Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CIA Asset Susan Lindauer: Unsung heroine of the Bush 'Dark Era'


Falsely imprisoned by the Bush administration, without a hearing or trial, Ex-CIA asset and 9/11 whistleblower Susan Lindauer finally confirms the great lie to sell a disastrous war and America's still ongoing freedom negating anti-terrorism policy .

Besides launching an illegal war and ongoing occupation of Iraq, the Bush/Cheney administration did everything in its power to cover up their illegal and treasonous tracks ~ which began with the 9/11 cover up itself. The alternative press has been aware of this for years but has lacked the confirming voice of a credible CIA insider such as Susan Lindauer.

Thought police? DARPA wants to know how stories influence human mind, actions

By Layer 8, Network World

Since it sounds like a not-so-basic- science fiction script, you won't be surprised  that the scientific masterminds at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are behind it.

DARPA in a nutshell wants to know about how stories or narratives or whatever might like to call them influence human behavior.  To this end, DARPA is hosting a workshop called "Stories, Neuroscience and Experimental Technologies (STORyNET): Analysis and Decomposition of Narratives in Security Contexts," on Feb. 28th to discuss the topic.

"Stories exert a powerful influence on human thoughts and behavior. They consolidate memory, shape emotions, cue heuristics and biases in judgment, influence in-group/out-group distinctions, and may affect the fundamental contents of personal identity. It comes as no surprise that these influences make stories highly relevant to vexing security challenges such as radicalization, violent social mobilization, insurgency and terrorism, and conflict prevention and resolution. Therefore, understanding the role stories play in a security context is a matter of great import and some urgency," DARPA stated. "Ascertaining exactly what function stories enact, and by what mechanisms they do so, is a necessity if we are to effectively analyze the security phenomena shaped by stories. Doing this in a scientifically respectable manner requires a working theory of narratives, an understanding of what role narratives play in security contexts, and examination of how to best analyze stories-decomposing them and their psychological impact systematically."

According to DARPA, STORyNET has three goals:

1. To survey narrative theories. These empirically informed theories should tell us something about the nature of stories: what is a story? What are its moving parts? Is there a list of necessary and sufficient conditions it takes for a stimulus to be considered a story instead of something else? Does the structure and function of stories vary considerably across cultural contexts or is there a universal theory of story?

~ more... ~

Eye on Iran: 'The war has already begun, total war is a possibility'


From Brookings Institute: "Which Path to Persia?" by Tony Cartalucci, Activist Post

While the corporate owned media has the plebeians arguing over whether or not Iran should have nuclear weapons or if it intends to commit genocide against the Jews (the largest population of Jews in the Middle East outside of Israel actually resides in Iran), the debate is already over, and the war has already quietly begun. Before it began, however, someone meticulously meted out the details of how it would unfold. That "someone" is the mega-corporate backed Brookings Institute.

Background

"Which Path to Persia?" was written in 2009 by the Brookings Institute as a blueprint for confronting Iran. Within the opening pages of the report, acknowledgments are given to the Smith Richardson Foundation, upon which Zbigniew Brzezinski sits as an acting governor.

The Smith Richardson Foundation funds a bizarre myriad of globalist pet projects including studies on geoengineering, nation building, meddling in the Caucasus region, and even studies, as of 2009, to develop methods to support "indigenous democratic political movements and transitions" in Poland, Egypt, Cuba, Nepal, Haiti, Vietnam, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and Burma. Also acknowledged by the report is the Crown Family Foundation out of Chicago.

[ ... ]

With frank honesty, the report opens by declaring Iran a confounding nation that undermines America's interests and influence in the Middle East. Not once is it mentioned that the Islamic Republic poses any direct threat to the security of the United States itself. In fact, Iran is described as a nation intentionally avoiding provocations that would justify military operations to be conducted against it.

Iran's motivations are listed as being ideological, nationalistic, and security driven - very understandable considering the nations to its east and west are currently occupied by invading armies. This is the crux of the issue, where it's America's interests in the region, not security, that motivate it to meddle in Iran's sovereignty, and is a theme that repeats itself throughout the 156-page report.

~ more... ~


Seven charged, including two U.S. citizens, in Taliban drug and missile sting

Seven men, including two American citizens, were charged today with selling drugs and missiles to help the Afghan Taliban.


They are expected to be arraigned in New York, according to an unsealed indictment filed in Manhattan Federal Court.


It was alleged that U.S. citizens Alwar (Allan) Pouryan and Oded (Dedy) Orbach discussed selling surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers and other weapons.


An email seized by prosecutors revealed a price list ranging from around $120 for an M16 rifle to $87,000 and upwards for a Javelin anti-tank missile.


Pouryan, an arms dealer, and Orbach - were arrested in Romania where they are awaiting U.S. extradition proceedings.


Five others,  Maroun Saade, 58, Walid Nasr, 37, Corneille Dato, 48, Martin Ravenous Bouraima, 40, and Francis Sourou Ahissou, 45, were held last week in Liberia and are due to be extradited to New York.

Prosecutors claim the  men were recorded by federal agents agreeing to store and ship tons of cocaine and heroin to the U.S. for the Taliban.


~ more... ~

Burning Spam


blekko honors the 1 billionth piece of spam created this year.

William S. Burroughs' Preserved Poop Inspires 'Bio-Art' Piece

By David Moye, AOL News


Controversial 20th-century novelist William S. Burroughs was best known for his novel "Naked Lunch," and now two "bio-artists" are hoping to turn the remains of his last lunches into art.

Adam Zaretsky and Tony Allard are the creators of "
Mutate or Die: A W.S. Burroughs Biotechnical Bestiary," an ongoing project that basically turns a piece of Burroughs' poop into a piece of art.

Burroughs died in 1997 at the age of 83 in Lawrence, Kan., and the poop being used belongs to a family friend and is covered in epoxy, presumably until it could be used for a higher purpose such as this.


Zaretsky, who has a background in biotech, and Allard, a college professor in San Diego, say their plan is to "take a glob" of the preserved poop, isolate the DNA and make lots of copies of it.

After that, they will soak the DNA dust in gold dust and load it into a "gene gun," a modified air pistol used to insert DNA into plants, worms, rats and humans for experiments.



The DNA dust collected from the poop will be loaded into the pistol, which will then be shot into a mix of blood, poop and semen and then, according to the artists, be declared either a "living bio-art," a "new media print," a "living cut-up literary device" or a mutant sculpture.

Allard admits the concept is, for many people, like poop itself: not easy to grasp even if you're fully aware of its purpose.

"The main response we get from people is, 'Are you serious?' " he told AOL News. "But this is not your typical art project. We see this as a paradigm shift from representational art, since, in this case, the art is in the living organism."

The idea for turning Burroughs' poop into art dates back to October 1996, when Allard was living in Kansas City, Mo., and tried to get the author's DNA sequenced at the scanning electron microscope at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.


US Misinformation: International Law is Clear that Diplomatic Immunity is Not Absolute

From Yasmeen Ali's article published on This Can't Be Happening:

...The concept of diplomatic rights was established in the mid-17th century in Europe and since then came gradually to be accepted throughout the world. These rights were formalized by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects diplomats from being persecuted or prosecuted while on a diplomatic mission.

However, if we examine the specific articles of that Vienna Convention of 1961, some interesting facts emerge.

First, Article 29 states that the person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving or host state shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity. But those, like the US State Department and Davis’s Pakistani attorney, who demand the release of Raymond Davis on this ground, have obviously neglected to read, or don’t want others to read, the related articles within the Convention which strip away any absolute blanket coverage under the guise of “diplomatic immunity” for visiting or appointed diplomats.

Article 38 of the Vienna Convention 1961 states that except where additional privileges and immunities have been specifically granted by the host State, a diplomatic agent who is a national of or permanently resident in that State shall enjoy only immunity from jurisdiction, and inviolability, in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of his functions.

The above article clearly differentiates between an act carried out as part of his official duties and those done as a personal act. Any actions done personally and outside the ambit of official consular duties shall not be covered by “diplomatic immunity.”

Article 37 of the 1961 convention goes on to reinforce the above limitation on immunity by stating:

…Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission, together with members of their families forming part of their respective households, shall, if they are not nationals of or permanently resident in the receiving State, enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in articles 29to 35, except that the immunity from civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving State specified in paragraph 1 of article 31 shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their duties.

The question then becomes not whether or not those murdered were Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agents, robbers or fruit sellers, but whether Davis did or did not have diplomatic immunity, but whether his fatal shooting of the two men was conducted while he was involved in performing his official duties.

If the answer to that question is no, Raymond Davis cannot claim diplomatic immunity...


New information emerges on anti-WikiLeaks plot

Justin Elliott writes for Salon:


Here's an update on the unfolding story of the trio of technology firms that hatched a plan to attack WikiLeaks and their supporters in the press -- including Salon's Glenn Greenwald. The plan was apparently prepared at the behest of Hunton and Williams, a large law firm working for Bank of America, which is worried because it is reportedly the subject of a future WikiLeaks document release.

The plan (.pdf) was outlined in a slideshow prepared by the three security firms; it was obtained and released online by the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers known as Anonymous. One of the three firms, Palantir Technologies, just announced that it has put an engineer who was involved in the project on leave "pending a thorough review of his actions." 

When this story broke last week, Palantir was quick to deny any involvement in the anti-WikiLeaks plan and to sever ties with one of the partner firms, HBGary, that had masterminded the plan. One of several provocative items in the plan said that Greenwald's public support for WikiLeaks needed "to be disrupted."

Here's where a new wrinkle in the story comes into play. Anonymous has now published a new batch of thousands emails hacked from executives at HBGary. And the emails appear to contradict Palantir's claim that it had nothing to do with developing the anti-WikiLeaks plan.

~ more... ~


Feminism and the Cold War in the U.S. Occupation of Japan, 1945 – 1952

By Mire Koikari, Japan Focus

On August 15, 1945, World War II came to an end with Japan's unconditional surrender. General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), flew from the Philippines to Japan with a mission to occupy and demilitarize the defeated nation. The place and manner of MacArthur’s arrival seemed to signal the victor’s absolute confidence and unquestioned authority over its vanquished enemy. MacArthur – the embodiment of U.S. military power and a consummate actor well known for his grand performance – landed at the Atsugi Airfield, previously a training field for Japanese kamikaze fighters, with a handful of Allied troops. MacArthur himself was armed only with a corncob pipe. Despite his staff’s concern about possible attacks by enemy soldiers not yet disarmed, MacArthur’s triumphant landing was followed by a smooth procession to the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama and later an entry into Tokyo where he established the General Headquarters (GHQ) of SCAP in the Dai-ichi Seimei Insurance Building. A new chapter of postwar U.S.-Japan relations thus opened with richly gendered and racialized symbolism: the United State’s imposition of white masculine military authority over Japan, now a defeated and subjugated nation in the Far East.

Following the ferocious belligerence between the enemies in World War II, many Japanese feared that the objective of the occupation was to punish Japan. Yet, MacArthur declared U.S. intentions benign and noble: to "reorient" and "rehabilitate" Japan into a modern, democratic, and enlightened nation. Perceiving the Japanese as an "alien race of spiritual growth stunted by long tenure under the physical, mental and cultural strictures of feudal precepts," he was supremely confident of his ability to transplant American ideals to Japan and to civilize its subjects. He had what he considered evidence to support his conviction: a half century of U.S. governance in the Philippines had demonstrated America's capacity to "civilize" an alien and inferior race and lay the foundations for "democracy" abroad. Just as the U.S. policy of "benign assimilation" in the Philippines had uplifted its subjects from a state of ignorance and savagery, so would the U.S. occupation give the Japanese an unprecedented opportunity for civilization and enlightenment.1

It was within this context of the American project to civilize and democratize a racially inferior other that Japanese women as gendered subjects emerged as centrally important figures. Seen by the occupation authorities as victims for centuries of "Oriental male chauvinism," Japanese women embodied feudal tradition, backwardness, and lack of civilization. As helpless women of color, they became ideal candidates for American salvation and emancipation. The occupier's zeal for liberation of Japanese women from indigenous male domination was all-consuming and multifaceted. MacArthur granted suffrage to Japanese women and praised their "progress" under U.S. tutelage as setting an example for the world.2 Other male occupiers "emancipated" Japanese women by initiating various constitutional and legal changes and policies. Following a familiar colonial trope of heterosexual rescue and romance, some American men expressed their desire to save Japanese women in more personal ways: Earnest Hoberecht, a correspondent for United Press International, advocated kissing as a path to liberation’3 Raymond Higgins, the military governor stationed in Hiroshima, married his Japanese maid to "save" her from the aftermath of the atomic bomb and her abusive husband.4

The postwar U.S.-Japan encounter involved dynamics that went beyond the colonial trope of heterosexual romance, however. No less earnest in their attempt to emancipate and transform Japanese women were American women reformers in the occupation forces. Beate Sirota Gordon, a twenty-two-year-old European Jewish immigrant to the US who had spent early years in Japan, pushed for a constitutional guarantee of gender equality – a guarantee nonexistent in the United States – as “the only woman in the room” where American male reformers debated the contours and content of postwar Japanese constitution.

A group of American women occupiers led by Ethel Weed worked tirelessly to implement the ideal of gender equality and transform Japanese women at the grassroots level. Using skits, role playing, pamphlets, among others, women occupiers such as Carmen Johnson and Helen Hosp Seamans disseminated the spirit and practice of “democracy” among Japanese women with whom they often formed strong bonds that continued well after the occupation. These American women's passion for gender reform was all the more remarkable, as they were utterly unfamiliar with Japan, with few exceptions had no Japanese language skills, received no extensive training for their task, and were often relegated to marginal positions within the predominantly male SCAP bureaucracy. Many Japanese women enthusiastically welcomed American reformers and their efforts to democratize Japan, and tapped into shared discursive repertoires of gender equality and democracy to articulate their own visions of postwar womanhood. For some, such as Katō Shizue, the occupation provided unprecedented opportunities to collaborate with American reformers and to promote herself as the feminist leader in postwar Japan. Even those who explicitly challenged American rule, such as Nosaka Ryō and Miyamoto Yuriko who were communist writer-activists and champions of working-class women's causes, also benefited from the occupation as they stepped into a new space opened up by American reformers to articulate their own visions of gender and nation in postwar Japan.

Over the past six decades, belief in the successful transformation of Japanese women's lives provided many occupiers and subsequent generations of Americans with "unquestionable" evidence that U.S. interventions in Japan were beneficent. The picture of Japanese women being liberated from feudal male domination and gaining new rights under U.S. tutelage is also etched in the minds of many Japanese, and is understood as a turning point in the history of Japan. The view of the occupation as a remarkably generous effort by the victor to democratize Japan and emancipate its women has constituted a gendered historical account shaping American and Japanese self-understandings.


Army records destroyed, hampering veterans' quest for health care



An investigation shows the Army had soldiers destroy their records in the Persian Gulf. Now many veterans who are seeking help can't get it, because they can't prove they were hurt in service. (Feb. 10, 2011 // WTSP-TV)

Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News


The Wikileaks cables released about Indigenous Peoples so far have focused on Chile’s Mapuche and Bolivian President Evo Morales. The cables are proof that the global Indigenous movement to halt the corporate rape of Mother Earth, and unite Indigenous Peoples around the earth, has had an impact.

The most disturbing aspect of the US State Department cables on Indigenous Peoples is the haughtiness and white privilege that bleeds through the print.

The cables make it clear that to the United States, Indigenous Peoples are annoying, even potential terrorists, and must be dealt with.

Along with the Mapuches defense of their land and environment, the Wikileaks cables released so far show the United States’ obsession with Bolivian President Evo Morales and his growing popularity. In the Bolivian cables, the incorrect facts, poor content and unreliable sources are the most glaring aspect.

If the US spy in Bolivia was so wrong about President Morales’ tumor that did not exist, what can be said of the rest of the information. Much of the information is based on public news reports and rambling gossip.

The Bolivian cables make clear the intent of the United States: It is to create mistrust and division between individual Bolivian leaders and executive staff.

One can only ponder what the US spy meant when he referred to a possible unexpected exit by President Morales. The US cable is supposed to be an assessment of Indigenous political leaders in Bolivia. The US spy said, “If Morales were to exit unexpectedly, an indigenous or strong regional leader would be the most likely candidate to fill his position.”

Reading the Wikileaks spy cables concerning Indigenous Peoples is like reading a foreign language, it is very difficult to decipher what is being said. The thinking is so foreign it takes a while to ponder the intent of the both the writer (the US spy) and the message.



Protesters attacked and shot in Shiraz

From the Persian 2 English blog:

Based on reports received by Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, security forces have attacked the crowd of protesters in Shiraz. Shots were heard on Eram street, Namazi street and Setad Square. Many ambulances are moving in and out to transfer the wounded.

The students at Engineering Faculty of Shiraz University staged a large protest and entered Namazi street. Citizens joined in. Other protests were staged at Setad Square, Molasadra and Eram streets. People were marching and chanting slogans like “Death to the dictator”.

Around 6:30pm, security forces attacked the protesters and beat them with batons; however, when they were unable to disperse the crowd, they fired shots into the air. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that security forces opened fire on the protesters, which resulted in the injury of some people. Following the reported shooting, ambulances left the city’s hospital located in Paramount to the location of the shooting.

Meanwhile, the security of the Eram Student dormitory (of Shiraz University) prevented students from leaving the dorm and threatened them to not take part in the protests.

A large number of security forces surrounded the areas where protests were being held and tried to disperse the crowd. However, people continued their protests and fought back. Some of the students were beaten by the forces and some have been arrested.

The protests still continue. More reports will be provided once available.

- Siavosh Jalili


~ via Global Resistance News ~


Musical Innerlube: Hellzapoppin' (1941) - Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart - The Harlem Congeroos



Slim Gaillard - piano, guitar
Slam Stewart - bass
Rex Stewart - trumpet
Elmer Fane - clarinet
Jap Jones - trombone
CP Jonstone - drums 

Awesome dance sequence that's part of a movie chuck-full of fun stuff

Global Revolution: Will the Many Finally Triumph Over the Few?


From the article by Gilbert Mercier and Liam Fox on News Junkie Post:

...In North Africa and the Middle-East, the domino effect generated by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt is already on its way. On Saturday, large protests took place in Algeria and demonstrations in Jordan and Yemen are becoming a daily event. This Tsunami has already reached Saudi Arabia where activists are organizing on Facebook and Twitter. Despite the new  narrative coming from Washington, pushing its vassals states for superficial reforms to quell the uprising, it seems that the wave is too powerful to be stopped or even contained. Former Secretary of State Henri Kissinger once said that“power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” This statement not only defines the psychology of men like Ben Ali, Mubarak, Berlusconi and Putin,  it proves revealing of the global elite and their pursuit of empire.

Kissinger, who had his hands in US foreign policy for 40 years, was a so called ‘pragmatist.’  In other words, he was in favor of supporting autocrats as long as the interests of the empire were not challenged. Even up to about four weeks ago, a common school of thought, in Washington, was that “Arabs were not ready for democracy.” Not only are they ready, but Tunisians and Egyptians are giving us all a lesson in courage and  democracy in its ultimate form. The Arab world is defining its own history over issues that concern all of us, and the sheer emotion of it will ignore national borders.

It is the ‘Empire’ that has been established by global capitalism that is not ready for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.  It’s the global capitalist empire that needs to maintain a strangle-hold on the resources of the region just as it needs to maintain control of its industrial workforces and profitable consumer economies throughout the European Union and America.  Elements of democracy have been rationed at the minimums necessary to gain the cooperation of those under the control of the system.

When the greed of the elite supersedes the tolerance of the people, and the crumbs are spread too thin, the people rise up.  Superficial changes may be offered such as what we saw when Ben Ali and Mubarak offered simple shuffling within their regimes, or the subsequent replacement of them as stewards of the status quo by their country’s generals.  In more sophisticated situations, the citizens of a ‘democratic republic’ may be allowed to argue amongst themselves, and even vote, on how they will meet the financial demands of the global elite, or establish a sense of equality, among themselves.  Not a true equality mind you.  The elite are not factored into the equation.  Their status and profits remain fixed, as we have learned with the financial crash of 2007-2008.  Who will be taxed more and who will work longer and harder is the most that citizens are allowed to fight over.  And, if we’re loud enough, as the people in Egypt have learned, we may be offered a few more crumbs from the table.

Despite the enormous impact of what has been accomplished in Egypt it is only the beginning.  A few wise individuals have chosen to remain in Tahrir square until a true, democratic, civilian government is established.  They will face pressure from the military as well as from their fellow countrymen who may be fooled by the removal of Mubarak.  The uprising has proven that the empire can be challenged by the people but change has not yet been achieved.  The appearance of change has been offered.  The strength of the movement must continue until the demands of the people are realized in full.

The motivation of this movement rises above petty nationalism.  The roots of the unrest go deeper than the specifics of a region, a language, a religion or a culture.  The roots of this unrest can be found in the principles borne out of the age of enlightenment and continued in the current writings of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek, among others.  The roots of this revolution are universal in principle and global in their impact.

This struggle throughout the Arab world is part and parcel with the anti-austerity struggle in Greece, Spain, France, and Ireland.  The global empire built on predatory capitalism has victimized the people of the world and relegated individuals to the status of serfs.  Regional exploitation has resulted in third world countries, banana republics, industrialized nations, and consumer societies; all neatly compartmentalized to service a global economy that increasingly benefits the few, the elite, the modern global nobility.

What we can learn from Egypt is that a single punch will not win this fight.  The empire has taken the blow and is shaking it off… firmly planted on its feet.  Loosing Mubarak was a black eye.  Real change can only be accomplished with a full follow-through and complete destabilization.  A protracted general strike that starves the empire of its human and material resources may be the only thing that can truly bring about a new world order.  And, a new world order will require a global effort.


David Kelly death riddle grows as it emerges personal items found on his body did not have fingerprints on them

Miles Goslett reports for the Mail:
 
Further questions have been raised over the death of Dr David Kelly after police admitted that two personal items found with his body – his mobile phone and a watch – did not have any fingerprints on them.
 
The news brings the number of objects without fingerprints at the site where the weapons inspector’s body was discovered to five – the other three being the knife he allegedly used to slash his wrist, the packs of pills he is said to have overdosed on, and a water bottle.
 
It had been suggested that the lack of fingerprints on the knife might be due to the presence of gaffer tape on it. But Thames Valley Police have now confirmed that the knife had no tape on its handle. 
 
Dr Kelly is said to have killed himself in 2003 after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing Tony Blair’s government of lying to take Britain into war in Iraq. No coroner’s inquest has been held. Instead, a public inquiry found he killed himself in woods near his Oxfordshire home.

In another disclosure, following questions submitted under the Freedom of Information Act, police admitted they still do not know who owned the watch found beside his body. Police did not bother to check with Dr Kelly’s relatives if it belonged to him.
 
Fingerprint expert Peter Swann last night called for the five items to be independently re-examined. Police have also refused to say if their investigation into Dr Kelly’s death is open or closed, admitting only that their inquiries are ‘substantially complete’.

Black 9/11: A Walk on the Dark Side

From The Truth Seeker:

First in a series – by Mark H. Gaffney February 9, 2011

In his important 2006 book Nemesis, the Last Days of the American Republic, the third and concluding part of a trilogy, the late Chalmers Johnson, who was an expert on Japan and US foreign policy, writes that as much as 40% of the Pentagon budget is "black," meaning hidden from public scrutiny.[i]  If the figure is even approximately correct, and I believe it is, the number is alarming because it suggests that democratic oversight of US military research and development has broken down. In which case our democratic values and way of life are presently at risk; not from without, as there is no foreign enemy that can destroy the US Constitution, but from within.

I would argue that Chalmers Johnson's estimate was corroborated on September 10, 2001, on the eve of the worst terrorist attack in US history, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged during a press conference that the Department of Defense (DoD) could not account for $2.3 trillion of the massive Pentagon budge, a number so large as to be incomprehensible.[ii]  Any remaining hope that the US military might still get its budgetary house in order were dashed at 9:38 AM the next morning when the west wing of the Pentagon exploded in flames and smoke, the target of a terrorist strike. Incredibly, the exact point of impact was the DoD's accounting offices on the first floor. The surgical destruction of its records and staff, nearly all of whom died in the attack, raises important questions about who benefited from 9/11. Given the Pentagon's vast size, the statistical odds against this being a coincidence prompted skeptics of the official story to read a dark design into the attack. As Deep Throat said: "Follow the money."

Was the Pentagon accounting office destroyed because diabolical individuals had planned it that way? No question, the west wing presented a much more challenging target than the east wing. Targeting the west wing required a difficult approach over the Arlington skyline. The final approach was especially dicey and amounted to a downhill obstacle course, skirting apartments and also a large building complex known as the Naval Annex, which was smack in the way. The Annex is located about a quarter-mile from the Pentagon and sits atop a hill that rises from the flat ground along the Potomac River. When I interviewed Army Brigadier General Clyde Vaughn over the telephone, in April 2008, he explained that he was on his way to work at the Pentagon, on the morning of 9/11, via Shirley Highway (I-395) when the strike occurred. In my opinion, Vaughn is an especially credible witness because some of his remarks to CNN, that morning, did not conform with the official narrative about what happened.[iii] The general told me that the hijacked aircraft (presumably AA 77) just missed the Naval Annex and would have hit the US Air Force memorial that presently occupies the site, had the 270 feet-tall monument existed on 9/11. The new memorial was constructed in 2006 and dedicated the same year.

Why did the terrorists not take the easy approach up the Potomac River? The river approach would have afforded a reasonably good chance to crash the offices of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which which were located on the opposite side of the building, in the middle of the outer "E" ring. The location of their offices was no secret. Surely terrorists would have been more interested in decapitating the command structure of the US war machine than going after a bunch of accounting clerks.

That morning, there were other striking anomalies. The crash of AA 11 into the North Tower at 8:46 AM should also have raised red flags because the point of impact at the the 95th and 96th floors was too remarkable to be happenstance. Both floors were occupied by Marsh & McLennan, one of the world's largest insurance brokerages, with family ties to the private intelligence firm, Kroll Associates, which held the security contract at the World Trade Center. Indeed, the network of corporate ties is so entangled, that were I to trace all of the links they would easily fill a book. Here, I will sketch out only the most salient connections.

The CEO of Marsh & McLennnan on 9/11 was Jeffry Greenberg, son of Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, owner of AIG, the world's largest insurance conglomerate (or second largest, depending on the source). Greenberg's other son, Evan, was CEO of Ace Limited, another large insurance company. Maurice Greenberg had been a director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for many years, and in 1994-95 served as its chairman. Greenberg was also vice-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which in 1996 published his report, "Making Intelligence Smarter: The future of U.S. Intelligence"; as a result of which Senator Arlen Specter floated Greenberg's name as a candidate for the directorship of the CIA.[iv] Although George Tenet eventually got the job, the mere fact that Greenberg was in the running shows the extent of his influence. In 1993, Greenberg's huge insurance conglomerate AIG reportedly bankrolled the Wall Street spy firm, Kroll Associates, saving it from bankruptcy. Thereafter, Kroll became an AIG subsidiary. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Kroll acquired the contract from the Port Authority of New York to upgrade security at the World Trade Center, in the process beating out two other firms.[v] Kroll continued with the WTC security contract through the period leading up to the September 11 attacks. One of Kroll's directors, Jerome Hauer, also managed New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Office of Emergency Management, which was located on the 23rd floor of WTC-7.[vi]

Notice, this means Kroll had unfettered access to all three of the buildings destroyed on 9/11. This startling coincidence should have been reason enough for the 9/11 Commission to investigate Kroll's shady background as well as its relations with AIG, Ace, and Marsh & McClennan. The commission was armed with subpoena authority and might have probed deeply enough to learn the truth. Unfortunately, the official investigators were not interested in connecting the dots. Although Kroll was based in New York City, it served (and still serves) an international clientele through 60 offices in some 27 countries. Over the years, the firm has repeatedly been accused of, and/or formally charged with, conspiracy. In 1995 the French government expelled several Americans from the country, including a Kroll employee named William Lee, for allegedly spying on French industry. Lee's involvement with Kroll made French authorities suspicious that his Paris operation might be a CIA front.[vii] The French were surely aware of Kroll's longstanding practice of hiring former CIA, FBI, and British Intelligence agents. Kroll/AIG made no effort to conceal the fact that between 1997-2003 the AIG board of directors included Frank G. Wisner, Jr., son of one of the founders of the CIA.[viii] Wisner Jr. is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wisner Jr. also served as US ambassador to several nations, including Egypt, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[ix] As I write, Wisner's name surfaced in the news. Last week, President Obama dispatched Wisner as his personal envoy to confer with the embattled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.[x] Even as popular pressure continued to build for Mubarak to step down, Wisner embarrassed Obama by publicly encouraging Mubarak to ride out the crisis and hang onto power. No doubt, his action reflects the view from Langley, which would much prefer to see Mubarak remain in power. The CIA has long supported the Mubarak regime and in return was allowed to use Egypt as a haven for renditions and torture. Wisner's thumbing his nose at his own president, no doubt, is also an accurate measure of the US national security state's low opinion of Obama. It certainly exposes Obama's weakness as president.

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