CIA Director George Tenet Facilitated 9/11

After becoming Director of the CIA (DCI) in 1997, George Tenet did what Louis Freeh had done after his appointment as FBI Director. He began to cultivate close personal relationships with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Like Freeh, Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington yet Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own officers who were handling Saudi issues at the Agency. The CIA’s Saudi specialists only learned about Tenet’s dealings with the Saudi authorities inadvertently, through their Saudi contacts. It seems that Tenet was operating within a network that surpassed the interests of the American public. Therefore the unsolved crimes of 9/11, attributed largely to young men from Saudi Arabia, should be considered in light of Tenet’s actions.

As Deputy Director for the CIA, in 1996, Tenet had worked to install one of his closest friends and confidants, John Brennan, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan is now the DCI but, in his previous role, Brennan often communicated directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. At the time, as an apparent favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts were discouraged from questioning Saudi relationship to Arab extremists.

The unusual relationship that both George Tenet and Louis Freeh had with Saudi intelligence (and George H.W. Bush) recalls the private network that was created in the mid-1970s to accomplish covert actions though means of proxies. This private network included disgruntled CIA officers who had been fired by President Carter, as well as the group known as The Safari Club, and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).

The Safari Club resulted from an agreement between Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Kamal Adham, Anwar Sadat of Egypt, the Shah of Iran, and French intelligence director Alexandre de Marenches. The BCCI network grew, with the blessing of DCI George H.W. Bush, through the guidance of the Safari Club, which needed a network of banks to help fund proxy operations, including off-the-books operations required by the CIA. This private network was utilized in the arming of the Mujahideen, the precursor to al Qaeda.

The U.S. aid to the Mujahideen did not officially start until 1980 but went on for many years under the name Operation Cyclone. This operation relied heavily on using the Pakistani ISI as an intermediary for funds and weapons distribution, military training, and financial support. Evidence suggests that covert U.S. support for a “CIA within a CIA” existed twenty years later, when Tenet began leading the CIA, and that terrorist operations were among those that were funded.

tenet and bushThat possibility underscores the failure of George Tenet’s leadership of the CIA as the Agency failed miserably to detect and prevent al Qaeda terrorism. This failure might make more sense in light of British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s claim that al Qaeda was not originally a terrorist group but a database of operatives used by the CIA. In any case, it was almost as if Tenet wanted al Qaeda to not only remain viable, but to be seen as an ever-looming threat.

For example, in February 1998, Al Qaeda made public its second fatwah, repeating its declaration of holy war against the United States and its allies. It included the signatures of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the Jihad Group in Egypt. What did George Tenet’s CIA do in response?

  • According to CIA officer Michael Scheuer, “The Agency’s Bin Laden unit was ordered disbanded” in April 1998. Although Tenet rescinded the order later, Scheuer commented that “the on-again, off-again signals about the unit’s future status made for confusion, distraction, and much job-hunting in the last few weeks” before the embassy attacks.
  • In May 1998, Tenet traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Tenet and Abdullah made a secret agreement that Bin Laden, if captured, would not be given to the U.S. for trial but instead given to the Saudis. Recommending that the Saudis bribe the Taliban to turn Bin Laden over, Tenet canceled the CIA’s own operation to get Bin Laden.
  • Michael Scheuer claimed that, between May 1998 and May 1999, U.S. leaders passed up ten opportunities to capture Bin Laden. According to Scheuer, it was George Tenet and his deputies who rejected the proposals. 
Apparently two declarations of holy war by al Qaeda were not enough to compel George Tenet to increase his agency’s focus on Bin Laden. Not only that, Tenet seemed to intentionally back off pursuing Bin laden in 1998 and 1999, obstructing U.S. attempts to capture al Qaeda’s leader.

The result was the August 7, 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The date of the bombings marked the eighth anniversary of the arrival of American forces in Saudi Arabia. Just months before the bombings, the CIA had been warned by the Kenyan Intelligence Service that the embassy in Nairobi was going to be attacked by al Qaeda. But the CIA ignored the warning. Not only that, but the embassy bombings were “carried out by a cell that U.S. agents had already uncovered.”

Late that year, in a memo to the CIA, George Tenet declared war against al Qaeda. He wrote that “Our work to date has been remarkable and in some cases heroic” but “we must now redouble our efforts against Bin Ladin himself, his infrastructure, followers, finances, etc with a sense of enormous urgency.” He said, “We are at war…. I want no resources or people spared… either inside CIA or the [U.S. intelligence] community.”

Although meetings were held, Tenet did not attend them and his deputy went only once. The meetings were attended by few if any officers from other agencies and quickly stopped addressing the fight against al Qaeda. No other plan was made at the CIA or elsewhere in the U.S. intelligence community, as a result of this declaration of war by Tenet, to defeat al Qaeda.

Despite the attempts by Tenet and others to hype the threat from Bin Laden and his alleged network, as of August 1999 not even The Washington Post appeared to be convinced of the threat. Reporters Colum Lynch and Vernon Loeb at the Post questioned the emerging legend of al Qaeda by writing, “for all its claims about a worldwide conspiracy to murder Americans, the government’s case is, at present, largely circumstantial. The indictment never explains how bin Laden runs al Qaeda or how he may have masterminded the embassy bombings.”

Behind the scenes, Tenet’s lack of action suggested that he was also unconcerned. An example was given in March 1999 when German intelligence provided to the CIA the mobile phone number and first name of one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers—Marwan Al-Shehhi. The CIA did nothing with the information. Although Tenet later dismissed its importance, others said that the number could have been easily traced, leading to the capture of Al-Shehhi.

Additionally, the CIA appeared “to have been investigating the man who recruited the [alleged 9/11] hijackers at the time he was recruiting them.” Although there is no evidence that the CIA took actions to stop the plot as it was unfolding, there were many interesting leads to follow. For example, in the summer of 1999 Bin Laden was reportedly given $50 million by a group of oil-rich sheikhs. The New York Times reported on this gift which came via a single bank transfer: “The Central Intelligence Agency has obtained evidence that Mr. Bin Laden has been allowed to funnel money through the Dubai Islamic Bank in Dubai, which the United Arab Emirates Government effectively controls.”

The links between al Qaeda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were far greater, however. These included that the alleged plot architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) was said to be living in Sharjah, UAE as of 1999. Sharjah was reportedly a major center of al Qaeda activity at the time. One of the alleged hijackers, Fayez Ahmed Banihammad, was from Sharjah, as was alleged plot financier Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi. All of the alleged 9/11 hijackers traveled through the UAE on their way to the United States, other than Mohamed Atta, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar, the latter of whom was said to be the one to facilitate the travel of the others. Accused hijacker pilot Ziad Jarrah was detained and questioned in January 2000 at Dubai Airport. However, CIA and UAE officials failed to warn German intelligence about Jarrah, who traveled on to Hamburg.

Overall, the lack of communication and action taken by DCI Tenet regarding the men who would be accused of perpetrating the 9/11attacks was reflective of the same attitude exhibited by FBI Director Louis Freeh. With the strong ties between Tenet’s good friend Clarke and the UAE, it would seem that much could have been done to stop the 9/11 attacks long before they happened.

Perhaps coincidentally, the CIA’s tracking of two 9/11 suspects who did not travel to the U.S. through the UAE has been reported extensively. This began with the monitoring of a January 2000 meeting in Malaysia attended by KSM and several other alleged al Qaeda leaders. The meeting included the two alleged 9/11 hijackers Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi. These are the two suspects who Tenet claimed the CIA had been looking for only in the few weeks before 9/11. The CIA must not have been looking too hard because when the two suspects came to the U.S., they lived in San Diego with an FBI asset.

With regard to the CIA’s failed communications prior to 9/11, author Kevin Fenton lets Tenet off the hook, saying that there is “no evidence of [Tenet] doing anything intentionally wrong before the attacks. Fenton acknowledges that Tenet lied extensively in testimony to the Joint Congressional Inquiry, and that he gave “a string of evasive answers” to the 9/11 Commission. Yet Fenton’s premise is that low-level CIA and FBI officers kept a secret plan [the hiding of evidence about the two suspects] from their superiors.

The facts, however, suggest that high-level CIA leadership was behind the orders to hide the evidence about Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi. Examples include the failure of the CIA station in Bangkok to communicate that the two suspects had left Thailand for the U.S., and the order referenced by the CIA station chief in Kuala Lumpur when he said that he was not supposed to show certain photographs related to the men. Although that order was disobeyed, and the surveillance photos of the Malaysia meeting were shared with FBI officers, such an order to a CIA station chief could not have come from low-level officers. Control of multiple CIA stations could only come from the top.

While the CIA withheld information about Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi living in the United States, Tenet simultaneously kept the threat hype going. A month after the Malaysia meeting, he told the U.S. Senate that Bin Laden was planning “to strike further blows against America.”

Despite this apparent threat, Tenet had not ordered a National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism in his entire tenure, the last one having been produced in 1997. According to the 9/11 Commission, Tenet finally recognized this need and charged the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center with making a strategic assessment. But as with so many other coincidences, the person who was to lead the assessment didn’t start work until the day before 9/11.

U.S. intelligence officers later said they were told to back-off investigation of Bin Laden and the Saudis. After the Bush Administration took over in January 2001, there was a “major policy shift” at the National Security Agency in that OBL could still be investigated, but they could not look at where he got his money.

Adding to suspicions about Tenet are the mysterious links between Tenet’s mentor, David Boren, and training for the alleged hijackers. Currently the co-chair of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Boren is the long-time president of the University of Oklahoma, which has its own airport. In the years before 9/11, the FBI came to the airport several times to talk to people there about the training of terrorism suspects. It was later learned that the university airport was where Zacarias Moussaoui trained to fly, and that Mohamed Atta and other alleged hijackers had called, emailed and visited the airport in the two years before 9/11.

These clues were ignored as Tenet refused to cooperate with the official investigations into the events of 9/11 and as he lied to representatives of the U.S. Congress. Tenet lied to the 9/11 Commission about having met with President Bush in the month before the attacks. He lied under oath about CIA foreknowledge of the alleged hijackers, and he lied to the 9/11 Commission by failing to tell them about torture videos that his subordinates later destroyed.

The facts show that, as DCI from 1997 to 2004, Tenet was responsible for an agency that had, at the very least, failed miserably to perform its duties related to counterterrorism. Overall the evidence suggests that, as with Louis Freeh and the FBI, some of those failures were intentional. Concerns that Tenet and Freeh had developed secret paths of communication with Saudi authorities, and that they might have disrupted plans to capture or investigate al Qaeda suspects, were never addressed. Therefore, an ongoing investigation into 9/11 should include George Tenet and his actions leading up to the attacks.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Let’s Not Forget Duane Andrews and SAIC

Both before and after 9/11, one private company had a greater impact on counterterrorism programs in the United States than any other. That company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), also profited more from the events of 9/11 than any other. Its chief operating officer (COO), Duane Andrews, was a man who had expertise-level knowledge of the vulnerabilities that were exploited on 9/11. He also just happened to be a long-time, close colleague of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

SAIC feeds on terrorism, having won many of its record number of government contracts through the national security state that has arisen via the War on Terror. Through its numerous contracts and employee security clearances, it has become a private business that cannot be distinguished from a permanent form of government. In short, SAIC is “the fraternal twin of the intelligence establishment.”[1]

With regard to 9/11, SAIC’s impact cannot be overstated as the company:

  • Created the national databases that tracked and identified terrorists
  • Supplied U.S. airports with terrorism screening equipment
  • Predicted and investigated terrorist attacks against U.S. infrastructure including national defense networks and the World Trade Center (WTC)
  • Helped create the official account for what happened at the WTC both in 1993 and after 9/11
  • Was a leader in research on thermitic materials like those found in the WTC dust[2]
  • Employed the leader of the robotics team that scoured the pile at Ground Zero, using equipment capable of eliminating explosives
  • Provided the information to capture the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM)

Furthermore, Dick Cheney’s long-time protégé, Duane P. Andrews, ran SAIC’s government business for thirteen years, from 1993 to 2006, and was therefore a principal character in these activities. During this time, Andrews was also a leading corporate representative on government commissions and taskforces that evaluated threats to U.S. defense and information systems.

duane-andrewsAndrews’ history with Cheney goes back decades. In the Vietnam War, he was a special operations soldier in the U.S. Air Force. He then got a position as a staff member for the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. During his time in that position, Cheney was a prominent member of the House Intelligence Committee along with Lee Hamilton, the future 9/11 Commission vice-chairman.

Later, George H.W. Bush nominated Andrews for the post of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (ASD/C3I). This led to Andrews being personally responsible for giving Secretary of Defense Cheney his daily intelligence briefs.

Cheney and Andrews used false information to start the Gulf War. This included satellite photos allegedly showing a build-up of Iraqi troops on the Saudi Arabian border, which were later shown by St. Petersburg Times reporter Jean Heller to represent a false claim.[3] The false information also included the testimony of the 15-year old Kuwaiti royal, Nayirah.

Andrews left the Pentagon in 1993 to become President and COO of SAIC’s federal business, which accounted for a majority of the company’s revenues. Andrews personally managed SAIC’s programs for the National Security Agency (NSA), and other agencies within the U.S. intelligence community, in the years leading up to 9/11 and afterward.

As the man hired to defend the U.S. against attacks on its defense information systems, Andrews became a critical part of the national security apparatus. All the while, he continued to consider Dick Cheney his personal, lifelong hero.[4]

SAIC and the road to 9/11

SAIC worked for many years in close partnership with oil-rich royals in the Middle East, particularly those that have become suspect with regard to 9/11. The first international contract that the company won was for training the Kuwaiti Defense Forces, starting in 1976. Three years later, SAIC secured its biggest and longest lasting international contract, training the Saudi Arabian navy.

In 1986, SAIC was hired by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) “to conduct a general security review of the WTC” with respect to terrorism. SAIC’s report rated the public areas of the WTC as very attractive targets for terrorism, emphasizing especially the basement levels.[5] Perhaps coincidentally, the Kuwaiti-owned security company Stratesec was hired by the PANYNJ in 1991 to provide a similar review and report.

After Andrews joined the company, SAIC was hired to investigate the 1993 bombing of the WTC, an event that was remarkably like the one that it had foreseen in 1986.[6] Moreover, SAIC ultimately provided input that led to producing the official account of what happened. The company boasted that — “After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, our blast analyses produced tangible results that helped identify those responsible.”[7]

In the early 1990s, SAIC was also a leader in developing technology for aviation security. At the time, SAIC had been contracted by a congressional advisory panel, led by L. Paul Bremer and Brian Michael Jenkins among others, to evaluate terrorist threats with regard to airport security.[8] By 1994, the company’s explosives detection equipment was installed in major airports around the country, including in New York City, Miami, and Washington, DC.[9]

Under Andrews, SAIC was heavily focused on analyzing risks to U.S. defense information systems and led the partnership between the U.S. government and industry in that area. As the chairman of a Defense Science Board taskforce on information warfare, Andrews learned about the specific vulnerabilities of U.S. national defense systems. In early 1997, he reported to Congress that U.S. defense systems were a “target-rich environment” and that attacks on certain facilities and information systems “would seriously affect the ability of the Department of Defense to carry out its assigned missions and functions.”[10] Andrews went on to build and secure the Defense Information System Network (DISN). The secret component of the DISN, which was called SIPRnet, linked command and control systems throughout the United States.

As of March 2001, SAIC was also part of the National Coordinating Center for telecommunications (NCC). NCC provided oversight to the agency that, on the morning of 9/11 but before the attacks began, implemented a secret communications system (SRAS) for the first time. The system had been developed in conjunction with the Continuity of Government (COG) plans that Dick Cheney had worked on for nearly twenty years along with Richard Clarke, who implemented COG for the first time as the events of 9/11 proceeded.[11]

The fact that Andrews was the most knowledgeable person in terms of the vulnerabilities of information and communications networks for U.S. national security seems a worthy point for further consideration. That’s because so many inexplicable problems occurred with defense communications networks on 9/11, including the following.

  • There were serious problems with the National Military Command Center’s conference calls that morning. Important participants could not be connected or were repeatedly dropped from the calls, including the FAA.[12]
  • U.S. national security facilities were in an information void on 9/11. Agencies that should have known the most about an ongoing terrorist event were blind to the ongoing attacks.[13]
  • The SIPRnet did not have any information about the attacks even as late as the afternoon of 9/11.[14]
  • President Bush complained of poor communications in that he “could not reach key officials, including Rumsfeld” and “The line to the White House shelter conference room – and the Vice-President- kept cutting off.”[15]

In the mid-1990s, SAIC created the U.S. systems for tracking terrorist suspects. For the FBI, SAIC developed CODIS, the national DNA database, and NCIC, the national criminal background check system.[16] To clarify, when in August 2001 Robert Fuller of the FBI went to search for Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi’s alleged presence in the United States via the NCIC system, he was checking a database built by SAIC. Although Fuller found nothing, the 9/11 Commission Report said that such checks should have unearthed driver’s licenses, car registrations, and telephone listings for Al-Mihdhar and Al Hazmi, all of which were in their names.[17] This fact alone should be enough to call for the investigation of SAIC with regard to 9/11.

SAIC purchased Boeing Information Services (BIS) in 1999. BIS specialized in information systems integration, logistics, networking, and outsourcing, and dealt with management of data communications to Boeing aircraft. Its work in progress included “a five-year Defense Information Systems Network contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency”, and “the Army’s Reserve Component Automation System, a 12-year contract worth $1.6 billion that the company won in 1991.”[18]

Andrews was a member of Donald Rumsfeld’s commission on national security uses of space. This commission argued that the US should avoid international agreements that limit the deployment of weapons in space, and that, in order to avoid a “Space Pearl Harbor,” the US needed to “develop the capability for power projection in, from, and through space.”[19] As a result, SAIC’s missile defense contracts tripled between 2001 and 2004, going from $47 million to $169 million in value.

SAIC and the WTC After 9/11

It turns out that SAIC was one of the first organizations to show up at Ground Zero. The company claimed in its 2004 shareholder report that — “Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we responded rapidly to assist a number of customers near ground zero in New York City and in Washington, D.C.”[20] In one of these instances, “SAIC technicians raced to Ground Zero within hours to install an ad hoc communications network for first responders and local financial companies.”[21] Therefore, SAIC was in control of at least some of the communications at Ground Zero.

Perhaps the most interesting SAIC connection to the cleanup was John Blitch, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, who was said to have retired from the Army just the day before 9/11. It was reported that Blitch was “filling out the paperwork in an out-processing office of the Pentagon on the morning of September 10, 2001,” and that after “three years at the helm of the Defense Department’s Tactical Mobile Robots Program,” he was “leaving to direct the Center for Intelligent Robotics and Unmanned Systems at the Science Applications International Corporation.”[22]

Instead of traveling to his SAIC office in Colorado on 9/11, as he had planned, “Blitch scrapped the trip…and headed for New York. On the road, Blitch donned his fatigues, dug out his military ID, and worked his cell phone, summoning colleagues from Florida to Boston to pack up their finest tactical robots and rendezvous at Ground Zero.” And “Over the next 11 days, the group’s 17 robots squeezed into spaces too narrow for humans, dug through heaps of scalding rubble, and found seven bodies trapped beneath the mountains of twisted steel and shattered concrete.”[23]

Blitch was experienced at such search missions, and had done “ground-breaking research in robot assisted search and rescue conducted during the Oklahoma City Bombing response”.[24] By May 2001, laser technology was being used by Blitch’s robot program. It was reported that — “Robots are performing quite successfully in the field of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)”… and “EOD units [include] a laser weapon for ordnance neutralization…[used to] burn unexploded ordnance.”[25]

Therefore, SAIC had the means and opportunity to neutralize any unwanted explosives that might have been buried in the pile at Ground Zero. That’s interesting in that SAIC supplied the largest contingent of non-governmental investigators to the NIST WTC investigation after 9/11. That investigation went to great lengths in order to avoid consideration of explosives.

Manufacturing and Profiting From War

SAIC went on to play an integral role in the “War on Terror”, and was even responsible for capturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was SAIC staff and technology that “tease[ed] out crucial clues about Mohammed’s activities from intercepted text messages that he sent to his al Qaeda operatives using as many as 20 different cell phones.”[26]

After 9/11, SAIC was hired to fix the problems it had created with terrorist tracking systems. Duane Andrews was personally in charge of the project called Trailblazer, which was originally launched in 1999 but ostensibly was not tested for operational use by the U.S. government until six years later. The system was meant to translate all NSA intercepts, including telephone, email and other electronic information, into actionable intelligence.

An oft-cited example of the failures that Trailblazer was meant to avoid was the reported incident in which messages stating “tomorrow is zero hour” and “the match begins tomorrow” were intercepted by the NSA on September 10, 2001 but not translated until September 12th. The Trailblazer system was not the answer to those problems, however, and was ultimately a total failure. After 6 years and $1.2 billion spent, the NSA cancelled the project in 2005.

Another huge failure led by SAIC was with the FBI system called Virtual Case File (VCF), which was intended to solve the supposed information sharing problem that prevented the FBI from tracking terrorists like Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi, who lived for years with an FBI informant. VCF was meant to provide a centralized database of terrorism related information that all FBI agents could utilize. However, after three years and hundreds of millions in costs, VCF was written off as “the most highly publicized software failure in history.”[27]

SAIC’s 9/11 profiteering didn’t stop there. While helping NIST to determine the causes of the WTC destruction, “SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and that war was the only way to get rid of them.”[28] The company helped supply the faulty intelligence that said Saddam had WMDs and then profited from the invasion by generating Iraq contracts worth billions of dollars. In 2003 alone, SAIC pulled in $5.4 billion in government revenue.

With the help of SAIC, John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame was able to convince the U.S. government to hire him to ensure “Total Information Awareness” as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Through related programs, SAIC won major contracts for management of huge IT systems that involved spying on Americans and running the Joint Intelligence Operations Centers (JIOCs).[29]

Considering the incredible growth in contracts that SAIC realized from the events of 9/11, any independent investigation into those events should carefully consider the role played by that company and its leadership. Andrews and his company were integral to the counterterrorism programs of the United States in the years prior to 9/11. The company’s role included creating the national databases that tracked and identified terrorists, supplying airport screening equipment, predicting and investigating terrorist attacks against the WTC, helping to create the official account for what happened at the WTC after 9/11, and providing the information to capture KSM. Undoubtedly, SAIC’s impact on the counterterrorism programs of the United States prior to 9/11 was unique and pervasive.

Duane Andrews should be a person of specific interest because he had expert knowledge of the vulnerabilities of the U.S. defense and information systems at a time when many of those systems failed catastrophically. If anyone knew how to exploit weaknesses in the telecommunications and electronic systems of the U.S. defense department, it was Duane Andrews. His history of being closely aligned with the activities of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, for the twenty years prior to 9/11, provides additional reason to suspect him.

Notes

[1] Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Washington’s $8 Billion Shadow, Vanity Fair, March 2007, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

[2] Kevin R. Ryan, The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nanothermites, Journal of 9/11 Studies, July 2008

[3] Morris Berman, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire, W. W. Norton & Company, 2011

[4] Laura Rozen, The First Contract, The American Prospect, March 30, 2007, http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=12612

[5] New York County Supreme Court, Matter of World Trade Ctr. Bombing Litig, 2004 NY Slip Op 24030 [3 Misc 3d 440], January 20, 2004

[6] New York State Law Reporting Bureau, In The Matter of World Trade Center Bombing Litigation, 2004 NY Slip Op 24030 [3 Misc 3d 440], January 20, 2004,   http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2004/2004_24030.htm

[7] Science Applications International Corporation, Annual Report 2004 http://www.saic.com/news/pdf/Annual-Report2004.pdf

[8] U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Technology Against Terrorism: The Federal Effort, OTA-ISC-481, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1991.

[9] A. Maureen Rouhi, Government, Industry Efforts Yield Array Of Tools To Combat Terrorism, Chemical & Engineering News, July 24, 1995

[10] Statement by Duane P. Andrews, Chairman, Defense Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare & Defense, https://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1997_hr/h970320a.htm

[11] Matthew Everett, Backup Communications System Was ‘Miraculously’ Switched on for ‘Exercise Mode’ and Ready for Use on 9/11, Shoestring 9/11, January 10, 2011, http://shoestring911.blogspot.com/2011/01/backup-communications-system-was.html

[12] Matthew Everett, The Repeatedly Delayed Responses of the Pentagon Command Center on 9/11, Shoestring 9/11, November 7, 2010

[13] Matthew Everett, Why Were U.S. Intelligence Facilities in an ‘Information Void’ During the 9/11 Attacks?, Shoestring 9/11, August 19, 2012

[14] Ibid

[15] The 9/11 Commission Report, p 40. Note that these communication failures helped ensure that the President was out of the loop for a longer period of time.

[16] Science Applications International Corporation, Press Release, August 24, 1994

[17] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, 2004, p 539

[18] Nick Wakeman, Boeing Information Services Sale Has Industry Abuzz, Washington Technology, Jan 21, 1999

[19] Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization

[20] SAIC shareholder report, 2004, http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/SAIC/0x0x208149/64117BC7-5895-497E-A8EB-158A6E57012C/AR_2004.pdf

[21] William Launder, Homeland Security Goes Public, Forbes.com, 08.03.06, http://www.forbes.com/2006/08/02/saic-homeland-security-ipo-cx_wl_0803saic.html

[22] Michael Behar, The New Mobile Infantry: Battle-ready robots are rolling out of the research lab and into harm’s way, Wired, Issue 10.05 | May 2002, http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.05/robots.html

[23] Ibid

[24] American Android Corp webpage, About Us, http://www.americanandroid.com/about.jb.html

[25] Sandra I. Erwin, Battlefield Robots: Not Just ‘Entertainment’, National Defense, May 2001, http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2001/May/Pages/Battlefield_Robots4252.aspx

[26] Paul Kaihla, US: In The Company Of Spies, CorpWatch, May 1st, 2003, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=7892

[27] Harry Goldstein, Who Killed the Virtual Case File?: How the FBI blew more than $100 million on case-management software it will never use, IEEE Spectrum, September 2005

[28] Charlie Cray, “Science Applications International Corporation,” CorpWatch, http://www.corpwatch.org/section.php?id=17 ; cf. Barlett and Steele, “Washington’s $8 Billion Shadow.”

[29] Tim Shorrock, QinetiQ Goes Kinetic: Top Rumsfeld Aide Wins Contracts from Spy Office He Set Up, CorpWatch, January 15, 2008

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Donald Rumsfeld and the Demolition of WTC 7

When former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked about World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), he claimed that he had never heard of it. This was despite the unprecedented destruction of that 47-story building and its relationship to the events of 9/11 that shaped Rumsfeld’s career. Although not hit by a plane, WTC 7 experienced free fall into its own footprint on the afternoon of 9/11—through the path of what should have been the most resistance. The government agency charged with investigating the building’s destruction ultimately admitted that it had been in free fall during a portion of its descent. That fact makes explosive demolition the only logical explanation. Considering how WTC 7 might have been demolished leads to some interesting facts about Rumsfeld and his associates.

RummyThe one major tenant of WTC 7 was Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), the company that occupied 37 of the 47 floors in WTC 7. A little discussed fact is that Rumsfeld was the chairman of the SSB advisory board and Dick Cheney was a board member as well. Rumsfeld had served as chairman of the SSB advisory board since its inception in 1999. According to the financial disclosures he made in his nomination process, during the same period Rumsfeld had also been a paid consultant to the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet. Rumsfeld and Cheney had to resign from their CIA and SSB positions in 2001 when they were confirmed as members of George W. Bush’s cabinet.

Several of Rumsfeld and Cheney’s colleagues had access to, or personal knowledge of, WTC 7. Secret Service agent Carl Truscott, who was in charge of the Presidential Protection Division on 9/11, knew the building well because he had worked at the Secret Service’s New York field office located there. Furthermore, Tenet’s CIA secretly operated a “false front of another federal organization” from within WTC 7. That false front might have been related to the Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service, Rumsfeld’s Department of Defense, or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all of which were listed as tenants of WTC 7. The SEC lost many important documents when the building was destroyed, including much of what was needed to effectively prosecute Enron and WorldCom.

Read more at Washington’s Blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, 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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 39 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments