“Real Politik”: Dr. James Tracy interviews 9/11 in the Academic Community director

Canadian filmmaker Adnan Zuberi joins James to discuss his award-winning 2013 documentary, 9/11 in the Academic Community: Academia’s Treatment of Critical Perspectives on 9/11. Zuberi also discuss his own experiences as a university student contributing to his creation of the film, as well as more recent projects addressing geopolitics and the “war on terror.”

9/11 in the Academic Community features interviews with several notable academics, including John McMurtry, Graeme MacQueen, Lynn Margulis, and Walter G. Pitman, to examine scholars’ critical perspectives on the events of September 11, 2001 and how these have been received in their respective academic fields. Contrary to the widely-held notion that academe is a bastion of free thought and inquiry, university faculty and administrators are often indifferent, if not hostile toward, colleagues that study or take public stances on controversial topics.

Using this context, the film also addresses dilemmas within university settings, including the commonplace use of terms that act as “thought-stoppers” in academic discourse, and the profound implications of the fact that the official 9/11 narrative is based on the testimony of tortured prisoners.

Zuberi also addresses his experience in developing strategies for appealing to academic community constituents that stand apart from standard appeals to facts and reason that have come to characterize the truth community.

9/11 in the Academic Community was awarded for “Documentary Achievement” at the University of Toronto Film Festival. Since its release, has also received the praise of prominent professors and university administrators alike.

Website: 911inacademia.com

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FBI’s genetic tests didn’t nail anthrax killer, GAO says

McClatchy Washington Bureau, PBS’ “Frontline” and ProPublicaDecember 19, 2014

US NEWS ANTHRAX-EXCLUSIVE MCT

— For a second time in three years, an inquiry cast doubt Friday on the FBI’s assertion that genetic testing had cinched its conclusion that a now-dead Army bioweapons researcher mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized the East Coast in 2001.

The long-awaited report from the Government Accountability Office found that the FBI’s exhaustive, cutting-edge attempt to trace the killer with matches of genetic mutations of anthrax samples at times lacked precision, consistency and adequate standards.

The 77-page report, perhaps the final official word on the FBI’s seven-year investigation known as Amerithrax, lent credence to a National Academy of Sciences panel’s finding in 2011 that the bureau’s scientific evidence did not definitely show that the anthrax came from the Maryland bioweapons laboratory of Bruce Ivins.

The report’s findings also mirrored some of the conclusions of a joint investigation by McClatchy, ProPublica and PBS’ “Frontline” that was published and aired in the fall of 2011.

Shortly after Ivins took a suicidal drug overdose on July 29, 2008, federal prosecutors said they’d been drafting criminal charges against him, and they declared the scientist at Fort Detrick, Md., the culprit. In 2010, they laid out an extensive circumstantial case against him, presenting as a smoking gun the findings of genetic testing by outside laboratories that matched four distinct mutations in the anthrax spores in the letters with those in a flask full of anthrax in Ivins’ laboratory.

“The significance of using such mutations as genetic markers for analyzing evidentiary samples to determine their origins is not clear,” the auditors wrote. “This gap affects both the development of genetic tests targeting such mutations and statistical analyses of the results of their use.”

The auditors, who warned three years ago that they might be stymied because some information might be deemed classified, didn’t delve into theories that the anthrax contained traces of tin, perhaps reflecting attempts to weaponize it so it would stay airborne longer and harm more people. Rather, they stuck to the narrower issues of examining the bureau’s scientific methods.

The auditors pointed out that an FBI team recommended in 2007 that the bureau conduct experiments to determine whether the mutations the FBI was seeking to match might not have been unique to Ivins’ flask, known as RMR-1029. However, those tests were never done.

That omission also drew concern from the National Academy of Sciences panel, which noted that it was possible that four identical “morphs” could have grown in another laboratory in what it termed “parallel evolution.”

The auditors also focused on contradictory test results from samples collected from a colleague of Ivins’ who’d used anthrax from RMR-1029. That colleague – Henry Heine, though he wasn’t named in the report – submitted one sample that tested positive in all five genetic tests, but a duplicate sample from his vial tested negative for all five markers, the report said.

The report said that Heine, in the presence of an FBI investigator, didn’t follow instructions for collecting one sample as laid out in a grand jury subpoena. The disclosure raises the possibility that inconsistent collection methods undercut the massive testing effort.

While praising the FBI for turning to four outside laboratories for genetic tests on more than 1,000 anthrax samples it had gathered, the report said the bureau’s laboratory had failed to ensure that all the samples were collected in the same fashion, gave “minimal” instruction to the outside labs and set insufficient standards for validating the results. It also failed to measure the uncertainty in its results, leaving it unclear how much weight they deserve, the report said.

Also unstudied was whether the anthrax spores grew differently in varying conditions, the report said.

The FBI said Friday that it stood by its conclusion, saying it “has complete confidence in the scientific results that provided investigators with leads” to the anthrax used in the attacks.

“As noted in the National Academy of Sciences Report, the genetic tests used by the FBI were well validated,” the bureau said, adding that after a review of all scientific analysis it “is satisfied that the analysis was conducted in a quality manner.”

“It is important to note that the scientific results alone were not the sole basis for concluding that Bruce Ivins committed the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks,” the bureau said.

However, Democratic Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, who was among three members of the House of Representatives who requested the audit from Congress’ investigative arm, said “the GAO report confirms what I have often said: that the FBI’s definitive conclusions about the accuracy of their scientific findings in the Amerithrax case are not, in fact, definitive.”

Holt, a scientist who’s retiring from Congress at month’s end, also said “the United States needs a comprehensive, independent review of the Amerithrax investigation to ensure we have learned the lessons from this bio attack.”

Paul Kemp, an attorney for Ivins, echoed Holt’s call for a fuller investigation.

“I only wish we could have had a trial,” he said. “They never had any evidence he prepared the anthrax . . . only that he worked some unexplained overtime. Many scientists in and out of Fort Detrick asserted that there wouldn’t have been enough time for one person to do this – especially in a building and a lab that was open all day every day – without somebody seeing something.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story wrongly said that both inquiries were federal. The National Academy of Sciences is private.

CIA agents “impersonated Senate staffers” producing Torture Report

By Kevin Gonztola
Dissenter

CIA agents “impersonated Senate staffers” while the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was producing its report

“According to sources familiar with the CIA inspector general report that details the alleged abuses by agency officials,” journalists Ali Watkins and Ryan Grim reported, “CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers in order to gain access to Senate communications and drafts of the Intelligence Committee investigation.”

A source “familiar” with the inspector general report, which remains classified, told Huffington Post, “If people knew the details of what they actually did to hack into the Senate computers to go search for the torture document, jaws would drop. It’s straight out of a movie.”

But Watkins and Grim also quoted another unnamed source “familiar with the events surrounding the dispute between the CIA and Intelligence Committee,” who claimed the agency did not pose as staff to access drafts. Rather, “CIA simply attempted to determine if its side of the firewall could have been accessed through the Google search tool. CIA did not use administrator access to examine [Intelligence Committee] work product.”

In other words, agents did impersonate staffers but not to access a draft of the report. The agents wanted to see if staffers could access documents the CIA did not want them to be able to access.
Previously, Watkins was a national security reporter for McClatchy Newspapers. She and Jonathan Landay reported in July that CIA personnel had “improperly intruded into a protected database” used by the committee staff. In other words, the CIA engaged in hacking, which Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein had alleged in a speech on the Senate floor.

What Watkins and Grim report from their source matches up perfectly with what Feinstein claimed. She suggested CIA employees had conducted searches of committee computers and the network in which they were operating.

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Bin Laden ‘Shooter’ Under Investigation for Leaking Secrets

by Shane Harris

The man who claims he killed the world’s most wanted terrorist is now being probed for saying too much about the mission.

The former Navy SEAL who ignited a controversy when he publicly claimed credit for killing Osama bin Laden is under investigation for possibly leaking official secrets, The Daily Beast has learned.

When reached for comment, Ed Buice, an NCIS public affairs officer, confirmed “The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is in receipt of an allegation that Mr. O’Neill may have revealed classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information. In response, NCIS has initiated an investigation to determine the merit of the allegations.”

The news that O’Neill is being investigated for potential criminal acts hasn’t been previously reported.

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http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/23/exclusive-bin-laden-shooter-under-investigation-for-leaking-secrets.html

NYT OP-ED – ” Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses”

Dec 21, 2014

Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush. But the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed.

Mr. Obama has said multiple times that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” as though the two were incompatible. They are not. The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.

Americans have known about many of these acts for years, but the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality: In addition to new revelations of sadistic tactics like “rectal feeding,” scores of detainees were waterboarded, hung by their wrists, confined in coffins, sleep-deprived, threatened with death or brutally beaten. In November 2002, one detainee who was chained to a concrete floor died of “suspected hypothermia.”

These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture.

So it is no wonder that today’s blinkered apologists are desperate to call these acts anything but torture, which they clearly were. As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal.

In July 2002, C.I.A. lawyers told the Justice Department that the agency needed to use “more aggressive methods” of interrogation that would “otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute.” They asked the department to promise not to prosecute those who used these methods. When the department refused, they shopped around for the answer they wanted. They got it from the ideologically driven lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel, who wrote memos fabricating a legal foundation for the methods. Government officials now rely on the memos as proof that they sought and received legal clearance for their actions. But the report changes the game: We now know that this reliance was not made in good faith.

No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch are to give Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. a letter Monday calling for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate what appears increasingly to be “a vast criminal conspiracy, under color of law, to commit torture and other serious crimes.”

Oswald and Atta: Erratic, Protected and Seeking Attention

Graeme MacQueen’s new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception, reveals stunning links between the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks that immediately followed. The book also reviews some of the interesting actions taken by alleged hijacker leader, Mohamed Atta, in the years preceding 9/11. These actions suggest that Atta was trying to leave the people he encountered with memories that would support the official myth. In the few years before JFK’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald engaged in similar attention-seeking actions. Considering this leads to the discovery that Oswald and Atta had a lot in common.

The legend of Mohamed Atta describes a man who seemed to be everywhere at once. In just the two years before 9/11, Atta reportedly lived and/or plotted in Germany, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan (via Turkey and Pakistan), Oklahoma, Las Vegas, Spain, and numerous locations in Florida. Oswald also traveled extensively in the years before the JFK assassination—back and forth from California to Japan, to New Orleans, Dallas, and Fort Worth, to Mexico City, and to Minsk and Moscow.

Atta was involved in many notable events in a short period before 9/11. Among other things, he annoyed airport employees, was bitten by a dog, consumed alcohol and cocaine, lived with an exotic dancer, and killed a cat and her litter of kittens. He got pulled over for driving without a license, got drunk and swore at a waiter, and abandoned a plane on the runway. In some of these cases Atta interacted with police and the risk for police interactions was there in almost every case.

Some of Atta’s reported actions suggest that he was trying to leave clues. One such incident, occurring around April of 2000, involved his attempt to seek a U.S. government loan to help him purchase and modify a crop dusting plane for large-scale chemical use. In his one-hour encounter with Johnell Bryant, a federal employee from whom he was seeking the loan, Atta talked about security at the World Trade Center and buildings in Washington. He went on to talk about his connection to Al Qaeda and his admiration for Osama bin Laden. The most vivid memory Bryant had of Atta was his extremely dilated pupils—a symptom of drug abuse.

In his interaction with Bryant, Atta made a big deal about a picture of Washington D.C. in her office. Bryant said that Atta acted like he wanted that picture very badly. Johnell said that Atta’s “emotions kept going up and down, up and down” and he became agitated when she would not sell him the picture or give him the $650,000 loan to buy the plane and equip it with the large chemical tank. To emphasize his displeasure and heighten the experience, Atta suggested that he might cut her throat. Those are certainly not the actions of someone trying to keep a highly secret terrorist plot from being discovered.

Atta’s antics continued until the day before 9/11, when he made an inexplicable last-minute trip to Portland, Maine, leaving with only 75 minutes to catch the flight that he allegedly had carefully planned to hijack in Boston. He conveniently left the most incriminating evidence possible in his luggage.

Like Atta, Lee Harvey Oswald was busy making himself visible before he allegedly assassinated the President of the United States. His activities in that regard are described well in James Douglass’ book, JFK and the Unspeakable. In fact, reports about Oswald suggest that, like Atta, he was too busy to have been only one person. Whoever it was, the person posing as Oswald made a number of attempts to draw attention his way.

Oswald’s strange behavior in the summer of 1963 provided evidence that he was trying to be noticed. In New Orleans, he engaged in pro-Castro activities by pretending to be the head of the local chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee—but he was its only member. This appears to have been a superficial attempt to support what would become the official line that communists were behind the JFK assassination.

Oswald went to Mexico City in the fall of 1963. During this visit he allegedly made phone calls and visits to both the Cuban and Soviet embassies. He is also reported to have written a letter to a known KGB agent who specialized in assassinations. The CIA monitored such communications closely and it is interesting to consider that 9/11 investigation leader Porter Goss was a CIA operative in Mexico City that same year. In any case, whether true or not, Oswald’s reported actions there indicate that he was working to provide a more recent history for himself as a communist operative or supporter.

Another such incident occurred in the last week of September 1963, when strangers visited Silvia Odio, a 26-year-old Cuban immigrant, in her Dallas apartment. They told Silvia that they were members of an anti-Castro group that her parents were involved in. Sylvia was suspicious, but the visitors said they had come to introduce her to an American named Leon Oswald, who accompanied them. A couple of days later, Sylvia got a phone call from one of them who asked, “What do you think of the American? He’s great but kinda nuts. He told us we don’t have any guts, you Cubans, because President Kennedy should have been assassinated right after the Bay of Pigs.”

Sylvia was disturbed by the visit and the call, and she wrote to her father in prison who wrote back that he knew none of the visitors. When Sylvia heard of President Kennedy’s assassination on the radio—before any mention of Oswald had been made—she was convinced that “Leon Oswald” did it and she reported it to authorities. The FBI interviewed Sylvia in December 1963. Although her testimony was not included in the Warren Report, the incident was clearly meant to connect Oswald to the assassination plot.

Oswatta5Apart from their world travels and attempts to be noticed, Atta and Oswald had other important things in common. For one, both of them appeared to be above the law. That is, they both committed crimes and yet they were not held accountable.

There are reasons to believe that Oswald might have been subjected to CIA mind-control experiments using LSD in the late 1950s. In any case, in 1959 he defected to the Soviet Union. At the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, he reportedly told officials that he planned to give radar secrets to the Soviets. That, of course, would have been treason. Oswald lived in the Soviet Union for three years and married a young Russian woman. In June 1962, he was not only allowed to return to the United States, the U.S. government loaned him money to return, never prosecuted him, and claimed to have never even debriefed him.

Although Mohamed Atta ‘s pre-9/11 crimes were not so dramatic, he enjoyed the same unbelievable luck with regard to lack of prosecution or interrogation. In 1995, Atta was investigated by German authorities for drug-related offenses yet was never charged. There is evidence that Atta continued to use drugs, as was suspected of Oswald. Atta’s stripper girlfriend, Amanda Keller, said that he “had massive supplies of cocaine” which he restocked whenever needed at one of the flight schools he frequented in Florida.  Keller said that during the time she dated him, she saw Atta do cocaine on multiple occasions.

Atta should have also been wanted for abandoning a stalled aircraft on a busy runway at Miami International Airport, in December 2000. Although the Federal Aviation Administration threatened to investigate the matter and hold him accountable, the whole thing was mysteriously dropped.

Three months before 9/11, a warrant was issued for Atta’s arrest in Florida. Having been stopped earlier by Florida police and cited for not having a driver’s license, the warrant was issued because Atta failed to show up at court for the hearing. Yet not only was he not arrested, Atta spent the next few months flying all over the U.S. using his real name without being stopped or questioned. He was pulled over again in July—this time for speeding—in Delray Beach, Florida. Instead of being arrested on the outstanding warrant (supposedly still not entered in the computer system more than a month later,) Atta was simply given a warning.

If the Delray Beach police had checked his immigration status, they would have found that Atta’s visa had expired—another crime. A month after that, Atta’s rental car was queried by police in Broward County, Florida. The existing arrest warrant still did not generate interest, despite the fact that Atta had rented the car in his own name. When Atta bought his flight ticket for 9/11, the outstanding arrest warrant was still in effect and his visa had been expired for over two months. It turned out that violating visa regulations was common for many of the alleged hijackers, yet it never caused them problems.

People have often wondered if Oswald was a CIA employee. Whether or not that was true, or can be proven, several of Oswald’s associates were CIA employees. For example, Oswald’s “best friend” in Dallas, George DeMohrenschild, admitted that he was connected to the Dallas office of the CIA. Another close friend of Oswald and his wife was Ruth Paine, in whose house much of the incriminating evidence was found. Paine’s sister worked for the CIA and Oswald’s wife later said that Paine was sympathizing (or associated) with the CIA.

Similarly, Mohamed Atta had associations with people linked to the CIA. For example, Luai Sakra, an informant for the CIA, was reportedly in contact with Atta before 9/11. Sakra’s lawyer later said that his client admitted to helping the alleged hijackers. Moreover, it is known that the CIA made efforts to recruit another of Atta’s friends. This was Mamoun Darkazanli, who along with Atta was a member of the Hamburg Al-Qaeda cell.

By early 2000, Atta was under CIA surveillance. At the time, he began contacting flight schools in the United States. This included communicating with and visiting airports in Oklahoma. Those activities led Atta to the same locations as persons of 9/11 interest such as University of Oklahoma president David Boren and Stratesec CEO Wirt D. Walker, whose company provided security for facilities related to 9/11.

The man who trained Zacarias Moussaoui, the sole person convicted of crimes related to 9/11, now occupies the same airport hangar as Walker’s companies did in the years before and after 9/11. Coincidentally, while Atta and Marwan Alshehhi were learning to fly at Huffmann Aviation in Venice, Florida, “A CIA front company called Air Caribe was also operating out of the very same hangar at Venice airport.” The southwest Florida area near Venice, where Atta and the alleged hijackers spent so much time, was home to a long history of CIA and drug trafficking operations.

Lee Harvey Oswald and Mohamed Atta had much in common. They both traveled extensively in the time leading up to their respective crimes and both sought attention in ways that would implicate them in those crimes. They were both suspected of using illicit drugs. They both seemed to be protected by authorities when they might have been prosecuted before accomplishing their tasks, and they were both associated with CIA-linked entities. Officially the biggest difference between them is that one was part of a conspiracy and one was not, but the evidence indicates that they were both operating within wider deceptions controlled by powerful people.

http://digwithin.net/2014/12/21/oswald-and-atta/