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Vanity Fair

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Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House,
and What Their Influence Means for America

Cover photo of Family of Secrets BLOOMSBURY PRESS

FAMILY OF SECRETS: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America

By award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker

ISBN: 1-59691-557-9; $30.00; Pub January 2009, familyofsecrets.com

Contact: Gene Taft, GeneTaftPR@aol.com, m: 917/701-4072, p: 301/593-0766 Peter Miller, Peter.Miller@bloomsburyusa.com, 646-307-5579

Revelatory new book on Bush family

publishing January 2009

How did Bush happen? How did George W. Bush, of all people, rise to the most powerful position in the world? This simple question sparked a five-year investigative odyssey by Russ Baker. What he found will force us to rethink virtually everything we thought we knew about the Bush family and its role in shaping recent American history.

In FAMILY OF SECRETS, Baker reveals that Bush, the people around him, and his policies are but an extreme, very public manifestation of what his family and its circle have always been about: an interlocking web of covert and overt machinations on behalf of a small cluster of elites-social, financial, industrial, military, intelligence-that enabled the Bush dynasty and propelled George W. Bush to the top.

Russ Baker’s deep background profile of the Bushes reveals a family with ongoing connections to the shadow world of intelligence, utilizing the dark arts of the trade to achieve their positions at the pinnacle of America’s political elite. Baker lays bare the stealth substructure that created the Bush dynasty, powered its rise, and brought America to its current state of crisis. Given the disastrous results of the last… Continue reading

Former 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Makes Bizarre Comments about Intelligence Failures before Attacks

April 20, 2009
by Kevin Fenton
History Commons Groups

Former 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton recently made some bizarre comments about the Zacarias Moussaoui case in an interview for Vanity Fair. The interview was used for a wide-ranging and very interesting oral history of the Bush White House. Hamilton’s comments appear to show complete ignorance of a key aspect of the investigation of which he was vice chair.

Moussaoui was arrested on an immigration violation due to suspicions he was planning to hijack an aircraft by the Minneapolis FBI on 16 August 2001, nearly four weeks before 9/11. His personal effects contained evidence linking him to eleven of the nineteen alleged hijackers and the local FBI suspected that he was part of a wider plot. It correctly assumed a search of the effects would uncover his links to the other conspirators. However, due to obstruction by FBI headquarters, no warrant was ever granted to search Moussaoui’s belongings. Middle managers at headquarters also failed to properly inform their superiors of the case.

Here are Hamilton’s comments on the Moussaoui case:

We knew, for example–when I say we, I mean the F.B.I. in Minneapolis knew–that those guys in flight-training school were more interested in flying the airplane than they were in taking off and landing. They knew that. Who didn’t know it? The director of the F.B.I. didn’t know it. The director of the C.I.A. did know it. His response was that it was none of his business. Technically correct,… Continue reading

Sibel Edmonds interviewed by Electric Politics

April 23, 2009
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel gave a 75-min interview to Electric Politics on April 10. You can listen to it here. Mizgin has an overview of the interview here.
A partial transcript follows:

Heroin, money-laundering and terrorism

Sibel Edmonds: First of all, it has been documented in the past several decades, the importance of narcotics in the Turkish economy, but also the role of Turkish MIT – that is Turkish Intelligence – and the military having an active role. But you’re also looking at the increased role of certain Central Asian countries and the Caucuses, and if you look at some of these regimes, these are the regimes that we have been supporting. Their economies also have become dependent on narcotics, because they have become a major transit – and in some places, for certain countries such as Azerbaijan, they have become major production centers.

After they shut down the casinos in Turkey – around 1998 – many of the large casinos in Turkey which were used to launder a lot of money, that also had to do with the narcotics, they actually moved and relocated to Azerbaijan, and there were several that went to Kazakhstan. So if you go through some of those Central Asian countries and you look at the list of the casinos, and you look at the ownership, you will see mainly Turkish ownership, and these are Turkish holding companies that relocated in 1998 to those countries.

George Kenney:… Continue reading

On Torture, the Pressure Builds

April 25, 2009
by Ray McGovern
GlobalResearch.ca

Well, well. The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role that two controversial psychologists played in devising the Bush administration’s torture policies. Guess we should be thankful for small favors.

Apparently, a NYTimes “exposé” requires a 21-month gestation period; just by way of pointing out that the substance of the Times “exposé” appeared in an article the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair.

Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.” It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantánamo.

She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject captives to “psychic demolition,” essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”

In Wednesday’s New York Times, reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti plow much the same ground. But please do not misunderstand. They deserve praise for finally pushing their own article past the Times‘ censors, but let’s not pretend the startling revelations are new.

The Times ought to allow the likes of Shane and Mazzetti to publish these stories when they are fresh. Alternatively, the “newspaper of record” might at least report the findings of the likes of… Continue reading

In Congress We Trust…Not

The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the
heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its
own members – such as both Hastert and Harman – in matters of espionage and
national security

Guest Editorial by Sibel Edmonds
May 4, 2009
Exclusive to The BRAD BLOG

I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently
expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient
Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending
my thoughts – that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece
I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a
living current senator, John Kerry: “It’s a sad day when you have members of
Congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No
wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken.”

The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is ‘badly’ broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results highlight how the American people’s trust in their Congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our Congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place – without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out… Continue reading

Two Days Before 9/11, Military Exercise Simulated Suicide Hijacking Targeting New York

by History Commons Groups
June 16, 2009
hcgroups.wordpress.com

The US military conducted a training exercise in the five days before the September 11 attacks that included simulated aircraft hijackings by terrorists, according to a 9/11 Commission document recently found in the US National Archives. In one of the scenarios, implemented on September 9, terrorists hijacked a London to New York flight, planning to blow it up with explosives over New York.

The undated document, entitled “NORAD EXERCISES Hijack Summary,” was part of a series of 9/11 Commission records moved to the National Archives at the start of the year. It was found there, and posted to the History Commons site at Scribd, by History Commons contributor paxvector, in the files of the commission’s Team 8, which focused on the failed emergency response on the day of the attacks. The summary appears to have been drafted by one of the commission’s staffers, possibly Miles Kara, based on documents submitted by NORAD.

99 hijacking cut

An excerpt from page 4 of the NORAD EXERCISES document.

In the September 9 scenario, the fictitious terrorists’ goal seems to have been to kill New Yorkers with the rain of debris following the plane’s explosion. However, in the exercise, the military intercepted the plane and forced it away from the city. When the terrorists realized they were not near New York, they blew the plane up “over land near the divert location,” leaving no survivors. The military unit most involved in this scenario was NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense… Continue reading

Remember Those Saudi Flights After 9/11?

by Jon Gold
July 11, 2009
The YBBS

A long time ago, I spent some time looking into the flights that took members of the Saudi Royals, as well as members of the Bin Laden family out of the country in the days, and weeks after 9/11. Here is what I found.

According to Richard Clarke during his testimony (yea, yea, call me lazy for linking to Michael Moore’s site) at both the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the 9/11 Commission Hearings, he stated the following:

“Now, what I recall is that I asked for flight manifests of everyone on board and all of those names need to be directly and individually vetted by the FBI before they were allowed to leave the country. And I also wanted the FBI to sign off even on the concept of Saudis being allowed to leave the country. And as I recall, all of that was done. It is true that members of the Bin Laden family were among those who left. We knew that at the time. I can’t say much more in open session, but it was a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House.” Testimony of Richard Clarke, Former Counterterrorism Chief, National Security Council, before The Senate Judiciary Committee, September 3, 2003.


“I was making or coordinating a lot of decisions on 9/11 and the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to… Continue reading

The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War

by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
Global Research

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”  Dwight David Eisenhower, “Military-Industrial Complex Speech,” 1961, 1

My observation is that the impact of national elections on the business climate for SAIC has been minimal. The emphasis on where federal spending occurs usually shifts, but total federal spending never decreases. SAIC has always continued to grow despite changes in the political leadership in Washington.” Former SAIC manager, quoted in Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, “Washington”s $8 Billion Shadow.” Vanity Fair, March 2007 2

“We make American military doctrine” Ed Soyster, MPRI 3

The Myth of the Grand Chessboard: Geopolitics and Imperial Folie de Grandeur

In The Road to 9/11 I summarized the dialectic of open societies: how from their energy they expand, leading to a higher level of more secretive corporations and agencies, which eventually weaken the home country through needless and crushing wars. 4 I am not alone in seeing America in the final stages of this… Continue reading

The BRAD BLOG : Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds

The BRAD BLOG : Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds ‘Outs’ Video-taped, ‘Blackmailed’ Dem Congresswoman; Alleges State Dept. Mole at NYTimes; MUCH MORE…

‘American Conservative’ mag’s description of interview with previously-gagged FBI whistleblower as ‘explosive’ may prove to be a gross understatement

Blackmail, bribery, infiltration, theft and sale of nuke secrets by Turkey,
Israel explained in clearer detail than ever before…

It seems it may be difficult to not notice it, given that Edmonds finally names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman she has previously described as married with grown children and having been “hooked” into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent, as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.

Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI’s counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some… Continue reading

Carlyle, Kissinger, SAIC and Halliburton: A 9/11 Convergence

Kevin Ryan

Careful investigation leads one to notice that a number of intriguing groups of people and organizations converged on the events of September 11th, 2001. An example is the group of men who were members of Cornell University’s Quill & Dagger society. This included Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Advisors Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley, Marsh & McLennan executive Stephen Friedman, and the founder of Kroll Associates, Jules Kroll. Another interconnected group of organizations is linked to these Cornell comrades, and is even more interesting in terms of its members being integral to the events of 9/11, and having benefited from those events.

After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (WTC), a company called Stratesec (or Securacom) was responsible for the overall integration of the new security system designed by Kroll Associates. Stratesec had a small board of directors that included retired Air Force General James Abrahamson, Marvin Bush (the brother of George W. Bush) and Wirt Walker III, a cousin of the Bush brothers. Other directors included Charles Archer, former Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and Yousef Saud Al Sabah, a member of the Kuwaiti royal family.[1]

Yousef Saud Al Sabah was also chairman of the Kuwait-American Corporation (KuwAm), which between 1993 and 1999 held a controlling share of Stratesec. The other owners of Stratesec were Walker and an entity controlled by Walker and Al Sabah, called Special Situation Investment Holdings (SSIH).[2] SSIH was said to form a group with… Continue reading

Russ Baker, ‘Family of Secrets’ Author on Boiling Frogs Podcast

Thursday, 17. December 2009
Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs

Podcast Show #16

The Boiling Frogs Presents Russ Baker

BFP Podcast Logo
Russ Baker discusses his book, Family of Secrets, the first complete historic portrait of the Bush dynasty, and provides us with an overview of how this dynasty shaped our politics. He tells us about the shadow government in the US, the real players, elites, and power centers within each president’s government, and the limitation on what and how much an American president can accomplish — considering the influence of these powerful and independent fiefdoms characterized by entrenched agendas and constant intrigue. Mr. Baker defines and explains the concept of Forensic Journalism, and talks about his nonprofit news organization WhoWhatWhy, the need for nonpartisan and independent journalism today, the current media landscape in the US, and more.

Photo of Russ Baker Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of Family of Secrets — the Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. He has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Village Voice and Esquire. He has served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, and is the founder of WhoWhatWhy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

Here is our guest Russ Baker unplugged!

Russ Baker on Boiling Frogs

FBI Documents Support Explosive Claims by Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds

BoilingFrogsPost.com (Sibel Edmonds’ Blog)

FOIA Collage
Recently released FBI documents prove the existence of highly sensitive National Security and criminal investigations of “Turkish Activities” in Chicago prior to September 11, 2001. These documents add further support to many of the allegations that former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has claimed, in public and in Congress, since 2002. The documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into an organization called the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (TACA), an organization repeatedly named by Ms. Edmonds as being complicit in the crimes that she became aware of when she was a translator at the FBI.

The documents released under FOIA are almost completely redacted, but they do support many of Edmonds’ claims, including:

There were a number of very serious FBI investigations into “Turkish activity in Chicago” involving a number of targets, including TACA

These investigations were related to “National Security” among other things.

These investigations were regarded as so sensitive that no files were to be uploaded to FBI’s computer system.

Congressional corruption was involved.

The FBI repeatedly conducted actual “physical surveillance” against Turkish and American targets.

Some of these investigations were shut down in 2001.

The documents comprise primarily of internal FBI ECs (Electronic Communications) between FBI offices. Most of the ECs are titled “Turkish American Cultural Association” although one from Feb 2000 is titled “Turkish Investigations in Chicago” which indicates that there were at least seven different pending investigations into Turkish activity in Chicago, and another later document from July 2001 indicates that there were at least ten investigations into TACA alone.…

Continue reading

The Kingdom and the Towers

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.

TROUBLING LINKS From left: King Abdullah, Prince Naif, Osama bin Laden, Prince Bandar, and Prince Turki–Saudis all, as were 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. Large photograph by Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris; bottom, from left, by Ludovic/REA/Redux, by Li Zhen/Xinhua/Landov, from Getty Images, by Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images, by Hasan Jamali/A.P. Images.

 

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

Hacking the Saudis

by Kristen
Breitweiser
, 9/11 Widow and Activist
July 16, 2011
The
Huffington Post

Breathlessly, six members of Congress have requested that the FBI investigate the “outrageous” allegations that News Corp might have hacked into the cell phones of 9/11 victims and their families. Lickety split, the Justice Department has done so.

First off, does it surprise me that a corporation like News Corp. might try to hack into the information of private citizens for their own financial gain? Nope.

Much like it wouldn’t surprise me if my own government hacked into the private information of its citizens for political gain or… er, I mean, “reasons of national security.” Just ask Dick Cheney and Karl Rove about that.

Of course, any such “accidental netting” on their part would be immediately explained away under the protections of FISA and the Patriot Act, because clearly it would have been necessary “in the ongoing fight against terrorism.”

Too bad, Congress doesn’t want to investigate those types of indiscretions. Sigh.

But truly, I am awestruck when people like Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the House Committee for Homeland Security is so quickly moved to demand an investigation into such vague, seemingly hollow allegations as someone hacking into the cell phones of people like me.

Is this the same Congressman King who when faced with actual hard, incontrovertible facts and figures regarding the vulnerabilities posed by dangerous chemical and water plants across the country remains disinterested? And, I might add firmly on the side of… Continue reading

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