Posts from August 2009
Sibel Edmonds - deposition - 8 August 2009
The long-gagged FBI translator turned whistleblower speaks publicly on the record, under oath, for the first time since being twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's use of the "state secrets privilege".
Edmonds became a linguistics specialist in the FBI counterintelligence department following 9/11. In the deposition, she discusses startling allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, and infilitration of the U.S. government by current and former U.S. Congressmembers, high-ranking State and Defense Dept. officials, and agents of the Turkish government.
See www.bradblog.com/?p=7374 for more information.
Sibel Edmonds lets rip
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Once upon a time an evil witch visits a kingdom and poisons the central well with a potion that drives people mad. The next morning all who drink from that well go crazy. The king, however, knew about this in advance, and didn't drink from the communal well. The next day, those who drank the poisoned water came to the king and accused him of being the crazy one. The king, aware of what had transpired, was faced with a dilemma: drink from the well and lose his sanity like the rest of his subjects, but remain king; or don't drink, remain sane, but be swept from power by those who would view his very sanity as madness.
Today in our nation those who refrain from drinking from the well poisoned by the establishment witch are categorized, marginalized, and labeled mad, crazy, extremist, conspiracy theorists, and other adjectives along the same line:
Those driven by pure, agenda-free, and nonpartisan civil liberties motives are coined as die-hard unrealistic idealist liberals.
Those in government who dare to come forward, speak up, and tell the truth are labeled as disgruntled whistleblowers.
Those political candidates who choose to run as a ‘people’s candidate,’ not the establishment candidate representing this special interest or that foreign interest’s agenda, are referred to as nutcases, eccentrics, and crazies.
Those groups who fight for accountability and demand justice are dismissed as extremists.
Those activists who dare to ask for ‘real’ investigations in matters such as 9/11 are grouped and stuffed in a bucket as insane conspiracy theorists.
Those real investigative journalists and reporters who have defied the ‘dictation,’ refusing to become stenographers , have found themselves jobless and without paid outlets to publish.
Today in our nation, with the help of the mainstream media and the pseudo alternative-media alike, anyone who dares NOT to drink from the well poisoned by the establishment corruption, greed, abuses and lies, tainted foreign policy agenda, and cover-ups, is destined to find himself stuffed into the same bucket of crazies, loonies, the mad and insane.
Do you want me to be a bit more specific? My pleasure.
Since I recently posted excerpts from Representative Ron Paul’s speech titled ‘Is America a Police State?’ let’s start with him. During his Presidential candidacy he was consistently, and falsely, marginalized as Anti-Semite, racist, extremist, radical, and many other pejorative adjectives. Who did that? Not only the mainstream media, but also those pseudo alternatives who happen to be the extension of the same establishment media only with a different front/mask. These adjectives and intentional marginalization were used for other candidates as well. Whether it was Representative Kucinich being depicted as a wacky nutcase chasing UFOs, or others with similar non-establishment platforms.
I can write several volumes on how whistleblowers, especially those threatening ones from the Intelligence, defense, and law enforcement agencies were viciously attacked and falsely depicted by establishment operatives. Whether based on my own personal experience, or my 150+-member whistleblower organization, or the many friends and acquaintances I’ve listened to throughout the last 8 years, I’ve got plenty of examples.
Remember the burial of AIPAC Espionage Case and Trial? The FBI agents pursuing the involved treasonous criminals were painted as Anti-Semite witch-hunters. A very few investigative journalists, such as Stein of CQ, were portrayed as Right Wing Conspirators attempting to go after their darling filthy senior Democrat representatives. Please be my guest and go check the pseudo Israel-serving alternative media front-runners’ sites’ archive.
The recent sound and needed call by the groups who still seek ‘real’ answers via real investigations into the terrorists attack on September 11 is another specific and recent example. I am talking about the gigantic holes in the fable produced by a group of well-poisoners who had spent their entire career-life in the pockets of the conning establishment. I am talking about dozens of FBI, CIA and other relevant agency insiders such as Coleen Rowley who’ve been demanding an independent and real investigation. The mainstream media and their extension in the pseudo online media have made sure that these voices and calls are either buried, or spun as collective conspiracy theorists worthy of only ridicule.
Let me give you another specific example. People have been forwarding to me communications they have received via popular pseudo progressive online outlets who have been trying very hard to depict my recent sworn testimony as ‘mere allegations,’ and simply lies. I know some of these individuals’ past work and relations. For the last 8 years I have ignored them, and I will continue to do so. Some of these phoney cowards who have been posing as ‘alternative’ are fairly well-known in Washington DC circles and intelligence-related gatherings. One ex-state department operative, who is a regular face in DC cocktail circuits for the State Department and relevant think-tank well-poisoners, either intentionally or out of stupid naivety started this propaganda rumor that ‘I got a glimpse of a much bigger sting operation that I don’t understand, thus rightfully I’ve been gagged...’ This is what you get from Mr. Grossman’s personal buddy;-). Another one - who is now a favorite among Israel circle money pockets and who’s been receiving million dollar donations/investment - has recently been promoting me as a ‘crackpot.’ Coming from him, I consider it an honor. Honored to not be a poisoned-well-drinker. They may produce a good work here and there, but these people are by no means ‘non-establishment,’ and whether intentionally or not they try their darnest to get you to drink from the well.
Anyway. The reason I am writing this post while busy traveling is this:
I’ve been corresponding with several well-known and very-well-respected investigative journalists who are willing to cover some of these blacked-out stories, cases, and issues; do so as solid investigative work. However, they need to make a living. One way they can do this is to get paid per story/work as contract journalists, and cover exclusive and explosive stories for this site - which will have a new home soon.
Instead of sitting on our bu..s and pulling our hair when it comes to absent journalism in our country today we can go ahead and do something about it. Well, I am in a position where I believe I can do something about it. I can increase the frequency of my exclusive radio interviews to weekly or maybe even more frequently. I can hire several experienced and well-known journalists to cover some of the issues we’ve been discussing. I can do all this only with your support. I don’t want to, I have no desire, no intention, to chase funders and get inside their pockets to do this. Once you do that, you are done; you’ve drunk from the poisoned-well. That’s a fact. Whether those who do it accept it or not, it is what it is. Also, I am not interested in a strategy targeting advertisers for funding. That too defeats the purpose; at least my purpose. So we have only one option left: a site for the people (at least those who don’t want to drink from the well), by the people.
Okay. Now it is your turn. Please let me know if you are ready to support this. Also, let others know and get their take. After my return I will be in a position to decide which way to go, and the major part in this decision will come from you.
The long-gagged FBI translator turned whistleblower speaks publicly on the record, under oath, for the first time since being twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's use of the "state secrets privilege". Edmonds became a linguistics specialist in the FBI counterintelligence department following 9/11. In the deposition, she discusses startling allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, and infilitration of the U.S. government by current and former U.S. Congressmembers, high-ranking State and Defense Dept. officials, and agents of the Turkish government. See bradblog.com/?p=7374 for more information.
This is what a real protest rally looks like…
Washington DC Civil Rights March, Aug 30, 1963
A sea of people, stretching as far as the eye can see, gathered in the name of freedom, truth and justice.
A great poet sings with crystal clarity - penetrating to the core of every heart, stirring the masses to awaken, rise up and reclaim their dignity and their destiny.
And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they're spoken.
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.
That was 46 years ago.
Today we're lucky if ten people turn out to protest for 9/11 truth. Does that make you sad? It makes me damn sad, too sad for words.
It's not just that we consented to become livestock, it's that, in doing so we made our world into a joke.
We diluted our passion, lost our dignity and even the possibility of ecstasy, accepting in return a TV simulation. We consented to become automatons, drugged with sex, sitcoms, junk food, vaccines, fluoride and all the rest...
And we pretended we were free - that's the sickest part.
Nevertheless, one day the ship will come in. I know it.
For those of you that thought demolishing a building was easy
What does this remind you of ?
No prizes for guessing the right answer (:
‘Monster attack’ planned on base
Milanda Rout | August 25, 2009
Article from: The Australian
MEMBERS of an alleged terrorist conspiracy group spoke about working together "on a great monstrous thing" and needing only 20 minutes to take out as many soldiers as possible as they planned an attack on a Sydney army base.
Conversations recorded by federal police on secret telephone intercepts reveal two of the accused talked to sheiks in Somalia to try to get a fatwa -- religious blessing -- for their attack and described their plans to get guns and rifles for the terror plot.
Details of these discussions emerged yesterday at the Melbourne Magistrates Court as three of the accused, Saney Edow Aweys, Nayef El Sayed and Yacqub Khayre, applied for bail.
Australian Federal Police counter-terrorism agent Chris Salmon read out a prosecution summary of the case to the court, which included transcripts of recorded conversations about being on a mission to "please Allah" and desires to "enter the paradise" of the after life.
"So they want an operational martyrdom," Sheik Abdirahman Ahmed, from Somalia, allegedly asks Mr Aweys on July 10.
"Yes," Mr Aweys replies. "They know where they can get them (the guns). Then they want to enter the military forces stationed in the barracks. Their desire is to fan out as much as possible ... until they would be hit. Twenty minutes would be enough for us to take out five, six, 10, eight, whatever Allah knows."
Sheik Abdirahman then asks: "Could there be disastrous consequences?" Mr Aweys says: "Yes, it's Australia and the city of Melbourne. As you may be aware ... we are present in their midst. The infidels, their forces are cast in the lands of Islam and causing great damage."
Another recorded conversation between the fourth accused, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal and Mr El Sayed, also talks about obtaining a fatwa for their planned attack on the Holsworthy army base in southwestern Sydney.
"I would like to strike big if its halal (approved)," Mr El Sayed allegedly says to Mr Fattal, who was in the Melbourne Remand Centre at the time after being charged with an unrelated assault. "Allah willing, we will strike good, and the rest will distribute it on the brothers."
Mr Fatal says all he wants is an afterlife. "We are doing something very terrific for Allah. We are working together on a great monstrous thing and we will need to persevere."
Mr Salmon told the court Mr Aweys was recruiting men to fight for Somali extremist group al-Shabaab against the country's government and he helped Mr Khayre travel to Somalia and train with the terror group.
"He (Mr Khayre) has acquired skills which are dangerous and could be used to avoid police," AFP agent Bruce Castle told the bail hearing.
The court also heard police believe Mr Khayre left his passport with an al-Shabaab leader in Somalia.
Mr Salmon said police were still obtaining evidence from the US, Britain and Kenya. He said several other people may have been involved in the plot.
He confirmed police had not seized weapons at any of the 19 homes they raided on August 4, apart from a pair of nunchucks, which they later learned belonged to someone else.
Mr Khayre, Mr Fattal, Mr Sayed and Mr Aweys, along with Abdirahman Ahmed, have been charged with conspiring to prepare for a terrorist act.
Mr Aweys and Mr Ahmed have also been charged with helping Walid Osman Mohamed go to Somalia and fight with al-Shabaab. Mr Aweys faces a third charge of preparing to go over to engage in conflict in Somalia.
The bail hearings, before magistrate Peter Reardon, continue.
By Lisa Pease
August 21, 2009
In any kind of major transnational event, there is the historical truth, what actually happened, and the political truth, what must have happened for the nations involved to continue on as before.
Sometimes, these accounts match; other times, these “truths” are wildly divergent, which appears to be the case with the Lockerbie bombing.
On Thursday, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of planting a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over the hills over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, was released. The Scottish authorities said they were letting al-Megrahi go free on “compassionate grounds” because he was terminally ill from cancer.
This decision caused an uproar in the United States. Obama administration officials lodged angry protests; family members of the victims decried the move, and TV pundits joined in the lamentations. But what do they really know about the Lockerbie bombing, beyond what they’ve read in the last few days?
The truth about what happened at Lockerbie appears quite a bit more complex than the cookie-cutter version presented by the mainstream media. Several longtime observers of the al-Megrahi case have concluded that it has always been weak, at best.
According to British journalist Hugh Miles in a 2007 article for London Review of Books, many “lawyers, politicians, diplomats and relatives of Lockerbie victims now believe that the former Libyan intelligence officer is innocent.”
Miles quoted Robert Black QC, an Edinburgh University professor emeritus of Scottish law, as saying, “No reasonable tribunal, on the evidence heard at the original trial, should or could have convicted him and it is an absolute disgrace and outrage what the Scottish court did.”
Al-Megrahi was tried along with fellow Libyan intelligence officer Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah. With distraught relatives of victims filling the courtroom, the Scottish judges understandably feared the reaction to two not guilty verdicts. Instead, the judges acquitted Fhimah and found al-Megrahi guilty.
A U.N. observer to the trial, Austrian philosophy Professor Hans Koschler, noted, "You cannot come out with a verdict of guilty for one and innocent for the other when they were both being tried with the same evidence.”
The only important piece of evidence that differentiated al-Megrahi from Fhimah was the dubious identification of al-Megrahi by a storekeeper in Malta who fingered the Libyan as the buyer of clothing found in the bomb suitcase.
But this storekeeper had earlier identified several other people, including one who was a CIA agent. When he finally identified al-Megrahi from a photo, it was after al-Megrahi's photo had been in the world news for years.
There also were major discrepancies between the shopkeeper's original description of the clothes-buyer and al-Megrahi's actual appearance. The shopkeeper told police that the customer was "six feet or more in height" and "was about 50 years of age." Al-Megrahi was 5'8" tall and was 36 in 1988.
The Scottish judges acknowledged that the initial description "would not in a number of respects fit the first accused [al-Megrahi]" and that "it has to be accepted that there was a substantial discrepancy." Nevertheless, the judges accepted the identification as accurate.
As the Scottish judges pieced together their curious rationale for a guilty verdict, they also were rejecting earlier scenarios for the bombing.
For instance, Scottish radio reporter David Johnston devoted a chapter of his book Lockerbie: The Tragedy of Flight 103 to the prevalent theory in the months following the attack, that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was responsible.
Scottish journalist Magnus Linklater, in an article for the London Timesonline on Aug. 13, noted that this was hardly a wild conspiracy theory at the time:
“It is sometimes forgotten just how powerful the evidence was, in the first few months after Lockerbie, that pointed towards the involvement of the Palestinian-Syrian terror group the PFLP-GC, backed by Iran and linked closely to terror groups in Europe. At The Scotsman newspaper, which I edited then, we were strongly briefed by police and ministers to concentrate on this link, with revenge for an American rocket attack on an Iranian airliner as the motive.”
Indeed, the Sunday Times of London reported in its front-page headline of March 26, 1989, “Pan Am Bombers Identified.” The article stated that anonymous intelligence sources knew who was behind the bombing: “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, a Damascus-based PLO renegade who opposes Yasser Arafat’s current peace drive.”
The paper claimed that PLO sources had told it the group had received $10 million to bring down the plane in retaliation for the downing of an Iranian civilian airline by the American cruiser Vincennes the summer before.
(The U.S. claimed the Vincennes thought it was being attacked, and fired in self-defense, a claim which had no basis in reality, despite having been voiced by President Ronald Reagan and Vice President and former CIA director George H.W. Bush. President Reagan refused to apologize to Iran for this tragic mistake.)
The Observer reported that, after the shootdown of the Iranian plane, the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Beirut invited Ahmed Jibril and other terrorists to a meeting attended by representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, where plans were made to bring down a plane with a bomb.
The final meeting purportedly took place at the Carlton Hotel in Beirut just days before the Lockerbie incident.
On Dec. 24, 1989, the Sunday Times reported that white plastic residue found at the Lockerbie crash site matched material in alarm clocks purchased from a couple of Jibril’s PFLP-GC associates just before their arrest in West Germany in October 1988, just two months before the Lockerbie bombing.
As Bill Blum’s report, recently republished at Consortiumnews.com, noted, the Iranian-PFLP-GC conspiracy “was the Original Official Version, delivered with Olympian rectitude by the U.S. government — guaranteed, sworn to, scout’s honor, case closed — until the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria were needed.”
Enter the political truth. With Iran and Syria no longer available as sponsors, given the new political reality, Libya became the new enemy. Never mind that the evidence was nearly nonexistent.
In a BBC report from 2002, U.N. trial observer Koschler stated it appeared to him the U.S. and UK authorities exerted undue influence over al-Megrahi’s trial. Why would U.S. and UK authorities try to influence the court? Beyond their roles as advocates for the victims, what did theyhave to gain or to hide?
Authors John Ashton and Ian Ferguson, who together wrote Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie, point out that more than just bodies were found in the wreckage of Flight 103.
Along with the 270 dead were approximately $500,000 in American bills and an envelope marked with $547,000, carrying travelers checks. But according to a few key witnesses, something else was found. Drugs. Heroin, to be exact.
Additionally, locals were perturbed by the immediate presence of large numbers of Americans who showed up in Lockerbie within a couple of hours of the downing of the plane.
When the CIA agents arrived on the scene, they were looking for highly confidential papers that should have been found on the body of the pilot, Captain James McQuarrie, No such papers were found. They also sought something of great importance, but would not specify what it was. They told the Scottish officials they’d know it when they found it.
Among the victims was a man alleged to have been planning a rescue operation for the American hostages then being held in Beirut, U.S. Army Major Charles McKee, a Defense Intelligence Agency employee who had been assigned temporarily to the CIA.
McKee had been accompanied by four others that were later identified as CIA men: Matthew Gannon, the CIA’s Beirut Deputy Station Chief; Ronald Larivier, Daniel O’Connor, and Bill Leyrer. Was the presence of these men on the flight significant in any way? Were they targets? One investigator believed that was a possibility.
Pan Am’s attorney James Shaughnessy hired Juval Aviv, president of a private intelligence firm named Interfor and a former Mossad member, to conduct an investigation into the bombing. Pan Am was facing a civil suit from families of victims regarding lax security policies. The more they knew about the bombing, the better Pan Am could determine whether to contest the suit or settle.
Aviv’s report, commonly called the Intefor Report, contains several claims, which, if true, are remarkable. It’s hard to know how much credibility to give the report, although Aviv’s firm had done business with the IRS and other government agencies, and had even been hired by the Secret Service to investigate potential threats against President Reagan.
The Interfor Report claims that one or more baggage handlers at Pan Am’s facilities in Frankfurt serviced the drug trade, swapping out innocent baggage for drug-laden baggage. The Report also claims that a CIA team (referred to as CIA-1 in the Report) had learned about this drug operation and was using their knowledge of it to extract concessions from those holding the hostages in Beirut.
The report claims that the McKee-led team of CIA people – in Beirut to plan a hostage rescue operation – learned of this drug smuggling operation and the role of some CIA people in it. According to the report, “The [McKee] team was outraged, believing that its rescue and their lives would be endangered by the double dealing.”
The report said, “By mid-December the team became frustrated and angry and made plans to return to the U.S. with their photos and evidence to inform the government, and to publicize their findings if the government covered it up. They did not seek permission to return, which is against the rules. The return was unannounced. … Sources report eight CIA team members on that flight, but we only have identified the five names reported herein.”
According to the report, an undercover Mossad agent tipped off the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) 24 hours in advance that a bomb was to be placed on Pan Am Flight 103. BKA, said the report, passed that information to CIA-1, which reported that information to its control, but received no guidance one way or another back.
The Interfor Report alleges that a Turkish baggage handler stashed a suitcase in the employee locker area, as was his usual practice with drug shipments.
During the loading of bags, a BKA agent noticed a bag that looked different than the usual drug bags. Since he was on alert for a potential bomb, he notified CIA-1, which again passed that information to its control.
The report said, “Control replied: don’t worry about it, don’t stop it, let it go.” The report said CIA-1 gave no instructions to BKA, and BKA did nothing to stop the bag.
In one of its most startling allegations, the report said, “The BKA was then covertly videotaping that area on that day. A videotape was made. It shows the perpetrator in the act. It was held by BKA. A copy was made and given to CIA-1. The BKA tape has been ‘lost.’ However, the copy exists at CIA-1 control in the U.S.”
Aviv encouraged Pan Am to obtain a copy of that tape, warning that the CIA would deny its existence, and that Pan Am would need to be persistent.
This story took on new dimensions in 1990, when both ABC and NBC did their own report on a drug ring link to the bombing. Both chose, however, to focus on a DEA operation, and the CIA was never mentioned by either network.
NBC named Khalid Jaafar, the only Arab on Flight 103, as the unwitting courier whose bag got swapped for the bomb. The Interfor Report had named the same person.
According to Cover-up of Convenience authors Ashton and Ferguson, on Oct. 30, 1990, NBC reported:
“NBC news has learned that Pan Am flights from Frankfurt, including [Flight] 103, had been used a number of times by the DEA as part of its undercover operations to fly information and suitcases of heroin into Detroit as part of a sting operation to catch dealers in Detroit. The undercover operation, code-named Operation Courier, was set up three years ago by the DEA in Cyprus to infiltrate Lebanese heroin groups in the Middle East and their connections in Detroit …
“nformants would put suitcases on the Pan Am flights, apparently without the usual security checks, according to one airline source, through an arrangement between the DEA and German authorities. Law enforcement officials say the fear now is that the terrorists that blew up Pan Am 103 somehow learned about what the DEA was doing, infiltrated the undercover operation and substituted the bomb for the heroin in one of the DEA shipments” so the bomb would sail through the security loophole, undetected.
ABC produced a similar report the next day, and also claimed that Khalid Jaafar was one of the drug couriers.
The DEA investigated itself in the wake of these stories, and declared itself clean to a House subcommittee. The DEA claimed only three drug operations had been run through Frankfurt, and none in December of 1988 when the bombing took place.
In 1992, long after the DEA’s denials, a new report supporting the Interfor Report surfaced, in Time magazine of all places, supporting some of the reports core allegations.
The article, by Roy Rowan, stated that Ahmed Jibril used a Middle Eastern heroin traffic operation to get the bomb on the plane, and that McKee was heading back to Washington to expose the CIA unit’s operations with the drug dealers.
So is this the true history of what happened at Lockerbie? I don’t know.
The direction of the case shifted dramatically in the fall of 1990 as President George H.W. Bush was scrambling to assemble a coalition to drive Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. The Bush administration was in need of Iranian and Syrian help, too, in freeing U.S. hostages then held by Islamic militant groups in Lebanon.
Also in 1990, spin-off investigations from the Iran-Contra scandal were underway with Iranian officials possessing possible information that could have incriminated President Bush as he was looking toward a tough reelection battle in 1992. In short, the Iranians held a number of cards that would have made them inconvenient targets of the Pan Am investigation.
However, the Libyans were opposing Bush’s Persian Gulf intervention and had long ranked near the top of the list of America’s favorite enemies. Laying the blame on the Libyans let a lot of influential people off the hook.
While I don’t know if the alternative theories of the Pan Am 103 bombing are true, what I do know is that there is a lot more support for some of them than there ever was for the conviction of the unfortunate and now cancer-ridden al-Megrahi, whose release on Thursday was widely condemned by U.S. officials and media figures with almost no reference to the lingering doubts about his conviction beyond brief mentions that he continues to assert his innocence.
How did we get so far off track on this story? In part, by not having a truly independent media to investigate and report on the truth behind this case.
Lisa Pease is a historian and writer who specializes in the mysteries of the John F. Kennedy era.
CIA hired Blackwater for al-Qaida assassination programme
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Thursday 20 August 2009
The CIA enlisted the notorious security firm Blackwater in a secret programme to hunt and kill al-Qaida leaders, US intelligence sources confirmed today. Blackwater staff, many of whom are former US special forces and CIA members, were recruited in 2004 as part of the programme, estimated to have costs millions of dollars.
However, the New York Times, which broke the story, said it was unclear whether Blackwater had been engaged to carry out assassinations or simply to help with intelligence-gathering, planning and training.
No raid to capture or kill al-Qaida leaders was ever carried out and the programme was closed down this year. But the employment of Blackwater raised new questions about the legality of the CIA's behaviour during the Bush administration and about the agency's widespread use of outside contractors. There is also a question about whether the programme was deliberately kept hidden from Congress.
The CIA today refused to discuss the involvement of Blackwater, but did not deny it either. George Little, a CIA spokesman, acknowledged that there had been a counter-terrorism effort and it amounted to "more than a PowerPoint presentation".
General Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA from 2006 to this year, today defended the use of outside contractors, saying the agency used "whoever was best suited for the job". Speaking at a press conference in Washington, he denied that contractors had been used so the CIA could avoid blame. "We do not go outside the agency in order to deflect responsibility," he said. "Period."
Without going into the specifics of Blackwater's involvement, Hayden played down the significance of the programme, saying that if he had regarded it as important, he would have briefed Congress. He insisted he had never been asked by the former vice-president, Dick Cheney, to withhold information from Congress.
Hayden was adamant that the CIA did not carry out assassinations but, when asked if killing al-Qaida leaders amounted to assassination, he said: "No. That is killing in self-defence."
The CIA has been banned from carrying out assassinations since 1976, after congressional hearings into targeted killings in Vietnam and Latin America, including 26 attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Tim Shorrock, author of Spies For Hire: The Secret World Of Intelligence Outsourcing, expressed concern that private contractors could have been used by the CIA as a way to evade responsibility. "There is no accountability for contractors. We have seen it time and again with Blackwater," he said.
He added that Congress had been trying for years to get the CIA to release the names of the private contractors it uses. His estimate is that the CIA outsources 70% of its work. The agency claims that more than 90% of its core activities is carried out by permanent staff, with contractors being engaged mainly in support and logistical work.
Blackwater, which first started working for the CIA in various roles a few days after the September 11 attacks, was banned from Iraq after a 2007 massacre of civilians involving its staff. It has since changed its name to Xe Services.
The company could not be contacted today for comment.
Barack Obama's new CIA director, Leon Panetta, raised the alarm in June when he went to Congress to report that he had just heard about a previously unreported covert operation, although he did not name Blackwater. The House of Representatives intelligence committee is investigating why the CIA withheld the information.
Earlier this week, there was a report on the Daily Beast website suggesting that Panetta had overreacted, and that the secret programme amounted to no more than a PowerPoint presentation.
Without specifically mentioning Blackwater, Little said today: "Director Panetta thought this effort should be briefed to Congress, and he did so. He also knew it hadn't been successful, so he ended it. Neither decision was difficult. This was clear and straightforward."
But Little dismissed the report that the programme had amounted to no more than a PowerPoint presentation: "Director Panetta did not tell the committees that the agency had misled the Congress or had broken the law. He decided that the time had come to brief Congress on a counterterrorism effort that was, in fact, much more than a PowerPoint presentation."
The CIA is braced for further headlines on Monday when a previously unpublished internal investigation into its interrogation techniques under George Bush's administration is scheduled to be published.
Hayden said that there were several paragraphs in the report that would show that valuable information about al-Qaida was gained through the interrogation of terrorist suspects, and said that would help to put the criticism of the agency into perspective.
GOP Senators: US Faces Terrorist Attack If Holder Probes Bush’s Torture Program
By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Aug 19th, 2009
Nine Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Eric Holder Wednesday saying the U.S. could face a terrorist attack if the attorney general appoints a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA’s use of torture against “war on terror” suspects.
Holder is under pressure to resist launching a criminal probe, even one limited to rogue CIA interrogators. At the same time, he is facing mounting pressure from some prominent Democrats and civil liberties and human rights groups to not only sign off on a criminal investigation but to expand it to include top Bush administration officials.
The latest correspondence came on Wednesday, in a letter to the attorney general that said an investigation into the CIA’s interrogation practices, no matter how limited in scope, would jeopardize the “security for all Americans, “chill future intelligence activities,” and could “leave us more vulnerable to attack.”
The senators resorted to fear-mongering, invoking the terrorist attacks on 9/11 to try and dissuade Holder
“We are deeply concerned by recent news reports that you are ‘poised to appoint a special prosecutor’ to investigate CIA officials who interrogated al Qaeda terrorists. Such an investigation could have a number of serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans,” the letter says.
The letter was sent to Holder by Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was also signed by Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
“The 9/11 Commission emphasized that keeping our country safe from foreign attack requires that the Justice Department work cooperatively with the intelligence community, but the appointment of a special prosecutor would irresponsibly and unnecessarily drive a wedge between the two…
“We will not know the lost opportunities to prevent attacks, the policies to protect the nation left on the table, due to fear of future policy disagreement being expressed through an indictment. It is hard to imagine how the Justice Department could take that risk after September 11, given that the foremost duty of the Department is to protect Americans”
The timing of the letter coincides with the expected public release next Monday of a 2004 CIA inspector general’s report that called into question the legality of the Bush administration’s interrogation program.
Heavily redacted portions of Helgerson’s 200-page report were released to the ACLU in May 2008 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but the ACLU appealed the Bush administration’s extensive deletions and the Obama administration responded to that appeal with a promise to review the materials at issue and declassify, at the very least, portions of it to the civil liberties group.
The Justice Department has delayed turning over the report three times since then. Last month, a federal court judge gave the CIA until Aug. 24 to declassify the report.
Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney, said Wednesday she believes the CIA will turn over the report next week, but she did not know whether it would be redacted yet again when released.
The secret findings of CIA Inspector General John Helgerson led to eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department for homicide and other misconduct, but those cases languished as Vice President Dick Cheney is said to have intervened to constrain Helgerson’s inquiries.
His report reportedly says the techniques used on the prisoners “appeared to constitute cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture.”
Holder started to consider the need to appoint a special counsel to conduct a criminal investigation after he read Helgerson’s findings, according to published reports.
The Republican senators, in their letter to Holder Wednesday, said the CIA IG report “has been available to the Justice Department for more than five years” and should not be used as a basis to “justify” the appointment of a special prosecutor.
The IG report has “been available to the Justice Department for more than five years,” the senators wrote. “Three former Attorneys General and numerous career prosecutors have examined the findings of that report and other evidence and determined that that facts do not support criminal prosecutions.
“It is difficult to understand what rationale could drive the Justice Department to now reverse course, reopen a five-year-old matter, and tarnish the careers, reputations, and lives of intelligence community professionals…
“The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift. Indeed, there is a substantial risk that the mere prospect of criminal liability for terrorist interrogations is already impending our intelligence efforts, as demonstrated from the fact that CIA officials increasingly feel compelled to obtain legal defense insurance.”
The senators are wrong. Jane Mayer, in her book The Dark Side, said there was a mountain of evidence to support prosecutions and a belief by some “insiders that [Helgerson's investigation] would end with criminal charges for abusive interrogations.”
But top Justice Department officials, including former criminal division Michael Chertoff, his deputy Alice Fisher and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, allowed the cases to languish and may have even scuttled the probes to protect the Bush White House.
McNulty resigned in disgrace two years ago and is under scrutiny by a special prosecutor investigating the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys. McNulty faces obstruction of justice and perjury charges related to his February 2007 testimony to Congress about the ordeal.
In an interview with Harper’s magazine last year, Mayer said Helgerson “investigated several alleged homicides involving CIA detainees, and that Helgerson’s office forwarded several to the Justice Department for further consideration and potential prosecution.”
“The only case so far that has been prosecuted in the criminal courts is that involving David Passaro—a low-level CIA contractor, not a full official in the Agency. Why have there been no charges filed? It’s a question to which one would expect that Congress and the public would like some answers.
“Sources suggested to me that, as you imply, it is highly uncomfortable for top Bush Justice officials to prosecute these cases because, inevitably, it means shining a light on what those same officials sanctioned. Chertoff’s role in particular seems ripe for investigation. Alice Fisher’s role also seems of interest. Much remains to be uncovered.”
Mayer also reported that another possible reason that the Justice Department investigations went nowhere was that Vice President Cheney intervened and demanded that Helgerson meet with him privately about his investigation. Mayer characterized Cheney’s interaction with Helgerson as highly unusual.
Cheney’s “reaction to this first, carefully documented in-house study concluding that the CIA’s secret program was most likely criminal was to summon the Inspector General to his office for a private chat,” Mayer wrote in her book The Dark Side.
“The Inspector General is supposed to function as an independent overseer, free from political pressure, but Cheney summoned the CIA Inspector General more than once to his office.”
“Cheney loomed over everything,” one former CIA officer told Mayer. “The whole IG’s office was completely politicized. They were working hand in glove with the White House.”
In their letter, the senators also said “media reports also suggest that the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, would be a primary focus of the investigation that you envision.”
Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in the span of a single month, far above the legal limit imposed by the August 2002 torture memos. Helgerson, Mayer wrote in her book, “had serious questions about the agency’s mistreatment of dozens more, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”
The Republican lawmakers said “the interrogation of KSM, and others like him, produced information that was absolutely vital to apprehending other al Qaeda terrorists and preventing additional attacks on the United States.”
They then go on to blame the Obama administration for failing to provide justice for the victims of 9/11.
“It is ironic that the Obama Administration, which has delayed justice for the victims of September 11 by suspending the trial of KSM, may soon be charging ahead to prosecute the very CIA officials who obtained critical information from him,” the Republican lawmakers wrote. “That KSM’s treatment is receiving more prompt attention from the Justice Department than his depraved acts cannot be justified.”
On the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said in a letter to Holder Aug. 4 that if he does appoint a special counsel to probe the Bush administration’s program of torture, it must include the top officials who created and implemented the policy.
“There simply is no legal, moral or principled reason to insulate those who authorized the torture of detainees, either through legal reasoning or other policy directive, from investigation,” Nadler wrote
“First, such an investigation would fail to consider the possible violation of laws by high-ranking officials and lawyers who, through legal advice or otherwise, may have authorized torture,” Nadler wrote.
“This country has been instrumental in establishing the principle that high-ranking officials and lawyers who use legal reasoning to justify or otherwise authorize war crimes can, and should, be held legally accountable. The ban on torture is absolute and we have a legal obligation to investigate torture and all of those who may have been party to its use.”
Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and about a dozen other Democrats on the committee, sent a similar letter to Holder earlier this year.
President Obama has already stated numerous times that he does not support a truth commission or any effort that would result in looking “backwards” into the Bush administration’s policies.
Considering the backlash the Obama administration and Democrats faced from their Republican colleagues this month over a proposal to reform the healthcare industry, and the extreme partisanship over Obama’s domestic policies in general, it’s entirely possible that the fear-mongering in the letter sent to Holder Wednesday could have an impact on his decision.
At the Netroots Nation conference last week in Pittsburgh, Nadler said, “As difficult and traumatic” a criminal investigation “may be for the nation we must proceed.”
What hit the Pentagon?
Tonight we welcome Dr. Frank Legge back to show for an extended discussion on one the most vexed questions about 9/11: what hit the Pentagon?
Dr. Legge has written an important paper on this topic which has been published at the Journal of 9/11 Studies.
As Dr. Legge stresses, there are two essential points to note:
- Nothing should have hit the Pentagon.
- This implies a stand-down order existed, as appears to be confirmed by Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission.The authorities could easily show us what hit the Pentagon but they do not.
Many researchers are not satisfied with stopping at these reasonable claims however, and want to propose more detailed theories about what really happened. During the show we critically examine some of the theories, with the help of Dan Collins, a regular contributor to TNRA.
We present below several key pieces of evidence often cited in investigations of the Pentagon attacks.
Below we reproduce the Pentagon Building Performance Report image showing that "no portion of the outer two-thirds of the right wing and no portion of the outer one-third of the left wing actually entered the building".
Punch out hole
Flight 77 Wreckage
F4 Phantom Vs Wall