By Thomas A. Schweich
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an important opportunity — and a major risk. These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in faraway places — Iraq and Afghanistan — and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the budgetary shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department, the Justice Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to train civilian police forces, build… Continue reading
by Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site
With his choice of Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, President-elect Barack Obama has now named three recently retired four-star military officers to serve in his cabinet. This unprecedented representation of the senior officer corps within the incoming Democratic administration is indicative of a growth in the political power of the US military that poses a serious threat to basic democratic rights.
As head of the US military’s Pacific command in 1999-2000, Blair was distinguished by his efforts to solidarize the Pentagon with the military of Indonesia as it carried out butchery in East Timor, effectively vetoing the half-hearted human rights concerns voiced by the Clinton administration.
Before tapping Blair, Obama named former Marine Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser and former Army chief of staff Gen. Erik Shinseki as secretary of veterans affairs. It is also reported that the incoming administration may ask retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to stay on as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Washington Post last Saturday described this concentration of former senior officers in the administration as “an unusual trend for a Democratic administration and one that has surprised both political camps.”
The appointments follow the announcement that Robert Gates, Bush’s defense secretary, will stay on at the Pentagon, where multiple “transition teams” are at work to assure that continuity is maintained in America’s ongoing wars of aggression and that the immense power of the military remains unchecked.
Earlier… Continue reading
by Michael Parenti
December 7, 2008
Author’s website: www.michaelparenti.org.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan.
Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something
about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan,
the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist
organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened
to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive
writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated
the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good
thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,
with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only
3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary
elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973,
the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic,
corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration
in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side
of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the… Continue reading
By Jeremy Scahill
November 20, 2008
Click here to view this guide as a single page.
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.
Obama has a momentous opportunity to do what he repeatedly promised over the course of his campaign: bring actual change. But the more we learn about who Obama is considering for top positions in his administration, the more his inner circle resembles a staff reunion of President Bill Clinton’s White House. Although Obama brought some progressives on board early in his campaign, his foreign policy team is now dominated by the hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990s. This has been particularly true since Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the Democratic primary, freeing many of her top advisors to join Obama’s team.
“What happened to all this talk about change?” a member of the Clinton foreign policy team recently asked the Washington Post. “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”
Amid the… Continue reading
Monday’s New York Times reported that former Deputy A.G. and 9/11
Commissioner Jamie Gorelick was a candidate for Attorney General in the new
Obama Administration. Five-time Emmy winning investigative reporter Peter Lance
details a shocking, but little known story about Gorelick involving the loss
of a key al Qaeda operative. This is an excerpt from his 2006 HarperCollins
book TRIPLE CROSS soon to be published in trade paperback.
On December 16th, 1994, agents in the FBI’s San Francisco office made
an extraordinary seizure. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa (MJK) Osama bin Laden’s
brother-in-law and former roommate, was captured at a Holiday Inn in Morgan
Hill, California. If this arrest had been fully investigated by the FBI and
the Justice Department, it might have led to the seizure of 9/11 “mastermind”
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and stopped “planes as missiles” plot dead
in its tracks. But what followed was series of missteps and bad decisions at
the highest levels of the State and Justice departments that had a catastrophic
impact on America’s ability to cut short bin Laden’s jihad against
At the center of the decision making at the time, was Deputy Attorney General
KHALIFA’S EXTRADITION BACKED BY TWO TOP FEDS
Even if the Feds were savvy enough to see the value in questioning him, however,
they never got the chance. On January 5, 1995, a decision was made by Secretary
of State Warren Christopher and supported by Deputy A.G. Gorelick, that arguably
ranks as one of the most profound intelligence errors committed by any U.S.…
October 17, 2008
by Peter Dale Scott
For over two years now I have been speaking and writing about what I call deep events. I mean by deep events the traumatic and unexpected episodes that recur periodically in US history and alter it, nearly always for the worse. These deep events can never be properly analyzed or understood, because of an intelligence dimension which results in a socially imposed veil of silence, both in the government and in the Mainstream Media.
The more that I look at these deep events comparatively, ranging over the past five decades, the more similarities I see between them, and the more I understand them in the light of each other. I hope in this paper to use analogies from the murder of JFK and 9/11 to cast new light on the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.1
I began this analysis in 2006 by comparing the JFK assassination with 9/11. I drew attention to over a dozen similarities, of which today I will be focusing on only four:
1) the remarkable and puzzling speed with which those in power identified what I call the designated culprits (Lee Harvey Oswald and the 19 alleged hijackers),
2) the self-incriminating trail allegedly left by the culprits themselves — such as the bundle that James Earl Ray is said to have conveniently left in a doorway on his way to his car. Oswald was said to have carried a flagrantly falsified draft card identifying… Continue reading
HOSTAGES: A Multi-Part FTW Special Investigation
* Medellin Cartel Cofounder, Carlos Lehder: A Free Man in Gov’t. Charade?,
— "Wife" of Drug Lord Speaks
* American International Group, Arkansas, ADFA, Contras, Goldman Sachs, Carlos
Lehder and Coral Reinsurance
* Exposing CIA Covert Operations
A.I.G. — Part Two of a Multi-Part Series
by Michael C. Ruppert
August 14, 2001
…FTW has also conducted an extensive investigation into AIG and its predecessors,
including the C. V. Starr Insurance Companies, revealing deep connections to
US intelligence dating back to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World
War II. These connections include documented CIA operatives connected to drug
smuggling from Southeast Asia and a current board member, Frank Wisner, Jr.,
whose father was a key figure in the creation of the CIA. History, as well as
AIG’s current operations, suggest that these relationships continue unabated
The seemingly mundane insurance business is, in fact, one of the primary weapons
of intelligence gathering around the world. And the founder of AIG, Cornelius
Starr, was an architect of its use in World War II. Consider these quotes from
a September 22, 2000 story by Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Fritz entitled,
"The Secret (Insurance) Agent Men."
… Continue reading
"COLLEGE PARK, Md.–They knew which factories to burn, which bridges
to blow up, which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They had pothole
counts for roads used for invasion and head counts for city blocks marked
"They weren’t just secret agents. They were secret insurance agents.
by Luke Ryland
September 5, 2008
In last Monday’s New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad wrote a front-page article about the CIA’s involvement in the nuclear black market.
The article demonstrates (again) that the New York Times, Sanger & Broad in particular, has simply become a mouthpiece for the government (see my previous articles 1, 2, 3) but they did let one fact slip through to the readership. I can only presume that the slip was accidental, because they don’t appear to have understood the ramifications of what they reported:
The US Government is covering up the fact that US citizens and entities are involved in the nuclear black market.
Three members of the Tinner family in Switzerland were key suppliers to AQ Khan’s nuclear black market ring. They were arrested in 2004 and have been awaiting trial but the US government has been trying to sabotage the Swiss trial because “compromising and embarrassing information about the CIA’s activities with the Khan network” would be exposed if the trial were to proceed.
The New York Times reported that in July 2007, the Swiss Justice Minister came to the US to discuss the case with high-level US officials, apparently to find a mutually-acceptable arrangement regarding how to deal with the Tinner case.
According to an anonymous former Bush administration official:
“The State Department wanted the bomb plans destroyed as a way to stem nuclear proliferation, while the C.I.A. wanted to… Continue reading
By Mark H. Gaffney
The following is an excerpt from Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, THE 911 MYSTERY PLANE AND THE VANISHING OF AMERICA, to be released in September 2008.
15/08/08 “ICH” — Regrettably, there is considerable evidence that elements of the Bush administration were complicit in the 9/11 attack, and may even have helped stage it. Let us now examine some of what I regard as the most compelling evidence. However, the following discussion makes no claim to be comprehensive.
We know that within minutes of the “worst terrorist attack” in US history, even before the collapse of WTC-2 at 9:59 am, US officials knew the names of several of the alleged hijackers. CBS reported that a flight attendant on AA Flight 11, Amy Sweeney, had the presence of mind to call her office and reveal the seat numbers of the hijackers who had seized the plane. FBI Director Robert Mueller later said, “This was the first piece of hard evidence.” In his memoirs CIA Director George Tenet emphasizes the importance of the passenger manifests, as does counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke. All of which is very strange because the manifests later released by the airlines do not include the names of any of the alleged hijackers. Nor has this discrepancy ever been explained.
According to MSNBC, the plan to invade Afghanistan and “remove Al Qaeda from the face of he earth” was already sitting on G.W.… Continue reading
By Mike Allen
August 5, 2008
A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.
Suskind writes in “The Way of the World,” to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery — adamantly denied by the White House — was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.
The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official “that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.”
The letter’s existence has been reported before, and it had been written about as if it were genuine. It was passed in Baghdad to a reporter for The (London) Sunday Telegraph who wrote about it on the front page of Dec. 14, 2003, under the headline, “Terrorist behind September 11 strike ‘was trained by Saddam.’”
The Telegraph story by Con Coughlin (which, coincidentally, ran the day Hussein was captured in his “spider hole”) was touted in the U.S. media by supporters of the war, and he was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Over the next few days, the Habbush letter continued to be featured prominently in the United States and across the globe,” Suskind writes. “Fox’s Bill O’Reilly trumpeted the story Sunday night on ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ talking breathlessly about… Continue reading
By Lori Price
30 July 2008
Abu Khabab al-Masri ‘died’ in January 2006 and again on Monday. Once again, the ‘mainstream’ media announces the re-killing of another ‘key al-Qaeda operative’ by a ‘CIA-operated unpiloted drone!’ These top al-Qaeda operatives – and their subsequent deaths – are more bountiful than poppy fields in Afghanistan or oil smuggling routes in Iraq.
The Financial Times reports:
Al-Qaeda expert killed by CIA 30 July 2008 Pakistan intelligence officials yesterday confirmed a key al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] expert on chemical and biological weapons was killed in an attack by a CIA-operated unpiloted drone, late on Sunday. Egyptian-born Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, who was also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was one of six Arab men who were killed in a remote region along the Afghan border, according to an intelligence official. The US had offered a $5m (€3.19m, £2.5m) reward for his capture. Western diplomats said it would be a boost to morale in the Bush administration, struggling with mounting troop casualties in Afghanistan and a revival of militant attacks in Iraq.
CBS News reports:
Officials: Al Qaeda’s Mad Scientist Killed —29 Jul 2008 — CIA Drone Targeted Chemical Weapons Expert Abu Khabab Al-Masri On Afghanistan-Pakistan Border One of al Qaeda’s top chemical and biological weapons experts was killed in an air strike by a CIA pilotless drone in a remote Pakistani border region, senior Pakistani intelligence officials told CBS News Tuesday morning. Intelligence officials investigating the early Monday missile attack confirmed… Continue reading
by Chalmers Johnson
Source URL: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174959/chalmers_johnson_warning_mercenaries_at_work
Most Americans have a rough idea what the term “military-industrial complex” means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,” he said, “or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Although Eisenhower’s reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its “unwarranted influence” has, I believe, largely been ignored. Since 1961, there has been too little serious study of, or discussion of, the origins of the military-industrial complex, how it has changed over time, how governmental secrecy has hidden it from oversight by members of Congress or attentive citizens, and how it degrades our Constitutional structure of checks and balances.
From its origins in the early 1940s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was building up his “arsenal of democracy,” down to the present moment, public opinion has usually assumed that it involved more or less equitable relations — often termed a “partnership” — between the high command and civilian overlords of the United States military and… Continue reading
This week Visibility 9-11 welcomes former diplomat from the State Department’s Foreign Service J. Michael Springmann. Mr. Springmann served postings in Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in Washington D.C. He is a published author of several articles on national security themes, and is an attorney in private practice in Washington D.C.
Michael has attended several 9/11 Conferences over the years, most notably, the 9/11 Omission hearings on 9/9/2004 chaired by former Representative and current Green Party candidate for President, Cynthia McKinney, as well as the recent conference in Keene, NH.
Included in this important interview is a discussion regarding a new article by Mr. Springmann titled, THE MISTAKE DEPARTMENT: One Example of Why American Foreign Policy is a Disaster (reprinted below) that discusses the American Consulate General at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and it’s relationship to 15 of the 19 alleged September 11th hijackers. In it, he says that “the Jeddah Consulate was not a State Department post but an intelligence services operation”, “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) routinely demanded (and got) visas for sleazy characters with no ties to either their home country or Saudi Arabia,” and “these vile people were terrorists recruited by U.S. intelligence officers along with Osama bin Laden, then a CIA asset.”
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets… Continue reading
By William F. Jasper
For six years, Sibel Edmonds has been carrying out an heroic crusade to protect her adopted country from national security threats within the top levels of the American government. Hired as an FBI translator in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Edmonds, a Turkish American, threw herself into the daunting task of translating thousands of hours of recordings of backlogged intercepts in Turkic, Farsi, and Azerbaijani. What she heard on the tapes was alarming: Turkish agents in the United States bribing high-level U.S. officials and obtaining our military and intelligence secrets. What she witnessed at the FBI was even more appalling: translators who were intentionally filing false translations and passing information to foreign powers; and, what’s even worse, FBI superiors who did nothing about it when these serious breaches were brought to their attention.
Unwilling to settle for the bureaucratic “don’t rock the boat” response she faced from immediate supervisors, Sibel Edmonds decided to take her concerns higher up the FBI chain of command. The result? She was fired, and those she tried to have investigated got off scot-free; some fled the country to avoid potential prosecution, while others continued their alleged criminal and treasonous activities. Some of the FBI colleagues who blocked her efforts were promoted.
How could this be, especially in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, when “homeland security” was our number one concern? And especially since FBI Director Robert Mueller had expressly promised that the agency’s notorious penchant… Continue reading
Intro, continued: Scott Horton, of AntiwarRadio.com, interviewed Sibel Edmonds and the blogger who’s long covered her important case (which the corporate media still refuses to touch), Luke Ryland, to shine some light on what might be happening here. Again, Congress refuses to hold hearings, and hold anyone to account. This interview reviews some of the information that’s come to light in Sibel’s 6-year case, as well as the utter lack of action by Congress with regard to the entire network of whistleblowers with whom she’s associated.
Sibel on Congress: “What happened to all those promises you made? All the promises they made, none of them were fulfilled! They may look like champions, but all we have gotten with people like Chairman Waxman and Chairman Conyers is all barking … as soon as the issue dies down in the media, they just go away. They don’t do anything. They haven’t brought about any type of accountability, any type of meaningful hearings … nothing that in any way would bring with it type of accountability or further action, and they do have the power. … (Before, the blamed the Republicans) now we see that with the Democrats across the House, like Pelosi. … If the mainstream media were to do their job that would create the necessary pressure on Congress so that Congress would do what it’s supposed to do; it’s not doing favors, it’s basically fulfilling their obligation to the American public. This is why we are in this sorry… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
June 19, 2008
It’s crazy, but it’s coming soon — from the same folks who brought us Iraq.
Unlike the attack on Iraq five years ago, to deal with Iran there need be no massing of troops. And, with the propaganda buildup already well under way, there need be little, if any, forewarning before shock and awe and pox — in the form of air and missile attacks — begin.
This time it will be largely the Air Force’s show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.
Emerging from a 90-minute White House meeting with President George W. Bush on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the two leaders were of one mind:
“We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House.”
Does that sound like a man concerned that Bush is just bluff and bluster?
A member of Olmert’s delegation noted that same day that the two countries had agreed to cooperate in case of an attack… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
The Deep State and 9/11
The unthinkable — that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians — has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools. 1 Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB). 2
Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” — a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.” 3 The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer. 4 On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered… Continue reading