The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

Happy coincidenting!

That governments have permitted terrorist acts against their own people, and have even themselves been perpetrators in order to find strategic advantage is quite likely true, but this is the United States we’re talking about.

That intelligence agencies, financiers, terrorists and narco-criminals have a long history together is well established, but the Nugan Hand Bank, BCCI, Banco Ambrosiano, the P2 Lodge, the CIA/Mafia anti-Castro/Kennedy alliance, Iran/Contra and the rest were a long time ago, so there’s no need to rehash all that. That was then, this is now!

That Jonathan Bush’s Riggs Bank has been found guilty of laundering terrorist funds and fined a US-record $25 million must embarrass his nephew George, but it’s still no justification for leaping to paranoid conclusions.

That George Bush’s brother Marvin sat on the board of the Kuwaiti-owned company which provided electronic security to the World Trade Centre, Dulles Airport and United Airlines means nothing more than you must admit those Bush boys have done alright for themselves.

That George Bush found success as a businessman only after the investment of Osama’s brother Salem and reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mahfouz is just one of those things – one of those crazy things.

That Osama bin Laden is known to have been an asset of US foreign policy in no way implies he still is.

That al Qaeda was active in the Balkan conflict, fighting on the same side as the US as recently as 1999, while the US protected its cells, is merely one of history’s little aberrations.

The claims of Michael Springman, State Department veteran of the Jeddah visa bureau, that the CIA ran the office and issued visas to al Qaeda members so they could receive training in the United States, sound like the sour grapes of someone who was fired for making such wild accusations.

That one of George Bush’s first acts as President, in January 2001, was to end the two-year deployment of attack submarines which were positioned within striking distance of al Qaeda’s Afghanistan camps, even as the group’s guilt for the Cole bombing was established, proves that a transition from one administration to the next is never an easy task.

That so many influential figures in and close to the Bush White House had expressed, just a year before the attacks, the need for a “new Pearl Harbor” before their militarist ambitions could be fulfilled, demonstrates nothing more than the accidental virtue of being in the right place at the right time.

That the company PTECH, founded by a Saudi financier placed on America’s Terrorist Watch List in October 2001, had access to the FAA’s entire computer system for two years before the 9/11 attack, means he must not have been such a threat after all.

That whistleblower Indira Singh was told to keep her mouth shut and forget what she learned when she took her concerns about PTECH to her employers and federal authorities, suggests she lacked the big picture. And that the Chief Auditor for JP Morgan Chase told Singh repeatedly, as she answered questions about who supplied her with what information, that “that person should be killed,” suggests he should take an anger management seminar.

That on May 8, 2001, Dick Cheney took upon himself the job of co-ordinating a response to domestic terror attacks even as he was crafting the administration’s energy policy which bore implications for America’s military, circumventing the established infrastructure and ignoring the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman report, merely shows the VP to be someone who finds it hard to delegate.

That the standing order which covered the shooting down of hijacked aircraft was altered on June 1, 2001, taking discretion away from field commanders and placing it solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, is simply poor planning and unfortunate timing. Fortunately the error has been corrected, as the order was rescinded shortly after 9/11.

That in the weeks before 9/11, FBI agent Colleen Rowley found her investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui so perversely thwarted that her colleagues joked that bin Laden had a mole at the FBI, proves the stress-relieving virtue of humour in the workplace.

That Dave Frasca of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit received a promotion after quashing multiple, urgent requests for investigations into al Qaeda assets training at flight schools in the summer of 2001 does appear on the surface odd, but undoubtedly there’s a good reason for it, quite possibly classified.

That FBI informant Randy Glass, working an undercover sting, was told by Pakistani intelligence operatives that the World Trade Center towers were coming down, and that his repeated warnings which continued until weeks before the attacks, including the mention of planes used as weapons, were ignored by federal authorities, is simply one of the many “What Ifs” of that tragic day.

That over the summer of 2001 Washington received many urgent, senior-level warnings from foreign intelligence agencies and governments – including those of Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Afghanistan and others – of impending terror attacks using hijacked aircraft and did nothing, demonstrates the pressing need for a new Intelligence Czar.

That John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial aircraft in July 2001 on account of security considerations had nothing to do with warnings regarding September 11, because he said so to the 9/11 Commission.

That former lead counsel for the House David Schippers says he’d taken to John Ashcroft’s office specific warnings he’d learned from FBI agents in New York of an impending attack – even naming the proposed dates, names of the hijackers and the targets – and that the investigations had been stymied and the agents threatened, proves nothing but David Schipper’s pathetic need for attention.

That Garth Nicolson received two warnings from contacts in the intelligence community and one from a North African head of state, which included specific site, date and source of the attacks, and passed the information to the Defense Department and the National Security Council to evidently no effect, clearly amounts to nothing, since virtually nobody has ever heard of him.

That in the months prior to September 11, self-described US intelligence operative Delmart Vreeland sought, from a Toronto jail cell, to get US and Canadian authorities to heed his warning of his accidental discovery of impending catastrophic attacks is worthless, since Vreeland was a dubious character, notwithstanding the fact that many of his claims have since been proven true.

That FBI Special Investigator Robert Wright claims that agents assigned to intelligence operations actually protect terrorists from investigation and prosecution, that the FBI shut down his probe into terrorist training camps, and that he was removed from a money-laundering case that had a direct link to terrorism, sounds like yet more sour grapes from a disgruntled employee.

That George Bush had plans to invade Afghanistan on his desk before 9/11 demonstrates only the value of being prepared.

The suggestion that securing a pipeline across Afghanistan figured into the White House’s calculations is as ludicrous as the assertion that oil played a part in determining war in Iraq.

That Afghanistan is once again the world’s principal heroin producer is an unfortunate reality, but to claim the CIA is still actively involved in the narcotics trade is to presume bad faith on the part of the agency.

Mahmood Ahmed, chief of Pakistan’s ISI, must not have authorized an al Qaeda payment of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta days before the attacks, and was not meeting with senior Washington officials over the week of 9/11, because I didn’t read anything about him in the official report.

That Porter Goss met with Ahmed the morning of September 11 in his capacity as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has no bearing whatsoever upon his recent selection by the White House to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

That Goss’s congressional seat encompasses the 9/11 hijackers’ Florida base of operation, including their flight schools, is precisely the kind of meaningless factoid a conspiracy theorist would bring up.

It’s true that George HW Bush and Dick Cheney spent the evening of September 10 alone in the Oval Office, but what’s wrong with old colleagues catching up? And it’s true that George HW Bush and Shafig bin Laden, Osama’s brother, spent the morning of September 11 together at a board meeting of the Carlyle Group, but the bin Ladens are a big family.

That FEMA arrived in New York on Sept 10 to prepare for a scheduled biowarfare drill, and had a triage centre ready to go that was larger and better equipped than the one that was lost in the collapse of WTC 7, was a lucky twist of fate.

Newsweek’s report that senior Pentagon officials cancelled flights on Sept 10 for the following day on account of security concerns is only newsworthy because of what happened the following morning.

That George Bush’s telephone logs for September 11 do not exist should surprise no one, given the confusion of the day.

That Mohamed Atta attended the International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base, that Abdulaziz Alomari attended Brooks Air Force Base Aerospace Medical School, that Saeed Alghamdi attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey merely shows it is a small world, after all.

That Lt Col Steve Butler, Vice Chancellor for student affairs of the Defense Language Institute during Alghamdi’s terms, was disciplined, removed from his post and threatened with court martial when he wrote “Bush knew of the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. What is…contemptible is the President of the United States not telling the American people what he knows for political gain,” is the least that should have happened for such disrespect shown his Commander in Chief.

That Mohammed Atta dressed like a Mafioso, had a stripper girlfriend, smuggled drugs, was already a licensed pilot when he entered the US, enjoyed pork chops, drank to excess and did cocaine, was closer to Europeans than Arabs in Florida, and included the names of defence contractors on his email list, proves how dangerous the radical fundamentalist Muslim can be.

That 43 lbs of heroin was found on board the Lear Jet owned by Wally Hilliard, the owner of Atta’s flight school, just three weeks after Atta enrolled – the biggest seizure ever in Central Florida – was just bad luck. That Hilliard was not charged shows how specious the claims for conspiracy truly are.

That Hilliard’s plane had made 30-round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers who always paid cash, that the plane had been supplied by a pair of drug smugglers who had also outfitted CIA drug runner Barry Seal, and that 9/11 commissioner Richard ben-Veniste had been Seal’s attorney before Seal’s murder, shows nothing but the lengths to which conspiracists will go to draw sinister conclusions.

Reports of insider trading on 9/11 are false, because the SEC investigated and found only respectable investors who will remain nameless involved, and no terrorists, so the windfall profit-taking was merely, as ever, coincidental.

That heightened security for the World Trade Centre was lifted immediately prior to the attacks illustrates that it always happens when you least expect it.

That Hani Hanjour, the pilot of Flight 77, was so incompetent he could not fly a Cessna in August, but in September managed to fly a 767 at excessive speed into a spiraling, 270-degree descent and a level impact of the first floor of the Pentagon, on the only side that was virtually empty and had been hardened to withstand a terrorist attack, merely demonstrates that people can do almost anything once they set their minds to it.

That none of the flight data recorders were said to be recoverable even though they were located in the tail sections, and that until 9/11, no solid-state recorder in a catastrophic crash had been unrecoverable, shows how there’s a first time for everything.

That Mohammed Atta left a uniform, a will, a Koran, his driver’s license and a “how to fly planes” video in his rental car at the airport means he had other things on his mind.

The mention of Israelis with links to military-intelligence having been arrested on Sept 11 videotaping and celebrating the attacks, of an Israeli espionage ring surveiling DEA and defense installations and trailing the hijackers, and of a warning of impending attacks delivered to the Israeli company Odigo two hours before the first plane hit, does not deserve a response. That the stories also appeared in publications such as Ha’aretz and Forward is a sad display of self-hatred among certain elements of the Israeli media.

That multiple military wargames and simulations were underway the morning of 9/11 – one simulating the crash of a plane into a building; another, a live-fly simulation of multiple hijackings – and took many interceptors away from the eastern seaboard and confused field commanders as to which was a real hijacked aircraft and which was a hoax, was a bizarre coincidence, but no less a coincidence.

That the National Military Command Center ops director asked a rookie substitute to stand his watch at 8:30 am on Sept. 11 is nothing more than bad timing.

That a recording made Sept 11 of air traffic controllers’ describing what they had witnessed, was destroyed by an FAA official who crushed it in his hand, cut the tape into little pieces and dropped them in different trash cans around the building, is something no doubt that overzealous official wishes he could undo.

That the FBI knew precisely which Florida flight schools to descend upon hours after the attacks should make every American feel safer knowing their federal agents are on the ball.

That a former flight school executive believes the hijackers were “double agents,” and says about Atta and associates, “Early on I gleaned that these guys had government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose,” and was visited by the FBI just four hours after the attacks to intimidate him into silence, proves he’s an unreliable witness, for the simple reason there is no conspiracy.

That Jeb Bush was on board an aircraft that removed flight school records to Washington in the middle of the night on Sept 12th demonstrates how seriously the governor takes the issue of national security.

To insinuate evil motive from the mercy flights of bin Laden family members and Saudi royals after 9/11 shows the sickness of the conspiratorial mindset.

Le Figaro’s report in October 2001, known to have originated with French intelligence, that the CIA met Osama bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, proves again the perfidy of the French.

That the tape in which bin Laden claims responsibility for the attacks was released by the State Department after having been found providentially by US forces in Afghanistan, and depicts a fattened Osama with a broader face and a flatter nose, proves Osama, and Osama alone, masterminded 9/11.

That at the battle of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was surrounded on three sides, Special Forces received no order to advance and capture him and were forced to stand and watch as two Russian-made helicopters flew into the area where bin Laden was believed hiding, loaded up passengers and returned to Pakistan, demonstrates how confusing the modern battlefield can be.

That upon returning to Fort Bragg from Tora Bora, the same Special Operations troops who had been stood down from capturing bin Laden, suffered a unusual spree of murder/suicides, is nothing more than a series of senseless tragedies.

Reports that bin Laden is currently receiving periodic dialysis treatment in a Pakistani medical hospital are simply too incredible to be true.

That the White House went on Cipro September 11 shows the foresightedness of America’s emergency response.

That the anthrax was mailed to perceived liberal media and the Democratic leadership demonstrates only the perversity of the terrorist psyche.

That the anthrax attacks appeared to silence opponents of the Patriot Act shows only that appearances can be deceiving.

That the Ames-strain anthrax was found to have originated at Fort Detrick, and was beyond the capability of all but a few labs to refine, underscores the importance of allowing the investigation to continue without the distraction of absurd conspiracy theories.

That Republican guru Grover Norquist has been found to have aided financiers and supporters of Islamic terror to gain access to the Bush White House, and is a founder of the Islamic Institute, which the Treasury Department believes to be a source of funding for al Qaeda, suggests Norquist is at worst, naive, and at best, needs a wider circle of friends.

That the Department of Justice consistently chooses to see accused 9/11 plotters go free rather than permit the courtroom testimony of al Qaeda leaders in American custody looks bad, but only because we don’t have all the facts.

That the White House balked at any inquiry into the events of 9/11, then starved it of funds and stonewalled it, was unfortunate, but since the commission didn’t find for conspiracy it’s all a non issue anyway.

That the 9/11 commission’s executive director and “gatekeeper,” Philip Zelikow, was so closely involved in the events under investigation that he testified before the the commission as part of the inquiry, shows only an apparent conflict of interest.

That commission chair Thomas Kean is, like George Bush, a Texas oil executive who had business dealings with reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mafouz, suggests Texas is smaller than they say it is.

That co-chair Lee Hamilton has a history as a Bush family “fixer,” including clearing Bush Sr of the claims arising from the 1980 “October Surprise”, is of no concern, since only conspiracists believe there was such a thing as an October Surprise.

That FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds accuses the agency of intentionally fudging specific pre-9/11 warnings and harboring a foreign espionage ring in its translation department, and claims she witnessed evidence of the semi-official infrastructure of money-laundering and narcotics trade behind the attacks, is of no account, since John Ashcroft has gagged her with the rare invocation of “State Secrets Privilege,” and retroactively classified her public testimony. For the sake of national security, let us speak no more of her.

That, when commenting on Edmond’s case, Daniel Ellsberg remarked that Ashcroft could go to prison for his part in a cover-up, suggests Ellsberg is giving comfort to the terrorists, and could, if he doesn’t wise up, find himself declared an enemy combatant.

I could go on. And on and on. But I trust you get the point. Which is simply this: there are no secrets, an American government would never accept civilian casualties for geostrategic gain, and conspiracies are for the weak-minded and gullible.

http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2004/08/coincidence-theorists-guide-to-911.html

Advertisements

Blackwater Down

Blackwater Down

by JEREMY SCAHILL

The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior US diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene in another devastated Gulf. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. Officially, the company boasted of its forces “join[ing] the hurricane relief effort.” But its men on the ground told a different story.

Some patrolled the streets in SUVs with tinted windows and the Blackwater logo splashed on the back; others sped around the French Quarter in an unmarked car with no license plates. They congregated on the corner of St. James and Bourbon in front of a bar called 711, where Blackwater was establishing a makeshift headquarters. From the balcony above the bar, several Blackwater guys cleared out what had apparently been someone’s apartment. They threw mattresses, clothes, shoes and other household items from the balcony to the street below. They draped an American flag from the balcony’s railing. More than a dozen troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stood in formation on the street watching the action.

Armed men shuffled in and out of the building as a handful told stories of their past experiences in Iraq. “I worked the security detail of both Bremer and Negroponte,” said one of the Blackwater guys, referring to the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer, and former US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte. Another complained, while talking on his cell phone, that he was getting only $350 a day plus his per diem. “When they told me New Orleans, I said, ‘What country is that in?'” he said. He wore his company ID around his neck in a case with the phrase Operation Iraqi Freedom printed on it.

In an hourlong conversation I had with four Blackwater men, they characterized their work in New Orleans as “securing neighborhoods” and “confronting criminals.” They all carried automatic assault weapons and had guns strapped to their legs. Their flak jackets were covered with pouches for extra ammunition.

When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, “We’re on contract with the Department of Homeland Security.” Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, “He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary.” The man then held up the gold Louisiana law enforcement badge he wore around his neck. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Duke also said the company has a letter from Louisiana officials authorizing its forces to carry loaded weapons.

“This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government,” says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal.”

Blackwater is not alone. As business leaders and government officials talk openly of changing the demographics of what was one of the most culturally vibrant of America’s cities, mercenaries from companies like DynCorp, Intercon, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI) are fanning out to guard private businesses and homes, as well as government projects and institutions. Within two weeks of the hurricane, the number of private security companies registered in Louisiana jumped from 185 to 235. Some, like Blackwater, are under federal contract. Others have been hired by the wealthy elite, like F. Patrick Quinn III, who brought in private security to guard his $3 million private estate and his luxury hotels, which are under consideration for a lucrative federal contract to house FEMA workers.

A possibly deadly incident involving Quinn’s hired guns underscores the dangers of private forces policing American streets. On his second night in New Orleans, Quinn’s security chief, Michael Montgomery, who said he worked for an Alabama company called Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS), was with a heavily armed security detail en route to pick up one of Quinn’s associates and escort him through the chaotic city. Montgomery told me they came under fire from “black gangbangers” on an overpass near the poor Ninth Ward neighborhood. “At the time, I was on the phone with my business partner,” he recalls. “I dropped the phone and returned fire.”

Montgomery says he and his men were armed with AR-15s and Glocks and that they unleashed a barrage of bullets in the general direction of the alleged shooters on the overpass. “After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. That was it. Enough said.”

Then, Montgomery says, “the Army showed up, yelling at us and thinking we were the enemy. We explained to them that we were security. I told them what had happened and they didn’t even care. They just left.” Five minutes later, Montgomery says, Louisiana state troopers arrived on the scene, inquired about the incident and then asked him for directions on “how they could get out of the city.” Montgomery says that no one ever asked him for any details of the incident and no report was ever made. “One thing about security,” Montgomery says, “is that we all coordinate with each other–one family.” That co-ordination doesn’t include the offices of the Secretaries of State in Louisiana and Alabama, which have no record of a BATS company.

A few miles away from the French Quarter, another wealthy New Orleans businessman, James Reiss, who serves in Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration as chairman of the city’s Regional Transit Authority, brought in some heavy guns to guard the elite gated community of Audubon Place: Israeli mercenaries dressed in black and armed with M-16s. Two Israelis patrolling the gates outside Audubon told me they had served as professional soldiers in the Israeli military, and one boasted of having participated in the invasion of Lebanon. “We have been fighting the Palestinians all day, every day, our whole lives,” one of them tells me. “Here in New Orleans, we are not guarding from terrorists.” Then, tapping on his machine gun, he says, “Most Americans, when they see these things, that’s enough to scare them.”

The men work for ISI, which describes its employees as “veterans of the Israeli special task forces from the following Israeli government bodies: Israel Defense Force (IDF), Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, Instructors of Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, General Security Service (GSS or ‘Shin Beit’), Other restricted intelligence agencies.” The company was formed in 1993. Its website profile says: “Our up-to-date services meet the challenging needs for Homeland Security preparedness and overseas combat procedures and readiness. ISI is currently an approved vendor by the US Government to supply Homeland Security services.”

Unlike ISI or BATS, Blackwater is operating under a federal contract to provide 164 armed guards for FEMA reconstruction projects in Louisiana. That contract was announced just days after Homeland Security Department spokesperson Russ Knocke told the Washington Post he knew of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security firms. “We believe we’ve got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety,” he said. Before the contract was announced, the Blackwater men told me, they were already on contract with DHS and that they were sleeping in camps organized by the federal agency.

One might ask, given the enormous presence in New Orleans of National Guard, US Army, US Border Patrol, local police from around the country and practically every other government agency with badges, why private security companies are needed, particularly to guard federal projects. “It strikes me…that that may not be the best use of money,” said Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Blackwater’s success in procuring federal contracts could well be explained by major-league contributions and family connections to the GOP. According to election records, Blackwater’s CEO and co-founder, billionaire Erik Prince, has given tens of thousands to Republicans, including more than $80,000 to the Republican National Committee the month before Bush’s victory in 2000. This past June, he gave $2,100 to Senator Rick Santorum’s re-election campaign. He has also given to House majority leader Tom DeLay and a slew of other Republican candidates, including Bush/Cheney in 2004. As a young man, Prince interned with President George H.W. Bush, though he complained at the time that he “saw a lot of things I didn’t agree with–homosexual groups being invited in, the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act, those kind of bills. I think the Administration has been indifferent to a lot of conservative concerns.”

Prince, a staunch right-wing Christian, comes from a powerful Michigan Republican family, and his father, Edgar, was a close friend of former Republican presidential candidate and antichoice leader Gary Bauer. In 1988 the elder Prince helped Bauer start the Family Research Council. Erik Prince’s sister, Betsy, once chaired the Michigan Republican Party and is married to Dick DeVos, whose father, billionaire Richard DeVos, is co-founder of the major Republican benefactor Amway. Dick DeVos is also a big-time contributor to the Republican Party and will likely be the GOP candidate for Michigan governor in 2006. Another Blackwater founder, president Gary Jackson, is also a major contributor to Republican campaigns.

After the killing of four Blackwater mercenaries in Falluja in March 2004, Erik Prince hired the Alexander Strategy Group, a PR firm with close ties to GOPers like DeLay. By mid-November the company was reporting 600 percent growth. In February 2005 the company hired Ambassador Cofer Black, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department and former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, as vice chairman. Just as the hurricane was hitting, Blackwater’s parent company, the Prince Group, named Joseph Schmitz, who had just resigned as the Pentagon’s Inspector General, as the group’s chief operating officer and general counsel.

While juicing up the firm’s political connections, Prince has been advocating greater use of private security in international operations, arguing at a symposium at the National Defense Industrial Association earlier this year that firms like his are more efficient than the military. In May Blackwater’s Jackson testified before Congress in an effort to gain lucrative Homeland Security contracts to train 2,000 new Border Patrol agents, saying Blackwater understands “the value to the government of one-stop shopping.” With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using US troops in domestic law enforcement) and Blackwater and other security firms clearly initiating a push to install their paramilitaries on US soil, the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, “This is a trend. You’re going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations.”

Internet tells you who to vote for ;-)

In the event you’re in too much of a hurry to check out the presidential candidates yourself, the Internet can now do it for you.

Connect2Elect is a new website that lets users add candidate attributes and issue positions that are important to them, and see who they should vote on. Issues are broken down by social (abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research), political (Iraq war, taxes, immigration) and core beliefs (welfare, gun rights). Clearly there is some overlap and room to argue over categorization, but the basic idea is that you click on issues that matter to you and order them. You then see a results screen with candidate values mapped to your own. Voila! You know who to vote for.

Overall I think the service is well executed (it was built by introNetworks, a white label social network startup). But it strikes me as somewhat lame to choose a candidate based only on their official policies, which reflect little more than current popular opinion.

In related stuff, see our recent coverage of PoliticalBase, a new database driven startup around candidates and issues, and let us know what questions you’d like us to ask in our upcoming podcast discussion with Mitt Romney, a republican candidate for president.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/22/this-website-will-tell-you-who-to-vote-for/
_________________

Ve vill indoctrinate you

Dragon Spies – Robobugs

Dragonfly or Insect Spy? Scientists at Work on Robobugs.

By Rick Weiss

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 9, 2007; Page A03

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

“I heard someone say, ‘Oh my god, look at those,’ ” the college senior from New York recalled. “I look up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is that?’ They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.”

   

Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.

“I’d never seen anything like it in my life,” the Washington lawyer said. “They were large for dragonflies. I thought, ‘Is that mechanical, or is that alive?’ ”

That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Others think they are, well, dragonflies — an ancient order of insects that even biologists concede look about as robotic as a living creature can look.

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

The robobugs could follow suspects, guide missiles to targets or navigate the crannies of collapsed buildings to find survivors.

The technical challenges of creating robotic insects are daunting, and most experts doubt that fully working models exist yet.

“If you find something, let me know,” said Gary Anderson of the Defense Department‘s Rapid Reaction Technology Office.

But the CIA secretly developed a simple dragonfly snooper as long ago as the 1970s. And given recent advances, even skeptics say there is always a chance that some agency has quietly managed to make something operational.

“America can be pretty sneaky,” said Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel and expert in unmanned aerial vehicles who is now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonprofit Washington-based research institute.

Imposing martial law for dummies

TOPOFF 4 and Vigilant Shield 08: a view from the “feverish fringe”
By Warren Pease
Online Journal Contributing Writer

The rationales and blueprints for implementation of martial law are already on the books. Reasoning that the USAPATRIOT Act(s) and the Military Commissions Act weren’t quite repressive enough, on May 9, 2007, Bush issued a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.” This directive outlines the federal government’s plan for maintaining continuity in the face of a “catastrophic emergency.”

The document defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.” Well, that certainly narrows things down.

If any of these events occurs, Bush grants himself the power to lead the entire federal government, not merely the executive branch. And, recognizing his veneration of constitutional law, he graciously gives himself sole responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”

Translated into our native tongue, NSPD 51/HSPD-20 would impose martial law under the authority of the White House and the DHS. It would suspend constitutional government under the provisions of Continuity in Government (COG).

Since 2003, following the invasion of Iraq, Homeland Security (DHS) has contemplated time and again the possibility of a so-called code red alert “scenario” — using a potential or possible Al Qaeda terrorist attack on American soil — as a pretext for implementing martial law.

And why would such extreme crowd control measures be necessary? Simply put, people have just about had it with the Bush administration. The outrages keep on coming. Impeachable offenses keep piling up. The economy’s nearly ruined, joblessness has hit the middle class and the dollar is worth about a third less than it was just seven years ago.

The latest figures report that our liberating presence in Iraq has murdered more than a million civilians and created about 5 million refugees. US troop fatalities in Iraq stand at 3,813 as of this writing, with tens of thousands more severely maimed and thrown into a new battlefield in the underfunded, overextended VA health care system.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Iran is the next jewel in the PNAC’s crown, while Syria is in line for an oratorical upgrade in Bush’s demonization campaign. Domestic repression is edging its way toward the golden age of Stalinism. Given current levels of discontent among the populace and the potential to further inflame that discontent in a variety of ways, it would be weird indeed if the administration didn’t have a plan to deal with the millions of malcontents who would view a bombing campaign against Iran — possibly involving first-strike use of nuclear weapons — as the absolute last straw.

Full article 

Who runs the world and why….


WHO RUNS THE WORLD AND WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY
By Carolyn Baker
Monday, 01 October 2007

A review of The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, By Daniel Estulin

Daniel Estulin is a Madrid-based journalist and an investigative reporter who took on the daunting and dangerous task of researching the Bilderberg Group, and who offers his findings in The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, recently published by Trine Day. Equally intriguing as his harrowing tales of being followed and nearly killed on a couple of occasions while working on the book, is the manner in which Estulin connects the dots between the Bilderberg Group, world events, notable politicians and corporate tycoons and the two other secretive monsters of the ruling elite, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Trilateral Commission (TC). The project lasted fifteen years and was motivated by Estulin’s curiosity about how it is that the mainstream media has never covered in depth the meetings of the Bilderberg Group whose combined wealth exceeds the combined wealth of all U.S. citizens.

What Estulin’s book makes clear is that the group, along with the CFR and TC, has become a shadow government whose top priority is to erase the sovereignty of all nation-states and supplant them with global corporate control of their economies under the surveillance of “an electronic global police state.” (xv)

The author emphasizes that not all members of the group are “bad” people, and he implies that membership is structured somewhat like concentric circles in a target scheme with in inner core and various levels of relationship between that core and the outer circles of membership. Almost every famous player in politics and finance in the world is a member of one of the three organizations mentioned above, and their political affiliations range from liberal to conservative, for example, George W. Bush, George Soros, Gerald Ford, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter. Of this private club, Estulin says:

This parallel world remains unseen in the daily struggles of most of humanity, but, believe me, it is there: a cesspool of duplicity and lies and double-speak and innuendo and blackmail and bribery. It is a surreal world of double and triple agents, of changing loyalties, of professional psychotic assassins, brainwashed black ops agents, soldiers of fortune and mercenaries, whose primary sources of income are the dirtiest and most despicable government-run subversive missions-the kind that can never be exposed.(15)

This world, according to Estulin, is so perverse and evil that “it has left an indelible mark on my soul”. (16) How not? Because the Bilderberg Group and its two other triplets, the CFR and the TC have set about to loot the entire planet. Their members run the central banks of the world and are poised to control discount rates, money-supply, interest rates, gold prices, and which countries receive or do not receive loans. Membership is by invitation only, many of the earliest members being handpicked, not from right-wing groups but from among none other than the Fabian Socialists who ultimately supported global government.

Another chilling quote Estulin includes is from William Shannon:

The Bilderbergers are searching for the age of post-nationalism: when we won’t have countries, but rather regions of the Earth surrounded by Universal values. That is to say, a global economy; one World government (selected rather than elected) and a universal religion. To assure themselves of reaching these objectives, the Bilderbergers focus on a ‘greater technical approach’ and less awareness on behalf of the general public.

THE BILDERBERG BAPTISM OF BILL CLINTON

In 1991 Bill Clinton attended the Bilderberg Conference in Baden-Baden where Estulin asserts that he was “anointed” to the U.S. presidency, and shortly thereafter he took an unexpected, unannounced trip to Moscow. It appears, says Estulin, that he was sent there to get his KGB student-era, anti-Vietnam war files “buried” before he announced his candidacy for president which happened some two-and-a-half months later. Today, Clinton is a member of all three groups: Bilderberg, CFR, and TC. Hillary Clinton is a member of the Bilderberg Group.

Estulin points out that “almost all of the presidential candidates for both parties have belonged to at least one of these organizations, many of the U.S. congressmen and senators, most major policy-making positions, especially in the field of foreign relations, much of the press, most of the leadership of the CIA, FBI, IRS, and many of the remaining governmental organizations in Washington. CFR members occupy nearly all White House cabinet positions.”(80) When one considers that most prominent members of mainstream media are also members of what Edith Kermit Roosevelt, granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt called “this legitimate Mafia”, how can we assert that Americans obtain their news from independent sources?

For example, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is the cornerstone of PBS’s programming. Lehrer is a CFR member, and when one examines the funding of the NewsHour by: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) whose chairman Dwayne Andreas was a member of the Trilateral Commission; Pepsico, whose CEO Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is a Bilderberger and TC Executive Committee member; and Smith Barney which is interlocked with Citigroup, a global financial services company that is a member of the Bilderberg Group, the CFR, and the TC, what kind of “news” should one expect from Lehrer’s News Hour? Consider also that many of the journalists on the NewsHour: Paul Gigot, David Gergen, William Kristol, and William Safire are members of one or more of the three groups. (153)

Likewise, when we consider the membership in one or more of these groups of almost every American president since the inception of these organizations, we can no longer pretend that any Democratic or Republican presidential candidate offers the American people an alternative to ruling elite global hegemony.

In fact, Estulin’s research reveals that “the Council on Foreign Relations creates and delivers psycho-political operations by manipulating people’s reality through a ‘tactic of deception’, placing Council members on both sides of an issue. The deception is complete when the public is led to believe that its own best interests are being served while the CFR policy is being carried out.”(117)

And what happens if the “anointed ones” become too autonomous? One chapter in the book, “The Watergate Con-Game”, answers that question. In it Estulin suggests that Richard Nixon was set up by the Council on Foreign Relations of which he was a member because of his insubordination and unwillingness to submit to the shadow government. Presumably, Nixon’s demise was carefully crafted to demonstrate to subsequent Chief Executives the price they would pay for disregarding the agenda of those who anointed them.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

In the book’s final pages, Estulin’s research waxes increasingly relevant to the present moment in history. He asks: “Why would David Rockefeller and other U.S. Trilateralists, Bilderbergers and the CFR members want to dismantle the industrial might of the United States?” (184). He then launches into a summary of the economic history of the twentieth century and makes one of the most powerful statements of the entire book: “What we have witnessed from this ‘cabal’ is the gradual collapsing of the U.S. economy that began in the 1980s.” (187)

In case you haven’t noticed, this “gradual collapse of the U.S. economy” is no longer gradual, and what Estulin is asserting confirms a great deal of the assertions made by Catherine Austin Fitts that the current housing bubble explosion/credit crunch/mortgage meltdown has its roots in the 1980s. James Howard Kunstler has also written recently in his blog entitled “Shock and Awe” that the great American yard sale has begun. In other words, as an engineered economic meltdown drives hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of businesses and individuals into bankruptcy, key players in the Big Three ruling elite organizations can buy up the train wreck left behind for pennies on the dollar-a brilliant fast-track strategy for owning the world.

In the final months of 2007 we are witnessing the stupendous success of the Big Three’s strategy for planetary economic hegemony as the cacophony of their carefully engineered global economic cataclysm reverberates across America and around the world. It was never about buyers who didn’t read the fine print when taking out liar loans. It was always about silver-tongued, ruling elite politicians and central bankers, anointed by the shadow government, who ultimately and skillfully stole and continue to steal governments from people and replace them with transnational corporations.

No one could have said it better than David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, a Bilderberg member and board member of the Council On Foreign Relations in his Memoirs:

Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure-one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

If you want to know who really runs the world and the lengths to which they will go to establish their globalist hegemony, you must read Estulin’s well-documented The True Story of The Bilderberg Group.