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Conspiracy then and now. / The Case for Impeachment
« on: February 28, 2006, 02:13:53 AM »
The Case for Impeachment
    By Lewis H. Lapham
    Harper's Magazine

    Monday 27 February 2006

Why we can no longer afford George W. Bush.
A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates.
-Kurt Tucholsky


    On December 18 of last year, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) introduced into the House of Representatives a resolution inviting it to form "a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment." Although buttressed two days previously by the news of the National Security Agency's illegal surveillance of the American citizenry, the request attracted little or no attention in the press-nothing on television or in the major papers, some scattered applause from the left-wing blogs, heavy sarcasm on the websites flying the flags of the militant right. The nearly complete silence raised the question as to what it was the congressman had in mind, and to whom did he think he was speaking? In time of war few propositions would seem as futile as the attempt to impeach a president whose political party controls the Congress; as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee stationed on Capitol Hill for the last forty years, Representative Conyers presumably knew that to expect the Republican caucus in the House to take note of his invitation, much less arm it with the power of subpoena, was to expect a miracle of democratic transformation and rebirth not unlike the one looked for by President Bush under the prayer rugs in Baghdad. Unless the congressman intended some sort of symbolic gesture, self-serving and harmless, what did he hope to prove or to gain? He answered the question in early January, on the phone from Detroit during the congressional winter recess.

    "To take away the excuse," he said, "that we didn't know." So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, "Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?" when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that "somehow it escaped our notice" that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law.

    A reason with which it was hard to argue but one that didn't account for the congressman's impatience. Why not wait for a showing of supportive public opinion, delay the motion to impeach until after next November's elections? Assuming that further investigation of the President's addiction to the uses of domestic espionage finds him nullifying the Fourth Amendment rights of a large number of his fellow Americans, the Democrats possibly could come up with enough votes, their own and a quorum of disenchanted Republicans, to send the man home to Texas. Conyers said:

    "I don't think enough people know how much damage this administration can do to their civil liberties in a very short time. What would you have me do? Grumble and complain? Make cynical jokes? Throw up my hands and say that under the circumstances nothing can be done? At least I can muster the facts, establish a record, tell the story that ought to be front-page news."

    Which turned out to be the purpose of his House Resolution 635-not a high-minded tilting at windmills but the production of a report, 182 pages, 1,022 footnotes, assembled by Conyers's staff during the six months prior to its presentation to Congress, that describes the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq as the perpetration of a crime against the American people. It is a fair description. Drawing on evidence furnished over the last four years by a sizable crowd of credible witnesses-government officials both extant and former, journalists, military officers, politicians, diplomats domestic and foreign-the authors of the report find a conspiracy to commit fraud, the administration talking out of all sides of its lying mouth, secretly planning a frivolous and unnecessary war while at the same time pretending in its public statements that nothing was further from the truth.[1] The result has proved tragic, but on reading through the report's corroborating testimony I sometimes could counter its inducements to mute rage with the thought that if the would-be lords of the flies weren't in the business of killing people, they would be seen as a troupe of off-Broadway comedians in a third-rate theater of the absurd. Entitled "The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War," the Conyers report examines the administration's chronic abuse of power from more angles than can be explored within the compass of a single essay. The nature of the administration's criminal DNA and modus operandi, however, shows up in a usefully robust specimen of its characteristic dishonesty.

 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That President George W. Bush comes to power with the intention of invading Iraq is a fact not open to dispute. Pleased with the image of himself as a military hero, and having spoken, more than once, about seeking revenge on Saddam Hussein for the tyrant's alleged attempt to "kill my Dad," he appoints to high office in his administration a cadre of warrior intellectuals, chief among them Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, known to be eager for the glories of imperial conquest.[2] At the first meeting of the new National Security Council on January 30, 2001, most of the people in the room discuss the possibility of preemptive blitzkrieg against Baghdad.[3] In March the Pentagon circulates a document entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts"; the supporting maps indicate the properties of interest to various European governments and American corporations. Six months later, early in the afternoon of September 11, the smoke still rising from the Pentagon's western facade, Secretary Rumsfeld tells his staff to fetch intelligence briefings (the "best info fast...go massive; sweep it all up; things related and not") that will justify an attack on Iraq. By chance the next day in the White House basement, Richard A. Clarke, national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, encounters President Bush, who tells him to "see if Saddam did this." Nine days later, at a private dinner upstairs in the White House, the President informs his guest, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that "when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq."

    By November 13, 2001, the Taliban have been rousted out of Kabul in Afghanistan, but our intelligence agencies have yet to discover proofs of Saddam Hussein's acquaintance with Al Qaeda.[4] President Bush isn't convinced. On November 21, at the end of a National Security Council meeting, he says to Secretary Rumsfeld, "What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq?...I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret."

    The Conyers report doesn't return to the President's focus on Iraq until March 2002, when it finds him peering into the office of Condoleezza Rice, the national security advisor, to say, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out." At a Senate Republican Policy lunch that same month on Capitol Hill, Vice President Dick Cheney informs the assembled company that it is no longer a question of if the United States will attack Iraq, it's only a question of when. The vice president doesn't bring up the question of why, the answer to which is a work in progress. By now the administration knows, or at least has reason to know, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, that Iraq doesn't possess weapons of mass destruction sufficiently ominous to warrant concern, that the regime destined to be changed poses no imminent threat, certainly not to the United States, probably not to any country defended by more than four batteries of light artillery. Such at least is the conclusion of the British intelligence agencies that can find no credible evidence to support the theory of Saddam's connection to Al Qaeda or international terrorism; "even the best survey of WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile and CW/BW weapons fronts..." A series of notes and memoranda passing back and forth between the British Cabinet Office in London and its correspondents in Washington during the spring and summer of 2002 address the problem of inventing a pretext for a war so fondly desired by the Bush Administration that Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's MI-6, finds the interested parties in Washington fixing "the intelligence and the facts...around the policy." The American enthusiasm for regime change, "undimmed" in the mind of Condoleezza Rice, presents complications.

    Although Blair has told Bush, probably in the autumn of 2001, that Britain will join the American military putsch in Iraq, he needs "legal justification" for the maneuver-something noble and inspiring to say to Parliament and the British public. No justification "currently exists." Neither Britain nor the United States is being attacked by Iraq, which eliminates the excuse of self-defense; nor is the Iraqi government currently sponsoring a program of genocide. Which leaves as the only option the "wrong-footing" of Saddam. If under the auspices of the United Nations he can be presented with an ultimatum requiring him to show that Iraq possesses weapons that don't exist, his refusal to comply can be taken as proof that he does, in fact, possess such weapons.[5]

    Over the next few months, while the British government continues to look for ways to "wrong-foot" Saddam and suborn the U.N., various operatives loyal to Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld bend to the task of fixing the facts, distributing alms to dubious Iraqi informants in return for map coordinates of Saddam's monstrous weapons, proofs of stored poisons, of mobile chemical laboratories, of unmanned vehicles capable of bringing missiles to Jerusalem.[6]

    By early August the Bush Administration has sufficient confidence in its doomsday story to sell it to the American public. Instructed to come up with awesome text and shocking images, the White House Iraq Group hits upon the phrase "mushroom cloud" and prepares a White Paper describing the "grave and gathering danger" posed by Iraq's nuclear arsenal.[7] The objective is three-fold-to magnify the fear of Saddam Hussein, to present President Bush as the Christian savior of the American people, a man of conscience who never in life would lead the country into an unjust war, and to provide a platform of star-spangled patriotism for Republican candidates in the November congressional elections.[8]

 


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    The Conyers report doesn't lack for further instances of the administration's misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three years-misuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as "enemy combatants," etc.-but conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President's impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal-known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?

 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above is a brief excerpt from the complete essay, available in the March 2006 issue of Harper's Magazine.

 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Notes

    1. The report borrows from hundreds of open sources that have become a matter of public record-newspaper accounts, television broadcasts (Frontline, Meet the Press, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, etc.), magazine articles (in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Review of Books), sworn testimony in both the Senate and House of Representatives, books written by, among others, Bob Woodward, George Packer, Richard A. Clarke, James Mann, Mark Danner, Seymour Hersh, David Corn, James Bamford, Hans Blix, James Risen, Ron Suskind, Joseph Wilson. As the congressman had said, "Everything in plain sight; it isn't as if we don't know." [Back]

    2. In January of 1998 the neoconservative Washington think tank The Project for the New American Century (which counts among its founding members Dick Cheney) sent a letter to Bill Clinton demanding "the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power" with a strong-minded "willingness to undertake military action." Together with Rumsfeld, six of the other seventeen signatories became members of the Bush's first administration-Elliott Abrams (now George W. Bush's deputy national security advisor), Richard Armitage (deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005), John Bolton (now U.S. ambassador to the U.N.), Richard Perle (chairman of the Defense Policy Board from 2001 to 2003), Paul Wolfowitz (deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005), Robert Zoellick (now deputy secretary of state). President Clinton responded to the request by signing the Iraq Liberation Act, for which Congress appropriated $97 million for various clandestine operations inside the borders of Iraq. Two years later, in September 2000, The Project for the New American Century issued a document noting that the "unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification" for the presence of the substantial American force in the Persian Gulf. [Back]

    3. In a subsequent interview on 60 Minutes, Paul O'Neill, present in the meeting as the newly appointed secretary of the treasury, remembered being surprised by the degree of certainty: "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go.... It was all about finding a way to do it." [Back]

    4. As early as September 20, Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, drafted a memo suggesting that in retaliation for the September 11 attacks the United States should consider hitting terrorists outside the Middle East in the initial offensive, or perhaps deliberately selecting a non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq. [Back]

    5. Abstracts of the notes and memoranda, known collectively as "The Downing Street Minutes," were published in the Sunday Times (London) in May 2005; their authenticity was undisputed by the British government. [Back]

    6. The work didn't go unnoticed by people in the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department accustomed to making distinctions between a well-dressed rumor and a naked lie. In the spring of 2004, talking to a reporter from Vanity Fair, Greg Thielmann, the State Department officer responsible for assessing the threats of nuclear proliferation, said, "The American public was seriously misled. The Administration twisted, distorted and simplified intelligence in a way that led Americans to seriously misunderstand the nature of the Iraq threat. I'm not sure I can think of a worse act against the people in a democracy than a President distorting critical classified information." [Back]

    7. The Group counted among its copywriters Karl Rove, senior political strategist, Andrew Card, White House chief of staff, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff. [Back]

    8. Card later told the New York Times that "from a marketing point of view...you don't introduce new products in August." [Back]

2
Conspiracy then and now. / Whose Bombs were they?
« on: February 26, 2006, 12:52:05 PM »
Whose Bombs were they?
Source: Information Clearing House
URL Source: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12063.htm
Published: Feb 26, 2006
Author: Mike Whitney(8981 bytes) [c]

`We should stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war. We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq`s unity.` Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

There`s no telling who was behind the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque. There were no security cameras at the site and it`s doubtful that the police will be able to perform a thorough forensic investigation.

That`s too bad; the bomb-residue would probably provide clear evidence of who engineered the attack. So far, there`s little more to go on than the early reports of four men (three who were dressed in black, one in a police uniform) who overtook security guards at the mosque and placed the bombs in broad daylight.

It was a bold assault that strongly suggests the involvement of highly-trained paramilitaries conducting a well-rehearsed plan. Still, that doesn`t give us any solid proof of what groups may have been involved.

The destruction of the Samarra shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, has unleashed a wave of retaliatory attacks against the Sunnis. More than 110 people were reported killed by the rampaging Shia. More than 90 Sunni mosques have been either destroyed or badly damaged. In Baghdad alone, 47 men have been found scattered throughout the city after being killed execution-style with a bullet to the back of the head. The chaos ends a week of increased violence following two major suicide bombings directed against Shia civilians that resulted in the deaths of 36 people.

The public outrage over the desecration of one of the country`s holiest sights has reached fever-pitch and it`s doubtful that the flimsy American-backed regime will be able to head-off a civil war.

It is difficult to imagine that the perpetrators of this heinous attack didn`t anticipate its disastrous effects. Certainly, the Sunni-led resistance does not benefit from alienating the very people it is trying to enlist in its fight against the American occupation. Accordingly, most of the prominent Sunni groups have denied involvement in the attack and dismissed it as collaboration between American and Iranian intelligence agencies.

A communique from `The Foreign Relations Department of the Arab Ba`ath Socialist Party` denounced the attack pointing the finger at the Interior Ministry`s Badr Brigade and American paramilitaries.

The Ba`ath statement explains:

`America is the main party responsible for the crime of attacking the tomb of Ali al-Hadi`¦because it is the power that occupies Iraq and has a basic interest in committing it.`

`The escalation of differences between America and Iran has found their main political arena in Iraq, because the most important group of agents of Iran is there and are able to use the blood of Iraqis and the future of Iraq to exert pressure on America. Iran has laid out a plan to embroil America in the Iraqi morass to prevent it from obstructing Iran`s nuclear plans. Particularly since America is eager to move on to completing arrangements for a withdrawal from Iraq, after signing binding agreements on oil and strategy. America believes that without the participation of `Sunni` parties in the regime those arrangements will fail. For that reason `˜cutting Iran`s claws` has become one of the important requirements for American plans. This is what Ambassador Zalmay spoke of recently when he declared that no sectarian would take control of the Ministries of the Interior or Defense. Similarly, America has begun to publish information that it formally kept hidden regarding the crimes of the Badr Brigade and the Interior Ministry.`

Whether the communique is authentic is irrelevant; the point is well taken. The escalating violence may prevent Iraq from forming a power-sharing government which would greatly benefit the Shia majority and their Iranian allies. Many critics agree that what is taking place Iraq represents a larger struggle between the United States and Iran for regional domination.

This theory, however, is at odds with the response of Iran`s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following the bombing. Khamenei said, `The occupation forces and Zionism, which seeing their plans dissolve, have planned this atrocity to sew hate between Muslims and fuel divisions between Sunnis and Shiites`¦.Do not fall into the enemy trap by attacking mosques and sacred places of your Sunni brothers`¦.The enemy wants nothing more than weakening of the Islamis front right as Muslims with a single voice have been protesting against the continual provocations of their enemies.`

The belief that the attack was the work of American and Israeli covert-operations (Black-ops) is widespread throughout the region as well as among leftist political-analysts in the United States. Journalist Kurt Nimmo sees the bombing as a means of realizing `a plan sketched out in Oded Yinon`s `A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties` (the balkanization of Arab and Muslim society and culture.) Nimmo suggests that the plan may have been carried out by `American, British or Israeli Intelligence operatives or their double-agent Arab lunatics, or crazies incited by Rumsfeld`s Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) designed to `˜stimulate` terrorist reaction.`

Nimmo is not alone in his judgment. Other prominent analysts including, Pepe Escobar, Ghali Hassan, AK Gupta, Dahr Jamail, and Christian Parenti all agree that the Bush administration appears to be inciting civil war as part of an exit strategy. Certainly, the Pentagon is running out of options as well as time. Numerous leaked documents have confirmed that significant numbers of troops will have to be rotated out of the theatre by summer. A strategy to foment sectarian hostilities may be the last desperate attempt to divert the nearly 100 attacks per day away from coalition troops and finalize plans to divide Iraq into more manageable statlets.

The division of Iraq has been recommended in a number of policy-documents that were prepared for the Defense Department. The Rand Corporation suggested that `Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides should be exploited to exploit the US policy objectives in the Muslim world.` The 2004 study titled `US Strategy in the Muslim World` was to identify key cleavages and fault-lines among sectarian, ethnic, regional, and national lines to assess how these cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States.` (Abdus Sattar Ghazali; thanks Liz Burbank)

This verifies that the strategy to split up Iraq has been circulating at the top levels of government from the very beginning of the occupation. A similar report was produced by David Philip for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) financed by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation a conservative think-tank with connections to the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute. According to Pepe Escobar:

`The plan would be `˜sold` under the admission that the recently elected, Shi`ite dominated Jaafari government is incapable of controlling Iraq and bringing the Sunni-Arab guerillas to the negotiating table. More significantly, the plan is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to balkanize Iraq`”an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East.`

Is the bombing of the Golden Mosque the final phase of a much broader strategy to inflame sectarian hatred and provoke civil war?

Clearly, many Sunnis, Iranians, and political analysts seem to believe so. Even the Bush administration`s own documents support the general theory that Iraq should be broken up into three separate pieces. But, is this proof that the impending civil war is the work of foreign provocateurs?

The final confirmation of Washington`s sinister plan was issued by Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a New York Times editorial on 11-25-03. The CFR is the ideological headquarters for America`s imperial interventions providing the meager rationale that papers-over the massive bloodletting that inevitably follow. Gelb stated:

`For decades, the United States has worshipped at the altar of a unified Iraqi state. Allowing all three communities within that false state to emerge at least as self-governing regions would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup. But such a course is manageable, even necessary, because it would allow us to find Iraq`s future in its denied but natural past.`

There you have it; the United States is only pursuing this genocidal policy for `˜Iraq`s own good`. We should remember Gelb`s statesman-like pronouncements in the years to come as Iraq slips further into the morass of social-disintegration and unfathomable human suffering.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12063.htm

3
The Sunday Times - Britain
 
 
 
The Sunday Times February 26, 2006


Diana driver was secret informer
David Leppard
 
 
 
THE chauffeur of the car in which Diana, Princess of Wales died was working for the French secret service, the British team reinvestigating her death has been told.
The inquiry `” headed by Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner `” into the Paris car crash that killed Diana is now trying to obtain the chauffeur`s files from French intelligence but is being delayed by the reluctance of the authorities to hand them over.

 
 
Stevens`s team has asked the country`s domestic intelligence service, the DST, to surrender all its `agent handling` files on Henri Paul, the chauffeur, to establish whether he was doing any work for his French intelligence bosses on the night of the crash.

Paul crashed the car, killing himself, Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in a tunnel in central Paris in 1997. It has previously been claimed `” and strenuously denied `” that he worked for SIS, the secret intelligence service, also known as MI6.

Well-placed sources say requests by the Stevens team for information about Paul`s activities on the day of the crash, and demands for complete records of tests taken on his blood after he died, have become bogged down by the `incredible bureaucracy` of the French justice system.

The delays mean the £4m inquiry, ordered by the royal coroner in 2004, is certain to stretch into the latter part of this year and may not be completed before 2007.

French police concluded the crash was an accident, caused by Paul driving the Mercedes in which Diana was travelling at high speed away from paparazzi while under the influence of drink and drugs.

The role of Paul, who was deputy head of security at the Paris Ritz hotel, and what he was doing in the hours up to the crash are central to the inquiry. Mohamed al-Fayed, the Harrods tycoon and Dodi`s father who also owns the Paris Ritz, has claimed Diana and his son were murdered by British intelligence.

Scotland Yard sources disclosed last week that the French government had finally confirmed Paul`s employment by the DST during discussions last year.

A Yard source said: `We now know he was working for the French secret service and the French have got to give us access to the records of what he was doing. It`s an issue. We want to know where he was and what he was doing that evening.`

After Paul`s death French police discovered he controlled secret accounts containing more than £100,000 in 14 banks across France.

The Stevens inquiry has been complicated by the apparent refusal of the French authorities to allow Yard detectives to see several key witnesses to the accident.

Stevens has said he is determined to `leave no stone unturned` in his investigation. He needs to establish beyond all doubt whether or not Paul was drunk and under the influence of powerful antidepressant drugs when he crashed the Mercedes.

Concerned that there may have been a forensic mix-up, Stevens is trying to persuade the French public prosecutor`s office to disclose all records of how Paul`s blood was analysed. The Yard team has also had to wait for a new report by Dr Gilbert Pepin, the French toxicologist who analysed Paul`s blood after the crash.

After a wrangle over the size of his fee for acting as an expert witness, Pepin has only recently supplied Stevens with a full account of his analysis of the blood taken from Paul`s body as it lay in the central Paris mortuary.

Stevens is also waiting to interview the female laboratory technician who took the blood from Paul`s body.

Fayed has claimed that MI6 agents visited the morgue on the night of the crash to plant evidence suggesting Paul was drunk, by substituting his blood for the alcohol-contaminated blood of a suicide victim. Sources say there were 25 bodies in the morgue that night.

After two years of investigation, Stevens still takes the view that Diana`s death was an accident. However, he is conscious of the fact that many people still believe she was murdered.
 
 
 
 
 

4
General / It Didn™t Work (US' Iraq policy)
« on: February 26, 2006, 06:54:04 AM »
William F. Buckley Jr.
Source: National Review
URL Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/buckley/buckley200602241451.asp
Published: Feb 26, 2006

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes `” it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that `The bombing has completely demolished` what was being attempted `” to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers `” for President Bush, ultimately `” is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail `” in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of pilosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy. He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

(c) 2006 Universal Press Syndicate http://www.nationalreview.com/buckl...00602241451.asp

5
9/11 / 9/11 ATTACKS (Media is finally asking the important questions)
« on: February 25, 2006, 05:19:31 PM »

9/11 ATTACKS
Avoiding the hard questions
ROBERT STEINBACK

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/columnists/robert_steinback/13760721.htm

SNIP

"...A group of experts and academicians 'devoted to applying the principles of scientific reasoning to the available evidence, `letting the chips fall where they may,' '' last week accused the government of covering up evidence that the three destroyed New York City buildings were brought down that day by controlled demolition rather than structural failure. The group, called Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has a website, www.st911.org.

Unanswered questions

The reflexive first reaction is incredulity -- how, one asks, could anyone even contemplate, never mind actually do such a barbaric thing? But before you shut your mind, check the resumes -- these aren't Generation X geeks subsisting on potato chips and PlayStation. Then look at the case they present.

''I am a professional philosopher who has spent 35 years teaching logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning,'' group co-founder and University of Minnesota professor James H. Fetzer told me. ``When I come to 9/11, it's not hard for me to determine what is going on. This is a scientific question. And it is so elementary that I don't think you can find a single physicist who could disagree with the idea that this was a controlled demolition.''

The group asks, for example,

`¢ How did a fire fed by jet fuel, which at most burns at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, cause the collapse of the Twin Towers, built of steel that melts at 2,800 degrees? (Most experts agree that the impact of airliners, made mostly of lightweight aluminum, should not have been enough alone to cause structural failure.) How could a single planeload of burning jet fuel -- most of which flared off in the initial fireball -- cause the South World Trade Center tower to collapse in just 56 minutes?

`¢ Why did building WTC-7 fall, though no aircraft struck it? Fire alone had never before caused a steel skyscraper to collapse.

`¢ Why did all three buildings collapse largely into their own footprints -- in the style of a controlled demolition?

`¢ Why did no U.S. military jet intercept the wayward aircraft?

`¢ Why has there been no investigation of BBC reports that five of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were alive and accounted for after the event?

Our current probe-ophobia is due in part to the political landscape: When one party holds all the cards, any call to investigate an alleged abuse of power or cover-up -- no matter how valid -- will look like a partisan vendetta. Those in power never want to investigate themselves.

Maybe that's politics; he who holds the hammer drives the nails. But the outrage of 9/11 transcends party affiliation.

We need all the outstanding questions answered -- wherever the chips may fall."

6
9/11 / The Seekrs - The birth and life of the 9-11 Truth Movement
« on: February 24, 2006, 07:38:56 AM »
The Seekers
The birth and life of the '9-11 Truth movement'

by Jarrett Murphy, Village Voice

Essentially, it's all about physics and common sense. Cut steel, and buildings fall. Crash a plane, and the Earth gets scarred. Fire a missile; see a hole. What's up must come down, cause makes effect, and for the truth to set you free, it must be freed itself.

It's dark in the basement of St. Mark's Church and dark outside on a mid-December Sunday night, but inside they have seen the light. Among the 100 or so people in the room, many wear buttons that read "9/11 Was An Inside Job." Others grip the vital texts in their hands`”Crossing the Rubicon, The New Pearl Harbor, or 9/11 Synthetic Terror. Most in the largely (but not exclusively) white and male crowd can quote you the important passages from "Rebuilding America's Defenses" or The 9/11 Commission Report. A few can guide you through the details of concepts like "peak oil" and pyroclastic flow. All of them suspect`”and a few simply know`”that their government was somehow complicit in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans four Septembers ago.

They are watching the new edition of Loose Change, a slick, witty documentary featuring a hip soundtrack and a rapid-fire assault on nearly every aspect of the "official" story of 9-11. The work of 22-year-old filmmaker Dylan Avery, Loose Change came out last year to take its place in a growing library of DVDs that 9-11 skeptics can own: Painful Deceptions, Confronting the Evidence, 911 in Plane Site, 9-11 Eyewitness. Shown in similar gatherings around the country and passed among likeminded friends, the films are what tie together the disparate ends of what many of its members call the "9-11 Truth movement." They unite Luke Rudkowski, an earnest Brooklyn College freshman, with David Ray Griffin, a California theologian who wrote The New Pearl Harbor. They link Les Jamieson, a web designer and coordinator for New York 9-11 Truth, with multimillionaire Jimmy Walter, dreamer of car-free, self-sustaining cities. And they bind a FDNY lieutenant attending his first Truth movement meeting with Michael Ruppert, the Crossing the Rubicon author who blames a fiancee's CIA-and-Mafia-linked drug running and arms dealing for helping to drive him out of the LAPD two decades ago.

It's easy to dismiss the odd characters. It's harder to ignore the regular guys in the room, or the polls showing that 49 percent of New York City residents believe the government knew about 9-11 before it happened, or the rock-solid certainty of these supposed doubters. "I'd love to be proven wrong. I would love for someone to come to me and say I'm full of shit. It hasn't happened," says Avery. "I have scientists on my side. There's so much evidence supporting my side, and the government's side has nothing."

Its name notwithstanding, the 9-11 Truth movement tells a story`”and is a story`”about what happens when the government lies. Again, it's simple physics: For every action, there's a reaction equal and opposite.



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Everyone has a September 11 tale about how we watched the events in "disbelief." But some people really didn't believe, and in the immediate aftermath of the attacks their doubts took form on the Internet on sites like serendipity.li, plaguepuppy.net, and Killtown. "They were a group of conditioned conspiracy theorists who have been around since JFK and before," says Steve Ferdman, now a 22-year-old marketing major at the New York Institute of Technology, who joined the Truth movement well after the attacks. "They knew how to get the ball rolling immediately. The moment it happened, the conspiracy theories were flying."

It wasn't long before the theories made it to Internet radio`”and to shows like The Power Hour. Host Dave vonKleist was no stranger to telling alternate stories: His wife was an early Gulf War illness activist, they fled Houston ahead of Y2K, and his three-hour show deals with subjects like depleted uranium and vaccine fears. On 9-11, he recalls, "I got on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is Dave and before we even say good morning, run to your VCR and start taping. America is under attack.' " As he sat glued to the TV that day, he grew suspicious when the networks went to the file footage of the tall Arab with the gun. "They were still talking about what kind of plane hit," he says, "but they sure as hell knew that Osama did it, and I said, 'Wait a minute.' " These doubts lay dormant for months until vonKleist happened upon Hunt the Boeing, a French website. France was an incubator for many 9-11 doubts. Thierry Meyssan's 2002 book L'Effroyable Imposture (The Horrifying Fraud) spawned deeper inquiries, including vonKleist's film 911 in Plane Site.

While the Pentagon story attracted people because so little was seen or known about that attack, the demise of the World Trade Center was burned in collective memory. Eric Hufschmid, a software designer from Santa Barbara, took the attacks at face value on 9-11 and even mocked the nascent conspiracy theories. "Then I started looking at it," he tells the Voice. "It was obvious something was wrong at the towers. They looked like they'd been blown up." He began contacting engineering professors, asking them to look into it, but none did. So he took up the cause himself, penned the book Painful Questions in early 2002, and produced the companion movie, Painful Deceptions, a few months later.

Around the same time, Dylan Avery was completing a job as a helper on the construction of a new restaurant for James Gandolfini. He tended bar at the opening party, and when he got a few minutes alone with the Sopranos actor, he said he'd thought he might like to direct films. "James said, 'If you want to be a successful director, you've got to have something you want to say to the whole world,' " Avery remembers. He set out to write a fictional story about discovering that 9-11 was an inside job. "Upon researching the movie, I began to think maybe it was true," he says.

The movement's momentum picked up in 2004 as George W. Bush sought re-election, the 9-11 Commission finished its work, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued preliminary findings on the building collapses. Members petitioned New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer to convene a grand jury on the attacks. New figures emerged, like Kevin Ryan, a scientist at the testing firm that certified the steel used in the twin towers, who was fired after he wrote a letter to NIST faulting its findings, and William Rodriguez, a janitor at the twin towers credited with saving lives on 9-11.

Rodriguez has filed a federal RICO suit against Bush, the president's father and three brothers, the Republican National Committee, Alan Greenspan, Halliburton, several voting-machine companies, and others. He claims that the president and his administration participated in "approval and sponsorship of the 9-11 attacks, kidnapping, arson, murder, treason" in order to "obtain a 'blank check' to conduct wars of aggression, to consolidate economic and political power."

"The guilt of the defendants," the suit alleges, "is compellingly suggested by their myriad lies, their thwarting of any proper investigation, and their stonewalling and failure to truly cooperate even with the . . . Commission 'investigation.' "



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It is a matter of public record that the government did not always voluntarily tell the whole truth about 9-11. In the first days after the tragedy, the EPA said the air was safe (see "Truth Out," page 32). The Bush administration claimed there had been no warnings of the attacks. A congressional inquiry was prevented from discussing information the intelligence community provided to the White House. The White House resisted forming an independent commission, stalled on releasing documents, delayed in allowing Condoleezza Rice to testify in public, and agreed to let the president meet with the commission only on the conditions that there be no oath administered, no formal transcript made, and that Vice President Dick Cheney be at his side. Several members of the commission had to recuse themselves from parts of the probe because their government or private-sector careers posed conflicts. And in its final report, the commission punted on such questions as where the money for the attacks originated, dubbing that issue "of little practical significance." 

The long list of obfuscations and obstructions has helped the Truth movement attract sympathizers who don't buy the idea that the attacks were planned by the government. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia has taken up some of the movement's themes. Actor Ed Begley Jr. co-hosted a September 11, 2004, Truth event in New York because of his environmental concerns. "As to the other more fantastic theories about the events of 9-11, I don't care to comment, other than to say that they have raised some very interesting questions that I would love to see answered," Begley tells the Voice in an e-mail.

Another environmental activist, Jenna Orkin, also admires aspects of the movement but distances herself from others. "I think it's terribly important," she says, "to distinguish between the legitimate questions and the wackiness`”and the wackiness has contaminated the legitimate questions in a very destructive way."

Drawing that line has split the movement. Many Truth activists now dismiss the "pod theory" and its cousin "the flash," which contend that the planes that struck the towers had unusual shapes on their undersides that may have fired missiles. More maligned is the idea that no planes hit the towers`”that what we saw were drones or holograms. Even the no-planes-at-the- Pentagon theory divides Truth-ers.

Some alternative theorists avoid events involving the American Free Press, which has reported several of the vital pieces of the Truth story but has links to the neo-Nazi Barnes Review. And almost no one wants to talk about Jimmy Walter, whose money (he offered $1 million for proof that the towers fell because of the fires) helps but whose advocacy of a "no-punishment" society doesn't. The disputes aren't always friendly. VonKleist, a chief proponent of the pod theory, says the movement "has been heavily infiltrated." And Hufschmid labels most of the movement "part of the criminal movement that did the attack in the first place."

Internecine feuds are not uncommon among people who believe in conspiracies. Yet dubbing Truth movement members "conspiracy theorists" is inaccurate for two reasons. First, there's no doubt that 9-11 was a conspiracy`”the question is whether it was among Muslim terrorists or others. Second, many Truth-ers deny having any theory at all. They resist efforts to construct an alternative story of the crime.

"I cannot explain it. That is not my duty," says former German cabinet minister Andreas von B a leader of the 9-11 skeptics in Europe, in a recent Dutch documentary. VonKleist takes the same line. He doesn't theorize anything, he says. "I'm simply asking questions."

That sounds fair at first, only it isn't. The movement's questions imply a different version of the story, and the true test is whether that alternative is more or less plausible that the official one. By saying they're only checking facts, the Truth activists avoid having to address the weaknesses in their own yarn. Why do the "booms" at the trade center come several minutes before the "demolition"? Why would the government destroy WTC7 when no one knew or cared about it? What happened to the people on the planes?

Some skeptics, however, aren't shy. Fringe pol Lyndon LaRouche thinks the attacks were "an attempted military coup d'etat." Hufschmid says the Arab terrorists were patsies of several governments, including the U.S. and possibly Britain, France, Canada, and Israel. Ruppert, an adherent of the theory that oil reserves have peaked and that the petroleum-based economy is in great peril, postulates that 9-11 was a desperate effort by a couple dozen elites from the Clinton and Bush administrations to cling to dwindling energy supplies. His version stresses the links between the CIA and Wall Street and drug money, suspicion of the Secret Service, and a plot to rid the world of 4 billion people in order to reduce demand for petroleum.



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For passengers detraining at the PATH station and climbing the stairs to ground zero on a typical Saturday, the 9-11 Truth movement is hard to miss. There at the exit stand Jamieson, Rudkowski, and a few compatriots holding a large banner declaring "9/11 Was an Inside Job." Pamphlets are handed out, and some of the vital books of the Truth movement are at the ready if a passerby wishes to debate, which happens a couple times each week. A woman is labeling as "bullshit" the idea that the entire government was behind the plot. Jamieson shakes his head. "Not the entire government," he says. "Just a small faction."

It's cold, and some passersby laugh. It has not been easy, Rudkowski says, but he sees progress. "At first my family thought I was an idiot," he recalls. "Now they're just scared." Avery and vonKleist say they've each distributed some 50,000 copies of their respective movies, but the total number of people who've seen the films must be far larger, given how often they have been shown to groups small and large. At ground zero, in the church basement, and in interviews, Truth movement members are optimistic their crusade will go far. What is clear is that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for many of them to turn back. Once you believe that official sources cannot be trusted because they are part of the conspiracy, it becomes very difficult to accept any evidence to the contrary.

Take the August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief: By forcing its release, the 9-11 Commission showed the world that the president knew something about heightened threats. But to Alex Jones, the anti-government radio host who thinks the FBI plotted the 1993 Trade Center bombing, the PDB episode was just a ploy to make the commission appear independent. When the Voice mentioned to Avery that a key firefighter witness denied ever saying there were "bombs" in the towers, and that San Francisco mayor Willie Brown's "foreknowledge" of the attack seemed to have been limited to something the State Department posted on its website, the director was unfazed. "It's just one piece of evidence," he said about the Brown warning.

He's not alone. Although the Truth movement is quick to seize upon shifts in the government's story, its own version has changed multiple times. Meyssan first said a truck bomb hit the Pentagon, then suggested a drone aircraft or cruise missile did. At first, skeptics said there was too little damage to the interior rings of the Pentagon for the building to have been struck by a 757; now, some say there was too much. The number of hijackers who are supposedly alive has risen and fallen over the years.

The key to understanding the Truth movement is to realize that its members do not lack faith in all institutions of the U.S. government. On the contrary, their theories rely on a healthy respect for the power and competence of air defense units, FBI agents, high-rise building designers, and others.

Why would Bush mistakenly say he'd seen the first plane strike on TV? How could the FBI miss so many leads? Is it plausible that the CIA ignored all those warnings? And after the purported multiple failures of the FAA and NORAD on 9-11, how come no one was fired?

It's odd. For a group of people who harbor so many doubts about the intentions of their own and other governments, the media, and fellow citizens, much of the Truth movement does not suspect for a moment that our defense spending has been a rip-off, that the FBI is a clumsy bureaucracy, that our spy agencies are deaf and dumb, and that our skyscrapers are not 100 percent safe. They do not seem worried that they could be unwitting partners in a more mundane conspiracy to obscure the limits of security and science. To the lies of the Bush administration, many in the Truth movement reply with stunning and familiar certainty. "I can't jump back to the other side," says Avery. "I know that what I'm doing is right."
 
Source:  Village Voice

Edit: as requested, fixed spelling error.

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