAA Source For Statistical Data; FAA Concedes No Such Data Records Exist.
Beginning on page 22 of a Popular Mechanics 2006 book entitled Debunking 9/11 Myths, containing a forward comment by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, an attempt is made to clarify the role played by potential military aircraft intercepts during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Citing unnamed sources, part of this section reads as follows:
When contacted by Popular Mechanics, spokesmen for NORAD and the FAA clarified their remarks by noting that scrambles were routine, but intercepts were not – especially over the continental United States.
However, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Freedom of Information Act response dated March 3, 2008, the FAA concedes that records for the information alleged in part by Popular Mechanics’ unnamed FAA source, do not exist.
This is lining up to be a stellar conference. As May 17th approaches
we will be announcing more information concerning additional speakers and guests.
Organized by Student Scholars for 911 Truth www.sst911.org/ and Monadnock 9/11 Truth Alliance.
by David Ray Griffin
“The Commission” by Philip Shenon has performed a great public service, letting the world know that there are good reasons to be suspicious of “The 9/11 Commission Report.” The main problem is the fact that the Commission was almost entirely under the control of Philip Zelikow, who was closely connected to the Bush White House. Although my book “Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11″ revealed some of the facts about Zelikow that showed him to be one of the worst possible choices for the Commission’s executive director, Shenon has revealed even more facts.
It was already known that Zelikow had been on the National Security Council (NSC) with Condoleezza Rice during the administration of the first President Bush; that he wrote a book with her while the Republicans were out of power; that he helped her make the transition from the Clinton to the Bush NSC; and that he wrote at her request the 2002 version of “National Security Strategy of the United States of America” (NSS 2002), which enunciated a new doctrine of preemptive war that was used, in Shenon’s words, to “justify a preemptive strike on Iraq.”
But now Shenon reveals more: that in applying to Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, for the position of executive director, Zelikow failed to reveal some of his conflicts of interest, especially his authorship of NSS 2002 and his role on the transition team; that he continued, contrary to his promise,… Continue reading
March 25, 2008
The fourth edition of The Liberty Voice has been released commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War with fiercely independent news and commentary.
“From Steven Colbert to GlobalResearch.com, it’ll make you laugh and then cry,” says publisher, Sherry Clark, founder of Columbus911Truth.org.
Funded by generous patriots and subscribers across the county, the paper has not yet had to solicit advertisements, keeping the content decision standards truly independent.
With the headline, TRUTH EMERGENCY and documenting the media crisis, this edition of The Liberty Voice also includes two pages devoted to 9/11 truth with stories entitled, “Japanese Diet Questions 9/11 Commission Findings,” “Former Italian Prime Minister Speaks out about 9/11,” “Lie of the Century”and “9/11 Commission was obstructed and uninformed.”
Published out of central Ohio where there are no public access television channels, the newspapers are owned by one conservative family, and few people are involved in election reform activism concerning the rigged election of 2004 which happened there, The Liberty Voice was designed as a citizen rescue tool to wake up a disinformed population. Columbus, Ohio is the ultimate test market as franchises know all over the country, and The Liberty Voice is being received favorably even in conservative Central Ohio.
“We endeavor to make our headlines seem reasonable from the viewpoint of even the most brainwashed of Bill O’Reilly fans. This makes the enlightenment process much gentler. I live in a strong Republican area, and I only hear good things about the paper.
As… Continue reading