The CIA in Kuwait: Parallels to a 9/11 Suspect

As discussed in my book, Another Nineteen, there are good reasons to believe that some 9/11 suspects were involved in previous deep state operations. For example, evidence suggests that Stratesec manager Barry McDaniel and Carlyle Group director Frank Carlucci might have participated in the Iran-Contra crimes. There are also interesting links between several 9/11 suspects and Ted Shackley, a leader of the “CIA within the CIA.” Shackley was close friends with Frank Carlucci and had a long, close relationship with Richard Armitage, whose State department provided express visas to the alleged hijackers. Additionally, Porter Goss, who led the initial cover-up of the 9/11 crimes, had worked with Shackley in several CIA operations.

Perhaps the most interesting historical link between Shackley and 9/11 is that Shackley’s activities in Kuwait paralleled those of Wirt Walker, the KuwAm Corporation director. KuwAm was the parent company of Stratesec, the security company for several 9/11 facilities. As I’ve written before, these companies appeared to be part of a private intelligence network.

shackleyShackley had a long career in covert CIA operations and was the agency’s Associate Deputy Director of Operations from 1976 to 1977. Described by former CIA Director Richard Helms as “a quadruple threat – Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder,” Shackley was a central character in many off-the-books operations. He was a leader of the CIA’s anti-Castro plan Operation Mongoose, its secret war in Laos, and the overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile.

Although Walker is officially only the son of a CIA man, his past has much in common with that of Shackley. In the 1980s, both men were strongly linked to the Bush family network, to Kuwait, and to aviation. They both ran security companies as well. Walker became close to the Kuwaitis at the same time as their government was working closely with Shackley and another CIA operative. Moreover, the people pulling the strings from the Kuwaiti side in those relationships were close relatives of KuwAm chairman Mish’al Al-Sabah.

Read more at Washington’s Blog.

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The Holocaust, Mind Control, and 9/11

Over the years, one of the most mindless techniques used to suppress questioning of 9/11 has been to equate such questions with Holocaust denial. This smear tactic has been used by propagandists like Glenn Beck, Michael Shermer, and Rachel Maddow, as well as by government representatives like Michael Chertoff. Recently I’ve thought about how absurd such diversionary claims are while at the same time recognizing that I have met some incredible people over the past decade. Two of those people led lives that were Holocaust-related and, for different reasons, their story should be better known.

During the time that I worked for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), I lived next door to an extraordinary woman. Sherry Moses was a widow who lived alone except for occasional visits from her children. She was unafraid, despite having suffered more than anyone I had ever met. I knew of her past suffering because she showed me her tattoo and told me how all of her family was killed at Auschwitz. Sherry was only a child when she was sent there.

In one of the interviews she had with the local newspaper, Sherry told her story of being shipped to Auschwitz on a cattle train, being hungry all the time, and watching others die.[1] She was actually walking in line behind her parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters, as they were led to the crematorium. Because of the specific number tattooed on her arm, she was spared along with a few, younger girls. She never really knew why.

When we were next-door neighbors, my wife and I found Sherry to be a charming and principled woman with a great sense of humor. When I raked her lawn or shoveled her sidewalk, she insisted on paying me something for the job. When she locked herself out of the house, I told her to ask the butler to open the door.  Without missing a beat, she said that she had given him the day off. Sherry told my wife that she thought I would do something great some day.

Sherry died exactly six years after I was fired by UL for attempting to shed light on the origins of another mass slaughter—the U.S.-led War of Terror. When I first spoke out about 9/11 the mainstream media was ignoring any such questioning, but six years later they had begun claiming that anyone like me must be a Holocaust denier.

holocaustTo the contrary, I’m a Holocaust believer. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the people behind the Holocaust were connected to the people who committed the crimes of 9/11. After all, the FBI has recently revealed documents that suggest that Adolf Hitler might not have died in 1945 but, instead, was hidden in Argentina until his death in 1965. It’s common knowledge that thousands of Nazis, many considered war criminals, were sheltered in Argentina and other South American countries.

Given that the Nazis were big fans of “The Big Lie” and that the crimes of 9/11 appear to be just such a lie (with FBI leadership suspected of being involved), it’s not too wild a notion that Hitler and his legacy survived. Moreover, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) used Nazi war criminals for intelligence operations after the war and the OSS assisted such war criminals in evading capture and prosecution. In a few cases, the OSS actually facilitated their immigration and assimilation in the United States. Therefore, people like Allen Dulles and William Casey, both high-level OSS officers and later CIA directors, provide strong links between the assimilation of Nazis and the U.S. deep state that is suspected of involvement in the 9/11 crimes.

This leads me to the second person I know who was related to the Holocaust, although less so. A former Nazi soldier actually contacted me in late 2012. This was Ernst Rodin, who over the past few years has developed an interest in groups seeking the truth about 9/11. He wrote asking if I would consider speaking at a conference that he was organizing on the subject.

If Rodin is known among 9/11 truth advocates at all it is because he attended The Vancouver Hearings in 2012. He was called both a participant and merely an attendee in that dubious affair, and was said to have had dinner with the organizers. Referred to as a retired psychologist in reviews of the event, Rodin went on to write about it extensively at his blog. It was shortly thereafter that Rodin decided to reach out to me and others in an attempt to organize another such conference. After looking into his background, which is far more interesting than that of any retired psychologist, I declined.

According to his autobiography, War & Mayhem, Rodin was a member of the Hitler Youth for four years and a soldier in the Nazi Wehrmacht for two. His war experiences included killing another soldier who turned out to be an ally and being mysteriously saved before the Russians overran his unit’s position and, presumably, killed everyone else.

Rodin went on to become a medical doctor specializing in neurology and he relocated from Vienna to the U.S. where he has led a full life. More interesting is that, in the U.S., he became a leading mind control experimentalist and a CIA asset. In fact, the late journalist Alexander Cockburn described Rodin as a “Dr. Stangelove” type and a mentor of the CIA mind control scientist, Lewis West. In a message to me, Rodin denied that he ever tutored West but he did acknowledge having been a CIA asset and he believed that the CIA still wanted something from him.

It is certain that Rodin has a history of conducting unusual experiments on humans.  Rodin used human subjects for many tests involving substances like LSD, marijuana, alcohol, PCP, and Metrazol. His experiments were focused on behavioral modification objectives similar to those of MK-Ultra, the CIA mind control project. MK-ULTRA started in 1953 just after Rodin came to the U.S. and at the same time that he began working with the CIA. The project was a successor program to the experiments run by Nazi scientists who had been brought to the U.S. for Operation Paperclip. MK-ULTRA combined the use of drugs, like those in Rodin’s experiments, with hypnosis in attempts to achieve behavioral modifications that existed for longer periods without the subject’s awareness.

Rodin was also at the center of a couple of famous legal cases related to mental health. Once he was sued because he almost convinced the Michigan Board of Health to let him implant electrodes in the brain of a violent inmate. Another doctor in Detroit at the time said that “state mental hospitals are similar to Nazi concentration camps in how they suppress and humiliate their involuntary inmates.” This was big news, as was Rodin’s call for castration of rioting black men in Detroit (a quote he denies). Rodin was further quoted saying it was time to “get down to cold-blooded medical research dealing with individuals rather than masses.”

Perhaps Rodin’s most famous patient was John Hinckley, Jr. If his March, 1981 attempt to assassinate President Reagan had been successful, Hinckley would have made George H.W. Bush the president for up to 12 years. Coincidentally, Hinckley’s brother had a dinner date scheduled with Neil Bush for the next day. Rodin was one of the psychiatrists who examined Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

After presumably retiring from his mind-control science work, Rodin went on to write a great deal about Zionism and the problems of Jewish history. It seems odd that a former Nazi soldier would find it acceptable to live out his days in the U.S. writing about such things. But it is also interesting that such a person would attempt to insert himself among 9/11 truth advocates as a potential conference organizer. If such a conference did occur, the propagandists would have some material to work with. They would undoubtedly focus on the Nazi organizer angle while ignoring questions about why a CIA-linked mind-control scientist was so eager to get involved.

Anyway, Sherry Moses hoped that we would learn from World War II and the Holocaust. Unfortunately, due to organizations like the OSS, the CIA, and the propaganda machines of the 21st century, it seems that we are doomed to repeat some of the same mistakes. The people of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and those who have been indefinitely held and tortured in our War of Terror, would probably agree. Our best hope remains the chance that we will expose the Big Lie of 9/11 and learn from the deceptions behind it.

[1] May Lee Johnson, Auschwitz survivor a ‘walking miracle’: Survivor hopes to keep memory of prison alive, South Bend Tribune, January 30, 2005

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The 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry and 28 Missing Pages

When the report of Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was released in December 2002, it was met with considerable skepticism. That skepticism grew for a period of time but then was reduced to speculation about what was contained in the 28 pages that had been redacted by the Bush White House. Various U.S. government leaders have since suggested that the missing 28 pages point to Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 crimes. However such musings fail to discuss other important issues, like the links between the Saudi regime and the Western deep state, or the fact that, from the start, even the Saudis were calling for the 28 pages to be released. Discussion of the missing 28 pages also omits mention of the highly suspicious nature of the Inquiry’s investigation and its leaders.

GanG2The leaders of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry were Congressman Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed-up the House and Senate intelligence committees at the time. Due to Goss and Graham’s activities before 9/11 and on that day, as well as their representation of the state of Florida, their leadership of the Inquiry presented a remarkable number of questions.

For example, Goss and Graham were meeting with Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed just as the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The ISI had also been intimately linked with the terrorist network previously run by the CIA’s partner—the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Added to these coincidences was the fact that Goss and Graham had just returned from a trip to Pakistan in which they had specifically discussed Osama bin Laden, who was a topic of discussion at their 9/11 breakfast meeting as well.

It seems to be an unusual coincidence that the leader of the Pakistani ISI would be present as al Qaeda’s historic attack was taking place. Ahmed’s meeting with Goss and Graham is also notable in light of Goss’ history as a veteran CIA operative, a member of a secret assassination squad, and someone who was trained to recruit and run foreign operatives. It is also remarkable that Goss’ home district was the primary base for several of the alleged 9/11 hijackers.

In fact, much of the evidence that established the official account about the accused men came from Florida. Twelve of them were said to have opened bank accounts in the state, primarily through one institution—SunTrust Bank. Deposits made to these accounts often came from a country that the Inquiry seemed to be protecting—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which owned the BCCI infrastructure.

In the years since the Inquiry, Graham has claimed that there is compelling evidence that one or more foreign governments facilitated the terrorists in some way. And although he continues to call for release of the redacted 28 pages, Graham now focuses his comments primarily on the Saudi link, which is named in the subtitle of his book on the subject. Others like Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism lead who is personally close to the UAE royal family, have joined Graham in making these accusations. Yet these men ignore the Saudi connections to other aspects of 9/11 and U.S. leaders, as well as the links to the UAE, Kuwait, and Pakistan’s ISI.

In response to questions about the Inquiry report, Goss was less committed. He said “I can tell you right now that I don’t know exactly how the plot was hatched. I don’t know the where, the when and the why and the who in every instance. That’s after two years of trying. And we will someday have the documents to exploit, we will have the people to interrogate, we will have ways to get more information to put the rest of the pieces of this puzzle on the table. But right now, we don’t have it.”

Therefore it seems that we all agree it would be good to release the missing 28 pages. But it would also be very good for the public to consider the history of the Joint Inquiry and its leaders.

CIA Operative Goss and His Political Benefactor, Graham

Porter Goss joined the CIA in 1961 when he was a student at Yale. It has been reported that Goss was one of the hundreds of CIA officers employed in Operation Mongoose, the covert U.S. project to displace Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Goss later acknowledged that he had recruited and run foreign agents and he said that he would be uncomfortable traveling to Cuba. Over the next decade, Goss worked for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations as a covert operative in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Western Europe.

In his book, Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker published a photograph that he had received from the wife of CIA operative and drug-trafficker Barry Seal. Hopsicker claimed that the picture was taken at a nightclub in Mexico City in 1963 and that it included members of a team called Operation 40. One of the men was Porter Goss.

Operation 40 was a CIA-sponsored team accused of conducting assassinations. According to a senior member of the Cuban security apparatus, it was funded by an “important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen.” Frank Sturgis, one of the “plumbers” who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in 1972, later admitted to having been part of Operation 40. Other infamous CIA operatives who belonged to the group were Thomas Clines and Ted Shackley.

After leaving the CIA (assuming that is possible) Goss began his political career thanks to a favor granted by the man who would later help him lead the 9/11 Joint Inquiry. Goss was appointed by then-Florida Governor Bob Graham, to fill a Democrat vacancy as commissioner of Lee County. Why Graham appointed Goss, a Republican, for the normally partisan post is unclear. But remember that Goss was not just a Republican he was a CIA assassin who admitted to having recruited and run foreign agents.

Goss went on to represent regions of Florida where the alleged 9/11hijackers trained. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1988, as a Republican representative from the 13th district. The 13th district included Venice, the home of Huffman Aviation where several of the alleged hijackers trained. After the district was re-zoned, Goss became the representative from district 14, where he was re-elected four times. In the few years prior to 9/11, the alleged terrorists used Goss’ district, in Charlotte County, as one of their main bases of operations.

The area that Goss represented was also known for a long history of CIA-linked drug running. Three weeks after Mohamed Atta showed up at Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner, Wally Hilliard, had his Learjet seized when it was carrying 43 lbs of heroin. Rudi Dekkers, the man Wally Hilliard hired to run Huffman Aviation, was arrested for drug trafficking in 2012.

These links between the alleged hijackers and a drug trafficking flight school are not surprising given the history of the area. Covert drug operations in that area went back at least 60 years. The tiny Venice Airport, where the alleged hijackers trained, originated as the Venice Army Airfield and was the home of the operatives who worked for General Claire Chennault. Civil Air Transport, the successor to Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the world’s largest heroin-trafficking operation at the time, transported the drugs that funded the early covert operations of the CIA and those airmen worked closely with organized crime while doing so.

In American War Machine, Peter Dale Scott described how many covert U.S. operations since World War II have been intimately connected with, even dependent on, illicit drug trafficking. From Mexico to Laos and Vietnam, and more recently in Afghanistan, a  “shadow CIA” has worked with organized crime figures and banking networks like BCCI to use drug money to undermine democracy.

In 1996, Goss became chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In this role, Goss oversaw the inquiry into the drug and gun trafficking that supported the Nicaraguan Contras. That scandal had been exposed a decade earlier but Goss led the cover-up of the CIA’s involvement and the evidence that Vice President Bush had been involved.

In 1999, FBI informant Randy Glass gained some interesting information from Pakistani ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas. As Glass, Abbas, and two others were having dinner in a New York City restaurant surrounded by undercover FBI agents, Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” Abbas later made two other references to an attack on the WTC. Glass sent this information to Senator Graham in August 2001. It is not clear whether Graham did anything with it but he certainly isn’t saying anything about it today.

Shortly after 9/11, people were beginning to question what the Bush Administration might have known about a potential al Qaeda hijacking plot. Goss shouted down the accusations. “The only thing that this uproar does is give aid and comfort to the enemy and I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to give aid and comfort to the terrorists,” he said.

The Joint Congressional Inquiry

In the months following 9/11, both Goss and Graham rejected calls for an investigation. The Senate voted for one anyway, however, and that led both Bush and Cheney to attempt to stop it or limit its scope. Apparently the best they could do was to make sure that Goss and Graham were put in charge. That seemed to work as the Inquiry began in February 2002, more than five months after the attacks, and the approach taken was one of uncritical deference to the Bush Administration and the intelligence community.

Goss immediately made it clear that the Inquiry would not be looking for guilt or accountability with regard to 9/11. Saying he was “looking for solutions, not scapegoats,” Goss continued to defend the White House with regard to warnings the president had received about an impending attack, saying it was “a lot of nonsense.”

The FBI did not cooperate but that didn’t seem to bother Goss and Graham. One glaring example of this was that the Bureau would not allow Inquiry staff to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant that two of the alleged hijackers had lived with in San Diego. The FBI also refused to serve a deposition notice and subpoena on Shaikh, despite knowing where he was. Not only that, although the Joint Inquiry agreed to serve written interrogatories on the him, and the FBI had agreed to that plan, Shaikh’s lawyer later said that his client would not respond to the interrogatories. The attorney also warned that, if subpoenaed, Shaikh would be unwilling to testify unless he was granted immunity.

According to the final report from the Joint Inquiry, when interviewed by the FBI Shaikh gave inaccurate information and had an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, some FBI agents believed that Shaikh had knowledge not only of the two alleged hijackers with whom he lived, but also of alleged pilot Hani Hanjour.

The Joint Inquiry’s passive response to Shaikh’s lack of cooperation was astonishing. It cannot be reconciled with the approach taken with other persons of interest. This informant clearly had more information and stronger links to the alleged hijackers than almost anyone. Yet the FBI was intent on protecting him and the Joint Inquiry allowed that protection.

The public must wonder why authorities did not simply arrest and torture this man as they did so many others. How can the preferential treatment of Shaikh, someone who obviously knew something about al Qaeda operatives, be reconciled with the treatment of other “persons of interest”? Shaikh was handled as if he was too important to be troubled, whereas people like Abu Zubaydah, who turned out to not have any connection to al Qaeda, were tortured repeatedly.

The Saudi who brought the two alleged hijackers to San Diego to live with Shaikh was Omar Al-Bayoumi. The subject of an FBI investigation three years before 9/11, Al-Bayoumi appeared to be a Saudi intelligence agent. After 9/11, he was allowed to leave the country without being questioned as part of the investigation.

In November 2002, an FBI official sent a letter to Graham and Goss saying, “the Administration would not sanction a staff interview with [Abdussattar Shaikh], nor did the Administration agree to allow the FBI to serve a subpoena or a notice of deposition on [him].” The letter caused Graham to comment, “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time: the White House was directing the cover-up.”

However, that was not the only important issue on which the Joint Inquiry rolled over. For example, the Inquiry could not convince CIA director (DCI) George Tenet to be interviewed, and it accepted the restriction that operational cables and certain other documents could not be viewed other than at CIA headquarters. Further restrictions included that no copies could be made. Clearly, protecting the CIA’s secrets was more important than the safety of potential victims of terrorism.

As with the CIA, the FBI would not allow the Joint Inquiry to take notes on or make copies of documents deemed sensitive by the Bureau. This restricted the Inquiry’s ability to complete its charter, which was very limited to begin with. Yet the Inquiry did not complain. It has since been revealed that the FBI had an asset in direct contact with Osama bin Laden for the eight years leading up to 9/11. Too bad that didn’t get revealed in 2002 but it’s interesting that Graham is not calling attention to it now.

It was claimed by insiders that Goss and Graham exercised “near total control over the panel, forbidding the inquiry’s staff to speak to other lawmakers.” Other members of the Inquiry complained that the two co-chairmen withheld information and controlled the process. One way in which Graham and Goss controlled the investigation was to ask the FBI to look into panel members who might have leaked information. This resulted in the FBI investigating the Inquiry as the Inquiry was investigating the FBI.

Years later, Graham claimed that the White House had disrupted the Inquiry’s work. He said, “Looking back at it, I think we were clearly set up by Dick Cheney and the White House. They wanted to shut us down. And they wanted to shut down a legitimate Congressional inquiry that might raise questions in part about whether their own people had aggressively pursued al-Qaeda in the days prior to the September 11 attacks. The vice president attempted to manipulate the situation, and he attempted to manipulate us. But if his goal was to get us to back off, he was unsuccessful.” According to Graham, Goss was of the same opinion.

Goss agreed that he and Graham were of like mind, even to the point of saying they were “like Frick and Frack” at the time of the inquiry. But the idea that Goss felt obstructed by the White House does not make sense in view of Goss’ own actions.

For one thing, as a congressman Goss had been, and would continue to be, essentially a Bush Administration cheerleader. Additionally, there was no evidence that Goss was in any way interested in achieving truth or justice with regard to the crimes of 9/11. An example was that the CIA’s Inspector General report on 9/11 originally called for accountability with respect to certain individuals including DCI Tenet. In 2004, DCI Goss changed that wording to call for “accountability boards” to be formed at a later date. Then in 2005, when the revised report came out, Goss removed the accountability boards altogether.

The Inquiry protected not only the CIA and FBI, however. The Inquiry’s report also concealed the possible involvement of the United Arab Emirates. The report noted the FBI claim that “the operational planning for the September 11th attacks took place in overseas locations, most notably Germany, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.” This is remarkable in that the report went on to make detailed comments in subsequent sections on Malaysia and Germany, but, tellingly, ignored the UAE entirely.

A similar example was the Joint Inquiry’s treatment of the ease with which the alleged hijackers received their travel visas. After noting that special treatment was given to visa applicants from two countries, the report asked why, considering that the “pervasiveness in Saudi Arabia of Wahhabism, a radical, anti-American variant of Islam, was well known before 9/11.” Saudi Arabia was singled out, but the same tough questions were not asked of the second country, the UAE. Neither Richard Armitage (who had helped arm and train the Mujahideen) nor his subordinate, former Sears World Trade executive Grant Green, were examined at all—despite having overseen the Bureau of Consular Affairs which issued the visas.

What Are They Leaving Out?

Bob Graham’s book, Intelligence Matters: ‪The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror, refers to Saudi Arabia over 100 times. But it mentions the UAE only in reference to one of the hijackers who came from that country.

Is the preferential treatment of the UAE a result of the close relationship that Richard Clarke had with its leaders? More specifically, was Clarke’s relationship merely a result of the fact that the UAE owned BCCI and therefore was able to finance and conduct CIA-like covert operations as part of a private or officially sanctioned network? In other words, was 9/11 a CIA-like operation conducted with the help of countries that the Joint Inquiry failed to criticize—Pakistan and the UAE?

These shortcomings should lead investigators to review where the evidence against the accused terrorists originated. Most of that evidence was delivered by the FBI and the CIA but it often originated in the UAE and in Florida. The UAE was the source of much of the alleged funding of the alleged hijackers. And evidence concerning the travel of the accused was traced back to the UAE, with all but three of the 19 alleged hijackers having traveled through the UAE on their way to the United States.

The facts call into question the apparent goodwill of Bob Graham who was, along with Goss, a “Frick and Frack” lapdog for the cover-up led by the Bush White House and the U.S. intelligence agencies. What were they hiding—the glaring links to Saudi Arabia? That seems like a very convenient limited hangout considering that long-term control of Saudi Arabian oil is an absolute necessity for maintaining the U.S. economy.

A year after release of the Joint Inquiry’s report, an amendment was introduced to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for 2004. That amendment called for release of the redacted 28 pages and it implied that Saudi Arabia was the only missing piece of the 9/11 puzzle. The amendment was killed by a claim that it was not germane to the foreign appropriations bill. But the idea that Saudi Arabia was the only foreign power involved in the 9/11 operation was firmly implanted in the American psyche.

What’s different today? Saudi Arabia certainly does have strong connections to 9/11, and in many more ways than Graham will admit. But discussion of the financing and management of the alleged hijackers is only the tip of the iceberg and, even within that limited context, the work of the Joint Inquiry has diverted attention away from many of the facts. Let’s hope that, twelve years later, Americans have become a little more educated about 9/11 and the cover-up investigations into those crimes.

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The Path to a World Beyond War

Everyone says that they hate war, and most people really do, yet war has always been a part of human life. Nearly all societies throughout history have engaged in some form of warfare. And for as long as there has been war there have been good people trying to end it. Unfortunately, despite minor successes lasting peace has been a dream that has been impossible to realize. That dream has not died, however, and people continue the fight to end all war. A recent example is the new campaign called World Beyond War (WBW).

At the WBW website, the organizers call for new ideas and ask for feedback on the strategies outlined there. The group’s approach to ending war calls for “defeating the propaganda of war promoters and countering the economic interests of war promoters with alternative economic possibilities.” Furthermore, WBW stresses the need for “a combination of disarmament and investment alternatives.” This means that nations must disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements.

How to accomplish such things is the problem. The disarmament ideas would require governments to dramatically change course but the governments are often led by the war promoters. Changing the governments in any substantial way would necessitate a dramatic change in the mindset of most citizens. Similarly, although there are theoretical ways to counter the economic interests of war promoters, such as coordinating the purchasing and tax-paying decisions of citizens en masse, organizing for it would require unprecedented changes in public opinion. The arguments of the past won’t make that happen.

Like many others, I believe that unprecedented changes in public opinion can be achieved by taking a more courageous and committed approach to one of WBW’s key objectives. That objective is to “communicate the facts about war and discard the myths.” It takes courage to really examine the facts and myths about how wars begin and how they are maintained because most of us—even people who see themselves as peace activists—play a part in that process.

How do wars start, for what reasons, and by what mechanisms? To answer these important questions it might help to begin by dispelling several powerful myths about the origins of war.

Wars are often mistakenly seen as disputes based primarily on the differences between religions. But a closer examination of individual conflicts shows that this is not true. Sometimes differences in religion are emphasized by war promoters as a means of dividing the people and pitting them against each other. But war is not ever fundamentally about religion. The Arab-Israeli conflict, for example, began as a political and nationalist land grab following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Only later did various arguments about who might be God’s “chosen people” play a part. Similarly, the 350-year long conflict in Ireland never had much to do with the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Although Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, he was sent purely for the purpose of seizing the land.

War is also not about vengeance. It’s true that some people have been known to spend years seeking vengeance in small-scale acts of violence. The Apache chief Geronimo is an example as described in his memoirs. He spent decades killing Mexicans in guerrilla raids because of the murder of his wife and children in a place now called Arizona. But Geronimo and his small band of fighters ultimately fought, as did most Native Americans, simply to keep their land.

To be clear, war is not about religion or vengeance—it’s about the land and its resources.

The beginnings of every war can be traced back to efforts by a powerful few to control land and its strategic benefits. This fact is most easily seen in the wars that have been fought by the United States, the country that WBW hopes to focus on first. Whether it was for trade routes, or bases to establish military presence, or some other corporate access, all of the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been about securing strategic property.

War ButtonThe ability to start and perpetuate large-scale war depends on the ability of the few to manipulate the emotional state of the masses. An old saying is that “truth is the first casualty of war” but that is misleading. War is born of deception and is manufactured for the benefit of the wealthy few. It is supported by people who gain through the military-industrial complex, and it is sold to everyone else through more deception.

The lies used to start and maintain wars are based on manipulating the natural mechanisms by which individuals protect their self-image. The most common form of this trickery was described by the founder of the Nazi Gestapo, Hermann Göring, who said “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? [But] the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Göring and his cohorts used that very mechanism of deception to bring the Nazis to power in 1933 via the Reichstag Fire. The result was World War II and 60 million people dead. Since that time, the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been initiated through the same kinds of lies. The U.S. military was committed to the Vietnam War as a result of a false claim about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. And the 1991 Gulf War was started by way of false testimony from a Kuwaiti girl who claimed that Iraqi troops were killing babies. Dick Cheney then falsely claimed that satellite photos showed Iraqi troops massing at the Saudi border. The cooperation of the American public and the Saudis followed quickly thereafter.

How are wars started? By telling the people that they are being attacked and by inventing outrageous claims that demonize the intended enemy. You know, the terrorists are out to get us. They want to steal our freedoms. They are a dark people with inhuman culture and violent religion. We’ll never know where they will strike next.

Once started, wars are perpetuated through propaganda that manipulates the public’s sense of patriotism. Whoever doesn’t support the war is accused of not supporting the troops. Whoever reveals anything truthful about the situation is accused of putting the country at risk, or of being a conspiracy theorist.

By recognizing what is happening we can understand how to eliminate war. The first and most important step is the same as for solving any other challenge. It is to realize the problem. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception.” Therefore war can only be ended by realizing and managing the mechanisms by which we are deceived. How do we realize when mass-deception has occurred? We can understand it academically or by rationalizing but it is only a gut wrenching here-and-now realization that can move us to do anything about it. Emotions are what drive people to do something.

This leads directly to the war-ending idea that has been ignored by many peace activists for the last 13 years. It’s an idea that has been shared by many others, including over one third of the American public according to a 2006 Scripps Howard poll. We don’t know what happened on September 11, 2001 and many people understand that fact. But it is overwhelmingly clear to anyone who examines the evidence that the accused 19 young men could not have accomplished most of what happened. And it’s clear that the 9/11 events and government responses followed the pattern of a war-initiating deception.

Those facts lead people to a catastrophic and catalyzing realization. The crimes of 9/11 represent the greatest war-generating scam of our lifetime. What a great opportunity to begin solving the problem of war!  If we have the courage to re-evaluate our understanding of that seminal event, we might still have the chance to leverage the resulting emotional power to drive the changes needed.

We can defeat the propaganda of war promoters and counter their economic interests with peace-promoting initiatives like mass purchasing decisions and tax resistance. We can disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements. We can do all these things if we are all willing to recognize and overcome the ego-based deceptions behind war. To do so we need to face the problem fundamentally and get out of our comfort zones. The good news is that 9/11 provides a real opportunity to do that and we still have time.

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Getting Real About Richard Clarke

President Obama’s 2013 advisory panel on NSA spying included some interesting people considering that the justification for such crimes against democracy always go back to 9/11. One member was Cass Sunstein, who had previously advised the president to “cognitively infiltrate” citizen groups that sought the truth about 9/11. Another panel member was Richard Clarke, the former “counterterrorism czar,” whose opinions on the subject continue to be widely publicized despite suspicions that Clarke might have been in league with the 9/11 terrorists.

Clarke MaherIn one of several interviews with TV host Bill Maher, a supporter of NSA spying, Clarke suggested that Osama bin Laden was never worried about being caught before he was killed because he “thought he’d get tipped.” Clarke meant that Bin Laden was helped by retired intelligence officials and would be tipped off to any operation. In the same interview, Clarke told Maher that Afghanis were pathetic and that Pakistanis were “pathological liars.”

However, there are good reasons to believe that it is Clarke who is a pathological liar. Those reasons include that it was Clarke who tipped off Bin Laden’s friends in the years before 911, effectively preventing the capture or killing of that alleged terrorist mastermind. Clarke later promoted lies about a man called Abu Zubaydah, whose torture testimony is behind much of the 9/11 Commission Report.

People need to know more about Richard Clarke before taking any more of his comments at face value.  The following excerpts from my book Another Nineteen might make that point a little more obvious.

Not Just Another COG

Clarke began his government career in the Ford Administration. He worked as a defense department nuclear weapons analyst and shared a Pentagon office with Wayne Downing, who later became a leader of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Clarke went on to become President Reagan’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In that role, Clarke negotiated for a U.S. military presence in Arab countries including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

In 1984, Clarke was selected to take part in one of the most highly classified projects of the Reagan Administration. This was the secret Continuity of Government (COG) program run by the National Program Office that continued up to and after the attacks of September 11. Other than Clarke, the members of the COG group included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George H.W. Bush, Kenneth Duberstein, and James Woolsey. If not a formal member of the group, Oliver North reported to it and acted on its behalf. Although Cheney and Rumsfeld were not government employees throughout the twenty years that Clarke participated in this official government program, they both continued to participate.

COG was developed to install a shadow “government in waiting” to replace the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Constitution in the event of a national emergency like a nuclear war. In 1998, Clarke revised the COG plan for use as a response to a terrorist attack on American soil. The first and only time that COG was put into action was when Richard Clarke activated it during the 9/11 attacks. As of 2002, that shadow government continued to be in effect as an “indefinite precaution.”

George H.W. Bush had appointed Clarke to be his Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, under James Baker. Clarke was in that position until 1992. According to his book, Clarke remembers that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney specifically asked him to coordinate relations with the UAE. Over the following decade, Clarke negotiated many deals with the Emirates, essentially becoming an agent of the UAE, and he was particularly close to the UAE royal family.

Not long after Clarke began going there, the royal family of Abu Dhabi took over full ownership of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI is significant relative to 9/11 because it was involved in funding terrorists and was in partnership with the Pakistani intelligence network from which several alleged 9/11 conspirators came, including KSM. In fact, TIME magazine reported in September 1991 that, relative to BCCI, “You can’t draw a line separating the bank’s black operatives and Pakistan’s intelligence services.”

More importantly, authors Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin noted in their historic book False Profits that the CIA was involved in the founding of BCCI. The CIA connection to the origins of the BCCI terrorist network is revealing because the royal family of the UAE was also said to have played a primary role in the creation of BCCI. As the official U.S. government report on the subject pointed out, that there was no relationship more central to BCCI’s existence than that between BCCI and the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

Clarke’s friends in the UAE royal family not only created the BCCI terrorist network, they took it over when the Bank of England shut it down. Soon after, Bush named Clarke to the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and he became chairman of the Interagency Counterterrorism Committee. One might think that Richard Clarke’s close relationship to the royal family of the UAE, and this new role as the NSC head of counterterrorism, might have posed a slight conflict of interest. But no one seemed to notice.

Likewise, few have noticed that the attacks attributed to al Qaeda began just after the UAE gained full control of BCCI, when the first Bush Administration left office. It was in December of 1992 that al Qaeda is said to have first committed an act of terrorism by bombing U.S. troops in Yemen. Attacks and plots in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and many others places located near the production and transport routes of fossil fuels have been attributed to al Qaeda since that time.

Continuing as “counterterrorism czar” in the Clinton Administration, Clarke was not interested in pursuing the remnants of the BCCI terrorist network. Instead, he had a different approach to combating terrorism. In 1993, the United States began a practice known as “rendition.” Throughout the rest of the world, rendition is known as torture. The policy behind this program was proposed by Clarke, who worked to get “snatch teams” in place to kidnap suspects for torture. The success of Clarke’s rendition proposal led to the post-9/11 U.S. program of secret kidnappings and torture around the world.

In the summer of 1994, Clarke played a leading role in the international failure to intervene in the Rwandan genocide. People who worked to stop the slaughter before it happened cite Clarke as a heartless, malicious man who was “scandalously oblivious” to the evidence of the looming genocide. Although the U.S. could have taken many steps to prevent the tragedy, it did not due to Clarke’s “structurally empowered skepticism and stonewalling.” Instead, over a period of 100 days, approximately 800,000 people were killed.

In September 1994, high-ranking UAE and Saudi government ministers, such as Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al-Faisal, began frequent bird hunting expeditions in Afghanistan. It was reported that, “They would go out and see Osama, spend some time with him, talk with him, you know, live out in the tents, eat the simple food, engage in falconing, some other pursuits, ride horses.” Two members of the UAE royal family that participated in these trips were Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE.

As these UAE meetings with OBL occurred, Clarke’s relationship with the UAE royals blossomed. At the same time, he engaged in preparations for terrorist events on U.S. soil. In 1998, he chaired a tabletop exercise in which a Learjet filled with explosives would be flown on a suicide mission into a target in Washington, DC. At a conference in October 1998, Clarke predicted that America’s enemies “will go after our Achilles’ heel” which is “in Washington. It is in New York.”

Clarke updated the COG plans, in early 1998, so that they could be utilized in the event of a terrorist attack like the one that he predicted that year (and that occurred in 2001). National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who was later caught stealing documents that had been requested by the 9/11 Commission, was the one to suggest that Clinton create the new Counterterrorism Czar position that Clarke would fill at the time of his prediction. Berger was also the one to introduce Clarke’s COG partner, James Woolsey, to Clinton. Woolsey went on to become Clinton’s CIA director.

In early February 1999, Clarke met with Al-Maktoum, one of the UAE royals known to hunt with Bin Laden, in the UAE. Al-Maktoum was a big supporter of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And although people often forget, two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the UAE and the funding that supported the attacks flowed through the UAE, according to the official account.

Just a few months after Clarke’s UAE visit, in July 1999, the CIA claimed that Bin Laden had “been allowed to funnel money through the Dubai Islamic Bank in Dubai, which the United Arab Emirates Government effectively controls.” Apparently Bin Laden “had a relationship with the bank, which they believed had been arranged with the approval of the officials who control the bank.”

Bin Laden was not the only al Qaeda link to Clarke’s friends in the UAE. Reportedly, KSM was living in the city of Sharjah, UAE at the time of Clarke’s trip. Sharjah was reportedly a major center of al Qaeda activity then. The plot’s alleged money man Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi was also based in Sharjah. Saeed Sheikh, known as the 9/11 paymaster, was said to have established an al Qaeda base in the UAE while openly working with the Pakistani ISI. Some have suggested that Hawsawi and Sheikh were the same man.

Al-Maktoum, whom Clarke met with in 1999, later tried to take over the management of six major U.S. ports. George W. Bush lobbied on his behalf but the deal fell through.

The 9/11 Commission Report has six references to the UAE, most of which can be found on page 138. One of these suggests that “but for the cooperation of the UAE, we would have killed Bin Ladin two years in advance of September 11.”

Therefore it is difficult to understand why the leading authority on counterterrorism in the U.S. would be meeting, and maintaining close personal relationships, with the UAE friends of Bin Laden just two years before 9/11. This was three years after Bin Laden had first declared holy war against the United States, and one year after his more recent such proclamation.

Clarke’s Tips Helped Bin Laden And Misled Americans

It is far more difficult to understand why Clarke was personally behind the failure of two CIA attempts to kill or capture Bin Laden in 1999. The first of these occurred just a few days after Clarke’s visit to the UAE. The CIA obtained information that OBL was hunting with UAE royals in Afghanistan at the time, and President Clinton was asked for permission to attack the camp. According to author Steve Coll in his book Ghost Wars, Clarke voted down that plan and others within the U.S. government speculated that his ties to the UAE were behind his decision.

The next month, when the CIA had tracked Bin Laden’s location again and was prepared to take him out during another of the Afghanistan hunting trips, Clarke took it upon himself to alert his UAE friends about the CIA monitoring their meetings with Bin Laden. Of course, the UAE royals tipped off Bin Laden and the U.S. lost another opportunity to kill or capture its number one enemy. Considering that CIA plans are top secret national security priorities, and that OBL was wanted for the bombings in East Africa, Clarke’s action should have been seen as treason.

When questioned by Congressman Richard Burr as part of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, Clarke was evasive about his actions to protect his UAE friends and bin Laden. The fact that Clarke was allowed to testify without being under oath, in a special agreement in which his comments were considered only a “briefing,” was itself telling.

Regarding the second attempt that Clarke had foiled, Burr asked, “Did the CIA, in fact, brief you that the camp was an ideal situation, that they did have real time intelligence, that the collateral damage would be extremely limited, involving only the camp facility? And as a follow-up [to] my last question, Mr. Clarke, did, in fact, you call the royal family and inform them of the information we had about the intelligence of that camp and that exercise?” Clarke replied, “I think those facts are slightly wrong,” clarifying that the information the CIA had was not exactly real-time yet essentially admitting that he tipped off the UAE royals.

Somehow, Clarke’s two efforts to keep OBL from being captured or killed in 1999 slipped his mind when he testified to the 9/11 Commission. Apparently, those events were also not important enough to mention to Bill Maher when suggesting that Bin Laden relied on such tips from rogue, retired intelligence officials.

Whether he was protecting his UAE friends or not, Clarke failed to act on information about al Qaeda operatives living in the United States. After an al Qaeda “millennium plot” was said to be broken up in Jordan, Clarke authorized an investigation of one of the plotters, Khalil Deek, who lived in Anaheim, California for most of the 1990s. The investigative team reported to Clarke and the NSC directly in December, 1999, stating that Deek’s next door neighbor was operating an al Qaeda sleeper cell in Anaheim. No action was taken by Clarke or the NSC.

A few months later, in April 2000, Clarke was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that terrorists “will come after our weakness, our Achilles Heel, which is largely here in the United States.” Although this was a bold statement, it was unfortunate that Clarke did not have time to arrest the terrorists that he knew were living and plotting in the United States.

In late May 2001, Clarke wrote a memorandum to Condoleezza Rice and her assistant, Stephen Hadley. The title of the memo was “Stopping Abu Zubaydah’s Attacks.” Cited as part of the evidence that the “System was Blinking Red,” the 9/11 Commission said the memo claimed that Zubaydah was preparing to launch “a series of major terrorist attacks” and, when they occurred, “we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them.”

Clarke went on to write in his 2004 book Against All Enemies that Zubaydah, whose torture testimony presumably led to the capture of KSM and others, was one of “al Qaeda’s top operational managers.”

Apparently, all of those claims were false as the U.S. government said in 2009 that Zubaydah was never associated with al Qaeda in any way.  Clarke has not said a word about Zubaydah since that time.

Some might wonder why Clarke never thought of his good friends within the UAE royal family, who met with OBL regularly, as sources on al Qaeda. Surely people who met with OBL personally in the two years before 9/11, and were big supporters of al Qaeda like Clarke’s friend Al-Maktoum, might have had some information to provide. Another reason to suspect such knowledge is that, although only two of the alleged 9/11 terrorists were said to be citizens of the UAE, nearly all of the alleged hijackers arrived in the United States by traveling through the UAE.

These days Clarke works with his COG partner, former CIA Director James Woolsey, at Paladin Capital, which has offices in New York and the UAE. Clarke is also the chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, where he is in partnership with many people who are making a fortune off the War on Terror.  Good Harbor Consulting has an office in Abu Dhabi as well, and Clarke is known to have a “big footprint” in the UAE.

Meanwhile many Americans remain blissfully ignorant of real threats to civil rights and national security, like having terrorism suspects advise the president on protecting us from terrorism. But here’s some advice for the rest of us. Before we accept any more “Real Time” wisdom about terrorism and NSA spying from Bill Maher’s guests, maybe we should take a closer look at those guests, starting with Clarke and his colleagues.

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Greenwald Responds to Critics, Rejects Conspiracism

The story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has dominated the mainstream news for the last seven months. During that time, questions about Snowden and his disclosures have framed the national discussion about domestic surveillance. Those disclosures have not resulted in any changes to U.S. domestic surveillance practices to date. Instead, the U.S. Justice Department has re-certified the programs in question as Americans discuss media talking points like—Is Snowden a traitor or a hero? A growing number of people are looking behind that media-generated framework, however, and are beginning to wonder if the right questions are even being asked.

What we know about Edward Snowden is that he was a Special Forces recruit in the U.S. Army, an NSA employee, an NSA contractor for at least two different companies, and a CIA employee under cover. All of this occurred in a span of only a few years and he was able to command six-figure salaries despite having no education beyond a high school equivalency certification. Of the many positions he held in a period of approximately six years, the most long-lived appears to have been his work with the CIA where this 20-something spy was, in his own words, a “senior advisor.”

When asked about his background and motivations, Snowden said, “I’m just another guy.” He went on to say that his leaking of NSA secrets was what we needed to know, implying that it was all we needed to know, about NSA spying. “This is the truth… This is what’s happening,” he said. Oddly enough, Snowden was strongly against whistle blowing just a few years ago, writing that leakers “should be shot” before becoming one himself.

The remainder of the story has been presented in articles like those by The New York Times, which paint Snowden in an increasingly favorable light. The Times, which was called a mouthpiece for the Obama Administration by Glenn Greenwald, the reporter chosen by Snowden to reveal his story, has come out calling for clemency for Snowden.

However, the questions about the evolving Snowden story have grown rapidly and continue to present challenges to citizens who are alert to the prevalence of corporate media propaganda. How many stolen documents are there and who has access to them? Why have only a tiny fraction of the documents been released seven months after they were first disclosed by Snowden? Why has Glenn Greenwald made a deal with the owner of Paypal Corporation—the company whose former executives now produce the technologies used for domestic spying?

Emotions and Responses

The biggest hurdle to understanding the Snowden story has been the emotional reaction to asking questions about it. Those who have dared to question the story have been met with ridicule and misplaced condemnation.

Author Naomi Wolf made some straightforward observations about Snowden’s slick introduction in comparison to other whistleblower stories. Her questions elicited derision from pundits, some even suggesting that if Wolf didn’t buy into Snowden then she must be an NSA operative.

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ questions were met with ad hominem attacks from Greenwald. Writing that Edmonds was “too stupid and/or crazy to know,“ Greenwald summarily excused the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition from further dialogue on the issue.

My recent article resulted in mild hysteria from a few who believe that no aspect of the Snowden story should ever be questioned, regardless of how that story evolves in the mainstream media. One such reaction resulted in a hit piece based on the false premise that I was calling Snowden a liar. The author called for a public apology until he realized that it was his own error that required an apology (cue crickets).

GreenwaldThankfully, Greenwald has offered a few answers at his blog. Unfortunately, the emotional nature of those responses raises more questions. What’s more, the growing rancor and distrust regarding this story is resulting in citizens losing sight of the actual NSA crimes being committed and our decreasing ability to stop or prosecute them.

Greenwald’s answers appeared at his blog in two installments, one in December and another in January. In those posts he goes on at length about the fact that reporters work for money. Although Edmonds has made the point that whistleblowing should not be a profit-making venture for anyone, in general no one denies that reporters work for money. And if Greenwald gets fabulously rich from all of it, that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that Greenwald still hasn’t answered some of the more important questions. For example, has he made any kind of deal with government or corporate representatives with regard to this story or the release of material from Snowden? What are his views on the coincidence that several of Pierre Omidyar’s former Paypal colleagues are strong supporters of NSA spying and are the people developing the technologies for that spying?

Another unanswered question is a simple one. How many documents are there? Estimates have ranged from thousands to nearly two million. Only Greenwald and Laura Poitras have the entire cache, according to Greenwald. But portions of the stolen documents have been distributed to many mainstream news organizations and “tens of thousands of these documents are in the possession of The New York Times, The Guardian, ProPublica, and The Washington Post.” A subset of more than 50,000 of them, focused specifically on the GCHQ (the British version of the NSA), were shared by The Guardian with The Times and ProPublica. Therefore we’re talking about a very large, but still very uncertain, number of documents. Since Greenwald has reported that Snowden “read and very carefully processed every document that he gave us,” curious citizens might wonder how that was possible.

That being said, Greenwald has offered answers to a few of the questions and we can discuss them.

Why are the documents being released so slowly?  Greenwald provided the following answers in his blog posts.

  1. Releasing the documents all at once would “violently breach … our agreement with our source.”
  2. “Large media institutions, even the ones with the best journalistic intentions, have all sorts of constraints – financial, legal, cultural – that produce fear and timidity, and that has sometimes slowed down or diluted our ability to publish the way we wanted to.”
  3. There exist “very real legal risks for everyone involved in this process, beginning with Snowden, who already faces 30 years in prison and is currently protected only by 9 more months of temporary asylum in Russia. Everyone involved in the publication of these materials has already undertaken substantial legal risk.”
  4. “These documents are complex. Sometimes they take a good deal of reporting to fill in some of the gaps.”
  5. The documents might contain the names of people who are surfing for pornography or are suspected of being terrorists, or they might contain “raw chats” or other specific internet activity, and these things might threaten the reputations or lives of those people. The documents might also help teach (less ethical?) states how to spy on their own citizens.

The first of these answers is the strongest. The public does not have access to the agreement and the implication is that future whistleblowers might be dissuaded from coming forward if they thought that they could not trust the people to whom they reveal information.

The second answer points more to the problem than the answer. Large media institutions are often vehicles for propaganda (remember the aluminum tubes) and that is why these kinds of questions arise in the first place.

The third answer is understandable but weak. Nobody should expect whistleblowing to be safe.

The last two answers are not believable considering what we know about answers Greenwald has given to other questions, and the distribution of the documents. For example, Greenwald knows enough about all the documents that he can definitely say that Paypal and its past and present executives are not implicated. And someone knew enough about the documents that they could be distributed to different major media corporations, presumably without carelessness, so these documents are not total unknowns. Can Greenwald tell us how the documents were categorized or sorted before distribution to the media outlets and how that was done to avoid the risks he emphasizes on his blog now?

Ultimately, the answer to why the documents have not been released boils down to that it is part of the agreement with Edward Snowden. Will Greenwald release his agreement with Snowden to verify that? Does the agreement apply to all the media outlets to which documents have been distributed? Who decided that these establishment mouthpiece media outlets were suddenly so honorable and would not report the information haphazardly or for the benefit of the powers that control them?

Conspiracy Theories

Greenwald’s December response indicated that he felt the questions about why the documents were not being released right away were good questions. He wrote, “I respect that critique” and even stated that he would ask the same questions. As an attorney, Greenwald might have wondered if withholding documents about ongoing crimes is a crime in itself.

Now, however, Greenwald labels those who question why the documents are being held back as “conspiracy theorists.” In Greenwald’s response, he rants about “people who cook up conspiracy theories” and how  “deranged those theories are.” These comments reflect the position of Greenwald’s new media partner Jeremy Scahill with regard to questions about the official account for the 9/11 attacks. Scahill has publicly said that he believes questions about 9/11 are “insulting to the people who died on 9/11.” Scahill claims to be educated on such questions but apparently still doesn’t know that it was the 9/11 victims’ families who initiated such questioning and who continue to lead the search for answers.

The irony is that Greenwald was, just prior to becoming the voice of our New York Times-supported whistleblower hero, a major conspiracy theorist with regard to terrorism. In fact, Greenwald has espoused some of the most interesting conspiracy theories regarding U.S. government involvement in the manufacture of false terrorism.

In a series of articles at Salon, Greenwald went into great detail on the FBI’s ongoing efforts to manufacture terrorism. In one case, he wrote that the FBI “created a plot [and] it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped [a hapless loner] to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a ‘Terrorist plot’ which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.”

If that’s not a conspiracy theory, I don’t know what is.

Greenwald went on to write that, “Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out—only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.”

According to Greenwald this vast FBI plot is intended “to justify this Endless War on civil liberties (and Terror).” At the time, in 2010 and 2011, Greenwald was astounded by the lack of skepticism about the completely uncritical reporting on terrorist stories that were used to justify the War on Terror. Today he is astounded by the growing skepticism about the completely uncritical reporting on the Snowden story. Apparently the difference, and his newfound reliance on the Conspiracy Theorists™ slur, has to do with him being a central character in this story.

Overall, the government’s handling of questions about domestic surveillance has been very similar to its handling of questions about 9/11. It’s all about The Terrorists and things that would never be allowed in other circumstances, like lying to Congress and withholding documents, are perfectly OK. The Anglo-American establishment media control the flow of information and questions are not allowed. Those daring to question are met with ridicule. Heroes and demons are offered up to focus the story on personalities instead of facts. What’s different here?

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The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

Last June, Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian revealed that Edward Snowden was the NSA insider behind “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” Snowden explained his motivations through Greenwald by saying, “There are more important things than money…. harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” Such altruistic motivations were welcome news at the time but have come into question recently given that only a tiny fraction of the documents have been released nearly a year after Snowden started working with Greenwald. Perhaps more importantly, billionaire Pierre Omidyar is funding Greenwald’s slow release of those documents and Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues have highly suspicious links to NSA spying and other dangers to civil rights.

It was originally reported that the number of documents Snowden had stolen was in the thousands. Today, however, that number is said to be nearly two million. This calls into question Snowden’s early statement, as reported by Greenwald, that he “carefully evaluated every single document… to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” The huge, new number also reveals that less than one tenth of one percent of the documents (only about 900) have actually been released to the public.

How could Snowden have “carefully evaluated every single” one of what is now being said to be nearly two million documents? He only worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for a few months. According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, Snowden also worked directly for NSA for twelve months prior to that, which is interesting. But still, that would require carefully evaluating thousands of documents a day during that entire time. Didn’t he have a job apart from that?

Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the 29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities, all in just a few, short years. Burns asked “How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially in high-level clearance positions?”

Five months later, journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine investigated some of the businesses in which Greenwald’s benefactor Omidyar had invested. They found that the actual practices of those businesses were considerably less humanitarian than the outward appearance of Omidyar’s ventures often portray. The result was that Omidyar took down references to at least one of those businesses from his website.

sauron eyeIn December, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds wrote that Omidyar‘s Paypal Corporation was implicated in the as-yet-unreleased NSA documents from Snowden. Moreover, Edmonds had been contacted by an NSA official who alleged that “a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved.”

Omidyar, the son of Iranian exiles, certainly has had some highly suspicious business associates at Paypal. Here are a few of the most influential of Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues.

These facts about Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues should raise the level of skepticism about his new media venture with Greenwald and the slow release of the documents stolen by Snowden. It’s clear that Snowden’s whistleblowing has been co-opted by private corporate interests. Are those involved with privatization of the stolen documents also colluding with government agencies to frame and direct national discussions on domestic spying and other serious matters?

The possibilities are endless, it seems. Presenting documents at a measured rate could be a way to acclimate citizens to painful realities without stirring the public into a panic or a unified response that might actually threaten the status quo. And considering that the number of documents has somehow grown from only thousands to nearly two million, the few insiders could release practically anything, thereby controlling national dialogue on many topics.

We live in an age of information war. It does not serve the public interest well to ignore that fact at any time based on pre-conceived notions of what corporations, governments or journalists are capable of. Let’s hope that Greenwald, who has done some good work revealing government misconduct, will immediately release all of the stolen documents, speak to the claims of an alleged deal made with government officials, and admit the risks with regard to Omidyar and his Paypal colleagues.

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