Monday, June 30, 2008

USA and ISRAEL prepare NUCLEAR WAR on Iran

The perpetrators of the atrocities of 11th September 2001
(The US military!! see and ponder OPERATION NORTHWOODS!)
and the Oil-Banker-Gang and the Military Industrial Complex
simply MUST produce mass-murder and a holy crusade in order to
burke any investigation into their crimes and anticipate their
execution by firing squad.

More signs of Israeli-US preparations for attacking Iran
By Peter Symonds
28 June 2008

The visit by US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen to Israel yesterday is one more indication that the two countries are actively discussing a military strike on Iran. Mullen.s trip followed news that the Israeli air force carried out a major exercise earlier this month involving 100 fighter jets, backed by midair fuel tankers and rescue helicopters, flying some 1,500 kilometres westward over the Mediterranean Sea.roughly the same distance as eastward from Israel to Iran.s nuclear facilities.

Mullen.s trip was only the second by a joint chiefs chairman to Israel in more than a decade. Last December Mullen also visited Israel in the wake of an unprovoked attack last September by Israeli warplanes on a building in northern Syria. In April, the Bush administration authorised a CIA briefing, which claimed, on the basis of limited evidence, that Syria had been constructing a nuclear reactor at the site with the assistance of North Korea.

Few details of Mullen.s latest trip are available, but Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell did acknowledge that Iran was at the top of the agenda. .Obviously, when Chairman Mullen goes to Israel and speaks with the Israelis, they will no doubt discuss the threat posed by Iran, as we discuss it in this building, in other buildings in town,. he said.

Two other top US military officers were also in Israel this week. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead met with his Israeli counterpart, as did General William Wallace, commander of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command. Roughead.s presence is particularly significant, as the US navy would be central in countering any Iranian retaliation in the Persian Gulf following an Israeli strike.

The high-level visits follow a series of threats against Iran by senior Israeli figures, most explicitly by Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz. He told an Israeli newspaper on June 13 that .if Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it.. The Israeli ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, told CBS News last week that time was .running out. for a diplomatic action to force Iran to shut down its nuclear programs. .We cannot take this threat lightly and as our prime minister recently said Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran,. he said.

Like the US, Israel claims, without any substantive evidence, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, which, according to Israeli intelligence, could manufacture a bomb as early as next year. Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its nuclear facilities are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A series of IAEA reports confirm that Iran is enriching uranium only to the low levels required to fuel its planned power Tehran has insisted all along. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) by US intelligence agencies last December found that Iran had ended any weapons program by 2003.

Israel, however, is determined to maintain its military supremacy in the Middle East and to prevent any, even remote, possibility that Iran, or any other neighbour, will master nuclear technology that would in the future assist in the building of weapons. Hypocritically, both Israeli and US officials remain silent on what is an open secret.that Israel maintains its own substantial arsenal of atomic bombs. In order to retain its nuclear monopoly, the Israeli regime is prepared to risk plunging the entire region into a conflagration through an unprovoked and criminal attack on Iran.

The Bush administration, which regards Iran as an obstacle to US dominance in the oil-rich Middle East, is complicit in these plans. As a number of defence analysts have pointed out, the Israeli military does not have the capacity to carry out the type of sustained air war needed not only to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, but to level Iran.s air defences and military capacity to retaliate. Moreover, any Israeli air strike on Iran is limited in its choice of routes.the most obvious one being over US-occupied Iraq. Whatever is the case, Israel needs the tacit political support, if not active military assistance, of the US.

Israeli impatience has nothing to do with Iran.s alleged weapons program. If time is .running out., the main consideration is a political one.that the Bush administration is due to leave office early next year. Analyst Michael Oren from the Jerusalem-based Shalem Centre told CBS News that Israel would not wait for a new US administration. .The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearise. The Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran,. he said.

Within the Israeli establishment, an attack on Iran is openly discussed. In a comment on Tuesday, provocatively entitled ....but someone has to do it., the right-wing Jerusalem Post pointed out that the not-so-secret Israeli .dress rehearsal. over the Mediterranean was aimed to pressuring .the world..-particularly the US.into taking on the task. After discounting the possibility that Bush or either of the US presidential contenders would authorise a US attack on Iran, the article bitterly concluded that in the event that Israel had no partners in such an enterprise, at least the .Jews can lean on themselves..

A second article in the Jerusalem Post the following day attacked a New York Times editorial that had argued against attacking Iran, not because of its criminal character, but because the consequences would be .disastrous.. The Jerusalem Post writer argued that there was little doubt that Iran would respond to a direct attack, or a blockade, .but its options, heated rhetoric notwithstanding, are actually limited.. Tacitly acknowledging that Iran posed no real threat to either Israel or the US, he commented: .Instead of unwarranted, self-deterring risk aversion, let us not forget who wields the incalculably greater .stick.: Iran certainly will not..

Israel has been intensifying its propaganda against Iran. According to Ha.aretz, Foreign Ministry Director General Aaron Abramovich secretly visited IAEA headquarters in Vienna on Wednesday to demand that the body .act more quickly and efficiently to block Iranian nuclear ambitions.. Abramovich, the first senior Israeli official in several years to visit the IAEA, reportedly briefed a group of ambassadors on Israel.s belief that Iran has a secret military nuclear program.

Israeli officials are claiming that the purpose of Syria.s alleged nuclear reactor was to supply its ally Iran with plutonium for a nuclear weapon. An adviser to Israel.s national security council told the Guardian this week: .The Iranians were involved in the Syrian program. The idea was that the Syrians produce plutonium and the Iranians get their share.. Given that it is yet to be demonstrated that Syria was even building a nuclear reactor, the Iranian connection, for which no evidence has been offered, has been concocted to add further fuel to the scare campaign. IAEA inspectors this week visited the site of the bombed building in Syria and said it would be some time before any conclusions could be reached.

Admiral Mullen.s visit this week makes clear that far from being left to its own devices, Israel enjoys collaborations with the highest levels of the US military. Moreover, discussion about a possible attack on Iran is taking place within the American political establishment and is not confined to the Bush administration or its extreme right-wing allies.

A statement released this month by the Presidential Task Force on the Future of US-Israeli Relations convened by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy focussed almost exclusively on the issue of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Its key recommendation called on the US president to initiate a dialogue with the Israeli prime minister using .the most trusted advisers. to consider .the costs and benefits. of .the entire range of policy. including diplomacy, .coercive options. including an embargo of Iranian oil, and .preventative military action..

Ha.aretz noted this week with some satisfaction that the task force included prominent Democrats such as Susan Rice and Tony Lake, who are among Senator Barack Obama.s senior foreign policy advisers, as well as representatives from the camp of Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate. While it indicated that the statement was of course suitably nuanced, the article bluntly characterised the underlying message as follows: .If you want it in a journalistic headline format: Obama, McCain advisers agree: US-Israel should discuss preventative military action against Iran..

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who openly advocates attacking Iran, suggested last week that Israel would most likely launch a strike after the US elections in November and prior to the inauguration of the next US president. However, an article in the Jerusalem Post on Thursday made clear that tactical considerations might dictate a far earlier date. It noted that Tehran is believed to have purchased the sophisticated Russian-made S-300 air defence missile system, which the Israeli military has warned .cannot be allowed to reach the region..

After reviewing the implications of Bolton.s remarks, the article concluded: .There is no guarantee, however, that Israel can wait that long..

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 9:55 AM 0 comments

Saturday, June 28, 2008

USA Law Professor allows torture - House Judiciary subcommittee

Yoo's Congressional Testimony Contradicted By Details In His Book

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Friday, June 27, 2008

In heated testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee Thursday; former Justice Department official John Yoo downplayed his role in crafting the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation policies.

“Decisions about interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay were made by the Defense Department,” said Yoo, who was a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and now a UC Berkeley law professor, in testimony before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

But Yoo’s testimony was undercut at times by material he included in his 2006 book, War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account on the War On Terror, where he discussed meetings he participated in to help develop policy for the “war on terrorism.”

Moreover, Yoo wrote about a trip he took to Guantanamo Bay with other senior administration officials to observe interrogations and participated in discussions about specific interrogation methods. Yoo’s trip to the prison facility has not been previously reported.

David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, who participated in numerous cabinet level meetings regarding harsh interrogations methods, also testified Thursday.

Based on the generalities of the questions directed at Yoo, and his refusal to respond to some of the more simpler queries, it appeared that Democratic committee members were unfamiliar with the contents of his book. He discussed, in far greater detail than his testimony Thursday, how he formed legal opinions on torture, his reasons for recommending that the White House ignore the Geneva Conventions, and warrantless wiretaps.

Yoo is the author of an August 2002 legal opinion widely referred to as the torture memo that gave CIA interrogators legal cover to implement brutal methods during the interrogations of suspected terrorists. He also drafted a second, similar opinion for military interrogators in March 2003.

Yoo's legal opinion stated that unless the amount of pain administered to a detainee results in injury "such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions" than the interrogation technique could not be defined as torture.

The memo was withdrawn in 2004 by former OLC head Jack Goldsmith who wrote in his book The Terror Presidency that Yoo's "torture memo" was "legally flawed," sloppily written, and called into question whether the White House was provided with sound legal advice.

The 2000 health benefits statute Yoo used "defined an ‘emergency medical condition’ that warranted certain health benefits as a condition ‘manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain)’ such that the absence of immediate medical care might reasonably be thought to result in death, organ failure, or impairment of bodily function," Goldsmith wrote in The Terror Presidency.

“The health benefits statute's use of ‘severe pain’ had no relationship whatsoever to the torture statute. And even if it did, the health benefit statute did not define ‘severe pain.’ Rather it used the term ‘severe pain’ as a sign of an emergency medical condition that, if not treated, might cause organ failure and the like.... OLC’s clumsily definitional arbitrage didn't seem even in the ballpark."

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) confirmed in February that is had been investigating whether Yoo and other OLC attorneys involved in the drafting of the torture memos gave the White House poor legal advice.

Yoo’s book offers some clues behind the genesis of the August 2002 torture memo. He wrote that in December 2001 “senior lawyers from the attorney general’s office, the White House counsel’s office, the Department’s of State and Defense, and the [National Security Council] met to discuss the work on our opinion” regarding whether the Geneva Convention applied to members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Yoo wrote that he too participated in the meetings.

“This group of lawyers would meet repeatedly over the next months to develop policy on the war on terrorism,” Yoo wrote. “Meetings were usually chaired by Alberto Gonzales...his deputy, Timothy Flanigan, usually played the role of inquisitor, pressing different agencies to explain their legal reasoning to justify their policy recommendations.”

Yoo wrote that the Defense Department was represented by its general counsel William “Jim” Haynes, the State Department by legal adviser William House Taft IV, and the NSC by John Bellinger, that agency’s legal adviser. Haynes testified last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee about his role in the brutal interrogations that took place at Guantanamo.

These meetings Yoo described appear to be similar to those disclosed in a report by ABC News in April, which said that President George W. Bush approved discussions that his top aides held about harsh interrogation techniques.

“The most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al-Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA,” ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

“The high-level discussions about these ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed – down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

“These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al-Qaeda suspects – whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC News.”

Yoo wrote that his department often clashed with the State Department about international law banning torture.

“In our arguments, State would authoritatively pronounce what the international law was,” Yoo wrote. “OLC usually responded ‘Why?’--as in why do you believe that, why should we follow Europe’s view of international law, why should we not fall back on our traditions and historical state practices?”

Yoo wrote that the policies he and other senior administration officials recommended, that al-Qaeda and the Taliban were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention, rankled military lawyers.

“Judge Advocates General [JAG’s] worried that if the United States did not follow the Geneva Conventions, our enemies might take it as justification to abuse American POW’s in the future,” Yoo wrote. “From what I saw the military had a fair opportunity to make it’s views known. Representatives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including uniformed lawyers, were present at important meetings on the Geneva question and fully aired their arguments.”

The consensus among the officials who participated in the in the December 2001 meetings formed the basis of a legal memorandum sent to Gonzales that advised the White House that al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners were not entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status or the Geneva Convention.

President Bush accepted that legal opinion on Jan. 18, 2002.

“The only way to prevent future September 11s will be by acquiring intelligence,” Yoo wrote. “The main way of doing that is by interrogating captured al-Qaeda leaders or breaking into their communications.... In an opinion eventually issued on January 22, 2002, OLC concluded that al-Qaeda could not claim the benefits of the Geneva Conventions.”

Yoo also wrote that in January 2002 he and the other administration officials who participated in the meetings in December 2001 took a trip he took to Guantanamo Bay to observe the interrogations of several detainees

The trip took place seven months before he drafted the first legal opinion on interrogation techniques that was later withdrawn.

“A gust of warm, humid air embraced us as we disembarked at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay,” Yoo wrote in his book. “I was the junior person on the flight among the senior lawyers there from the White House, Departments of Defense, State and Justice. The group of us who landed that day had no idea that the “front” in the war on terrorism would soon move from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the cells of Gitmo.”

Yoo wrote that on the flight to Guantanamo he was seated next to Taft and “sought to make clear that the president could...decide that the Geneva Conventions would apply to Afghanistan...including common article 3’s guarantee of basic humane treatment of detainees.”

“When our group of lawyers visited Gitmo, the Marine general in charge told us that several of the detainees had arrived screaming that they wanted to kill guards and other Americans,” Yoo wrote, in the context of explaining why the prisoners were not entitled to the benefits of the Geneva Convention or POW status. “Many at Gitmo are not in a state of calm surrender. Open barracks for most are utterly impossible; some al-Qaeda detainees ant to kill not only guards, but their peers who might be cooperating with the United States. The provision of ordinary POW infeasible.”

Yoo added that a few weeks after he returned from Guantanamo “the lawyers met again in the White House situation room to finally resolve the issue for presidential decision.”

“If Geneva Convention rules were applied, some believed they would interfere with our ability to apprehend or interrogate al-Qaeda leaders,” Yoo wrote. “We would be able to ask Osama bin Laden loud questions and nothing more. Geneva rules were designed for mass armies, not conspirators, terrorists, or spies.”

Consensus eluded the group,” Yoo wrote. Alberto “Gonzales had the unenviable task of summarizing the different positions for President Bush and attempting to forge a consensus.”

Gonzales “recommended that the President find that neither al-Qaeda nor the Taliban were covered by Geneva.”

Powell, Yoo wrote, urged President Bush to reconsider that position.

On Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush sent a memo to Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft, General Richard Myers, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which said, according to Yoo’s book, “the Geneva Conventions only applied to conflicts involving states fighting with regular armed forces.”

“However,” Bush wrote in the memo, according to Yoo, “the war on terrorism ushered in a new paradigm, one in which groups with broad, international reach commit horrific crimes against innocent civilians, sometimes with the direct support of states. [President Bush] accepted that he could suspend the Conventions with regard to Afghanistan, but decided not to. Instead, he found that the Taliban were “unlawful combatants”...[and] also found that common article 3 applied only to an “armed conflict not of an international character,” and hence neither to the war with al-Qaeda nor the Taliban.”

Last update : Friday, June 27, 2008


Here are some photos from our action at the recruiting station on Wednesday June 30. And the text of the flyer handed out during the demonstration. Scroll down for more recently posted information about Iraq.

As the Bush adminstration tries to convince the US public that Iraq will now have "full sovereignty" we remind you that sovereignty is defined as "supreme power over a body politic" & "freedom from external control". Sovereign nations do not have 140,000 foreign troops occupying their nation operating under foreign commanders.

They don't allow foreign soldiers to break into homes, arrest citizens or shoot Iraqis resisting the occupation of their nation. Nor do they allow them to interrogate or torture their citizens at US run prisons or allow detainees to be secretly flown to other countries where torture is not legally contested. Sovereign nations do not allow other nations to choose former CIA agents like Prime Minister Allawi to head their new govenment or allow US administrator Paul Bremer to issue edicts
prohibiting US soldiers, intelligence agents and civilian contractors from being prosecuted for war crimes.


While the US prosecutes low ranking military prison guards for torturing and murdering at least 37 detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq their behavior was the direct result of Bush's decision to accept the White House counsel's flawed interpretation of the Geneva Conventions as irrelevant and of Bush and Rumsfeld's orders allowing prisoners to be tortured. We have conveniently forgotten that torture as an instrument of US policy has a long, bloody history.

By the end of 1969, 20,000 Vietnamese had been assassinated during the CIA's Operation Phoenix program. Most were interrogated using torture before being executed. CIA agent Bart Osborne told Congress in 1971 "I never knew in the course of all these operations any detainee to live through his interrogation. They all died. There was never any reasonable establishment of the fact that any one of those individuals was, in fact with the VC (Viet Cong), but they all died and the majority were either tortured to death or thrown out of helicopters".

In 1983 the CIA trained Honduran soldiers in the notorious Battalion 316 in the use of "shock and suffocation devices in interrogations". The CIA Interrogation Manual --"Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual" recommended "arresting suspects early in the morning by surprise, blindfolding them, and stripping them naked. Suspects should be held incommunicado and deprived of any kind of normal routine in eating and sleeping. Interrogation rooms should be windowless and soundproof, dark and without toilets". When no longer suspects were killed and buried at the US built base at El Aguacate. John Negroponte, then ambassador to Honduras ordered an aide compiling stats on human rights abuses to be kept from Congress so that funding Reagans Contra War would continue. In Aug. 2001 mass graves with 185 corpses including 2 Americans were found there. Negroponte's willingness to hide human rights abuses do not bode well for Iraqis as Negroponte assumes his new role as ambassodor to Iraq.

US written manuals used to train the Contra mercenaries against Nicaraqua recommended hiring professional criminals to carry out 'selective jobs', creating a 'martyr' by arranging a violent demonstration that leads to the death of a rebel supporter and sabotage.

In 1996 the Pentagon admitted that manuals condoning "executions of guerrilas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion and false imprisonment" were used to teach Latin Americans at the US Army's School of the Americas.
Therefore we call for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Tenent to be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein.

Some things you can do to express your concerns and to force change in the interventionist U.S. foreign policy, (including ending the U.S. Occupation of Iraq):


*ORGANIZE YOUR OWN PROTEST and let others know about it OR JOIN OTHER GATHERINGS urging peaceable and just, U.S. international relations:
--Saturdays, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Columbia Post Office, Walnut St.;
--Tuesdays, 12 Noon-1:00 p.m., Speakers Circle, UMC campus;
--Wednesdays, 4:15-5:45 p.m., corner of Broadway and Providence
--Third Friday, 6:00-7:00 p.m., corner of Broadway and 9th Street.

--LEGISLATORS.. Sens. Kit Bond, phone 202-224-5721,e-mail and Sen. Jim Talent, 202-224-6154,, Sen._______,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510; Rep. Ken Hulshof (or your representative), locally at 449-5111 or 202-225-2956,, Rep. ______, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
-- WHITE HOUSE... Comment Desk: 202-456-1111, FAX: 202-456-2461,, President George W. Bush, The White House, Washington, DC 20500

For more information contact, with the co-sponsoring organizations, Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation (Jeff Stack 449-4585) or St. Francis House Catholic Worker (Steve Jacobs 443-0096).



Red in Tooth and Claw: American Terror, Then and Now

by Chris Floyd

...the CIA also taught these same torture tactics to the Islamic extremists that the United States was arming, training and funding in Afghanistan.
Thursday, 24 January 2008—Lobster – the British "journal of parapolitics" (or "deep politics," as its usually called in North America, following the work of Peter Dale Scott) – is an interesting magazine. A very low-key affair, with no pictures, no ads, no color, just columns of plain, small-print, heavily footnoted articles, Lobster comes out twice a year, published in the front room of editor Robin Ramsay's house in Hull. In a profile in the Sunday Herald a few years back, Ramsay described the magazine this way: "Lobster is a futile remnant of an ancient notion of trying to educate people to behave rationally in politics, so it's a complete waste of time." I first heard about it a couple of years ago from the film director, Alex Cox, who has written for the magazine in the past. There is good stuff to be found in every issue, along with pieces you might strongly disagree with.

As an example of the former, the current issue – not on-line – has a devastating piece by John Newsinger on "The CIA: A History of Torture." It is a succinct overview of the notorious record of what Newsinger rightly calls "the most dangerous terrorist organization at work in the world since the Second World War." He continues:

It has overthrown governments, sponsored wars, carried out assassinations and terrorist attacks, organized and financed death squads, kidnapped and tortured, trafficked in drugs, bribed and blackmailed, even worked with the Mafia. Despite this, it remains a 'respectable' organization, listened to by Western governments...and treated by the mainstream media as a credible intelligence-gathering organization."

Then, drawing on the work of Alfred McCoy, Thomas Powers and others, he goes on to detail the decades-long history of CIA involvement in atrocity, with telling vignettes from individual episodes, such as the Phoenix Program in Vietnam: the CIA death-squad program that murdered tens of thousands of people. (The CIA itself admits to 20,000 deaths; the South Vietnamese government estimated the blood harvest at 40,000.) Torture was "a routine feature" of Phoenix, which was dubbed a "counter-insurgency operation":

...K. Barton Osborne told a House of Representatives subcommittee that during his time in Vietnam he had seen a prisoner killed by means of a six-inch dowel hammered into his ear and a woman prisoner starved to death. He could not recall a single prisoner surviving interrogation. It was in these bloody circumstances that the Agency decided to conduct some controlled experiments in torture, presumably assuming that with so much going on, no one would notice. In mid-1966, two CIA psychiatrists flew into the country and carried out electro-shock experiments on prisoners at the Bien Hoa mental hospital outside Saigon. The prisoners were tortured to death. Even more horrific, in July 1968 another CIA team, accompanied by a neurosurgeon, flew in to carry out experiments implanting electrodes in the brains of three prisoners in an attempt to control their behaviour. The experiments failed and the victims were killed and their bodies destroyed."

(For details of an earlier experiment in "mind control" – this time on one of their own, an American CIA scientist who looked a bit too closely at what his comrades were getting up to -- see "The Secret Sharers: The CIA, the Bush Gang, and the Killing of Frank Olson.")

As Newsinger notes, the CIA was not deterred by America's defeat in Vietnam; they simply transferred their black ops to Central America – where many top officials responsible for "counter-insurgency" in Iraq first honed their skills in directing torture teams and death squads. The genocidal fury reached its apex under the rule of the saintly Ronald Reagan (lauded by Obama) and George H.W. Bush (bosom friend and father figure to the Clintons). As Newsinger notes, in Central America

the United States, with the full support of the Thatcher government [recently lauded by H. Clinton] engaged in two of the most brutal counter-insurgency campaigns of modern times in El Salvador and Guatemala....The Guatemalan military conducted themselves with a brutality that rivaled that of the Nazis. The civilian population in those areas that supported the guerrillas was physically exterminated in the most cruel and sadistic fashion. By the end of the conflict in 1996, over 200,000 people had been killed, overwhelmingly by the military (the UN Truth Commission estimated that the military were responsible for 93 percent of the atrocities). Throughout all this horror the Americans worked hand-in-glove with the Guatemalan military....The CIA was operating an enormous network of paid informants, most of them well-known for their involvement in torture and other war crimes. The CIA and related intelligence officials knew which prisoners had been kidnapped, where they were being held, and the fact that their torturers were the CIA's own paid informants.

At the same time they were aiding this holocaust, Reagan and Bush were also conducting the illegal proxy war against Nicaragua, using an army described by a top U.S. military advisor as "just a bunch of killers." The "Contras" -- which Reagan famously described as the "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers" -- were trained in terrorism by the CIA. Newsinger quotes Greg Grandin's book on the subject:

One high-level Contra official who worked closely with the CIA said that brigades would "arrive at an undefended village, assemble all the residents in the town square and then proceed to kill -- in full view of the others -- all persons suspected of working" for the government. Other Contra officials confessed to "damnable atrocities" and "hundreds of civilian murders, mutilations, tortures and rapes" of which "CIA superiors were well aware."

Back to Newsinger:

All this was prescribed in the instruction manual that the CIA produced for the Contras. [Newsinger notes that the author of the manual, John Kirkpatrick, was a veteran of the Phoenix Program.] One section, "Selective Use of Violence for Propagandist Effects" recommended the killing of "carefully selected and planned targets such as court judges, police and State Security officials, CDS Chiefs, etc." As Holly Sklar observed: "A hit list that starts with court judges and ends with etcetera is a mighty broad license for murders." And in practice, the etcetera included teachers, doctors, nurses, indeed anyone believed to the sympathetic to the Sandinistas."

At the same time, the CIA was also teaching these same tactics to the Islamic extremists that the United States was arming, training and funding in Afghanistan. And we have seen these exact same methods being carried out in Iraq, where judges, teachers, doctors and other professional "etcetera" have been carefully selected and targeted by....militias and death squads armed, trained and funded by the United States, and, no doubt, by rogue "blowback" bands whose roots and training go back to the global jihad movement that the United States helped create under Carter, Reagan and Bush I.

Of course, as noted above, Iraq -- and the top echelons of the Bush Administration -- are crawling with officials who made their bones in the dirty wars of Central America. Such as John Negroponte, the lifetime Bush Faction factotum who was head of the entire intelligence apparat under George II before moving back into the shadows at the State Department. Newsinger writes:

Crucial as a base for the covert war against Nicaragua was neighboring Honduras. Effectively ruled from the American Embassy, there were so many US military and CIA personnel in the country that it was jocularly known as "the USS Honduras." Presiding over this was the US Ambassador, John Negroponte, later a key figure in the Iraq War. Negroponte had earlier served in the US Embassy in Saigon. Now he supervised both the contra operation and the brutal suppression of dissent in Honduras itself. The CIA, with the co-operation of the Honduras army, established death squads that tortured and killed dozens of people....An elite Honduran Army unit, Battalion 3-16, provided the personnel for the death squads, which were trained and financed by the CIA. According to one veteran of the unit, "US advisors taught 'psychological methods' of coercive interrogation. In practice, they made use of both the new and old methods of torture.

No one, not a single person in the ruling circles of the U.S. bipartisan political class, has ever been held accountable for these mass murders and terrorist crimes.
We have seen how the whole nefarious history of the CIA and its fellow black operators in the National Security State has been played out in the killing fields of Iraq: death squads, torture, assassinations, corruption, "etcetera." (For more, see "Ulster on the Euphrates: The Anglo-American Dirty War in Iraq.") It's also being played out in Afghanistan and Somalia and countless other countries, and in every far-flung "secret site" in the Terror War's global gulag. And it will go on playing out in the same brutal, blood-soaked way -- because no one, not a single person in the ruling circles of the bipartisan political class, has ever been held accountable for these mass murders and terrorist crimes. Not one. Instead, the perpetrators have soared comfortably through long careers strewn with honors, riches, privilege and power. There is literally no penalty whatsoever for any high American official who orders, supports or even directly commits atrocities.

So why should they stop? The system of power protects them. The system creates them. The system needs them. They are the system.

photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72 at gmail


I wrote this letter in response to an attack on my first letter about U.S. imperialism in Vietnam. The Montclarion cut it heavily, butchered one quote beyond legibility, and left out the documentation; this is the version I originally wrote.

To the Editor

The Montclarion

Dear Madam:

I'm replying to the criticisms of my article, and of myself, in last week's Montclarion (2/17, p.12).

1. Prof. Paul Scipione believes U.S. involvement in Vietnam was not to "exploit it for cheap labor and raw materials but to protect all of Southeast Asia from falling under Communist domination." But he fails to explore what this means.

After WWII peasant rebellions against brutal landlord exploitation and the landlord-dominated governments raged throughout Asia. Such rebellions had occurred for thousands of years; the peasants had always lost. What was different in the post-WWII era was that some of those peasant rebellions were winning, for the first time in history, because they were led by communists.

In China and Vietnam communists, mostly peasants themselves, led peasant armies to defeat Western imperialists and their landlord collaborators. The peasants got the land, and their standard of living increased dramatically. But in countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea American and British imperialists managed to suppress, through mass murder, the peasant rebels, who wanted only a chance to live free of conditions little different from slavery.

Why do U.S. capitalists want to keep peasants poor? For cheap agricultural goods, to be resold at a high profit; cheap raw materials; and cheap labor, from peasants driven off the land and forced to work in subhuman conditions for subhuman wages. These conditions still persist in all of Southeast Asia, and U.S. corporations still profit from them today, while exporting jobs and hurting American workers. This is what "protecting Asia from Communist domination" means in practice.

2. Atrocities:Scipione is wrong on all four points he makes. (a) The "hundreds of civilians butchered" at Hue in 1968 were killed by Americans. This massacre was later blamed on the North Vietnamese by the U.S. and Saigon governments. (For these and all references, see Sources, at end).

(b) Books about documented U.S. atrocities are many, but there are few lists of even alleged communist atrocities in Vietnam. The longest I have seen is in the Appendix to Pike's pamphlet. It is not trustworthy -- Pike fabricated the "Hue massacre" myth -- and he gives no evidence. Still, Pike does not allege even one communist atrocity of the scale of My Lai.

(c) Scipione denies there was a U.S. policy of committing atrocities in Viet Nam. He is wrong. Mass murder of unarmed civilians was a direct and predictable consequence of U.S. military campaigns and "free-fire zones." Two examples: Operation WHEELER WALLAWA, in 1967, killed 10,000 civilians; they were "counted" as "V.C.", but few were. These mass murders were "A matter of policy," according to the Newsweek reporters on the scene. Operation SPEEDY EXPRESS (1968) caused over 5,000 civilian deaths while killing probably fewer than 200 guerrillas.

And killing any "Vietcong" was a war crime, just like the Nazis' killings of anti-Nazi partisans in Europe during WWII! An invading country, the U.S. simply had no right to be there or to kill anyone, any more than the other Western imperialist nations or Japan, or Nazi Germany, did.

(d) Scipione states that the South Vietnamese, not Americans, killed thousands in the Phoenix Program. Wrong again! According to intelligence agent Jeff Stein, ...when someone was picked up their lives were at an end because the Americans most likely felt that, if they were to turn someone like that [i.e. who had been savagely tortured] back into the countryside it would just be multiplying NLF ["Vietcong"] followers.

Another officer in "Phoenix", Bart Osborne, testified before Congress in 1971: I never knew in the course of all those operations any detainee to live through his interrogation. They all died. There was never any reasonable establishment of the fact that any one of those individuals was, in fact, cooperating with the VC, but they all died and the majority were either tortured to death or things like thrown out of helicopters. Osborne again: It [Phoenix] became a sterile depersonalized murder program... Equal to Nazi atrocities, the horrors of "Phoenix" must be studied to be believed.

It is not surprising that Scipione has swallowed the vicious U.S. propaganda about American foreign policy -- we all have! It's pushed everywhere; opposing viewpoints are seldom permitted. The truth is kept out of the media and school, where we are taught that America "has good intentions" and is "moral", in contrast to other imperialist nations.

Most of us cannot believe that we have been so lied to! We are taught that propaganda is something that happens to others, not to us! In fact, the population of all capitalist countries is deceived about the massive atrocities of their own governments -- so they will march off "patriotically" to do whatever their rulers want. It's the same with us. The moral: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT LIES! NEVER BELIEVE A WORD IT SAYS!

3. Scipione praises "free enterprise" and the "free press." Far from "free", the press in the U.S. is tightly controlled to exclude dissident viewpoints, such as the truth about the Vietnam War. There are many excellent books on control of the news in the U.S. (see Sources). As for "free enterprise": this is Chamber of Commerce pap. Capitalist culture may be "free" for tycoons, but not for anyone else.

Capitalism is based upon exploitation. Capitalists produce no value; it is extracted from workers, who get only a small part of it as wages. This exploitative economic system produces an exploitative culture: racism, nationalism, sexism, poverty, unemployment, crime, moral degeneracy, the wastage of millions of lives and the shocking concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a very few who use the rest of us for their purposes.

Scipione states I "espouse socialism." But I don't. I certainly detest capitalism, which has proven utterly incapable of providing a decent life for the vast majority of the human race. And I have great respect for the communist movement of the past. But socialism has failed to create an egalitarian society free from the horrible racism, exploitation and cruelty of capitalism. Of course, from the standpoint of the majority, capitalism is worse: for example, the standard of living of the working class has fallen drastically since western-style capitalism has been established in East Europe. But socialism is, in fact, a mixture of elements of capitalism and communism, in which the capitalist elements came to predominate. This was its downfall, in my opinion -- that it did not break entirely with capitalist inequalities.

I'd like to deal with one outright lie that Scipione stated about me personally. How can he write "Dr. Furr never invites me to guest lecture in his course on the Vietnam War"? Scipione has spoken four times in that course! One year I even assigned his novel 'Shades of Gray -- ironically, a devastating exposure of capitalist degeneracy -- as required reading!

Scipione states that students deserve "a more balanced view" of the Vietnam War period. My response: I use, and respect, scholarly viewpoints. Like anyone else, Scipione should study the research on the Vietnam War before presuming to speak on it. As for "balance": Paul, do you invite Marxist, communist and other anti-capitalist speakers to your business classes? You should! Take a dose of your own medicine.

Finally: I ask The Montclarion to stop attacking me through derogatory headlines. My letter carried a headline mocking me, and Scipione's letter also carried a headline mocking, not Scipione, but me again! This is grossly unfair, not only to me, but, more important, to your readers. It is irresponsible journalism, unworthy of you. If all ideas are fairly presented, without favor, the truth -- and the readers -- will benefit.

Grover Furr, English

Sources: Peasant rebellions: Jeffrey Race, War Comes to Long An; Gabriel Kolko, Anatomy of a War. Atrocities: Gareth Porter, "U.S. Political Warfare in Vietnam -- the 1968 'Hue Massacre', Indochina Chronicle, No. 33 (24 June 1974), reprinted in the Congressional Record 19 Feb. 1975, and Edward S. Herman and D. Gareth Porter, "The Myth of the Hue Massacre," Ramparts, May-June 1975. Douglas Pike, The Vietcong Strategy of Terror (U.S. Mission: Saigon, 1970); Ed Herman, Atrocities in Vietnam; The Winter Soldier Investigation (1972); Herman and Noam Chomsky, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism. Policy: 'Pacification's Deadly Price,' Newsweek 19 June 1972; Herman and Chomsky, 313-321. "Phoenix": Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program(1990) (Stein and Osborne quotes); Herman and Chomsky, 327 (Osborne quote). Control of press: Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly; Dan Schiller, Objectivity and the News; Michael Parenti, Inventing Reality; Herman and Chomsky, Manufacture of Consent. On capitalism and exploitation: start with Karl Marx, Value, Price and Profit, then try David Smith and Phil Evans, Marx's Kapital for Beginners (1982).

Go to the first letter in this series; or back to the Table of Contents of my Vietnam War Page.

The Myth Of The "Hue Massacre" 1968 Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman.

"CIA and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam"
Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 2:32 AM 0 comments

Monday, June 23, 2008

From embedded journalists to embedded media Generals

June 21, 2008 at 10:29:49

From embedded journalists to embedded media Generals

by Abdus Sattar Ghazali

"The news and truth are not the same thing." Walter Lippmann, (1889-1974)

Two months after the revelation that the Pentagon used retired military officers to sell Iraq war, corporate media continues its criminal silence over the issue. The New York Times revealed last April that in summer 2005, confronted with a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay, the Bush administration prepped some 75 retired military officers to serve as paid television commentators. The Bush administration has used the retired military officers, many of whom had conflicting ties to defense contractors, as media Trojan to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks, the New York Times pointed out.

Disclosure of the program triggered a furor among the public and in Congress where Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat and 40 others members of Congress, sent a letter to the Inspector General (IG) to investigate how high-ranking officials within the Defense Department were allowed to operate a program 'aimed at deceiving the American people'.

Tellingly, the news chiefs and on-air hosts at CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS, had little reaction to the revelations concerning the "Embedded Media Generals." Why, because the corporate media is a fully-integrated part of the state power-structure.

Today, just six corporations have a forceful grip on America's mass media. When "The Media Monopoly" first appeared on bookshelves in 1983, author Ben Bagdikian explained, "50 corporations dominated most of every mass medium." With each new edition, that number kept dropping -- to 29 media firms in 1987, 23 in 1990, 14 in 1992, and 10 in 1997. Published in 2004, the sixth edition of "The Media Monopoly" documents that just a half-dozen corporations - Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, Viacom (formerly CBS) and General Electric's NBC - now control most of the media industry in the U.S.

To borrow Peter Phillips of the Project Censored, " ... the media in the United States effectively represents the interests of corporate America, and ... the media elite are the watchdogs of what constitutes acceptable ideological messages, the parameters of news and information content, and the general use of media resources."

The control of the opinion-molding media is nearly monolithic. All of the controlled media - television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, motion pictures speak with a single voice, each reinforcing the other. Despite the appearance of variety, there is no real dissent, no alternative source of facts or ideas accessible to the great mass of people which might allow them to form opinions at odds with those of the media masters.

They are presented with a single view of the world ..... It is a view of the world designed by the media masters to suit their own ends - and the pressure to conform to that view is overwhelming. People adapt their opinions to it, vote in accord with it, and shape their lives to fit it.

The responsibility of the media is to report the truth. The idea of free speech is that an ordinary citizen should be able to freely and fully can express his or her views. But major media today are tending to favor news stories on sex scandals, celebrity events, and crime, leaving less or little room for analytical news on important social issues.

In the words of Noam Chomsky, like other corporations, media corporations sell a product to a market.

"The market is advertisers - that is, other businesses. The product is audiences, [and] for the elite media, [they're] relatively privileged audiences. So we have major corporations selling fairly wealthy and privileged audiences to other businesses. Not surprisingly, the picture of the world presented reflects the narrow and biased interests and values of the sellers, the buyers and the product."

Many cultural critics, such as Ben Bagdikian, Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky have pointed out that in order for American adventures abroad, it needs to "manufacture" the consent of the American people. To quote Noam Chomsky again: It is ... necessary to whip up the population in support of foreign adventures. Usually the population is pacifist, just like they were during the First World War. The public sees no reason to get involved in foreign adventures, killing, and torture. So you have to whip them up."

The hiring of about 75 former military officers was no more than a state-sponsored propaganda effort to sell Iraq war. The Embedded Media Generals, who acted as military analysts for major news outlets were given V.I.P. access to the Pentagon, with regular briefings by the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a sponsored trip to the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

Hence this revelation of Majorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild is not surprising: "During the run-up to the war on Iraq, the Pentagon gave its 'analysts' talking points: Iraq has chemical and biological weapons; Iraq is developing nukes; Iraq could give its WMD to Al Qaeda; and an invasion would be quick and cheap. This disinformation campaign was designed to condition Congress and the American people to accept Bush's illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq."

Probably, the Embedded Media Generals were used to put in practice the thesis of Edward L. Bernays, the originator of modern public relations, who wrote a book in the 1930s, titled: "The Engineering of Consent." His thesis was that ideas and attitudes can be shaped by messages communicated time and time and time again - enhanced by the so-called "third party endorsement" - such as that conveniently provided by retired generals and colonels.

The embedded media Generals followed the Embedded Journalists who helped the military to manage access to the battle field in Iraq war and spoon fed the so-called independent media, the stories that it needed the American public to watch. As many as 775 reporters and photographers were traveling as embedded journalists.

Before joining their battalions, the embedded journalists had to sign a contract restricting when and what they can report. To be embedded with an army unit was to be embedded in its language in its message.

Thus any illusions of retaining independence was entirely dispensed with. These journalists were stitched onto the military machine to sell its war. Kenneth Bacon, a former Pentagon spokesman, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that: "You couldn't hire actors to do as good a job as the press has done" from the Pentagon's point of view. Similarl views were expressed by Jerry Broeckert, Lt. Col., public affairs officer in the US Marines Corps: Just as weapons have gotten "smarter," so too has the military gotten more sophisticated about how to use the media to meet military objectives.

The concept of embedded journalists killed two birds with one stone: the news networks, such as CNN, FOX, MSBC, raised their ratings by showing "live" frontline footage and the military acquired an effective propaganda tool.

It will not be a harsh judgment that opinions in our society are carefully shaped and molded within certain careful boundaries: those who transgress those boundaries are libel to wind up "extremists," "ideologues," "fanatics," or "agitators." Many will agree with the veteran journalist Daniel Schorr when he says: "Good journalism is being criminalized or otherwise rendered perilous to its best practitioners. Attack a government agency like the CIA, or a Fortune 500 member ..., or the conduct of the military in Southeast Asia and you find yourself in deep trouble, naked and often alone."

Not surprisingly, people are looking for independent sources of information to counter the ubiquitous corporate narrative of the media giants. They are trying to bypass the corporate communications system and to fight its propaganda by distributing the truth through decentralized networks. To a large extent, this has been achieved via the internet which in many ways has proved a perfect democratic model for information-distribution. The public is free to seek their information from a wide range of options and try to find out sites providing news that is consistent with their own world view.

The Internet is revolutionary because it is the most democratic of media. All you need to join the revolution is a computer and a connection. We don't just watch; we participate, collaborate and create. Unlike television, radio and cable, whose hirelings create content aimed at us for their own reasons, with the Internet every citizen is potentially a producer. The conversation of democracy belongs to the people.

Interestingly, one of the most useful tools for political campaigns today is the use of the internet. We can see how this has been used during the 2008 presidential campaign by Congressmen Paul, as well as other candidates. They used the internet to spread their messages and appeal to new voters.

A wide-open access is the founding principle of the Internet, but it may be slipping through our fingers. How ironic if it should pass irretrievably into history here, at the very dawn of the Internet Age.

Alarmed by the vital role played by internet in unhindered dissemination of information, efforts are now underway to control this media. In October last, the so-called "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" was approved by the House of Representatives. The Act specifically aims at the unregulated nature of the Internet:

"The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

With this piece of legislation in congress, people will no longer be able to use the internet in a peaceful manner. All activity will certainly be logged, and every letter typed will be scrutinized by the state.

In November, the Homeland Security Subcommittee held a hearing on "Terrorism and the Internet" that was chaired by California democrat Jane Harman, sponsor of the infamous "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" and ranking Republican, Rep. Dave Reichert.

The hearing featured presentations from several groups, including the Rand Corporation, and Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This event generated quite an uproar in the 9/11 Truth and civil liberties communities because of testimony by the panelists conflating two very distinct and unconnected groups -- the 9/11 truth movement with "jihadi terrorists." What generated the most buzz was a PowerPoint presentation - titled "Internet: Incubator of 9/11 Conspiracies and Disinformation" - from Mark Weitzman of the Simon Weisenthal Center.

Later on in the hearing, former RAND corporation director Bruce Hoffman re-iterated Weitzman's presentation, stating "These falsehoods and conspiracy theories have now become so ubiquitous and so pervasive that they are believed, so you have almost a parallel truth, and it has become a very effective tool for recruiting people."

The so-called "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" is no more than a desperate attempt to maintain the firm hold of the corporate media which has mastered the art of deception and spin in reporting the national and international issues. Otherwise, how the Pentagon's hiring of Media Generals for selling the Iraq war can be explained.


Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 3:37 AM 0 comments

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mickey Mouse Lenin Jesus - Dachshund Hairdo

Darth Vader + Statue of Liberty

dry ladies... Lips that touch liquor chall not touch ours. What a relief!

Uninvolved in Africa .. remember Ruanda

A friendly smile - big nose monkey

Giraffe Hairdo

Mickey Mouse Lenin Jesus

"The hero. The leader. The god" .. a sculpture by Alexandre Kosolapov

Dachshund Hairdo dackel frisur friseur hund dog

Dackel Dachshund Hair creation

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 12:59 AM 0 comments

Financial Times -- NOSE OUT

Accurate information about 911 truth published in the 'Financial Times'!!

nose out 911 TV footage was ACTUALLY BROADCAST!! wtc 911 hologram

The Truth is Out There

By Peter Barber -- June 7 2008
Financial Times

When Cynthia McKinney speaks the words of Martin Luther King Jr, they resound through the church with some of King’s cadence. “A time comes,” declares the former US congresswoman from Georgia, “when silence is betrayal.” The congregation answers with whoops and calls of “That’s right!” King was talking about America’s war in Vietnam. More than 40 years later, before the packed pews of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, McKinney is speaking of the American government’s war on its own people. The shock and awe phase of this conflict, we had been told earlier, began on September 11 2001, when the Bush administration launched attacks on New York and Washington, or at least waved them through.

According to a show of hands that February afternoon, several hundred people in the immaculate church believe this to be true. Some came in T-shirts bearing the words “9/11 was an inside job”. One wore a badge demanding that you “Examine your assumptions”. Quite a few bought the DVDs on sale in the foyer, most of which bore photographs of the Twin Towers spewing smoke. They had all come to hear the message of Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, one of the dozens of groups across the US which campaign to persuade us that everything we think we know about 9/11 is wrong.

Marion Cotillard, actress--“There was a tower in Spain which burnt for 24 hours. It never collapsed”

Last winter, “Investigate 9/11” banners seemed to be popping up all over the place. Bill Clinton was heckled by “truthers” in Denver while campaigning for his wife. Truthers picketed the Academy Awards in LA – despite this year’s winner of the best actress Oscar, Marion Cotillard, reportedly being one of them. But then, she’s French. Literature lovers in that country pushed Thierry Meyssan’s L’Effroyable imposture (The Appalling Fraud) – which asserts that 9/11 was a government plot to justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan and increase military spending – to the top of the bestseller list in 2002.

Country music star Willie Nelson is assuredly not French, but a week or so before the Oscars he described as naive the notion that the “implosion” of the Twin Towers was caused by crashing jets. Meanwhile the European Parliament screened the Italian documentary Zero, in which Gore Vidal, Italian playwright Dario Fo, and Italian MEP Giulietto Chiesa blame the US government, not al-Qaeda, for 9/11. The following month, Japanese MP Yukihisa Fujita raised his own doubts about the official story at a seminar in Sydney. A busy season for the “9/11 Truth” movement.

The events of 9/11 were recorded in many thousands of images, from crisp agency photographs to amateur camcorder footage. Every recorded trail of smoke, every spray of sparks is pored over by an army of sceptics, collectively described as the 9/11 Truth movement. They believe that the key to the mystery is hidden somewhere within the pictures, just as some people think that clues are contained in the Zapruder film which captured the moment of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Allied against them is a smaller group of rival bloggers who have taken it upon themselves to debunk what they claim are dangerous conspiracy theories.

Gore Vidal, writer--“If there ever was great cause for impeachment, it would be over 9/11”

There is some evidence that the truthers are swaying the rest of us. A New York Times/CBS News poll in 2006 revealed that only 16 per cent of Americans polled believed the Bush administration was telling the truth about 9/11. More than half thought it was “hiding something”. This is not the same as believing the government actually launched the attacks, but a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll the same year found that more than a third of those questioned suspected that federal officials assisted in the attacks or took no action to stop them so that the US could go to war.

The truthers certainly believe that they are on a roll. The crowd in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church seemed electrified. As the donated sound system pumped out angry rap, a giant video screen showed images of protesters demanding a new investigation into 9/11. The symbols and the language were borrowed from the civil rights struggle, but the truthers are an eclectic group, including anti-Bush, anti-war liberals and anti-government libertarians. A young man in a “Vote Ron Paul” T-shirt scuttled through the hall, filming us as we took our seats on wooden pews.

First up was Richard Gage, a San Francisco architect who founded Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, which now claims to have 379 professional members. Gage told us that the collapse of the Twin Towers could not have been due merely to gravity, the impact of the airliners and the resulting jet fuel fires – which would not have been hot enough to weaken the steel sufficiently. Behind him on the video screen was the south tower of the World Trade Center. Smoke poured from its upper floors. A respectful silence fell over the audience, followed by gasps as the building appeared to dissolve before our eyes.

What happened to building 7?
To the truthers, the third building in the World Trade Center complex to collapse on September 11 is evidence that the mainstream media is in on the plot

While I have seen this footage countless times, it seems that I had clearly never understood what I was seeing. The destruction of the Twin Towers, along with the collapse of the nearby 47-storey World Trade Center 7 building, had all the hallmarks of controlled demolition, according to Gage. They all came straight down, almost at the speed of a free-falling object, right into their own footprints. Steel-framed buildings had never collapsed because of fires before. On this day three did, one of which, “Building 7”, was not even hit by an aircraft.

Gage, who had worked himself into a fever, exhorted the audience to stand up and be counted: “A country is at stake.” Then he welcomed on to the stage the star of the evening, Steven Jones. A softly spoken physicist, Jones is the movement’s designated martyr and seems to promise what the truthers so desperately need: scientific credibility.

Jones entered into truther lore in 2006 when he was put into early retirement by Brigham Young University in Utah after giving public lectures on his paper “Why indeed did the WTC buildings collapse?”, which he published on the website of the university’s physics department. Jones contended that the towers were demolished by cutter charges which had been placed throughout the buildings, probably involving an incendiary called thermite. BYU’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the structural engineering faculty, followed by the university administration, disowned him.

Still, Jones is no fool. He has published more than 50 scholarly papers, including pieces on cold nuclear fusion in journals such as Scientific American and Nature. He invented a cooker which uses solar power and has donated models to poor families in the developing world. Jones tells us he believes laboratory testing of dust from Ground Zero will reveal residue from a thermite reaction.

As soon as the seminar is over, Jones is mobbed by people asking him to pose for photos and offering their own views on the 9/11 plot, as well as others such as the presence above our heads of chemtrails (deadly toxins sprayed by unidentified aircraft, which some believe are part of a secret global depopulation programme). This is the world Jones now inhabits – it seems a long way from a Utah physics department. I ask him later by phone if he has any regrets about publishing that fateful paper: “No regrets. I’ve thought of Galileo a few times. He got a little worse than I did, I suppose.”

Jones is typical of many 9/11 researchers in that the subject has taken over his professional life. Down the coast in Santa Barbara is another of the movement’s luminaries. On the beach at Isla Vista, one of the most expensive real-estate spots in the US, lives David Ray Griffin, a former theology professor. As his dogs scratch excitedly on the sliding door, Griffin explains that America’s primary faith is not Christianity, but nationalism. “Other countries do really terrible things. Our leaders never would. And that [belief] has been the biggest impediment to getting people to look at the evidence, because they just know a priori that that is ridiculous.”

Michael Meacher, UK politician--“It is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11”

Griffin now thinks the evidence to the contrary is incontrovertible. Until 2002, he had busied himself far from the rancour of public controversy writing rather obscure philosophical books and teaching philosophy of religion at the Claremont School of Theology. But the course of his research changed abruptly when he heard a visiting British theologian question the official account of 9/11. Two years later, Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor, with a foreword by British MP Michael Meacher, became a touchstone in the 9/11 Truth movement. He has since written others, including one detailing the “omissions and distortions” of the 9/11 Commission, the report of which fits the definition of “conspiracy theory” neatly, he says. “They started with the conclusion that al-Qaeda did it and didn’t even consider the alternative that it was an inside job.”

Griffin was a script consultant on Loose Change Final Cut, part of the internet phenomenon that set off the current explosion of low-budget 9/11 DVDs. The previous version was viewed more than 10 million times on Google Video, according to Vanity Fair. In 2002, armed only with a laptop and off-the-shelf video production software, Dylan Avery, an 18-year-old resident of Oneonta, New York, set about making a fictional film about discovering, with his friends, that 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government. At some point in his research, Avery had a “Dude, this shit is real!” moment and Loose Change entered the realm of agit-prop documentary. Final Cut makes a bold new allegation: the Twin Towers were packed with deadly asbestos, which would have cost billions to clean up. “If you bring down the buildings,” says Griffin, “not only do you not have to pay ... to clean them up, somebody is going to make billions of dollars on the insurance.”

September 11 as insurance job? This seems to expand the circle of conspirators somewhat. Griffin ventures another possible explanation: the psychological impact. “You had these massive explosions, which rather looked like a nuclear blast,” he says. “That’s always been the deep fear of America. In the run-up to the Iraq war, that’s what they were talking about – we cannot wait until we have a nuclear cloud.”

Griffin offers one further speculation, this time on a question which is controversial even among 9/11 sceptics: what hit the Pentagon? Thierry Meyssan was the first to claim that it was not Flight 77 – an American Airlines 757 carrying 64 passengers – but a cruise missile that hit the west wall of the Pentagon at 9.37am on September 11. Websites have followed suit, pointing to the apparent lack of plane debris on the Pentagon lawn and the fact that the hole left in the outer ring of the building looks too small to accommodate the wingspan of a 757. Retired US Air Force captain Russ Wittenberg from Pilots for 9/11 Truth asserted that no inexperienced pilot could have performed the manoeuvre the 9/11 Commission concluded that al-Qaeda conspirator Hani Hanjour pulled off that morning: a 330° turn, 2,200ft descent, a full-throttle dive and then a 530 miles per hour plunge at ground level into the Pentagon. Call it “the magic plane theory”: doubters believe that, just as the bullet that killed Kennedy appeared to defy the laws of physics, so the plane that struck the Pentagon was like no other in existence.

And just as Nasa was forced to counter claims the moon landings were faked, these and other claims have forced the US State Department into the debunking business. Its Identifying Misinformation website states that debris from Flight 77 was indeed recovered, as were the remains of passengers and crew. Many witnesses saw the plane come in, and a number of passengers made phone calls to their loved ones telling them their flight had been hijacked.

There is also another obvious problem: if a missile hit the Pentagon, what happened to Flight 77? “There was a rumour that an airliner had gone down on the Ohio/Kentucky border and that was taken very seriously early on by the Federal Aviation Authority,” says Griffin. It later rejected the story. But Griffin claims the only evidence that Flight 77 was aloft after that was an alleged phone call from Barbara Olsen to Ted Olsen, the solicitor-general of the United States.

So how does he explain that phone call? Ted Olsen is a Bush administration insider, he says. Another possible answer, though, is “voice-morphing technology”. This would also explain the flurry of phone calls from United Airlines Flight 93, which, as the official story has it, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers revolted against their hijackers.

Glossary of doubt

People who claim that it wasn’t an aircraft, but a missile, that hit the Pentagon on September 11 2001. Some have taken it a step further and argued that no aircraft hit the twin towers, either. What the world saw that day, these sceptics argue, was either video trickery or cruise missiles disguised through image technology as aircraft.

red colour by me. Please watch (the partly flawed) September Clues repeatedly and explain the "Nose Out". It is the key to 911, as seen on the live TV footage. Only the US military using the most advanced weapons' "magic" would have been able to play this bloody illusion on the world. The US military had the motive: endless money for endless war, utmost job security. The people responsible: Henry Hugh Shelton and George W. Bush.

Truthers who believe the US government “Made it happen on purpose”, “it” being the destruction of September 11.

A more moderate strain of truther who believe the government “Let it happen on purpose”.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth
Started by James Fetzer, the group advocates looking at all possible explanations of what happened on September 11, no matter how improbable.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice
The more moderate splinter group of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, led by Steven Jones. Endorses an “evidence-based approach” to questioning the 9/11 story.

It’s not just supporters of the official story who roll their eyes at these claims. They put Griffin in the camp of the “no-planers”, at least as far as the attack on the Pentagon is concerned. The no-planers enrage the rest of the truthers, who accuse them of sabotaging the credibility of the movement. The claim that no plane hit the Pentagon is a Trojan horse, they say – disinformation that serves the conspirators. Some – such as former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler – have even asserted that no planes, but missiles disguised by “cloaking technology”, hit the Twin Towers. Shayler, incidentally, proclaimed himself the Messiah last year.

If the 9/11 truth movement is fighting a kind of asymmetric war against official sources of knowledge, it is also battling itself. As the movement morphs into an international activist group, it recognises that if it is to convince middle Americans, it must distance itself from its exotic fringe. Once, it was the Mihops versus the Lihops. These factions, who sound like warring species from an H.G. Wells story, are those who believe the government Made It Happen On Purpose and those who think it Let It Happen On Purpose. The Mihops are in the ascendancy.

The genesis of all this can be traced back to a schism that followed the first real attempt to bring scholarly credibility to the 9/11 sceptics. In 2005, Steven Jones was invited to form a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth by James Fetzer, a professor in the philosophy department at the University of Minnesota and the author of some 20 books on the philosophy of science and artificial intelligence. Fetzer teaches critical thinking, and is nothing if not critical. He has been campaigning for more than a decade to prove that the Zapruder film is a hoax perpetuated by the same government intelligence agencies that orchestrated JFK’s assassination.

But within a year, Jones had written to all members of Scholars announcing that he and others no longer wanted to be associated with Fetzer, who was, in the rebels’ opinion, holding them up to ridicule. Fetzer had backed a theory by Judy Wood, a former assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Clemson University, proposing that the Twin Towers were brought down by a “directed energy” weapon developed as part of the US government’s Star Wars programme. It prompted a stampede to a new group, Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice, headed by Jones. Confusing the two groups would be like mistaking Monty Python’s Judean People’s Front for the People’s Front of Judea: this was a major doctrinal split.

Fetzer’s view is that any serious inquiry into what happened on 9/11 should look at all possibilities. Supporters of the directed energy hypothesis keep popping up at 9/11 Truth lectures to heckle what Python fans might call the “splittist” thermite theorists. Among the advocates of the Star Wars theory is Morgan Reynolds, perhaps the first prominent US government official to claim that 9/11 was an inside job. At the time of the attacks, Reynolds was chief economist at the US Department of Labor.

Some Star Wars supporters, in turn, accuse proponents of the thermite hypothesis of being government shills. One, on, alleges that Jones’s public denunciation of Star Wars theories is actually a Trojan horse; he notes that Jones once worked at Los Alamos, where directed energy weapons are researched. This line of conjecture also entangles Norman Mineta, US transportation secretary on September 11 2001. Mineta was the man who grounded all civilian aircraft on that morning. But he was also once vice-president of Lockheed Martin, a founding member of the Directed Energy Professional Society ... In this outer reach of the blogosphere, no one is ever more than six degrees of separation from the heart of the conspiracy.

Jones did, in fact, do post-doctoral research at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility for the University of Wyoming, but he says it was peaceful and non-weapons-related. He says the more out-there theories, including those of the no-planers, are harming the movement. “First, they discourage others who are trying to do serious work, and they tend to be quite vocal about their heckling,” he says. “More serious is that when we’re really trying to look at an evidence-based approach, we get lumped in with these people and then dismissed as a whole.”

Two days before Jones’s lecture in LA, his erstwhile colleague was taking his own campaign on the road on the other side of the country. After addressing Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth in New Hampshire, Fetzer was off to that seat of academic respectability, Yale University. To prepare for our meeting, I watched a DVD of a 9/11 symposium he held in his new hometown of Madison, Wisconsin last year. The star of this show was Alfred Lambremont Webre, a judge on former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s alternative international War Crimes Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur and co-author of the Space Preservation Treaty. He delivers what might be the most momentous opening line in the history of town hall seminars. “Fellow Citizens... 9/11 was a false flag operation by an international war crimes racketeering organisation to provide a pretext to engage in a genocidal and ecocidal depleted uranium bombing of central Asia, Afghanistan and Iraq in order to secure vast oil and uranium reserves; to roll out a terror-based national security state system worldwide and ... to implement the final stages of a world depopulation policy.” There are two more “false flag” operations in the pipeline, he says. The first is the war against asteroids, the second the “war against the evil aliens”.

Hearing this, you either experience the thrill of revelation or the sinking feeling that the person you are listening to is having some kind of breakdown. Within 30 minutes, Webre has folded into the 9/11 plot the Skull & Bones society at Yale University – or the “Brotherhood of Death”, as he calls it – neocon think-thank the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rothschilds, the Queen and the City of London. I wondered how all these conspiracies could be maintained without the whole conceit unravelling.

The answer, of course, is that there is only one conspiracy. Pearl Harbour, the moon landing, JFK, 9/11, the Illuminati, the Black Helicopters, Skull & Bones, chemtrails: all faces of the same demon. The plot goes all the way to the top, and all the way back in time. You could come to believe that it involves everyone except yourself – at which point it’s all over for you. And as I listened, I just waited for him to say the Word. And, inevitably, Webre brought it all back to the “international neo-Zionist organisation”.

I asked Fetzer about this as we sat in a cafe across from Yale, home of the Brotherhood of Death: how did he keep his scholars on message? “It’s obvious to me that you have to consider all the possible alternatives,” he says. “You can’t exclude any, lest, as you proceed in your investigation and eliminate hypotheses, you eliminate the true hypothesis because you’ve never allowed it to be considered.”

Fetzer’s talk later that night does not go well. A Yale student had promoted the lecture on Facebook Events, but fellow students had apparently been unwilling to add their names, which anyone can see, perhaps for fear of ridicule. Only six show up. When it becomes clear that Fetzer is implicating some kind of Star Wars weapon, the two next to me begin scrolling distractedly through their mobile phone messages. Within 10 minutes, they have left.

Lewis Lapham, journalist--“Americans are very good at dreaming up these scenarios”

The conclusion of the 9/11 Commission – the official story – is that the 2001 attacks got through because those charged with protecting America had not truly conceived of the threat: in its author’s evocative phrase, they had suffered a “failure of imagination”. After trawling the internet in search of 9/11 Truth, it seems to me the American imagination is strong. “Americans are very good at dreaming up these scenarios,” says Lewis Lapham, the former Harper’s magazine editor and a prominent critic of the Bush administration post-September 11. “We are open to all kinds of magical theories,” he says, citing the continuing fascination with the assassination of JFK. “We are also good at creating religions.” Lapham thinks the theory that 9/11 was an inside job follows in this long tradition, but also reflects cynicism among Americans towards their government. He does not accept that the Bush administration planned 9/11 or even allowed it to happen. Nonetheless, he thinks a new investigation is warranted. In 2004, Harper’s ran a trenchant piece describing the 9/11 Commission as a “whitewash” and a “cheat and a fraud” for downplaying evidence that warnings of the al-Qaeda threat were ignored. Such flaws allowed space for alternative theories to develop, Lapham says.

In this, there are shades of the Warren Commission into the assassination of President Kennedy, which served merely to deepen popular distrust. But if we have seen the likes of the 9/11 Truth movement before, it also represents something new. “With the Kennedy assassination, pretty soon after the events themselves there were fairly significant questions being raised by people of all types and stripes about what actually happened,” says Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. “But whereas then it was a generalised, amorphous kind of response, the amount of organisation – politically and through alternative media – is far more striking now than it was back then.”

Fenster thinks that the 9/11 Truth movement is in some ways a typical American response to a surprising and traumatic event. But it also represents a step change in its use of telecommunications technology. “One of the interesting things, particularly in the beginning of this movement, was the extent to which there were a lot of local groups in different cities organising protests ... and they could co-ordinate and create a national and international movement,” he says. “Whether that translates into more people actually believing in the conspiracy theory is a completely different question.”

Fenster believes the few published polls on the subject, rather than showing any real depth of suspicion about 9/11, demonstrate declining trust in the Bush administration generally. The author of one of the most rigorous of the websites that aim to debunk the conspiracy theories,, he notes that the most recent Zogby poll on attitudes towards 9/11 found only 4.6 per cent of Americans believe the Bush administration blew up the Twin Towers. “If you follow the website hits, you’ll find that since Debunking911 came into existence, conspiracy sites have been losing readership,” he says via e-mail. “I think all they needed was someone to fill in the parts conspiracy theorists left out of the conspiracy story and their numbers begin to shrink.”

Perhaps the 9/11 Truth movement is what one would expect in the dying days of an unpopular administration, and with no end in sight to a costly war. Whether it can maintain momentum when that government leaves office next year is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, some on the left accuse it of letting the leaders they so vehemently distrust off the hook. “They make a mockery of [civil rights] causes by associating their nonsense with genuinely important issues, and by diverting a large number of people who should know better into a unicorn hunt,” says British writer and activist George Monbiot. Monbiot is regularly heckled by 9/11 truthers at public events after accusing them in The Guardian of undermining genuine political opposition. His first column on the truthers prompted a near-record number of postings on the paper’s Comment Is Free website – 777 – many accusing him of being part of the conspiracy.

“It’s very interesting to see,” he says, “particularly in the United States, how the anti-war movement has been largely co-opted in many places by the 9/11 Truth movement. And we desperately need an active anti-war movement, because there is a lot of reckoning to be done.”

Peter Barber is the FT’s deputy comment editor

Source URL:

An Evidence-Based Response to Peter Barber regarding his article, "The Truth is Out There", Financial Times, June 7, 2008 (see Annex below)

I am a professional medical librarian who delivered "best evidence" literature to the public health officers of the British Columbia government for 25 years.

Your article, "The Truth is Out There", is an "ad hominem" approach to a critically serious matter, and it unfortunately fails to deal with the evidence involved.

You will no doubt agree that 9/11 has changed the world. It is a seminal event which has grossly undermined trust and erected enormous barriers between the West and the Middle East. And it has led to widespread mayhem and death in that region. Obviously, questions concerning our understanding of the event are of the utmost importance.

The US government has steadfastly refused to release the evidence which it claims to have. Evidence, which, if in existence, would settle once and for all the questions which are being raised, nearly 7 years later, on the front page of the Financial Times of London.

There were 85 cameras rolling outside the Pentagon, whose film could be offered to save the Times the trouble of running these articles.

There are small, indestructible time replacement parts in all aircraft which allow for positive identification, and these could be offered to silence critics about Flight 77.

For several years NIST has been promising its imminent report on the strange collapse of Building 7. This could be completed and released.

You say the 9/11 truth movement has taken over from the peace movement. Why don't you ask why the government doesn't do the obvious thing and produce the evidence to silence this vast new movement?

A full, credible, transparent account would be the responsible thing for the US government to do. Without such an account, or even the evidence which would allow for one, many concerned people have stepped into the breach.

It is unlikely, as you point out, that everyone will agree. But because the Bush administration has elected to withhold its purported fact-settling evidence, its citizens are dealing with a mystery. The best the public can do is conduct its own investigation by working with available media reports, witnesses, and forensic samples.

There is a natural temptation to ponder what actually happened, and some people succumb to developing theories, it is true. But the scientific people in the 9/11 research community simply advance the "best evidence", then demonstrate that it is incompatible with what we have been told, and call for a new investigation.

Having long provided Web-based literature to health professionals, I believe the links below to be truthworthy. If you, Mr. Barber, are interested in dealing with the facts themselves, rather than where Dr. Griffin lives, or what his dogs do when you come to the door, you might wish to pass this sample evidence-based information along to your readers (that is, if the FT has no agenda in running your long "ad hominem" piece as a front page feature article):

  1. Dr. Steven E. Jones Boston 911 Conference 12-15-07 Red chips. Re the chemical signature of the highly explosive incendiary thermate found in the dust at the World Trade Center. Lecture at:
  2. In 2006, over 700 human bone fragments were found on the roof of the adjacent Deutsche Bank building, some less than a centimeter long. How does a simple gravitational collapse splinter and disseminate human bones in this manner?
  3. Oral histories from first responders at the WTC scene indicating ground-shaking explosions from beneath the buildings were released in August 2005 by the New York Times, at There is a summary by Dr. David Ray Griffin at
  4. The 9/11 Commissioners themselves have said that they were denied access to key witnesses, and that their formal investigation was obstructed by the C.I.A. See:
  5. My own article on the Military Drills of September 11th, which shows that there were 29 different reports of hijackings that morning, has 58 references, at

Thank you for looking this over.

For you, who seems interested in the event, the question is: if all this evidence does indeed point to US government complicity, would you want to know about it? And the answer to that is your worth as a journalist.

Elizabeth Woodworth

Professional Librarian/Writer

Victoria, BC


Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 12:07 AM 0 comments