Thursday, September 30, 2004

9/11 Truth or Consequences

Daniel Hopsicker blackens the third eye of the "9/11 Truth Movement" in his Sept 28 piece, COINTELPRO 9.11. This makes uncomfortable, and essential, reading.

As my quotation marks hopefully suggest, I don't exactly embrace the term. Truth, especially with a capital "T," is elusive at the best of times, and these aren't they. We ought, rather, to be 9/11 skeptics, of not only the official story but also the competing narratives, because if we abandon critical thought and lapse into solipsistic dogma, we become nothing but evangelizing priests of a conspiracist cult. (And if that happens, then my wife is going to say "I told you so.")

I believe those perpetuating the cover-up wish precisely such irrelevence for us, and are never so happy as when they set us chasing phantom pods and missiles, sending us spiralling into silliness. For instance, consider this latest absurdity, touted on the website as the "Holy Grail": puffs of smoke as the WTC was hit somehow demonstrate "pre-demolition" charges. Such a page screams - at least to my sensitive ears - COINTELPRO. I'm wary of any "9/11 Truth" site which provides no genuinely valuable 9/11 links; seemingly arises out of nowhere; is graphically intensive and makes an extreme claim based solely upon interpretation of grainy video footage; and is registered by proxy, so we can't learn who's actually behind it.

Whether such a website is contrived with malice or well-meaning foolishness, the bad guys haven't lacked for any number of useful idiots.

And I feel Hopsicker's pain at the acclaim given theologian and 9/11 latecomer David Ray Griffin's rather addlepated The New Pearl Harbor, while Hopsicker's vastly more important Welcome to Terrorland remains widely unknown and unread by American readers, even those prepared to challenge the 9/11 Commission's insulting half-truths. (German readers, at least, are another matter.)

But I disagree with Hopsicker's thrashing of Michael Ruppert and Catherine Austin Fitts, because I value what I've learned from each of them. That they may have accepted speaking engagements from a company which functions as a glorified pyramid scheme suggests, to me, nothing more sinister than bad judgement.

Hopsicker has called Ruppert "Mr Peak Oil," and said he should be making better use of his detective skills. No one has done the on-the-ground and foot-in-the-door work that Hopsicker has, and he deserves some skilled company. Still, establishing motive is essential for solving a crime, and no less the crime of 9/11. And Ruppert's forthcoming Crossing the Rubicon looks likely to make a persuasive and comprehensive case.

A rapprochement someday would be welcome - it was nice when Dean Martin hugged Jerry Lewis - but it's irrelevent so long as they keep doing good work, and we skeptics reap the benefit.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Oil is not the only drug

"drug-related activities combined with money laundering and information laundering, converging with your terrorist activities." - Sibel Edmonds
There's been much talk - though, like virtually every other important subject, not enough; and not by those who could do anything about it - regarding the significance of pipelines as motive for war in Afghanistan. (That Washington installed oil consultants as both the Afghans' titular ruler and the US emissary, and the long hoped-for pipelines are now under construction, didn't do much to dispel those wacky conspiracy theories.)

But there's another pipeline in Afghanistan, more important that those carrying oil and gas, because it doesn't merely make a convenient transit of the country. Afghanistan is the source for Central Asia's opium pipeline.

Oil may have reached $50 a barrel, but heroin is worth 12 times its weight in gold, and is by far the most profitable commodity on the markets. A kilogram of heroin, worth $1,000 in Thailand, has a street value of nearly $1 million. That's some mark-up. A kilogram of cocaine can cost as little as $65 to produce, with a street value of approximately $500,000.

You may not be able to run your car on them, but narcotics - or rather, the laundered proceeds of the international drug trade - is the fuel for the sick engine of our great financial institutions.

Here's Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of HUD under GHW Bush, lately turned "conspiracy theorist" thanks to having witnessed federal agencies managed as criminal enterprises, writing in "Narco Dollars for Beginners":

Lest you think that my comment about the New York Stock Exchange is too strong, let's look at one event that occurred before our "war on drugs" went into high gear through Plan Colombia, banging heads over narco dollar market share in Latin America.

In late June 1999, numerous news services, including Associated Press, reported that Richard Grasso, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange flew to Colombia to meet with a spokesperson for Raul Reyes of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the supposed "narco terrorists" with whom we are now at war.

The purpose of the trip was "to bring a message of cooperation from U.S. financial services" and to discuss foreign investment and the future role of U.S. businesses in Colombia.

Some reading in between the lines said to me that Grasso's mission related to the continued circulation of cocaine capital through the US financial system. FARC, the Colombian rebels, were circulating their profits back into local development without the assistance of the American banking and investment system. Worse yet for the outlook for the US stock market's strength from $500 billion - $1 trillion in annual money laundering - FARC was calling for the decriminalization of cocaine.


It was only a few days after Grasso's trip that BBC News reported a General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress as saying: "Colombia's cocaine and heroin production is set to rise by as much as 50 percent as the U.S. backed drug war flounders, due largely to the growing strength of Marxist rebels."

I deduced from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange was sufficiently dependent on high margin cocaine profits that the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange was willing for Associated Press to acknowledge he is making "cold calls" in rebel controlled peace zones in Colombian villages. "Cold calls" is what we used to call new business visits we would pay to people we had not yet done business with when I was on Wall Street.

I presume Grasso's trip was not successful in turning the cash flow tide. Hence, Plan Colombia is proceeding apace to try to move narco deposits out of FARC's control and back to the control of our traditional allies and, even if that does not work, to move Citibank's market share and that of the other large US banks and financial institutions steadily up in Latin America.

Nothing in America hides in plain sight quite as well as the protected drug trade. The arbiters of American media have long observed a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding covert complicity in, and profitting by, the global trafficking of narcotics. The piling on of investigative reporter Gary Webb for his "Dark Alliance" series is fairly instructive. The story - the CIA's role in fostering crack upon the LA underclass - saw the light of day only because it came from outside the controlling loop of the majors. And when it appeared and gained traction, they crushed him and accepted the CIA's denial as fact, even as his story has received only further confirmation.

The CIA looms large in America's samizdat history of the drug trade, but it's not just a CIA story. (Or rather, not just the arm of the National Security apparatus which is known by that acronym.) There's also, for instance, giant contractor DynCorp. The company - which, many suspect, is actually a CIA cut-out - was awarded the job of policing Afghanistan despite having recently been found with its hand in the South American cookie jar: Colombian police intercepted a DynCorp parcel addresssed to a US airbase, laced with heroin. The bust remained secret for a year, until The Nation picked up the story, and then the evidence vanished. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's poppy harvest sets another record yield.

If we follow the Afghan opium pipeline, we find an important branch which transits the Balkans, and is an important source for the heroin supply of Western Europe and North America. And it's a curious and naturally hidden fact of modern history that, in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, the United States and al Qaeda were essentially comrades-in-arms, aiding the Kosovo Liberation Army and helping transform Kosovo into a virtual narco state. (Michael Levine, whistleblowing 25-year veteran of the DEA, says that the CIA protected the KLA's drug operations "in every way they could.")

American exploitation of Central Asian opium is, of course, nothing new. Alfred McCoy, in his The Politics of Heroin, writes that, only two years after the start of the Soviet-Afghan war, the "CIA’s covert apparatus that shipped arms to the mujaheddin had been inverted to serve a massive drug operation that moved opium from Afghanistan, through Pakistan’s heroin laboratories, and into international markets."

Knowing this helps us understand former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow's instructive remarks of nearly three years ago:

"When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map, where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that -- they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away."

While securing Middle East oil and gas remains the fundamental text of America's resource wars - after all, there is no such thing as "Peak Opium" - the narcotics trade is its significant subtext. Without it, much of the backstory to 9/11 makes little sense.

For instance, what should we make of the fact that, less than three weeks after Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi enrolled at Florida's Huffman Aviation, a Lear jet owned by school financier Wally Hilliard was seized by DEA agents with 43 pounds of heroin onboard? It was the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida, and yet Hilliard was not charged. Nor was the pilot, Diego Levine-Texar, who ignored agents demands that he drop his cell phone, which had to be pried from his hand at gunpoint. (The affidavit of the arresting agent read, "Based on my experience I know that narcotics traffickers maintain frequent contact with one another while transporting narcotics… I believe Levine-Texar attempted to contact other accomplices as to the presence of agents and other law enforcement officials.") Information about Levine-Texar, we're told, is considered "sensitive." And flight records showed the same plane had made approximately 30 weekly round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers, and they always paid cash.

Also, why would the mention of the CIA's Iran/Contra drug smuggler and Bush family asset Barry Seal - gunned down with the then-Vice President's private number in his trunk - make 9/11 Commissioner and, coincidentally, Seal's former attorney, Richard Ben-Veniste, squirm so?

From his interview with Sander Hicks:

HICKS: Let’s go back for a second and talk about what you just said about the INS forms of the terrorist hijackers. How there just seems to be a disconnect. How could these people — it was pointed out that a couple of these people were on the CIA’s list of terrorists, they had attended the terrorism conference and yet they were allowed to be in country. There was a gentleman you may know of, named Daniel Hopsicker? He’s a former producer of NBC and he wrote a book called, "Barry and the Boys." You are mentioned in it. It’s about a former client of yours who is now deceased, Mr. Barry Seal. Are you familiar with this book?

BEN-VENISTE: No, I haven’t read the book but I did represent Barry Seal, who was convicted. He thereafter, on his own, became a government informant. He worked against the Sandinistas and that certainly is not the subject of this....

HICKS: That’s not the subject of -

BEN-VENISTE: We have quite a bit to do here in our Commission without going into all my private practice. I certainly wouldn’t want this to be an infomercial for Richard Ben-Veniste as a private attorney.

HICKS: Not at all. But the question was, Daniel Hopsicker is -

BEN-VENISTE: So, if you wouldn’t mind staying on our subject...

HICKS: Not at all.

BEN-VENISTE: I’d appreciate it.

Drugs and 9/11? Don't go there, kid, if you know what's good for you.

Which brings us back to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the reason for her extraordinary gag order: her testimony that federal authorities have quashed investigations which link the 9/11 terrorist network to a global, and well protected, drug trafficking ring.

Though she needs to guard her words, she's still managed to tell us much:

"Intelligence is also gathered by certain semi-legitimate organizations -- to be used for their activities. It really does not boil down to countries anymore.... When you have activities involving a lot of money, you have people from different nations involved.... It can be categorized under organized crime, but in a very large scale...."

"...specific information implicating certain high level government and elected officials in criminal activities directly and indirectly related to terrorist money laundering, narcotics, and illegal arms sales."

"It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap-- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific."

Like the "War on Drugs," the "War on Terror" is a hoax. But it is more than a hoax. It is also a drug war. When seen in this regard, everything starts to make a perfect, dreadful sense.

It may be criminal, but hey - it's just business.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Next Attack

"The next attack is coming," said Cheney to his men / "And if it doesn't, we can make one happen again." - David Rovics

Well, it's almost October - are we surprised yet?

The greatest surprise would be no surprise, but I don't think we'll be so lucky. For what it's worth, the accuracy of the following is disputed by the Department of Justice - a spokesperson for Ashcroft says his conference call was merely a "pep talk" - but I think it's worthwhile to take a look at this:

Wednesday, September 22, 2004 9:41 AM

Subject: Fwd: Terrorist attack on US Soil is Imminent

At the meeting of the Southern District of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) that was held yesterday in Houston, US Attorney Michael Shelby informed the group that a terrorist attack of 09/11/01 proportions was going to be carried out on US soil within the next 6 weeks.

Mr. Shelby stated that on 09/13/04, US Attorney General John Ashcroft, had a conference call with all 93 US Attorneys, an event which is extremely rare. The US Attorneys were informed that without a doubt, an attack was going to be perpetrated in the US within the next 6 weeks, prior to the elections. Mr. Shelby urgently requested that all law enforcement be aware of any situation that may be out of the ordinary and report the activity immediately. Mr. Shelby also requested that we get the word out to patrol officers and detectives to talk to their informants and report anything odd or remotely suspicious. Mr. Shelby ended this warning by saying that unless we get a bit of "luck" and the attack can be detected and prevented, that another attack of 9/11 scale will be carried out.

Please disseminate to all of your law enforcement contacts ASAP.

Incredible, how some people can speak with such assurance about something for which they claim only non-specific knowledge.

My intuition tells me to begin looking for Bushista signs and wonders come mid-October. It needs to be close enough to voting day for Bush to still enjoy a terror bounce. And my informed paranoia tells me to look for an attack in California, perhaps nuclear, biological or chemical, and probably San Francisco. I don't think it was for Ken Lay alone that the Last Action Hero was installed as Governor. And I haven't forgotten Jeb Bush's remark, "It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species.... Did I just say that out loud?"

The election will not be suspended. Why would it? In the weeks immediately following an attack, Bush's approval rating will be at least in the mid-60s. Remember how the Socialist victory in Spain following the Madrid bombing was spun as a "victory for the terrorists"? You can be sure that won't be allowed to happen in the Land of the Free.

And oh, the attack will be called the work of Iran, and airstrikes before election day can be expected.

That's my idea of a likely scenario, for what it's worth. Which I hope isn't much. But I never said I was an optimist.

If they are going to "make one happen again," we should look for some pre-9/11 tells: things like spikes of unusual stock and money activity; large troop and materiel movements; sudden changes to the travel plans of senior officials. And we should have our VCRs cued up with blank tapes, to record the messy living record before it's erased by the shiny official narrative.

Good luck out there, fellow Useless Eaters.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Iraq, Negroponte Style

One day, perhaps, we'll have an accurate head count from Iraq: an accounting of genuine Jihadist slayings and black bag wet jobs.

A few days ago in The Guardian, Naomi Klein made a strong case for suspecting that the abduction - and now, possibly, murder (according to "a statement on a site not often used by Iraqi militants") - of Italian anti-occupation relief workers Simona Pari and Simona Torretta was a covert action:

Nothing about this kidnapping fits the pattern of other abductions. Most are opportunistic attacks on treacherous stretches of road. Torretta and her colleagues were coldly hunted down in their home. And while mujahideen in Iraq scrupulously hide their identities, making sure to wrap their faces in scarves, these kidnappers were bare-faced and clean-shaven, some in business suits. One assailant was addressed by the others as "sir".


Most extraordinary was the size of the operation: rather than the usual three or four fighters, 20 armed men pulled up to the house in broad daylight, seemingly unconcerned about being caught. Only blocks from the heavily patrolled Green Zone, the whole operation went off with no interference from Iraqi police or US military - although Newsweek reported that "about 15 minutes afterwards, an American Humvee convoy passed hardly a block away".

And then there were the weapons. The attackers were armed with AK-47s, shotguns, pistols with silencers and stun guns - hardly the mujahideen's standard-issue rusty Kalashnikovs. Strangest of all is this detail: witnesses said that several attackers wore Iraqi National Guard uniforms and identified themselves as working for Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister.


Western journalists are loath to talk about spies for fear of being labelled conspiracy theorists. But spies and covert operations are not a conspiracy in Iraq; they are a daily reality. According to CIA deputy director James L Pavitt, "Baghdad is home to the largest CIA station since the Vietnam war", with 500 to 600 agents on the ground. Allawi himself is a lifelong spook who has worked with MI6, the CIA and the mukhabarat, specialising in removing enemies of the regime.

[Relief organization] A Bridge to Baghdad has been unapologetic in its opposition to the occupation regime. During the siege of Falluja in April, it coordinated risky humanitarian missions. US forces had sealed the road to Falluja and banished the press as they prepared to punish the entire city for the gruesome killings of four Blackwater mercenaries. In August, when US marines laid siege to Najaf, A Bridge to Baghdad again went where the occupation forces wanted no witnesses. And the day before their kidnapping, Torretta and Pari told Kubaisi that they were planning yet another high-risk mission to Falluja.

There is also an important interview here with correspondent Jeremy Scahill, who assisted Klein on the story.

If the brutal targetting of leftist aid workers sounds strangely familiar, you must know your recent Central American history. To refresh your memory, I suggest reviewing the CV of the recently-appointed US Ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. Particular attention should be paid to the years 1981-85, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras.

Here's Ghali Hassan, writing in Counterpunch, June 4:

In Honduras the army intelligence unit, Battalion 3-16, was involved in kidnappings, rape, torture and killing of suspected dissidents. In 1995 Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson of The Baltimore Sun unearthed massive and substantiated evidence from various sources pointing the finger at Mr. Negroponte's knowledge of the crimes. The reporters also found that hundreds of Hondurans "were kidnapped, tortured and killed in the 1980s by a secret army unit trained and supported by the CIA." Reliable evidence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Honduras alleged that Negroponte oversaw the expansion of U.S training camp and military base on Honduran territory, where US-trained Contras terrorists, and where the military secretly detained, tortured and executed Honduran suspected dissidents.

For more information on the abduction of Simona Peri and Simona Torretta, as well as that of their Iraqi colleagues Ra'ad Ali Abdul Azziz and Mahnoaz Bassam, and actions to win their release, see the blog "Free Our Friends".

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Live with Regis and Harvey Lee

Have you ever heard of Regis Blahut? But I'm getting ahead of myself. Have you heard of Robert Groden?

Groden was a photographic consultant for the doomed House Select Committee on Assassinations. (To see just how doomed it was, you ought to read the account of its own frustrated investigator, Gaeton Fonzi.) He gave Chief Counsel and Patron Saint of the Limited Hangout, Robert Blakey, some serious grief.

Here's Groden, from Fonzi's book:

One of the first things I did was ask to see the autopsy photographs in the National Archives. I wanted to find out how it was that the Warren Commission concluded the shots came from the rear when all the doctors at Parkland Hospital, every one of them, wrote in their reports that Kennedy's head was blasted out. When I saw the autopsy photographs I was shocked. After years in photo optic work I knew what I saw, and what I saw was a matte line in the photograph of the back of the President's head. That's when two photographic elements come together visually and there's an overlap. I saw a soft edged matte insertion forgery of very high quality which made it appear as if there were a small wound of entry in the rear of the President's head.

After performing photo-optical tests on copies to confirm what he saw, Groden wrote a report about it to Blakey, saying that it was his professional opinion that the autopsy photographs of President Kennedy had been retouched.

Now, enter Regis Blahut.

Under the deal Blakey worked out with the CIA (which he never regarded so much as a material witness) for access to confidential records, the agency agreed that certain documents could be transferred to committee offices for examination, but only in a secure room under guard of a CIA representative. In an adjoining secure room was a safe containing evidence such as the autopsy photographs Groden had determined to be skillful hoaxes. Even committee staff were forbidden from touching them without Blakey's permission, and each visit to the safe was logged.

Fonzi's account of what happened next:

One day, a staffer, with authorization, removed some photographs for study in another office and closed the safe but neglected to lock it. When she returned, she noted that one of the autopsy photographs, instead of being in its plastic jacket in its book, was loose and lying on top. It was as if someone had removed it for examination and then, perhaps hearing her return, quickly tossed the photograph back without putting it back in its protective jacket. Blakey called the FBI and a fingerprint check revealed that the person who had touched the photograph was Regis Blahut, the CIA's security representative. Confronted, Blahut first denied and then, after failing three polygraph tests, admitted he had handled the autopsy photo. Blakey later attributed Blahut's act to "curiosity," but Blahut blurted to a reporter, "There are other things involved that are detrimental to other things." The CIA fired him but, in the end, the committee never did find out what the incident was really all about, or whether it was related to any of Bob Groden's claims.

Claims, Fonzi adds, which Blakey never really confronted in his report.

There are other things involved that are detrimental to other things. I don't even know how to begin parsing that. Still, to me, those inelegant words hang over recent American history like a thunderhead. Each official inquiry into the high crimes of the National Security State, from Warren to the reluctantly-struck 9/11 commission, has shown the dead hand of state-sanctioned cover-up: stonewalling, lies, supression and falsification of evidence, intimidation and murder of witnesses. With sleight of hand more adroit than the bumbling Blahut, the security apparatus sends the message, Don't go there.

America is well on its way to paying an apocalyptic price for not having gone there in the immediate aftermath of Kennedy's murder. The truth may have been too awful then, but in the 40 years since the crimes have only compounded, the lies become more fantastic, the cognitive dissonance more acute. The petro-fascist Cheney/Bush cabal would never have seized power if Kennedy's killers had been brought to justice, because they are Kennedy's killers, all in spirit and some in deed. Americans cannot forever ignore or excuse the CIA's perpetual tampering with the storehouse of their historical memory. There will be a reckoning for not going there, and it will be terrible.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Riddle of the Transponders

What was the value-added benefit for the 9/11 hijackers in turning off their transponder signals?

The planes remained visible to radar; the transponders merely ID'd the flights. And yet the transponders of all four flights were switched off. What was gained?

I think the answer is found in the proliferation of wargames on September 11, particularly the exercise called "Vigilant Guardian": the live-fly simulation of hijackings in the US Northeast staged by the Joint Chiefs and NORAD the very morning of the attacks. (Health advisory to coincidentalists: chew carefully before digesting.)

At one time on 9/11, as many as 22 aircraft appeared to be hijacked. Suddenly, the virtue, now verging on necessity, of switching off the transponders becomes evident. With loss of transponder signals the planes became bogies, and discriminating real from simulated hijackings became next to impossible.

This confusion compounded the paralysis already introduced to the system by drawing most of the Eastern seaboard's combat-ready interceptors into Northern Canada for the wargame "Northern Vigilence," and changing the standing orders for a shootdown in June 2001 by removing the discretion of field commanders and placing it solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense.

For more regarding the multiple wargames of 9/11, see chapter 19 (a .pdf is available online here) of Michael Ruppert's soon-to-be-released Crossing the Rubicon.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Disreputable Men

Gary Sick's is an interesting story. Sick is the author of October Surprise, one of the best accounts of the covert deal struck in the Fall of 1980 between senior Republicans, arms merchants and Iranian mullahs to delay the return of the American hostages until Ronald Reagan's inauguration. But as interesting as it is, that's not the story I mean. I'm talking about Sick's own story: his passage from career White House insider to "conspiracy theorist."

Sick served on the National Security Council under three presidents and was the principal White House aide on the Iran file during the fall of the Shah and the hostage crisis. He knew, or so he thought, how Washington worked, because he'd been working it. And though the timing of the hostages' release appeared suspect, there was no need, Sick thought, to resort to talk of conspiracies. However, as time went on, "seemingly inescapable fragments of information began to appear....

My experience was not unlike that of a medieval scholar discovering traces of a hidden text beneath the script of an old parchment.... I felt as if I were wandering into a spy novel. The backgrounds and activies of some of these individuals who were emerging from the shadows of this operation seemed to come out of fiction, and yet they were real.... most of my professional life had been spent as an analyst of political and military intelligence. I knew that there were operatives for hire, ready to skirt the law for money, perhaps out of habit or duty, or simply for the thrill and sense of power illegal acts conveyed. But it was nonetheless a shock to meet them....

Gradually, this Beltway veteran was introduced to a whole other level at which Washington conducted its business. Despite all his years at the NSC he'd had no experience of this, and though he'd always known a covert world existed, he'd spared it little thought. But there it was, in the corroborating testimony of witnesses, arms dealers and operatives. And what he was learning was nothing less than the secret history behind the official history he'd helped to write.

If you think you've undergone a paradigm shift, spare a thought for Gary Sick.

He discovered the secret company which respectable men like William Casey and George Herbert Walker Bush kept: liars, cheats, gunrunners and drug traffickers. Disreputable men. Intelligence agencies would be lost without them. And if they ever squeal, they are readily dismissed on nothing more than the broad outline of their character; their incendiary allegations against the powerful and respectable extinguished with barely a sizzle, regardless of the evidence supporting their charges.

Here's Sick, again, in October Surprise:

Such characters are a researcher's nemesis; they are meant to be. When the CIA or other intelligence agencies need to hire a "contractor," who may be required to carry out taks that are potentially dangerous and of questionable legality, they look for three things: a specific and useful skill (a knowledge of money-laundering, perhaps); a romantic streak that glorifies both the secrecy and the risk; and a propensity for exageration and trouble. One former CIA officer, David MacMichael, has said that the agency looks for these freelancers at small community airports and gun ranges - places where men go to excape the boredom of everyday life. Looking for adventure, these men are fascinated by the imagined glamour and excitement of the world of espionage. MacMichael said that often, after one or two assignments, the agency will put a contractor on a case in which he runs afoul of the law. The contractor finds himself in a compromising position - nothing so major as to put him permanently out of commission, but significant enough that if he ever starts telling tales out of school about covert operations, his record will discredit his testimony.

This is something the coincidence theorist perpetually refuses to credit: the perfect plausible deniability inherent in employing such characters. These are scoundrels, liars and criminals. If they ever choose to talk, who's going to take their word over that of respectable men of high station?

And to the practiced coincidentalist, it doesn't matter how well the testimony is corroborated. The evidence is discarded, sometimes for fantastic reasons, with the circular, unspoken rationale that if it confirms the word of a known liar then it must be false.

Take, for instance, the case of Delmart Vreeland. A scoundrel by every account, but also one with exceptional information for those with ears to hear. He did pass on the "Let one happen, stop the rest" warning from a Toronto jail cell before 9/11; his claim that Canadian diplomat Marc Bastien had been poisoned in Moscow has been proven correct; the Pentagon unwittingly acknowledged his lengthy service record when it was called in open court, by relying on archived records undamaged by the 9/11 attack from which he had not been purged (the prosecution argued, incredibly, that Vreeland must have hacked into the Pentgon files from his jail cell); Leo Wanta, longtime intelligence asset who destabilized the Soviet ruble in the '80s at the White House request, confirmed Vreeland was an operative of the Office of Naval Intelligence; his lawyers did receive death threats and found their files vandalized; and Vreeland has vanished.

But none of that matters to the coincidentalists, who stubbornly refuse to see deeper than the "legends" created for men like Vreeland, which is precisely the point. So Lee Harvey Oswald is a "communist," and Barry Seal just a drug runner. That Oswald was seen with the CIA's David Atlee Phillips in September 1963, and Barry Seal was gunned down with Vice President George Bush's personal phone number in his trunk, need to be ignored. The coincidentalists can't make sense of such evidence, that respectable men would have anything to do with such characters. But without them, some respectable men would be able to do very little.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


A warning from the past, tragically prophetic:

This is a 58-year old, ten-minute classroom film from Encyclopedia Brittanica, listing the warning signs of despotism. And I don't know if I've seen a more damning checklist for Bush's America.

As you watch, try imagining how this film would be received today, and the chances of it screening in most classrooms. It's a great shock to see popular progressive values as an artifact of history. But in 1946, the lobster pot of the National Security State was just warming up.

Click right and save here, or visit this page and choose from a variety of high quality formats. A big thanks to Rick Prelinger for his online video archives. Also, lots of other goodies for the viewing on this page.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

"Yours in 322"

Thanks to Cryptogon for hosting an mp3 of the recent BBC Radio 4 documentary on Skull and Bones. You can download the half-hour file here.

Most of the material will be familiar to those who've tried to educate themselves about the shadowy old boy network of privileged Yalies, but here's something I hadn't heard before: in the presidential papers of George HW Bush is a letter from John Kerry, which he'd signed with the traditional salutation of the Bonesman bond, "Yours in 322."

New, but not surprising. As Alexandra Robbins revealed in Secrets of the Tomb, Kerry has been an active adult recruiter for S&B (in 1986 he tried to "tap" a reluctant Jacob Weisberg, future editor of Slate, who was shocked that a liberal senator could support such an organization), and is said to use "322" as a mnemonic device. And of course his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is the widow of a Republican Bonesman, Senator John Heinz.

For many - too many - Skull and Bones means either It's the Illuminati! or It's a frat house! (The latter charge has become increasingly shrill since Kerry became the presumptive Democratic nominee.) While it's true that founder William Russell was greatly influenced by Germanic secret societies, particularly the Bavarian Illuminati, I think it's a mistake to get hung up on the legacy of Adam Weishaupt. More revealing, and more enduring, is the legacy of the opium trade.

Samuel Russell, William's cousin, founded Russell and Company in 1823. Its business was to purchase cheap opium in Turkey and smuggle it into China, where it was strictly prohibited. Americans were competing for narco dollars with the British, who were importing higher quality Indian grades, and were founding family fortunes in the process. Russell's chief of operations in Canton was Warren Delano Jr, the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Russell's early investors included John Cleve Green, who financed Princeton, and Joseph Coolidge, whose son organized United Fruit which tied together the colonial interests of many New England families, and grandson Archibald Coolidge who co-founded the Council on Foreign Relations. And then there's the Forbes family - the Forbes in "John Forbes Kerry" - who "took drug smuggling to its highest level of profitability and left a legacy that extends into modern times," as Steven Sora writes in Secret Societies of America's Elite.

Skull and Bones - established in 1832 and incorporated in 1856 as the Russell Trust - was sustained by opium money, and established its influence through its ability to place graduates in key positions in the lucrative global drug trade.

Sora advances the thesis that the secret business of societies such as Skull and Bones has been to facilitate the accrual of criminal wealth by a privileged pirate class through such means as drug-running, slave-trading and arms-dealing. Knowing this history, we can make more sense of how a supposedly distinguished family such as Bush can be mixed up in so many stories of drug-running, weapons-smuggling and money-laundering. In the context of the opium trade, the CIA's stuffing Golden Triangle heroin in the corpses of GIs killed in Vietnam and protecting the importation of crack to America's inner cities reads suddenly like business as usual.

That both George Bush and John Kerry are Bonesmen may be nothing but a fluke of the American overclass. That in 2003, George Bush appointed a Bonesman, William H Donaldson, to head the Securites and Exchange Commission, the regulatory body responsible for investigating charges of 9/11 insider trading, is no fluke. That Donaldson is a longtime friend of the Bush family, and classmate of fellow Bonesman and terrorist money launderer Jonathan Bush, is no joke.

Skull and Bones remains to some a silly issue, but an issue it will remain so long as the question "Do you know General Russell?" can send an old boy into a trance faster than "Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Follow the Money, Find a Bush

An important story today, and like most important stories, it's easy to miss (and thanks to "seems" at Democratic Underground for ensuring I didn't):

9/11 Relatives Sue Bank in Terror Attacks

WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for Sept. 11 families suing the Saudis have filed a related class-action legal action accusing a major bank here of aiding financial backers of the al-Qaida terrorist group through negligence.

The bank, Riggs National Bank, was fined $25 million in May for failing to properly monitor millions of dollars in Saudi financial transactions, including withdrawals now being investigated for possible connections to terrorism.


Riggs has been under investigation since regulators reportedly traced the "charitable contributions" to the hijackers two years ago. Since then investigators have discovered tens of millions of dollars in questionable transactions at Riggs by Saudi diplomats.

Funny, the things left unstated here.

Nowhere in the article is reported the fact that Riggs is the bank of Jonathan Bush - uncle of the president, brother of the former president and fellow Bonesman to both - who became CEO on May 31, 2000. Also unspoken is the fact that representing the Saudi defendants in the families' trillion dollar lawsuit is Bush consiglieri James Baker's giant Texas oil-friendly firm, Baker Botts.

So, this is the story: 9/11 families are squaring off against Bush attorney James Baker and his Saudi clients, and have now filed a class action suit against the Bush-run Riggs Bank, accusing it of being a conduit of terrorist financing. ("Through negligence," naturally, because it's inconceivable to most decent people that it could be anything else.)

Riggs has been making the most interesting kinds of headlines lately. It's been slapped with a record setting $25 million fine for money laundering on behalf of clients Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea; found to be trying to shelter the assets of Chilean Cenobite Augusto Pinochet; and is the cause for "suspicious activity reports" on Bob Dole and the Carlyle Group's Frank Carlucci, who may have violated federal laws against money laundering. ("As often as once a week, Mr. Dole's assistant walks around the corner from his Pennsylvania Avenue office in Washington to a branch of Riggs Bank, where she withdraws as much as $8,000 in cash. For walking-around money, Mr. Dole keeps a wad of $100 bills in the breast pocket of his shirt.")

Following the money may seem pretty boring compared to speculating about pods, missiles and remote control, but unravelling a money trail is a far surer way to crack the 9/11 nut. To the Riggs story, we ought to add such leads as Mohammed Atta's money man, commander of Pakistani Intelligence Mahmood Ahmed; the billions of dollars in insider trading; the carefully chosen words of Sibel Edmonds; and the dogged research of Daniel Hopsicker. It's like I said in an earlier post: "these are not puzzles; these are crimes. And crimes are never, in the end, How done its. They are Who done its." And uncovering who paid for 9/11, and who profited by it, tells us virtually all we need to know to answer that question with confidence.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Flying Wedge

I find it deeply unfortunate and potentially disastrous that the Pentagon "missile" is becoming something of a wedge issue for 9/11 skeptics.

Funny things did happen at the Pentagon that morning, but in my estimation the missile theory doesn't rise above the folkloric. There is simply too much to counter the fantastic claim for the 9/11 truth movement to be squandering its integrity on such speculation. Here, and from what the general public would call "conspiracy" sites, is a compilation of evidence for Flight 77 striking the Pentagon, here are photos of the plane's wreckage, and here's a refutation of the missile theory by respected Washington-based researcher John Judge.

Something to consider: when an anomalous event occurs, like a jet striking the Pentagon, we ought to make allowance for anomalous evidence. Yes, the hole looks too small, but with what do we have to compare the event? The walls of the structure - particularly the virtually empty side the plane went 270 degrees out of its way to hit, which had been hardened against attack - are much stronger than those of the WTC. So what's it supposed to look like?

For me, here's what knocks down the missile theory: did the conspirators need a missile to produce the desired result? No, they didn't. And that's not to say Hani Hanjour was at the helm. He couldn't fly a Cessna the month before. Hanjour didn't perform those high speed aerobatic maneuvers that had a flight controller believe she was tracking a fighter jet, and hit the ground floor without scraping the Pentagon's lawn. He was such a poor pilot, a flight school manager who'd tried to instruct him in January 2001 said "I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had," and reported him to the FAA to have his license revoked. (How he got the license in the first place, the FBI isn't telling.) In August 2001, just three weeks before the attack, the flight school instructor who refused the hapless Hanjour rental of a Cessna tried to talk him out of ever becoming a pilot. Yet regarding Flight 77, "aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm."

Unconvinced that Flight 77 was beyond Hani Hanjour? Some visual aids, then.

Here's the cockpit of a Cessna, with which Hanjour couldn't cope in August.

And here's the cockpit of a 757, which Hani Hanjour first entered on September 11, and we're told mastered on the fly to control the huge jet's 500 mph, 270-degree spiralling descent to a level entry of the ground floor of the one side of the Pentagon which had been hardened against attack, and was virtually empty owing to construction.

So no, it wasn't Hanjour flying that thing. So what was?

There was no guided missile, but I believe control of the aircraft was taken from Hanjour in flight so Flight 77 would behave as a guided missile. We're not talking science fiction. The technology exists, and at the heart of the Pentagon. For instance, a month before the attacks, weapons' giant Raytheon had remote-flown a FedEx 727 to a safe landing on a New Mexico air force base in August 2001, without a pilot. (It may be worth noting that Raytheon employees were on at least three of the four flights, and on Flight 77 was Stanley Hall, director of program management for Raytheon's Electronics Warfare Division. A colleague called him "our dean of electronic warfare.") The incredible story that none of the flight data recorders were said to be recoverable, when any one of which failures would have been a first for the system - black boxes are mounted in the tail sections - deserves more attention. As does Dov Zakheim: then-Pentagon Comptroller and PNACer, whose System Planning Corporation "designs, manufactures and distributes highly sophisticated technology that enables an operator to fly by remote control as many as eight different airborne vehicles at the same time from one position either on the ground or airborne."

Substituting the flight with a missile, disposing of the plane and its people, risking detection in broad daylight before witnesses who could have been taking pictures - none of that needed to be chanced.

As John Judge writes in "Not All Conspiracies Are Created Equal":

Until we know, we cannot act. And if we act on rumor and impulse then we are no less a slave than those who live in the denial that the propaganda machines promote. So, be cynical and question things, but be analytical and scientific so you can approach the truth when you speak. Three truths don't make a fourth just by mentioning them. All lies, in fact, depend on having elements of the truth in them for verismilitude as its called. Read, don't repeat what you last heard. And if you are going to be more than a theorist, then give conspiracy the respect it deserves, and prove it.

There's much more deserving of our time, reputations and resources than perpetuating the urban myth of the missile theory. Just because the "official story" - which is itself a conspiracy theory - is intellectually lazy, is no excuse why our competing narratives ought to be.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Remembering September 10, 2001

Credit to Paul Thompson, from whose timeline most of this information is culled, and also to Michael Ruppert.

  • The last day for suspicious trading on American and United Airlines. Today, three years ago, the Chicago Exchange sees the purchase of 4,516 put options on American to only 748 call - 60 times above normal. On the Pacific Exchange, the trading ratio on United is 25 times greater than normal. Later, investigators can't help but notice that no other airlines saw such trading in their put options. Analyst John Kinnucanone, quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle, said "I saw put-call numbers higher than I've ever seen in 10 years of following the markets, particularly the options market."
  • The last day for suspicious trading on Morgan Stanley, one of the World Trade Center's largest tenants. Between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10, the company experiences an increase of 27 times in the purchase of put options on its shares.
  • The documented pre-Sept. 11 insider trading that occurred before the attacks involved only companies hit hard by the attacks, including United Airlines, American Airlines, Morgan Stanley, Merrill-Lynch, Axa Reinsurance, Marsh & McLennan, Munich Reinsurance, Swiss Reinsurance, and Citigroup.
  • Regarding the spike of unusual stock activity, Dylan Ratigan of Bloomberg says on Sept 20, "This could very well be insider trading at the worst, most horrific, most evil use you've ever seen in your entire life... This would be one of the most extraordinary coincidences in the history of mankind if it was a coincidence."
  • Germany's Bundesbank chief, Ernst Weltke tells Agence France Presse on Sept 22 that "bizarre" fiscal transactions prior to the attacks could not have been chalked up to coincidence. The stock activity "could not have been planned and carried out without a certain knowledge, particularly heavy trading in oil and gold futures."
  • According to CBS News, on the afternoon of September 10 "alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the US stock options market." It is known that the CIA and many other intelligence agencies monitor stock trading in real time using Promis software.
  • Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the Pentagon "cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," or one quarter of the yearly defense budget. The lead story on many newscasts that night, it is buried by the events of the following day.
  • Mohammed Atta calls Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the operational planner of 9/11, and receives final approval for the attacks. The call is monitored and translated by the US, though how quickly is unknown, as are the contents of the conversation.
  • Two Arabic messages sent from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan are intercepted by the National Security Agency, which state "the match is about to begin" and "tomorrow is zero hour." The NSA claims they were not translated until September 12.
  • As reported in Newsweek, on September 10 a number of senior Pentagon officials cancel their commercial flights for the following morning due to security considerations.
  • Eight hours before the attacks, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown receives a warning from his "security people" advising him against flying to New York the next morning.
  • A FEMA team arrives in New York City for the "Tripod II" bioterror exercise. Before the 9/11 commission, Rudy Giuliani acknowledged that the FEMA camp was already in place to receive victims of the attack, and was larger and better equipped than the NYC terror response unit that was lost in the collapse of WTC building 7.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Putin antes up

Vladimir Putin's adoption of the Bush doctrine in the wake of the Beslan school calamity - that is, Russia is preparing to make pre-emptive strikes on "terrorist bases" anywhere in the world - may seem to overplay the Chechnya card. But then again, it appears the Chechens didn't do it. Though sole living detainee Nur-Pashi Kulayev would seem to be Chechen, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov not one of his countrymen has yet been identified among the dead hostage takers, and Kulayev has said that the goal of the attack was "to unleash a war on the whole of the Caucasus."

If not Chechens, then who, and for what cause? And why has the White House rather perversely called upon Russia to solve its terrorism problem through diplomacy, though the Bush policy is to "make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them"?

Beslan needs the big picture, and the big picture is the Great Game.

Like a neverending Monopoly tournament, imperial rivals have been playing the Great Game for centuries. But then, no one said domination of the Eurasian landmass would be easy. The pot, however, is about as big as it comes. "Who controls Eurasia controls the world," wrote former National Security Advisor (and current advisor to the "US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce") Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard. The "War on Terror" is the latest - and so some players hope, last - round. In May 2001, Dick Cheney's National Energy Policy singled out the Caspian Basin as a "rapidly growing new area of supply," and called for "energy be a priority of our trade and foreign policy." Now, thanks to 9/11, American troops are stationed for the first time on the former territory of the Soviet Union, in the Caspian region, and they "will pull out only when all al-Qaeda cells have been eradicated." In other words, never.

If Putin indeed targets "terrorist bases anywhere in the world," then by all rights America's Middle Asian proxy of Pakistan deserves be in Russian crosshairs. Pakistan has been playing a dangerous and duplicitous game since at least the late-70s, when its intelligence service began inciting Muslim extremists to serve as the patsies of US geopolitics. Brzezinski admitted in 1998 that he and CIA director William Casey had intentionally provoked the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan - which they anticipated would be an empire-ending quagmire - by providing covert aid to the Afghan mujahideen via Pakistan's ISI. "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

The CIA-ISI-al Qaeda triangle is a decades' old tool of American statecraft, and on 9/11 it dramatically raised the stakes of the Great Game. It now appears Russia's not yet ready to fold.

Read Lutz Kleveman in The Guardian last October for more on how the Great Game contextualizes the "War on Terror," and follow Asia Times for superlative coverage of the players moves. (See, for example, Pepe Escobar's study of the 9/11 smoking gun of Pakistani Lietenant-General Mahmoud Ahmad.) For deeper analysis of Beslan's geopolitical implications, I commend xymphora's posts of yesterday and today.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Dick Cheney, Terrorism Czar

It's said Americans have notoriously short attention spans, but this is ridiculous.

Yesterday, a grave Dick Cheney warned that a John Kerry victory would risk another terror attack: "If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again - that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

Cheney may not have much of a heart, but he has some nerve. Because not only was George Bush the titular president on September 11, but Vice President Dick Cheney was expressly responsible for coordinating federal preparedness for international terrorist attacks on US soil.

From a White House press release dated May 9, 2001:

Cheney to Oversee Domestic Counterterrorism Efforts

Washington, May 9, 2001 -- President Bush May 8 directed Vice President Dick Cheney to coordinate development of U.S. government initiatives to combat terrorist attacks on the United States.

This was the new Office of National Preparedness, organized under FEMA. It was to oversee a "national effort" to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks. Cheney told the press at the time, "One of our biggest threats as a nation" may include "a terrorist organization overseas. We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense."

Cheney's "Office of National Preparedness" was the Bush White House answer to the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman Commission. Co-chair Gary Hart said "Frankly, the White House shut [the commission] down. The president said 'Please wait, we're going to turn this over to the vice president."

And let's remember something else Cheney was up to that Spring: not only was he supposedly coordinating federal preparedness against a terrorist attack, he was also heading the task force to craft a new American energy strategy, one which had dramatic implications for US military policy.

A busy man. Very busy the morning of September 11, monitoring multiple wargames, including live-fly simulations of hijackings, which taxed and confused resources available to intercept the genuine hijacked aircraft.

Just doing his job.

How many privileged secrets?

The formerly "rarely invoked" State Secrets Privilege has effectively gagged another whistleblower. This time, Drug Enforcement Agency Whistleblower Richard Horn.

Horn's 10-year case, alleging that senior CIA and State Department officials thwarted his DEA mission to eradicate Burmese opium production and illegally spied on him, was dismissed in July because a court found for the government that his evidence could threaten national security. The complete court record was sealed by the judge, and the ruling is known only because it was leaked by an anonymous source to The Narco News Bulletin.
From Bill Conroy's report:

Horn’s attorney claims the bug was planted by Brown or one of his cronies as part of an effort to set up Horn and to undermine DEA’s mission in Burma. The eavesdropping, in the end, failed to produce any dirt that could be used against Horn, but it was a clear violation of his civil rights, according to Leighton.

Sources within DEA contend Horn’s claims against the CIA and State Department are on target, adding that the Department of Justice went as far as to claim that no U.S. citizen is protected from eavesdropping by its government when overseas.

“Horn’s whole story is true,” contends one DEA source. “They spied on his home, and the Department of Justice defended the CIA’s actions.”

Horn’s attorney, in his letter to Sen. Shelby, contends that the CIA’s net is far wider than Burma, and that the Agency regularly spies on DEA agents overseas: "My client has learned that many DEA agents have been the subject of electronic eavesdropping by the State Department and our U.S. intelligence agencies.... There are, no doubt, countless times when DEA’s operation plans have been foiled by 'the listeners,' without DEA even knowing what happened."

What really happened in the Horn case, though, is not supposed to come out, if the government has its way. From the start, Horn’s litigation was sealed and critical evidence that could have supported his claims censored by the court.

Shades of Sibel Edmonds. (And the CIA foiling a mission to curb opium production should call to mind what she said about the intersection of drugs, guns and oil.) When on October 18, 2002 the Department of Justice gave notice it was muzzling the former FBI translator, it stated that State Secrets Privilege "allows the Executive Branch to safeguard vital information regarding the nation’s security or diplomatic relations... It is an absolute privilege that renders the information unavailable in litigation."

In other words, the stronger the case against the government, the less chance it has of succeeding, because it can play the "national security" card on a deferential judiciary and see the evidence for the opposing argument safely locked away, even out of sight of the court itself.

Perversely, and perhaps fittingly, the concept of "State Secrets Privilege" was enshrined in law through a 1953 Supreme Court decision founded upon unconscionable fraud of the US military. Compensation for widows whose husbands had died in the peacetime crash of a B-29 bomber unfit to fly was overturned when the Air Force refused to produce the accident report because to do so would also reveal state secrets which could imperil national security. The judgement of the court represented an act of faith in the government: when it speaks on national security, it must be taken at its word.

When survivors and heirs sought to overturn the verdict earlier this year the government moved to dismiss the case, and argued that even if its witnesses had perjured themselves in the original case, that would not legally constitute a "fraud upon the court."

The Patriot Act isn't such a novel beast for Witchfinder General John Ashcroft. Great discretion for the Executive Branch had already been established through such creatures of the National Security State as "State Secret Privilege." It is, rather, the uncommon extremis of the Bush years that lends clarity to matters of simple justice. And if whistleblowers like Richard Horn and Sibel Edmonds are to find justice, it likely won't be in an American court of law.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Manhattan on the Volga

There's no month like September in which to ponder the terror that states can visit upon their own peoples. And perhaps, given the lengthening Yukos body count, Vladmir Putin's angry rejection of a public inquiry into the Beslan school catastrophe, and the alleged poisoning of journalist and leading critic of Chechen policy Anna Politkovskaya, we ought to take a moment to remember the fifth anniversary of Russia's wave of Chechen-blamed apartment bombings.

Remember the news from Russia in September 1999? An apartment building explodes, thought by many to have been caused by a gas leak. But then another blows up, and another, and another.... The bombings killed 300 people, caused Putin's popularity to soar prior to a presidential election, and won him broad support for his war in Chechnya, the Chechens having been duly demonized.

It looked like the straightforward case of the darkskinned evildoers with whom we've become so well acquainted. But while Chechen suspects were arrested with great fanfare, they were released with little notice months later, and there were other troubling indicators that not all was as it seemed:

  • On September 14 Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev, known for his close ties to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), referred to a terrorist attack of the previous night. But he made a mistake: instead of mentioning the bombings at Moscow's Kashirskoye Shosse, he spoke about a building having been blown up in Volgodonsk, which didn't happen until three days later.
  • On the night of September 22 sacks of a white powder, which experts soon determined was the powerful explosive hexogen, were found in the basement of an apartment building in the city of Ryazan. A tragedy seemed to have been narrowly averted, as the detonator had been set for the next morning at 5:30am. Local police arrested two suspects within 48 hours. To the surprise of the arresting officers, the suspects produced identification linking them to the FSB. The government's story quickly changed: the incident was actually an FSB "readiness exercise," and the sacks contained nothing but sugar.
  • Shortly after the Moscow bombings, Private Alexei Pinyaev discovered sacks marked "sugar" at a military warehouse he was guarding near Ryazan. Pinyaev and a fellow paratrooper stuck one with a bayonette and tipped some of its contents into a plastic bag to sweeten their tea, but it had a strange taste and wasn't at all sweet. He took the bag to a platoon commander who, suspecting something wasn't right, had it checked by an explosives specialist. It was established that the sacks contained hexogen, the explosive used in the bombings and the same that the Ryazan apartment "sugar" sacks had inititally been said to contain. The FSB descended upon the base and interrogated Pinyaev for "revealing a state secret," and his unit was promptly shipped to Chechnya.
  • In March 2002 Nikita Chekulin, the Deputy Director of Moscow Explosives Research Institute, sought asylum in Britain. He disclosed documents proving that large quantities of hexogen had been illegally transferred from military depots to several front companies which he suspected were set up by the FSB, and the FSB suppressed police investigation of the transactions.
Wednesday evening, in a small theatre in north Moscow, Andrei Nekrasov's documentary challenging the official story of the terror campaign, Disbelief, will receive only its second Russian screening, though it has garnered broad international acclaim and caused him to be hailed as the "Russian Michael Moore." Nekrasov, in fact, eclipses Moore, who presses no further than the implausible limited hang-out of "the Saudis did it."

From The Moscow Times:

In scenes from the documentary, [survivor] Tatyana meets others whose lives were torn apart by the blasts -- both bombing victims and those who suffered in other ways. She visits Timur Dakhkilgov, one of the Chechens who were arrested after the explosion, charged with terrorism and quietly released three months later. She attempts to secure the release of official documents. She meets the former Chechen warlord, Akhmed Zakayev. She hires a former lieutenant colonel in the Federal Security Service, or FSB, Mikhail Trepashkin as a lawyer. Trepashkin was later convicted on charges of divulging state secrets, in what human rights organizations called an attempt to squash his investigations.


Nekrasov says he has not met any serious resistance to showing the film in Russia. But when Trepashkin was arrested, Nekrasov made another documentary compiled from interviews with Trepashkin. After a Moscow screening, Nekrasov said he noticed a strange car following him all the way across town. "I just felt like I was dreaming," he said. "I felt like getting out of my car and screaming, 'What do you want from me?'"

Later, the master copy of the Trepashkin film was stolen out of the director's briefcase. Nekrasov's documents were stolen from his jacket pocket on the day he was to fly out of Moscow. "It was a nightmare," he says. "My mouth went dry."

It's good for 9/11 skeptics to recall 1962's Operation Northwoods, the Joint Chiefs' proposal to unleash a false-flag wave of Cuban terror on American soil to precipitate a war against Castro. The Kennedy Administration flatly rejected the plan, and it did not become public knowledge - such as it has - for nearly 40 years. If Kennedy had given the green light, one would have been called a "conspiracy theorist" and worse for suggesting Cuba had been set up and that the real terrorists were men like Admiral Lyman Lemnitzer, though one would have been absolutely correct.

It's also good to recall that governments pull this shit all the time. 9/11 was unique only by order of magnitude.

" I looked the man in the eye," George Bush said after his first meeting with Putin in June 2001. "I was able to get a sense of his soul."

A few months later, and two years after the Russian terror campaign, and it's Moscow on the Hudson.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Why do people say such TERRIBLE things about the Bush Family?

I dunno - perhaps, just maybe, because they've done terrible things?

Kitty Kelley's forthcoming book The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, could revist some of the clan's open and unspoken secrets, such as "alleged sex offenses against minors by Dubya's father." I say "revisit," but in fact this will be a new one for most Americans. Because no scandal in American history was disappeared more efficiently than that of the Franklin Credit Union. Despite the salacious mix of sex and violence in high places, few have ever heard of it. Why, I wonder, would that be?

In the 1980s, a man named Lawrence King launched a credit union in Omaha and quickly became one of the most prominent black Republicans in America. He sang the national anthem at two Republican National Conventions. He was a friend of powerful state and national figures, including billionaire Warren Buffett (Buffett hosted the King's 10th anniversary party and sat on the board of Franklin's parent company) and then-Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush.

King also happened to be an abusive paedophile, who ran an adolescent sex ring out of his office that enjoyed the protection of US security and intelligence apparatus, which exploited children lured from the neighbouring Boys' Town as both a honeytrap to blackmail vulnerable parties and as a reward for faithful assets.

King is serving 15 years for fraud, some of it related to Iran/Contra money laundering, and recently lost a million dollar lawsuit filed by Paul Bonacci, one of his former child prostitutes who took a midnight tour of the White House organized through the office of the Vice President. Judge Warren Urbom found that King

continually subjected the plaintiff to repeated sexual assaults, false imprisonment, infliction of extreme emotional distress, organized and directed satanic rituals, forced the plaintiff to "scavenge" for children to be a part of the defendant King's sexual abuse and pornography ring, forced the plaintiff to engage in numerous sexual contacts with the defendant King and others and participate in deviate sexual games and masochistic orgies with other minor children.

It seems too horrible to have happened. So - did it? Goddamn right it did. But Poppy mixed up with a child sex ring? The allegation is too outrageous to process. So the screen slides across the mind, and it's as though we never heard about it, let alone that it ever occured.

The Nebraska State legislature retained investigator Gary Caradori to sort through allegations of a paedophile ring run out of the Franklin Credit Union, which implicated not only some of the most powerful figures in the state, but high officials in Washington as well.

Caradori travelled to Chicago to gather testimony and evidence of a child prostitution ring which implicated senior Republicans both in the state and in DC, and operated with the knowledge of Vice President Bush (a number of the teens placed Bush at sex parties) and the protection of intelligence agencies, all tied to King's credit union. He'd taken along his young son, who wanted to see the 1990 All-Star Game.

Before returning to Nebraska, Caradori called the committee chief, Senator Loran Schmit, to say he had the smoking gun. "We've got them! There's no way they can get out of it now!" He would be bringing home photographic evidence supporting the fantastic though reluctant testimony of the victimized teens. En route, his small plane exploded in midair, killing both him and his son. A farmer witnessed a flash of light and heard an explosion. That report made the early news, but subsequent stories said the plane exploded on impact. The wreckage was removed to a military base and ruled an accident, though the cause was not determined. His briefcase was never recovered.

Though both Caradori and Schmit had received numerous death threats, Caradori believed they were in the clear. He'd assured the Senator "It's unlikely that they would kill you or me, Loran, because that would be too obvious. But then again, you never know." In the Nebraska statehouse later the day of Caradori's death, Schmit told reporters "There were a lot of people in this state who wanted to see Gary dead. They got their wish."

Former CIA Director William Colby was quietly hired by the Nebraska legislature's committee to look into the investigator's death. Colby warned his friend, author, lawyer and former State Senator John DeCamp to stay away, or he could end up dead as well, because "sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful."

Craig Spence might have concurred. Spence was a Republican Washington-based lobbyist and business associate of King who ran his own call-boy operation, and helped organize the after-hours White House tour. In The Washington Times of August 9, 1989, Spence "hinted the tours were arranged by top level" persons, including Vice President Bush's National Security Advisor Donald Gregg, whose name also figures prominently in the October Surprise story. The Times adds that "Spence, according to friends, was also carrying out homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA."

Spence might have concurred. He was found dead in a hotel in Boston four months after the call-boy story broke, his death ruled a suicide.

And what about Bush, besides the High Weirdness of his office rewarding adolescent prostitutes with a midnight White House tour? From DeCamp's The Franklin Cover-Up, recounting the testimony of Nelly Patterson Webb:

Nelly first brought up (GHW) Bush in 1986, when she told Julie Walters about the sex parties she was flown to in Washington and Chicago. She saw Bush at two of these parties, she said, one in each city.

Nelly also told Walters that one frequent party-goer with King was a boy named 'Brent,' the one who was 'flown to another city somewhere' after a falling out with King. Walters did not have the time to cross-check this information with the life of Brandt Thomas, the Boys Town resident who had moved in with Larry King. Franklin credit union files contained a letter signed by King, in his capacity as Youth Affairs Committee advisor for the National Black Republican Council, listing Thomas as one of two national contact people for NBRC campus chapters.

Three years later, with an investigation of abuse by King and the Webbs finally underway, Nelly was interviewed again. Speaking to Franklin committee detective Jerry Lowe, she repeated her account of the Chicago party, and said that Bush and the two men he arrived with appeared to have left the affair with a young black man she called 'Bandit.'...

Bush's name surfaced again in Lowe's May 1989 review of reports by Thomas Vlahoulis from the state attorney general's office: "both Kimberly and Nelly brought up the name of George Bush and indicated that they had both met him." There is a psychologist in Omaha who used to work for the CIA. In response to a direct question by an Omaha psychiatrist regarding George Bush's private life, this psychologist reported hearing rumors when Bush was head of the CIA, that correspond directly with the inferences made by Nelly Webb, and commented to the psychiatrist, 'But how do you investigate your boss?'"

And from the "Omaha" chapter of Webster Tarpley's unauthorized (no kidding) biography of Poppy:

Sound crazy? Not to Steve Bowman, an Omaha businessman who is compiling a book about the Franklin money and sex scandal. 'We do have some credible witnesses who say that "Yes, George Bush does have a problem.".... Child abuse has become one of the epidemics of the 1990s,' Bowman told GQ....

Mrs. Julie Walters, now a housewife in the Midwest, confirmed that in 1986 she had interviewed the alleged child prostitute, Lisa, who told her about Mr. Bush. Lisa and her sister Tracey were temporarily living at the time in the home of Kathleen Sorenson, another foster parent. Mrs. Walters explained that at first she was very surprised. But Lisa, who came from a very underprivileged background with no knowledge of political affairs, gave minute details of her attendance at political meetings around the country."

From Julie Walters' 50-page handwritten report:

3/25/86. Met with Kathleen and Lisa for about 2 hours in Blair questioning Lisa for more details about sexual abuse.... Lisa admitted to being used as a prostitute by Larry King when she was on trips with his family. She started going on trips when she was in 10th grade. Besides herself and Larry there was also Mrs. King, their son, Prince, and 2-3 other couples. They traveled in Larry's private plane, Lisa said that at these trip parties, which Larry hosted, she sat naked 'looking pretty and innocent' and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted (but penetration was not allowed) with her.... Lisa said she first met V.P. George Bush at the Republican Convention (that Larry King sang the national anthem at) and saw him again at a Washington, D.C. party that Larry hosted. At that party, Lisa saw no women ('make-up was perfect--you had to check their legs to make sure they weren't a woman').

Why do people say such terrible things about the Bush family? I dunno. Perhaps, just maybe, they're all lying.

But the great privilege of respectable men is the license to commit outrageous crimes, because to allege them capable of such acts is, to many, inconceivable.

Say, that reminds me - ever heard of Margie Schoedinger?

For more regarding the Franklin story, see this archive of articles pertaining to the Franklin Cover-Up.


The Franklin Credit Union Sex Ring Scandal

George Bush, The CIA, Mind Control & Child Abuse

The Washington Child-Sex Ring Cover-Up

Amazon link to John DeCamp's The Franklin Cover-Up.

To download a pirated copy of Yorkshire Television's documentary of the Franklin case, Conspiracy of Silence, and to read how it was kept off American television, go here.