Thursday, February 28, 2002
George Bush had an interesting morning on September 11, 2001. He was in Florida about to speak to some schoolchildren. He said: "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on." The first crash was at 8:45 or 8:46 a. m. and Andrew Card whispered in Bush's ear, supposedly to inform him of the second crash, at 9:05. Sometime between 8:45 and around 9:00, when he entered the classroom, Bush claims to have seen a television program depicting the first hit on the WTC. Unfortunately, there was no video of the first crash broadcast until after the second crash, which didn't occur until 9:03. So was Bush lying? Not necessarily. If the government knew of an attack on the WTC to occur on September 11, but not when it would occur, they could have easily set up cameras to video it, then sent the video by satellite to Florida, where Bush could have seen it in his own private screening. When Card whispered in Bush's ear, Bush is supposed to have shown 'steely resolve', although it looks to me that he was trying very hard to stifle a laugh. Bush bizarrely continued to interact with the children as if nothing had happened before he gave a little speech at 9:28 or 9:29. Presumably the delay can be explained in that his handlers were terrified at what he might come up with in an extempore speech, so needed some time to craft some words he could mouth. Considering the speech that he gave they could have done this in five minutes, so why did they wait more than twenty (i. e., what happened during this period)? If they were setting up a fake Pentagon crash, but didn't know when the WTC would be hit, they would have had to have picked a Washington-Los Angeles flight that had taken off prior to the possible closing of the airports after the WTC was attacked. They wouldn't have known which flight this would be until after the WTC was attacked, but needed to ensure it was safely in the air before Bush gave his 'apparent terrorist attack' spin on the WTC situation. The operation had to be timed perfectly: they had to pick a plane flying from Washington to the west coast (so it could be shot down over unpopulated area), well in the air at the time of the WTC attack (so the Pentagon attack could be dramatically shortly after the WTC attack), and of course in the air before the airports were closed due to the WTC attack (the airports were closed at 9:49). Nobody knew at 9:28 that the WTC towers would fall, but sometime between 9:05 and 9:28 (the FAA supposedly and extraordinarily belatedly alerted NORAD at 9:25 that the plane had been hijacked), the powers that be had confirmed that there was a suitable plane in the air at approximately the right distance from Washington to serve as the perfect Pentagon patsy plane. They thus knew they could safely set up a fake attack on the Pentagon, creating outrage sufficient to be used for whatever military purposes they liked, both foreign and domestic. Without knowing that the WTC towers were going to fall, and before being sure that a suitable plane was available to be blamed for the Pentagon crash, they weren't ready to set the wheels in motion with Bush's 'apparent terrorist attack' speech (it's even possible they had yet another fake 'attack' in reserve, like the State Department bomb, if they were unable to properly set up the Pentagon attack). Of course, this whole scenario turns on my insane idea that no plane crashed into the Pentagon, based solely on the fact that neither the size of the hole nor the damage done matches the damage that would have been done by a real plane, the fact that I cannot believe that the Pentagon isn't protected against such an attack by anti-aircraft weapons, and the apparent absense, in broad daylight, of any real eyewitnesses to the crash or any videos of the crash (the witness who claims to have seen a low-flying plane headed towards the Pentagon may have seen the military plane supposedly sent at the last moment to stop the hijacked plane, a silly story anyway for what is an unarmed slow C130 plane supposed to do to stop the hijacked plane?).
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
The Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia, Nugzar Sajaia, has now committed 'suicide'. Georgia is being drawn into the war on terrorism and possibly the attack against Iraq. Sajaia was supposed to be upset at accusations made against him that he had been involved in political assassination, but his long history as a Communist functionary should have made him a little more thick skinned than that. Considering the intrigue that is swirling around Georgia, just about anything is possible.
American relations with three countries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, are convoluted and filled with bad faith on both sides. The basic model is that each of these countries will pretend to be completely anti-fundamentalist and anti-terrorist, while having significant elements in government that support the most radical Islamic terrorist groups. The United States, while knowing this, pretends to accept the anti-fundamentalist, anti-terrorist faces that these countries present. The reason for the pretense is that there is a real fear that if these countries are pressed to rid themselves of the radical elements, the radical elements will rise up, overthrow the government, and create a truly dangerous state. This flexibility of diplomacy has allowed elements of the governments of each of these states to actively support al-Qaida, both financially and with intelligence and logistical support. At the moment, the situation in Pakistan is the most striking, with General Musharraf playing the role of a great American ally, and the Americans playing along, all the while knowing that Musharraf's position as ruler of Pakistan is at least partially dependant on his maintaining good relations with the Pakistani intelligence agency, much if not all of which is extremely sympathetic to the terrorist movements that are a sworn enemy of the U. S. It remains to be seen how long all the parties can keep these various deceptions going. The death of Daniel Pearl seems to reflect Musharraf's problem.
Monday, February 25, 2002
Monsanto is such a bad corporation that it is almost funny. You wouldn't think that any group of corporate executives would be able to find the energy to be that consistently evil. Just to dip into the cesspool we've got: 1) the whole Percy Schmeiser debacle and other similar cases; 2) the genetic engineering called 'terminator technology', which prevents farmers from saving and using their own seeds; 3) scary ties to the Bush administration (and Monsanto has long been known for its extremely close ties to its regulators); and, most recently, 4) Monsanto trying to hide the PCB polluting of the Alabama town of Anniston, and being found guilty of 'outrageous' behaviour in an environmental lawsuit.
One of the most absurd things I've read about the Daniel Pearl kidnapping/murder is that the culprits did themselves a disservice by silencing their only voice to get their truth out to the world. This is utter nonsense. The Wall Street Journal is as likely to publish an editorial extolling the virtues of a rise in the minimum wage as it is to publish an article written by Pearl or anybody else that challenges the American Empire or expresses any 'truth' that isn't approved by the Defence Department. One of the great wonders of the American media is the degree of uniformity in both the 'facts' it reports and the analysis of these facts. There is in fact less uniformity in the media in dictatorships, where the spirit of samizdat often means that dissident views are expressed in various covert ways. In the current American system, the members of the media appear genuinely not to be able to recognize the fact that there could be dissident views. The main method of self-censorship is simply not to mention the inconvenient facts, but there are a lot of techniques. There is so much media manipulation that studying it has become a small field of acadamic study in itself. The upshot is that the terrorists don't have to stay awake at night worrying that their story would have been honestly conveyed to the world, as there was absolutely no chance of that happening. In fact, by sending an Israeli citizen to report on the workings of an Islamic terrorist organization, the Wall Street Journal appears to have been doing a bit of in-your-face reporting, where they would publish an article embarrassing these incompetent rag-heads, fooled by a Jew. Sadly, they didn't account for the fact that these incompetent rag-heads are friends with the very competent Pakistani intelligence service, who no doubt told them all they needed to know about the Wall Street Journal and Daniel Pearl.
The Cliff Baxter 'suicide' isn't going to go away quietly. We know that at least one Enron official, Sherron Watkins, has testified that she feared for her life and that there was an atmosphere of intimidation at Enron. We also know that Baxter continued up to his death to express his views about the shadiness of Enron's practices, and that Baxter told his lawyer about his concerns about harassment he was experiencing. It used to be that for all the horrible things that big corporations would do, you could distinguish big corporations from organized crime as only organized crime would use extreme violence and threats of extreme violence to enforce protection of its secrets. It may not be possible to find any obvious difference between Enron and organized crime.
Sunday, February 24, 2002
This seems to be a relatively straightforward CNN article on the Pearl tragedy. Note what it says in referring to the tape of his death: "A senior U.S. official said that the tape came into American hands when two men approached an undercover FBI operative they believed to be a journalist." This means that the United States is snooping around using the guise of journalists to hide U. S. agents. Does this deception not put all journalists at risk?
Saturday, February 23, 2002
More on the tragic U. S. military budget: the proposed 2003 Pentagon budget exceeds that of the next 25 nations combined; more than 100 countries have annual military budgets of less than what the Pentagon will spend in one day; more than 50 countries have annual military budgets of less than what the Pentagon will spend in two hours (and I guarantee that one of the military sycophants at some godforesaken place like the War Street Journal will quibble about these numbers, and conclude that it is only something like the next 22 countries, so it is thus perfectly justified). As I've said before, it has become perfectly clear that the junta which has taken over the United States has determined that the American Empire is doomed, and it is time to squeeze all the money that can be squeezed out of the American people, pollute the country as much as possible, and then leave the country a wrecked shell and decamp for some island somewhere. There is no possible way to explain this kind of imbalance in military spending except to see it as the quickest way to profiteer off into the sunset. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this much weaponry is going to have to be dropped on people, in order to justify buying more. Thus, the military spending will create massive unnecessary war and human suffering.
Current Ontario Premier Mike Harris is getting out of politics (and not a moment too soon). Just before he is to leave he has sued the Globe & Mail for $15 million, alleging that the newspaper libelled him by implying that he ordered the shooting death of Indian protester Dudley George. Ridiculous Canadian libel laws allow politicians and other public figures to use the libel laws strategically (Canadian and British libel laws are awful; American libel laws are much better). Most notably, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney semi-successfully used a libel suit against the Canadian government in the Airbus affair, but some fancy footwork by the Minister of Justice at the end of the suit meant that the RCMP investigation of the Airbus affair continues, apparently at a glacial pace. How is Harris strategically using Canadian libel laws: 1) by suing now, while he is still Premier, he gets the whole thing paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario; 2) he can parry Opposition calls for a judicial inquiry in the matter by saying that the whole thing is 'before the courts'; and 3) he can halt or slow police investigation in the matter by creating a 'libel chill', which causes police investigators to fear becoming defendants in his law suit. While this manipulation of libel laws can be useful for politicians, it can also backfire (just ask Lord Archer!). Off in the distance, I think I hear an Indian reciting 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'.
Friday, February 22, 2002
I know I shouldn't be mentioning this now (but if not now, when?), but do you think that there is even a chance that the known history of use of journalists as assets by U. S. intelligence agencies, coupled with the War Street Journal's almost ludicrous warmongering and promotion of U. S. neo-imperialism, had the slightest thing to do with the horrible murder of Daniel Pearl?
This is the first thing I've read on the Lindh case in the American press that makes any sense. I found the whole Spann father shunning of the Lindh father completely crazy, especially when you consider that Spann died committing war crimes against, among others, Lindh, and Lindh had absolutely nothing to do with Spann's death. The cause of Spann's death was a combination of American refusal to conform to the codes of civilized nations, his own misdeads, and, to be blunt, his own stupidity.
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Good Terry Jones satire on the wonderful efficacy of bomb-dropping in solving various political problems. Sadly, the reason it is funny is because it is ridiculous to drop bombs on countries like Ireland, Australia, and the United States, and the reason it is ridiculous, besides the obvious reason that at least the United States wouldn't put up with it, is that most of the people who live in these countries are white.
There are derivatives for everything these days, including derivative contracts which allow you to speculate on the chance that a loan to a specific company might go bad. These are called credit-protection contracts, and have a legitimate application in providing insurance for lenders who do not want to bear the entire risk of a particular loan. Using this form of derivative, you can in effect buy an insurance policy against a loan being uncollectable. If you had access to the pricing of these contracts, and in particular to changes in the pricing of these contracts, you could see that those in the know saw Enron for the disaster it has become way before the stockmarket did. This means that the information on questionable companies is available, even when the stockmarket touts continue to talk up the stock. It also means that, if the information is available in an outside financial market, it had to have been available to Enron insiders, whose dumb act is wearing a bit thin.
Monday, February 18, 2002
BUSH/HARKEN/BCCI/CIA/BIN LADEN/ENRON: George W. Bush (Bush 43) made his first real money out of shares he acquired in Harken Energy, a worthless oil exploration company that became valuable when it was granted oil exploration rights in Bahrain, rights it obtained because Bush 43's father, then-President George Bush (Bush 41) was pals with the Sheikh of Bahrain (Bush 43 got the Harken shares when Harken acquired the worthless shares in Bush 43's own company, an acquisition which was clearly made to get use of the connections of Bush 43, through his father, Bush 41). Harken was partially owned by Union Bank of Switzerland (USB), which, with the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), owned Banque de Commerce et de Placements, which invested $25 million in Harken, a deal arranged through the auspices of infamous financier, Jackson Stephens. Khalid bin Mahfouz, currently under house arrest in Saudi Arabia at the behest of the U. S., was: 1) a big original investor in BCCI; 2) involved in the Carlyle Group with the family of bin Laden and Bush 41; and 3) a big funder of the projects of bin Laden, sometimes through the use of Islamic charities. USB and BCCI sold their interest in Harken to Saudi real estate developer Abdullah Bakhsh, who is linked to bin Mahfouz and to Ghaith Pharaon, a front man for BCCI. James Bath was: 1) a flying (or, perhaps more accurately, non-flying) pal of Bush 43; 2) an original partner in Harken; 3) a probable CIA liason to Saudi Arabia (and Bush 41 used to head the CIA and probably worked for the CIA prior to that); 4) a business representative for bin Laden's half-brother, who was killed in a mysterious airplane crash in 1988, and possibly a representative of bin Laden's father; 5) operator of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Limited, a company based in the Cayman Islands which may have obtained planes from the CIA and which was owned by bin Mahfouz; and 6) an investor in Main Bank of Houston with Pharaon and bin Mahfouz. BCCI was in effect an early version of al-Qaida, intended to make money by committing fraud in Western countries and use some of the money to fund Islamic terrorist operations against the West. When Harken started to fail, Bush 43 sold his shares in violation of insider trading rules, violations that were whitewashed by regulators appointed by Bush 41. (Of course, Bush 43 has appointed his own regulators who turned a blind eye to the depredations of Enron.) We can see how Bush 43 was financially tied to Bath through Harken, and Bath was tied to the CIA, bin Laden's half-brother, and bin Mahfouz, and bin Mahfouz was in turn tied to BCCI and to bin Laden. The bin Laden family is closely tied to the Bush family. Bin Laden was set up by the CIA as a leader of the 'freedom fighters' in Afghanistan. When the FBI started to get too close in their investigation of bin Laden, Bush 43 told them to back off, and Bush 43 now uses his bogus world war against bin Laden to advance U. S. oil/drug interests around the world, including those of Enron (a company heavily involved in the proposed pipeline through Afghanistan, and generally in the development of the Eurasian petrochemical deposits), and to hide the stench of his regime's dirty involvement in the Enron debacle. Enron helped to finance the legal shenanigans that got Bush 43 appointed President by the U. S. Supreme Court. And so it goes . . . .
More on the inexplicable absence of any video of the alleged crash of a plane into the Pentagon. Note that there is a claim that there is such a video, something I find impossible to believe. If such a video exists, why has it not been shown to the public? It is looking more and more that the whole key to the mystery of 9-11 may lie in what happened, or didn't happen, at the Pentagon. Say that some group in the American government had infiltrated a terrorist operation and knew that a plane attack was going to take place against the WTC. There would be no way to know how damaging such an attack would be, and it may have been assumed that the attack would at most kill the people on a few floors, leaving the buildings structurally sound. The attack would thus be similar to the earlier WTC attack, and, while serious, might not generate enough fury in American popular opinion to back up an unlimited worldwide war against terrorism. However, if you were to stage a fake bomb in front of the State Department (which proved to be unneeded due to the severity of the WTC damage), and a fake attack on the Pentagon (which you could do by flying a plane low over the Pentagon being careful to alert anti-aircraft protection not to shoot it down - I don't buy the rather lame argument that the Pentagon wasn't protected by anti-aircraft protection on 9-11 - and immediately thereafter set off bombs in the Pentagon), and blamed all on the terrorists, then you would have enough of a threat to the United States that popular opinion would support just about any war you liked.
Sunday, February 17, 2002
Can you imagine how unlucky you'd have to be to: 1) be born in Afghanistan in absolute poverty; 2) grow up in a country subject to a cold war proxy battle between the Soviet Union and the United States, leaving the country run by a group of religious fanatics; 3) be in a country attacked not because of its wealth but because it is a good place for a pipeline; 4) have bombs dropped on you, though you've done nothing wrong and don't even know why the bombs are being dropped; 5) due to your extreme poverty, have to make money by gathering the metal scrap from the bombs that have been dropped on you; 6) die when in the process of collecting the metal scrap somebody thinks you may be someone else and decides to blow you up on the slight chance (one of the victims had the misfortune to be a dead ringer for bin Laden in that he was - um - tall) you might be that someone else? Some people just have bad luck (and, hey, it's not like they're human beings or anything). These unlucky bastards were perhaps luckier than the anti-Taliban village that was attacked by the Americans as they thought it was a Taliban village. Then when the villagers had the temerity to defend themselves by firing back, the Americans got really mad, captured the village, handcuffed some of the villagers and then shot them (can you say 'war crime'?), and tortured the rest (but, hey, it's not like they were human beings or anything). The U. S. military denies everything. Now the Americans are simultaneously quibbling about whether they've murdered 3000 or only 300 innocent civilians in order to allow some very rich people to build an oil pipeline, and wondering why so many people in the world hate them.
I haven't seen anyone compare them yet, but isn't the whole Enron (with Haliburton and ADM to come?) situation like the savings and loan scandal of 15 years ago under Reagan-Bush? Deregulation and corporate control of the regulators that were left coupled with corporate corruption, not to mention shoddy auditing, led to financial disaster, which, due to the bipartisan nature of the corruption, was swept under the carpet with the crooks walking away unscathed with billions of dollars of swag in their pockets that had to be paid for by U. S. taxpayers. A few years later the same sort of deregulation leads to the same predictable result (insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome). While Enron unfolds, shills for massive corporations continue to extoll the virtues of deregulation! (As an aside, I've always wondered how the U. S. government under Reagan-Bush financed the billions of dollars that were defalcated in the S & L scandal, and found some answers in this article - with some fancy accounting, not unlike the type of accounting used by Enron, they hid it and passed it on to future generations of taxpayers!)
Five months after September 11, what we don't know about 9-11: 1) we don't know what happened to cause the plane to crash in Pennsylvania; 2) we don't know what weapons the 9-11 terrorists used; 3) we don't know what organization was involved in planning 9-11 (we're supposed to believe it was al-Qaida); 4) we don't know whether bin Laden had any role in the planning, although he might have been generally aware of various plans; 5) we don't know what pilot training school or military trained the obviously skilled pilots; 6) despite the suspicious alacrity with which the FBI produced the names and photos of the terrorists, we don't know who they really were, except for Atta and a few others (and what on earth happened with the supposed terrorist arrested in England who has subsequently been released, a case where the U. S. government attempted to mislead the British court?); 7) we don't know why the U. S. military appeared to do nothing to stop the terrorist planes; 8) although we know there was an explosion and fire at the Pentagon, we don't know that it was caused by a plane crash; 9) we don't know what happened with the bomb reported in front of the State Department; and 10) we don't know if the terrorists had any help, whether criminal or governmental (assuming you make the distinction). I don't believe the planes were flown by remote control, and I don't believe that the WTC was pre-set with explosives, as both these theories are unnecessary to explain what happened. I also don't believe what I've been told and have been expected to believe on the say-so of some U. S. government muckety-mucks without the slightest shred of evidence and contrary to what I can see with my own 'lying eyes'. Is it too much to ask, when civil liberties are being decimated in the U. S. and in countries that follow it, and when we're about to embark on a world-wide unending war on terrorism costing trillions of dollars and completely destroying U. S. civil society as we know it, that some evidence is produced to justify all this? Given what we don't know, it is still possible that 9-11 and its aftermath constitutes the biggest fraud in the history of the world.
Saturday, February 16, 2002
How did the 9-11 terrorists know that they wouldn't be shot down before they had a chance to complete their respective crashes?
What are the chances that bin Laden is a CIA asset? He was set up as a leader of the 'freedom fighters' in Afghanistan by the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence agency. His associates in Kosovo/Macedonia still seem to have U. S. government support (and it will be very interesting to see what Milosevic makes of this in his trial, as it is apparent he has latched onto the 'war on terrorism' as the main part of his defence), and an argument can be made that attacks against Serbia and Macedonia by Islamic extremists serve U. S. geopolitical goals. There is a story that bin Laden met with a CIA representative in Dubai in the summer of 2001. Bin Laden's very public presence in Afghanistan provided the excuse the United States was looking for to attack the Taliban in Afghanistan, after they had blamed the 9-11 terrorism on bin Laden (and isn't it at least a bit odd that the supposedly well organized al-Qaida organization can't abandon any house they stay at in Afghanistan without leaving vast piles of secret terrorist plans behind for U. S. authorities to find?). Although he is supposed to be the black sheep of the family, bin Laden is apparently still in telephone contact with his family, a family who are closely connected to the rulers of Saudi Arabia and who have made millions of dollars building U. S. military installations in Saudi Arabia (and, as an aside, have given millions of dollars to Harvard University, an issue which deserves some thought). Bush apparently specifically ordered the FBI to stop investigating bin Laden and his family. All of this together makes no sense unless you draw the conclusion that bin Laden has been and still is some kind of U. S. asset. My guess is that both sides think they are successfully using the other.
Practically on the eve of testifying in the Enron debacle, while his lawyers were negotiating the terms of his testimony, former Enron Vice Chairman Cliff Baxter kills himself. Here's a guy who: 1) was an avid yachtsman and was looking forward to the delivery of his new boat; 2) got out of Enron before the shit hit the fan with $35 million; 3) lived in a luxurious house with his wife and children; 4) before he left Enron was on record as complaining about the corruption there and easily could have been depicted as a valiant whistleblower in any testimony he might give; 5) as a practical matter would almost certainly have suffered no punishment for the Enron mess, and would have kept all his money; 6) was talking to his friends in the few days before he died about hiring a bodyguard, as if he felt he needed one (hardly a suicidal thought!); 7) had an autopsy confirming his suicide in almost record-breaking time by a medical examiner with a - ahem - 'history' (and why is it that whenever these types of deaths are investigated the coroner always has a - ahem - 'history'); 8) had a police investigation of his death where the police immediately lied twice, both about who found him (they didn't) and whether he was alive when found (he was, and they said he wasn't), immediately rushed to judgment that the case was a suicide, and apparently tried to have the matter concluded with no autopsy; 9) was about to testify on the Enron matter and was in a position to really make things difficult for a lot of guilty people. The post-war United States has a splendid history of political 'suicides', including Forrestal, Ferrie, Casolaro, Wilcher and Hatfield. In any society, there are always a very small number of people with information they are about to reveal which would compromise the existing power structure. Why is it that in the United States all these people commit suicide? As is pointed out by Hopsicker, if John Dean had 'killed himself' prior to testifying, there wouldn't have been any Watergate scandal (and John Dean is still causing trouble!). We dishonour the memory of these victims of political assassination if we fail to see that people with important secrets they are researching or about to reveal would not commit suicide. These are the last people who would kill themselves.
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
People are starting to look for a missing airplane which has vanished without a trace. This is the airplane that was supposedly inside the Pentagon. Problems: 1) The hole that it left appears to be narrower than the airplane. 2) If the explanation for 1) is that the wings were sheared off, where are they? 3) Was the suicide pilot up to this kind of flying, which was much more difficult than the WTC crashes (presumably this pilot took the full course, and didn't economize by skipping the take-off and landing parts)? 4) The WTC crashes provided so much heat that they caused the WTC to collapse - the Pentagon crash produced so little heat that you can see the unsinged office furniture in the offices next to the hole. 5) Are we to believe that all outside views of the Pentagon aren't under constant video surveillance - where is the video of the plane actually hitting the building? This is what passes for an 'eyewitness'. 6) Reports said the plane hit the helipad. If it did, why does the helipad appear from aerial photographs to be practically undamaged? Is the plane supposed to have bounced off the helipad and then hit the Pentagon? 7) If the plane isn't there, did it crash somewhere else? I clearly remember reports on September 11 referring to a plane shot down in Colorado, something we've not heard about since. The Pentagon plane was headed to Los Angeles. What if it were intercepted and shot down in the wilderness of Colorado and no plane crashed into the Pentagon (were you to fake a crash into the Pentagon, you'd need to take care of a plane so the number of lost planes adds up)? Then I guess we'd need another explanation for the hole . . . .
How do we know that the 9-11 terrorists were armed only with little knives and boxcutters? Well, we don't. How could we know? The whole story seems to be based on these mysterious cellphone calls, the recordings of which have never been released (and which raise all manner of questions in the suspicious mind about how these particular calls were monitored and whether all cellphone calls are recorded). The terrorists could have walked onto the planes with just about anything. The boxcutter explanation seems to have been created to reassure people that aircraft security hadn't been compromised, and backfired very badly on the aircraft industry when everyone realized that the whole concept of aircraft security was flawed. Now the travelling public is subjected to delays and officious security, which has absolutely no effect on preventing a repeat of 9-11, but, in its very heavy-handedness, gives passengers the illusion of safety.
The CIA has published an article which attempts to refute allegations that it was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The allegations are that a corporation called Permindex was set up by the CIA with the following corporate purposes: 1) to inculcate 'American values' in underdeveloped countries through the virtues of free trade; and 2) to be a vehicle to set up political machinations in foreign countries, including assassinations. Clay Shaw, a director of Permindex, had CIA connections, and Clay Shaw was tied into the Kennedy assassination by the investigations of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. Clay Shaw, Permindex and thus the CIA were supposedly involved in the assassination. The mixing of political crimes (assassinations, psych ops, overthrows of democratically elected governments, etc.) and entrepreneurship (most notably in recent years by the CIA in the illegal drug trade) is an identifying feature of CIA endeavours. The article attempts to refute the CIA-Permindex-JFK assassination angle through a sort of ad hominem attack - because the original source for Permindex information was a leftist Italian newspaper, the reporting was supposedly a fabrication of Russian intelligence sources (of course, even if Russian intelligence sources supplied information to the Italian newspaper, which the article makes little attempt to prove except for a vague reference in footnote 20, that doesn't mean the information was wrong). The line of allegations which includes the role of Permindex and Clay Shaw was set out in a book called the 'Torbitt document', supposedly written by a southern U. S. lawyer (but so clumsily written that you have to wonder). The 'Torbitt document' was the introduction of this sort of information into the American arena, but carefully blames the JFK assassination not on the CIA, but on something called 'division five' of the FBI (it is still unclear whether such a division ever existed), and may therefore be an early CIA attempt to muddy the waters by mixing the original Permindex story with disinformation involving the FBI. Evidence for CIA involvement in the assassination other than the Permindex story abounds: 1) the covering up of CIA files on Oswald in existence prior to the assassination and much evidence that Oswald was some sort of American intelligence operative; 2) CIA agent Howard Hunt's famous difficulties in proving where he was on November 22 (another guy who just may have been hanging around Dallas that day - possible CIA agent George H. W. Bush!); 3) the presence of many look-alikes for known CIA operatives in Dallas that day; 4) a surprising number of suspicious characters associated with Oswald, or associated with his associates (and Shaw was definitely in this mix), with known or heavily suspected intelligence connections, especially concerning CIA operations against Castro. The most bizarre aspect of this article may be that it attempts to refute CIA involvement in the assassination by attacking the source of the Permindex information, when the source of at least the 'Torbitt document' spin on the Permindex information may well be the CIA itself! (Interestingly, there is a CIA internal memorandum 1035-960 dated 4/1/67 on how to counter assassination conspiracy theories when dealing with 'friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)' which states: 'Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.' This apparently is good advice 35 years later.)
The new Bush military budget is equal to the combined military budgets of the next 25 largest militaries (it's hard to type this without laughing). This is at a time when the cold war is over, and Russia and China seem to be more interested in making money than fighting anyone. The 'axis of evil' has been created to build some sort of pathetic military threat, consisting of : 1)North Korea, which the Clinton administration was on the verge of making peace with (it is too bad Clinton didn't visit there on his last trip - as soon as Bush got in, all hope of peace stopped and cold war rhetoric returned); 2) Iran, with a government becoming ever more moderate, a large population of young people who want peace with the West, and, unlike the U. S., a democratically elected president; and 3) Iraq, a former U. S. ally tricked by the U. S. into attacking Kuwait, and subjected to U. N. weapons inspections until it was shown that the U. S. was illegally using the inspections as a guise for spying while vehemently denying it was doing so (now, in a tremendous demonstration of nerve, the U. S. is using the absense of inspections as an excuse for war). The other reason for the military budget is to root out terrorism, when it is clear that war solutions to terrorism are ineffective (has the U. S. caught bin Laden?) and counter-productive (all the bombed, slaughtered, tortured and 'refugeed' civilians in Afghanistan will make a fine basis for more terrorism and a fine basis for justified anger in other countries that might produce terrorists). A police investigation would have been cheaper, more effective, less damaging to the lives of human beings, and less likely to create more terrorism (but wouldn't have secured Afghanistan for exploitation by U. S. oil companies).
Monday, February 11, 2002
It's starting to look bad for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The American press is now consistently emphasizing his lack of popular support (this is a typical example). These articles often are used to set up American popular opinion to make a coup less of a surprise and more politically acceptable. Ostentatiously mustachioed men in the Venezuelan military are calling for his removal. Again, this is a sign of impending machinations, no doubt involving somewhat less ostentatiouly mustachioed men from the CIA.
Sunday, February 10, 2002
The FBI, knowing they had one of the most controversial prisoners in American history, interviewed John Walker Lindh for two days and now claim they neither taped nor transcribed his statements! This is one of those lies that is so outrageously transparent that you have to wonder how they state it without laughing. I imagine they don't want to release the recordings and transcripts because: 1) their account of his 'confession' is a lie; 2) any audio or video of his interrogation would clearly show how he was tortured, mistreated and threatened; 3) American authorities don't want to be embarassed about how easy it would have been to obtain the human intelligence on al-Qaeda that they apparently weren't up to obtaining; and/or 4) Lindh said things that make it clear that the American attack on Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9-11. Another fairly prominent prisoner who was interviewed for two days with no trace of interview notes or recordings: Lee Harvey Oswald.
Friday, February 08, 2002
I'm wondering whether we're using the wrong paradigm to understand 9-11. We've regarded it as a terrorist attack by people acting on strong religious and political feelings. Perhaps it would help to see it, at least in part, as an action by American organized crime. Consider the following: 1) the terrorists are supposed to have trained at flight schools at airports in South Florida. Is there an airport in South Florida that isn't used as an importation point for drugs? Does organized crime not use a lot of small planes that might be useful for the terrorists? (How was Atta allowed to abandon a plane on a runway at Miami International Airport without any report being made of this?); 2) the terrorists hung out in bars and strip clubs in South Florida and Las Vegas. Are these not likely owned by organized crime? Are the people who frequent such places more likely to be religious moslems or criminals-for-hire (remember that not all the terrorists may have known what was going to happen)?; 3) some of the buildings destroyed contained offices with irreplaceable evidence and documents on on-going high-level financial fraud cases; 4) the actual attacks all started at Logan Airport in Boston. Could organized crime have infiltrated the baggage handling/security of the airport for the purposes of drug smuggling (Boston is a noted centre of organized crime and the security in Logan was headed by a completely unqualified political appointee)?; 5) money was made, or at least attempted to be made, on foreknowledge of the attacks. This type of short-selling would be more in the line of organized criminals rather that religious fanatics; 6) mafia contractors and mafia-controlled unions built the WTC, and would have been aware of problems in construction due to the shoddy work they did; 7) could the suicide pilots, or some of them, devoted family men, have done what they did to protect their families and not out of religious fervour?; 8) the 15-year-old kid who crashed into the building in Florida was named Bishop. His real family name was Bishara, and his supposedly absent father is allegedly half-Lebanese Arab, half-Sicilian, wanted on drug charges, and allegedly involved in organized crime in Winchester, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Could the kid's odd actions be a symbolic reaction of a very patriotic American on finding out possible family involvement in 9-11, not to mention a possible way of leaving clues for the authorities? (Remember that the convicted assassin of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, was named Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, and may have been 'motivated' as he was heavily in debt on horse-race betting at mafia-operated Santa Anita Raceway.) 9) Is it just a coincidence that Bush has covered up the release of information concerning FBI investigations of organized crime in Boston?; 10) 'Whitey' Bulger, alleged head of organized crime in Boston, has been missing for some time, and some feel he may be in Nova Scotia. Might he or his representative have flown from Nova Scotia to a secluded airport a bit of a drive from Portland to meet with Atta and the other terrorist (the drive would explain the need for Atta to get gas)? All of these ideas probably amount to nothing. However, the implications of organized crime involvement in 9-11 are breathtaking: 1) to the extent that this was a crime operation and not a terrorist operation, so is reduced or eliminated Bush's excuse for his indefinite worldwide war on terrorism in the guise of attacking countries who 'harbour' terrorists (he might as well bomb Boston), and his need for massive defense expenditures; and 2) if the FBI is looking for terrorists when they should be looking for organized criminals, they will never solve the case. I'm not saying that terrorists weren't involved - they had access to money and to some pilots who were willing to martyr themselves. Religious terrorists and organized crime may have found common cause and realized they could help each other. Organized crime could handle the logistics of the operation in a way that is very difficult to explain if a small group of recent immigrants were the only people involved.
Percy Schmeiser is a canola farmer in Saskatchewan. Someone in his neighborhood grew canola which contained a gene patented by Monsanto. Pollen from this canola blew through the air and pollenated some of Mr. Schmeiser's canola, thus incorporating Monsanto-patented genes into his crop. The Monsanto brown shirts (who apparently have more police power in Canada than the RCMP) obtained evidence from canola planted in Mr. Schmeiser's fields that show his plants contained Monsanto-patented genes, so after Monsanto threats against him were unsuccessful (the general approach is to agree to drop the whole thing if the farmer agrees to pay a fee and keep the matter quiet), they sued him for infringing their patents. The Federal Court of Canada heard the case. Monsanto won. The asininity of this decision can be seen in the reductio ad absurdum conclusion it leads to - Monsanto can now own all the farms near places where its patented seeds are planted. The pollen will of necessity blow around, contaminating the seeds of farmers nearby. Monsanto now has carte blanche to sue those farmers for amounts over the value of their farms. While this nay be considered to be a typical patent case, the real problem arises because this shouldn't have been treated as merely an intellectual property case. Monsanto meddled with genetics, and the pollen from its seeds contaminated the seeds of farmers, in many cases ruining the results of a lifetime (or lifetimes) of selective breeding. Monsanto negligently allowed its genes to become incorporated into the seeds of Canadian farmers, because it knew or ought to have known that pollen will blow by the wind a certain distance, and should have ensured that its seeds weren't planted next to other farmers' seeds. The fact that it has a patent doesn't mean that it has the right to contaminate genetic lines owned by other people. In normal cases, normal drifting of pollen will cause no damages to those neighbors whose crops are affected by it. However, because Monsanto's seeds are genetically modified, they are worth far less on the market (Europeans are too smart to buy it). The remedy obviously is that Monsanto should have massive damages awarded against it, and all its corporate assets should be sold to start to pay for the damage it has caused. This is so outrageous a corporate action that the shortfall should be paid by the directors and officers of Monsanto. (It would be interesting if Monsanto's corporate records could be subpoenaed to see if they have discussed this two-part corporate strategy: 1) get the genetically modified genes in all canola, so purchasers have no choice but to buy modified canola, thus ending consumer resistance to it; and 2) force all farmers to plant their seeds by threatening to sue them for patent infringement unless they agree to buy Monsanto seed.) If Ford negligently built a car that crashed into you, leaving the 'Ford' trademark permanently embossed on your ass, would Ford have a right to sue you for trademark infringement? The whole case is completely ridiculous and impracticable, and is proof of the stupidity of allowing patents on life.
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
We've been told from the outset by the American government that the 9-11 attacks were terrorist attacks by a group called al-Qaeda. We've even been given the name and identity of each one of the evil men on the four planes, and have accepted everything at face value. Other than the say-so of the FBI, do we really know anything about who these men were (remember early complaints from the Saudis that the names given to some of these men were the names of innocent people whose identities had been stolen) or what they were really up to? Just as an intellectual exercise, imagine that the 9-11 attacks were not terrorist attacks but were something else . . . .
I've been wondering whether the 'American way of war' has become firmly established in the Pentagon as consisting of massive aerial bombardment of civilians until the enemy government, if there really is one, decides to give up rather than risk any more civilian casualities. This would be quite effective in a place like Serbia, where the leader cares about the civilian population and has the power to accede to American demands, but completely ineffective in a place like Iraq, where the leader doesn't care about the civilian population. It may have partially worked in Afghanistan, where the Taliban decided to fade into the mountains rather than continue to put up a fight and provoke more civilian casualities. American war thus involves intentional targeting of civilians in the guise of attacking military operations (which explains why the Americans are always having to explain that the hospital or food warehouse was actually a munitions dump or military barracks) with an ultimate goal of convincing the enemy that civilian casualities won't stop until the enemy capitulates. If this is the way the Pentagon conducts war, the Americans are war criminals.
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
Frank Carlucci is Chairman of the Carlyle Group, a defense contractor that has recently become famous because of the way it ties together the Bush family, members of the U. S. defense establishment, and members of the bin Laden family. Carlucci's story is so typical of all the players (and 'players' is the right word) in the Bush administration - men who move between the higher reaches of the government, the U. S. military, and the military-industrial complex with such an oily felicity that the essential corruption of the mixing of government and personal interests is almost completely obscured. The irony is that Bush is the type of politician who constantly calls for smaller government, when he and all those who surround him are on the make for wealth to be obtained from government supply contracts obtained through lifetimes of personal contacts in both big business and big government. The Enron debacle is just another example of this.
Nixon's first cover-up may have been to hide the fact that he caught the Joint Chiefs of Staff spying on his political meetings. Apparently, they thought he was 'soft' on communism, and so tried to find out what he was up to. For political reasons, Nixon covered this up. Ironically, this first cover-up may have left him open to be removed in the frame-up of the Watergate scandal, which seems likely to have been intended to get him out of office before he did anything foolish like - gasp! - ending the cold war or instituting big social programs. Despite the fact that Nixon was completely insane and quite evil, he was intelligent enough to realize that his place in history would be marked by the good things he did. He thus needed to be removed.
Monday, February 04, 2002
The Bronfman family apparently wanted to remove $2 billion from Canada. Anyone else doing this would have had to pay taxes on this money, but the Bronfmans didn't get rich paying taxes (in fact, they got rich smuggling illegal alcohol from Canadian distilleries into the United States during prohibition) so they arranged to have a friendly chat with the Canadian revenuers, who applied the law fairly and said they'd have to pay taxes like everyone else. Eventually the notoriously corrupt Mulroney government was enlisted into the noble fray, and after some secret meetings between the Bronfman lawyers and the revenuers (in which the revenuers were no doubt well 'woodshedded'), the Bronfmans walked away with a 'tax ruling' allowing them to remove their dough and not pay the taxes that anyone else would have had to pay. A Canadian citizen, seeing cutbacks in social services and huge deficits, decided to try to challenge this 'tax ruling'. Proving that Bronfman money shines as brightly for the Liberals now in power as it did for the Mulroney Conservatives, the Liberals took up the torch of defending the Bronfmans against the greedy social programs of Canadians. Amazingly, a judge let the challenge proceed, but eventually the case reached a judge who could see insufficient bad faith on the part of ther government, and found against the citizen (but she did see sufficient government skulduggery that she did not make the citizen pay the full amount of the government's court costs, as a losing litigant would normally have to do, but made the government pay part of the citizen's costs, thus making the kind of fine distinction between degrees of skulduggery that only a court can perceive). Thus, justice has again been done. I hope the Bronfmans enjoy their money outside of Canada (the proper taxes due on it would have been squandered on the widows and orphans of Canada who would have just wasted it on food, medical care, and, no doubt, cheap liquor).
Sunday, February 03, 2002
Suspicious of the U. S. government's ties to the terrorists (formerly known as 'freedom fighters'); suspicious of the odd failure (or refusal) of the U. S. government to find out what happened; suspicious of the extremely odd relationship of the CIA to bin Laden's associates in the Balkans.
I first noticed the Vreeland case in October and didn't think much of it. Months later, it's still around, and starting to stir up interest. Vreeland is in a Canadian jail and in the middle of a hearing to extradite him to the U. S. for trial on credit card fraud. He claims this is an excuse for U. S. authorities to get their hands on him and presumably kill him. He claims to be a U. S. naval intelligence agent, which they deny. In a bit of wonderful courtroom theatrics, his lawyers used a speakerphone in court to phone directory assistance for the Pentagon, and obtained a rank and phone number for him. The lawyers for the U. S. government lamely responded that he had somehow hacked into the U. S. government records and phone system to create an intelligence identity for himself. Vreeland claims that his secret mission was to uncover information on the Russian response to the American missile defence shield. He would pass this information to a CSIS (the Canadian equivalent of the CIA) agent in Moscow, thus allowing Canada to take credit for 'discovering' the Russian plans, and putting Canada in agreement with U. S. plans for the missile defence shield. (Canadian agreement hasn't been forthcoming, but is important to the U. S. as: 1) they may want to put some of the system on Canadian soil; and 2) Canadian foreign policy is incorrectly seen as being somewhat independent of the U. S. and being somewhat more morally based, and thus Canada can help sell the concept of missile defence to other countries.) Canada would have been much more likely to go along with American plans if Canada were to receive U. S. praise for uncovering Russian plans. Vreeland claims that the Canadian agent, Marc Bastien, who mysteriously died in Moscow, was murdered. It now seems that Bastien may well have been murdered. The real kicker in all this is that Vreeland claims to have had pre-9-11 knowledge of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, knowledge obtained in the course of his espionage activities. He was in a Canadian jail in August, but his jailers wouldn't listen to his warnings, so he wrote them down and sealed them in an envelope and gave it to the jailers. The envelope was opened on September 14. If all this is true, Vreeland is the 'smoking gun' to tie at least some elements of U. S. intelligence to the terrorist attacks. The combination of knowing that Bastien was murdered (when there was no report of this in the media), and being able to show that Vreeland is recognized as having rank and phone number in the Pentagon, especially coupled with his highly nuanced understanding of the insecurity of Canadian politicians and public opinion with respect to the United States, gives him a great deal of credibility.
Whatever happened to the 10:20 a. m. car bomb explosion outside the State Department in Washington, D. C. on September 11? It was later (7:40 p. m.) denied by the State Department. How can a bomb on a street in Washington be misreported? I'm sure I saw at the time television coverage of people fleeing the area in real panic. There should be hundreds of witnesses to this. If they were just fleeing because a warning was given, why was the warning given?
Saturday, February 02, 2002
I've had Portland, Maine on the brain. Why did Atta and another terrorist drive there from Boston on September 10th, stay overnight, and fly from Portland to Boston before boarding the terrorist plane at Boston's Logan Airport? Other terrorists boarded the plane directly in Boston. The Portland terrorists' actions can't be because they felt security would be easier in Portland, as in fact they still had to go through Boston security, and other terrorists did go directly through Boston security. It could be to make it appear less suspicious than if four swarthy men all appeared at once to board the plane in Boston, but that also seems an unlikely explanation as they all ended up going through the same airport. They rented a car to drive to Portland from Boston (around 100 miles) and wouldn't have used a whole tank of gas. Why did they need to stop for gas if they intended to abandon the car in Portland? (I note in passing that, by wild coincidence, Kennebunkport, site of the summer compound of the Bush family, lies between Boston and Portland!) Did one of them know someone in Portland? Did they have to meet with someone to obtain final instructions? Since having to go through another airport security gate greatly increased the risk of detection, there must have been a very compelling reason to go to Portland.
Friday, February 01, 2002
The Bush junta seems to have decided that the days of the American empire are coming to a close, and it is time to cash out. While ultra-capitalists have always tried to maximize their profits and minimize their taxes, I've always had the feeling that they felt that they couldn't squeeze the system too hard, for their continuing good fortune depended on the overall health of the economy and the country. Under Bush, however, they are acting like a group of mafiosi who have taken over a company with a view to extracting all of its wealth, running up its debts, and leaving a bankrupt shell. The long-term effects of 'free trade' mean that the American public only has value as consumers, and only can consume as long as America can borrow the money to do so. America has been able to borrow due to the fact that it has maintained its position as a relatively safe place to place money, and because of the status of the American dollar as the world default reserve currency. The general arrangement since the 1970's has been for the oil producing countries to pour the money from oil back into the American economy. To soak up this money, the American consumer has been encouraged to buy foreign-made consumer goods, which have been cheap because of the strong American dollar and easily financed because the banks have had lots of funds to lend. It appears that the oligarchs feel that this system is coming to an end. The mad scramble to create a world war situation seems to be an attempt to obtain as many profits for the military suppliers as possible. The various attacks on terrorism seem to be an attempt to free up as much oil for exploitation by large U. S. oil companies as possible. This is coupled with a constant series of government moves to lower taxes, remove regulation or any supervision of corporations, remove environmental restraints, and alter the balance between labour and capital to favor capital even more than it is favored now. It appears that the oligarchs intend to squeeze as much out of the country and world as possible, and take the money and run.
Enron proves that any corporation's financial statements audited by Arthur Andersen are worthless as a guide to the financial status of the corporation. Any institutional investor who invested in the shares of a corporation audited by Arthur Andersen would be investing in a corporation with, in effect, unaudited financial statements. Any investment or pension fund manager with a fiduciary duty to invest prudently would leave himself open to a massive lawsuit if he was stupid enough to invest in such a corporation. This fact alone should signal the end of Arthur Andersen.