Patriot Act Extension Signed By Obama

Patriot Act

President Barack Obama listens as Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks to reporters at the G8 summit in Deauville, France, Thursday, May 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

JIM ABRAMS   05/27/11 07:37 AM ET   AP

WASHINGTON — Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.

“It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.

Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.

The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.

A short-term expiration would not have interrupted ongoing operations but would have barred the government from seeking warrants for new investigations.

Congress bumped up against the deadline mainly because of the stubborn resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky, who saw the terrorist-hunting powers as an abuse of privacy rights. Paul held up the final vote for several days while he demanded a chance to change the bill to diminish the government’s ability to monitor individual actions.

The measure would add four years to the legal life of roving wiretaps – those authorized for a person rather than a communications line or device – of court-ordered searches of business records and of surveillance of non-American “lone wolf” suspects without confirmed ties to terrorist groups.

The roving wiretaps and access to business records are small parts of the USA Patriot Act enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But unlike most of the act, which is permanent law, those provisions must be renewed periodically because of concerns that they could be used to violate privacy rights. The same applies to the “lone wolf” provision, which was part of a 2004 intelligence law.

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Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the law gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he voted for the act when he was a House member in 2001 “while ground zero was still burning.” But “I soon realized it gave too much power to government without enough judicial and congressional oversight.”

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the provision on collecting business records can expose law-abiding citizens to government scrutiny. “If we cannot limit investigations to terrorism or other nefarious activities, where do they end?” he asked.

“The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.

Still, coming just a month after intelligence and military forces tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden, there was little appetite for tampering with the terrorism-fighting tools. These tools, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, “have kept us safe for nearly a decade and Americans today should be relieved and reassured to know that these programs will continue.”

Intelligence officials have denied improper use of surveillance tools, and this week both FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent letters to congressional leaders warning of serious national security consequences if the provisions were allowed to lapse.

The Obama administration says that without the three authorities the FBI might not be able to obtain information on terrorist plotting inside the U.S. and that a terrorist who communicates using different cell phones and email accounts could escape timely surveillance.

“When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we would be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country, undetected,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. In unusually personal criticism of a fellow senator, he warned that Paul, by blocking swift passage of the bill, “is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them.”

The nation itself is divided over the Patriot Act, as reflected in a Pew Research Center poll last February, before the killing of bin Laden, that found that 34 percent felt the law “goes too far and poses a threat to civil liberties. Some 42 percent considered it “a necessary tool that helps the government find terrorists.” That was a slight turnaround from 2004 when 39 percent thought it went too far and 33 percent said it was necessary.

Paul, after complaining that Reid’s remarks were “personally insulting,” asked whether the nation “should have some rules that say before they come into your house, before they go into your banking records, that a judge should be asked for permission, that there should be judicial review? Do we want a lawless land?”

Paul agreed to let the bill go forward after he was given a vote on two amendments to rein in government surveillance powers. Both were soundly defeated. The more controversial, an amendment that would have restricted powers to obtain gun records in terrorist investigations, was defeated 85-10 after lawmakers received a letter from the National Rifle Association stating that it was not taking a position on the measure.

According to a senior Justice Department national security official testifying to Congress last March, the government has sought roving wiretap authority in about 20 cases a year between 2001 and 2010 and has sought warrants for business records less than 40 times a year, on average. The government has yet to use the lone wolf authority.

But the ACLU also points out that court approvals for business record access jumped from 21 in 2009 to 96 last year, and the organization contends the Patriot Act has blurred the line between investigations of actual terrorists and those not suspected of doing anything wrong.

Two Democratic critics of the Patriot Act, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Udall of Colorado, on Thursday extracted a promise from Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she would hold hearings with intelligence and law enforcement officials on how the law is being carried out.

Wyden says that while there are numerous interpretations of how the Patriot Act works, the official government interpretation of the law remains classified. “A significant gap has developed now between what the public thinks the law says and what the government secretly claims it says,” Wyden said.

___

Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and Pete Yost contributed to this report.

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What Glenn Greenwald Will Be Interested to Learn About 9/11

Washington’s Blog

I am a big fan of Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald – a former constitutional lawyer – regularly destroys the “official” narratives about war, torture, spying, anthrax and other topics. I have worked tirelessly and written hundreds of articles on these issues myself, and I regularly quote Glenn.

I have seen Greenwald time and again refute false claims, ad hominem attacks and illogical reasoning. I know that Glenn can ignore the straw men and red herrings, keep his “eyes on the prize” of truth, and get to the heart of the matter.

Given the way that Mr. Greenwald has shredded the anthrax investigation, I know that he is not afraid to speak truth to power and to courageously challenge false narratives being pushed by the government and the mainstream media.

Whistleblowers

Given the manner in which Mr. Greenwald regularly quotes high-level whistleblowers, and his brilliant criticism of the unlawful persecution of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, I am confident that he values whistleblowers.

Starting there, Glenn might be interested in learning that Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the Senator who was instrumental in making those documents public (Mike Gravel) are both skeptical of the official 9/11 narrative.

For example, Ellsberg says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”. (Here’s some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government isordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.

And Ellsberg said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that “very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been”, that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there’s enough evidence to justify a new, “hard-hitting” investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this andthis).

Similarly, Air Force Colonel and key Pentagon official Karen Kwiatkowski – the primary insider blowing the whistle on the Pentagon’s “Office of Special Plans” (the unit responsible for “stovepiping” false intelligence regarding Iraq’s wmds to the White House) – questions 9/11, and writes:

I have been told by reporters that they will not report their own insights or contrary evaluations of the official 9/11 story, because to question the government story about 9/11 is to question the very foundations of our entire modern belief system regarding our government, our country, and our way of life. To be charged with questioning these foundations is far more serious than being labeled a disgruntled conspiracy nut or anti-government traitor, or even being sidelined or marginalized within an academic, government service, or literary career. To question the official 9/11 story is simply and fundamentally revolutionary. In this way, of course, questioning the official story is also simply and fundamentally American.

(page 26).

Many other well-known whistleblowers also challenge the official 9/11 narrative.

Lawyers

Lawyers know that “conspiracies” are alleged every day by prosecutors and by plaintiffs in civil suits. They know that – just as with allegations of trespass, or defamation, or any other claim of wrongdoing – conspiracy allegations often fall apart under investigation, but that many – even big ones – turn out to be true.

The best lawyers value the Constitution and the rule of law, are able to examine evidence and to spot cover-ups or inconsistencies in the evidence and bias in witnesses or decision-makers, and are good at weighing conflicting evidence. Starting with those assumptions, Mr. Greenwald will be interested in the fact that numerous high-level legal scholars question the government’s official story about 9/11:

  • Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) questions the government’s version of 9/11
  • Former Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation; former Professor of Aviation, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation and Professor of Public Policy, Ohio State University (Mary Schiavo) questions the government’s version of 9/11
  • Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign; a leading practitioner and advocate of international law; responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention; served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia- Herzegovina at the World Court, with a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University (Dr. Francis Boyle) questions the government’s version of 9/11
  • Former prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Justice Department and a key member of Attorney General Bobby Kennedy’s anti-corruption task force; former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (J. Terrence “Terry” Brunner)questions the government’s version of 9/11
  • Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Director, Center for Human Rights, University of Iowa; Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science.
  • Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Troy University; associate General Counsel, National Association of Federal Agents; Retired Agent in Charge, Internal Affairs, U.S. Customs, responsible for the internal integrity and security for areas encompassing nine states and two foreign locations; former Federal Sky Marshall; 27-year U.S. Customs career (Mark Conrad) questions the government’s version of 9/11.
  • Director of Academic Programs, Institute for Policy and Economic Development, University of Texas, El Paso, specializing in executive branch secrecy policy, governmental abuse, and law and bureaucracy; former U.S. Army Signals Intelligence officer; author of several books on law and political theory (Dr. William G. Weaver) questions the government’s version of 9/11

Indeed, quite a few lawyers – including Ferdinando Imposimato, Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy, the Former Senior Investigative Judge, Italy, who presided over several terrorism-related cases, including the kidnapping and ultimate assassination of President Aldo Moro, the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, other political assassinations and kidnapping cases and several cases against the Mafia, a former Senator who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three administrations, and served as former legal consultant to the United Nations regarding institution of laws to control drug trafficking – have signed the petition at Lawyers for 9/11 Truth.

Other Smart People Question 9/11

A lot of other smart, high-level people question at least some aspects of the government’s explanation for 9/11. By way of example only:

9/11 Commissioners:

  • And the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – recently said “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreementnot to tell the truth about what happened”. He also said “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years…. This is not spin. This is not true.” And he said: “It’s almost a culture of concealment, for lack of a better word. There were interviews made at the FAA’s New York center the night of 9/11 and those tapes were destroyed. The CIA tapes of the interrogations were destroyed. The story of 9/11 itself, to put it mildly, was distorted and was completely different from the way things happened”

Senior intelligence officers:

  • A 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials, and who has for years been a tireless anti-war advocate and critic of imperial foreign policy (Raymond McGovern) said “I think at simplest terms, there’s a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke”
  • A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called “perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that “the evidence points at” 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job

Congressmen:

  • Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and who served six years as the Chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee Curt Weldon has shown that the U.S. tracked hijackers before 9/11, is open to hearing information about explosives in the Twin Towers, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job

Other government officials:

  • Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who’s who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11
  • Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) says “The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defense of incompetence”

As the above-described list shows, there is bipartisan questioning of 9/11. In addition to the folks listed above, leading progressives such as William Blum, Lewis Lapham, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Thom Hartmann, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Marc Crispin Miller, Howard Zinn, Robert McChesney, Gore Vidal, Chris Floyd, Robert Fisk, Medea Benjamin, Doris “Granny D” Haddock, Paul Hawken, David Cobb, Randy Hayes, Ernest Callenbach, Dennis Bernstein, Paul H. Ray, Michael Franti, Janeane Garafalo and Ed Asner have questioned the government’s account of 9/11.

Similarly, in addition to the people listed above, leading paleo (as opposed to Neo-) conservatives such as Paul Craig Roberts, Joel M. Skousen and Karen Johnson question the government’s narrative.

False Flags

While it doesn’t directly indicate that any shenanigans occurred on 9/11, it is important as historical background information that governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:

  • A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950’s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960’s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the followingABC news reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before – the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. Neither plan was carried out, but they were both discussed as serious proposals
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing
  • An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author)
  • According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admitthat the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.
  • Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
  • United Press International reported in June 2005:

    U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers
  • At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence

Indeed, the following historical quotes show that this type of hanky panky has been going on for a long time:

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
– Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
– U.S. President James Madison

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

Specific Facts About 9/11

With the foregoing background, I will now quickly address some specific facts. Initially, I assume that Mr. Greenwald already knows that 9/11 was wholly and completely foreseeable. If he doesn’t, he should read this.

Next, Glenn will want to learn that Dick Cheney was in charge of all counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. Ssee this Department of State announcementthis CNN article; and this essay.

In fact, 5 war games were scheduled for 9/11, including games that included the insertion of false radar blips onto air traffic contollers’ screens. Specifically, on the very morning of September 11th, five war games and terror drills were being conducted by several U.S. defense agencies, including one “live fly” exercise using REAL planes.

Then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers, admitted to 4 of the war games in congressional testimony — see transcript here or video here (6 minutes and 12 seconds into the video).

Norad had run drills for several years of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, and “numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft”. In other words, drills using REAL AIRCRAFT simulating terrorist attacks crashing jets into buildings, including the twin towers, were run. See also official military website showing 2000 military drill, using miniatures, involving a plane crashing into the Pentagon.

Indeed, a former Los Angeles police department investigator, whose newsletter is read by 45 members of congress, both the house and senate intelligence committees, and professors at more than 40 universities around the world, claims that he obtained an on-the-record confirmation from NORAD that on 9/11, NORAD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were conducting a joint, live-fly, hijack exercise which involved government-operated aircraft posing as hijacked airliners.

On September 11th, the government also happened to be running a simulation of a plane crashing into a building.

In addition, a December 9, 2001 Toronto Star article (pay-per-view; reprinted here), stated that “Operation Northern Vigilance is called off. Any simulated information, what’s known as an ‘inject,’ is purged from the screens”. This indicates that there were false radar blips inserted onto air traffic controllers’ screens as part of the war game exercises.

Moreover, there are indications that some of the major war games previously scheduled for October 2001 were moved up to September 11th by persons unknown.

Now here’s where it gets interesting … Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta testified to the 9/11 Commission:

“During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President … the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDfdOwt2v3Y

(this testimony is confirmed here and here).

So even if 9/11 wasn’t foreseeable before 9/11, it was foreseeable to Dick Cheney – who had beenattacking democracy for nearly 40 years – as the plane was still 50 miles away from the Pentagon.

While this is not proof of wrongdoing, it shows that – as – 9/11 needs further investigation.

Scientific Evidence

Lawyers are used to retaining experts. Specifically, when there is an area which laypeople and lawyers cannot understand without expert input, experts are retained.

Many top structural engineers and fire protection experts – the two types of experts most relevant to the collapse of World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 (the Twin Towers) and building 7 (which was never hit by a plane) – doubt the official narrative, and say that the agency addressing such issues played politics with the science, just as FBI has twisted the science to try to convict Bruce Ivins for the anthrax attacks, and the Bush administration “fixed the facts around the policy” of invading Iraq.

Indeed, 1,500 architects, engineers and other relevant experts doubt the official story.

Is It Worth Going Down the Rabbit Hole?

As this lengthy post shows, looking at September 11th with open eyes means going down the rabbit hole to some extent.

But as Mr. Greenwald has eloquently argued, we can’t just “look forward” on issues like torture, lying about war, and other crimes. If we don’t truly air the dirty laundry, they will happen again.

Similarly, if 9/11 was, in fact, in any way allowed to happen, then we have to truly get to the bottom of it, or the boys will use ball-dropping negligence or “false flags” again.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/05/what-glenn-greenwald-will-be-inte…

Daniel Ellsberg: “Secrets … Can Be Kept Reliably … For Decades … Even Though They Are Known to THOUSANDS of Insiders”

Washington’s Blog

Judges, prosecutors and journalists all know that collusion happens every day. As I noted last year:

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy. The heads of Enron were found guilty of conspiracy, as was the head of Adelphia. Numerous lower-level government officials have been found guilty of conspiracy. See thisthisthisthis and this.

Time Magazine’s financial columnist Justin Fox writes:

Some financial market conspiracies are real …

Most good investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way.

Indeed, conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations asjust another legal claim to be disproven or proven by the evidence.

As I pointed out in 2009:

Federal and all 50 state’s codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies.

***

Conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to every first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum. Telling a judge that someone has a “conspiracy theory” would be like telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed on their property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It is a fundamental legal concept.

Obviously, many conspiracy allegations are false (if you see a judge at a dinner party, ask him to tell you some of the crazy conspiracy allegations which were made in his court). Obviously, people will either win or lose in court depending on whether or not they can prove their claim with the available evidence. But not all allegations of trespass, assault, or theft are true, either.

Proving a claim of conspiracy is no different from proving any other legal claim, and the mere label “conspiracy” is taken no less seriously by judges.

Indeed, even Obama’s information tzar – who advocates using the power of the state to shut down talk of conspiracies – admits:

Some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true … The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the CIA did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of ‘mind control.’” [This post isn’t going down the rabbit hole of mind control.]

Can’t Hide It

Those accusing Goldman Sachs, Dick Cheney or some other powerful people of conspiring to enrich their interests are often met with the argument that “someone would have spilled the beans” if there had really been a conspiracy.

But famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg explains:

It is a commonplace that “you can’t keep secrets in Washington” or “in a democracy, no matter how sensitive the secret, you’re likely to read it the next day in the New York Times.” These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn’t in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders.

History proves Ellsberg right. For example:

  • A BBC documentary shows that:

There was “a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen . . . . The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression”

Moreover, “the tycoons told General Butler the American people would accept the new government because they controlled all the newspapers.” Have you ever heard of this conspiracy before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation?

  • The government’s spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And seethis.) But the public didn’t learn about it until many years later. Indeed, the the New York Timesdelayed the story so that it would not affect the outcome of the 2004 presidential election
  • The decision to launch the Iraq war was made before 9/11. Indeed, former CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted “crap” in its justifications for invading Iraq. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – who sat on the National Security Council – also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And top British officialssay that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change one month after Bush took office. Dick Cheney apparently even made Iraqi’s oil fields a national security priority before 9/11. And it has now been shown that a handful of people were responsible for willfully ignoring the evidence that Iraq lacked weapons of mass destruction. These facts have only been publicly disclosed recently

These examples show that it is possible to keep conspiracies secret for a long time, without anyone “spilling the beans”.

Discipline

To anyone who knows how covert military operations work, it is obvious that segmentation on a “need-to-know basis”, along with deference to command hierarchy, means that a couple of top dogs can call the shots and most people helping won’t even know the big picture.

Moreover, those who think that co-conspirators will brag about their deeds are forget that people in the military or intelligence or who have huge sums of money on the line can be very disciplined. They are not likely to go to the bar and spill the beans like a down-on-their-luck, second-rate alcoholic robber might do.

Finally, people who carry out covert operations may do so for ideological reasons — believing that the “ends justify the means”. Never underestimate the conviction of an idealogue.

“All Wars Are Based on Propaganda”

Tom Brokaw notes:

All wars are based on propaganda.

There are numerous examples, such as dressing corpses in fake uniforms and planting false intelligenceon them to mislead enemies.

In addition, governments from around the world have admitted to false flag terror. In all of these cases, more than a handful of people were involved in planning, funding and carrying out the attacks. And yet no one spilled the beans or – if someone did – they were not believed.

For example:

  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950’s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960’s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the followingABC news reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before – the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. (While the Joint Chiefs of Staff pushed as a serious proposal for Operation Northwoods to be carried out, cooler heads fortunately prevailed; President Kennedy or his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara apparently vetoed the plan)
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing
  • An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author)
    • Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton says that a Clinton cabinet member proposed letting Saddam kill an American pilot as a pretext for war in Iraq (and see this)
  • According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admitthat the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.
  • Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
  • United Press International reported in June 2005:

    U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers
  • At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence
  • There are many other instances of false flag attacks used throughout history proven by the historical evidence. See thisthis and this.

In summary, the claim that conspiracies couldn’t have happened or else we would have known when someone bragged about their deeds completely false.

Conspiracies are generally not discovered unless the facts are aggressively investigated and prosecuted.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/05/daniel-ellsberg-secrets-can-be-ke…

Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

“Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden
Monday 23 May 2011
by: Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout

A great deal of controversy has arisen about what was known about the movements and location of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his killing by US Special Forces on May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Questions about what intelligence agencies knew or didn’t know about al-Qaeda activities go back some years, most prominently in the controversy over the existence of a joint US Special Forces Command and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) data mining effort known as “Able Danger.”

What hasn’t been discussed is a September 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) report, summarizing an investigation made in response to an accusation by a Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) whistleblower, which indicated that a senior JFIC commander had halted actions tracking Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. JFIC is tasked with an intelligence mission in support of United States Joint Force Command (USJFCOM).

The report, titled “Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission,” was declassified last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists.

The whistleblower, who the IG report identified as a former JFIC employee represented only by his codename “IRON MAN,” claimed in letters written to both the DoD inspector general in May 2006 and, lacking any apparent action by the IG, to the Office of the National Director of Intelligence (ODNI) in October 2007, that JFIC had withheld operational information about al-Qaeda when queried in March 2002 about its activities by the DIA and higher command officials on behalf of the 9/11 Commission. The ODNI passed the complaint back to the IG, who then opened an investigation under the auspices of the deputy inspector general for intelligence.

In a November 27, 2007, letter from Edward Maguire at the ODNI to Gen. Claude Kicklighter at the DoD’s IG office, Maquire identifies the whistleblower as “a DIA employee in the Defense HUMINT Management Office, Policy and Plans Division,” who was “personally involved in JFIC intelligence activities related to al-Qa’ida and the 9/11 attacks and had first hand knowledge of circumstances surrounding that alleged false reporting to the Secretary of Defense and Congress.”

Maguire also offered to send classified material to the DoD IG that was in possession of the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) inspector general. He also told Kicklighter that the DNI had not performed even a preliminary inquiry on the allegations.

The IG report, which does not explain the 18-month delay in opening an investigation, cleared JFIC of any wrongdoing and declared that the intelligence agency had “provided a timely and accurate reply in response to the 9/11 Commission.” In evident response, IRON MAN indicated to the IG investigating staff that “he had never seen the 9/11 Commission questions or JFIC’s response, but that Congress should have asked for files concerning the tracking of Usama Bin Ladin.”

According to the IG report, the 9/11 Commission “had not requested the direct submission of any files or requested information regarding the tracking of Usama Bin Ladin.” The report said the commission questions “were very specific,” and asked what the JFIC knew about “imminent attack” or “hijackers involved” in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Tracking Bin Laden had been undertaken by a secret unit within the JFIC, the Asymmetric Threats Division, formed in 1999 “to take a non-traditional approach to analysis.” Known by its DoD acronym, DO5, it was tasked with providing “current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff [J2].” Almost no public source material exists on DO5 activities, except what is in the IG report.

The IG report does not deny the tracking of Bin Laden, but notes that the JFIC was to provide general and direct intelligence support to USJFCOM and subordinate joint forces commands and that it did not have a mission to track Osama bin Laden or predict imminent targets of terrorism on US soil.

Nevertheless, DO5 was involved in intelligence concerns domestically. It provided assistance to the Joint Task Force – Civil Support (JTF-CS), which, like DO5, was formed in 1999 and based out of Fort Monroe, Virginia. The JTF-CS was tasked with assisting the DoD response to domestic terror incidents, including “managing the consequences of a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) situation.” At one point, DO5 assisted the JTF-CS by “establishing fictional terrorist organizations that would mimic real world terrorist groups” that were utilized as part of JTF-CS “exercises.”

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The obscurity of DO5’s mission was summed up by a former JFIC deputy director of intelligence, who told investigators that DO5 had “no theater specific mission.” According to the answers the JFIC provided to the 9/11 Commission, the JFIC received over 2,200 messages daily “from other agencies, JFCOM components, or services.” It did “not conduct any unilateral collection” of any intelligence domestically.

According to the narrative in the IG report, a previous JFIC deputy director of intelligence said that the JFIC commander, identified elsewhere in the report as Capt. Janice Dundas, US Navy, “directed him to stop tracking Usama Bin Ladin. The Commanding Officer stated that the tracking of Usama Bin Ladin did not fall within JFIC’s mission.” At the same time, JFIC analysis of purported Afghanistan “terrorist training camps” was also curtailed, with an explanation that such activities were outside the agency’s Area of Operations and “that the issues where [sic] not in JFIC’s swim lane.”

According to the report, the Asymmetric Threats Division was “realigned” in summer 2001 under the “Intelligence Watch Center.” The Intelligence Watch Center may be the Combined Intelligence Watch Center associated with NORAD, which is an “indications and warning center for worldwide threats from space, missile and strategic air activity, as well as geopolitical unrest that could affect North America and US forces/interests abroad.” This would be consistent with the work DO5 did with the JTF-CS.

The order to stop tracking Bin Laden, therefore, came sometime between the origin of DO5 in 1999 and its realignment just prior to, or right after 9/11. In 2005, the JFIC itself was renamed the Joint Transformation Command-Intelligence, still subordinate to and serving USJFCOM.

Other Allegations

According to the IG report, IRON MAN claimed that the JFIC had “original material created by DO5 relevant to al-Qa’ida,” and that the JFIC had constructed “numerous original reports.” But the IG investigators found that interviews with other JFIC personnel and a review of historical DO5 briefings did not support these allegations. They claimed that DO5, which “recruited JFIC personnel from the command based upon their counterintelligence and counterterrorism expertise,” merely “monitored and compiled intelligence reporting” from other agencies.

IRON MAN told IG investigators that he believed that his agency, JFIC, would deny the existence of the Asymmetric Threat Division and its analyses. But the IG report authors claimed, “JFIC correctly identified the DO5 in its response to question 8” from the 9/11 Commission and explained, in addition, that the JFIC noted that “D05’s emphasis was on force protection for the USJFCOM components.”

But in the reply to question 8 reproduced in the IG report, there is no mention of either DO5 or the Asymmetric Threat Division. The answer states, “JFIC’s Counter-terrorism focus has changed over the years,” and that from fall 1999 until September 11, 2001, the JFIC’s counterterrorism focus switched to “Asymmetric Threats OCONUS [outside the continental US] to include terrorism and CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear] issues,” with the aforementioned emphasis on USJFCOM force protection. Nowhere does it indicate the existence of DO5 and there is no reason to believe that 9/11 Commission members were ever aware of its existence. The JFIC was never mentioned in the subsequent 9/11 Commission report.

In addition, IRON MAN’s allegations also included charges that the JFIC and specifically DO5, had developed information that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the most likely domestic targets of an al-Qaeda attack. The IG report disputes this and claims, with less than definitive assurance, “Evidence indicated that the JFIC did not have knowledge regarding imminent domestic targets prior to 9/11 or specific 9/11 hijacker operations.”

The IG report indicated that IG investigators spoke with a number of key ranking JFIC personnel, as well as the previous USJFCOM director of intelligence, the JFIC Commanding Officer and personnel from the Asymmetric Threat Division.

Earlier this year, a blogger, Susie Dow, who has been following the story of Kirk von Ackermann , a US Army contractor in Iraq who disappeared on the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk in October 2003, asserted that von Ackermann had earlier belonged to JFIC’s Asymmetric Threat Division. Von Ackermann’s vehicle was found by the side of the road with a computer and a briefcase containing $40,000 in cash. An Army Criminal Investigative Division investigation later concluded that he was the victim of a probable kidnapping, while rumors persisted that he was possibly going to blow the whistle on DoD corruption.

An associate of von Ackermann, Ryan Manelick, a former Air Force Intelligence officer, was shot and killed outside a US military base near Baghdad two months later. Manelick had earlier told various people that he was in fear for his life. Both von Ackermann and Manelick worked for the contractor Ultra Services, based in Turkey. No particular link between von Ackermann or Manelick and the IRON MAN allegations has ever been proposed.

Dow has written on the two contractors for the website e Pluribus Media. In a May 6 posting at her own web site, “The Missing Man,” Dow noted the IG report’s conclusion: “The analysis completed by the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, specifically the Asymmetric Threat Division, was not applicable to the questions asked by the 9/11 Commission.”

“Which leads me to believe the 9/11 Commission did not ask the correct questions,” Dow said.
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http://www.truth-out.org/report-intelligence-unit-told-911-stop-tracking…

Anthrax “Conviction” Falls Apart

Washington’s Blog

May 21, 2011

Silicon and Tin Added to Weaponize Anthrax

McClatchy noted yesterday:

Buried in FBI laboratory reports about the anthrax mail attacks that killed five people in 2001 is data suggesting that a chemical may have been added to try to heighten the powder’s potency, a move that some experts say exceeded the expertise of the presumed killer.

The lab data, contained in more than 9,000 pages of files that emerged a year after the Justice Department closed its inquiry and condemned the late Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator, shows unusual levels of silicon and tin in anthrax powder from two of the five letters.

Those elements are found in compounds that could be used to weaponize the anthrax, enabling the lethal spores to float easily so they could be readily inhaled by the intended victims, scientists say.

The existence of the silicon-tin chemical signature offered investigators the possibility of tracing purchases of the more than 100 such chemical products available before the attacks, which might have produced hard evidence against Ivins or led the agency to the real culprit.

But the FBI lab reports released in late February give no hint that bureau agents tried to find the buyers of additives such as tin-catalyzed silicone polymers.

The apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose.

A McClatchy analysis of the records also shows that other key scientific questions were left unresolved and conflicting data wasn’t sorted out when the FBI declared Ivins the killer shortly after his July 29, 2008, suicide.

One chemist at a national laboratory told McClatchy that the tin-silicone findings and the contradictory data should prompt a new round of testing on the anthrax powder.

A senior federal law enforcement official, who was made available only on the condition of anonymity, said the FBI had ordered exhaustive tests on the possible sources of silicon in the anthrax and concluded that it wasn’t added. Instead, the lab found that it’s common for anthrax spores to incorporate environmental silicon and oxygen into their coatings as a “natural phenomenon” that doesn’t affect the spores’ behavior, the official said.

To arrive at that position, however, the FBI had to discount its own bulk testing results showing that silicon composed an extraordinary 10.8 percent of a sample from a mailing to the New York Post and as much as 1.8 percent of the anthrax from a letter sent to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, far more than the occasional trace contamination. Tin — not usually seen in anthrax powder at all — was measured at 0.65 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, in those letters.

***

Several scientists and former colleagues of Ivins argue that he was a career biologist who probably lacked the chemistry knowledge and skills to concoct a silicon-based additive.

“There’s no way that an individual scientist can invent a new way of making anthrax using silicon and tin,” said Stuart Jacobsen, a Texas-based analytical chemist for an electronics company who’s closely studied the FBI lab results. “It requires an institutional effort to do this, such as at a military lab.”

Martin Hugh-Jones, a world-renowned anthrax expert who teaches veterinary medicine at Louisiana State University, called it “just bizarre” that the labs found both tin — which can be toxic to bacteria such as anthrax during lab culturing — and silicon.

“You have two elements at abnormally high levels,” Hugh-Jones said. “That reduces your probability to a very small number that it’s an accident.”

***

The FBI guarded its laboratory’s finding of 10.8 percent silicon in the Post letter for years. New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked FBI Director Robert Mueller how much silicon was in the Post and Leahy letters at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in September 2008. The Justice Department responded seven months later that silicon made up 1.4 percent of the Leahy powder (without disclosing the 1.8 percent reading) and that “a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible” for the Post letter.

***

During the FBI’s seven-year hunt, the Department of Homeland Security commissioned a team of chemists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California to grow anthrax-like spores under varying conditions to see how much silicon would end up naturally in the final product.

They found little, if any, silicon in most cases, far less than was in the New York Post letter, said Stephan Velsko, one of the two researchers. He called the tin readings from the FBI’s anthrax data “baffling.”

Peter Weber, Velsko’s co-researcher, said the academy panel’s focus on the conflicting data “raises a big question,” and “it’d be really helpful for closure of this case if that was resolved.”

***

In a chapter in a recently updated book, “Microbial Forensics,” Velsko wrote that the anthrax “must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions” to create such high silicon counts. That scenario, he cautioned, might not be “consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

***

Mike Wilson, a chemist for another silicone products maker, SiVance, in Gainesville, Fla., said that numerous silicon products could be used to make spores or other particles water-repellent. He also said that the ratios of silicon to tin found in the Post and Leahy samples would be “about right” if a tin-catalyzed silicone had been added to the spores.

Jacobsen, a Scottish-born and -educated chemist who once experimented with silicon coatings on dust particles, said he got interested in the spore chemistry after hearing rumors in late 2001 that a U.S. military facility had made the killer potions. He called it “outrageous” that the scientific issues haven’t been addressed.

“America, the most advanced country in the world, and the FBI have every resource available to them,” he said. “And yet they have no compelling explanation for not properly analyzing the biggest forensic clue in the most important investigation the FBI labs had ever gotten in their history.”

As a result of Ivins’ death and the unanswered scientific issues, Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, is investigating the FBI’s handling of the anthrax inquiry.

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By way of background, I pointed out in 2008 that some of the top anthrax experts in the world say that the killer anthrax was weaponized.

I reported the same year:

McClatchy notes:

“Some of Ivins’ former colleagues also dispute the FBI’s assertion that he had the capability to mill tiny anthrax spores and then bind them to silicon particles, the form of anthrax that was mailed to the office of then-senator Tom Daschle, D-S.D.”

And as New Scientist writes, FBI agents “mention a ‘silicon signature’ for the anthrax in the envelopes with no further comment. Silica may be used to weaponise spore powders.”

Evidence for the theory that the anthrax used in the attacks was coated with anti-clumping agents also comes from a a 2001 CBS article:

“When technicians at the Army biodefense lab in Fort Detrick, Md., tried to examine a sample from the Daschle letter under a microscope, it floated off the glass slide and was lost. “

Anthrax would normally clump, so the fact that it “floated off the glass slide” points to the anthrax being treated with anti-clumping and anti-static agents.

Why is this important?

It takes very sophisticated equipment and processes to coat something as small as an anthrax spore with anti-clumping agents:

“Only a sophisticated lab could have produced the material used in the Senate attack. This was the consensus among biodefense specialists working for the government and the military. In May 2002, 16 of these scientists and physicians published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, describing the Senate anthrax powder as “weapons-grade” and exceptional: “high spore concentration, uniform particle size, low electrostatic charge, treated to reduce clumping” (JAMA, 1 May 2002, p. 2237).”

***

But Dr. Ivins was a vaccine researcher, not a weapons maker. Moreover, Ivins was working in a lab where – according to his co-workers and supervisors – people went in and out all night checking on experiments (so they presumably would have seen suspicious activity by Ivins, had there been any), and Ivins did not have access to the extremely high-tech equipment which would have been necessary to produce the weaponized anthrax. He wasn’t one of the count-on-one-hand group of people who knew how to coat anthrax spores with anti-clumping agents

I wrote in 2009:

The publisher of the prestigious scientific journal Nature writes:

At a biodefence meeting on 24 February, Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented analyses of three letters sent to the New York Post and to the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael. Bacteria from Ivins’ RMR-1029 flask did not contain any of those four elements.

Two cultures of the same anthrax strain grown using similar processes — one from Ivins’ lab, the other from a US Army facility in Utah — showed the silicon-oxygen signature but did not contain tin or iron. Michael presented the analyses at the American Society for Microbiology’s Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

I noted last year:

Edward Epstein writes in a must-read article in Wall Street Journal’s Opinion section:

Silicon was used in the 1960s to weaponize anthrax. Through an elaborate process, anthrax spores were coated with the substance to prevent them from clinging together so as to create a lethal aerosol. But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.

***

Yet the anthrax grown from it had silicon, according to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. This silicon explained why, when the letters to Sens. Leahy and Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol. If so, then somehow silicon was added to the anthrax. But Ivins, no matter how weird he may have been, had neither the set of skills nor the means to attach silicon to anthrax spores.

At a minimum, such a process would require highly specialized equipment that did not exist in Ivins’s lab—or, for that matter, anywhere at the Fort Detrick facility. As Richard Spertzel, a former biodefense scientist who worked with Ivins, explained in a private briefing on Jan. 7, 2009, the lab didn’t even deal with anthrax in powdered form, adding, “I don’t think there’s anyone there who would have the foggiest idea how to do it.” So while Ivins’s death provided a convenient fall guy, the silicon content still needed to be explained.

The FBI’s answer was that the anthrax contained only traces of silicon, and those, it theorized, could have been accidently absorbed by the spores from the water and nutrient in which they were grown. No such nutrients were ever found in Ivins’s lab, nor, for that matter, did anyone ever see Ivins attempt to produce any unauthorized anthrax (a process which would have involved him using scores of flasks.) But since no one knew what nutrients had been used to grow the attack anthrax, it was at least possible that they had traces of silicon in them that accidently contaminated the anthrax.

Natural contamination was an elegant theory that ran into problems after Congressman Jerry Nadler pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller in September 2008 to provide the House Judiciary Committee with a missing piece of data: the precise percentage of silicon contained in the anthrax used in the attacks.

The answer came seven months later on April 17, 2009. According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was silicon. “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.”

Nevertheless, in an attempt to back up its theory, the FBI contracted scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California to conduct experiments in which anthrax is accidently absorbed from a media heavily laced with silicon. When the results were revealed to the National Academy Of Science in September 2009, they effectively blew the FBI’s theory out of the water.

The Livermore scientists had tried 56 times to replicate the high silicon content without any success. Even though they added increasingly high amounts of silicon to the media, they never even came close to the 1.4% in the attack anthrax. Most results were an order of magnitude lower, with some as low as .001%.

What these tests inadvertently demonstrated is that the anthrax spores could not have been accidently contaminated by the nutrients in the media. “If there is that much silicon, it had to have been added,” Jeffrey Adamovicz, who supervised Ivins’s work at Fort Detrick, wrote to me last month. He added that the silicon in the attack anthrax could have been added via a large fermentor—which Battelle and other labs use” but “we did not use a fermentor to grow anthrax at USAMRIID . . . [and] We did not have the capability to add silicon compounds to anthrax spores”…

When I asked a FBI spokesman this month about the Livermore findings, he said the FBI was not commenting on any specifics of the case, other than those discussed in the 2008 briefing (which was about a year before Livermore disclosed its results). He stated: “The Justice Department and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. We anticipate closing the case in the near future.”

So, even though the public may be under the impression that the anthrax case had been closed in 2008, the FBI investigation is still open—and, unless it can refute the Livermore findings on the silicon, it is back to square one.

***

A manufacturer of specialized anthrax equipment said:

“You would need [a] chemist who is familiar with colloidal [fumed] silica, and a material science person to put it all together, and then some mechanical engineers to make this work . . . probably some containment people, if you don’t want to kill anybody. You need half a dozen, I think, really smart people.”

The U.N. biologist mentioned above also said that the equipment to make such high-tech anthrax does not exist at Fort Detrick, where Ivins worked. People who work at Fort Detrick have confirmed this. In other words, a lone scientist couldn’t have done it without the support of a whole government laboratory. And Fort Detrick was not one such potential laboratory.

Vaccine expert Dr. Meryl Nass has also criticized the FBI’s case against Bruce Ivins:

The letter spores contained a Bacillus subtilis contaminant, and silicon to enhance dispersal. FBI has never found the Bacillus subtilis strain at USAMRIID, and it has never acknowledged finding silicon there, either. If the letters anthrax was made at USAMRIID, at least small amounts of both would be there.

***

Does the FBI stand for the Federal Bureau of Invention?

Yesterday’s McClatchy post also points out:

The silicon-tin connection wasn’t the only lead left open in one of the biggest investigations in FBI history, an inquiry that took the bureau to the cutting edge of laboratory science. In April, McClatchy reported that after locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.

Ivins’ Bosses Say Under Oath that He Couldn’t Have Done It

And as AP notes, two of Bruce Ivins’ bosses testified – under oath – that Ivins couldn’t have done it:

The widow of a Florida tabloid photo editor who died in the 2001 anthrax mailings is casting fresh doubt on the FBI’s conclusion that a lone federal scientist staged the attacks, according to new documents filed in her lawsuit against the government.

***

Sworn statements made by two of the scientist’s superiors who said they don’t believe Bruce Ivins was solely to blame for the attacks …

The statements raising questions about the FBI’s conclusions were made in depositions earlier this year by W. Russell Byrne and Gerard Andrews, who oversaw Ivins’ work at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. Byrne was chief of bacteriology at the biodefense lab from 1998 to early 2000 and Andrews held the post from 2000 to 2003.

According to court documents, Byrne told Stevens’ attorneys that Ivins “did not have the lab skills to make the fine powdered anthrax used in the letters” and that it would have been difficult for Ivins to do the work at night undetected. Byrne said others would have noticed the unusual use of equipment and supplies because of the hazardous microbes involved in their work.

“They pay attention to things because your lack of observation could cost you your life,” Byrne said, according to the documents.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Byrne said he knew Ivins for 15 years and remains unconvinced he was capable of such crimes.

“It just wasn’t the Bruce Ivins that I knew,” said Byrne, who retired in 2003 and still lives in Frederick.

Andrews, the other superior, told lawyers it would have taken Ivins six months to a year to refine the anthrax spores used in the deadly mailings, instead of the roughly 20 hours the FBI found he spent at night in the lab. [One of the handful of people who actually can produce the kind of high-tech weaponized anthrax used in the attacks previously said, “Even with a good lab and staff to help run it, it might take me a year to come up with a product as good.”]

Andrews also said Ivins did not have the expertise to do the work and some of the necessary equipment wasn’t available at Fort Detrick at the time.

Andrews added that in the 16 years he knew Ivins, there was no indication “that he understood the weaponization technology of anthrax spores, nor did any of his colleagues ever talk to me about his interest or understanding” of the processes required.

“Dr. Andrews stated in his opinion, it would take more than one person to achieve this attack because of the unusual physical characteristics of the powders,” the court document said.

He’s Guilty Because He Was Odd

So what evidence does the FBI have against Ivins?

As Anthrax expert Dr. Nass notes, all of the FBI’s “circumstantial” evidence falls apart the minute it is looked at closely.

At the end of the day, the FBI literally hinges its case on the fact that Ivins was “odd”. Based on that criteria, the FBI could convict anyone it chose based on mere character assassination.
So Who Did Do It?

When Congress was originally asked to pass the Patriot Act in late 2001, the anthrax attacks which occurred only weeks earlier were falsely blamed on spooky Arabs as a way to scare Congress members into approving the bill. Specifically:

Indeed, many people have questioned whether or not the anthrax was intentionally sent to scare people. For example:

  • Senator Patrick Leahy said:

And I think there are people within our government — certainly from the source of it — who know where it came from. [Taps the table to let that settle in] And these people may not have had anything to do with it, but they certainly know where it came from.

  • The American bioweapons expert who actually drafted the current bioweapons law (the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989), who holds a doctorate of law magna cum laude and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Harvard University, and teaches international law at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-92) and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court, and who “advised the FBI in its initial investigation of the anthrax letters”, is convinced that the anthrax attacks that killed five people were perpetrated and covered up by criminal elements of the U.S. government. The motive: to foment a police state by killing off and intimidating opposition to post-9/11 legislation such as the Patriot Act and the later Military Commissions Act. He has said:

    Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy were holding it up because they realized what this would lead to. The first draft of the PATRIOT Act would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus [which protects citizens from unlawful imprisonment and guarantees due process of law]. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come these anthrax attacks.

Whether or not the anthrax was actually mailed as a false flag attack, it is clear that it was used to drum up fear.

The bottom line is that fear of terrorism makes people stupid, and so we should at least question whether the government is selling fear for political purposes.

Death of Bin Laden May Distract from a More Disturbing Story


Hossein Turner
Weekly Zaman
May 15, 2011

Source: 911TruthNews

On the evening of May 1st, US president Barack Obama publically announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a “firefight” as a result of a successful US military operation in Pakistan. Several discrepancies in the public story surrounding his death have since been pounced on by internet conspiracy theorists, some claiming that the US raid was fake as well as arguing that Bin Laden apparently died years ago. Such theories are not possible to prove and really serve as petty distractions from more important issues concerning Al Qaeda. One can clearly argue, however, that Bin Laden was never indicted for the crime of 9/11 by US authorities, even though he was always regarded as a suspect. The media has lately referred to him as the “mastermind” of the attacks, when in actuality it is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who has been officially named the mastermind, despite controversies regarding the reliability of his testimony and the nature of his role. More importantly, however, the role of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency (the ISI) may well be even more significant than those of Osama Bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

US counter-terrorism official John Brennan recently told the media that Bin Laden had apparently been living in his prominent Abbottabad home for five to six years and that “he was in contact with some senior al Qaeda officials”. US Senator Carl Levin said that the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies have serious questions to answer about how Bin Laden managed to live so close to the central location of the Pakistani army for apparently so long. The Pakistani authorities have hit back, claiming that they warned the US about the Bin Laden compound two years ago. This has created considerable tensions between the US and Pakistan – tensions which really hide a darker and more troubling history that connects certain former employees of the Pakistani ISI with members of Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers. These former employees have not been officially regarded as 9/11 suspects by the US authorities.

On the 22nd of July 2004, United Press International reported that “On the eve of the publication of its report, the 9/11 Commission was given a stunning document from Pakistan, claiming that Pakistani intelligence officers knew in advance of the 9/11 attacks”. The report also alleged that the Pakistani ISI provided direct financial support to the 9/11 hijackers and was thus fully involved in the plot. Worryingly, the final report of the 9/11 Commission failed to mention this allegation, and barely refers to the ISI agency at all. Since 9/11, Pakistan has become an ally in the “war on terror”, an ongoing war that has also been continued by President Obama. Pakistan has received a lot of financial aid in the years since 9/11, amounting to approximately $20 billion dollars . This aid comes despite reports that elements of the Pakistani government, including the shadowy ISI, have been supporting and aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan. The counter-productive nature of this policy seems clear – yet it continues, despite the protestations of certain US officials. The issue of financing the Taliban may be bad enough; worse than this, however, are compelling allegations that point to the ISI directly providing money to the September 11th hijackers even as the CIA continued close ties with the agency.

In September 2006, former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf stated that the US official Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” during a conversation with Pakistan’s intelligence director. The alleged threat was made in the days following the 9/11 attacks and were apparently made as a consequence of Pakistan’s not choosing to participate in the “war on terror”. Ties to the Taliban were apparently severed – albeit only temporarily- by the Pakistani regime as a response to these alleged US threats, and this was met with approval by the Bush regime, who welcomed them as their new partner.

But serious questions remain about the involvement of the Pakistani authorities in the support and financing of Al Qaeda. The Family Steering Committee (FSC) of the 9/11 Commission was a group of 9/11 family members who spear-headed the campaign for the creation of the Commission to investigate the attacks, and who assisted the commission staffers with their work as well as monitoring them. On their website there remains a list of questions which the final report of the Commission failed to address or answer. In the case of the Pakistani ISI, some of the questions refer to the former Director of the agency, General Mahmood Ahmed. According to several media reports, the General was meeting with US officials in Washington between the 4th and 13th of September 2001. The FSC asked the 9/11 Commission to inquire about the details of the meeting with General Ahmed conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence Committee chairmen on September 11th. More importantly, they also asked the Commission if they could find out why the General ordered Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to wire $100,000 to the 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. This may seem like a serious allegation, even speculative – but it is no conspiracy theory. In June 2004, the New York Times reported that Lorie Van Auken, a member of the Family Steering Committee, “was irate” that the final report of the 9/11 Commission did not even mention General Mahmoud Ahmed’s alleged role in the $100,000 wire transfer to Mohammed Atta. Disturbingly, in 2006 the Pakistani newspaper The Friday Times published a report claiming that lobbyists from Pakistan gave thousands of dollars to members of the 9/11 Commission in order to try and get them to omit any information from the final report that might be damaging to the Pakistani authorities. This could perhaps explain why the 9/11 report does not address allegations against former members of the Pakistani ISI, especially that of General Mahmoud Ahmed and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.

The story of Saeed Sheikh is also highly compelling. He is currently being held in prison in Pakistan for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. He was originally sentenced to death for this crime back in July 2002, but he has since been kept alive and was even accused of plotting the death of General Musharraf from his jail cell in 2008. He has been linked not only to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban but also to the Pakistani ISI. In 2002, according to the online archive History Commons, the New York Times, India Today, the National Post and The Guardian newspapers all reported that Saeed Sheikh was working for the ISI and was well known to senior officers there. Several media reports have also detailed Saeed Sheikh’s close ties to Al-Qaeda, particularly from late 1999 to 2001. For example, Vanity Fair reported in August 2002 that Osama Bin Laden referred to Saeed Sheikh as “my special son”. On the 30th of September 2001, the Daily Telegraph reported that Sheikh had even apparently trained some of the 9/11 hijackers. In his 2003 book Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, author Rohan Gunaratna wrote about how Sheikh was able to establish an Al-Qaeda network in Dubai. Interestingly, several 9/11 hijackers arrived in Dubai between the 11th of April and the 28th of June 2001 – according to US officials – and purchased several travelers’ checks. It was from this location in August 2001that Saeed Sheikh was alleged to have sent Mohammed Atta $100,000, which ended up in two of Atta’s accounts in Florida. If Saeed Sheikh had an Al-Qaeda base in Dubai at the time, it is also possible that he could have been in contact with the hijackers when they passed through. Regarding the money transfers to Mohammed Atta, an unnamed senior US official told CNN in October 2001 that “U.S. investigators now believe Sheik Syed, using the alias Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad, sent more than $100,000 from Pakistan to Mohammed Atta”. In January 2002, the Press Trust Of India reported that the Indian authorities had informed the FBI that ransom money obtained by the Dubai mobster Aftab Ansari (in order to release a captured Calcutta businessman) was used to finance Mohammed Atta. Indian authorities named Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh as the paymaster who provided Atta with $100,000 via wire transfer. A wide range of world news media reported on the link between Atta and Omar Saeed Sheikh. Unfortunately, the story of the wire transfer has been largely buried and obfuscated by the Western media since the end of 2001.

On October 7th 2001, General Mahmoud Ahmed was demoted from his position at the head of the Pakistani ISI. The official reason was because he was apparently too close to the Taliban. However, the official reason is not credible especially given the fact that the remaining ISI officials continued to maintain their ties with the Taliban. On June 20th 2004, a member of the 9/11 Commission told the Los Angeles Times that before 9/11, Pakistani officials were “up to their eyeballs” in collaboration with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Yet, General Mahmoud Ahmed and other members of the Pakistani authorities were apparently only threatened by the US authorities if they refused to become partners in the “war on terror”. Was General Ahmed sacked because of his decision to order Saeed Sheikh to wire money to Mohammed Atta? If so, it is a great injustice to have the General remain free in Pakistan with no charges on his head. Saeed Sheikh remains in a Pakistani jail, but like the General he too has not been formally charged with suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps the US authorities should seek to question these two men, rather than just kill them and ask questions later, as they did with Bin Laden. More importantly, there should be hard questions directed at the US authorities and the 9/11 Commission with regard to the way they have dealt with the ISI before and after 9/11. For the US authorities to simply threaten or scapegoat Pakistan now would be a grossly irresponsible act, since certain agencies of both governments have a lot of explaining to do.

Anthony Shaffer Joins with Former Blackwater and other Able Danger Veterans for New Intel Company

 by Nor Cal Truth on wed, 05/18/2011 – 11:07am

An article at Wired lets us know about “Jellyfish,” a new “corporate-information” company:

Veterans from the most infamous private security firm on Earth and one of the military’s most controversial data mining operations are teaming up to provide the Fortune 500 with their own private spies.

Take one part Blackwater, and another part Able Danger, the military data-mining op that claimed to have identified members of al-Qaida living in the United States before 9/11. Put ‘em together, and you’ve got a new company called Jellyfish.

Jellyfish is about corporate-information dominance. It swears it’s leaving all the spy-world baggage behind. No guns, no governments digging through private records of its citizens.

Jellyfish’s chief technology officer is J.D. Smith, who was part of Able Danger until lawyers for the U.S. Special Operations Command shut the program down in 2000Also from Able Danger is Tony ShafferJellyfish’s “military operations adviser” and the ex-Defense Intelligence Agency operative who became the public face of the program in dramatic 2005 congressional testimony.

Anthony Shaffer is known to many readers of this blog for his role in Able Danger. Anthony claims that before 9/11, he identified and uncovered 2 of the 3 alleged terrorist cells including  Mohamed Atta and other alleged 9/11 hijackers. Shaffer’s testimony and allegations were ignored by Phillip Zelikow and the 9/11 Commission completely.

Anthony has been honest and upfront about not being a “truther.”  He further says, “not to say that I don’t believe there are issues that need to be investigated: I do. My focus has been, and will continue to be, on the conspiracies I know for a fact exist.” “Some of you don’t believe in Al Qaeda, I do. Some of you think the Government could’ve done this (9/11), I don’t,” Anthony says. He also asks, “where is our tax-payer money going?” (More here)

In a blog at antiwar.com, the author Kelley B. Vlahos describes Anthony in this way:

Shaffer is hardly a rogue, and certainly not antiwar in the classic sense. But he says he is finding a lot of common ground with people who have long been, or just coming around to, questioning the war. He says his personal story, his struggle to do his job effectively and to “make sure that what was broken in the system got fixed,” revealed to him that the government in many ways was working against itself.

Vlahos was reporting the fact that the Pentagon had ordered each and every one of Anthony’s book, “Operation Dark Heart” and subsequently destroyed all 10,000 copies of the first print.

The book was released in a second print, but with “redactions in over 250 of the 320 pages.” Anthony has filed a lawsuit for infringment on his freedom of speech. From the same Antiwar.com blog:

Arguing his First Amendment right to free speech, Shaffer is suing the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency to get the original Dark Heart reprinted, sans the big black lines.

And this is from Anthony Shaffer’s blog section at CommandPosts, “a site for the authors of St. Martin’s Press to comment on military news, history, and relevant fiction”:

No matter what one’s rank is, from Private, E-1 through General Officer, it is important—critical—to speak truth to power—whether retired or active duty.

In 2005, at the request of then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and other senior Congressional leaders, I was asked to assist in a Congressional investigation of an operation known as ABLE DANGER and started speaking out about it to the American people. February 15, 2006, I testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee, and shared information about the team’s finding Mohammed Atta’s cell in advance of 9/11. Though the 9/11 Commission failed to include Operation ABLE DANGER in its report, following an IG investigation, the Commission acknowledged ABLE DANGER. However, it was said that there was no evidence to confirm early discovery of Atta.

My testimony details my knowledge of ABLE DANGER, my role in the operations, and the attempts to arrange the transfer of the data (to include that concerning Atta) to the FBI the year before the 9/11 attacks.

Though my testimony is available online, for public access, for reasons that are still unclear to me, DIA attempted to redact specific facts regarding ABLE DANGER, within Operation Dark Heart. After stating that I would have the testimony included in the book as an addendum, DIA backed off some. The chapter still includes redactions—for reasons unknown— but most of the critical information regarding my meeting with Dr. Phillip Zelikow in October 2003 remains intact.

…..

I wrote Operation Dark Heart in a balanced way: I acknowledged and respected security, insured that  information that could assist the enemy was not disclosed, and at the same time provided the public a look into a complex world of military and intelligence operations.

Written from my perspective, Operation Dark Heart defines and states the mistakes made, the lessons we need to learn, and suggestions for success in the future. I’d like to see the military and our government learn from past mistakes, rather than repeat them.  It may be a long shot, but one can always hope