LINGERING QUESTIONS

8 06 2008

I recently finished reading Edward Jay Epstein’s The Assassination Chroncles, subtitled Inquest, Counterplot, and Legend, and found the now-forty-some-year-old tale of Lee Harvey Oswald’s journey to the Texas Book Depository an interesting lesson.

One of the things that impressed me was Epstein’s level-headed, “just the facts, m’am” approach to this highly controversial subject.  I read a lot of speculative material about current events, and my warning lights tend to go on when a writer makes a string of increasingly less documented assertions and then jumps to conclusions about the international Zionist Conspiracy or the Heartless Lizards from Outer Space or whatever his (and it’s usually a “he”) pet bete noir may be.

Epstein does not engage in speculation, and is strongly critical of those who do, such as New Orleans DA Jim Garrison and film maker Oliver Stone, both of whom, he charges, have muddied up the waters by presenting sensationalized versions of the assassination, for no reason other than to benefit themselves.  The truth, as Epstein presents it, is strange enough, even if it’s not sufficiently spectacular and clear-cut enough to sell movies or get convictions.

The first ambiguity Epstein delineates is the question of who Lee Harvey Oswald–and his wife Marina–really were.  Epstein tells us the story of Oswald’s time in the Marine Corps, and his proximity to the U-2 spy plane program.  He points out the circumstances that indicate that Oswald may have given the Russians the information that enabled them to shoot down Gary Powers and effectively end the U-2 spying program–but he doesn’t come out and scream “OSWALD WAS A RUSSIAN SPY!!!”  He also points out inconsistencies in Marina Oswald’s story of how she grew up and how she met Lee, as well as troubling inconsistencies about her command of the English language, but again, he doesn’t get sensational about this.  “Just the facts, m’am.”

And, in a similar, level-headed tone he points out that the mission of the Warren Commission was not so much to find out the truth as it was to settle the public’s mind.  Was Oswald on the FBI’s payroll?  The Warren Commission didn’t investigate that–nor, lacking information, does Epstein spend much time on it, except to note that Oswald’s expenditures consistently did not match up with his apparent income–never by very much, but always just a little.  Was that because he was on the FBI’s payroll?  Or the KGB’s?  Or both?  We may never know.

The question of Oswald’s KGB connection raises another interesting ambiguity.  At the time of the Kennedy assassination, the CIA was holding a Soviet defector named Nosenko, trying to figure out if he was genuine or a Russian mole.  Nosenko said Oswald had no connection with the KGB, but there were so many inconsistencies in Nosenko’s overall presentation of himself that the CIA agents who spent nearly a year interrogating him were pretty well convinced that he was lying about that and a lot of other things.  They said as much in their report to their superiors….and were all reassigned and replaced by a crew of interrogators who quickly gave Nosenko a clean bill of health and helped him transition into American society.  The practice of changing the facts to fit the policy did not originate with the Bush administration.

About the ultimate questions–did Oswald do it, and was he alone?–Epstein remains level-headed.  He rejects the “gunmen on the grassy knoll” theory, but does point out that Oswald’s marksmanship record in the Marines was poor, while the shots that killed Kennedy and wounded John Connally were tricky ones to make.  Oswald had failed to hit Major General Edwin Walker, a far easier target, just a few months previously, and the Warren Commission never investigated the allegation of some witnesses that they saw two figures in the window of the Texas Book Depository at the time of the shooting.

Epstein’s analysis is an excellent example of clear thinking.  He concludes that it is possible that there were two gunmen, if one gunman, using Oswald’s rifle, shot Kennedy in the head and  wounded Connally, while the other gunman shot first and missed, then shot again and hit Kennedy in the back, and the investigation failed to recover that bullet.  On the other hand, it is also possible that just two shots were fired, and the shot that hit Kennedy in the back ricocheted and hit Connally.  The expert witnesses do not agree, and that’s all there is to it.  Ambiguity.

Ambiguity is also a key word in the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.  Shane O’Sullivan has recently produced a documentary movie that attempts to prove that Bobby was killed by CIA agents in retaliation for the US’s failure to fully back up the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.  Of course there are people challenging his evidence, and people challenging their evidence, and so on.  To his credit, O’Sullivan is modifying his stance as the evidence shifts–but the central, unanswered questions still remain.

Another questionable assassination account from the sixties is the death of Martin Luther King.  Again, there is strong evidence that King was set up–removal of his usual security detail from the Memphis Police Department, a mysterious call asking to change his accommodations from a more secure room to the exposed balcony where he was shot–and an “official story” of a crazed lone gunman.  In either case, J. Edgar Hoover’s dislike for Rev. King is real, and a black mark on the government that allowed him to remain in such an influential position.

What, for me, ties these together, is the peculiar circumstance of three relatively progressive figureheads being taken out by “lone gunmen” in a short space of time–resulting in the decapitation of a movement that seemed poised to take America in a more open and liberal direction.  There was no wave of assassinations of conservative figures.  The CIA has a known track record of surreptitious interference with the internal politics of other countries…throw a dart at a map of Central and South America and you’ll probably come up with one.  So there is a certain logic in presuming that things in this country are not quite as they seem.

So, have the right wing and/or the CIA, etc. cooked up quite a menu of vendettas against progressives, or have they just fostered an atmosphere of violence that encourages unstable individuals to go do their wet work for them?  “Just the facts, m’am,” and the fact is that there is a long list of assasinations, each with a “perfectly logical” explanation of why it was not the work of a conspiracy.

Can you say, “9-11,” boys and girls?

music: Mike Scott and the Waterboys, “The Wind In the Wires





CRITIQUEING AL-QAEDA

3 04 2008

Whoever Bohadan Pilicinski is, he seems to have some familiarity with how covert ops work.  That said, it is surprising that he didn’t turn his highly critical viewpoint on the official explanations of the event; he notes that two of the hijackers rented a room from an FBI agent without either, apparently, spotting the other, and he seems to accept the idea that jet fuel (kerosene) could create a fire hot enough to melt steel, etc….hey, this is just one piece of the puzzle…

September 11 was a third-rate operation
By Bohdan Pilacinski


In late April of 2001, just five months before the September 11 attack date, Mohamed Atta was stopped for driving erratically late at night near Ft Lauderdale, Florida. By then, the pilots all had their licenses, final-phase planning must have been under way. Yet, here was Osama bin Laden’s field commander for the entire operation, driving a red Pontiac (though 15 years old), with Arabic stickers, and no driver’s license, or at least none he would show. 

Warned and lucky, Atta was told to show up for a court date, with a license, or a warrant would go out for his arrest. He got the license but failed to show. Ten weeks later, he was stopped for speeding, but unaccountably no computer coughed up a warrant. Now Florida has reciprocity; so at least in theory and for no good reason, the September 11 attack team functioned its last four months with an arrest warrant out for their leader in 50 states.

Having sorted out the contestants in their publicly touted “mastermind” of the month contest, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released this disclosure of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, (so successfully water-boarded in Pakistan). Zacarias Moussaoui, who’d presumably attracted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attention by advising his flight instructor that he wasn’t much interested in take-offs and landings [1], hadn’t been a member of the 9/11 teams at all; he was being held in reserve. Why? Because he was a belligerent loud-mouth and hence a security risk. As he so proved.

Point is, any decent handler with minimal judgment and authority would have yanked Moussaoui out of the country within days of this assessment. But no, he was left scheming on his own, possibly with consequences for al-Qaeda more severe than we know … such as forcing the attack date.

No license, sloppy driving, even Arabic stickers; worse, an unbalanced agent working solo. These aren’t just lapses in the learning curve of an amateur operation; these are ludicrous standards for operational security in any clandestine organization.
In the orchestrated fear campaign pursuant to the attack, we were systematically inundated with extravagant claims for al-Qaeda’s potency, reach, cohesion, dedication, vision and Satanic focus. Dr No on petrodollars! Everything Vladimir Lenin could wish he’d had or been! Of course much of this has since – in the jargon of the financial press – been “subject to downward revision”; yet, to this day, insistence on al-Qaeda as a formerly monolithic, then metastasized, demon pathology of epic capacity for terror and evil, has been virtually obligatory throughout the US media: left, right and center. 

more





A SIMPLE, RATIONAL EXPLANATION….

28 03 2008
…of why the official explanation of 9-11 makes no sense, with no hard-to-swallow conspiracy theories and a nice touch of humor…the best one i’ve seen

 Muslims Suspend Laws of Physics!

by J. McMichael
I try to forget that heating steel is like pouring syrup onto a plate: you can’t get it to stack up.  The heat just flows out to the colder parts of the steel, cooling off the part you are trying to warm up.  If you pour it on hard enough and fast enough, you can get the syrup to stack up a little bit.  And with very high heat brought on very fast, you can heat up one part of a steel object, but the heat will quickly spread out and the hot part will cool off soon after you stop. 

Am I to believe that the fire burned for 104 minutes in the north tower, gradually heating the 200,000 tons of steel supports like a blacksmith’s forge, with the heat flowing throughout the skeleton of the tower?  If the collapse was due to heated steel, the experts should be able to tell us how many thousands of tons of steel were heated to melting temperature in 104 minutes and how much fuel would be required to produce that much heat.  Can a single Boeing 767 carry that much fuel? 

Thankfully, I found this note on the BBC web page ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_1540000/1540044.stm or: http://public-action.com/911/jmcm/BBCNews ): “Fire reaches 800 [degrees] C — hot enough to melt steel floor supports.” 

That is one of the things I warned you about: In the 20th Century, steel melted at 1535 degrees Celsius (2795 F), (see http://www.chemicalelements.com/elements/fe.html ), but in the 21st Century, it melts at 800 degrees C (1472 F). 

***

In order to weaken those joints, a fire would have to heat the bolts or the flanges to the point where the bolts fell apart or tore through the steel.  But here is another thing that gives me problems — all the joints between the platter and the central columns would have to be heated at the same rate in order to collapse at the same time — and at the same rate as the joints with the outer columns on all sides — else one side of the platter would fall, damaging the floor below and making obvious distortions in the skin of the building, or throwing the top of the tower off balance and to one side. 

But there were no irregularities in the fall of those buildings.  They fell almost as perfectly as a deck of cards in the hands of a magician doing an aerial shuffle. 

***

If the fire melted the floor joints so that the collapse began from the 60th floor downward, the upper floors would be left hanging in the air, supported only by the central columns.  This situation would soon become unstable and the top 30 floors would topple over (to use Loizeaux’s image) much like felling the top 600 ft. from a 1,300 ft. tree. 

This model would also hold for the north tower.  According to Chris Wise’s “domino” doctrine, the collapse began only at the floor with the fire, not at the penthouse.  How was it that the upper floors simply disappeared instead of crashing to the earth as a block of thousands of tons of concrete and steel? 

In trying to reconstruct and understand this event, we need to know whether the scenes we are watching are edited or simply shown raw as they were recorded. 

But let us return our attention to the fire.  Liquid fuel does not burn hot for long.  Liquid fuel evaporates (or boils) as it burns, and the vapor burns as it boils off.  If the ambient temperature passes the boiling point of the fuel and oxygen is plentiful, the process builds to an explosion that consumes the fuel. 

Jet fuel (refined kerosene) boils at temperatures above 160 degrees Celsius (350 F) and the vapor flashes into flame at 41 degrees Celsius (106 F).  In an environment of 1500 degrees F, jet fuel spread thinly on walls, floor, and ceiling would boil off very quickly.  If there were sufficient oxygen, it would burn; otherwise it would disperse out the open windows and flame when it met oxygen in the open air — as was likely happening in the pictures that showed flames shooting from the windows.  Some New Yorkers miles distant claimed they smelled the fuel, which would indicate fuel vapors were escaping without being burned. 

Note that jet fuel burning outside the building would heat the outside columns, but would not heat the central load-bearing columns significantly.  Following this reasoning, the jet fuel fire does not adequately explain the failure of the central columns.

***

I have just one other point I need help with — the steel columns in the center.  When the platters fell, those quarter-mile high central steel columns (at least from the ground to the fire) should have been left standing naked and unsupported in the air, and then they should have fallen intact or in sections to the ground below, clobbering buildings hundreds of feet from the WTC site like giant trees falling in the forest.  But I haven’t seen any pictures showing those columns standing, falling, or lying on the ground.  Nor have I heard of damage caused by them. 

Now I know those terrorists must have been much better at these things than I am.  I would take one look at their kamikaze plans with commercial jets and I would reject it as — spectacular maybe, but not significantly damaging.  The WTC was not even a strategic military target. 

But if I were given the assignment of a terrorist hijacker, I would try to hit the towers low in the supports to knock the towers down, maybe trapping the workers with the fire and burning the towers from the ground up, just as the people in the top stories were trapped.  Even the Japanese kamikaze pilots aimed for the water line. 

But you see, those terrorists were so sure the building would magically collapse that way, the pilot who hit the north tower chose a spot just 20 floors from the top ( http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/worldtrade010911.html or: http://public-action.com/911/jmcm/ABCNews ). 

And the kamikaze for south tower was only slightly lower — despite a relatively open skyline down to 25 or 30 stories ( http://a188.g.akamaitech.net/f/188/920/15m/www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/graphics/rubble_ny091101.htm or: http://public-action.com/911/jmcm/wtcgeog )

The terrorists apparently predicted the whole scenario — the fuel fire, the slow weakening of the structure, and the horrific collapse of the building — phenomena that the architects and the NY civil engineering approval committees never dreamed of. 

Even as you righteously hate those men, you have to admire them for their genius. 

 

 

.

 





A VERY INTERESTING PUZZLE PIECE

29 02 2008

An article written by Larisa Alexandrovna and published online at RAW STORY discloses that two of the 9-11 hijackers stayed for several weeks immediately after their arrival in the US with an employee of a Saudi Arabian defense contractor.  The employee’s name was “redacted” in the public report here in the US but inadvertently released overseas.  The man was allowed to return to Saudi Arabia without being interrogated; when the FBI talked to him abroad, he insisted that he had “just happened” to find the two a couple of weeks after they arrived in southern California, although the timeline that the FBI put together on their movements made it obvious that they had been in contact from the time they arrived.

The article also makes much of one of the hijacker’s having purchased tickets that involved travel after 9-11, but it seems to me like a reasonable thing to do to cover your tracks.  You don’t want to be like that nudge  who told his flight instructors that he was only interested in flying airplanes, not landing them!

”But from the FBI’s timeline, we now know the hijackers started staying at Bayoumi’s place on Jan. 15 – the very same day they arrived,” Thompson says. “So obviously they must have been met at the airport and taken care of from their very first hours in the US. That’s huge because the FBI maintains to this day that the hijackers never had any accomplices in the US.”





LIARS’ CLUB

5 10 2006

It’s been quite a month for lies…but what else can you expect from a government that sets itself apart from “the reality based community”?

For openers, there was historical fiction in the form of ABC’s “docudrama” on 9-11, which made it look like Bill Clinton was too distracted by his infatuation with Monica Lewinsky to do anything about 9-11. Bill rightly defended himself on Fox news, of all places, by pointing out that all the Republicans who are now excoriating him for letting Osama get away are the ones who were making all the fuss about Monica and pooh-poohing his attempts to kill Bin Laden, and that the Bush administration totally dropped the ball on all those efforts until after 9-11 “took them by surprise,” if indeed it was a surprise to them.

Another lie about 9-11 that surfaced was the EPA’s claim that air quality at ground zero after the blast was good enough to allow most people to work without respiratory protection. Now we find that the vast majority of those who helped clean up the twin towers are suffering from serious lung problems. What was the “Support the Troops” crew’s response to this? They killed Hillary Clinton’s move to earmark two billion dollars to help these people with their health problems. Some support. And, speaking of supporting the troops, they’ve been cutting soldiers’ access to body armor (by outlawing private body armor) and shrinking the Veterans’ Administration’s health programs. Support our troops, right. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

The lies they told about Iraq—threat to the region, weapons of mass destruction, involvement with international terrorism, repressive government that needs to be toppled so democracy can flourish—have resulted in the deaths of as many Americans as died at the twin towers, the deaths of at least as many Iraqis as Saddam took out, a recruiting bonanza for terrorists, and a failing state in Iraq, a country where now, no one is safe. As one Iraqi commented, “Under Saddam, you knew that if you minded your own business, you wouldn’t be bothered. Now, death can come to anyone at any time.”

Lies….the facts in the Valerie Plame case are still not entirely clear, but it is possible that those who exposed her as an undercover CIA agent weren’t even well enough acquainted with the CIA’s operations to know that she was, in fact, the point person for uncovering Iraq’s secret weapons programs, if there were any—and, apparently, there were not. And this is the place where I say, “America had as much right to invade Iraq as the Nazis had to invade Poland.”

The gang that was so eager to dump Bill Clinton for a blow job sees nothing wrong with Presidential lies that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. And they see nothing wrong with protecting one of their own who’s a pedophile, if only they can get away with it ’till after the election. Boy, they’re really gonna hafta fix them voting machines good now that Representative Foley’s little indiscretions have come to light. They say incumbents can’t lose unless they’re caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, and he’s been caught with a live boy. Chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens’ Caucus. Family values, yeah yeah yeah.

Now, I think some people may be going too far in not trusting the junta. There are many who question whether the twin towers were planted with demolition charges, whether the Pentagon was hit by an airliner or missile,what NORAD was doing, and so on. I think getting hung up in these kinds of details is a distraction. If there was government collusion or acquiescence in the attack, they didn’t need to be concerned about whether buildings went down, didn’t need to complicate the plot and risk exposure that way—just needed to let it happen—maybe they didn’t think the buildings would come down, maybe that part of the tragedy genuinely surprised and saddened them—things got out of hand. Certainly the continuing exposure of how many warnings were willfully ignored (the CIA’s counterterrorism chief saying “we held a gun to Condi Rice’s head and did everything but pull the trigger”) suggests that they could have known about it and wanted it to happen—or were they just too preoccupied to notice? In either case, they should be criminally liable.

And of course their response since the attack has been nothing short of bizarre. Banning toothpaste from airliners? Seriously, evidence continues to mount regarding the number of individuals kidnapped, tortured, detained, and even killed who had nothing to do with any terrorism. For example, a number of the detainees at Guantanamo are ethnic Uigurs from northwestern China, who had to leave China for their own safety after unsuccessfully opposing the Chinese takeover of their homeland. They saw themselves as fighting for an American kind of freedom—but they were strangers in Pakistan where the US was offering bounties for terrorists, and somebody saw them as easy money and turned them in for the bounty. They didn’t have families who would seek revenge, y’know? And so now they’re in Guantanamo, and the American government they once admired wants to make sure they don’t get out.

Through all this, Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, et al have insisted that there are important secrets that must be kept and that is why none of their policies can be challenged. I think the most important secret they are trying to keep is what a bunch of incompetent, selfish, lying traitors they are. Let’s put them in Guantanamo and see how they like it!

Well, gee whiz (there I go again!), that’s a dangerous statement to make—because their response to the mounting criticism of their incompetence and venality has been to pass a law that essentially makes it illegal to criticize them. While the recent bill was promoted for its provisions stripping non-citizens of their rights, it also allows the President, or anyone he designates, to deem American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” and detain us without any rights, subject us to torture, including detaining our children and torturing them in front of us. I’m not making that up, folks. John Yoo, one of the chief framers of the junta’s torture polices, admitted as much in a public debate.

It looks to me like we are dealing with people who read 1984 and decided Big Brother was cool and Winston Smith was a dumb sucker who should have kept his head down.

The way this bill is written, Cindy Sheehan is subject to indefinite detention. Congressman John Murtha is subject to indefinite detention. Shame on the Democrats who voted for this bill. Shame on the ones who didn’t, but traded the possibility of a filibuster away for the chance to try to amend the bill to soften its impact. They’re making such noble, outraged noises. They should have rushed the podium or set fire to the furniture or at least demanded to be the first ones detained. Let’s get something clear—the junta doesn’t need torture provisions to get info from Middle Easterners—they know you don’t get reliable information from people by torturing them– they need the threat of torture to intimidate Americans. Everybody knows what weenies we are.

Gonzalez says that the 9-11 attacks constitute an invasion and therefore the government has the right to suspend habeus corpus. That statement is so fantastic that I hardly need to say anything about it except that if this guy wasn’t rich and in the government, he’d be on court-ordered meds.

I HAVE PLEDGED ALLEGIANCE TO THE REPUBLIC—NOT THE REPUBLICANS!!!

They have abrogated this country’s obligations under the Geneva conventions, which makes America an outlaw country. We are just as hijacked as the people in those jets five years ago, just as hijacked as the good citizens of Germany when Hitler pushed though a similar law in 1933.

Will there be a “Night of the Long Knives” to purge the GOP of Foley, Log Cabin Republicans, and anyone else antithetical to the “family values” crowd?

How many shopping days ’till Kristallnacht?

And what about Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin?

music: REM, “Welcome to the Occupation





CENSORSHIP BY SOAP

8 09 2006

So, about thirty-four percent of Americans think the government at least allowed the World Trade Center attacks to happen, and the other sixty-six percent are still living in la-la land, a world where the important news is whether Jon-Benet’s murderer has finally been found, and a Mormon polygamist somehow rates inclusion on the FBI’s ten most wanted list for schtupping underage girls. Next thing you know, Woody Allen will be in their crosshairs. Soap! That’s what these kind of stories are! They’re not news, they’re soap!

Speaking of soap and strategically placed distractions, the so-called breakup of the so-called plot to create liquid explosives from household items smuggled on airplanes is ludicrous from so many dimensions I hardly know where to begin. First of all, most of the people arrested didn’t have passports, let alone airline tickets, at the time they were arrested. There was no evidence most of them had even applied for passports.

As for making liquid explosives on board an airplane, columnist/cartoonist Ted Ralls quoted Britain’s highly respected technology magazine, The Register, to this effect:

“First,” wrote The Register, “you’ve got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling off the water…Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drink bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It’s all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don’t forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked “perishable foods”), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You’re going to need them.

“It’s best to fly first class and order champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate…Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide/acetone mixture into the ice water bath (champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you’ll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you’ll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

“After a few hours–assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven’t overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities–you’ll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two.”

The Register’s opinion of those who believe they have thwarted a terror plot?

“Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we’ve passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy.”

THIS is the substance of a terror threat? This is the kind of shibboleth Bush is waving about to keep his junta in power? And most American critics of the Bush junta’s trumpeting of this comedy of errors are merely pointing out that the Brits cracked the story by “old fashioned police work,” and not with the dubiously constitutional tools of the Patriot Act? They’re not pointing to the flimsiness of the “plot,” itself?

In spite of the fact that the majority of the American press is willing to accept having objects like this stuck up their rectums, there are honest, idealistic, crusading journalists who are dedicated to getting the truth to the public. And for you, the fearless few, the Bush junta has plans.

Back in 1917, at the height of war hysteria—this was the last time antiwar activists were actually lynched, in case you didn’t know—Congress passed a law called “The Espionage Act” which cranked up the penalties for disclosing government secrets. There was, to Congress’s credit, a debate on whether journalists should be exempted from the law, and journalists were, in fact, exempted. But now comes Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, he who called the Geneva Conventions “quaint,” and says the government is considering whether to prosecute journalists under this law anyway. Hey, he’s opted out of the “reality-based community,” AND he’s the AG, he can do whatever he wants, right? Fly, walk on water, imprison people for years without bringing charges against them, prosecute people under laws that don’t apply, leap over tall buildings in a single bound,whatever. But, I digress.

Here’s something: this government is making things secret that didn’t used to be secret. Details about the US missile program from the fifties, that have been in the public domain for decades, are now top secret again. If you have that information and publish it, you could be prosecuted. Hey, terrorists might use them to make missiles. And another thing: time and time again the government has stonewalled investigations and prosecutions of their illegal conduct “because they could compromise national security.” Under this doctrine, they could prosecute those bringing the suits for mentioning the matter in the first place. Plus, I just found out that journalist Greg Palast is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for the newly criminal offence of taking pictures of an oil refinery. Watch where you point that camera, folks.

Meanwhile, the news that a judge has found that the National Security Administration is acting in violation of the constitution can still be swamped in the media by a ten-year old murder case. With such voluntary censorship by burial in trivia, do we really need the heavy-handed kind? Mr. Cheney apparently thinks so.

OK, the good news/bad news—only a third, or nearly a third, of Americans are highly suspicious of the official twin towers story. When we started in on all this, not even a third of our population thought the Iraq war was unnecessary, but now a majority understand, at least, that it’s a bad idea. May the educating process continue.

music: Jackson Browne, “Lives In the Balance





HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

7 09 2006

This month’s Truth in Strange Places award goes to congressional candidate Dr. Mary Maxwell, a Republican candidate in a primary election that will be held this coming Tuesday in New Hampshire. Dr. Maxwell has distinguished herself by telling her interviewers at the Nashua Telegraph that the US government had a role in the 9-11 attacks, either by allowing the plot to proceed or by actually fomenting it. She refuses to state which of those she thinks most likely.

This news snippet got my attention—a Republican is rushing in where the Democrats fear to tread? I did some research. Her credentials are outstanding. She lived in Australia for eight years and earned a PhD in—politics, of all things, while she was there, and she served as President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. She spent five years in the United Arab Emirates with her pediatrician husband, while he helped start a medical school there, and says she found “found Arab people to be exactly like the rest of us.” She lost her husband to cancer in 2000. Since then she has worked towards a law degree, published several books on ethics in international relations (lauded by no less than Harvard’s Edward O. Wilson), served as a visiting scholar in the school of Law and Religion (what a combination!) at Emory University, and been a Summa Cum Laude scholar at Mannheim University in Germany. She would definitely bring more to the House of Representatives than someone who had been, say, an exterminator, dontcha think?

So—she’s been living out of the country quite a bit, getting real news instead of the corporate Prozac that American TV watchers get dosed with. Yeah, yeah, I know Australia is Rupert Murdererdoch’s home turf, but Ms. Maxwell is obviously someone who thinks for herself.

And, oh yeah—she’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the primary.

But she’s not alone in thinking that the twin towers was an inside job. According to recent surveys, about a third to half of all those polled agree with her. But you’d better not try too hard to prove it, and you can bet nobody that knows is going to step forward. Let me tell you a couple of stories about why.

Our first story concerns an Italian man named Adamo Bove, who was head of security at Telecom Italia, Italy’s largest telecommunications company. Bove had recently used mobile phone records to uncover how the CIA and Italy’s equivalent agency, SISMI, had illegally conspired to kidnap an Egyptian cleric and have him tortured in Cairo. It seems Bove’s bosses were conducting illegal wiretapping and doing their best to cover it up, but Bove’s help with the investigation had already forced one of Telecom Italia’s executives out, and it looked like, with Bove’s help, more indictments would be on the way. Then a funny thing happened….Adamo Bove apparently jumped to his death from a freeway overpass. He had not been suicidal; he left no note.

The next story takes us just across the Adriatic to Greece, where, a little over a year earlier, just before the Athens Olympics, Costas Tsalikidis, a software engineer for Vodaphone, Greece’s leading telephone company, discovered that the company’s mobile network was bugged, enabling somebody to eavesdrop on sensitive government discussions, as well as members of the opposition, journalists, and, oh, gee, Arab businessmen! The bug, he discovered, fed the tapped calls to several antennae located suspiciously near the American embassy, and yes, that’s highly circumstantial, but it is not circumstantial that the antennae transmitted to a telephone number in Laurel, Maryland, right here in the USA, which—just circumstantially, y’understand, happens to be the hometown of America’s National Security Agency.

Tsalikidis was psyched about discovering this. He felt he was on to something big. And then, one morning, his mother, poor woman, found him hung from some water pipes in his apartment, his feet a tantalizing, too distant three inches off the floor. He left no suicide note, just a deeply bereaved fiancee.

The next day, the head of Vodaphone reported the bug to the prime minister; but he made sure the bug was destroyed first, although that destroyed the way to prove the unfortunate Mr. Tsalikdis’ allegations.

The prime minister then made sure the story was buried, as he did not want to sour his country’s relations with the U.S.

Investigating these cases, I’ve come up with a third suspicious “suicide” in Italy, that of Michele Lanzi, in Tivoli in 2002, but all the googling I can do, all the searches of European newspapers, reveal no further reference to this than a mention in a discussion of the Adamo Bove case. Can any of you hard-core conspiracy theorists out there help me on this one?

The Bove discussion also revealed that the Italian verb for “suicide” has a transitive form, as in, “The Mafia suicided him.” Or the CIA. Are these the kind of “War on Terror” tactics the Bush-Cheney cabal would like to bring home?

music: Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows”

Comments

I really like your views, relative to the articles I’ve read. I’d like to know how you come up with the voting habits of members of congress and the senate?
Posted by ochipwa on 09/12/2006 12:53:03 AM








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