Archive for September, 2015

A Real Scandal

September 25, 2015

Another “let’s pretend scandal” is gaining momentum in Congress and the corporate media for another investigation of Benghazi. The previous half dozen failures would seem to be an embarrassment but they’re a point of pride because every false charge is a new headline and every failure keeps the lie in the news. Best of all, those breathless reports leave no space for real crimes.

A tribunal in Malaysia found Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their lawyers, Gonzales, Addington, Haynes, Bybee and Yoo guilty of war crimes for torture and cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment. “Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council. “The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions.” (Foreign Policy Journal, Yvonne Ridley 5/12/12)

Despite the request for “widest international publicity” among major US media outlets, CNN gave brief mention May 12, 2012, but news of US war crimes had no legs and no echoes. Three years later Esquire magazine published “War Criminals Among us,” by Charles P. Pierce, June 1, 2015. That story also was quickly flushed down the history hole.

Crime? It’s not even a scandal. We’ll address corporate news media interest in real scandals and domestic and international crimes in a later blog. But first we’ll address a real scandal.

April 3, 1995, A Time magazine cover story reported that Senator Sam Nunn described how terrorists could destroy the US Capitol Building by crashing a radio- controlled airplane into it.

June, 1995, President Clinton issued a first ever Presidential Decision Directive labeling terrorism “a national security issue.” All prior administrations dealt with terrorism as a law enforcement matter. (Presidential Decision Directive, 6/21/95)

Early 1996, the CIA set up a special bin Laden unit, largely because of evidence linking him to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. (Washington Post, 10/3/01)

August 20, 1998, Clinton ordered a missile attack on bin Laden’s suspected training camps in Afghanistan in response to the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The missiles required about six hours to launch after receiving the order. (Washington Post, 10/3/01) More importantly, Pakistan had to be notified that missiles would be fired over their country so that Pakistan didn’t think the missiles were from India and launch its own nuclear missiles. Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) was a major supporter of the Taliban. The missiles missed Osama bin Laden by 20 minutes. Republicans and the corporate media ridiculed Clinton for attacking a deserted training site and deplored the expense of such missiles.

Late 1998, Clinton signed three highly classified Memoranda of Notification authorizing killing instead of capturing bin Laden, added several of al Qaeda’s senior lieutenants, and approved shooting down private civilian aircraft on which they flew. …The Clinton administration ordered the Navy to maintain two Los Angeles-class attack submarines on permanent station in the nearest available waters, enabling the US military to place Tomahawk cruise missiles on any target in Afghanistan within six hours of receiving the order. (Washington Post, 12/19/01)

Dec. 21, 1998, A Time magazine cover story with a photograph of Osama bin Laden on the cover reported that intelligence sources “have evidence that bin Laden may be planning his boldest move yet–a strike on Washington or possibly New York City.”

Sometime in 1998, US intelligence learned of a terrorist plan to attack the World Trade Center and government buildings in the capital with airliners. (Testimony to Senate Intelligence Committee 9/18/02; New York Times 9/18/02)

1999, MI6, the British intelligence agency, gave a secret report to liaison staff at the US embassy in London. The report stated that al-Qaeda had plans to use “commercial aircraft” in “unconventional ways,” “possibly as flying bombs.” (Sunday Times 6/9/02)

July 14, 1999, US government informant Randy Glass recorded a conversation at a dinner at a restaurant within view of the WTC. Present were illegal arms dealers, a former Egyptian judge, and ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas. FBI agents sat nearby. (WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02; MSNBC, 8/2/02) Abbas said he wanted to buy a shipload of weapons to give to bin Laden. (Cox News 8/2/02) Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” Abbas made two other references to an attack on the WTC. (WPBF Channel 25, 8/5/02; Cox News, 8/2/02; Palm Beach Post, 10/17/02) The meeting was secretly recorded, and parts were shown on television in 2003. (MSNBC 3/18/03)

September 1999, A report prepared for US intelligence stated, “Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaeda’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency or the White House.” The report was by the National Intelligence Council that advised the President and US intelligence on emerging threats. (AP 4/18/02) The Bush administration later claimed to have never seen the report until May 2002, despite the fact that it had been publicly posted on the internet since 1999, and “widely shared within the government” according to the New York Times. (CNN 5/18/02; New York Times 5/18/02)

September 15, 1999, The first phase of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R) was issued. It concluded, “America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and Americans will lose their lives on American soil, possibly in large numbers” (USCNS Reports)

October 12, 1999, a joint effort with the Pakistani government to capture Bin Laden ended when the Pakistan military deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (Washington Post, 10/3/01) 2000: Sandy Berger told his successor Condoleezza Rice “she’d be spending more time on terrorism and al Qaeda than any other issue.” (CNN, 5/14/04)

January, 2001, During Bush’s first week in office, terrorist expert Richard Clarke requested a cabinet level meeting on al Qaeda and Bin Laden. His request was denied. Condoleezza Rice demoted Clarke out of Cabinet access. (The 9/11 Commission Report. 7/22/04) Clarke was marginalized and unable to brief the president directly on the threat of terrorism for nearly eight months. (Washington Post, 3/22/04)

January 29, 2001, Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil reported that 9 days after Bush was inaugurated “going after Saddam Hussein” was “Topic A.” (CBS News, 1/11/04)

January 31, 2001, The final bipartisan report of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century was released to the media. February 2001, CIA Director Tenet told Congress, “The threat from terrorism is real, it is immediate, and it is evolving.” (AP 6/28/02) March 8, 2001,

The United Nations and the European Union directed their members to freeze the assets of some al-Qaida leaders but the US did not do so until after 9/11. (Guardian 10/13/01) Clinton’s efforts to prevent terrorist funding and money-laundering was blocked by Texas Senator Phil Gramm. Enron used the same banks and Senator Gramm’s wife was on the Enron Board of Directors.

April 2001, Bush administration had a deputy-level cabinet meeting on al Qaida. Clarke wrote, the meeting “did not go well.” Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, asked, “Why we are beginning by talking about this one man, bin Laden.” Clarke stated that no foe but al Qaeda “poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States.” Wolfowitz replied that Iraqi terrorism was at least as dangerous. FBI and CIA representatives backed Clarke saying they had no such evidence of Iraqi terrorism. (Washington Post, 3/22/04)

April 30, 2001, CNN reported that the Bush Administration’s release of the government’s annual terrorism report contained “no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Ladin” as there had been in previous years. When asked why, “a senior Bush State Department official told CNN the US government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Ladin.”

May 2001, US intelligence reported that al-Qaida planned to infiltrate the US to “carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives.” The report “was included in an intelligence report for senior government officials in August (2001).” At the same time the Pentagon learned that bin Laden associates “had departed various locations for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” (Page 204 of the bipartisan 9/11 congressional report)

May 2001, The tri-Service Di Lorenzo Health Care Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic trained inside the Pentagon to fine-tune their emergency preparedness if a hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon. (US Medicine 10/01)

Sometime during the summer, 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA, Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack America and Israel. German intelligence stated the information came from Echelon surveillance technology, and that British intelligence had access to the same warnings. (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01; Washington Post, 9/14/01; Fox News, 5/17/02)

Echelon, a signals collection and analysis program was created to monitor military and diplomatic communications behind the Iron Curtain. It began in 1971 and included Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. It’s impossible to believe the US didn’t have the same information Germany had. In the early 1990s, the NSA captured communications between Airbus and the Saudi Arabian national airline. In 1994, Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia after the NSA revealed that Airbus officials had bribed Saudi officials to get the contract and McDonnell Douglas got the contract. (BBC News,7/6/ 2000; The Economist, 6/14/03)

German intelligence further reported there were other informational sources, including specific information given to, but not reported by, Western and Near Eastern news media six months before 9/11.

Early summer, 2001, “The Bush administration now had in its hands what one participant called ‘the Holy Grail’ of a three-year quest by the US government–a tool that could kill bin Laden within minutes of finding him,” The Washington Post reported. Armed Predator drones could hit a target in minutes rather than the six hours it took to launch missiles from submarines. “The CIA planned and practiced locating bin Laden and killing him with drones but for the next three months, before Sept. 11, Bush and his advisers held back.” The Post further reported that “after concluding that bin Laden’s group had carried out the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole—a conclusion stated without hedge in a Feb. 9 briefing for V.P. Cheney—the new administration did not choose to order armed forces into action.” (Washington Post 1/20/02)

June 1, 2001, A multi-agency planning exercise sponsored by NORAD involved the reaction to a cruise missile launched from a barge off the East Coast and aimed at the US. Bin Laden’s photo was on the cover of the proposal. (American Forces Press Service 6/4/02) After 9/11, the government claimed that this type of an attack was unexpected, and the US had only 14 fighters on standby to defend the nation. (Newsday 9/23/01)

June 13, 2001, Egyptian President Mubarak warned that bin Laden planned to assassinate Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Genoa, Italy by crashing an airplane loaded with explosives into the building where they were meeting. Rather than stay in the US Embassy as planned, Bush had himself flown to a US aircraft carrier offshore. Italy restricted air space around Genoa, provided air cover and antiaircraft batteries for the meeting and no attack occurred. (Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01)

June 2001, Bush gavea  speech to NATO allies on top five defense issues, The “only reference to extremists was in Macedonia.” (Washington Post, 4/1/04)

June 23, 2001, Reuters reported a race between Osama bin Laden and the US as to which would strike first. (Reuters 6/23/01)

Late June 2001, Richard Clarke, National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, warned the FAA to increase security measures in expectation of an impending terrorist attack. The FAA refused to take such measures. (New Yorker 1/14/02)

July 1, 2001, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Richard Shelby (R), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and warned of potential attacks by terrorists. Sen. Feinstein said, “One of the things that has begun to concern me very much as to whether we really have our house in order; intelligence staff have told me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.”

July 16, 2001, British spy agencies reported to Tony Blair that al-Qaida was in “the final stages” of a terrorist attack “based on intelligence…from US agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency.” (London Times, 6/14/02)

July 21, 2001, Tom Simons (former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers for the third time. Julio Gudoy quoted Jean-Charles Brisard, coauthor of Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, as saying “…the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, (the oil pipeline) or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.’” (U.S. Policy Towards Taliban Influenced by Oil – Say Authors,” Julio Godoy, 11/15/01)

Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik said US officials warned that military action to overthrow the Taliban was planned to “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” Lee Coldren later said, “I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.” (BBC 9/18/01; Guardian 9/26/01)

Sometime during he summer, Britain warned the US again about an al-Qaeda attack specifying multiple airplane hijackings. The warning was included in Bush’s August 6 briefing. (Sunday Herald 5/19/02)

Early August, Israel warned the US that an al-Qaeda attack was imminent. (Fox News, 5/17/02) Also in August, Russian President Putin warned the US that suicide pilots were training for attacks on US targets. (Fox News 5/17/02) A CIA official later said, “There was something specific in early August that said to us that he (bin Laden) was determined in striking on US soil.” (AP 10/3/01)

August 6, 2001, Bush received a hand-delivered Presidential Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.” According to the 9/11 Commission report, (Bush) did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so…” “We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States.” (9/11 Commission Report, p. 260-2)

9/11, National security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address “the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday.” The focus was on missile defense. “The speech provides telling insight into the administration’s thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.” (Washington Post, 4/1/04)

9/11, A National Public Radio correspondent stated, “I spoke with Congressman Ike Skelton–a Democrat from Missouri and a member of the Armed Services Committee–who said that the director of the CIA warned that there could be an attack–an imminent attack–on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected.” (NPR 9/11/01)

9/11, An advertisement for a ‘homeland security” event in 2002 stated that on the morning of 9/11 a team from the CIA ran a simulation just outside D.C. to study emergency response issues created by an airplane striking a building. (National Law Enforcement Security Institute 8/02; AP 8/21/02)

9/11, Bush was told that an airplane had struck one of the WTC towers. Bush said his first thought was, “What a lousy pilot.” I didn’t have the information that Bush had but when my wife told me to turn on the TV, any station, and I saw the burning tower I didn’t think what a lousy pilot.

9/11, Bush went into the school as scheduled and was sitting in a classroom with children when he was told the nation was under attack. He remained in the school room for more than 7 minutes. When I saw the second airplane hit the second tower my first thought was, I have to reenlist.

9/12, Five hours after the attacks Rumsfeld asked aides to plan war on Iraq. Rumsfeld made the request “even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.” (CBS News, 9/3/02)

9/12, Bush told Richard Clarke, “Go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this.” That was after Clarke told Bush that al Qaeda was responsible for the attack. [Washington Post, 3/22/04)

9/14, The 2000 presidential election was disputed especially in Florida. The Florida State Constitution required a total recount of the Florida vote. The Florida Supreme Court ordered the recount. The state rights majority in the US Supreme Court overruled the Florida Constitution and the Florida Supreme Court and stopped the recount for reasons they never explained. A media consortium hired an independent institution to recount all the Florida votes. That recount was to be reported on 9/14, three days after 9/11. That would have been the optimum time to declare that despite the failure of 9/ll Bush was a legitimate president. When the consortium did not report, everyone knew what that meant. Bush did not win the election in Florida or the US.

9/16, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle said, “We do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden.” (CNN, 4/30/07)

9/20, Bush asked Tony Blair to support war against Iraq. (The Observer, 4/4/04)

10/7, The US and Great Britain invade Afghanistan.

11/21, 2001, Bush directed Rumsfeld to begin planning for war with Iraq. “Let’s get started on this,” Bush recalled saying. “And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.” (Washington Post, 4/17/04)

How is it possible that with the information Bush had his first thought was, What a lousy pilot? How is it possible that for several months after 9/11 Bush could repeatedly lie that there was no warning, that no one imagined an airplane being used as a bomb, that when he was told the nation was under attack he immediately called defenders and first responders into action?

Rice testified on the condition that the 9/11 Commission would not request additional public testimony from any White House official including herself.

Testimony to the 9/11 Commission, “No one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon, into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile.”

Public Testimony to the 9/11 Commission, “As I said to you in the private session, I probably should have said, ‘I could not have imagined,’ because within two days, people started to come to me and say, ‘Oh, but there were these reports in 1998 and 1999. The intelligence community did look at information about this.’ To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Chairman, this kind of analysis about the use of airplanes as weapons actually was never briefed to us.”

Later in her public testimony Rice said to 9/11-Commissioner Fred Fielding, “…the only really specific threats we had — to Genoa, to the Persian Gulf, there was one to Israel. So the president was hearing what was being done.” The Genoa threat was to crash an airliner into the building where the G-8 members were meeting. So she could not only imagine such an attack she knew that such an attack was planned.”

Rice also stated under oath, “And I know that there was no single thing that might have prevented that attack.” She knew how Italy prevented an attack by an airliner. How was she able to commit obvious perjury?

Next we’ll see the response of the media of the nation that has a Constitution that guarantees freedom of the press.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

September 14, 2015

Last month my church invited me to offer our prayer of thanksgiving. This is the prayer.

Holy Name

We thank you for Your multitudinous gifts to us. Our cups run over in the presence of those whose cups are empty.

Forgive us for believing your benevolence is our entitlement and asking for more.

We thank you for those who represent us with guns, those who represent us with diplomacy, those who represent us by making laws, those who represent us by enforcing laws, those who represent us by seeking justice, by showing mercy, by welcoming strangers.

Forgive us for believing they are our salvation.

We thank you for those who serve us by leading this church, those who serve us by teaching our children to teach us, those who serve us by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, those who serve us by studying, listening and praying.

Forgive us for believing they are our servants rather than Your servants.

We pray for our enemies that they may see You in us as we see You in them.

Forgive us for believing our enemies are Your enemies.

That we all may be one in Your Presence.

In the name of the One who loves us all.


The Problem of Iran

September 1, 2015

The Problem with Iran

The Iranian nuclear treaty sounds like a very good deal. It will delay Iran building nuclear weapons and perhaps stop it. Some say they don’t trust Iran, but why would Iran trust us? President Eisenhower overthrew the democratically elected government and placed the Shah on the throne. He was a tyrant but he was our tyrant. Eisenhower also gave Iran it’s first nuclear materials and encouraged Iran to develop nuclear energy as part of his “Atoms for Peace” program. Eisenhower believed nuclear energy could prevent wars over resources, particularly oil resources.

Reagan sold weapons to Iran during their civil war with no one entirely certain as to the recipient of the weapons. That was a violation of both domestic and international laws since Iran was a state sponsor of terror. Reagan lied that the weapons were going to Israel but Israel shipped the weapons to Iran with many of the weapons going to Hezbollah (God’s Own Party). Hezbollah blew up the US Embassy in Beirut and a former airport hotel where Marines were barracked, causing the greatest one day death toll of Marines since D-Day on Iwo Jima. The weapons sales continued.

Reagan also sold weapons to Iraq that attacked Iran. The sales included agents for making WMD that Iraq used on Iran to stop Iran from removing Saddam Hussein from power. Reagan called Saddam “an equal partner.”

Then there was the pesky problem of oil around and under the Caspian Sea. US and British oil companies had leases on most of the oil but the pipelines were owned by Russia and although G.W. Bush looked in Putin’s eyes and saw his soul, we didn’t trust Russia. The easiest way to transport the oil from the sea to markets would be across Iran to the Persian Gulf. But we didn’t trust Iran because they remember the US overthrowing their democratically elected government while pretending to spread democracy around the world.

Taliban officials were in Houston twice during the Clinton administration. Once to confer with ENRON that was building the world’s largest refinery in Pakistan across the border from Afghanistan with the aid of US taxpayers. The second meeting was between Taliban and Unocal that had plans for a pipeline across Afghanistan to the ENRON refinery. However no contracts could be signed because Clinton refused to recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government.

Iran has as many reasons to distrust us as we do to distrust them. The difference is if they don’t keep the arrangement we can make war on Iran as the death merchants want to do now without a treaty. No US president has stopped any nation from making nuclear weapons, so what is the problem?

No white US president has stopped any nation from making nuclear weapons. It’s the Jackie Robinson curse. No person with African blood must be permitted to succeed or others will be encouraged to follow. It’s happened everywhere blacks have been permitted to compete, including politics. Let one succeed and others follow.

Barack Obama is not entirely white. If he delays or eliminates Iran’s plans to make nuclear weapons it will be another huge achievement, far surpassing the achievements of most white American presidents despite the willingness of Republican members of Congress to dishonor their party and sabotage their country rather than allow a black man to succeed as president.

They continue to fail as President Obama continues to succeed.