Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Don't Need Your Civil Wars

Civil War

Lyrics By: Guns N' Roses

(Slash / McKagan / Rose)

What we've got here is failure to communicate!

Some men you just can't reach...
So, you get what we had here last week,
Which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
N' I don't like it any more than you men.

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D'you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said "Peace could last forever"
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can't trust freedom
When it's not in your hands
When everybody's fightin'
For their promised land

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war

Look at the shoes your filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before
Look in the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

"We practice selective annihilation of mayors
And government officials
For example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
As popular war advances Peace is closer"

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
And I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war
I don't need one more war

I don't need one more war
Whaz so civil 'bout war anyway

What If The Israeli Lobby Was The Islamic Lobby?

Weekend Edition
August 30 / 31, 2008
Courtesy Of

Part One

What if:

Abu Faisal was White House press secretary (instead of Ari Fleischer)

Altaf Adham was deputy national security advisor (instead of Elliott Abrams)

Sofian Bishr was Supreme Court Justice instead of Stephen Breyer

Tarf Kaukab was Nightline host (instead of Ted Koppel)

Dawud Bushr was New York Times columnist (instead of David

Rukan Badar Ghiyath was Supreme Court Justice (instead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

Thamer Furud was New York Times columnist (instead of Thomas Friedman)

Laith Keid was host of Larry King show (instead of Larry King)

Yousuf “Yo” Luqman was US Senator from Connecticut (instead of Joseph “Joe” Lieberman)

Zuhaa Midlaj was New York Times reporter (instead of Judith Miller)

Dawud Fouad was Bush’s speechwriter (instead of David Frum)

Lu’ay Labib was Cheney’s Chief of Staff (instead of Lewis Libby)

Polat Walif-Rizk was Rumsfeld’s Deputy Secretary of Defense (instead of Paul Wolfowitz)

Mahdi Parvez was editor of The New Republic magazine (instead of Martin Peretz)

Basil Kishwar was the editor of The Weekly Standard instead of (Bill Kristol)

Ali Wisam was the famous Nobel Peace laureate (instead of Elie Wiesel)

Jaafer Ghawth-Badr was a staff writer at New Yorker (instead of Jeffrey Goldberg)

Rifat Pir was the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board AdvisoryCommittee (instead of Richard Perle)

Yaman Sikandar was the famous filmmaker (instead of Steven Spielberg)

Ibrahim Faqih-Ma’n was the head of the Anti-Defamation League (instead of Abraham Foxman)

Alam Daoud-Vida was the famous lawyer (instead of Alan Dershowitz)
Imagine the above Muslims in key positions. There are 2 per cent Jews in the US and the same percentage of Muslims. Now consider for a moment that both communities have exchanged places as it happens on that TV show “Wife Swap.” Here not only wives but the entire community exchanges places. Or a still better example would be the 1970 film “Watermelon Man” in which a white man wakes up in the morning and discovers he has turned into a black person. Blackness becomes his fate.

However, first let us check out the power Jews have in the United States in order to imagine how things would have been different if the Muslims had exactly the same power.

This article, however, realizes that Jews are not a monolithic group. For instance: 75 per cent of Americans supported the war in 2003 in US, whereas the Jewish support was at 50 per cent.

Like many other Jews, the billionaire George Soros favors a dialogue between the Hamas (the elected government in the Palestinian territories) and the Israelis:

“... Israel, with the strong backing of the United States, refused to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government and withheld payment of the millions in taxes collected by the Israelis on its behalf. This caused great economic hardship and undermined the ability of the government to function. But it did not reduce popular support for Hamas among Palestinians, and it reinforced the position of Islamic and other extremists who oppose negotiations with Israel....”
There have always been Jewish people and institutions who have tried to work for some peaceful solution of the Palestinian/Israeli problem but the Jewish Lobby and pro Israel individuals have always succeeded in silencing or marginalizing those voices.

Bill and Kathleen Christison explain how the word “anti-Semite” is abused:

“Anyone who has the temerity to suggest any Israeli instigation of, or even involvement in, Bush administration war planning is inevitably labeled somewhere along the way as an anti-Semite. Just whisper the word ‘domination’ anywhere in the vicinity of the word ‘Israel,’ as in ‘U.S.-Israeli domination of the Middle East’ or ‘the U.S. drive to assure global domination and guarantee security for Israel,’ and some leftist who otherwise opposes going to war against Iraq will trot out charges of promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the old czarist forgery that asserted a Jewish plan for world domination.”
A Few Clarifications

Before proceeding any further, it is important to remember the historic injustices suffered by the Jewish people. The past has not been especially nice to the Jews; rather it has been extremely cruel—mainly, in the form of European Christianity. The atrocious climax reached between 1939 and 1945 under Nazi Germany. Between five to six million Jews were murdered. But since then, although there have been some instances of targeting Jewish people and desecrating their cemeteries in Europe and elsewhere, these have not in any way affected their survival and growth as a distinct religious and cultural entity. And economically they are one of the few most powerful groups in the world.

In addition: There are many interest groups or lobbies in the United States who are doing immense harm to people within and without, and the dominant corporate press is one of those groups. People who want to register their protest or recommend changes are at the mercy of the media managers. So, the Jewish Lobby is not the only one exerting influence. Nevertheless, the Lobby’s power is enormous and it has wielded it in such a devastating way that the whole of Middle East has been burning for quite a long time now — and in turn it affects the entire world.

There is, of course, a convergence of the US interest to control the oil; and, the Israeli interest to be the sole regional power. If one thinks from that perspective, then without doubt the US would have been in a better shape if it would have avoided the 2003 complete destruction of the almost-destroyed Iraq of 1991 and if it had left Saddam Hussein pitted against Iran. Not only would this have saved the US billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives but would have preserved its hegemony a little longer.

Anti-Arab, Anti-Palestine, Anti-Iran, Anti-Muslim?

When a corporation exploits its workers it is called an exploiter. When a member of the majority discriminates against a member of the minority then she/he is called a racist. When a male discriminates against a woman he is called a sexist. When one person discriminates another on the basis of religion then that person is called a communalist. When anyone hates or kills a Jew (simply because he is a Jew), that person is called an anti-Semite. When a Muslim kills someone in the name of Islam, he is called a Muslim fundamentalist/militant/fanatic/etc.

What would you call those influential Jews, individuals and those belonging to the Lobby, in the US who played an important role in the war to destroy an Arab country of Iraq without any reason or are now pushing for a war against Iran?

They are beardless, suited, booted. They are not overtly religious like Taliban and so we can’t call them Jewsratics or Jews who are Israel Fanatics. However, their religion is Israel and so the appropriate word (for their world devastating pro Israel stand) should be “Israel Fanatics” or “Isratics.” These Isratics are on a revenge path for past injustices.

The victims are now the victimizers. Their victims are not the white Europeans but the Palestinians and other Arabs.

And the Isratics are equipped with a WMD or word of mass destruction, and so the moment anyone points out their control over the US Congress, government, news media, etc. she/he will be labeled an “anti-Semite.”


Auschwitz, located in Poland, (then under German control) was the largest of the many concentration camps where the Jews were transported and were murdered using all sorts of inhuman methods. Other communities suffered too.

For the organized Jewry, the “Holocaust” has become a profitable enterprise, as Norman Finkelstein’s insightful study, “The Holocaust Industry,” makes clear. Just one example: The Swiss banks’ offer of $600 million was rejected by the Jewish leaders and so in August 1998, they agreed to pay $1.25 billion. A press release by Swiss banks explained “the aim of the additional payment” “is to avert the threat of [US] sanctions as well as long and costly court proceedings.” Back in March, Edgar Bronfman, president of World Jewish Congress had warned the Swiss banks: “If the Swiss are going to keep digging their heels in, then I’ll have to ask all US shareholders to suspend their dealings with the Swiss [emphasis mine].” Finkelstein reminds us that the United States is equally guilty of the three categories (Swiss denial of asylum to refugees, claimants to inactive Swiss bank accounts, and victims of slave labor which proved advantageous to the Swiss) for which the Swiss had to pay; whereas, the US has not even been threatened, let alone charged.

“Many” lawyers were charging $600 an hour for filing claims, and one lawyer wanted $2,400 for reading Tom Bower’s book “Nazi Gold.”

Many other European governments, including Germany, have also paid huge sums of money to organized Jewry.

The US itself has never paid any money to the Native Indians, the blacks, and many others. One may wonder as to why the US government threatens other governments or their institutions to pay reparations to the Jews!

(In 1986, the World Court ordered the US to pay $17 billion to Nicaragua for multiple crimes. The US ignored the verdict.)

Most interesting to note: Finkelstein says, “The Holocaust’s mystery, Wiesel avows, is ‘noncommunicable;’ ‘we cannot even talk about it.’ Thus, for his standard fee of $25,000 (plus chauffeured limousine), Wiesel lectures that the ‘secret of Auschwitz’s ‘truth lies in silence.’”

Daniel McGowan provides a good portrait of this peace laureate.

“He is a multi-millionaire, but carefully cultivates the image of a perpetually disheveled professor. Although he has won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Guardian of Zion Medal, and the Oprah Book Award, many people in Israel resent the way he has used the Holocaust to make his living. Some Israelis refer to him as a ‘sho’an.’ The word ‘sho’a’ is Hebrew for Holocaust; with the suffix it indicates a professional specializing in the subject. So it is both funny and derogatory, not unlike Norman Finkelstein referring to Wiesel as the ‘resident clown’ of the Holocaust circus.”
Wiesel was awarded a Noble Peace Prize in 1986. In 1983, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s secretary, his name was recommended by half of the US Congress.

Noam Chomsky says that in the US, Wiesel is respected as a “secular saint” and is considered a “critic of fascism.”

However, the saint keeps his mouth shut where Israel’s crimes are involved:

“I support Israel, period. I identify with Israel, period. I never attack; never criticize Israel when I am not in Israel.”
This so called harbinger of peace was in the White House on February 27, 2003 to see the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. President George Bush was also there. Wiesel echoed the same old nonsense of comparing Germany of the late 1930s with 2003’s Iraq. In simple words he wanted Bush to start a war. He said: “It’s a moral issue. In the name of morality how can we not intervene.” “I’m against silence.” So he wanted Bush to scream out loud with weapons.

Further, there are people like the late Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress, who have criticized those who exploited the Jewish tragedy:

“We will have to understand that Jewish suffering during the Holocaust no longer will serve as a protection, and we certainly must refrain from using the argument of the Holocaust to justify whatever we may do. To use the Holocaust as an excuse for the bombing of Lebanon, for instance, as Menachem Begin does, is a kind of “Hillul Hashem” [sacrilege], a banalization of the sacred tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust], which must not be misused to justify politically doubtful and morally indefensible policies.”
The letter H in the word “Holocaust” is in capital letter because many influential Jewish leaders firmly believe that theirs is the unique tragedy. In other words, they have a copyright over the word “Holocaust” and thus the millions of Native Indians, African slaves, Armenians (victims of Turks), the Congolese (victims of Belgium), the Bengalis of East Pakistan, later Bangladesh, (victims of West Pakistan, now Pakistan), Roma and Sinti people or gypsies (victims of Nazi Germany), and others can’t claim their tragedies as holocaust.

Robert Fisk tells us that the word holocaust has been in currency since the 18th century. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as a matter fact, used it for the Armenians:

“In 1915 the Turkish Government began and ruthlessly carried out the infamous general massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia Minor.” The “war criminals,” that is the Turks, massacred “uncounted thousands of helpless Armenians - men, women and children together; whole districts blotted out in one administrative holocaust - these were beyond human redress.”
Money Talks, Politicians Walk

It is the power of the influential Isratics. And they are everywhere in the US. The third richest man in the US (and the richest Jew in the world) and the owner of two of Las Vegas’s huge casino resorts, the Palazzo and the Venetian, Sheldon Adelson, opposes the two-state (Israel/Palestine) solution. In October 2007, during Republican donors’ visit to the White House, he warned President George Bush that the policy which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pursuing in the Middle East would ruin him.

His both arms around Adelson and his wife’s shoulders, Bush replied: “You tell your Prime Minister [Israel’s Ehud Olmert] that I need to know what’s right for your people—because at the end of the day it’s going to be my policy, not Condi’s. But I can’t be more Catholic than the Pope.”

AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)

The Jewish Lobby is made up of several Jewish groups. The Israel Lobby includes some pro Israel Evangelical Christians and Christian Zionists. AIPAC is one of the most important of the Jewish groups.

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in 2005 that AIPAC’s “leaders can be immoderately frank about the group’s influence.” Years back, while dining with AIPAC’s Steve Rosen, Goldberg asked if the 1992 incident involving the then AIPAC President David Steiner had hurt the AIPAC’s influence. “A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. ‘You see this napkin?’ he said. ‘In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.’”

The above conversation is not an isolated incident.

On October 22, 1992, New York businessman Haim (Harry) Katz [HK] recorded his conversation with AIPAC President David Steiner [DS] without his knowledge. Later, when the conversation became public, Steiner resigned. Excerpts of that conversation:

DS: Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees which a fabulous thing, $3 billion was in foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.


DS: ... I said look Jim [Baker, Papa Bush’s Secretary of State], “You don't want a fight before the election. It’s going to hurt Bush....

HK: ... But you met with Baker. . .

DS: Personally.

HK: Personally. Because you know, he's the one who cursed, who cursed the Jews.

(When the Jewish influence in the US was mentioned at a government meeting on Middle East, Baker supposedly said, “Fuck the Jews. They don’t vote for us [Republicans] anyway.”)

DS: Of course, do you think I'm ever going to forgive him for that?


DS: Do you think I could ever forgive Bush for what he did September 12th [1991] a year ago? What he said about the Jews for lobbying in Washington?

(Bush Sr. had said: I was “up against some powerful political forces . . . I heard today there was something like 1,000 lobbyists on the Hill working on the other side of the question. We’ve got one lonely little guy down here doing it.”)


HK: ... I thought [presidential candidate Rose] Perot did marvelous in the debates.

DS: He doesn’t know how to govern. He’s not going to make it. And there was an incident where his daughter was going out with a Jewish professor at school and he said, “I wouldn’t have my daughter marry a Jew.”


DS: ... you ought to think about coming to some of these things. I’ll have a dinner this fall. I’ll have 18-20 senators there. I run programs in Washington. We just had a, I had at Ted Kennedy’s house last month kosher dinner. I brought foremost caterers down. I had 60 people on the couch for dinner. Last year, I did it in Al Gore’s house.


DS: I personally am not allowed, as president of AIPAC, to get involved in the presidential campaign, because I have to deal with whoever wins.

HK: ... what will he [Bill Clinton] do for Israel, better than Bush...

DS: ... Gore is very committed to us.
(Gore once said: “I have a 100 percent voting record for Israel, even though there wasn’t one synagogue in my congressional district.” And this person had lectured Jesse Jackson for meeting Yasser Arafat.)


DS: I’ve known Bill for seven, eight years ... One of my friends is Hillary Clinton’s scheduler, one of my officer’s daughters works there. We gave two employees from AIPAC leave of absences to work on the campaign. I mean, we have a dozen people in that campaign, in the headquarters.


DS: Let me tell you the problem with the $10 billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have the first year. We have authorization from Congress, but it's at the discretion of the president every year thereafter, so if Bush is there, he could say, you know, use it as a club, you know. ‘If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’


DS: ... A girl who worked for me at AIPAC stood up for them [Clintons] at their wedding. Hillary lived with her.... We have never had that with Bush...

DS: ... He's got something in his heart for the Jews, he has Jewish friends. Bush has no Jewish friends.


DS: Reagan had something . . . He knew Jews from the film industry; he was one of the best guys for us. He had an emotional thing for the Jews. Bush doesn't have it.... Bush is, there’s a man with no principles. Absolutely no principles.


HK: ... I wish we had a Jewish candidate for president.

DS: I don't think the country’s ready.

HK: ... I think Joe Lieberman would have, uh, would have, if he wasn’t Jewish....
(Lieberman was Albert Gore’s running mate in the 2000 presidential elections.)

DS: I’d like to see him on the Supreme Court.

HK: If Clinton is elected, has he told you who he’s going to put on the Supreme Court?

DS: We’re talking now.... We're more interested right now, in the secretary of state and the secretary of National Security Agency. That's more important to us.

HK: If Clinton is elected, who do you think will be secretary of state?

DS: I’ve got a list.... I’m not allowed to talk about it.
John Mersheimer and Steven Walt point out the use of pro-Israel congressional staffers as one more source for the Lobby. They quote former AIPAC chief Morris Amitay:

“There are a lot of guys at the working level up here” – on Capitol Hill – “who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators . . . You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.”
A former AIPAC staff member Douglas Bloomfield sheds light on how the congresspersons conduct their research:

“It is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.”

“[AIPAC is] often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes.”
A senior congressional staffer, writing under the pen name George Sunderland, here on the CounterPunch site , explains how the politicians attending the annual AIPAC meetings act:

“Command performances before AIPAC have become standard features in the life of a Washington elected official, like filing FEC reports and hitting on interns. The stylized panegyrics delivered at the annual AIPAC meeting have all the probative value of the Dniepropetrovsk Soviet's birthday greeting to [the Soviet leader, Joseph] Stalin, because the actual content is unimportant; what is crucial is that the politician in question be seen to be genuflecting before the AIPAC board. In fact, to make things easier, the speeches are sometimes written by an AIPAC employee, with cosmetic changes inserted by a member of the Senator's or Congressman's own staff.”
Talking to the New York Sun in January 2003, Howard Kohr said, “Quietly lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq was one of AIPAC’s successes over the past year.”

Occasionally AIPAC is not successful. In 1981, it vehemently opposed the US sale of AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) to Saudi Arabia but failed to block the sale. Former President Gerald Ford was infuriated at the AIPAC antics and called a Republican senator and fumed: “Are we going to let the fucking Jews run American foreign policy?”

Reagan announced the AWACS sale on national television with these words: “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy.”

But Edward Tivnan sees this sale as not much of a victory:

“... AIPAC had taken on the President of the United States, and almost, as Ronald Reagan himself had claimed, embarrassed him in front of the whole world. (What kind of President couldn’t sale five airplanes to a small Arab country, particularly one sitting on billions of dollars of oil crucial to American prosperity?) ... ”
Abraham Foxman

In March 2003, Collin Powell had said: “It is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere, that is telling President Bush or me or Vice President Cheney or [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice or other members of the administration what our policies should be.”

But the reality is exactly opposite.

Foxman, National Director of Anti-Defamation League , is a very important figure; his power can be gauged by the meeting he had with Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, i.e., foreign minister,

“‘In his [Powell’s] own State Department there was a keen awareness of the strength of the Jewish lobbyists. Secretaries of State did not usually meet with lobbyists, but both Jewish officials and Jews that did not officially represent specific groups from Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League to Ronald Lauder, could meet with Powell on short notice.... At the State Department, Foxman had an aura of omnipotence. He was held responsible for the appointment of [Martin S.] Indyk as Undersecretary of State under Clinton, and was thought to have played a role in the appointments of Secretaries of State [Warren] Christopher and [Madeline] Albright. Powell related to Foxman almost as if he were someone to whom he must capitulate. Once Foxman told one of his deputies that Powell was the weak link. When the Secretary of State heard this he began to worry. He knew that in Washington a confrontation with the Jewish lobby would make his life difficult. Once he arranged a meeting with Foxman, but the busy Foxman postponed the meeting three times. When they eventually met, the head of the Anti-Defamation League apologized to the Secretary of State [for the postponements]. “You call, we come,” replied Powell, paraphrasing a well known advertisement for a freight company. That statement had much more meaning than just a humorous polite reply.’” (from Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah, Boomerang...).
Nevertheless, one has to accept the fact that even though Powell had been a part of governments during the 1991 Iraq War and the 2003 Iraq War, he was not in favor of war. One can argue that in that case he should have quit his position and thus boosting the morale of the anti-war movement.

Once on a visit to Jerusalem, he stood his ground, when he refused to comply with Sharon’s order.

Sharon: I don’t want you to go to Damascus [Syria]. I don’t think it serves the interests of peace, and we don’t like it here in Israel when you go to Damascus.

Powell: Ariel, thank you very much but I am going anyway. I am Secretary of State of the United States of America and not the foreign minister of Israel.
Powell was fed up with the neo-cons pushing for war and called them the “fucking crazies.”

It is obvious that it is the Israel Lobby’s power that enabled Sharon to order Powell; otherwise, in reality, he was just a premier of a tiny country — although in military means, the fourth most powerful country in the world.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at . Notes and references available from the author on request.

To be continued Monday.

Ensuring America's Permanent State Of War

Bush Quietly Seeks To Make War Powers Permanent, By Declaring Indefinite State Of War

By John Byrne
Published: Saturday August 30, 2008
Courtesy Of
The Raw Story

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain's choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received scant attention -- and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."

Part of a proposal for Guantanamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

The New York Times' page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries broad legal implications that could imperil Americans' civil liberties and the rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.

It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans' information and exchanges online.

"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold Americans without habeas corpus -- detainment without explanation or charge. Jose Padilla, a Chicago resident arrested in 2002, was held without trial for five years before being convicted of conspiring to kill individuals abroad and provide support for terrorism.

But his arrest was made with proclamations that Padilla had plans to build a "dirty bomb." He was never convicted of this charge. Padilla's legal team also claimed that during his time in military custody -- the four years he was held without charge -- he was tortured with sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, forced stress positions and injected with drugs.

Times reporter Eric Lichtblau notes that the measure is the latest step that the Administration has taken to "make permanent" key aspects of its "long war" against terrorism. Congress recently passed a much-maligned bill giving telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for their participation in what constitutional experts see as an illegal or borderline-illegal surveillance program, and is considering efforts to give the FBI more power in their investigative techniques."It is uncertain whether Congress will take the administration up on its request," Lichtblau writes. "

Some Republicans have already embraced the idea, with Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, introducing a measure almost identical to the administration’s proposal. 'Since 9/11,' Mr. Smith said, 'we have been at war with an unconventional enemy whose primary goal is to kill innocent Americans.'"

If enough Republicans come aboard, Democrats may struggle to defeat the provision. Despite holding majorities in the House and Senate, they have failed to beat back some of President Bush's purported "security" measures, such as the telecom immunity bill.

Bush's open-ended permanent war language worries his critics. They say it could provide indefinite, if hazy, legal justification for any number of activities -- including detention of terrorists suspects at bases like Guantanamo Bay (where for years the Administration would not even release the names of those being held), and the NSA's warantless wiretapping program.

Lichtblau co-wrote the Times article revealing the Administration's eavesdropping program along with fellow reporter James Risen.

He notes that Bush's language "recalls a resolution, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress on Sept. 14, 2001... [which] authorized the president to 'use all necessary and appropriate force' against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to prevent future strikes. That authorization, still in effect, was initially viewed by many members of Congress who voted for it as the go-ahead for the administration to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban, which had given sanctuary to Mr. bin Laden."

"But the military authorization became the secret legal basis for some of the administration’s most controversial legal tactics, including the wiretapping program, and that still gnaws at some members of Congress," he adds.

Italy To Compensate Libya For Colonial Occupation

Italy Agrees To Compensate Libya US $5 Billion For 3 Decades Of Colonial Rule

AP News
Aug 30, 2008 10:29 EST
Courtesy Of

Italy agreed Saturday to pay Libya US $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi signed a memorandum pledging a US $5 billion compensation package involving construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during World War II.

"It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era," Berlusconi told reporters at the airport on his arrival. "This agreement opens the path to further cooperation."

In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores, and Italy will fund US $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.

Gadhafi received Berlusconi under a big tent in Benghazi where they discussed the agreement over lunch. The Italian leader said US $200 million of the package would be for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt.

The two leaders exchanged gifts, with Berlusconi giving Gadhafi a silver inkstand, sculpted in the form of a lion's head, with two pens inside to sign the agreement. The Libyan leader gave Berlusconi a linen suit.

Berlusconi's office said in a statement that the premier would also hand over to Gadhafi the Venus of Cyrene, an ancient Roman statue taken in 1913 by Italian troops from the ruins of the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene, on the Libyan coast.

Relations between the two countries have warmed over the last few years, with Italian leaders meeting Gadhafi several times. However, it has taken years of negotiations for the two sides to reach a deal on compensation for Italy's rule over Libya from 1911 to 1943.

Libya named Aug. 30 Libyan-Italian Friendship Day.

Copyright 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The CIA, Contras, Gangs, and Crack

Written by William Blum, a Washington, DC based writer on foreign policy and intelligence matters. Author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.

Editors: Tom Barry (IRC) and Martha Honey (IPS)
Volume 1, Number 11November 1996
Courtesy Of
Foreign Policy In Focus


In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News initiated an extended series of articles linking the CIA's "contra" army to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.1 Based on a year-long investigation, reporter Gary Webb wrote that during the 1980s the CIA helped finance its covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government through sales of cut-rate cocaine to South Central L.A. drug dealer, Ricky Ross. The series unleashed a storm of protest, spearheaded by black radio stations and the congressional Black Caucus, with demands for official inquiries. The Mercury News' Web page, with supporting documents and updates, received hundreds of thousands of "hits" a day.

While much of the CIA-contra-drug story had been revealed years ago in the press and in congressional hearings, the Mercury News series added a crucial missing link: It followed the cocaine trail to Ross and black L.A. gangs who became street-level distributors of crack, a cheap and powerful form of cocaine. The CIA's drug network, wrote Webb, "opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the 'crack' capital of the world." Black gangs used their profits to buy automatic weapons, sometimes from one of the CIA-linked drug dealers.

CIA Director John Deutch declared that he found "no connection whatsoever" between the CIA and cocaine traffickers. And major media--the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post--have run long pieces refuting the Mercury News series. They deny that Bay Area-based Nicaraguan drug dealers, Juan Norwin Meneses and Oscar Danilo Blandon, worked for the CIA or contributed "millions in drug profits" to the contras, as Webb contended. They also note that neither Ross nor the gangs were the first or sole distributors of crack in L.A. Webb, however, did not claim this. He wrote that the huge influx of cocaine happened to come at just the time that street-level drug dealers were figuring out how to make cocaine affordable by changing it into crack.

Many in the media have also postulated that any drug-trafficking contras involved were "rogue" elements, not supported by the CIA. But these denials overlook much of the Mercury News' evidence of CIA complicity. For example:

- CIA-supplied contra planes and pilots carried cocaine from Central America to U.S. airports and military bases. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo reported to his superiors that cocaine was being stored at the CIA's contra-supply warehouse at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador for shipment to the U.S.2 The DEA did nothing, and Castillo was gradually forced out of the agency.

- When Danilo Blandón was finally arrested in 1986, he admitted to drug crimes that would have sent others away for life. The Justice Department, however, freed Blandón after only 28 months behind bars and then hired him as a full-time DEA informant, paying him more than $166,000. When Blandón testified in a 1996 trial against Ricky Ross, the Justice Department blocked any inquiry about Blandón's connection to the CIA.

- Although Norwin Meneses is listed in DEA computers as a major international drug smuggler implicated in 45 separate federal investigations since 1974, he lived conspicuously in California until 1989 and was never arrested in the U.S.

- Senate investigators and agents from four organizations all complained that their contra-drug investigations "were hampered," Webb wrote, "by the CIA or unnamed 'national security' interests." In the 1984 "Frogman Case," for instance, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco returned $36,800 seized from a Nicaraguan drug dealer after two contra leaders sent letters to the court arguing that the cash was intended for the contras. Federal prosecutors ordered the letter and other case evidence sealed for "national security" reasons. When Senate investigators later asked the Justice Department to explain this unusual turn of events, they ran into a wall of secrecy.
History Of CIA Involvement In Drug Trafficking

"In my 30­year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA." -- Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit.3

The foregoing discussion should not be regarded as any kind of historical aberration inasmuch as the CIA has had a long and virtually continuous involvement with drug trafficking since the end of World War II.

1947 to 1951, France

CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrest control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks--ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world.

Marseille's first heroin laboratories were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.4

Early 1950s, Southeast Asia

The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium baron of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos), the world's largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the CIA's principal proprietary airline, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia.5

1950s To Early 1970s, Indochina

During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many GI's in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world's illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America's booming heroin market.6

1973 to 1980, Australia

The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of U.S. generals, admirals, and CIA men--including former CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering, and international arms dealing. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt.7

1970s and 1980s, Panama

For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated "guns-for-drugs" flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-CIA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellín cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general, once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically, drug trafficking through Panama increased after the U.S. invasion.8

1980s, Central America

The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras, and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating: "There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual contras, contra suppliers, contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the contras, and contra supporters throughout the region. . . . U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua. . . . In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter. . . . Senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the contras' funding problems."9

In Costa Rica, which served as the "Southern Front" for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several CIA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation (detailed by the Mercury News) and Noriega's operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica's border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other CIA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders.10 In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The U.S. repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull to Costa Rica to stand trial.11

Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Americans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking. They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shrimp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to channel cocaine to the U.S.12

Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service--closely associated with the CIA--harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.13 Additionally, the Medellín cartel's Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador.14

The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies, and banks) to these CIA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received U.S. government contracts to carry nonlethal supplies to the contras.15 Southern Air Transport, "formerly" CIA-owned and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well.16 Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and other locations, including several military bases. Designated as "Contra Craft," these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn't apprised and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled to result in dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.17

Mid-1980s To Early 1990s, Haiti

While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients' drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN's mandate included countering the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some Haitian military and political leaders.18

1980s To Early 1990s, Afghanistan

CIA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting the Soviet-supported government, which had plans to reform Afghan society. The Agency's principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading drug lords and the biggest heroin refiner, who was also the largest recipient of CIA military support. CIA-supplied trucks and mules that had carried arms into Afghanistan were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The output provided up to one-half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. U.S. officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies.19 In 1993, an official of the DEA dubbed Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.20

1 Gary Webb, "Dark Alliance" series, San Jose Mercury News. Beginning August 18, 1996.

2 Celerino Castillo, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War (Mosaic Press, 1994). Los Angeles Times lengthy series of articles, October 20, 21, 22, 1996. Roberto Suro and Walter Pincus, "The CIA and Crack: Evidence is Lacking of Alleged Plot" (Washington Post, October 4, 1996). Howard Kurtz, "Running with the CIA Story" (Washington Post, October 2, 1996). Douglas Farah and Walter Pincus "CIA, Contras and Drugs: Questions on Links Linger" (Washington Post, October 31, 1996). Tim Golden,"Though Evidence is Thin, Tale of CIA and Drugs Has a Life of Its Own" (New York Times, October 21, 1996).

3 Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) pp. x-xi.

4 Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York City, New York: Harper & Row, 1972, chapter 2).

5 Christopher Robbins, Air America (New York City, New York: Avon Books, 1985) chapter 9. McCoy, Politics of Heroin.

6 McCoy, Politics of Heroin, chapter 9.

7 Robbins, Air America, p. 128 and chapter 9. Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York City, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987). William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995) p. 420, note 33.

8 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics; John Dinges, Our Man in Panama (NY, New York: Random House, 1991); Murray Waas, "Cocaine and the White House Connection", Los Angeles Weekly, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 and Oct. 7-13, 1988; National Security Archive Documentation Packet: The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations (Washington, DC).

9 "Kerry Report": Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, 1989, pp. 2, 36, 41.

10 Martha Honey, Hostile Acts: U.S. Policy in Costa Rica in the 1980s (Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994).

11 Martha Honey and David Myers, "U.S. Probing Drug Agent's Activities in Costa Rica," San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 1991.

12 Honey, Hostile Acts.

13 Frank Smyth, "In Guatemala, The DEA Fights the CIA", New Republic, June 5, 1995; Blum, Killing Hope, p. 239.

14 Martha Honey, "Drug Figure Says Cartel Gave Drugs to Contras" Washington Post, June 30, 1987.

15 Kerry report, Drugs.

16 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics, pp. 17-18.

17 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics; Waas, "Cocaine and the White House"; NSA, The Contras.

18 New York Times, Nov. 14, 1993; The Nation, Oct. 3, 1994, p. 346.

19 Blum, Killing Hope, p. 351; Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget (New York City, New York: Warner Books, 1990) pp. 151-2.

20 Los Angeles Times, Aug. 22, 1993

Sources For More information

World Wide Web:

Washington Post

Covert Action Quarterly

The National Security Archive


The National Security Archive
Gelman Library, Ste. 7012130 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Voice: (202) 994-7000
Contact: Peter Kornbluh

Congresswoman Maxine Waters
330 Cannon House Building
Washington, DC 20515
Voice: (202) 225-2201
Contact: Joseph Lee

Covert Action Quarterly
1500 Mass Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20005
Voice: (202) 331-9763
Fax: (202) 331-9751
Contact: Terry Allen

Latin American Working Group
110 Maryland Ave. NE Box 15
Washington, DC 20002
Voice: (202) 546-7010
Fax: (202) 543-7647
Contact: Lisa Hargaard


Lorraine Adams, "North Didn't Relay Drug Tips", The Washington Post, Oct. 22, 1994, p. 1.

William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995).

Celerino Castillo with David Harmon, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War (Mosaic Press, 1994).

John Dinges, Our Man in Panama (New York City, NY: Random House, 1991).

Martha Honey, Hostile Acts: U.S. Policy in Costa Rica in the 1980s (Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994).

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, December 1988.

Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York City, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987).

Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1972).

Clarence Lusane, Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs (Boston: South End Press, 1991).

National Security Archive, Documentation Packet: The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations (Washington, D.C. October 1996).

Christopher Robbins, Air America (New York City, New York: Avon Books, 1985).

Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley, California: University of CA Press, 1991).

Murray Waas, "Cocaine and the White House Connection", Los Angeles Weekly, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 and Oct. 7-13, 1988.

Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget (New York City, New York: Warner Books, 1990).

The 9-11 Passenger List Oddity

By Vincent Sammartino
08/23/08 08:22:11 am,
Courtesy Of
The People's Voice

As everyone who is involved in exposing the 9-11 cover-up knows, nothing concerning 9-11 is as it seems. Whether it's the magic jet that our government told us crashed into the Pentagon, the obvious missing jet at Shanksville (Flight 93), the three perfect demolitions of the World Trade Center towers, or the fact that Arab hijackers are still alive and their supposed ring leader Osama bin Laden has the ability to change his facial features at will. Nothing, I repeat, nothing about the government/controlled media version of 9-11 makes any sense.

So, let's get one thing straight and out of the way right now. There are no such things as physical inconsistencies in the world we live in. We can always depend on the laws of physics to be consistent and unchanging. Coincidence is a self-contained human concept; and the real world - the atoms, molecules and planets that whiz around - don't care if you understand them. Likewise, they aren't concerned if their movement happens to favor you or not. I say this because, as Victor Thorn and Lisa Guliani know (WING TV), this is the key to understanding what is real and what is contrived.

With that said, let me go back to sometime in February, 2004. At that time I had pretty much figured out that what had happened at the Pentagon and the WTC was a lie. I was still toying with the idea, though, that maybe (just maybe) our government had shot down Flight 93 in Shanksville in order to protect us from the real terrorists.

Then a few websites started to pop-up showing videos of what appeared to be a "pod" under Flight 175, along with an unexplained flash that happened just before the jet hit the South Tower. To me, this was just as damning as the Pentagon and the WTC collapses. There is no good reason for us to be seeing what we saw if the official government story was true. Think about this point for a minute. If what we saw was just an anomaly, then there must be millions of photos/videos of 757s taking off and landing at airports all over the world that look JUST LIKE THAT! If anybody has any jet photo anomalies they would like to share with us, please send them to Victor and Lisa at WING TV so we can clear this stuff up.

Which brings me to Ellen Mariani: she’s the woman who lost her husband Louis on Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower on 9-11. With the help of a lawyer named Phil Berg, she filed a lawsuit against President Bush and company under the RICO act. Also, she refused to take the hush money that was offered to her under the 9-11 Victims Compensation fund.

In addition, I had just discovered Black Op Radio earlier in the year and found an interesting show in their archives (# 156) on which Ellen and Mr. Berg appeared as guests. This may be the single biggest point concerning 9-11, and hopefully the last nail in the coffin of our government's lies. During this broadcast, Mrs. Mariani said that she was the only relative of all the passengers that died on Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower. Her lawyer, Phil Berg, repeated this statement.

I listened to this show over and over again and couldn't believe what she had just said. Everything came together at this point. That’s when it dawned on me that not only had our government lied about the physics of 9-11; they may very well have taken it one step farther by faking the number of people that died that day. I believed what she and Mr. Berg had just said. Nothing about 9-11 made any sense. Why should it start now?

Not knowing then what I know now, Ellen and Phil believed that for some reason the government was holding back the names of the people that had died on Flight 175. She had tried to get in touch with the relatives of other family members, but to no avail. You see, she and her lawyer believed, just like most other people believe, that four jets had been hijacked by Arab terrorists and crashed into buildings and into the ground at Shanksville. I, on the other hand, had already swept those lies aside.

Their statement also gave credence to the Fox News reporter who said that the jet which crashed into the South Tower had no windows. Hey, this jet appeared to have a "pod" under it anyway. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to fit.

Now, we come to most interesting stuff - the Social Security Death Index, and thanks to Victor Thorn's idea, the September 11th Victim’s Compensation Fund. After all, it's one thing to say that the flight lists are not on the up and up, but it's another thing to prove it.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) (Social Security Death Index) is a privately-owned website that is not affiliated with Social Security. It boasts an accuracy rate of about 83% (e-mail them any questions you may have). Anyway, to check its reliability, I inputted the names of people I knew that had died in my family, along with friends and neighbors. Being a true skeptic, I had no way of knowing whether they were telling the truth or not. With the exception of a cousin, I found everyone I was looking for. (Be sure you have the person's true first name - they may not be listed by the state they last lived in, but can be found in the state where their social security number was issued.) By all means try it yourself.

Which brings us to the 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund (also known as the Shut Up and Take the Money Fund), which most of you have heard about.

9-11 Victims Compensation Fund

This is where our government opened up the Treasury and gave family members of those who lost their lives that day lots of money. In return, these families were basically told to shut up about anything else concerning 9-11. (Considering all the lies surrounding this horrific event, you can see why.)

At this point there is one thing we should never forget, and that is how powerful the notion of human greed is. Remember this concept as you read the number of victims whose family members sought compensation.

The names of the victims can be found on the CNN website.

Here Are The Results:

Flight 11: of the 92 people who are listed as dying on this flight, only 20 are listed in the SSDI (22%)

Of these 20 people, only three are on the 9-11 Compensation Fund list:

Judy Larocque
Laurie Neira
Candace Lee Williams


Flight 77: of the 64 people who are listed as dying on this flight, only 14 are listed in the SSDI (22%)

Of these 64 people, only five on the 9-11 Compensation Fund list:

William Caswell
Eddie Dillard
Ian Gray
John Sammartino
Leonard Taylor


Flight 175:
of the 65 people who are listed as dying on this flight, only 18 are listed in the SSDI (28%)

Of these 65 people, only three are on the 9-11 Compensation Fund list:

Michael C. Tarrou
Gloria Debarrera
Timothy Ward


Flight 93: of the 45 people who are listed as dying on this flight, only 6 are listed in the SSDI (13%)

Of these 45 people, none are on the 9-11 Compensation Fund list:

No one

Have you noticed anything strange yet? Of the passengers and crew of Flight 11, 77, 175 & 93, only 22%, 22%, 28%, 13% respectively are in the SSDI.

Remember human greed? Of the 266 people that we were told died on these jets, only 11 relatives applied for compensation. Can you believe that not a single relative from Flight 93 applied for compensation? I can't. Were all the relatives of the victims so rich that they weren't eligible to receive compensation? No, that's not it. (The minimum federal award was $250,000, and the average pay-out was about $1.8 million. The recipients only had to make agreement: they couldn’t sue the airlines.)

You should also know that most lawyers told their clients to take the money and run (which is what most lawyers would do - take the sure money). Ellen Mariani clearly elaborated on this point during her appearance on the radio show mentioned above.

Finally, during the past week, thanks to Lisa Guliani's insatiable quest for the truth, the 9-11 Victims Compensation Final Report has come to light.

9-11 Victims Compensation Final Report (7.79MB)

Oddly, but consistent with everything concerning 9-11, the actual complete list of the people who benefited has been omitted from this report. Even without this, it does contain an interesting fact. According to the report, 98% of all the people who suffered a loss on 9-11 took the fund money. The average payment was $1.8 million.

But here's where it gets strange. According to the government, here are the number of people who accepted the compensation fund:

Out of a total of 92 people on Flight 11, only 65 accepted the 9-11 fund (71%)

Out of a total of 65 people on Flight 175, only 46 accepted the 9-11 fund (71%)

Out of a total of 64 people on Flight 77, only 33 accepted the 9-11 fund (52%)

Out of a total of 45 people on Flight 93, only 25 accepted the 9-11 fund (56%)

Does any of this seem a little odd to you? Or is it possible that not only were the jets on 9-11 magical, but their passengers as well?

So there you have it; yet another glaring 9-11 inconsistency - just maybe the biggest of them all?

August 23, 2008 Skeptically yours, Vincent Sammartino

'America's Outrageous War Economy!'

Pentagon Can't Find $2.3 Trillion, Wasting Trillions On 'National Defense'

Paul B. Farrell,
Last Update: 7:27 p.m. EDT Aug. 18, 2008
Courtesy Of
Market Watch

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- Yes, America's economy is a war economy. Not a "manufacturing" economy. Not an "agricultural" economy. Nor a "service" economy. Not even a "consumer" economy.
Seriously, I looked into your eyes, America, saw deep into your soul. So let's get honest and officially call it "America's Outrageous War Economy." Admit it: we secretly love our war economy. And that's the answer to Jim Grant's thought-provoking question last month in the Wall Street Journal -- "Why No Outrage?"

There really is only one answer: Deep inside we love war. We want war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love affair with war. We love "America's Outrageous War Economy."

Americans passively zone out playing video war games. We nod at 90-second news clips of Afghan war casualties and collateral damage in Georgia. We laugh at Jon Stewart's dark comedic news and Ben Stiller's new war spoof "Tropic Thunder" ... all the while silently, by default, we're cheering on our leaders as they aggressively expand "America's Outrageous War Economy," a relentless machine that needs a steady diet of war after war, feeding on itself, consuming our values, always on the edge of self-destruction.

* Why else are Americans so eager and willing to surrender 54% of their tax dollars to a war machine, which consumes 47% of the world's total military budgets?

* Why are there more civilian mercenaries working for no-bid private war contractors than the total number of enlisted military in Iraq (180,000 to 160,000), at an added cost to taxpayers in excess of $200 billion and climbing daily?

* Why do we shake our collective heads "yes" when our commander-in-chief proudly tells us he is a "war president;" and his party's presidential candidate chants "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," as if "war" is a celebrity hit song?

* Why do our spineless Democrats let an incompetent, blundering executive branch hide hundreds of billions of war costs in sneaky "supplemental appropriations" that are more crooked than Enron's off-balance-sheet deals?

* Why have Washington's 537 elected leaders turned the governance of the American economy over to 42,000 greedy self-interest lobbyists?

* And why earlier this year did our "support-our-troops" "war president" resist a new GI Bill because, as he said, his military might quit and go to college rather than re-enlist in his war; now we continue paying the Pentagon's warriors huge $100,000-plus bonuses to re-up so they can keep expanding "America's Outrageous War Economy?" Why? Because we secretly love war!
We've lost our moral compass: The contrast between today's leaders and the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 shocks our conscience. Today war greed trumps morals. During the Revolutionary War our leaders risked their lives and fortunes; many lost both.

Today it's the opposite: Too often our leaders' main goal is not public service but a ticket to building a personal fortune in the new "America's Outrageous War Economy," often by simply becoming a high-priced lobbyist.

Ultimately, the price of our greed may be the fulfillment of Kevin Phillips' warning in "Wealth and Democracy:" "Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out."

'National Defense' A Propaganda Slogan Selling A War Economy?

But wait, you ask: Isn't our $1.4 trillion war budget essential for "national defense" and "homeland security?" Don't we have to protect ourselves?

Sorry folks, but our leaders have degraded those honored principles to advertising slogans. They're little more than flag-waving excuses used by neocon war hawks to disguise the buildup of private fortunes in "America's Outrageous War Economy."

America may be a ticking time bomb, but we are threatened more by enemies within than external terrorists, by ideological fanatics on the left and the right. Most of all, we are under attack by our elected leaders who are motivated more by pure greed than ideology. They terrorize us, brainwashing us into passively letting them steal our money to finance "America's Outrageous War Economy," the ultimate "black hole" of corruption and trickle-up economics.
You think I'm kidding? I'm maybe too harsh? Sorry but others are far more brutal. Listen to the ideologies and realities eating at America's soul.

1. Our Toxic 'War Within' Is Threatening America's Soul

How powerful is the Pentagon's war machine? Trillions in dollars. But worse yet: Their mindset is now locked deep in our DNA, in our collective conscience, in America's soul. Our love of war is enshrined in the writings of neocon war hawks like Norman Podoretz, who warns the Iraq War was the launching of "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism," a reminder that we could be occupying Iraq for a hundred years. His WW IV also reminded us of the coming apocalyptic end-of-days "war of civilizations" predicted by religious leaders in both Christian and Islamic worlds two years ago.

In contrast, this ideology has been challenged in works like Craig Unger's "American Armageddon: How the Delusions of the Neoconservatives and the Christian Right Triggered the Descent of America -- and Still Imperil Our Future."

Unfortunately, neither threat can be dismissed as "all in our minds" nor as merely ideological rhetoric. Trillions of tax dollars are in fact being spent to keep the Pentagon war machine aggressively planning and expanding wars decades in advance, including spending billions on propaganda brainwashing naïve Americans into co-signing "America's Outrageous War Economy." Yes, they really love war, but that "love" is toxic for America's soul.

2. America's War Economy Financed On Blank Checks To Greedy

Read Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes' "$3 Trillion War." They show how our government's deceitful leaders are secretly hiding the real long-term costs of the Iraq War, which was originally sold to the American taxpayer with a $50 billion price tag and funded out of oil revenues.

But add in all the lifetime veterans' health benefits, equipment placement costs, increased homeland security and interest on new federal debt, and suddenly taxpayers got a $3 trillion war tab!

3. America's War Economy Has No Idea Where Its Money Goes

Read Portfolio magazine's special report "The Pentagon's $1 Trillion Problem." The Pentagon's 2007 budget of $440 billion included $16 billion to operate and upgrade its financial system. Unfortunately "the defense department has spent billions to fix its antiquated financial systems [but] still has no idea where its money goes."

And it gets worse: Back "in 2000, Defense's inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding $2.3 trillion in unsupported entries." Yikes, our war machine has no records for $2.3 trillion! How can we trust anything they say?

4. America's War Economy Is Totally 'Unmanageable'

For decades Washington has been waving that "national defense" flag, to force the public into supporting "America's Outrageous War Economy." Read John Alic's "Trillions for Military Technology: How the Pentagon Innovates and Why It Costs So Much."

A former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment staffer, he explains why weapon systems cost the Pentagon so much, "why it takes decades to get them into production even as innovation in the civilian economy becomes ever more frenetic and why some of those weapons don't work very well despite expenditures of many billions of dollars," and how "the internal politics of the armed services make weapons acquisition almost unmanageable." Yes, the Pentagon wastes trillions planning its wars well in advance.
Comments? Tell us: What will it take to wake up America, get citizens, investors, anybody mad at "America's Outrageous War Economy?"

Why don't you rebel? Will the outrage come too late ... after this massive war bubble explodes in our faces?

New Spy Software: "Surveillance In A Box"

New Spy Software Coming On-Line: "Surveillance In A Box" Makes Its Debut

By Tom Burghardt,
August 28, 2008
Antifascist Calling...
Courtesy Of

You've heard of the FBI's "Quantico Circuit" and were outraged by illegal warrantless wiretapping by Bushist minions. To no avail, you flooded Congress with emails and phone calls, angered by the bipartisan "FISA Amendments Act of 2008" and the swell party thrown by AT&T for "Blue Dog" Democrats in Denver this week for the convention.

But just in time for a new administration (and the bundles of cash always at the ready for the expanding homeland security market), comes a complete "surveillance in a box" system called the Intelligence Platform!

According to New Scientist, German electronics giant Siemens has developed software allegedly capable of integrating

...tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs "intelligence modules". (Laura Margottini, "Surveillance Made Easy," New Scientist, 23 August 2008)
New Scientist reports that the firm has sold the system to some 60 countries in Europe and Asia. Which countries? Well, Siemens won't say.

However, privacy and human rights advocates say the system bears a remarkable resemblance to China's "Golden Shield," a massive surveillance network that integrates huge information databases, internet and email monitoring, speech and facial recognition platforms in combination with CCTV monitoring.

Designed specifically for "fusion centers" or their European/Asian equivalents, the Intelligence Platform promises to provide "real-time" high-tech tools to foil terrorist plots before they're hatched (or keep tabs on antiwar/antiglobalization activists).

The latest item in the emerging "intelligent" software niche market, Intelligence Platform has been "trained" on a large number of sample documents to zero in on names, phone numbers or places from generic text. "This means it can spot names or numbers that crop up alongside anyone already of interest to the authorities, and then catalogue any documents that contain such associates," New Scientist avers.

In the UK, the Home Office announced it plans to provide law enforcement, local councils and other public agencies access to the details of text messages, emails and internet browsing. This follows close on the heels of an announcement last May that New Labour was considering building a massive centralized database "as a tool to help the security services tackle crime and terrorism." According to The Guardian,

Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone's personal text, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals published yesterday.

Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety. ...

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last night branded the measure a "snooper's charter". (Alan Travis, "'Snooper's charter' to check texts and email," The Guardian, Wednesday, August 13, 2008)
A blurb posted on Siemens' website claims that the "challenge" is "to foster the well-being of law-abiding citizens" and therefore, "authorized groups need to have direct access to communications between suspects, whether it is individuals, groups or organizations. Only then can they take appropriate action, detect, prevent and anticipate crimes and guarantee peace and security."

In other words, if you've got nothing to hide "trust us:" the shopworn mantra of securocrats everywhere. And in today's climate, this is an especially burdensome challenge for state security and corporate spies who demand "highly-sophisticated, multi-level voice and data recordings" in order to destroy our rights while transforming our respective societies into Orwellian police states. New Scientist reports,

Once a person is being monitored, pattern-recognition software first identifies their typical behaviour, such as repeated calls to certain numbers over a period of a few months. The software can then identify any deviations from the norm and flag up unusual activities, such as transactions with a foreign bank, or contact with someone who is also under surveillance, so that analysts can take a closer look.
But if the experience of U.S. Fusion Centers are any indication of the accuracy of the Siemens system, false positives will be endemic while thousands, if not millions, of perfectly innocent individuals are forever ensnared in the state's data driftnet. According to the American Civil Liberties Union,

The Justice Department's 2006 Guidelines envision fusion centers doing more than simply sharing legitimately acquired law enforcement information across different branches of our burgeoning security establishment. The Guidelines encourage compiling data "from nontraditional sources, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations" and fusing it with federal intelligence "to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal and terrorist activity." This strongly implies the use of statistical dragnets that have come to be called data-mining. The inevitable result of a data-mining approach to fusion centers will be:

Many innocent individuals will be flagged, scrutinized, investigated, placed on watch lists, interrogated or arrested, and possibly suffer irreparable harm to their reputation, all because of a hidden machinery of data brokers, information aggregators and computer algorithms.

Law enforcement agencies will waste time and resources investing in high-tech computer boondoggles that leave them chasing false leads--while real threats go unaddressed and limited resources are sucked away from the basic, old-fashioned legwork that is the only way genuine terror plots have ever been foiled. (Michael German and Jay Staley, "What's Wrong with Fusion Centers," American Civil Liberties, December 2007)
But perhaps "high-tech computer boondoggles" are precisely the point!

After all, the Boeing Company and their sidekicks at SRI International (which describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit research institute") were recently criticized by a House Science and Technology Subcommittee for "irregularities" in the government's Railhead program, a suite of software "upgrades" to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), "a vast database of names that feeds the nation's terrorist watch list," the Associated Press reported.

Railhead was touted as a "fix" for a system built by Lockheed Martin in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. According to congressional investigators, the system provides data to all federal terrorist watch lists, including the "no-fly" list run by the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration and the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, a national clearinghouse for federal, state and local fusion centers.

According to the House committee the program is months behind schedule, millions over budget and "would actually be less capable than the U.S. government terrorist tracking system it is meant to replace." Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported,

When tested, the new system failed to find matches for terrorist-suspect names that were spelled slightly different from the name entered into the system, a common challenge when translating names from Arabic to English. It also could not perform basic searches of multiple words connected with terms such as "and" and "or." (Siobhan Gorman, "Flaws Found in Watch List for Terrorists, The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008)
Leaving aside the racist presuppositions of the Journal, to wit, that Arab = terrorist (no small matter when dealing with nativist yahoos here in the "homeland" or elswehere), as Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said in a statement, "the program appears to be on the brink of collapse after an estimated half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding has been spent on it." According to the committee,

The Railhead program had been undergoing an internal technical implosion for more than one year. But public statements and sworn public testimony to Congress from senior officials within the NCTC [National Counterterrorist Center] and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) never revealed the mounting technical troubles, poor contractor management or lax government oversight that appears to have been endemic throughout the program and has led to Railhead's colossal failure. Astoundingly, the Director of NCTC and the Director of National Intelligence have both specifically pointed to TIDE and NCTC Online as hallmarks of the government’s information sharing accomplishments. ("Technical Flaws Hinder Terrorist Watch List; Congress Calls for Investigation," Committee on Science and Technology, Press Release, August 21, 2008)
In a technical sense, the NCTC and the ODNI may be correct in touting TIDE and NCTC Online as "hallmarks of the government's information sharing accomplishments," if by "sharing accomplishments" they meant handing over unlimited bundles of taxpayer's hard-earned cash to enterprising contractors!

Gorman reports that in "recent weeks, the government has fired most of the 862 private contractors from dozens of companies working on the Railhead project, and only a skeleton crew remains." Boeing and SRI's response? According to the Journal, "calls to officials of Boeing and SRI were not immediately returned."

I bet they weren't! Especially since the committee said "Railhead insiders" allege that the government paid Boeing some $200 million to retrofit the company's Herndon, Virginia office with security upgrades so that top secret software work could be performed there. The government then leased the same office space from Boeing. How's that for hitting the old corporate "sweet spot."

None of this of course, should surprise anyone, least of all defense lobby dollar-addicted members of Congress who, like Captain Renault in Casablanca are "shocked, shocked" to find their corporate "partners" have failed to deliver--again.

According to Washington Technology's list of "2008 Top 100 Government Prime Contractors," Boeing clocked-in at No. 2 with $9,706,621,413 in taxpayer handouts. No slouches themselves, Siemens placed No. 79 with some $186,292,146 in prime government contracts across an array of defense and civilian agencies. With Railhead's imminent demise, perhaps the German electronics giant has a future in the U.S. "homeland security" market with its Intelligent Platform?

Then again, perhaps not. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier told New Scientist, "'currently there are no good patterns available to recognise terrorists,' he says, and questions whether Siemens has got around this." But since the business of government is business, maybe they do after all.

Meanwhile, the PRISE consortium of security technology and human rights experts funded by the European Union, called "for a moratorium on the development of fusion technologies, referring explicitly to the Siemens Intelligence Platform," Margottini reported.

According to New Scientist, PRISE analysts told the EU, "The efficiency and reliability of such tools is as yet unknown. More surveillance does not necessarily lead to a higher level of societal security. Hence there must be a thorough examination of whether the resulting massive constraints on human rights are proportionate and justified."

But here in the United States concern over trivial things such as "massive constraints on human rights," unlike state attacks against the "quaint" rights of the average citizen are, like the impeachment of a regime studded with war criminals, most definitely "off the table."

While the Democrats celebrate Barack Obama's coronation in Denver this week and the Republicans are poised to do the same for John McCain in the Twin Cities rest assured, administrations may change, but the corporate grift is eternal.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press.

Tom Burghardt is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research Articles by Tom Burghardt