January 08, 2010
by Paul Craig Roberts
What are we to make of the failed Underwear Bomber plot, the Toothpaste, Shampoo, and Bottled Water Bomber plot, and the Shoe Bomber plot? These blundering and implausible plots to bring down an airliner seem far removed from al-Qaida’s expertise in pulling off 9/11.
If we are to believe the U.S. government, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged al-Qaida “mastermind” behind 9/11, outwitted the CIA, the NSA, indeed all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as well as those of all U.S. allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times on one morning, and Dick Cheney, and with untrained and inexperienced pilots pulled off skilled piloting feats of crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon, where a battery of state of the art air defenses somehow failed to function.
After such amazing success, al-Qaida would have attracted the best minds in the business, but, instead, it has been reduced to amateur stunts.
The Underwear Bomb plot is being played to the hilt on the TV media and especially on Fox “news.” After reading recently that The Washington Post allowed a lobbyist to write a news story that preached the lobbyist’s interest, I wondered if the manufacturers of full body scanners were behind the heavy coverage of the Underwear Bomber, if not behind the plot itself. In America, everything is for sale. Integrity is gone with the wind.
Recently I read a column by an author who has a “convenience theory” about the Underwear Bomber being a Nigerian allegedly trained by al-Qaida in Yemen.…Continue reading
For Immediate Release
It is with utter disbelief that we listen to the unfolding details of the attempted December 25, 2009 terrorist attack of Delta Flight 253.
Let us remind you, on September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists managed to evade all security measures, hijack four commercial airliners, slam them into three buildings and a field in Pennsylvania, killing 2,976 innocent people, including our husbands.
We responded by strenuously lobbying for an independent investigation to find out how on earth so many agencies could have failed in their duties to protect us, and our loved ones, from such an attack. We asked that they find and fix the loopholes that existed, in order to safeguard our nation.
After the 18-month 9/11 Commission investigation, countless systemic and human failures were uncovered, including: failure to analyze data, failure to share information, human error, failure to follow up, antiquated computer systems, too much information in the system, not enough information in the system, not enough time or people to analyze data, failure to watch list, failure to properly coordinate the watch list with other lists and visa issuance and monitoring failures. Despite all of this, the 9/11 Commissioners simplistically announced that it was a “failure of imagination” that caused the agencies to falter and allowed 9/11 to happen. Additionally, we were told that those in positions to protect us “could never have imagined this type of attack” and that “everyone is at fault, so no one is at fault.”
The 9/11 Commissioners would not… Continue reading
January 5th, 2010
by Maidhc Ó Cathail
Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice
All too often, official inquiries are conducted by the very people who should themselves be under investigation.
In this respect, Britain’s Chilcot Inquiry on the Iraq war bears a distressing similarity to the 9/11 Commission.
In a remarkable symmetry, both inquiries involve a Jewish Zionist historian, who not only advised his country’s leader to go to war against Iraq, but actually provided the ideological justification for that unnecessary war.
Perhaps Philip Zelikow was one of the few people who was not surprised by his appointment as executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, better known as the 9/11 Commission. After all, the Professor of History at the University of Virginia had shown uncanny prescience in foreseeing an event such as 9/11 itself. In 1998, as project director of the Catastrophic Terrorism Group, Zelikow had written:
“An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people … would be a watershed event in America’s history.… Like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a ‘before’ and ‘after.’”
Yet despite his awareness of an imminent threat of “catastrophic terrorism” against the United States, in the Bush administration Zelikow was instrumental in downgrading the status of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Richard Clarke.1 Effectively cutting off his direct access to the President, this prevented Clarke… Continue reading
January 6, 2010
by Ray McGovern & Coleen Rowley
Yesterday, a blogger with the PBS’ NewsHour asked former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to respond to three questions regarding recent events involving the CIA, FBI, and the intelligence community in general.
Two other old intelligence hands were asked the identical questions, queries that are typical of what radio/TV and blogger interviewers usually think to be the right ones. So there is merit in trying to answer them directly, such as they are, and then broadening the response to address some of the core problems confronting U.S. counter-terror strategies.
After drafting his answers, McGovern asked former FBI attorney/special agent Coleen Rowley, a colleague in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to review his responses and add her own comments at the end. The Q & A is below:
Question #1 – What lapses in the American counter terrorism apparatus made the Christmas Day bombing plot possible? Is it inevitable that certain plots will succeed?
The short answer to the second sentence is: Yes, it is inevitable that “certain plots will succeed.” A more helpful answer would address the question as to how we might best minimize their prospects for success. And to do this, sorry to say, there is no getting around the necessity to address the root causes of terrorism or, in the vernacular, “why they hate us.”
If we don’t go beyond self-exculpatory sloganeering in attempting to answer that key question, any
“counter terrorism apparatus” is doomed to failure.… Continue reading
by Larry Neumeister, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly completed settlements of two of the remaining three lawsuits brought by families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks are likely to include language requiring evidence to be displayed at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a lawyer said Wednesday.
Attorney Mary Schiavo said the public display of evidence collected for trial by lawyers in the case was important to the families.
She called the museum a fitting place for it and said the materials were likely to be put in the museum’s reading room.
She commented outside a court hearing where lawyers announced they had settled 15 of 18 property damage cases stemming from the terrorism attacks for an undisclosed amount, including claims by the Windows on the World restaurant.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said he expects he will insist the amounts be made public later because of the “extreme public interest” in the cases.
Schiavo said families were close to settling cases stemming from the deaths of Sara Low, 28, a Boston-based flight attendant who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center, and Barbara Keating, 72, of Palm Springs, Fla., who was also aboard American Flight 11.
The lawyer said the remaining family was unlikely to settle its case on behalf of Mark Bavis, 31, of West Newton, Mass., a scout for the Los Angeles Kings professional hockey team. He was aboard United Flight 175, which also struck the… Continue reading
January 6, 2010
In an extended interview, award-winning journalist and activist Allan Nairn looks back over the Obama administration’s foreign policy and national security decisions over the last twelve months. “I think Obama should be remembered as a great man because of the blow he struck against white racism,” Nairn says. “But once he became president…Obama became a murderer and a terrorist, because the US has a machine that spans the globe, that has the capacity to kill, and Obama has kept it set on kill. He could have flipped the switch and turned it off…but he chose not to do so.” He continues, “In fact, as far as one can tell, Obama seems to have killed more civilians during his first year than Bush did in his first year, and maybe even than Bush killed in his final year.”
Guest: Allan Nairn, award-winning journalist and activist.
Website: News and Comment (www.allannairn.com)
ANJALI KAMAT: On Tuesday, President Obama made another statement on the failure of intelligence agencies to intercept the Christmas Day plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight. He said the US government had the necessary information to stop the twenty-three-year-old Nigerian suspect from boarding the Detroit-bound flight, but he excoriated the intelligence community for failing to connect the dots in time.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect. But it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed… Continue reading
by James Ridgeway Published by Mother Jones
Scan, baby, scan. That’s the mantra among politicians at all levels in the wake of the thwarted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet. According to conventional wisdom, the would-be “underwear bomber” could have been stopped by airport security if he’d been put through a full-body scanner, which would have revealed the cache of explosives attached to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s groin.
Within days or even hours of the bombing attempt, everyone was talking about so-called whole-body imaging as the magic bullet that could stop this type of attack. In announcing hearings by the Senate Homeland Security Commitee, Joe Lieberman approached the use of scanners as a foregone conclusion, saying one of the “big, urgent questions that we are holding this hearing to answer” was “Why isn’t whole-body-scanning technology that can detect explosives in wider use?” Former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told the Washington Post, “You’ve got to find some way of detecting things in parts of the body that aren’t easy to get at. It’s either pat downs or imaging, or otherwise hoping that bad guys haven’t figured it out, and I guess bad guys have figured it out.”
Since the alternative is being groped by airport screeners, the scanners might sound pretty good. The Transportation Security Administration has claimed that the images ” are friendly enough to post in a preschool ,” though the pictures themselves tell another story, and numerous organizations have opposed them as a gross invasion of… Continue reading
By James Cogan
6 January 2010
Socialist Web Site
American military personnel are continuing to take their own lives in unprecedented
numbers, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wars drag on. By late November,
at least 334 members of the armed forces had committed suicide in 2009, more
than the 319 who were killed in Afghanistan or the 150 who died in Iraq. While
a final figure is not available, the toll of military suicides last year was
the worst since records began to be kept in 1980.
The Army, National Guard and Army Reserve lost at least 211 personnel to suicide.
More than half of those who took their lives had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Army suicide rate of 20.2 per 100,000 personnel is higher than that registered
among males aged 19 to 29, the gender age bracket with the highest rate among
the general population. Before 2001, the Army rarely suffered 10 suicides per
The Navy lost at least 47 active duty personnel in 2009, the Air Force 34 and
the Marine Corp, which has been flung into some of the bloodiest fighting in
Iraq and Afghanistan, 42. The Marine suicide rate has soared since 2001 from
12 to at least 19.5 per 100,000.
For every death, at least five members of the armed forces were hospitalised
for attempting to take their life. According to the Navy Times, 2 percent of
Army; 2.3 percent of Marines and 3 percent of Navy… 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
December 31, 2009
Dear Friends and Fellow Advocates for Answers and Accountability,
As we look ahead to 2010, we at NYC CAN would like to offer our deepest thanks to everyone who contributed to a remarkable and historic campaign, and we would like to take a moment to celebrate the achievements that give us much to build upon in 2010.
2009 was a year of tremendous progress for our cause. Among a long list of successes, a peer-reviewed paper was published in a mainstream scientific journal documenting the discovery of active thermitic material in the World Trade Center dust; the petition of architects and engineers calling for a new investigation into the WTC destruction has leaped to nearly 1,000 signatories while founding member Richard Gage, AIA travels the world delivering his analysis of the buildings’ demise to thousands of concerned citizens and leaders. The increasing strength and credibility of our message is evidenced by the ever greater frequency of media breakthroughs casting a positive light on the questions we pose.
Thanks to your support, NYC CAN is proud to consider the ballot initiative campaign in New York among the many victories that furthered our cause in 2009. 80,000 New Yorkers — nearly 8% of the number who voted in the 2009 mayoral election in America’s largest city — signed a petition calling for a new 9/11 investigation. Just last week we learned one of those 80,000 signatories is a councilmember elect, intent upon helping us advance our cause with the… Continue reading
Top Censored Stories of 2009/2010
December 31, 2009
The latest edition of Project Censored’s research, the Top 25 censored news stories that didn’t make the news, and more accounts of media democracy in action will be available by October 1st, this fall, for Media Accountability Day. Order your copy today! Or, make a generous tax-deductible donation of $100 or more to the Media Freedom Foundation/Project… Continue reading
By Andrew Hobbs and Peter Phillips
Hyperreality is the inability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Corporate media, Fox in particular, offers news that creates a hyperreality of real world problems and issues. Consumers of corporate television news–especially those whose understandings are framed primarily from that medium alone–are embedded in a state of excited delirium and knowinglessness.
Corporate Media hasn’t acted as a cohesive, protective “fourth estate” in several decades, instead gilding lilies such as the Iraq war, torture and the true extent of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Contemporary corporate news is best seen in a post-modern context of hyperreality. The news from US networks is based on the presentations of partially factual stories framed inside socio-emotional story lines that juxtapose “evil” with patriotism and Christian fervor. There are multiple examples of this, but we will examine two distinct cases.
The bias towards hyperreality inherent in modern media is so rampant, consumers only need turn on the TV to be exposed to the spin. Two notorious, controversial modern figures will be examined here to explain what we mean by a hyperreality of knowinglessness. News coverage of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh are unique examples, primarily because of their perceived opposing views and their unapparent similarities. But they are similar in that both should have little operable relevance to American policy, at least domestically, as one is an entertainer and the other is the leader of another country.…Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
How does a massive, costly security apparatus fail to stop a known terrorism
threat from boarding an airplane and wrecking devastation?
It happened on Sept. 11, 2001, and again on Dec. 25, 2009.
“There must be an agenda,” suggested Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) in a recent video message to supporters.
“It seems ironic that there is so much excitement about this and now talk about attacking Yemen,” he said, noting recent bombing raids by Saudi forces, carried out with the explicit blessing of the United States.
“The Saudis are our close allies,” Paul explained. “We provide them with the weapons and the airplanes and we did sanction and endorse the bombing of Yemen.”
He said that terrorist-style tactics carried out against the United States and U.S. interests are a response to occupation of Arab lands. The attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, he said, was a result of “either awful stupidity or there must be an agenda.”
“I am concerned what they are going to do to the American people,” he said.
And by “they,” he meant U.S. leaders.
“They’ll add some more security on to us,” Paul explained. “First they make us take off our shoes and then our belts and then small bottles of water and put our computers in a tray and on and on so something else is going to happen, they won’t let us get out of our seats or look at our bags, thinking… Continue reading
by Chris Hedges
Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S. citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.
This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements–who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism–have discovered that his fate is their fate. Courageous… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
Update at bottom: Matalin ‘lied’ about Bush inheriting recession
No amount of spit and polish can clean the tarnish of the 9/11 attacks from the Bush legacy, but that didn’t stop GOP strategist Mary Matalin from trying.
During a Sunday appearance on CNN, Matalin attempted to prop up an analogy between the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency and that of President Barack Obama’s. Raising the specter of rising unemployment, anchor John King wondered whether Republicans have the right to attack Democrats over the economy.
According to a CNN transcript, Matalin–seated across a table from her husband, Democratic strategist James Carville–gave a response which was a little more than blindly partisan.
“I was there,” she said. “We inherited a recession from President Clinton and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation’s history. And President Bush dealt with it. And within a year of his presidency at this comparable time, unemployment was at 5 percent. And we were creating jobs.”
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 happened during the Bush presidency. While administration officials said repeatedly that nobody could have predicted such a devastating attack, an August 6, 2001, briefing delivered to President Bush — titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” — later surfaced.
“The memo, sent to FBI headquarters by a Phoenix FBI agent, warned that bin Laden could have been using U.S. flight schools to train terrorists and suggested a nationwide canvass for Middle… Continue reading
December 26, 2009
A Sept. 11 hero died of cancer on Christmas Day. Jim Ryan was on the front lines during 9/11, a firefighter who spent many weeks rummaging through the destruction that encompassed Ground Zero, only to succumb to pancreatic cancer, according to a report.
The fire department confirms that his sickness was 9/11-related. And now his family — his three children, wife and all the people who loved him — mourn the death of a hero.
“He was just really really great,” his grieving wife, Magda, told the Daily News.
Ryan, 48, was first diagnosed with cancer three years ago. He relapsed last year, reports the News.
A brave fighter until the end, Ryan desperately wanted to travel with his colleagues to Washington in November to campaign for the passage of legislation that would give $11 billion for those who contracted diseases on Sept. 11. That bill hasn’t yet passed.
“It’s about all the guys who are going to come after me,” Ryan, who wasn’t well enough to make the trip, told the News at the time. “And there’s going to be plenty of them.”
Ryan’s family spent a quiet Christmas Eve at home, and just before 2 a.m. on Christmas Day, the Long Island father’s teenage son realized he wasn’t breathing, reports the News.
December 26, 2009
U.S. history has seen many presidents elected on a wave of progressive promises, only to see them compromise again and again once in office, caving to the very interests, military and corporate, that they railed against so effectively. Barack Obama is only the latest to get elected on a promise to end a war and take care of working people, only to preside over an administration stacked with Wall Street types and wind up continuing a war he wanted to wind down. Americans voted for change and are getting frustrated with the lack of it, but our guests have both written about the powerful forces holding the status quo in place. John Perkins is the author of Hoodwinked and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and has written about how corporations push politicians around and even threaten them with violence. Russ Baker, meanwhile, is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America and has written extensively about the military-industrial complex. They argue the only weapon we have is public opinion and public pressure–and we need to bring it to bear not just on the government, but on the corporations.