It’s NOT Too Late to Try Bush, Cheney and Obama for War Crimes

 by WashingtonsBlog

We Can Still Prosecute …

Many argue that the statute of limitations on Bush and Cheney’s crimes of lying us into the Iraq war and torture have all run … so it is too late to prosecute them.

However, the United States War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.

The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.

18 U.S.C. § 2441 has no statute of limitations, which means that a war crimes complaint can be filed at any time.

The penalty may be life imprisonment or — if a single prisoner dies due to torture — death. Given that there are numerous, documented cases of prisoners being tortured to death by U.S. soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that means that the death penalty would be appropriate for anyone found guilty of carrying out, ordering, or sanctioning such conduct.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 limited the applicability of the War Crimes Act, but still made the following unlawful:  torture, cruel or inhumane treatment, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily harm, rape, sexual assault or abuse.

War Crimes By the Bush Administration

Here’s an overview of war crimes by the Bush administration:

  • The use of depleted uranium, which can cause cancer and birth defects for decades (see this, this, this, this, this and this)

We’ll go into more detail on torture below.

Yes, It Was Torture

Yes, Waterboarding IS Torture

  • Everyone claiming waterboarding is not torture has changed their tune as soon as they were exposed to even a small dose of it themselves. See this, this and this

Not Just Waterboarding

Children, Too

People Died While Being Tortured

The ACLU wrote in 2005:

The American Civil Liberties Union today made public an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated.  The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.

“”There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,”” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.  “”High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.

***

The documents released today include 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of individuals apprehended in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and “”OGA”” (Other Governmental Agency) — a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA.

According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.   Eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, in some instances, by the CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence personnel.  The autopsy reports list deaths by “”strangulation,”” “”asphyxiation”” and “”blunt force injuries.””  An overwhelming majority of the so-called “”natural deaths”” were attributed to “”Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.””

While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, today’s documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too.

Spiegel reported in 2009:

At least two men died during imprisonment. One of them, a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar, was suspended by his hands from the ceiling for four days, during which US military personnel repeatedly beat his legs. Dilawar died on Dec. 10, 2002. In the autopsy report, a military doctor wrote that the tissue on his legs had basically been “pulpified.” As it happens, his interrogators had already known — and later testified — that there was no evidence against Dilawar …

And see this.

Should We Prosecute?

But should we prosecute?  Yes:

U.S. Officials Launched a Systematic Program of Torture Using Specialized Techniques Which Produce False Confessions … to Justify the Iraq War

Let’s dig in a little deeper on the question of torture …

Not only did Bush, Cheney and other top government officials lie about us into the Iraq war by making a false linkage between Iraq and 9/11, but they carried out a systematic program of torture in order to intentionally create false evidence of that allegation.

Indeed, the entire purpose behind the U.S. torture program was to obtain false confessions.

And the torture techniques used were Communist techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions.

Senator Levin, in commenting on a Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture in 2009, dropped the following bombshell:

With last week’s release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape “SERE” training – a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations – by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.

In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.

Senator Levin then documents that SERE techniques were deployed as part of an official policy on detainees, and that SERE instructors helped to implement the interrogation programs. He noted:

The senior Army SERE psychologist warned in 2002 against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at Guantanamo Bay, because:

[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects… When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder… If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain… Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high… (p. 53).

McClatchy filled in some of the details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.

As Truth Out reported:

Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).

Kearns and his boss, Roger Aldrich, the head of the Air Force Intelligence’s Special Survial Training Program (SSTP), based out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, hired Jessen in May 1989. Kearns, who was head of operations at SSTP and trained thousands of service members, said Jessen was brought into the program due to an increase in the number of new SERE courses being taught and “the fact that it required psychological expertise on hand in a full-time basis.”

Jessen, then the chief of Psychology Service at the US Air Force Survival School, immediately started to work directly with Kearns on “a new course for special mission units (SMUs), which had as its goal individual resistance to terrorist exploitation.”

The course, known as SV-91, was developed for the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) branch of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, which acted as the Executive Agent Action Office for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jessen’s notes formed the basis for one part of SV-91, “Psychological Aspects of Detention.”

***

Kearns was one of only two officers within DoD qualified to teach all three SERE-related courses within SSTP on a worldwide basis, according to a copy of a 1989 letter written Aldrich, who nominated him officer of the year.

***

The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is exploitation, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”

***

Jessen wrote that cooperation is the “end goal” of the detainer, who wants the detainee “to see that [the detainer] has ‘total’ control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.).”

***

Kearns said, based on what he has read in declassified government documents and news reports about the role SERE played in the Bush administration’s torture program, Jessen clearly “reverse-engineered” his lesson plan and used resistance methods to abuse “war on terror” detainees.

So we have the two main Air Force insiders concerning the genesis of the torture program confirming – with original notes – that the whole purpose of the torture program was to extract false confessions.

Indeed, the top interrogation experts from U.S. military and intelligence services say that all torture is lousy at producing actionable intelligence, the only things it is good for are (1) producing false confessions, (2) creating more terrorists, and (3) itself acting as a form of terrorism.

And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.

For example:

(Indeed, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.)

But Are They Guilty of War Crimes?

The Nuremberg Tribunal which convicted and sentenced Nazis leaders to death conceived of wars of aggression – i.e. wars not launched in self-defense – defined the following as “crimes against peace”, or war crimes:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)

The Tribunal considered wars of aggression to be the ultimate war crime, which encompassed all other crimes:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Judgment of October 1, 1946, International Military Tribunal Judgment and Sentence, 22 IMTTRIALS, supra note 7, at 498, reprinted in 41 AM. J. INT’LL. 172, 186 (1947).

Given that Iraq had no connection with 9/11 and possessed no weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq war was a crime of aggression and – under the standards by which Nazi leaders were convicted by the Nuremberg Tribunal – the American leaders who lied us into that war are guilty of war crimes.

Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, declared:

A prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.

See this, this, and this.

The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court – Luis Moreno-Ocampo – told the Sunday Telegraph in 2007:

That he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague. Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued.

As a Japan Times Op/Ed noted in 2009:

In January 2003, a group of American law professors warned President George W. Bush that he and senior officials of his government could be prosecuted for war crimes if their military tactics violated international humanitarian law.

Eminent legal scholars such as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law Lawrence Velvel have since stated that high-level Bush administration officials did commit war crimes in relation to the Iraq war.

Torture is – of course – a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which make it illegal to inflict mental or physical torture or inhuman treatment. It is clearly-established that waterboarding is torture. The torture was, in fact, systematic, and included widespread sexual humiliation, murder and other unambiguous forms of torture.

Velvel and many other legal experts say that the torture which was carried out after 9/11 is a war crime.

Colin Powell’s former chief of staff stated that Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes for overseeing torture policies.

Matthew Alexander – a former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – notes that government officials knew they are vulnerable for war crime prosecution:

They have, from the beginning, been trying to prevent an investigation into war crimes.

A Malaysian war crimes commission also found Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and five administration attorneys guilty of war crimes (although but the commission has no power to enforce its judgment).

War Crimes By the Obama Administration

The Obama administration has ordered numerous indiscriminate drone strikes.  They are war crimes (more here and here).  (They also create more terrorists.)

Torture is also apparently continuing under Obama. See this and this.

Note:  We’re writing less on Obama than Bush solely because the statute of limitations for Obama’s crimes are not an issue at this point.

The Holocaust, Mind Control, and 9/11

by Kevin Ryan

Over the years, one of the most mindless techniques used to suppress questioning of 9/11 has been to equate such questions with Holocaust denial. This smear tactic has been used by propagandists like Glenn Beck, Michael Shermer, and Rachel Maddow, as well as by government representatives like Michael Chertoff. Recently I’ve thought about how absurd such diversionary claims are while at the same time recognizing that I have met some incredible people over the past decade. Two of those people led lives that were Holocaust-related and, for different reasons, their story should be better known.

During the time that I worked for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), I lived next door to an extraordinary woman. Sherry Moses was a widow who lived alone except for occasional visits from her children. She was unafraid, despite having suffered more than anyone I had ever met. I knew of her past suffering because she showed me her tattoo and told me how all of her family was killed at Auschwitz. Sherry was only a child when she was sent there.

In one of the interviews she had with the local newspaper, Sherry told her story of being shipped to Auschwitz on a cattle train, being hungry all the time, and watching others die.[1] She was actually walking in line behind her parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters, as they were led to the crematorium. Because of the specific number tattooed on her arm, she was spared along with a few, younger girls. She never really knew why.

When we were next-door neighbors, my wife and I found Sherry to be a charming and principled woman with a great sense of humor. When I raked her lawn or shoveled her sidewalk, she insisted on paying me something for the job. When she locked herself out of the house, I told her to ask the butler to open the door.  Without missing a beat, she said that she had given him the day off. Sherry told my wife that she thought I would do something great some day.

Sherry died exactly six years after I was fired by UL for attempting to shed light on the origins of another mass slaughter—the U.S.-led War of Terror. When I first spoke out about 9/11 the mainstream media was ignoring any such questioning, but six years later they had begun claiming that anyone like me must be a Holocaust denier.

To the contrary, I’m a Holocaust believer. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the people behind the Holocaust were connected to the people who committed the crimes of 9/11. After all, the FBI has recently revealed documents that suggest that Adolf Hitler might not have died in 1945 but, instead, was hidden in Argentina until his death in 1965. It’s common knowledge that thousands of Nazis, many considered war criminals, were sheltered in Argentina and other South American countries.

Given that the Nazis were big fans of “The Big Lie” and that the crimes of 9/11 appear to be just such a lie (with FBI leadership suspected of being involved), it’s not too wild a notion that Hitler and his legacy survived. Moreover, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) used Nazi war criminals for intelligence operations after the war and the OSS assisted such war criminals in evading capture and prosecution. In a few cases, the OSS actually facilitated their immigration and assimilation in the United States. Therefore, people like Allen Dulles and William Casey, both high-level OSS officers and later CIA directors, provide strong links between the assimilation of Nazis and the U.S. deep state that is suspected of involvement in the 9/11 crimes.

This leads me to the second person I know who was related to the Holocaust, although less so. A former Nazi soldier actually contacted me in late 2012. This was Ernst Rodin, who over the past few years has developed an interest in groups seeking the truth about 9/11. He wrote asking if I would consider speaking at a conference that he was organizing on the subject.

If Rodin is known among 9/11 truth advocates at all it is because he attended The Vancouver Hearings in 2012. He was called both a participant and merely an attendee in that dubious affair, and was said to have had dinner with the organizers. Referred to as a retired psychologist in reviews of the event, Rodin went on to write about it extensively at his blog. It was shortly thereafter that Rodin decided to reach out to me and others in an attempt to organize another such conference. After looking into his background, which is far more interesting than that of any retired psychologist, I declined.

According to his autobiography, War & Mayhem, Rodin was a member of the Hitler Youth for four years and a soldier in the Nazi Wehrmacht for two. His war experiences included killing another soldier who turned out to be an ally and being mysteriously saved before the Russians overran his unit’s position and, presumably, killed everyone else.

Rodin went on to become a medical doctor specializing in neurology and he relocated from Vienna to the U.S. where he has led a full life. More interesting is that, in the U.S., he became a leading mind control experimentalist and a CIA asset. In fact, the late journalist Alexander Cockburn described Rodin as a “Dr. Stangelove” type and a mentor of the CIA mind control scientist, Lewis West. In a message to me, Rodin denied that he ever tutored West but he did acknowledge having been a CIA asset and he believed that the CIA still wanted something from him.

It is certain that Rodin has a history of conducting unusual experiments on humans.  Rodin used human subjects for many tests involving substances like LSD, marijuana, alcohol, PCP, and Metrazol. His experiments were focused on behavioral modification objectives similar to those of MK-Ultra, the CIA mind control project. MK-ULTRA started in 1953 just after Rodin came to the U.S. and at the same time that he began working with the CIA. The project was a successor program to the experiments run by Nazi scientists who had been brought to the U.S. for Operation Paperclip. MK-ULTRA combined the use of drugs, like those in Rodin’s experiments, with hypnosis in attempts to achieve behavioral modifications that existed for longer periods without the subject’s awareness.

Rodin was also at the center of a couple of famous legal cases related to mental health. Once he was sued because he almost convinced the Michigan Board of Health to let him implant electrodes in the brain of a violent inmate. Another doctor in Detroit at the time said that “state mental hospitals are similar to Nazi concentration camps in how they suppress and humiliate their involuntary inmates.” This was big news, as was Rodin’s call for castration of rioting black men in Detroit (a quote he denies). Rodin was further quoted saying it was time to “get down to cold-blooded medical research dealing with individuals rather than masses.”

Perhaps Rodin’s most famous patient was John Hinckley, Jr. If his March, 1981 attempt to assassinate President Reagan had been successful, Hinckley would have made George H.W. Bush the president for up to 12 years. Coincidentally, Hinckley’s brother had a dinner date scheduled with Neil Bush for the next day. Rodin was one of the psychiatrists who examined Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

After presumably retiring from his mind-control science work, Rodin went on to write a great deal about Zionism and the problems of Jewish history. It seems odd that a former Nazi soldier would find it acceptable to live out his days in the U.S. writing about such things. But it is also interesting that such a person would attempt to insert himself among 9/11 truth advocates as a potential conference organizer. If such a conference did occur, the propagandists would have some material to work with. They would undoubtedly focus on the Nazi organizer angle while ignoring questions about why a CIA-linked mind-control scientist was so eager to get involved.

Anyway, Sherry Moses hoped that we would learn from World War II and the Holocaust. Unfortunately, due to organizations like the OSS, the CIA, and the propaganda machines of the 21st century, it seems that we are doomed to repeat some of the same mistakes. The people of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and those who have been indefinitely held and tortured in our War of Terror, would probably agree. Our best hope remains the chance that we will expose the Big Lie of 9/11 and learn from the deceptions behind it.

[1] May Lee Johnson, Auschwitz survivor a ‘walking miracle’: Survivor hopes to keep memory of prison alive, South Bend Tribune, January 30, 2005

Insights from the Counterculture, Part 1: Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, Self Portrait

Hunter S. Thompson, Self Portrait

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Rush Limbaugh… is like a hired geek in some traveling backwoods carnival—the freaks who bite the heads off chickens—but Limbaugh is a modernized geek who thinks he can bite the heads off of people.

America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are whores for power and oil with hate and fear in our hearts.

All the blood is drained out of democracy—it dies—when only half the population votes.

There are always risks in challenging excessive police power, but the risks of not challenging it are more dangerous, even fatal.

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.

This is the horror of American politics today—not that Richard Nixon and his fixers have been crippled, convicted, indicted, disgraced and even jailed—but that the only available alternatives are not much better; the same dim collection of burned-out hacks who have been fouling the air with gibberish for the last twenty years.

What a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers…

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.

Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits—a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.

So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

Politics has its own language, which is often so complex that it borders on being a code, and the main trick in political journalism is learning how to translate—to make sense of the partisan bullshit that even your friends will lay on you—without crippling your access to the kind of information that allows you to keep functioning.

If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences.

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.

12

Hunter S. Thompson’s best-known books: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, The Rum Diary, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  For many more titles, please see Thompson’s page at Amazon.

 

– See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/03/16/insights-counterculture-part-1-hunter-s-thompson/#sthash.v7MRBOCl.dpuf

The 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry and 28 Missing Pages

 by 

When the report of Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was released in December 2002, it was met with considerable skepticism. That skepticism grew for a period of time but then was reduced to speculation about what was contained in the 28 pages that had been redacted by the Bush White House. Various U.S. government leaders have since suggested that the missing 28 pages point to Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 crimes. However such musings fail to discuss other important issues, like the links between the Saudi regime and the Western deep state, or the fact that, from the start, even the Saudis were calling for the 28 pages to be released. Discussion of the missing 28 pages also omits mention of the highly suspicious nature of the Inquiry’s investigation and its leaders.

GanG2The leaders of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry were Congressman Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed-up the House and Senate intelligence committees at the time. Due to Goss and Graham’s activities before 9/11 and on that day, as well as their representation of the state of Florida, their leadership of the Inquiry presented a remarkable number of questions.

For example, Goss and Graham were meeting with Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed just as the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The ISI had also been intimately linked with the terrorist network previously run by the CIA’s partner—the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Added to these coincidences was the fact that Goss and Graham had just returned from a trip to Pakistan in which they had specifically discussed Osama bin Laden, who was a topic of discussion at their 9/11 breakfast meeting as well.

It seems to be an unusual coincidence that the leader of the Pakistani ISI would be present as al Qaeda’s historic attack was taking place. Ahmed’s meeting with Goss and Graham is also notable in light of Goss’ history as a veteran CIA operative, a member of a secret assassination squad, and someone who was trained to recruit and run foreign operatives. It is also remarkable that Goss’ home district was the primary base for several of the alleged 9/11 hijackers.

In fact, much of the evidence that established the official account about the accused men came from Florida. Twelve of them were said to have opened bank accounts in the state, primarily through one institution—SunTrust Bank. Deposits made to these accounts often came from a country that the Inquiry seemed to be protecting—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which owned the BCCI infrastructure.

In the years since the Inquiry, Graham has claimed that there is compelling evidence that one or more foreign governments facilitated the terrorists in some way. And although he continues to call for release of the redacted 28 pages, Graham now focuses his comments primarily on the Saudi link, which is named in the subtitle of his book on the subject. Others like Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism lead who is personally close to the UAE royal family, have joined Graham in making these accusations. Yet these men ignore the Saudi connections to other aspects of 9/11 and U.S. leaders, as well as the links to the UAE, Kuwait, and Pakistan’s ISI.

In response to questions about the Inquiry report, Goss was less committed. He said “I can tell you right now that I don’t know exactly how the plot was hatched. I don’t know the where, the when and the why and the who in every instance. That’s after two years of trying. And we will someday have the documents to exploit, we will have the people to interrogate, we will have ways to get more information to put the rest of the pieces of this puzzle on the table. But right now, we don’t have it.”

Therefore it seems that we all agree it would be good to release the missing 28 pages. But it would also be very good for the public to consider the history of the Joint Inquiry and its leaders.

CIA Operative Goss and His Political Benefactor, Graham

Porter Goss joined the CIA in 1961 when he was a student at Yale. It has been reported that Goss was one of the hundreds of CIA officers employed in Operation Mongoose, the covert U.S. project to displace Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Goss later acknowledged that he had recruited and run foreign agents and he said that he would be uncomfortable traveling to Cuba. Over the next decade, Goss worked for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations as a covert operative in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Western Europe.

In his book, Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker published a photograph that he had received from the wife of CIA operative and drug-trafficker Barry Seal. Hopsicker claimed that the picture was taken at a nightclub in Mexico City in 1963 and that it included members of a team called Operation 40. One of the men was Porter Goss.

Operation 40 was a CIA-sponsored team accused of conducting assassinations. According to a senior member of the Cuban security apparatus, it was funded by an “important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen.” Frank Sturgis, one of the “plumbers” who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in 1972, later admitted to having been part of Operation 40. Other infamous CIA operatives who belonged to the group were Thomas Clines and Ted Shackley.

After leaving the CIA (assuming that is possible) Goss began his political career thanks to a favor granted by the man who would later help him lead the 9/11 Joint Inquiry. Goss was appointed by then-Florida Governor Bob Graham, to fill a Democrat vacancy as commissioner of Lee County. Why Graham appointed Goss, a Republican, for the normally partisan post is unclear. But remember that Goss was not just a Republican he was a CIA assassin who admitted to having recruited and run foreign agents.

Goss went on to represent regions of Florida where the alleged 9/11hijackers trained. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1988, as a Republican representative from the 13th district. The 13th district included Venice, the home of Huffman Aviation where several of the alleged hijackers trained. After the district was re-zoned, Goss became the representative from district 14, where he was re-elected four times. In the few years prior to 9/11, the alleged terrorists used Goss’ district, in Charlotte County, as one of their main bases of operations.

The area that Goss represented was also known for a long history of CIA-linked drug running. Three weeks after Mohamed Atta showed up at Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner, Wally Hilliard, had his Learjet seized when it was carrying 43 lbs of heroin. Rudi Dekkers, the man Wally Hilliard hired to run Huffman Aviation, was arrested for drug trafficking in 2012.

These links between the alleged hijackers and a drug trafficking flight school are not surprising given the history of the area. Covert drug operations in that area went back at least 60 years. The tiny Venice Airport, where the alleged hijackers trained, originated as the Venice Army Airfield and was the home of the operatives who worked for General Claire Chennault. Civil Air Transport, the successor to Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the world’s largest heroin-trafficking operation at the time, transported the drugs that funded the early covert operations of the CIA and those airmen worked closely with organized crime while doing so.

In American War Machine, Peter Dale Scott described how many covert U.S. operations since World War II have been intimately connected with, even dependent on, illicit drug trafficking. From Mexico to Laos and Vietnam, and more recently in Afghanistan, a  “shadow CIA” has worked with organized crime figures and banking networks like BCCI to use drug money to undermine democracy.

In 1996, Goss became chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In this role, Goss oversaw the inquiry into the drug and gun trafficking that supported the Nicaraguan Contras. That scandal had been exposed a decade earlier but Goss led the cover-up of the CIA’s involvement and the evidence that Vice President Bush had been involved.

In 1999, FBI informant Randy Glass gained some interesting information from Pakistani ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas. As Glass, Abbas, and two others were having dinner in a New York City restaurant surrounded by undercover FBI agents, Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” Abbas later made two other references to an attack on the WTC. Glass sent this information to Senator Graham in August 2001. It is not clear whether Graham did anything with it but he certainly isn’t saying anything about it today.

Shortly after 9/11, people were beginning to question what the Bush Administration might have known about a potential al Qaeda hijacking plot. Goss shouted down the accusations. “The only thing that this uproar does is give aid and comfort to the enemy and I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to give aid and comfort to the terrorists,” he said.

The Joint Congressional Inquiry

In the months following 9/11, both Goss and Graham rejected calls for an investigation. The Senate voted for one anyway, however, and that led both Bush and Cheney to attempt to stop it or limit its scope. Apparently the best they could do was to make sure that Goss and Graham were put in charge. That seemed to work as the Inquiry began in February 2002, more than five months after the attacks, and the approach taken was one of uncritical deference to the Bush Administration and the intelligence community.

Goss immediately made it clear that the Inquiry would not be looking for guilt or accountability with regard to 9/11. Saying he was “looking for solutions, not scapegoats,” Goss continued to defend the White House with regard to warnings the president had received about an impending attack, saying it was “a lot of nonsense.”

The FBI did not cooperate but that didn’t seem to bother Goss and Graham. One glaring example of this was that the Bureau would not allow Inquiry staff to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant that two of the alleged hijackers had lived with in San Diego. The FBI also refused to serve a deposition notice and subpoena on Shaikh, despite knowing where he was. Not only that, although the Joint Inquiry agreed to serve written interrogatories on the him, and the FBI had agreed to that plan, Shaikh’s lawyer later said that his client would not respond to the interrogatories. The attorney also warned that, if subpoenaed, Shaikh would be unwilling to testify unless he was granted immunity.

According to the final report from the Joint Inquiry, when interviewed by the FBI Shaikh gave inaccurate information and had an“inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, some FBI agents believed that Shaikh had knowledge not only of the two alleged hijackers with whom he lived, but also of alleged pilot Hani Hanjour.

The Joint Inquiry’s passive response to Shaikh’s lack of cooperation was astonishing. It cannot be reconciled with the approach taken with other persons of interest. This informant clearly had more information and stronger links to the alleged hijackers than almost anyone. Yet the FBI was intent on protecting him and the Joint Inquiry allowed that protection.

The public must wonder why authorities did not simply arrest and torture this man as they did so many others. How can the preferential treatment of Shaikh, someone who obviously knew something about al Qaeda operatives, be reconciled with the treatment of other “persons of interest”? Shaikh was handled as if he was too important to be troubled, whereas people like Abu Zubaydah, who turned out to not have any connection to al Qaeda, were tortured repeatedly.

The Saudi who brought the two alleged hijackers to San Diego to live with Shaikh was Omar Al-Bayoumi. The subject of an FBI investigation three years before 9/11, Al-Bayoumi appeared to be a Saudi intelligence agent. After 9/11, he was allowed to leave the country without being questioned as part of the investigation.

In November 2002, an FBI official sent a letter to Graham and Goss saying, “the Administration would not sanction a staff interview with [Abdussattar Shaikh], nor did the Administration agree to allow the FBI to serve a subpoena or a notice of deposition on [him].” The letter caused Graham to comment, “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time: the White House was directing the cover-up.”

However, that was not the only important issue on which the Joint Inquiry rolled over. For example, the Inquiry could not convince CIA director (DCI) George Tenet to be interviewed, and it accepted the restriction that operational cables and certain other documents could not be viewed other than at CIA headquarters. Further restrictions included that no copies could be made. Clearly, protecting the CIA’s secrets was more important than the safety of potential victims of terrorism.

As with the CIA, the FBI would not allow the Joint Inquiry to take notes on or make copies of documents deemed sensitive by the Bureau. This restricted the Inquiry’s ability to complete its charter, which was very limited to begin with. Yet the Inquiry did not complain. It has since been revealed that the FBI had an asset in direct contact with Osama bin Laden for the eight years leading up to 9/11. Too bad that didn’t get revealed in 2002 but it’s interesting that Graham is not calling attention to it now.

It was claimed by insiders that Goss and Graham exercised “near total control over the panel, forbidding the inquiry’s staff to speak to other lawmakers.” Other members of the Inquiry complained that the two co-chairmen withheld information and controlled the process. One way in which Graham and Goss controlled the investigation was to ask the FBI to look into panel members who might have leaked information. This resulted in the FBI investigating the Inquiry as the Inquiry was investigating the FBI.

Years later, Graham claimed that the White House had disrupted the Inquiry’s work. He said, “Looking back at it, I think we were clearly set up by Dick Cheney and the White House. They wanted to shut us down. And they wanted to shut down a legitimate Congressional inquiry that might raise questions in part about whether their own people had aggressively pursued al-Qaeda in the days prior to the September 11 attacks. The vice president attempted to manipulate the situation, and he attempted to manipulate us. But if his goal was to get us to back off, he was unsuccessful.” According to Graham, Goss was of the same opinion.

Goss agreed that he and Graham were of like mind, even to the point of saying they were “like Frick and Frack” at the time of the inquiry. But the idea that Goss felt obstructed by the White House does not make sense in view of Goss’ own actions.

For one thing, as a congressman Goss had been, and would continue to be, essentially a Bush Administration cheerleader. Additionally, there was no evidence that Goss was in any way interested in achieving truth or justice with regard to the crimes of 9/11. An example was that the CIA’s Inspector General report on 9/11 originally called for accountability with respect to certain individuals including DCI Tenet. In 2004, DCI Goss changed that wording to call for “accountability boards” to be formed at a later date. Then in 2005, when the revised report came out, Goss removed the accountability boards altogether.

The Inquiry protected not only the CIA and FBI, however. The Inquiry’s report also concealed the possible involvement of the United Arab Emirates. The report noted the FBI claim that “the operational planning for the September 11th attacks took place in overseas locations, most notably Germany, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.” This is remarkable in that the report went on to make detailed comments in subsequent sections on Malaysia and Germany, but, tellingly, ignored the UAE entirely.

A similar example was the Joint Inquiry’s treatment of the ease with which the alleged hijackers received their travel visas. After noting that special treatment was given to visa applicants from two countries, the report asked why, considering that the “pervasiveness in Saudi Arabia of Wahhabism, a radical, anti-American variant of Islam, was well known before 9/11.” Saudi Arabia was singled out, but the same tough questions were not asked of the second country, the UAE. Neither Richard Armitage (who had helped arm and train the Mujahideen) nor his subordinate, former Sears World Trade executive Grant Green, were examined at all—despite having overseen the Bureau of Consular Affairs which issued the visas.

What Are They Leaving Out?

Bob Graham’s book, Intelligence Matters: ‪The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror, refers to Saudi Arabia over 100 times. But it mentions the UAE only in reference to one of the hijackers who came from that country.

Is the preferential treatment of the UAE a result of the close relationship that Richard Clarke had with its leaders? More specifically, was Clarke’s relationship merely a result of the fact that the UAE owned BCCI and therefore was able to finance and conduct CIA-like covert operations as part of a private or officially sanctioned network? In other words, was 9/11 a CIA-like operation conducted with the help of countries that the Joint Inquiry failed to criticize—Pakistan and the UAE?

These shortcomings should lead investigators to review where the evidence against the accused terrorists originated. Most of that evidence was delivered by the FBI and the CIA but it often originated in the UAE and in Florida. The UAE was the source of much of the alleged funding of the alleged hijackers. And evidence concerning the travel of the accused was traced back to the UAE, with all but three of the 19 alleged hijackers having traveled through the UAE on their way to the United States.

The facts call into question the apparent goodwill of Bob Graham who was, along with Goss, a “Frick and Frack” lapdog for the cover-up led by the Bush White House and the U.S. intelligence agencies. What were they hiding—the glaring links to Saudi Arabia? That seems like a very convenient limited hangout considering that long-term control of Saudi Arabian oil is an absolute necessity for maintaining the U.S. economy.

A year after release of the Joint Inquiry’s report, an amendment was introduced to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for 2004. That amendment called for release of the redacted 28 pages and it implied that Saudi Arabia was the only missing piece of the 9/11 puzzle. The amendment was killed by a claim that it was not germane to the foreign appropriations bill. But the idea that Saudi Arabia was the only foreign power involved in the 9/11 operation was firmly implanted in the American psyche.

What’s different today? Saudi Arabia certainly does have strong connections to 9/11, and in many more ways than Graham will admit. But discussion of the financing and management of the alleged hijackers is only the tip of the iceberg and, even within that limited context, the work of the Joint Inquiry has diverted attention away from many of the facts. Let’s hope that, twelve years later, Americans have become a little more educated about 9/11 and the cover-up investigations into those crimes.

http://digwithin.net/2014/03/16/28-missing-pages/

 

Government Drops Charges Related to Link-Sharing Against Barrett Brown


By on Mar 7, 2014

Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown

On March 5, federal prosecutors filed a motion to drop 11 of the 17 counts against ‘hacktivist’ journalist Barrett Brown, who has spent the last year-and-a-half in pre-trial detention waiting for his case to be heard later this spring.

United States Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas asked the judge overseeing the case to throw out count one and counts three through twelve from two of the three criminal indictments unsealed against Brown in 2012.

 

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Now, instead of facing over a century behind bars, the 32-year old Brown will be facing a maximum of 70 years in the clink if convicted on the remaining charges: conspiracy to publish personal information, retaliation against a federal officer, access device fraud and two counts of obstruction of justice.

The now-departed charges for linking had caused uproar among journalists and free speech advocates. Prosecutors alleged that by sharing a hyperlink to an email cache from the government-connected private intelligence firm Stratfor, Brown was trafficking in stolen authentication features and committing identity theft. A handful of Stratfor subscribers had their credit card information in the email hoard. The absurdity of the link charges attracted unwanted media attention from the likes of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald.

Of course, before they were on the case, we were. WhoWhatWhy has been reporting on Brown’s travails for over a year.

Although his supporters are breathing a sigh of relief, this may make Brown’s battle even more uphill. The other charges are not of the farcical variety in the same manner as those related to linking. Without the criminalization of his journalistic pursuits, Brown can once again be discarded by the mainstream as a young, brazen hacker-type who got too big for his britches and took on the FBI.

Even as the government tones down its over-prosecution, Brown’s work as an investigative journalist makes him an invaluable resource. That’s why we’ll continue to cover him, even if the mainstream pulls away in light of the good news.

– See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/03/07/government-drops-charges-related-link-sharing-barrett-brown/#sthash.7JSioUrw.dpuf

Victims’ families demand release of 28 pages from 9/11 report

 

http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2014/03/12/representative-stephen-lynch-victims-families-demand-release-pages-…

By Kimberly Railey,

WASHINGTON — Joined by family members who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Representative Stephen F. Lynch renewed his push Wednesday to make public part of a 9/11 congressional investigation.

The South Boston Democrat and Representative Walter B. Jones, a Republican of North Carolina, said releasing 28 pages from the investigation would expose new details on the terrorism plot that killed nearly 3,000 people. The two representatives introduced a resolution in December calling for President Obama to declassify the information.

“There are a lot of American families who lost loved ones, so it’s not just a local issue for me,” Lynch said in an interview. “They all deserve full disclosure.”

Lynch and Jones said they have recently reviewed the findings, which were kept almost entirely secret when the House and Senate Intelligence Committees released their final report in December 2002. Without disclosing specifics, the report said investigators found “information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”

In an emotional news conference Wednesday, relatives of 9/11 victims said releasing the 28 pages would help bring justice to those behind the attack.

Sylvia Carver, whose sister died in the Pentagon attack, said she has been seeking answers for more than 12 years.

“We deserve closure,” Carver said. “We have a right to know.”

The withheld pages have attracted controversy and conspiracy theories that the US government hid some aspects of the plan to fly hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Some experts have said that the home governments of the Al Qaeda terrorists may have helped fund the 9/11 plan. Many of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia.

Terry Strada, whose husband was a World Trade Center victim, said she believes the US government is trying to protect the Saudi regime.

“I don’t believe people should get away with murder and that is exactly what happened,” said Strada, the national co-chair of 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. “Al Qaeda is pure evil and so are their bankrollers.”

The administration of former President George W. Bush redacted the pages from the report, called the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001. The documents have remained secret under Obama. The White House did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Lynch said he believes they contain “vital” knowledge that would help Americans better understand the attacks. The South Boston Democrat, who was elected in a Democratic primary on Sept. 11, 2001, said he understands how many lives were changed that day.

“Our nation suffered a terrible loss,” he said. “We want to make sure these pages see the light of day.”

Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, challenged all members of Congress to review the findings, which he said do not pose a national security threat.

The resolution has five co-sponsors in addition to Lynch and Jones and is currently in the committee stage.

Lynch said he has had conversations with the Massachusetts delegation and believes that members will support the effort once they see the classified pages.

Kimberly Railey can be reached at kimberly.railey@globe.com .

U.S. Troops Unloaded ‘Over A Hundred Bullets’ Into Osama Bin Laden’s Dead Body, Sources Claim

According to SOFREP, a website for U.S. special operations forces, claims to shed light on the issue of why photos of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body were never released to the public. According to unnamed sources within the special ops community, the images would have been excessively gory, because contrary to reports from officials and those involved in the operation, U.S. troops fired countless rounds into bin Laden’s body after killing him.

Initial reports claimed two shots were fired to kill bin Laden. While that number climbed in later reports, the claims of “over a hundred bullets” would suggest a level of savagery and, as SOFREP puts it, “self-indulgence” not admitted in prior accounts of the operation. SOFREP notes these actions would violate the Laws of Land Warfare and build on a disturbing trend of alarmingly brutal military behavior that includes graphic evidence of U.S. troops burning and urinating on slain enemy combatants.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, sued the administration for access to the photos last year, claiming there was “no apparent nexus” between U.S. intelligence activities and the images of bin Laden’s burial or preparation for burial at sea. A federal appeals court ultimately ruled the CIA did not have to release any of the photos.

http://sofrep.com/33599/why-us-govt-hasnt-released-photos-ubl-corpse/#respond