by Glenn Greenwald
The Los Angeles Times examines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic “homeland security” projects: $75 billion per year for things such as a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar to respond to a potential attack on a lake in tiny Keith County, Nebraska, and hundreds of “9-ton BearCat armored vehicles, complete with turret” to guard against things like an attack on DreamWorks in Los Angeles. All of that — which is independent of the exponentially greater sums spent on foreign wars, occupations, bombings, and the vast array of weaponry and private contractors to support it all — is in response to this mammoth, existential, the-single-greatest-challenge-of-our-generation threat:
“The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It’s basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year ,” said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.
Last year, McClatchy characterized this threat in similar terms: “undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism .” The March, 2011, Harper ‘s Index expressed the point this way : “Number of American civilians who died worldwide in terrorist attacks last year: 8 — Minimum number who died after being struck by lightning: 29.” That’s the threat in the name of which a vast domestic Security State is constructed,… Continue reading
By Russ Baker
Another original investigation by WhoWhatWhy.com
Article Summary: When you look closely, nothing seems right about what will surely become the accepted account of the raid that nailed America’s enemy number one. And then things get even weirder…
The establishment media just keep getting worse. They’re further and further from good, tough investigative journalism, and more prone to be pawns in complicated games that affect the public interest in untold ways. A significant recent example is The New Yorker ‘s vaunted August 8 exclusive on the vanquishing of Osama bin Laden.
The piece, trumpeted as the most detailed account to date of the May 1 raid in Abbottabad Pakistan, was an instant hit. “Got the chills half dozen times reading @NewYorker killing bin Laden tick tock…exquisite journalism,” tweeted the digital director of the PBS show Frontline . The author, freelancer Nicholas Schmidle, was quickly featured on the Charlie Rose show, an influential determiner of “chattering class” opinion. Other news outlets rushed to praise the story as “exhaustive,” “utterly compelling,” and on and on.
To be sure, it is the kind of granular, heroic story that the public loves, that generates follow-up bestsellers and movie options. The takedown even has a Hollywood-esque code name: “Operation Neptune’s Spear”
Here’s the introduction to the mission commander , full of minute details that help give it a ring of authenticity and suggest the most… Continue reading
Lorie Van Auken
Lorie Van Auken joins us and shares with us her reflections ten years on about the events of 9/11 and her loss. She discusses the still-classified 28 pages of the JICI dealing with terrorist financing, the 9/11 families’ stalled lawsuit to bankrupt the terrorists and the direct interventions by the White House to protect the Saudi regime against the justice-seeking families, and the many uninvestigated questions and facts covered up by the 9/11 Commission. She questions our current many-fronted wars and the senselessness of the occupation of and our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan with Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden both dead, while our economy is crashing here at home. Ms. Van Auken talks about the three versions of the NORAD timeline, the passage of the Patriot Act as a vehicle to erode our civil liberties, NSA’s illegal wiretapping of our domestic communications under the guise of security, and more!
Lorie Van Auken, the mother of two children, lost her husband Kenneth Van Auken in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. She is one of the “Jersey Girls” who, along with Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza, fought the Bush administration for a commission to investigate the attacks. Ms. Van Auken is also a member of the September 11 Advocates.
Here is our guest Lorie Van Auken unplugged! Click here to listen to interview with Lorie Van Auken [48:26].
By Kevin Zeese
October2011.org seeks to Stop the Machine and Create a New World. It can be done. Indeed, it must be done and now is the time to do it. The thousands who have joined October2011.org know the challenges we face but we also know that the disastrous direction the country is going is unacceptable. We have seen that the normal tools – elections, lobbying and education – do not work. The U.S. is facing a crisis on many fronts – economic, environmental and in foreign relations – and the government does not respond or even makes things worse.
We certainly understand the despair, lost hope and discouragement that many Americans feel about the U.S. political system. The system seems designed to make change impossible. We also see the power and sophistication of the corporate propaganda media machine. But, we also see people in the United States seeing through the propaganda, understanding the truth and getting angry. In every rebellion around the world that has occurred in the last year – from Egypt to Spain – the view that it can’t be done, the people will not rise up would have been the belief of 95% of the population before it happened. Predicting the future is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of evidence that the time may be right for an American Awakening. The past is not always the future.
TORONTO, August 8, 2011 — A decade after the events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the immediate deaths of nearly 3,000 people on American soil, countless victims from toxic dust, and hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, international hearings on this pivotal event will begin in Toronto in September.
The events of September 11 provided a pretext for a War on Terror that has led to military invasions and occupations, and attacks upon civil and human rights throughout the world. The credibility of the official investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, carried out by the U.S. Government between 2003 and 2005, has been questioned by millions of citizens in the United States and abroad, including victim family members, expert witnesses and international legal experts.
To date, open and transparent judicial hearings to question the official evidence provided by the U.S. Government have never taken place in the United States or abroad. Similarly, no perpetrators of the events of September 11 have ever been brought to justice on American soil.
A group of international citizens has therefore undertaken to privately fund and cause these independent hearings to take place. Because of the global ramifications of the events of 9/11, the initiators of this inquest have opted to select an international location outside of the United States for these hearings to proceed. The city of Toronto, Canada was chosen as an ideal “international” location because of its proximity to New York, Washington and Shanksville (the… Continue reading
July 27, 2011
by Lew Rockwell
The violence perpetuated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway unleashed the
usual torrent of blaming anyone who might have influenced the murderer’s thought.
He was first described as a right-wing Christian — a description designed to
put a certain community on notice. As more evidence rolled in, he has been more
accurately described as an anti-Islamic nationalist, but the tendency to pin
this violence on any non-leftist is still there.
There were footnotes in his 1,500-page manifesto to many dozens of books and
articles — including a few published by the Mises Institute. Looking at
the balance of his citations, however, it’s clear that his main influence had
nothing to do with libertarianism. His inspiration was a point of view reminiscent
of American neoconservatism. He cited articles in this tradition — particularly
on the fear and hate of Islam — far more often than any other.
So, does this violence discredit neoconservatism, as when then-President Clinton
tried to blame libertarians and the "militia" movement for the Oklahoma
bombing in 1995? The point of this game is to silence the opposition, shut down
debate, and fundamentally discredit the body of ideas on which the violence
can be blamed.
It’s pretty much been this way since the ancient world. Governments can perpetuate
violence in war and against the civilian population every day, but when a private
person does the same for political reasons, a struggle ensues to see which line
of thinking will pay what… Continue reading
July 14, 2011
By Robert Koehler
Published at Antiwar.com
Leon Panetta, on his first visit to Iraq as secretary of defense last weekend, reached for a Bush moment ten years too late.
“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” he said to the assembled troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad, according to the Washington Post. “And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”
Yeah, oops, gaffe, Mr. Secretary, right? That Iraq-al-Qaeda connection thingy isn’t in the spin anymore, and Panetta’s assistant had to mop up afterwards, making sure no one misinterpreted the boss’s remarks as reopening an old “debate” by reiterating a long-abandoned lie.
In point of fact, Panetta told the embarrassing truth: 9/11, day of unspeakable tragedy, was a goldmine for the Pentagon and the corporate war interests and was quickly used to launch two wars, both of which are long past the need for justification and require, it seems, nothing more than the first law of physics to stay in motion. You guys are here because of 9/11, the tragic all-purpose justification for global hegemony and the pursuit of empire.
Of course, Panetta was trying to be inspirational. That’s what’s missing from the Obama game plan: the old-time patriotism the Bush administration milked till the cow dropped dead. The new secretary of defense apparently felt a need to connect… Continue reading
by Michael Collins
July 13, 2011
The Economic Populist
There are some crimes so universally offensive that even mentioning the suspected crime has devastating effects. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) raised just such a question yesterday. In a brief press statement, the Senator said:
“The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals – including children – is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken U.S. law, and I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated. I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe.” Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, July 12
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has used voicemail hacking and other forms of privacy intrusion in the United Kingdom as far back as 2002. The goal is to get the most intimate insider information, stay ahead of the news cycle, and beat the competition. Where better to get information than the voicemails and other electronic data belonging to those in the news. The News of the World, Murdoch’s flagship paper, hacked the voicemails of a kidnapped 12 year old, the widows of fallen soldiers, and even the powerful. In 2006, the Murdoch papers invaded the private medical records of former Labour Party leader Gordon Brown.
A July 4 article by Nick Davies of the Guardian ignited the most recent focus on illegal actions by the Murdoch papers with the revelation about the hack of the 12 year old kidnap-murder victim.…Continue reading
It’s front page news today that :
Journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World paper tried to access the mobile phones of 9/11 victims, a former New York City police officer claimed on Monday.
It’s also front page news today that the new Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said that American soldiers are in Iraq because of 9/11 , even though AFP notes:
That was one of the justifications for the 2003 US-led invasion, but the argument has since been widely dismissed.
(see this for details).
But a more important story – and one which might focus on a more appropriate country than Iraq – is that the co-chair of the Congressional Joint 9/11 Inquiry (Bob Graham) today alleged a cover up by the U.S. government of state assistance by Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 hijackers.
Graham is no flake. He was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for 10 years (including 18 months as chairman), member of the CIA External Advisory Board, chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, 18-year U.S. senator, two-term governor of Florida, co-chair of the national commission on the BP oil spill, and member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
Graham writes today in the Daily Beast:
The first two hijackers who entered the United States did so through Los Angeles International Airport in mid-January 2000. Within days they were urged by a shadowy man, already described in an FBI report as an “agent” of the Saudi government, to relocate to San Diego with promises of extensive support–promises on which he promptly delivered.?…
June 14, 2011
By Brian Truitt
It has been nearly 10 years since 9/11, and the tragedy is still on the minds of many Americans. One of those, writer and artist Rick Veitch, is convinced we haven’t been told the complete truth about it.
Veitch structured the story similarly to the 1963 Twilight Zone episode “No Time Like the Past,” in which a man uses a time machine to try to “fix” three events: warning a Hiroshima policeman about the atomic bomb, assassinating Hitler before World War II and stopping the sinking of the Lusitania.
In The Big Lie, the heroine is a woman named Sandra, who lost her husband, Carl, during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. A particle physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider, she figures out a practical way to travel back in time, so she ventures from present day to Manhattan an hour before the first plane hits the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
She rushes to his office at a risk-management consulting agency, but since she has aged 10 years, Carl can’t quite accept that it’s her. And even though she brings evidence on her iPad, neither her spouse nor his co-workers believe her warnings.
“The… Continue reading
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, July 11th, 2011
Newly appointed US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told American troops in Baghdad on Monday that 9/11 was the reason they were in Iraq, before he was quickly corrected by his spokesman.
“The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got killed because of Al-Qaeda,” Panetta told about 150 soldiers at the Camp Victory US base.
“We’ve been fighting as a result of that,” he said.
The administration of former US President George W. Bush had hastily linked Saddam Hussein, the ousted Iraqi dictator, to the 9/11 attacks.
That was one of the justifications for the 2003 US-led invasion, but the argument has since been widely dismissed [Ed.: by the Bush Administration itself].
Doug Wilson, Panetta’s spokesman, quickly jumped in after his boss, who just took office on July 1, made the statement.
“I don’t think he’s getting into the argument of 2002-2003,” as the reason for the Iraq invasion, Wilson he told reporters, adding that his boss was “a plain-spoken secretary.”
“He has made clear that the major threat to this country is coming from Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups and he has also made clear that wherever we are in the world today, that (Al-Qaeda) is a principle reason for a military presence,” Wilson said.
The new defence secretary also committed a faux pas in Afghanistan on Saturday, telling reporters the United States intends to keep 70,000 troops there until 2014.
President Barack Obama’s administration has said it plans a steady withdrawal of US forces until the Afghans can take over their own security.…Continue reading
by Carol Brouillet
July 11, 2011
The first Deception Dollars were printed in the autumn of 2002. They were
a collaborative effort to overcome censorship of the basic facts about 9/11
that were so well concealed by the mainstream media, and to drive people to
check out websites challenging the official story. Their popularity inspired
many people to create better websites, as millions of Deception Dollars were
passed out at anti-war rallies and marches in an attempt to prevent the unjustifiable,
immoral, heartbreaking war upon Iraq. Canadian artist Blaine Machan did the
artwork, maintained the Deception Dollar website and contributed greatly to
the budding 9/11 Truth Movement.
Donations for Deception Dollars helped keep websites and researchers going,
helped fund documentaries and film screenings and helped fund the first International
Citizens’ Inquiries into 9/11 in San Francisco and Toronto. The Deception Dollars
evolved over time. Eventually the portrait of George W. Bush was flanked by
Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney, to be replaced by Cheney, and finally by an unknown
character behind an Obama mask. Over nearly a decade, numerous websites were
added and subtracted from the Deception Dollars. As new technologies have driven
more people online, full-length films began to be posted online. The 9/11 Truth
Movement grew and so did the problems that we faced. To raise awareness about
these problems, we published Media Deception Dollars and Election Deception
Dollars. As faith in government, the press and the dollar waned, in 2007 the
first Conception or “Hope” Dollars were printed,… Continue reading
By Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
August 2011 issue of Vanity Fair
Was there a foreign government behind the 9/11 attacks? A decade later, Americans still haven’t been given the whole story, while a key 28-page section of Congress’s Joint Inquiry report remains censored. Gathering years of leaks and leads, in an adaptation from their new book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan examine the connections between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi), the Bush White House’s decision to ignore or bury evidence, and the frustration of lead investigators–including 9/11-commission staffers, counterterrorism officials, and senators on both sides of the aisle.
Adapted from The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robynn Swan to be published this month by Ballantine Books; copyright 2011 by the authors.
For 10 years now, a major question about 9/11 has remained unresolved. It was, as 9/11-commission chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton recalled, “Had the hijackers received any support from foreign governments?” There was information that pointed to the answer, but the commissioners apparently deemed it too disquieting to share in full with the public.
The idea that al-Qaeda had not acted alone was there from the start. “The terrorists do… Continue reading
July 4, 2011
by Michael Collins
The Daily Censored
The citizens of the United States have excellent judgment. They have shown
it consistently over time. When that judgment shifts briefly allowing a failed
policy, it is a result of the vilest forms of propaganda by a small clique of
The people were right about the invasion of Iraq
We know that the plan to invade Iraq began just days after Inauguration Day, 2001. The opportunity to launch the most href="http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/31/whitewashing_the_failure_in_iraq">disastrous and href="http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/costs-war-are-4-trillion">costly military effort in our history came on 9/11. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers and attack on the Pentagon became the pretext for war. The manipulators launched their fraudulent storyline in earnest with confidence that they would get their war.
But in December of 2002, the public wasn’t buying it. The people didn’t have access to all of the information. They knew one thing for sure — the invasion was a very bad idea unless Iraq posed an imminent threat to the country with weapons of mass destruction. An in depth
href="http://articles.latimes.com/2002/dec/17/nation/na-iraqpoll17/2">Los Angeles Times public opinion poll asked this question:
The rulers needed to pull out all the stops to get their war. They sent a national icon, href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200509/s1456650.htm">General Colin Powell, to lie to the world as he waved a vile of supposed chemical weapons at the United Nations. Then href="http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20030718.html">President Bush lied in his 2003 state of the union address to Congress about Iraq’s nuclear potential. This shameless manipulation of our worst fears… Continue reading
by Ray McGovern
Published on Saturday, July 2, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Yes, that was I standing before the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the eve of the July Fourth weekend holding the American flag in the distress mode — upside
[Photo (right): Ret. US Army Colonel Ann Wright, 64, from Honolulu, chants slogans as she and other activists rally in protest outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, Friday, July 1, 2011. The activists hope to join an international flotilla and to sail to Gaza.]
Indignities experienced by me and my co-guests on “The Audacity of Hope,” the American boat to Gaza, over the past ten days in Athens leave no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama’s administration has forfeited the right to claim any lineage to the brave Americans who declared independence from the king of England 235 years ago.
In the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to a new enterprise of freedom, democracy and the human spirit. The outcome was far from assured; likely as not, the hangman’s noose awaited them. They knew that all too well.
But they had a genuine audacity to hope that the majority of their countrymen and women, persuaded by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the elegant words of Thomas Jefferson, would conclude that the goal of liberty and freedom was worth the risk, that it was worth whatever the cost.
These days we have been seduced into thinking that such principles have become “quaint”… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
In August, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder — under continuous , aggressive prodding by the Obama White House — announced that three categories of individuals responsible for Bush-era torture crimes would be fully immunized from any form of criminal investigation and prosecution: (1) Bush officials who ordered the torture (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld); (2) Bush lawyers who legally approved it (Yoo, Bybee, Levin), and (3) those in the CIA and the military who tortured within the confines of the permission slips they were given by those officials and lawyers (i.e., “good-faith” torturers). The one exception to this sweeping immunity was that low-level CIA agents and servicemembers who went so far beyond the torture permission slips as to basically commit brutal, unauthorized murder would be subject to a “preliminary review” to determine if a full investigation was warranted — in other words, the Abu Ghraib model of justice was being applied, where only low-ranking scapegoats would be subject to possible punishment while high-level officials would be protected.
Yesterday, it was announced that this “preliminary review” by the prosecutor assigned to conduct it, U.S. Attorney John Durham, is now complete, and — exactly as one would expect — even this category of criminals has been almost entirely protected, meaning a total legal whitewash for the Bush torture regime:
The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees , including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison,… Continue reading
June 29, 2011
By Liz Goodwin
The Lookout blog at Yahoo.com
A new report out of Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq–together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan–will, all told, cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers.
The group of economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists involved in the project estimated that the cost of caring for the veterans injured in the wars will reach $1 trillion in 30 or 40 years. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.
The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has assessed the federal price tag for the wars at $1.8 trillion through 2021. The report says that is a gross underestimate, predicting that the government has already paid $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.
More than 6,000 U.S. troops and 2,300 contractors have died since the wars began after Sept. 11. A staggering 550,000 disability claims have been filed with the VA as of 2010. Meanwhile, 137,000 civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have died in the conflict. (Injuries among U.S. contractors have also not yet been made public, further complicating the calculations of cost.) Nearly 8 million people have been displaced. Check out Reuters’ factbox breaking down the costs and casualties here.
Perhaps the most sobering… Continue reading
Whether celebrated or condemned, the American Dream endures, though always ambiguously. We are forever describing and defining, analyzing and assessing the concept, and with each attempt to clarify, the idea of an American Dream grows more incoherent yet more entrenched.
The literature of this dream analysis is virtually endless, as writers undertake the task of achieving, saving, chasing, restoring, protecting, confronting, pursuing, reviving, shaping, renewing, and challenging the American Dream. Other writers are busy devouring, recapturing, fulfilling, chasing, liberating, advertising, redesigning, rescuing, spreading, updating, inventing, reevaluating, financing, redefining, remembering, and expanding the American Dream. And let’s not forget those who are deepening, building, debating, burying, destroying, ruining, promoting, tracking, betraying, remaking, living, regulating, undermining, marketing, downsizing, and revitalizing the American Dream.
We are exhorted to awaken from, and face up to, the dream, as we explore the myths behind, crisis of, cracks in, decline of, and quest for the American Dream.
My favorite book title on the subject has to be Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream , which explores the comedian’s career “within a broader discussion of the ideology of the American Dream.” According to the book’s publisher, the author “brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a way that makes it possible to grasp his radical agenda beyond avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his identity… Continue reading