Saturday, August 31, 2002

Three versions of why the Department of Justice and FBI in Washington didn't apply for a FISA warrant to search the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui:

  1. The report by the Senate Judiciary Committee is apparently going to conclude that counter-terrorism experts and lawyers were simply completely ignorant of the evidentiary requirements of obtaining a FISA warrant.

  2. John Podesta and Peter Swire in an article in The Washington Post state: "One of the alarming aspects of the FISA story is that the FBI's then-secret pattern of misbehavior had so outraged the judges by summer 2001 that prosecutors were reluctant to ask for a FISA warrant to search the computer of suspected hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui." In other words, the FBI cheating in misleading the judges in obtaining these warrants had reached the point where the judges were getting angry about it, and the FBI was afraid to press its luck on a legitimate case.

  3. As I have mentioned, there is some reason to believe that there may be a foreign intelligence agent or agents in the FBI/Department of Justice who intentionally derailed the Moussaoui investigation for the purposes of the country which is represented by this agent or agents.

The Senate Judiciary Committee theory is just another version of the usual excuse for a bureaucracy based on stupidity or lack of competence, but is implausible given the thousands of successful applications that have been made. The idea that the FBI was afraid to press its luck with Moussaoui because of past dodgy cases is interesting, but doesn't seem to apply in Moussaoui's case, where they had lots of evidence from the French that he was a suspicious character (actually, the whole FISA system almost seems custom-made for a situation like Moussaoui's). That leaves the intelligence agent theory, a theory which is consistent with the local FBI suspicion that someone must have been actively subverting their investigation, a suspicion that was so strong that they actually went to the CIA about it (Coleen Rowley's memo states: "When, in a desperate 11th hour measure to bypass the FBIHQ roadblock, the Minneapolis Division undertook to directly notify the CIA's Counter Terrorist Center (CTC), FBIHQ personnel actually chastised the Minneapolis agents for making the direct notification without their approval!"). That leaves open these two questions:

  • what country is being protected?; and

  • are the same spies still in place in the FBI?

Friday, August 30, 2002

I am coming to the conclusion that there were at least two distinct categories of September 11 hijacker. One group, the 'secular hijackers', appeared to have had no religious affiliation, especially not to Islam, tended to be rather rough and loud, engaged in various 'sins', and often acted like paid thugs (not surprisingly, for they were paid thugs out of the class of mercenaries who are available to do this kind of work). They spoke English well and seemed to feel comfortable with popular American culture. The other group, the 'religious hijackers', tended to be quiet, sternly pious, shy, unfriendly, and acted exactly as you might expect members of al-Qaeda to act (not surprisingly, for they probably were members of al-Qaeda). This group tended not to speak English well, and seemed to be led by members of the other group. The hijackers who used identities of Middle Eastern men who had had their identities stolen seem to be in the secular group, as were the hijackers whose personalities seemed to change radically when they entered the U. S. (e. g., Atta and Jarrah). In the latest MadCowMorningNews, Daniel Hopsicker, who apparently is the only reporter in the whole United States doing any reporting on the events of September 11 (I guess the country must be hard up for reporters - it is lucky that the only one that can be spared is good at what he does), points out that there is plently of evidence that Mohamed Atta was in Florida four months before he is officially supposed to have arrived in Florida. He is supposed to have arrived in early June 2000, and probably can't be said to have arrived earlier as the original (and still the best) Mohamed Atta was active in Hamburg in the spring of 2000. Not only was he well established in Florida before he ought to have been, but he had a girlfriend. Not only did Mr. Pious, a man who in Germany wouldn't shake the hand of a woman, have a girlfriend, but his girlfriend was a working (ahem) 'lingerie model'. Not only that, but he was the jealous sort, and tended to beat her up. Not only that, but the FBI has been intimidating witnesses to keep them quiet, afraid, I suppose, of the whole Official Story of Mohamed Atta falling apart. This Mohamed Atta presumably was using the identity of the original Mohamed Atta even before the original was killed or disappeared. This Mohamed Atta is presumably the one who met with the Department of Agriculture official in April or May in a ridiculous attempt to obtain a government loan to buy a cropdusting airplane, an attempt that was made in order that he would be remembered later. This hard drinking, rude, violent man is not the pious Islamic man we are supposed to confuse him with. As I've said before, if the North American 'Mohamed Atta' can't be connected to al-Qaeda, the whole Official Story falls apart, and we're looking at a much more complex operation than we've been led to believe occurred. I believe there was an al-Qaeda presence in the terrorism, but there was also a second, probably more important and dominent, group of mercenaries involved. These mercenaries may have also had a 'cause' other than money, but it was not necessarily the cause of al-Qaeda. This combination of two kinds of terrorists, combined with the stolen identities and, frankly, a lot of active government obfuscation, has made figuring out what happened on September 11 very difficult.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

More on AshKroft's Kamps:

  1. Apparently, some think that the original article on the camps has been completely debunked. The point is that there are at most 20 prison cells in question, and that fact, while unfortunate, is not enough to get upset about. The camps issue is thought to be a red herring, and the real issue is still the indefinite detention of 'enemy combatants', especially when the determination of whether one is an 'enemy combatant' is made solely by the Bush Administration. It seems to me that this is true, but it is also important not to forget the issue of the camps. The actual physical construction of the camps is irrelevant. FEMA (the agency that can predict the future) and no doubt other organizations already have suitable camps, constructed for legitimate and semi-legitimate reasons. Once the precedent is set using Padilla and Hamdi (it is possible that the Padilla case is worse than the Hamdi case), and the mechanism is set up to allow the Administration to process 'enemy combatants' in bulk (and anyone who followed the Eichmann trial knows how important the institutional mechanics of repression are to this type of person), it would therefore be easy to 'scale' the 20 cells into 200, 2000, or 20,000. The critical point is the fact that the precedent of Padilla and Hamdi has been set, and as hardly anyone complained about it, it can be used against anyone, even an American citizen arrested in the United States.

  2. The whole system being proposed by Ashcroft is actually the equivalent of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. His theory is that once he has determined that you are an 'enemy combatant', then all normal Constitutional protections immediately evaporate. However, presumably the protections can't evaporate before he makes that determination, i. e., in that legal millisecond before he makes his determination the courts still must be able to examine the Constitutional validity of the making of the determination, and in examining this, presumably have the right to consider all the facts of the case. The judge in the Hamdi case is alive to these issues. The whole 'enemy combatants' issue appears to be a rather transparent method to avoid human rights protections using the circular argument that the Constitution doesn't apply because it doesn't apply to 'enemy combatants', coupled with the dubious notion that you can become an 'enemy combatant' by your alleged involvement in the never-ending and ill-defined 'war on terror'.

  3. The most interesting questions about Padilla have never been asked. He was detained in early May, but his detention only came to light with Ashcroft's announcement in early June. Since the Administration felt absolutely no qualms about Padilla's detention, and almost didn't bother to mention it until it needed a big distraction from the Coleen Rowley testimony, the whole issue of how many other detainees like Jose Padilla there are remains completely open. The camps may already be full!

  4. Jonathan Turley, who seems to hold a monopoly in writing about these issues, points out that Ashcroft now wants to turbo-charge the secret court which interprets and enforces the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make its draconian powers apply to American citizens. This would presumably grant the government practically unlimited powers of investigation in order to obtain the information required to label the 'enemy combatants', as well as on anyone else the Administration would like to investigate without regard to that nasty Constitution (somewhere in hell, Richard Nixon must be laughing).

  5. There is an interesting pattern here in the Administration's use of the media. We constantly hear about 'leaks' from the Bush Administration, and sometimes (e. g., Rumsfeld) even hear complaints about the 'leaks'. The 'leaks' and general use of the media appear to be the work of a master manipulator (Rove?):

    • the Padilla case was clearly set out for the American people, and the full implications of his treatment explained, allowing for his case to be used as a precedent for the indefinite detention without trial or legal representation for any American citizen labelled an 'enemy combatant';

    • the constant flow of warnings about imminent terror attacks, to continue the charade of the 'war on terror';

    • all the 'leaks' involving plans on Iraq, which may be a combination of trial balloons and misdirection, especially if the real goal of the Administration is also to capture Saudi oil fields;

    • all the obvious media manipulation concerning the anthrax attacks and Steven Hatfill, a patsy who is apparently to be used to distract public attention from the real issues of the case (with apparently another patsy in the wings to take over once the Hatfill investigation peters out).

But hey, if you don't want to worry about the AshKroft Kamps, then don't worry about the AshKroft Kamps. As long as you're white and quiet and don't criticize the government, you'll probably be fine.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

There were two events which occurred in Afghanistan which neatly bracketed September 11, 2001, and which are very important for a deep understanding of the politics of the attack on America:

  1. On September 8, Ahmed Shah Massood was attacked in Afghanistan. He had agreed to give an interview with some men posing as journalists, who apparently had a bomb in their television camera. The bomb exploded killing both the fake journalists and Massood. This attack has been attributed to bin Laden. Massood was the most respected leader in the opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and would have been the most likely to take over if the Taliban were removed. At the time, however, there was no indication that anyone was in a position to remove the Taliban, so Massood's assassination only makes sense in the context of the September 11 attack, an attack which gave the American government an excuse to remove the Taliban. Not only did Massood's assassination only make sense in the context of the September 11 attack, but it probably had to precede the September 11 attack, as Massood was far more likely to be suspicious of an attack against him once he was aware that Afghanistan was at war. The attackers thus showed foreknowledge of the September 11 attack, and foreknowledge of the U. S. response (which is a bit surprising, as an attack on Afghanistan is not an obvious U. S. response). If the point of September 11 was to give the U. S. an excuse to attack the Taliban, Massood's continued presence in Afghanistan would have meant that he, and not an American stooge, would take over from the Taliban as the ruler of Afghanistan. Massood's death effectively weakened the position of certain opposition warlords in Afghanistan, and allowed for the creation of a more diffuse government, more easily controlled by the Americans.

  2. On October 25, Abdul Haq, another natural leader, and in the absense of Massood, perhaps the man most likely to be able to assemble a government in Afghanistan, was killed. The circumstances of his death are utterly bizarre. He was financially supported by two Americans, the Ritchie brothers, who had grown up in Afghanistan and become wealthy in the Chicago commodities market. They had an interest in developing Afghanistan, and may have U. S. intelligence ties. Haq's U. S. financed efforts to undermine the Taliban pre-dated September 11 by at least a year. Haq had supposedly decided on his own to cross Afghanistan by horse to meet with opposition to the Taliban and negotiate a revolt. He did this despite the fact he was crossing enemy-held territory, was lightly armed, and was himself not very mobile as he had lost a foot fighting the Russians. His intent appears to be to use American money to bribe himself across Afghanistan. The Americans describe his trip as being made against their wishes, and that they could not talk him out of it (which seems odd). He was captured, tortured, and killed, supposedly by members of the Taliban. Before the Taliban actually captured him, he was apparently able to telephone Robert 'Bud' McFarlane (of Iran-Contra fame, but who now runs the public relations firm that was acting for Haq, a fact that in itself gives one pause), who attempted to have the CIA rescue him (it is possible that the CIA actually informed the ISI of Haq's location, and the ISI informed the Taliban). The CIA rescue effort was too late. This whole story again makes sense only in the context of September 11. Haq was another very inconvenient guy, as he was a likely candidate to replace the Taliban, but was not a stooge of the U. S. government. His quixotic trip was prompted by September 11 having occurred, as it was only then that it made sense for him to contact the opposition to the Taliban to attempt to create a new Afghan government that would be able to stop the U. S. attack. He had to die before the end of the U. S. attack, so there was no danger that he, rather than a stooge of the U. S., would replace the Taliban.

The conclusion is that the following things had to occur in the following order, and only in the following order:

  1. assassination of Massood;

  2. September 11 attack on U. S.;

  3. assassination of Haq;

  4. removal of the Taliban; and

  5. installation of a stooge controlled by the U. S. to run Afghanistan.

This means that the September 11 attack can only be understood in the context of what went on in Afghanistan in the few days preceding and following September 11. The removals of Massood and Haq were almost certainly planned as part of a package which included the September 11 attack, and were planned not only with foreknowledge of the September 11 attack, but with detailed foreknowledge of what the American response to that attack would be. It is a fundamental mistake to see the war on Afghanistan as the surprised and angry American response to the events of September 11. The events of September 11 and the war on Afghanistan are parts of the same operation.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Finally, we get to hear from a pilot of a U. S. F-15 that was scrambled out of Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod. The pilot, 'Nasty', flew one of the two planes that were sent after the two hijacked planes that flew into the two World Trade Center towers. These types of interviews are very useful as the pilots don't usually understand the full implications of what they say. I note the following:

  1. 'Nasty' informs us that the two planes were scrambled at 8:46 a. m., coincidentally the same time that Flight 11 hit the first of the two towers. Remember that Flight 11 was hijacked around 8:15 a. m. (see the detailed timeline), but NORAD wasn't notified about a problem until about 8:38. That means that the flight was scrambled 8 minutes after NORAD was supposedly notified. NORAD, presumably now on high alert, was notified at the latest at 9:24 (which itself seems absurdly late, given that air traffic control lost all contact with Flight 77 around 8:56) of the hijacking of Flight 77 (see the timeline - both these timelines are well worth reading, and even the most loyal subject of the Empire can see clearly that the potential intercepting planes were deliberately held back). That means that intercepting flights of Flight 77 should have been in the air at least by 9:32 (and one might ask why weren't planes already scrambled to protect all significant targets along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly targets in Washington). Flight 77 supposedly crashed into the Pentagon at 9:41. Where were the interceptors? Still supposedly miles away! Even on the obviously manipulated times supplied by government officials, Flight 77 should have been intercepted.

  2. 'Nasty' was of the opinion that he would have needed a Presidential order to shoot down the planes, as they had no standing order to do such a thing. The Cape Cod Times, which interviewed 'Nasty' said: "Besides, the only person who could have ordered them to be shot down was the president, and he was still at a public event when the second tower was hit." What does this mean? We know Bush was in full contact with his staff, Air Force One, and all the usual communications facilities the President would normally have. He was immediately informed of the crashes into the World Trade Center. Did they not want to interrupt his telling of a children's story? None of this makes the slightest sense.

  3. The article states: "'If we had shot down four airliners on Sept. 11, we wouldn't have been heroes,' Nasty says. 'You don't have the choice of outcomes. They're all bad.'" Now it is too bad that 'Nasty' might not have been a hero, but the difference between shooting down the planes and not shooting down the planes is thousands of lives, billions of dollars in damage to the fabric of New York and possibly hundreds of billions of dollars damage to the U. S. economy, a multi-billion dollar war in Afghanistan, a never-ending 'war on terror', the complete dismembering of the U. S. Constitution, and incalculable damage to the psychology of the whole country.

  4. The article states: "While the unit always had two pilots on alert, much of the regular flying time was devoted to training high over the Atlantic." Do all such bases have pilots on this type of alert? The apologists for the government inactivity seem to suggest that pilots are not usually on such alert. Why not?

  5. Even though there had not been an official call for a scramble, when the pilots heard from a colleague that a flight had been hijacked at 8:40, they immediately started to get ready. It is commendable that they were so on top of things. What were the pilots at other bases doing? These pilots had lots of time to get ready.

  6. The article states: "As soon as he climbed off his jet, Nasty was told by a crew member on the ground that another airliner had smashed into the Pentagon. And he was told that a military F-16 had shot down a fourth airliner in Pennsylvania, a report that turned out to be incorrect." Since the official story is that we don't know what happened to Flight 93, how do we know that this is incorrect?

In order that the truth come out on what really happened on September 11, all the pilots involved have to be interviewed under oath. At the moment, all evidence points to the fact that at least the interceptors for Flight 77 must have been intentionally held back.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

A while ago I wrote that there seemed to be a danger to the U. S. economy and stock markets that American policies in the Middle East would lead to the withdrawal of massive amounts of Saudi Arabian money from the United States. Since that time, the extreme anti-Saudi rhetoric from the American right-wingers has escalated to the point where some are calling Saudi Arabia no longer an ally of the United States, and there is even a hint that the U. S. ought to take military action to take possession of the Saudi oil fields (perhaps as part of the war on Iraq, or perhaps even that the war on Iraq is a cover to assemble troops who will then attack Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq - that would explain the odd leaks concerning the attack against Iraq in terms of disinformation to hide the true intentions of the Americans). While it is true to say that the Saudi government is a corrupt regime with a medieval view of the world, it is a bit much for the Americans to start complaining about it now, given that successive American governments have consistently supported the same Saudi regime and have benefitted greatly from the weaknesses of Saudi Arabia (in fact the essential nature of the British colonial plan in all the Arab states was to set up unpopular corrupt governments that could be easily controlled by the colonial power, and the colonial power is now the United States). It is also a bit much for American right-wingers to complain about Saudi funding of Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when such funding started as a CIA program to advance American geopolitical goals. Finally, it is also a bit much for the Americans to keep insisting that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia when it is clear that the identities of most or perhaps all of the hijackers are completely unknown, and the Americans refuse to conduct the investigation that might shed some light on September 11. Regardless of what you might feel about the Saudi princes, you have to sympathize with them in their feelings that their old friends have turned on them giving completely hypocritical reasons, and possibly just to provide an excuse to steal some oil. Noam Chomsky has pointed out so many times how the American government supports the worst sort of human-rights violators when those violators suit American goals, only to suddenly find how horrible these human-rights violations are when they are looking for a 'regime change' (we currently see a good example of this in Bush's carping about Iraq's use of chemical weapons against the Iranians when we find that the U. S. was aware of such gas use at the time and even with that knowledge provided battle planning assistance to the Iraqis, not to mention the assistance in giving Iraq chemical and biological warfare capability in the first place). Now, this completely gratuitous anti-Saudi talk from a bunch of American talking heads has made the Saudis question their relationship with the U. S. For absolutely no good reason other than sheer arrogance, these supposed geniuses (and why are the Bush people supposed to be so much smarter than the Clinton people were when everything the Bush people do is a disaster?) who now run the United States have caused trouble with what used to be an ally. The Saudis are clearly starting to withdraw money from the United States and considering denominating oil pricing in Euros rather than dollars. On top of the stupid words of the Americans, we now have a rather political lawsuit on behalf of victims of September 11, claiming one trillion dollars (kindly reduced from 100 trillion!) in damages, and naming as defendants not only the Saudi government but also three members of the Saudi royal family, including defence minister Prince Sultan. The Saudis will quite clearly remember how Iranian assets in the United States were frozen at the time of the hostage crisis. If this suit ever gets to the point where there is the slightest possibility that a lawyer for the plaintiffs might try to freeze Saudi assets in the U. S., Saudi money will flow out of the United States as quickly as positions can be liquidated. The whole basis of U. S. recent economic success has been the recycling of wealth obtained by selling oil to the United States back through the American economy. It would be the height of stupidity if the current group of morons running the United States were to ruin this system.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The Moussaoui case is throwing off a few sparks:

  1. The case makes little sense, and there appears to be no evidence that Moussaoui was a member of the nineteen September 11 terrorists. The nineteen ostentatiously hung out together, and the government apparently has no evidence connecting Moussaoui to any of them. In fact, the only real evidence that Moussaoui is a terrorist is that he is said to have received money from Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, allegedly a former roommate of Mohamed Atta. Al-Shibh is said to have wire transferred the money to Moussaoui from the United Arab Emirates (or possibly Germany). Al-Shibh's German phone number was also found in Moussaoui's laptop. Al-Shibh had allegedly also wired money to Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilot of one of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center. Moussaoui claims that the person he received the money from is not al-Shibh, and has now tendered proof from the government's own files that the name of the alias allegedly used by al-Shibh, Ahad Sabet, is the name of a doctor working in Phoenix whose identity was stolen when he was on vacation in Spain a few years ago. If this is so, how can the government, which has the onus of proving its case, prove that the money which came from 'Ahad Sabet' actually came from al-Shibh? I assume that Moussaoui is going to be convicted regardless of what the facts are, but the prosecution case against Moussaoui is incredibly weak. (I note that the FBI also claims that Moussaoui got funding from Yazid Sufaat, an alleged al-Qaeda operative in Malaysia who previously had met with two of the 19 hijackers.)

  2. The local FBI agents were not allowed to search the contents of Moussaoui's laptop due to the resistance of the Washington FBI and Department of Justice officials. The resistance was so peculiar, and so lacking in any conceivable rational explanation, that local FBI investigators even started to suspect some sort of conspiracy. Now a whistle-blower, Sibel Edmonds, a former wiretap translator in the Washington field office of the FBI, is alleging that one of her co-workers, another translator, had connections with a foreign government official subject to FBI surveillance, and this co-worker even failed to translate important intelligence-related information, presumably to shield the target from proper investigation. When Sibel Edmonds complained about this and other problems, she was fired. She now has a whistle-blower action underway against the government. The really interesting point is that she alleges that she was approached to join the group for which the co-worker was working. In other words, she was approached to become a spy. What jumps out at you from the reports of all this is the coyness with which the matter is described. Nowhere is the country involved ever named. You would think that if it were an Arab intelligence agency the reports would not hesitate to point that out. For that reason, some have surmised that it must be Israel that had compromised FBI security. An article was written by Justin Raimondo accusing Israel, and then sort of retracted, leaving us with the statement "that the country in question may not be Israel." However, common sense would lead us to the conclusion that it is very unlikely to be any country other than Israel. It doesn't surprise me that Israel has spies in the U. S. government, and it may not even be very important. What does interest me is the possibility that the resistance to inspection of Moussaoui's laptop may have been inspired by Israeli concerns. Why would Israel not want Moussaoui's laptop to be inspected? Is is possible that Moussaoui was acting as an Israeli operative? French intelligence had a thick file on Moussaoui, as he appeared to have connections to radical Islam in London, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. Somone like that might have been a very useful double-agent, and whatever group was running him may have feared that inspection of the laptop might have traced back to them.

  3. Moussaoui claims to have sent an e-mail six weeks before September 11 inquiring about a University of Minnesota cropdusting course. His argument is that if he had planned to start a 6 month to 1 year course on cropdusting he could hardly have been planning to be involved in the September 11 terrorism. This is interesting for two reasons. First, it parallels the rather odd interest of the terrorists in Florida in cropdusting, an interest that went all through August and even into September 2001 and makes absolutely no sense if the terrorists were planning to die in early September. As I have written, this interest seems to indicate that the terrorists were unaware of the timing or the nature of the actual attack until the last minute (I still have to write about why this timing issue is so important). Secondly, the prosecutor's response to Moussaoui's argument seems to be that most of the hijackers did not know the nature or timing of their mission until just before they carried it out. The problem with this is that Moussaoui was arrested in mid-August, when the other hijackers were still interested in cropdusting, and so presumably did not then know what the nature of the attack was to be. Could Moussaoui be found guilty for something that he may have conspired to do had he not been arrested? Moussaoui's prosecution is beginning to sound like a bad law school exam question.

  4. It strikes me as being utterly outrageous, but the prosecution apparently plans to present to Moussaoui's jurors, during both the guilt and the penalty phases of the trial, videos of the burning and collapsing World Trade Center, family pictures of victims, and cockpit voice recordings from United Flight 93. Given the extraordinarily slim evidence of Moussaoui having any connection to the nineteen hijackers, the prosecution appears to be trying to buttress its case by introducing the jury to extremely prejudicial material. What is interesting is that the prosecution is also planning to play recordings from the cockpit of an executive jet that tracked Flight 93 on September 11. This is the first we've officially heard of this jet, which was owned by NetJets, a company which sells part ownership interests in executive jets. Since the whole nature of the crash of Flight 93 has been shrouded in mystery, it is very interesting that the government is now admitting to a possible witness. NetJets is owned by Warren Buffett, who has often been rumored to have intelligence connections, but it seems ridiculous for anyone to use a NetJets plane for any surreptitious activity, as owning an interest in such a jet is not protected by any secrecy. It is almost certainly a coincidence that the plane was in the area, but it is interesting that we are hearing about it only in the context of the plans of the prosecution in Moussaoui's case. Warren Buffett himself was oddly busy in Nebraska on the morning of September 11.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Contrast and compare Gordon Sinclair's rather famous broadcast from radio station CFRB in Toronto in 1973, "The Americans", with the 2002 "Open Letter to America from a Canadian" by W.R. McDougall. There was some truth to Sinclair's broadcast at the time, although the rot had already set in (it was, or course, the time of Nixon and Vietnam). The only problem I see with McDougall's letter is that it is way too easy on the United States. The essential problem is that Americans have been lying to themselves for so many years now that they are completely incapable of telling the difference between the rather frightening truth and their mythological view of America. The roots of the problem go back to the 1930's, but the real problems began right after the Second World War, when the American government came under the control of the group of thugs who still run the country. There has been a carefully planned program of complete domination of all sources of information through total media control, the creation of the 'think tank' system to manufacture policy, the establishment of entrepreneurial right wing religion as a method of political control, the use of political contributions to buy politicians, and, if all else fails, simple violence. It is now a country where anyone who could do good is marginalized or assassinated, and changes in government are at least as likely to occur by coup d'etat than by the operation of democracy. There is no longer even the necessity to hide the fact that the country is run entirely for the benefit of certain large pools of capital. The essential lies that Americans tell themselves, which mainly have to do with class structure and, even at this late date, race, infect every major political issue in the country - crime and the incarceration industry, health care, the 'war on drugs', education, immigration including the racist response to 9-11, the environment, poverty and the extraordinary creation of what is really a new caste system consisting of a permanent underclass (something that has happened, unnoticed, only in the last few years), and even American foreign policy. Each year since around the time of Sinclair's broadcast the situation has gotten worse, but lately the rate of deterioration appears to be increasing rapidly. Things have gotten so bad that the government is now fronted by a retarded (and I use that word in a technical sense) clown, who everyone treats as if he were a real President (the worst lie to yourself is when you have to pretend that the obvious idiot who leads you is entitled to do so). The lies are so deeply ingrained into American thought that the vast majority of the population apparently is incapable of seeing that there is anything wrong, meaning that there is no possibility of change. All this isn't really the business of Canadians or anyone else except for the fact that the evil thugs who run the U. S. seem determined to capture all the world's wealth through military violence, enslave everyone to work for the American Empire, and bring everyone down to the level of American society.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

I don't think Americans have fully realized the implications of the Jose Padilla case. Padilla was picked up in May, and stored until June, when his case was used as a distraction by the Bush Administration to draw attention away from the Coleen Rowley testimony. This misdirection was a tremendous success. Padilla then spent the summer as an 'enemy combatant', without being charged or offered any hope of trial (a Kafka novel in real life). The key point to understand is the vehemence with which Administration officials have now made it clear that Padilla was not a member of al-Qaeda, and had done nothing wrong, but they have decided to continue to hold him indefinitely anyway. They absolutely want to ensure that you did not miss these points, but did nothing about them. I don't know whether you are supposed to hear some kind of special sound when a precedent is being set, but I think I heard something. It is also not a coincidence that Ashcroft is simultaneously musing about setting up camps for American citizens who he deems to be 'enemy combatants'. In a year, when the body bags start coming home from Iraq, and you find yourself arrested and indefinitely detained in one of AshKroft's Kamps for participating in an anti-war march, you will say: 'But I'm an American citizen!' They will say: 'So was Padilla.' You will say: 'But I didn't do anything wrong!' They will say: 'Neither did Padilla.' Padilla was the perfect test case - Hispanic, ex-con, ex-gang member, convert to Islam. The Administration cast a few lies around about 'dirty bombs', and no one was prepared to lift a finger to help him. Don't think the courts will be of any use either. Some lower courts may be sympathetic, but the issue will be decided by the Supreme Court, and its outrageous installation of Bush shows that it is subservient to the junta. The Administration can now quietly let Padilla go and the damage will already have been done. The really interesting aspect of all this is that this problem teaches us about how the Germans managed to fall into the grasp of Hitler. This has been a great mystery for historians, but now we can see, in real time, the exact same thing happening in the United States. Hitler got himself elected (there he has a leg up on Bush), used thuggery to keep himself in power (think of Bush's rioters as his first example of this), used the Jews as the enemy to rally support against (Bush has terrorists), had an fake attack on the country, the Reichstag fire, to further rally the people (Bush has 9-11), continued to stir up fake hysteria in the people to use the herd instinct to build on his power (Bush uses fake terror warnings), gradually removed legal and human rights protections on the excuse that they were being used to protect the 'enemy' (the Padilla case) and then was able to brutalize any opposition without fear of legal restraint, had right wing judges in his pocket to enforce his evil laws (Bush has the Supreme Court), terrified the craven democratic opposition into letting him have his way (Bush has the Democrats), and eventually used a combination of terror and petty self-interest to lead his country into a disasterous war (Bush uses the war on terror and a desire to seize Iraqi oil to keep those SUV's running as his excuse to attack Iraq). The most interesting thing is that in both cases the average person could do absolutely nothing to stop any of it (if you disagree, just what do you plan to do to stop it?). Just as the Germans knew about the concentration camps but pretended not to know to try to 'get along', will Americans live in the shadows of AshKroft's Kamps pretending they don't exist in an attempt to keep out of them? Americans have allowed the most important of the legal rights, that of habeas corpus, a right that goes back to the Magna Carta and is enshrined in the Constitution, to disappear without a wimper. It is not an exaggeration to see the Padilla case as the most important case in the law of legal rights in many years, and no one seems to care or even notice.
In thinking about the anthrax attacks I was wondering how one might go about setting up a patsy to take the blame. This is just an intellectual exercise, and I have no reason to believe that anything like the following happened in the current anthrax case. A patsy is someone who is set up to take the blame for a crime. It is important to note that a patsy is not necessarily completely innocent. The most famous patsy in American history is Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was almost certainly working for one or more U. S. intelligence or police agencies, and was probably doing illegal acts in the course of his work. Oswald was a strong supporter of JFK and a gung-ho American patriot, and it is unlikely that he would have killed JFK or participated in any plot to kill JFK. One theory of his involvement in the assassination was that he was convinced that he was a part of a military exercise whereby a fake assassination attempt on JFK would be used to test the security measures around him. Oswald would have been told that guns would be involved, but they would fire blanks, and he would be helping the President by participating. Compare this to the anthrax attacks. A scientist might have been told that he was participating in a test of government security against anthrax attacks by mail. Politicians (who happened to be Democrats!) would be participating in the test which would involve screening of suspicious mail and new technology of sterilization. It was necessary to use the most sophisticated U. S. government technology of preparation of the anthrax to truly test the system, but the scientist would be led to believe that no one would be harmed as the recipients were ready for the letters. The scientist had to have worked for the government to have gained the requisite expertise but, as the source of the anthrax could not be seen to be the U. S. government (as the government shouldn't have such weapons), not be associated with the government at the time of the tests (being recently 'fired' might be a good cover). The whole operation would have to be completely secret, with no possible connection back to the government should anything go wrong, and the scientist would have to be bound by this secrecy. Unbeknownst to him, when the 'tests' take place there is no security screening and no sterilization, and the letters reach the offices of the politicians without being screened or sterilized. This creates a nice test in the field of the new weapon, and scares the hell out of the Democrats. The scientist is not innocent, as he did send the letters, and he cannot properly defend himself, as his involvement in retrospect looks terribly suspicious. The danger if you are in this patsy position is that before you start singing you meet your own personal Jack Ruby. Anyone who finds himself in this position should obtain some good, non-government, security and be very careful about being 'suicided'. It is interesting that there is speculation that the attacks were made by a government employee in a misguided attempt to increase government funding for research on biological weapons, but that the employee did not intend to kill anyone. This makes no sense unless the employee was misinformed as to the nature of the security measures in place, for otherwise he could not be sure that his actions wouldn't lead to many deaths.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Remember how John Ashcroft announced on June 10 in a satellite link from Moscow the detention of Jose Padilla, the alleged al-Qaeda terrorist accused of attempting to set off a 'dirty bomb' in the United States? Remember the extensive media coverage of the dangers of a 'dirty bomb'? Remember the fears and panic that Americans suddenly had of slow lingering painful deaths from radiation sickness? Remember how Padilla was being held as an 'enemy combatant' without trial or possibility of trial, and without even being charged with anything, in seeming contravention of the pre-Dubya laws of the United States, including the Constitution? Remember the somewhat muted protests about this, especially when it was realized that he was an American citizen? Remember how odd it seemed that Padilla was detained on May 8, but Ashcroft went through the drama of his satellite feed on June 10? Remember how some traitors had the temerity to suggest that the timing of the announcement just might have something to do with the fact that June 10 was the date of the embarrassing testimony of FBI agent Coleen Rowley concerning how the FBI and Justice Department in Washington went out of their way to prevent local FBI agents from investigating Moussaoui in the days before September 11? Well, you can now forget the whole thing, as we now learn that Jose Padilla is a 'small fish', with no ties to al-Qaeda, and "two law enforcement officials close to the case say there is no evidence that a plot was under way". Despite this:

"There are no plans to bring Padilla before a military tribunal and U.S. officials have argued he can be held until the government declares an end to the war on terrorism. Newman, Padilla's attorney says that unlike other wars, the war against terrorism is an open-ended conflict and the government could hold him indefinitely."

One administration official even said:

“If this guy thinks he might be there for 20 years with no recourse, he might just say, ‘OK, let’s talk’.”

So they made the whole 'dirty bomb' thing up, now admit that they did, held a man for months on the basis of their lies, and liked the scam so much they'll just keep detaining him even after admitting to the scam. Somehow they manage all this on the basis of the never-ending war on terror. This is the kind of confidence you develop when you are allowed to run roughshod over the Constitution and no one dares say anything about it. With one little battle in the phony war on terror, the junta has:

  1. used the dramatic arrest of a patsy with the addition of a little fear of radiation to hide the embarrassing testimony of Coleen Rowley; and

  2. set a precedent for the rest of U. S. history for indefinite detention without trial of anyone, including American citizens arrested in the United States, who the junta doesn't like or has a propaganda use for.

If that weren't bad enough, John Ashcroft was so thrilled with the success of the detention of Padilla that he has decided to set up whole camps of U. S. citizens he deems to be 'enemy combatants'. This is really, really starting to look exactly like Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany. But don't worry about the U. S. Constitution. With all that Ashcroft is producing these days he's going to need a lot of toilet paper.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

The New York Times, as the 'paper of record', truly appears to believe that it must take action to debunk any and all conspiracy theories that might arise in the masses, for fear that such theories might create dissension and unrest. Right after the time of the anthrax attacks, a noticable slew of scientists involved in microbiology began to die, often in striking ways. This led to the not unreasonable thought that these scientists were being killed because of something they knew or were thought to have known concerning the attacks. Fortunately, and predictably, we now have a NYT article to explain away the whole matter and comfort us in our moment of unease. The article itself is almost a model of debunking, and should receive whatever prizes are awarded for pacification of the peasantry. Note how it refers to two elderly twin brothers in Finland, silly numerology, and a little bit of how human beings don't have an intuitive understanding of probability with the connection, necessary in all intelligent writing today, to human evolution. It also spends time debunking the 'cluster' by pointing out how some of the members of it didn't actually have anything to do with microbiology, and how some of the deaths are plausibly explainable by normal causes. It also uses the most common weapon against conspiracies by referring to some obviously unreliable conspiracists and nutty coincidences. We don't have to be led astray by such obvious attempts at debunking. It is misleading to consider this a problem of probability, and a complete waste of time to get into this argument as neither the conspiricists nor the debunkers have or can have the information to determine what the probabilities are. We also don't have to consider which scientists are in the 'cluster' (I have no doubt that many of the deaths are completely unrelated to the anthrax attacks). Here's the real 'cluster':

  1. The United States was (is?) under an extremely dangerous biological attack, directed mostly at members of the Democratic Party who might have been inclined to ask serious questions about what happened on September 11, and who subsequently have treated the whole issue with kid gloves (why hasn't more been made of the obviously partisan nature of the attacks?). They seem to want to argue that their political decisions are based on Bush's continuing high polling numbers, but it is completely implausible for them to believe that their constituents don't want to know what really happened on September 11. To the sceptical observer, it appears that they have been scared into silence.

  2. The FBI is treating the anthrax attacks, an extraordinary and frightening attack on America and its democratic institutions, as well as an attack which could reoccur tomorrow with devastating consequences if the perpetrators aren't caught, with less concern and speed than it might have looking for a missing cat. It appears to have wasted months investigating people who could not possibly have had anything to do with the attacks in an attempt to appear to be busy while not actually doing anything. Only recently, under huge public pressure, has it started ostentatiously to investigate one man, a man who has been described in the press as having so many suspicious characteristics that he might as well be named 'Patsy'.

  3. It's an open secret that the United States government does research on biological weapons that would have made Mengele shudder, and such investigations are either illegal or immoral or both. Under the current U. S. junta, the old-fashioned ideas of international law and morality have to take a backseat to the needs of the military-industrial complex. This is even more particularly so in areas of scientific research, where there is money to be made in both the creation of the weapon and the pharmaceutical cures. Proper investigation might of necessity discover things that would hurt the interests of powerful people.

  4. The current rash of deaths is eerily reminiscent of the cluster of deaths of scientists in the 1980's associated with military contractor Marconi in Britain. Like the current deaths, some of these deaths were bizarre, and some were also in the form of deaths of a type that look like suicide or mishap, but which could have been staged to hide murder. It is possible that ritualistic murder is used as a method of providing a bogus explanation and cover for murder that has other purposes (think Manson).

We are being misled if we look at the wrong 'cluster'. This issue isn't a question of probabilities. The anthrax attacks occurred after 9-11 and intentionally made reference to the context of 9-11, but had to have been planned prior to September 11, thus opening up the whole issue of foreknowledge. The science tells us that the people involved were almost certainly in the U. S. military or working for a military contractor, and the attacks were clearly directed with the purpose of inhibiting investigation of what happened on September 11. The investigation of the attacks, which should on any reasonable view of the situation been the first priority of the FBI, has been intentionally delayed and flubbed. A proper investigation would expose the whole sordid issue of U. S. government involvement in biological warfare. In every investigation there are key sources of information who are critical to the success of the investigation. If those sources aren't available, the investigation fails. Scientists who knew or might have been thought to know either scientific answers to the puzzle or scientific gossip about the identity of the anthrax attackers start to die. Why should anyone be surprised? I am reminded of so many prominent investigations where witnesses start to die off just before they are to testify. Such deaths, while supposedly unrelated to the investigation, have just enough of a connection that they also serve as a warning to anyone else who might have been considering discussing his or her suspicions with the authorities (it is not unusual for the deaths to be unusual or colorful, just to make sure that everyone gets the message). It may in fact not be necessary for any of the victims to have had special information on the anthrax attacks for their deaths to be useful to people attempting to hide the truth. The final part of the process is the creation of material to debunk the conspiracy theories. No doubt by complete coincidence, The New York Times has felt it expedient to produce a rather obvious debunking article on the whole subject, filled with the usual misdirection and obfuscation. Just look at what the NYT article says about Dr. Don Wiley. We're supposed to believe that the fall into the river was caused by the newly created phenomenon of 'roadway bounce', a bounce which would have bounced him over the rail which only came up to mid-thigh. The bridge must be made out of rubber. I have walked along many bridges and have yet to be bounced into the brink. On the way down, he is supposed to have "suffered fractures to his neck and spine, and his chest was crushed, injuries that are consistent with Wiley's hitting a support beam before he landed in the water." Wouldn't the neck and spine injuries be caused by trauma to the other side of the body than the chest? Maybe he bounced back up after his spine injury, and hit his chest the second time down. How was his chest 'crushed'? As a finale, we're treated to the fact of the attack on the same coroner who examined Dr. Wiley, who "was wrapped in barbed wire and left lying in a stairwell of the medical examiner's building with a live bomb strapped to his chest." What are the odds of that, indeed?

Friday, August 09, 2002

Ariel Sharon ordered the targeted assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Salah Shehadeh by dropping a one-ton bomb on the apartment building in which he slept. Sharon did this with full knowledge that the apartment building was filled with innocent civilians, and that many of them would of necessity die as a result of the bomb. After his initial glee at the 'great success' of the bombing, he soon realized that the rest of the world isn't quite as psychopathic as he is, and had to tone down his celebration. The dead civilians are now 'collateral damage', and various parties have been blamed for the 'mistake'. This is all quite transparent nonsense, as anyone knows that if you drop a one-ton bomb on an inhabited apartment building you are going to kill lots of people. It's particularly disgusting that the Israelis attempted to trot out the argument that their target was to blame for using the civilians in the building as 'human shields'. If the Israelis knew where the target was sleeping, they could have arrested him or assassinated him in such a way that no one else was killed. In other words, the dead civilians were not 'collateral damage', they were the actual target. This is just another of the series of crimes against humanity that the Israelis have been getting away with, and is part of the gradually escalating program of slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The intent is to make life so difficult and dangerous for them that they will simply leave, thus allowing for the conquest and annexation of their land, and is no less than the old colonialism that people thought had disappeared and had been replaced by globalism (do you think Americans feel such sympathy for the Israelis as they see the Palestinians as the equivalent of the Indians and the Israelis as the equivalent of the American settlers, or is the unwaivering American support for Israel just pure oil politics?). The most amazing part of the bombing was the fact that there was a very good chance of a cease-fire agreement being signed, a chance that of course was ended with the bomb. This Israelis are now quibbling about the chances of the agreement, but since the Israeli position is that a cease-fire and termination of the terrorism is the necessary precondition to negotiations with the Palestinians, and the Palestinian terrorism is the main propaganda weapon of the Israelis, we cannot allow them to get away with this so easily. If terrorism is so bad, even the smallest chance of a cease-fire should have been nurtured, and one cannot help but see this bombing attack as having the goal, in addition to brutalizing the Palestinians, of ending the chance of ending the terrorism. For even a chance at an end to the terrorism, why couldn't the Israelis have postponed the assassination? The terrorism suits Sharon, as it is the only excuse he has to avoid negotiating, and negotiation would end his land acquisition program. As Sharon's bomb led directly to the retaliation, and probably led to the destruction of a good chance for a cease-fire, it is not a stretch to blame every one of the deaths that occured as a result of the bomb, as a result of the Hamas retaliation for the bomb, and as a result of the Israeli retaliation for the Hamas retaliation, on Sharon personally, and of course on everyone who supports him. How can the world continue to allow the Israelis to use the Palestinian terrorism as justification for the much worse state terrorism and brutality inflicted by the Israelis on the Palestinians, especially when it has become so clear that any Palestinian attempt to negotiate a cease-fire will be intentionally scuppered by the actions of the Israeli government so that it may continue its program of ethnic cleansing?

Thursday, August 08, 2002

I think there is reason to believe that the events of September 11 were originally supposed to occur somewhat later, and indeed the actual form of attack may not have been settled until the last moment:

  1. Besides the ticket for the flight on September 11, Atta also bought a ticket for October 13 on a Delta flight from Baltimore to San Francisco. Ahmed Alghamdi bought a plane ticket for September 11, but also bought a ticket to Saudi Arabia leaving from Dulles Airport on September 12. Considering that the hijackers were going to be dead on September 11, it is extremely strange for them to make any arrangements for after September 11. Ahmed Alghamdi may have been unaware that the operation would have resulted in his death, although it seems odd for him to believe he could participate in a hijacking one day and take a normal flight home the next. It is impossible to see how Atta could have thought he'd have a use for a later ticket, unless there was the possibility that the September 11 attack wasn't going to happen. It is possible that September 11 was originally supposed to be a test run, but was elevated to the real thing between late August, when the tickets were purchased, and September 11.

  2. It is possible that many of the hijackers spent the month of August studying cropdusting. Groups of two to three men of Middle Eastern appearance visited a Florida airport almost every weekend for six to eight weeks before September 11 to visit a single-plane cropdusting business at the airport and to ask questions. Atta, who was the only man who was positively identified, visited as late as the Saturday before September 11. This is an odd thing to do if you are planning to be dead a few days later. It seems likely that cropdusting attacks were the most likely form the attacks were to take. While such attacks may not have been as spectacular as the 9-11 attack, they might have been just as deadly, and have the distinct advantage of not wasting all the operatives at the same time.

  3. There appeared to be a rush for last-minute flight training in mid to late August. Particularly Hani Hanjour, the worst of the pilots, was trying to improve his skills (and his skills were so bad that after three test flights the owners of the plane he tried to rent wouldn't let him rent it!). Atta also practiced in mid-August.

  4. The tickets for the flights were bought in late August (Waleed and Wail Alshehri bought the first of them on August 26). I would assume the hijackers bought the tickets as soon as they knew that they would be needed in order to ensure that they all got tickets on the proper planes. You could draw the conclusion that the decision to have at least a practice run on September 11 was made shortly before August 26.

Despite the fact there was much planning both outside the United States (in Spain in July) and inside the United States (in Las Vegas in August), it appears that it was not decided until at least mid to late August, and possibly as late as the last minute, when the attack would occur and what type of attack it would be. The hijackers may have believed right into September that at least the first attacks were to involve cropdusters. The studying of cropdusting up to almost the last minute and the purchasing of tickets for after September 11 seem to be evidence that the September 11 flights, even in early September, were to be test runs. The pilots, particularly Hani Hanjour, weren't ready for a real attack, and the completely unprepared Hani Hanjour may have been used only because the decision to attack on September 11 was made so quickly that they were unable to find anyone else. I'll have more to say about Hani Hanjour later. I am also working on explaining why this timing issue is of potentially critical importance.

Monday, August 05, 2002

More miracles and oddities from September 11:

  1. Ziad Jarrah's passport, or at least a part of it, was found in the wreckage of Flight 77 in Pennsylvania. Enough of it was discovered to show the U.S. multiple-entry visa still in his passport, and to leave a nice passport picture to head the article. This is in addition to his cousin's German work permit, which was apparently also found at the site of the crash (although why Jarrah was carrying it, when it presumably would only be of use to him in Germany, remains a mystery), and an Arabic 'hijacker's guide', parts of which were also found in the Pennsylvania wreckage. This material was found despite the fact that the wreckage of the plane was apparently found over a huge area (I assume that indicates that it was blown up while still in the sky, either by a terrorist bomb or an attack by a U. S. missile), and that the main part of the plane was found deeply buried in the ground. We have to add this to the miracle of the fact that the passport of one of the hijackers was found near the site of the WTC. It would appear that all this stuff was planted by someone with access to the crash sites after the crashes.

  2. In the same article we find the allegation, denied (of course) by the CIA, that Jarrah was stopped and questioned in the United Arab Emirates in January 2001 at the request of the CIA. The fact that he was stopped and questioned is old news, but it has always been reported that he was questioned at the request of the U. S. government, not specifically the CIA. The fact that the UAE officials persist in their claims in the light of CIA denials, the fact that they have specific information on the questions asked and the fact that Jarrah was detained until the answers were reported to the U. S. authorities who found them satisfactory, and the fact that the UAE can point to the fact that UAE and European intelligence sources claim that the Jarrah situation fits a pattern of a CIA operation begun in 1999 to track suspected al-Qaeda operatives who were traveling through the UAE (and one UAE source can even draw a map of Dubai airport, showing exactly how this type of questioning was carried out, with U. S. officials declining to comment on whether this is indeed how things happened), not to mention the fact that Dubai has no obvious reason to lie about this and the CIA does, leads me to believe that Jarrah probably was questioned in Dubai at the instance of the CIA. That of course leads to the obvious questions of how it was that they knew to single him out, and how it was that their knowledge of him affected his life in absolutely no way after that point, including when he reentered the United States, got a speeding ticket, or boarded Flight 77 on September 11. It's possible that there may be different kinds of watch lists, some of which don't entail much watching, and some of which entail watching but not stopping.

  3. In order to explain the rather embarrassing total lack of plane wreckage found at the site of the Pentagon crash (with the notable exception of the flight data recorders, possibly pieces of nose gear, an odd and now famous little piece of mangled tin photographed suspiciously far from the site of the crash, and this even smaller piece), the Official Story is that the heat of the fire and explosion vaporized everything. The fusilage, the engines, and presumably the whole contents of the plane were turned into some kind of gas and disappeared. Amazingly, however, sufficient human remains containing DNA were left to enable scientists to identify all but one of the passengers on the plane. Isn't it amazing that DNA is so stable that it can survive heat so intense that it not only melts metal (including metal pieces in jet engines that presumably have to withstand a little bit of heat), but vaporizes it? Obviously, I don't deny that they found human remains from the tragedy of what happened at the Pentagon on September 11. It's just that, whatever happened, Flight 77 had nothing to do with it, and they could not have found DNA from Flight 77 passengers in the Pentagon.

The only thing sadder than the belief of the Powers That Be that people will believe these outlandish tales is that people apparently do in fact believe them.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

The U. S. government, in its continuing rather pathetic attempt to find some sliver of an excuse to attack Iraq, has resurrected the old idea (see item 9 here for some links) that Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, therefore proving that Iraq was somehow behind the September 11 terrorism. I am delighted to see this development, as the Prague meeting opens serious questions about the identity of Mohamed Atta. Atta's personal identity is already quite shaky, as he has the unfortunate habit of appearing in two places at the same time. For example, in April (or perhaps, May), 2000 he was having a nice chat in Florida about obtaining a loan to buy a cropduster, while he was simultaneously still an architecture student in Hamburg, Germany (he didn't arrive in the United States until June, 2000). It would be very unfortunate for the Official Story of what happened on September 11 if it should turn out that someone was using Mohamed Atta's identity and doing suspicious terrorist-type things before Mohamed Atta even arrived in the country, and it would only add to the suspicions if Atta were busy doing evil things in the United States while somebody else attempted to frame him in Prague by meeting with a representative of Iraq. Even though the Czechs are still officially denying that Atta met an Iraqi in Prague, and even though the FBI can account for his whereabouts in Virginia and Florida for the whole month of April 2001 (he is supposed to have met with the Iraqi agent on April 8), and can find no record of his leaving or entering the United States during that time, I think it is perfectly possible that one of the actors who played the character 'Mohamed Atta' did meet with an Iraqi agent in Prague. This is all eerily reminiscent of the incident in 1963 where someone arranged to have an actor attend at the Soviet embassy and the Cuban consulate in Mexico City claiming to be Lee Harvey Oswald (in that case surveillance photos and transcripts eventually pried out of the CIA and FBI conclusively proved that it was not Lee Harvey Oswald - do you think the Czechs could scare up some surveillance videos of the alleged Prague meeting?). The striking similarity is that in both cases someone went to a lot of trouble to impersonate a Nobody in a politically sensitive situation, effectively attempting to implicate a government in a crime, presumably with foreknowledge that the Nobody was going to become a Somebody once the crime was committed. If this sort of impersonation happened with 'Atta' in Prague, it looks an awful lot like the characteristic work of an intelligence agency.
If you're trying to ethnically cleanse an area, your best weapon isn't a gun, a tank or a helicopter. It's a Caterpillar bulldozer, specifically the armored D-9 bulldozer now being expertly wielded by the Israeli Defense Forces in destroying the homes and infrastructure of the Palestinians (some good pictures of the results, although of course it is difficult to photograph the results of sickness caused by destruction of the water supply by intentionally destroying water pipes). One particularly intrepid D-9 bulldozer driver has apparently become a sort of folk hero in Israel. Some spoilsports are even suggesting that we boycott Caterpillar until it agrees to stop selling these toys to the IDF.

Friday, August 02, 2002

John R. Bradley of Arab News makes another attack on "Best of the Web Today" by James Taranto. I know The Wall Street Journal is a right-wing business paper, but I am still surprised that it wants to be associated with opinions with such an obvious slant as those of Mr. Taranto. "Best of the Web Today" might as well be written by Ariel Sharon (maybe it is!). The amount of space that is spent on one issue, the perfection that is Israel and the perfidity of the Arabs, is amazing. It is the kind of extreme focussed prejudice that you'd expect to see in a personal blog written by someone with extreme feelings on the Middle East, and not something you'd expect to see associated with a newspaper with any credibility. I still see this as a question of ethics - should a newspaper be able to hide behind the internet and the blog format to publish ideas that it would never dream of publishing in the newspaper itself? This is a question that is going to arise more and more as the popular blog format is appropriated by mainstream media outlets in an effort to appear trendy.