Originally published by Alex Lantier on February 3, 2010 at wsws.org
A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The Nigerian student, whom US officials suspected of being affiliated with the Yemeni terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off a bomb on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day. Revocation of Abdulmutallab’s visa would have prevented him from boarding the airplane.
The hearing was reported in a brief article posted January 27 on the web site of the Detroit News, headlined, “Terror Suspect Kept Visa to Avoid Tipping Off Larger Investigation.”
The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport screening, has been buried in the media. As of this writing, nearly a week after the hearing, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.
This is despite–or perhaps more accurately, because of–the fact that this information exposes the official government story of the near-disaster to be a lie. President Obama, who has joined with top US intelligence, FBI and Homeland Security officials to insist that Abdulmutallab was inadvertently allowed to board the plane carrying explosives because of a failure to “connect the dots,” has… Continue reading
Justice department to accuse FBI of invoking crises to obtain details of more than 2,000 calls, Washington Post reports
by Chris McGreal in Washington
19 January 2010
The US justice department is preparing a report which concludes that the FBI repeatedly broke the law by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist to obtain more than 2,000 telephone call records over four years from 2002, including those of journalists on US newspapers, according to emails obtained by the Washington Post.
The bureau also issued authorisations for the seizure of records after the fact, in order to justify unwarranted seizures.
The Washington Post said the emails show how counter-terrorism officials inside FBI headquarters breached regulations designed to protect civil liberties.
The FBI’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, told the Washington Post that the agency violated privacy laws by inventing non-existent terrorist threats to justify collecting the phone records. “We should have stopped those requests from being made that way,” she said.
Caproni said that FBI’s issuing of authorisations after the fact was a “good-hearted but not well thought-out” move to give the phone companies legal cover for handing over the records.
After the 9/11 attacks, the USA patriot act greatly expanded the government’s ability to monitor American citizens, including increased access to their phone calls with the approval of lower-level officials than previously allowed. But the authorisation had to be tied to an open terrorism investigation.
The Washington Post said two FBI officers had raised concerns. Special agent Bassem Youssef observed… Continue reading
January 10, 2010
by Tom Burghart
New revelations about the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 continue to emerge as does evidence of a systematic cover-up.
With the White House in crisis mode since the attempted bombing, President Obama met for two hours January 5 with top security and intelligence officials. Obama said that secret state agencies “had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot … but that intelligence officials had ‘failed to connect those dots’,” The New York Times reports.
The latest iteration of the “dot theory” floated by the President, aided and abetted by a compliant media, claims “this was not a failure to collect intelligence” but rather, “a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”
“Mr. Obama’s stark assessment that the government failed to properly analyze and integrate intelligence served as a sharp rebuke of the country’s intelligence agencies,” declared the Times uncritically.
While the President’s remarks may have offered a “sharp [rhetorical] rebuke,” Obama’s statement suggests that no one will be held accountable. Indeed, the President “was standing by his top national security advisers, including those whose agencies failed to communicate with one another.”
While the President may be “standing by” his national security advisers, the question is, are the denizens of America’s secret state standing by him? One well-connected Washington insider, MSNBC pundit Richard Wolffe, isn’t so sure.
Wolffe, the author of a flattering portrait of Obama, Renegade: The Making of a President, when asked… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
Is Rudolph Giuliani’s political career over?
The former mayor of New York City has been making his rounds in U.S. media this week, trying to explain away his false claim that there were no domestic terrorist attacks on the United States during the Bush administration.
For a man often mocked as “the mayor of 9/11,” that’s an awfully bold suggestion, and one that could spell the end of his relevance in U.S. politics, according to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
“The whole reason anybody ever thought of Rudy Giuliani as a potential national figure for the Republican party is because of his supposed expertise,” Maddow said during a Friday broadcast. “The supposed expertise he had with terrorism and national security because he had been the mayor of New York City when it was attacked on September 11.”
He later explained that he meant say no domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11.
However, in what Maddow called “a strange colique” with CNN host Larry King, Giuliani dug his hole deeper, suggesting that shoe bomber Richard Reid attempted his act of terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001.
It actually took place in Dec. of that year, well after the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
“Rudy Giuliani’s whole brand as a politician is based on 9/11, something he appears to have exploited so much that he’s lost the capacity to deal with it as a factual matter,” Maddow opined.
“Could he have meant that there were no other attacks… Continue reading
by David Edwards and John Byrne
As noted below, a Giuliani spokesman “clarified” the mayor’s statement later in the day, arguing that the mayor meant no attacks after 9/11.
“Whatever the mayor meant, it’s not what he said,” Stephanopoulos wrote on his ABC blog. “All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right. My mistake, my responsibility.”
Original story follows below
The former New York City mayor who has sometimes been mocked for using “a noun, a verb and 9/11″ in stump speeches appears to have forgotten — or has mentally reclassified — the worst terrorist attack on American soil. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” Rudy Giuliani told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Friday.
Even if Giuliani doesn’t consider the attacks on 9/11 a “domestic” attack then surely he forgot about the anthrax attacks of 2001 or an Egyptian national who attacked the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in 2002.
While ABC’s George Stephanopolous let Giuliani get away with his misstatement both during the interview and on his blog, ABC’s Jake Tapper called the former mayor out.…Continue reading
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
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
Our 911TruthStore is closing soon. Please have a look at what’s left in inventory, and if you are interested in any of these items and wish to give them as gifts or share with family at the holidays, order right away.The deadline for pre-Christmas delivery is 12/16 if you wish to use Priority Mail; 12/23 if you pay for USPS overnight shipping.
There is one more item available, in addition to what’s at the store … we have just received a few brand new copies of Kristina Borjesson’s excellent 2004 book, “Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press”. Although I’ve not yet added it to the store website, they are available. Please email me to order, with BOOK ORDER in the subject line. If you’re wondering why we can’t “break through” the corporate media, you’ll understand clearly after reading this expose! The book description follows below.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Editor’s (Borjesson) Note: While working in what has been, arguably, the most difficult reporting environment in recent times, CBS’s Dan Rather chose to speak out frankly to BBC Newsnight correspondent Madeleine Holt about the serious and dangerous constraints that he and his colleagues have experienced in the post-9/11 era. I know of no other working broadcast journalist of Rather’s long experience and stature who has been willing to go on the record in such a significant way about these matters.
BBC NEWSNIGHT, MAY 16, 2002
Holt: How much of a challenge professionally has covering September… Continue reading
by Brad Jacobson
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General is conducting a new investigation into a covert Bush administration Defense Department program that used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage.
Last May, the Inspector General’s office rescinded and repudiated a prior internal investigation’s report on the retired military analyst program, which had been issued by the Bush administration, because it “did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product.” Yet in recent interviews with Raw Story, Pentagon officials who took part in the program were still defending it by referencing this invalidated report.
Gary Comerford, Inspector General spokesman for the Defense Department, told Raw Story last week that his office is conducting an investigation into the retired military analyst program and confirmed that the investigation began during the summer.
Asked when his office expects to conclude the investigation, Comerford said, “As a matter of policy we do not set deadlines since any number of variables or factors could result in a delay.”
He did confirm that investigators in his office have read Raw Story’s recent articles on the topic.
Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, issued a press release (cache link) this past June, announcing that Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell had begun the new investigation.
Yet Raw Story and Comerford could find no other news… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
October 21, 2009
The New York Times, on October 17, published a page-one story by Scott Shane about the CIA’s defiance of a court order to release documents pertaining to the John F. Kennedy assassination, in its so-called Joannides file. George Joannides was the CIA case officer for a Cuban exile group that made headlines in 1963 by its public engagements with Lee Harvey Oswald, just a few weeks before Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy. For over six years a former Washington Post reporter, Jefferson Morley, has been suing the CIA for the release of these documents.1
Sometimes the way that a news item is reported can be more newsworthy than the item itself. A notorious example was the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers (documents far too detailed for most people to read) on the front page of the New York Times.
The October 17 Times story was another such example. It revealed, perhaps for the first time in any major U.S. newspaper, that the CIA has been deceiving the public about its own relationship to the JFK assassination.
On the Kennedy assassination, the deceptions began in 1964 with the Warren Commission. The C.I.A. hid its schemes to kill Fidel Castro and its ties to the anti-Castro Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, or Cuban Student Directorate, which received $50,000 a month in C.I.A. support during 1963.
In August 1963, Oswald visited a New Orleans shop owned by a directorate official, feigning sympathy with… Continue reading
by Jon Gold
This is dedicated to the 9/11 Truth Movement. – Jon
Before I begin, I would like to say that theorizing about what happened on 9/11, when you’re not being given answers to your questions about that day by the people who SHOULD be able to do so, is PERFECTLY normal. As is suspecting that the reason these answers aren’t being given is “sinister” in nature. As Ray McGovern said, “for people to dismiss these questioners as “conspiratorial advocates”, or “conspiratorial theorists”… that’s completely out of line because the… The questions remain because the President who should be able to answer them, WILL NOT.” When you think about everything the previous Administration did in 8 years, the idea that they might not be giving us the answers we seek because of something “sinister” is not crazy. In fact, it’s the most logical conclusion one can come to at this point. After seven plus years of obfuscation, spin, lies, and cover-ups regarding the 9/11 attacks, it is unavoidable to think that criminal complicity is the reason why.
That being said, we have not proven it beyond the shadow of doubt. We do not have documentation that shows they planned it. We do not have a signed confession from someone. We have pieces of the puzzle, and to most of us that have been doing this a long time, those pieces point to more than just Osama Bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and 19 hijackers. If we could… Continue reading
By Erik Larson
Sibel Edmonds gave a sworn deposition in which she testified to her knowledge of treasonous crimes and corruption involving current and former members of Congress and State and Defense Dept. officials. Given the nature of the deposition, the lines of questioning focused on Turkish espionage and services obtained through bribery and blackmail by Turkish officials and proxies. However, Edmonds has previously disclosed that the corruption involving U.S. officials also includes money laundering, trafficking in drugs, arms and nuclear secrets, U.S. support for Bin Laden/Al Qaeda, and obstruction of FBI investigations related to 9/11, before and after the attacks; she said these things came up “briefly” during the deposition. Edmonds learned of these things from wiretaps she listened to while working as a translator for the FBI in 2001-2002.
Video shot by me of Q&A sessions outside the deposition — Sibel Edmonds, Stephen Michael Kohn of NWC, Bruce Fein of TALDF and TACA (formerly w/ ATAA) and Davikorian, at Edmonds’ Aug 8, 2009 deposition
Edmonds’ Aug 8 testimony was subpoenaed by David Krikorian (Democratic 2010 Congressional candidate- OH) to support his defense against a lawsuit brought by Jean Schmidt, R-OH. Krikorian had circulated a flier in his 2008 campaign in which he alleged that Schmidt had accepted “blood money” from Turkish interests in exchange for opposing a Congressional resolution acknowledging the Turkish genocide of Armenians in World War I. The deposition took place in Washington, DC at the headquarters… Continue reading
By Gareth Porter
July 8, 2009
Official government documents reveal new side of defense secretary’s legacy
Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1967, took many secrets with him when he died Monday at 93. But probably no secret was more sensitive politically than the one that would have changed fundamentally the public perception of his role in Vietnam policy had it been become widely known.
The secret was his deliberate deceit of President Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 4, 1964 regarding the alleged attack on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Documents which have been available for decades in the LBJ Library show clearly that McNamara failed to inform Johnson that the U.S. naval task group commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, had changed his mind about the alleged North Vietnamese torpedo attack on U.S. warships he had reported earlier that day.
By early afternoon Washington time, Herrick had reported to the Commander in Chief Pacific in Honolulu that “freak weather effects” on the ship’s radar had made such an attack questionable. In fact, Herrick was now saying, in a message sent at 1:27 pm Washington time, that no North Vietnamese patrol boats had actually been sighted. Herrick now proposed a “complete evaluation before any further action taken.”
These documents were reviewed by this reporter in researching my book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
McNamara later testified that he had read the message… Continue reading
Perhaps the most interesting thing this week is that an HC contributor found a document in the National Archives showing that, two days before 9/11, the military practiced responding to a simulated hijacking by suicide terrorists targeting New York. The document also mentioned a number of other previously-unknown hijacking-response exercises, and has been written up at the contributors’ blog.
There are also several additional entries in the 9/11 Timeline, about the 9/11 Commission and the day of the attacks.
The Domestic Propaganda Timeline focuses on the back-and-forth of Sonia Sotomayer’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, and Karl Rove instructs readers that the word “empathy” is actually code for “liberal activism.”
The Economic Crisis Timeline marks the 30th bank failure in the US this year, which was Silverton Bank in Atlanta.
Lastly, a contributor to the A. Q. Khan Timeline highlights possible Saudi funding for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.
The History Commons needs funding to continue its operations, including maintaining and updating the site, and undertaking new projects. Everything we do depends on our generous readers. You can donate by credit card, PayPal, or check. Please donate today. Thank you.
Waterboarding was ‘well done,’ Cheney says
BY JOHN BYRNE
Published: June 1, 2009
On Iraq and 9/11: ‘That’s not something I made up’
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is usually very careful at choosing his words.
Perhaps not so today. In a speech Monday at the National Press Club, continuing along familiar themes of terrorism, Guantánamo and his hatred for The New York Times, Cheney spoke defensively of the administration’s practice of water-boarding detainees.
“I don’t believe we tortured,” Cheney remarked, noting that the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration were vetted by White House lawyers. They didn’t cross a “red line,” he said.
And then he delivered the whopper: “There were three people who were water-boarded…. It was well-done.”
The former vice president also made an odd comment about detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay.
He framed their detention as a choice between two options: either we imprison them, or we kill them.
“We need Guantánamo… If we didn’t have it, we’d need to (invent) it,” Cheney remarked. “If you don’t have a place to hold these people, the only other option is to kill them.”
“We don’t operate that way,” he added.
Cheney’s comments were transcribed by The Swamp, the blog of the Chicago Tribune.
“If I had it to do all over again, I would do exactly the same thing,” he continued. “I don’t have much tolerance or patience for those who have the benefit of hindsight eight years later and have forgotten what happened on 9/11….…Continue reading
Ex CIA Analyst Ray McGovern on Tell Somebody
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 – 6pm CDT
Tell Somebody, with host Tom Klammer, on KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City Community Radio, streaming on the Net
“Why do they hate us?”
Does torture work?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has come out of his non-disclosed location, “oozing out a slimy speech” at the American Enterprise Institute and making multiple TV appearances in defense of torture.
Ray McGovern has been listening- – to Cheney, but also to retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff.
Ray McGovern was a 27 year CIA analyst under seven presidents, and he’s talking to Tell Somebody this week. Tune in this Tuesday at 6pm Central Time on 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio to hear what he has to say. If you can’t get by a radio, stream the show live at www.kkfi.org.
Last week’s show on the Free Press Summit: Changing Media is now online – link to a downloadable mp3 of the show (and lots of other past shows) at www.tellsomebody.us. Or subscribe to the pod cast via iTunes. Last week’s show includes an interview with Free Press Senior Program Director Craig Aaron, and a short speech by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.
Tell Somebody airs every Tuesday at 6pm Central on 90.1 FM KKFI.
By Kevin Fenton
May 22, 2009
History Commons Groups
Zelikow made the claim he was not involved in the initial stages of the dispute in response to an allegation made by commission staffer John Azzarello and relayed by Shenon. After the staff investigators drafted a memo for the commissioners in early April 2004 outlining why they thought NORAD and FAA officials had deliberately lied to them to overstate the military’s readiness during the attacks, Zelikow “just buried that memo,” according to Azzarello. In response, Zelikow claimed that he had not even known of the issue at the start. The implication was that, as he had not known of it, it could not be him that was orchestrating–or even involved in–a dispute between the staff investigators and the commission’s lawyers, Daniel Marcus and Steve Dunne.
However, the newly found e-mail chain shows Zelikow did know of the issue in April, raising the question as to why he falsely told Shenon he did not. Zelikow is not known to be linked to the FAA, but, if the commission had referred the matter to the Justice Department and it had started a perjury investigation against NORAD officials, this would certainly have had the potential to embarrass his friends at the Pentagon. Zelikow is alleged to have husbanded the issue to ensure a less potentially embarrassing referral to the inspectors general of the FAA and Defense Department, who in the end blamed the false statements on innocent mistakes and poor logkeeping.
Zelikow wrote to… Continue reading
By David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
May 10, 2009
Two weeks ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari suggested that Osama bin Laden might be dead, saying that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies had been unable to detect any sign of the world’s most wanted man since an audio recording of his voice was released in March.
Sunday morning, Zadari went further: “I don’t think he’s alive,” the president told NBC’s David Gregory. “I have a strong feeling and reason to believe that.” Zadari continued: “I have asked my counterparts in the American intelligence services and they haven’t heard [from] him in seven years.”
The CIA has not confirmed that the voice purporting to be bin Laden in the March recording was in fact bin Laden. U.S. officials have claimed that bin Laden could be hiding in the mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Just before saying that he believes bin Laden is dead, Zadari told Gregory that America has “been looking [in Afghanistan] for eight years… You lost him in Torah Borah, I didn’t.”
But Pakistan is still part of the worldwide “lookout brigade” for the alleged terrorism mastermind, Zadari said.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast May 10, 2009.