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9.11 investigation | media criticism

Counterpunch Tries to Sideswipe 9/11 Researchers, Again

You'll notice a couple of things about this article. First, Counterpunch is the venue where those questioning 9/11 are relegated to the description of 'conspiracy nuts,' so they aren't going to be embracing the aspect that anyone could have demolished the WTC towers or made sure that war games involving planes hitting buildings would be happening on 9/11. Second, they are now using 'anonymous' sources for their timid foray into the world behind the Bush Admin curtain of officialdom, meaning they can publish whatever they like under the guise that it came from a *real* anonymous former or just good-hearted whistleblower. In reality that means anyone can be feeding them info to try to discredit those asking the real questions about 9/11 and they will lunge for it.
This time they are little more subtle than just saying '9/11 conspiracy nuts,' and instead, broadcast this statement from an *insider* named with the pen name 'Werther' - a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst (whoooo . . . an anonymous insider from the beltway!):

"Many of the amateur sleuths of the 9/11 mystery have based their investigations on microscopic forensics regarding the publicly released video footage, or speculations into the physics of impacting aircraft or collapsing buildings. But staring too closely at the recorded traces of subatomic phenomena involved in a one-time event can deceive us into finding the answer we are looking for"

First we're the conspiracy nuts, now we're the 'amateur sleuths,' so what else is new? I guess questioning how a 40+ story steel skyscraper that was never hit by a plane could have fallen straight down in 7 seconds is just 'microscopic forensics.' Glad we've got that silly thing all sorted out - just a bunch of amateur sleuths slinging nonsense. But actually , funny thing that, because the victim's families were also wondering what happened to that building themselves . . . are they also amateur sleuths?

Questions the Family Steering Committee has submitted to the 9/11 Commission:

"13. On 9/11, no aircraft hit WTC 7. Why did the building fall at 5:20 PM that evening?"

Here's another gem from the article. The goal of it is to play down the WTC towers focus and redirect you elsewhere, essentially saying, 'sure those were something, but the REAL deal was . . .'

"For those in immediate proximity to the events, the September 11attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were frightening in the extreme, but they had not the slow accumulation of dread that the anthrax scare of October 2001 presented."

Give me a break! Do you think that America would have INVADED IRAQ or BOMBED AFGHANSTAN because Congress had a few letters with powder?? What was slow 'accumulation of dread'good for? There was a panic to get congress to vote for the PATRIOT Act and then the whole thing dissapeared! This is completely bogus and transparent - it tells you, forget about the WTC attacks and focus your concern elsewhere. Why? Because people like Steven E. Jones and other scientists around the world are starting to organize and openly question the theory that demolitions brought the towers down.

Other left gatekeepers have employed so-called former insiders as attack dogs to try to trash 9/11 researchers, such as former CIA agent Robert Baer being called on to write a review of the New Pearl Harbor for the Nation magazine -

The Nation: Phony Left Opposition Uses CIA Agents to Attack 9/11 Researchers
author: repost
It is fascinating that 'The Nation' got a genuine admitted CIA agent to write this hatchet job - Baer's review of "New Pearl Harbor" in the September 27th, 2004 issue that supports Cheney's innocence by ignoring the evidentiary record. The Nation has clearly allied itself with the CIA by publishing this article, and has announced in no uncertain terms that it is not interested in journalism on this subject that attempts to examine factual evidence. This is far different that merely ignoring the issue (which much of the Left has chosen to do).

Needless to say, the Nation and Counterpunch have an close association.

For a proper context to the featured article below, please see:

'Self-regarding Blather' - A History of Alexander Cockburn vs Conspiracy Nuts
author: repost

Weekend Edition
November 20 / 21, 2004
Sapping the Empire
The Poisoned Chalice
"The truly bad news is the 9/11 nuts have relocated to Stolen Election. My inbox is awash with their ravings. People who have spent the last three years sending me screeds establishing to their own satisfaction that George Bush personally ordered the attacks on the towers and that Dick Cheney vectored the planes in are now pummeling me with data on the time people spent on line waiting to vote in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, and how the Diebold machines are all jimmied. As usual, the conspiracy nuts think that plans of inconceivable complexity worked at 100 per cent efficiency, that Murphy's law was once again in suspense, and that 10,000 co-conspirators are all going to keep their mouths shut."

And to understand for yourself what the microscopic forensics are, see:

Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?
By Steven E. Jones

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
David Ray Griffin



Weekend Edition
February 18 / 19, 2006
Who Is Osama? Where Did He Come From? How Did He Escape? What About Those Anthrax Attacks?
A Half-Dozen Questions About 9/11 They Don't Want You to Ask


The events of September 11, 2001 evoke painful memories, tinged with a powerful nostalgia for the way of life before it happened. The immediate tragedy caused a disorientation sufficient to distort the critical faculties in the direction of retrospectively predictable responses: bureaucratic adaptation, opportunism, profiteering, kitsch sentiment, and mindless sloganeering.

As 9/11, and the report of the commission charged to investigate it, fade into history like the Warren Commission that preceded it, the questions, gaps, and anomalies raised by the report have created an entire cottage industry of amateur speculation--as did the omissions and distortions of the Warren Report four decades ago. How could it not?

While initially received as definitive by a rapturous official press, the 9/11 Report has been overtaken by reality, not only because of unsatisfying content--like all "independent" government reports, it is fundamentally an apology and a coverup masquerading as an exposé--but because we now know more: more about the feckless invasion of Iraq, more about the occupation of Afghanistan and the purported hunt for Osama bin Laden, more about the post-9/11 stampede to repeal elements of the Bill of Rights, more about the rush to create the Department of Homeland Security, an agency to "prevent another 9/11," which, in retrospect, is plainly about cronyism, contracts, and Congressional boodle.

Many of the amateur sleuths of the 9/11 mystery have based their investigations on microscopic forensics regarding the publicly released video footage, or speculations into the physics of impacting aircraft or collapsing buildings. But staring too closely at the recorded traces of subatomic phenomena involved in a one-time event can deceive us into finding the answer we are looking for, as Professor Heisenberg once postulated. Over 40 years on, the Magic Bullet is still the Magic Bullet: improbable, yes, but not outside the realm of the possible.

But there is surprisingly little discussion of the basic higher-order political factors surrounding 9/11, factors that do not require knowledge of the melting point of girder steel or the unknowable piloting abilities of the presumed perpetrators. Let us proceed, then, in a spirit of detached scientific inquiry, to ask questions the 9/11 Commission was unprepared to ask.

1. Who is Osama bin Laden, and where did he come from?

On this point, the report retreats into obfuscation. While acknowledging that he had something to do with resisting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the report suggests, without explicitly so stating, that the links between Osama and the United States were practically nonexistent. This will not parse: until the present Global War on Terrorism, the CIA's operation against the Red Army in Afghanistan was the biggest and most expensive covert operation in the agency's history. The 9/11 Report provides no convincing documented refutation of Osama's links with the CIA, given that the agency was running a major war in which he was a participant. Similarly, the report's authors did not plumb the informal U.S. government connections with the same Saudi government whose links with the bin Laden family could have provided a cut-out for any CIA-Osama relationship. [1]

2. When were Osama's last non-hostile links with the U.S. government?

Consistent with its view of Osama's relationship with the CIA during the anti-Soviet enterprise, the 9/11 Report ignores the possibility that he may have had a continuing relationship with the U.S. government, particularly with its intelligence services. The report brushes this hypothesis aside with a footnote to the effect that both the CIA and purported second-ranking al Qaeda figure Ayman al Zawahiri deny a relationship. [2]

One may doubt the veracity of Langley's denials of a relationship with Osama bin Laden and his associates, given the lack of truthfulness of its earlier statement to the Warren Commission about not having had a relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald. Or in alleging that an employee named "Mr. George Bush" whom the agency cited in its reporting of the events of 22 November 1963 was a completely different person from the George Bush who subsequently became the 41st U.S. president, after serving as Director of Central Intelligence.

Likewise, Mr. Zawahiri's assertion of not having received a penny of CIA funds deserves the searchlight of skeptical scrutiny. What the report describes as Zawahiri's "memoir" is actually a broadside published in a London-based newspaper in December 2001, i.e., after the events of 9/11. It was obviously intended as a call to the Muslim faithful for a holy war against the infidel desecrator of the holy places; would such a person, conscious of the need to gain recruits in a war of pure faith against the Great Satan, have confirmed having been on the payroll of his principal enemy? It is no more likely than for the current President of the United States, in drawing parallels between the war in Iraq and World War II, to advert to the fact that his grandfather's bank was seized by the U.S. government in 1942 for illicit trading with the Third Reich.

Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies have had, purely as a function of their charters, relationships with most of the world's scoundrels, con-men, and psychopaths of the last 70 years: from Lucky Luciano and the Gambino Mob, to Reinhard Gehlen and Timothy Leary, to the perpetrators of the massacre of 500,000 people in Indonesia in 1965, to the Cuban exiles who blew up an airliner in 1976 [3], to such shady characters as Ahmed Chalabi and his friend "Curveball." Among such a gallery of murderous kooks, bin Laden and his cohorts do not especially stand out.

More dispositive than these speculations, however, are the very real connections between Washington and Islamic jihadists in the Balkans throughout the 1990s. The report hints at this relationship by mentioning the presence of charity fronts of bin Laden's "network" in Zagreb and Sarajevo. In fact, the U.S. government engaged in a massive covert operation to infiltrate Islamic fighters, many of them veterans of the Afghan war, into the Balkans for the purpose of undermining the Milosevic government. The "arms embargo," enforced by the U.S. military, was a cover for this activity (i.e., using military force to keep prying eyes from seeing what was going on).

A key Washington fixer for the Muslim government of Bosnia was the law firm of Feith and Zell. Yes, Douglas Feith, one of the principal conspirators involved in launching the Iraq war under the banner of opposing Islamic terrorism, was a proponent of introducing Islamic terrorists into South Eastern Europe. Do the "Islamofascists" of pseudo-conservative demonology accordingly seem less like satanic enemies and more like puppets dangling from an unseen hand? Or perhaps the analogy is incorrect: more like a Frankenstein's Monster that has slipped the control of its creator.

3. How did the President of United States React to the August 6 2001 Presidential Daily Brief?

Although the August 6 PBD had been mentioned in the foreign press since 2002, it did not come to the attention of official Washington until then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice impaled herself upon the hook of 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben Veniste's artful line of questioning in mid-2004. Blurting out the title of the PBD, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," she let the cat out of the bag--or perhaps not. Having opened Pandora's Box, the commissioners displayed no troublesome curiosity about its contents.

What concrete measures did the president take after receiving perhaps the most significant strategic warning that any head of state could have hoped to receive about an impending attack on his country? Did he alert the intelligence agencies, law enforcement, the Border patrol, the Federal Aviation Administration, to comb through their current information and increase their alert rates? Did the threat warning of the PBD (granted that it did not reveal the tail numbers of the aircraft to be hijacked), in combination with the numerous threat warnings from other sources [4] elicit feverish activity to "protect the American people?" Not that we can observe.

So what was the actual response of the U.S. government? Here the 9/11 Report exhibits autism. As nearly as we can determine from contemporaneous bulletins, the president massacred whole hecatombs of mesquite bushes and large-mouthed bass, perfected his golf swing, and hosted various captains of industry in the rustic repose of Crawford, Texas. In other words, he presided over the most egregious example of Constitutional nonfeasance since the administration of James Buchanan allowed Southern secessionists to take possession of the arms in several federal arsenals. The 9/11 Commission's silence on this point is an abundant demonstration of its role as an apologist, rather than a dispassionate truth-teller.

The testimony of federal officials about what they did up to and during the attacks is telling, in so far as the false and misleading statements of witnesses provide clues. Ms. Rice, her tremulous voice betraying nervousness, averred, against the plain evidence of the public record and common sense, that a PBD stating that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike within the borders of the United States was too ambiguous to take any action.

Likewise, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft may have perjured himself when he denied under oath that acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard came to him on July 5, 2001 with information of terrorist plots--information that the Attorney General "did not want to hear about anymore," as NBC News reported on June 22, 2004. It might be considered a matter of Ashcroft's word against Pickering's, except for the fact that Pickering had a corroborating witness.

4. Who wrote the script for the rhetorical response to 9/11?

The smoke was still rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center complex and the Pentagon when the unanimous and universal cry erupted in government circles, and was relentlessly amplified by the media, that this was "war," not a criminal act of terrorism. How very convenient that this war, declared against a diffuse and stateless entity, would trigger long-sought legal authorities and constitutional loopholes which would not apply in the case of a criminal act. [5] Torture, domestic spying, selective suspension of habeas corpus, all the unconstitutional monsters whose implications are only clear four years after the event, all slipped into immediate usage with the rhetorical invocation of war.

This was not merely war, it was unlimited war, both in the sense of total war meant by General Ludendorff (civilian rights being trivial), and in the sense of lacking a comprehensible time span. "A war that will not end in our lifetimes," said Vice President Cheney on Meet the Press on the very Sunday following the attacks. How could he be so sure during the fog of uncertainty following the strike?

If bin Laden and his followers were merely a limited number of fanatics living in Afghan caves, as we were assured at the time, why did the Bush administration relentlessly advance the meme that a decades-long war was inevitable? Could not a concerted intelligence, law-enforcement, and diplomatic campaign, embracing all sovereign countries, have effectively shut down "al Qaeda" within a reasonable period of time--say, within the period it took to fight World War II between Pearl Harbor and the Japanese surrender?

Four years on, Vice President Cheney, doing a plausible imitation of the radio voice of The Shadow, continues to publicly mutter, in menacing tones of the lower octaves, that the war on terrorism [6] is a conflict that will last for decades. [7] This at the same time as the junior partner of the ruling dyarchy, the sitting president, is giving upbeat speeches promising victory in the war on terrorism (i.e., Iraq, the Central Front on the War on Terrorism) against a papier maché backdrop containing the printed slogan "Strategy for Victory."

It is curious that no one--not the watchdogs of the supposedly adversary media, nor the nominal opposition party in Washington, nor otherwise intelligent observers--has remarked on this seeming contradiction: victory is just around the corner, yet the war will last for decades. Quite in the manner of the war between Eastasia and Oceania in 1984.

In earlier times, this contradiction would have seemed newsworthy, if not scandalous. Suppose President Roosevelt had opined at the Teheran Conference that the Axis would be defeated in two years. Then suppose his vice president had at the same time traveled about the United States telling his audiences that the Axis would not be defeated for decades. An American public not yet conditioned by television would at least have noticed, and demanded some explanation.

So question number 4 concludes with a question: why does the U.S. government hive so firmly to the notion of a long, drawn-out, indeterminate war, when Occam's Razor would suggest the desirability of presenting a clear-cut victory within the span of imagination of the average impatient American--a couple of years at most? Or is endless war the point?

5. Why did the mysterious anthrax attacks come and go like a wraith?

For those in immediate proximity to the events, the September 11attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were frightening in the extreme, but they had not the slow accumulation of dread that the anthrax scare of October 2001 presented. Far more than any anomaly concerning 9/11 itself, the anthrax mystery is the undecoded Rosetta Stone of recent years.

The anthrax attacks were the most anomalous terrorist attacks in history: clever, successful, unpunished, causing five deaths and a billion dollars' damage. Yet never repeated. This alone makes them remarkable in the annals of criminal activity, but there is more--the intended victims (at least those with an official position) were warned in writing of their peril in sufficient detail that they could take steps to administer an antidote. Is this characteristic of terrorist attacks by "al Qaeda," or by any known Middle Eastern terrorist group?

Except for the ambiguous first attack (which killed a National Enquirer photo editor), all the deaths resulting from the anthrax plot were incidental--mail handlers and innocent recipients of mail which had been contaminated by proximity to the threat letters. Evidently the West Jefferson anthrax strain was more powerful and had greater accidental effects than the plotters had intended.

But what did the plotters intend, if they did not will the deaths of the addressees of their anthrax letters? It was pure coincidence, perhaps, that the anthrax scare was at its height, producing psychosomatic illness symptoms among members of Congress and staffers, just as the USA PATRIOT Act was wending its way through the legislative process. This measure, which originated among the same Justice Department lawyers who legally opined that torture was wholesome, was rammed through the Congress after enactment of the authorization of the use of force in Afghanistan. Why is this sequence significant?

The then-majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Tom Daschle, wrote a curious op-ed in the Washington Post four years after the events just described. [8]. In attempting to refute the administration's allegation that it had been granted plenary wiretap powers in the Afghanistan authorization, he stated that he and his Senatorial confreres explicitly rejected an administration proposal to authorize an effective state of war within the borders of the United States itself.

Given the administration's repeatedly demonstrated refusal to accept any limitation on its powers, it is logical that the rebuff on the war powers authorization was followed by the prompt submittal of the Justice Department's draft of the PATRIOT Act, containing many of the domestic authorities the Bush White House had sought in the use of force legislation. How doubly coincidental that two of the limited number of addressees of the threat letters should have been the offices of Daschle himself, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, then-chairman of the committee of jurisdiction over the PATRIOT Act.

Needless to say, the measure was passed by an even more comfortable margin than that enjoyed by the 1933 Enabling Law in the Reichstag. [9] Notwithstanding buyer's remorse exhibited by many members of Congress, and current efforts to amend its more onerous provisions, it appears we are saddled with the main burdens of its edicts in perpetuity.

How the government placed this perpetual burden on its citizens is bound up with the mysterious anthrax scare of October 2001, an outrage that, unlike 9/11, does not even merit an official explanation. No one has been charged.

6. Why did Osama bin Laden escape?

"Wanted, dead or alive!" "We'll smoke 'em out of their caves!" All Americans know the feeling of righteous retribution that attended the hunt for Osama bin Laden in the autumn and winter of 2001. Yet, suddenly, it fizzled out and became subsumed in attacking Iraq and its oilfields.

We know the explanation. Somehow, bin Laden escaped in the battle of Tora Bora, because "the back door was open." Only after the invasion of Iraq, more than a year later, was there general acknowledgement that resources intended for Afghanistan had been diverted to the buildup for Iraq. The public was lead to believe that supplemental appropriations for Afghanistan were siphoned into the Iraq project beginning about mid-2002.

But the strange apathy about Osama's whereabouts began sooner than that. In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, then-Senate Intelligence Committee Bob Graham states the following:

"I was asked by one of the senior commanders of Central Command to go into his office [this presumably means the CENTCOM Commander, GEN Tommy Franks. Underlings do not summon senior Senators into their offices]. We did, the door was closed, and he turned to me, and he said, 'Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.' This is February of 2002 [emphasis added]. 'Senator, what we are engaged in now is a manhunt not a war, and we are not trained to conduct a manhunt.'"

Senator Graham elaborates on this matter in his book, Intelligence Matters, on page 125:

"At that point, General Franks asked for an additional word with me in his office. When I walked in, he closed the door. Looking troubled, he said, 'Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan.'

"'Excuse me?" I asked.

"'Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq,' he continued. 'The Predators are being relocated. What we are doing is a manhunt. We have wrapped ourselves too much in trailing Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. We're better at being a meat axe than finding a needle in a haystack. That's not our mission, and that's not what we are trained or prepared to do.'"

In the first excerpt, the military officer might be ambivalent about the change in mission, merely saying that the U.S. military is supposedly not trained for conducting manhunts. The second excerpt provides more substance, suggesting that Franks himself agrees that looking for Osama bin Laden is a mug's game ("We have wrapped ourselves too much in trailing Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.")

There we have it: as early as February 2002, the U.S. government was pulling the plug. Or was it even earlier? Gary Berntsen, a former CIA officer, says in his book Jawbreaker that his paramilitary team tracked bin Laden to the Tora Bora region late in 2001 and could have killed or captured him if his superiors had agreed to his request for an additional force of about 800 U.S. troops. But the administration was already gearing up for war with Iraq and troops were never sent, allowing bin Laden to escape.

Now, Berntsen is a typical Langley boy scout who buys into most of the flummery about the war on terrorism; but it is precisely for that reason that his testimony is worthwhile. Here is no ideological critic of the Bush administration and its foreign policies--on the contrary, he shares many of its assumptions. Like fellow Agency alumnus Michael Scheuer, he has experienced the cognitive dissonance of dealing with the administration's policies at first hand, and wishes to report on his findings.

Is it plausible that the United States Military, disposing of 1.4 million active duty troops and a million reservists, could not scare up 800 additional troops to capture what was then characterized as a fiend in human form? Perhaps the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, explained it best in a CNN interview on 6 April 2002, well after the hunt for bin Laden had apparently been concluded:

"Well, if you remember, if we go back to the beginning of this segment, the goal has never been to get bin Laden." [10]

What can one conclude from this series of questions? If the 9/11 mystery is like other great, mysterious events--such as the Kennedy assassination--the course is probable. For a year or two, raw emotion over the event forecloses inquiry; for the next several years after that, the public's attention wanes, and the desire to forget the painful memory predominates.

In a decade or so, though, some debunker will bring new facts into the public arena for the edification of those Americans, then in late middle age, who will view 9/11 as an intellectual puzzle: far from the urgent concerns of their daily lives.

Many people may, by that time, accept that the official explanation is bunk, and suspect that the government had once again tricked the American public, those ever-willing foils in the eternal Punch-and-Judy show. But the majority will neither know nor care about obscure international relationships during a bygone era.

In 1939, the English author Eric Ambler wrote a brilliant and now-disregarded novel whose theme was that the political events culminating in World War II were indistinguishable from the squalid doings of ordinary criminals. Let us quote from that novel, The Mask of Dimitrios:

"A writer of plays said that there are some situations that one cannot use on the stage; situations in which the audience can feel neither approval, sympathy, nor antipathy; situations out of which there is no possible way that is not humiliating or distressing and from which there is no truth, however bitter, to be extracted. . . . All I know is that while might is right, while chaos and anarchy masquerade as order and enlightenment, these conditions will obtain."

Werther is the pen name of a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst. Werther can be reached at:  werther@counterpunch.org

[1] Bob Woodward's 1987 book Veil describes the informal connections between personages in the U.S. government and the Saudi government, including the ubiquitous Prince Bandar. A tête á tête between CIA director William Casey and the Prince supposedly resulted in a false-flag "terrorist" bombing in Beirut to retaliate against the bombing of the Marine barracks there in 1983. Regrettably, the dead were mainly civilians.

[2] 9/11 Commission Report, 23rd footnote to chapter two, page 467.

[3] This is the case of Cuban "freedom fighter" Luis Posada Carriles, who is suspected of sending the jet-borne Cuban Olympic fencing team to Valhalla in order to express his opposition to Fidel Castro. The incumbent administration, otherwise so steadfastly opposed to international terrorism, has been resistant to extraditing Mr. Posada --no doubt the administration is casting an eye on Florida's electoral votes.

[4] To include the Phoenix Memo, FBI agent Colleen Rowley's urgent bulletins from Minnesota, tips from foreign intelligence agencies, warnings from the Federal government to its high-ranking government placemen not to fly by commercial airliner, the contemporaneously noted presence of art students-cum-Mossad agents within two blocks of 9/11 operative Mohammed Atta, and other indicators.

[5] Long sought by Messrs. Cheney and Rumsfeld, whose formative and traumatic experiences in the executive branch were shaped by their revulsion against attempts by Congress, the federal bench, and the American people, to restrain Richard M. Nixon's assertion that the Constitution does not apply to a sitting president.

[6] The phrase "war on terrorism" is, as many people have commented, a somewhat hazy conception, being a war on a tactic, much as if FDR had declared war on naval aviation after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Significantly, the popular mind has contracted this phrase into "the war on terror," an even more illogical coinage. If the U.S. government is truly at war against a mental state that gives rise to ill-defined dread, it should disestablish itself forthwith, to the benefit of our rights, our bank balances, and our physical safety.

[7] "Cheney Warns of Decades of War," BBC, 6 October 2005.

[8] "Power We Didn't Grant," by Sen. Tom Daschle, Washington Post, 23 December 2005.

[9] The Enabling Law passed the Reichstag by a vote of 444-94, whereas the PATRIOT Act passed the House by a margin of 357-66, and the Senate by a vote of 98-1. Curiously, the Enabling Law was supposed to sunset in four years: on April Fool's Day, 1937, precisely paralleling the four-year expiration of many of the PATRIOT Act's provisions. Perhaps the eerie similarity reflects the influence of Nazi legal scholar Carl Schmitt on neoconservative lawyers of the Bush administration like David S. Addington, John Yoo, and Viet Dinh.

[10] News transcript: Gen. Myers Interview with CNN TV,  http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t04082002_t407genm.html

Wrong 18.Feb.2006 16:13

Paul Butler

"The Nation and CounterPunch have an strong association"? True Alexander Cockburn writes a column for The Nation and edits and publishes CounterPunch, but the association he has with The Nation is pretty frayed. Read Eric Alterman's book--Cockburn is not well-liked there at all, but he is popular with Nation readers.

I know, I know: facts suck.

'Paul Butler' and 'updike' 18.Feb.2006 16:54


"...the association [Cockburn] has with The Nation is pretty frayed"

--perhaps...("frayed") but the jumping-off point is libertarian-leaning left wing politicos. and The Nation - yes, facts suck - since 1980s has leaned much more towards both coverage and implicit-or-explicit endorsement of centrist, mainstream Democrat party politics, which is just another reason why Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair have put correspondingly more effort into their CounterPunch outlet.

What it comes down to is that CounterPunch today (2006), looks a lot like The Nation did back in the mid-1980s: both in the radical nature of its stance, and in how that stance compares to the surrounding US political status quo.

(witness former Reagan collaborator Paul Craig Roberts' recent pieces  http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02182006.html  http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02162006.html  http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02182006.html  http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02162006.html  link to www.counterpunch.org But who's paying attention to him, over at DLC-embroiled The Nation?)

"Reichstag fires are the extreme exception, not the commonality..."

--on the road to dictatorship they're extremely common, not at all the exception:

another Paul Craig Roberts article on so-called "conservatism" 18.Feb.2006 17:00


and RE: "Reichstag" this graphic:

(for 'updike') The Global War on Ladders 18.Feb.2006 17:21

bob cesca

This week, senate Republicans eased off their oath-free investigation of the Bush administration's illegal NSA wiretap program. They chickened out for three reasons: 1) they fear Karl Rove, 2) they fear the terrorists, and 3) they fear being labeled soft on national security.

There's a fourth reason but, inexplicably, it has to do with Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and a bottle of "memory pills". Patrick Henry would throw up in his mouth if he knew our civil liberties hinged on an old asshole's pre-dementia elixir.

The Republicans in Congress are a'scared. As are the cult followers of Bush/Cheney who will do anything they're told because they, too, are a'scared. If they don't support their president, no matter how incompetent, we're all going to die. DIE!

Remember when Mom used to tell you that if you made a funny face it'd stick that way? After a while, logic and maturity crept in and made you feel a little silly for believing it, didn't it? For the Bush Cult, that evolution hasn't happened yet. President Bush could suggest that eggs were God's hand-grenades and 39-percent of the nation would worship eggs. After all, not believing it would somehow weaken the president and thus leaving us exposed to an attack.

So back to that. The attack. You know what's more of threat to you than terrorists? Ladders. According to Foreign Policy  http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3079&page=0 magazine, your odds of dying in a terrorist attack on American soil are 1 in 88,000. According to the same study, you're more likely to die from a fall off a ladder than you are from a terrorist attack. Your odds that a ladder might kill you? 1 in 10,010.

Time to declare a global war on ladders. Or the ladders win.

You know what else is more likely to kill you? Lightning. Damn that fucking lightning for hating America! Again, your odds of dying at the hands of a terrorist: 1 in 88,000. Lightning: 1 in 83,930 according to Live Science  http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/050106_odds_of_dying.html

The odds of you being killed by simply falling down? 1 in 246. Line up 246 people. Run around shoving them over, and it's likely one of them will land on their brain and die.

The odds you will someday attack and kill yourself -- with or without a shoe bomb? 1 in 121. If you can figure out a way to eavesdrop on yourself and you might just escape an attack... by you.

There's a 1 in 7 chance you will die of cancer. Imagine if all the money spent on the war on terror was, instead, spent on curing the second biggest threat to your life. Just the billions of dollars LOST in Iraq could be enough to find a cure.

Ultimately, if the statistics show that a terrorist is unlikely to kill you, the only other reasons for the war on terror are vengeance and political convenience. I like vengeance. Killing or capturing Bin Laden would've been so sweet. War for political convenience -- not so sweet.

I'm not suggesting we shouldn't make a bold effort to prevent terrorism, but we should do so with our dignity, liberties, and priorities intact -- even though it's unpatriotic to suggest such things in an era when being a coward at the behest of the government is synonymous with being patriotic.

Now have a good weekend and stay away from those America-hating ladders.

Control the opposition 18.Feb.2006 18:16

by creating and sabotaging it.

The posting is an insightful one, from which we may safely assume that certain alternative media have been co-opted and are now abetting the 9-11 coup d'etat.

Not only has Alex Cockburn been conscripted to aid the cover-up. But we are also facing some extremely serious, highly dedicated co-intel pros. Consider, if you will, how telling it is to find that the spooks have already arrived and begun soiling things up (see above comments).

The truth may be on our side and nothing can change that; but the implication from this point on is that we are up against a goliath that is growing more powerful by the day.

Their Handlers are Amazed. I am too! 18.Feb.2006 20:15

Urban Movers and Shakers (AP)

good work, reader - as usual - thanks.

Authorities believe that the terrorists had HELP FROM AIRPORT GROUND CREWS, that they chose cross-country flights because the planes would be heavily loaded with fuel
and that THEIR HANDLERS ARE PROBABLY AMAZED that their plans so easily slipped past the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

"WE'RE JUST AMAZED at the level of coordination this would have taken,"
SAID A SENIOR OFFICIAL. "And the more extensive the conspiracy, the more
opportunity U.S. agencies should have had in picking up some trace that this
thing was going to occur.
Attacks Held to Be a Conspiracy, LA Times, September 11, 2001

The second plane looked similar to a C-130 transport plane, [Keith Wheelhouse] said.
He believes it flew directly above the American Airlines jet,
as if to prevent two planes from appearing on radar
- while at the same time - guiding the jet toward the Pentagon.
Daily Press, 914

"Thank God somebody else saw that.
There was most definitely a second plane," Knowles said.
"It's so frustrating because nobody knows about the second plane,
or if they do they're hiding it for some reason."
Daily Press, 915

Re: Control the opposition 18.Feb.2006 22:10

Gore Vidal

It's precisely this sort of obsessive nuttiness on the part of some "9/11 was holograms" crowd that has left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole "Cheney vectored the planes in" conspiracy theory approach. Just call anyone who uses their brains to poke holes in your holographic theories an "insider gatekeeper." Whereas the article by Werther in Counterpunch is one of the more sobering and intellectually compelling cases for a grand inside conspiracy -- whether by omission or commission -- that I have read to date. And it achieves that distinction without so much as once seeing fit to offer an elaborate "counter-theory." These elaborate, painstaking counter-theories, quite contrary to the pride of their developers, do more to discredit than build the case for challenging the official line.

frank 19.Feb.2006 00:02


Let's look at 'Buzzy' Krongard, former investment banker, now ex-CIA executive director:

He said he viewed Bin Laden 'not as a chief executive but more like a venture capitalist. Let's say you wanted to blow up Trafalgar Square. So we go to Bin Laden. And he'll say, "Well, here's some money and some passports and if you need weapons, see this guy." I don't see him keeping his fingers on everything because the lines of communication are just too difficult.'

--if my enemy wanted to hurt its own people-- why shouldnt one help in the act - - esp. if such a philosophy allows for victory. i think many muslims would agree... obl is the prophet.

Florida's 911 Terrorist Flght School linked to Jeb Bush 19.Feb.2006 00:24

Daniel Hopsicker

October 24—world exclusive

A Learjet belonging to the true owner of the Venice flight school that trained both terrorist pilots who flew into the World Trade Center was seized with more than 30 pounds of heroin onboard by Federal Agents in July of 2000 at the Orlando Executive Airport.

Authorities at the time called it the biggest seizure of heroin ever found in central Florida.

The seized plane belonged to 70-year old Wallace J. Hilliard of Naples, FL., multi-millionaire businessman, self-styled Mormon Bishop, and the newly-discovered secret owner of Huffman Aviation at the Venice Airport since its purchase in 1999, just months before terrorists began arriving in force in Southwest Florida.

Hilliard was already well-known in aviation circles as the 'money man' and deep-pocketed financial backer of Rudi Dekkers, according to local aviation observers like chief flight instructor Tom Hammersly, who taught at the Venice Airport while the two flight schools there experienced a flood of Arab student pilots.

"What we heard was that he (Dekkers) had somebody in Naples backing him financially. We all knew that the money he (Dekkers) flaunted was not even his money, that he was just a 'front' man for the man who had the money," stated Hammersly in an interview in "Mohamed Atta & the Venice Flying Circus."

Though in his many media appearances Rudi Dekkers portrayed himself as both president and owner of Huffman Aviation, this claim, like so many other Dekkers' pronouncements, is untrue.

Lying on and off-the-record

Court documents filed in August at the Sarasota Courthouse reveal that the so-called 'Magic Dutch Boy' never completed the Huffman sale, 'neglecting' to pay for his shares of stock in the resulting corporation.

While terrorist student pilots flew in veritable squadrons (as many as sixteen at a time) over Venice, Wally Hilliard had been Huffman Aviation's true owner.

Nor is this the first time Rudi Dekkers has 'neglected' to pay for shares in business ventures. In 1995 in The Netherlands, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, Dekkers incorporated a company and never paid for his shares of stock in it either.

A Dutch court adjudged Dekkers guilty in that case of acting "in a manifestly improper fashion," and said that "his manifest failure to properly manage the company was an important cause of (the firm's) bankruptcy."

As a result, Rudi Dekkers, a man who was invited to testify before the Congress of the United States of America on his thoughts on preventing future terrorist attacks, is today a fugitive from justice in his native Holland.

And while Rudi Dekkers busied himself training thousands of young Arab men to fly, from his base in Naples, just a short helicopter ride south of Venice, his partner Wally Hilliard was running a charter jet service called Plane 1 Leasing which provided the jet carrying 30 pounds of heroin.

"Celebrity Endorsement as Double-Edged Sword"

At the same time their planes were flying back and forth from Venezuela with illegal cargo Hilliard's charter service was also, unbelievably, being utilized at virtually no cost--despite the fact that rentals for Lear jets can run as high as $1,800 an hour--by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Even stranger, both Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris were providing celebrity endorsements to Hilliard's operation well after the company's Lear (N351WB) had been busted by DEA agents armed with machine guns.

Pretty poor advance work, at the very least...

One would think a sitting Governor seems well-advised to steer well clear of anything to do with heroin trafficking. Yet Governor Jeb Bush honored Hilliard's operation--called at various times Florida Air, Sunrise Airlines and Discover Air--with a personal visit, even posing for photos with the "Discover Air family."

The company promptly commemorated the memorable event by posting pictures of the visit on their website.

Finally somebody in the Bush camp realized their lethal potential exposure, and the webpage was hastily taken off the Discover Air site.

Getting Google-ed

But they didn't reckon with Google's heralded cache system. So today you can see the page in all its former glory.

Alas for Discover Air, soon after beginning operations they were forced to see their shortcomings in headlines, like this June 28, 2001 doozy from the hometown Orlando Sentinel: AIR SERVICE TO MIAMI FLOPS; NOT ONE PERSON BOUGHT A TICKET, SO DISCOVER AIR HALTED PLANS FOR FLIGHTS FROM DAYTONA BEACH.

Having "not one person buy a ticket" would seem to be hugely embarrassing to a fledgling airline... if scheduled passenger service was the true aim of the Enterprise.

Katherine Harris' endorsement of the Hilliard/Dekkers operation must also be providing her with some bad moments today:

"As one of Florida's top politicians, Katherine Harris doesn't have much time to do a lot of personal traveling," read the Sarasota Herald Tribune's chatty lead.

"But twice in the past month or so, the secretary of state --who received national attention for her role in the November presidential election -- has taken the 75-minute plane ride from her current home in Tallahassee to her old stomping grounds in Sarasota. Her choice of airline? Florida Air, a start-up commuter airline based here, grasping to be an air-taxi for the entire state."

'She has taken the airline twice,' Harris spokesman Ben McKay said. 'She appreciates the convenience that Florida Air offers.'"

Since at the same time then-Florida Secretary of State Harris was "appreciating their convenience" Florida/Discover Air had been flying passengers without holding an air carrier certificate, Ms. Harris' reputation as a stickler for the letter of the law can be said to have suffered something of a beating.

Is it just incredible bad luck that these two prominent Florida politicians endorsed an operation that both trained murderous terrorists AND brought heroin into America?

Criminal Conspiracies & Florida: Like Cookies and Milk

Heroin overdoses kill more people in Orlando each year than anywhere else in Florida. The city's growing importance as a major transshipment point for heroin prompted Congress to officially designate Central Florida a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Thus the investigation which resulted in the big seizure was launched with some intensity after a Colombian national, Nassar Darwich, was arrested in Orlando with 1.3 kilograms of heroin in the soles of shoes he was carrying.

As a result of Darwich's arrest, DEA agents were waiting two weeks later when the Learjet landed at the airport on July 25, and swarmed the plane brandishing machine guns, according to eyewitnesses.

Passengers Edgar Valles and Neyra Rivas, both of Caracas, Venezuela, were arrested after 13 kilograms of heroin was found hidden in the soles of tennis shoes stashed in their luggage. The pilot was not arrested, according to a DEA spokesman, because of a lack of evidence.

The flight plan of the Lear 35A originated in Venezuela and made a stop in Fort Lauderdale before landing in Orlando, with New York as its final destination. Eventually five people in Orlando were convicted in connection with the seizure, including two Venezuelans who were traveling aboard the jet when it landed at Orlando's Executive Airport, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"It confirms the sad fact that a massive amount of heroin is coming through Central Florida," U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Brent Eaton told the paper when the arrests were announced.

"It's very disturbing to the DEA that more and more high-quality heroin is coming from Colombia and at a cheaper price."

Apparently the DEA was "very disturbed" enough to look more closely at Hilliard's jet charter operation. The result was their firm opposition to returning the plane to Hilliard.

And although no one from Plane 1 Leasing was charged with any crime, there appears to be abundant evidence pointing to the conclusion that--at the very least--the company had to have known what was going on.

"It was just blatant," said one aviation observer. "That same plane flew that same run thirty or forty times, ferrying the same people. And they always paid cash for the rental."

"The red flags could not have been raised any higher."

The plane's frequent roundtrips to South America were confirmed by an official at Executive Jet Service, the facility which serviced the jet at Orlando Executive Airport, who stated the plane made weekly down-and-back runs to Venezuela.

This isn't Watergate. It's bigger.

Three weeks after his jet was impounded by the DEA, Hilliard asked for it back in a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, arguing that he was an 'innocent owner' unwittingly duped by a known individual.

"Plane 1 and its officers shareholders and directors were not aware of the identity of the passengers utilizing the Lear 35A on this trip other than Mr. Valles," stated Hilliard's motion, and were "unaware that the individuals chartering the plane were engaging in criminal conduct," as well as being "not aware of any facts from which they should have been aware that individuals leasing the plane were engaging in criminal conduct."

The U.S. Attorney's office opposed the plane's return, "because the property was used or acquired as a result of a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

In a hearing on November 3, 2000 Federal Magistrate Judge James Glazebrook denied Hilliard's motion to get his Lear back.

"Wally took a big hit on that one," stated one aviation observer at the Naples Airport. "The DEA was not going to let him have that plane back."

"The DEA was planning on adding it to their Border Patrol fleet," confirmed a spokesman for the Lear jet's current owner. East Coast Jets of Allentown, PA. bought the plane, they told us, after the insurance company which had insured it for the lender against seizure successfully wrenched it back from the DEA after Hilliard had been removed from the picture.

Wally Hilliard's central role in the purchase and operation of the flight school that was a magnet for Mohamed Atta and the Hamburg cadre requires raising some serious questions about his charter jet company's possible involvement in heroin trafficking...

Especially since the chief product for export of Osama Bin Laden's terrorist organization was also, strangely enough, heroin.

Perhaps this is all just coincidence.

But one has to wonder: will these questions ever be asked in a proper forum?

Is there even a pretense of democracy in America anymore?

Testifying in the wake of the 9/11 attack before the Senate Banking Committee about terrorist connections in money laundering, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff said:

"Frankly, we can't differentiate between terrorism and organized crime and drug dealing. These groups don't hold themselves independently: they work with one another. Terrorists get engaged in drug activity. They have relationships with organized crime."

Too true, dude. Too true.


dynamic duo
dynamic duo
Marvin Bush (here, behind Dubya) - director of WTC + Dulles airport
Marvin Bush (here, behind Dubya) - director of WTC + Dulles airport
and United Airlines security firm (shown here, behind Jeb)
and United Airlines security firm (shown here, behind Jeb)

I don't want to believe it. 19.Feb.2006 00:28

My Pet Goat

When I watch the video from the towers falling, it simply does not add up. Now my personal observation is not much to base an argument on. That's why I'm glad there is the video LOOSE CHANGE to argue for me. Type it into Google and watch it for free online. If you are a dismissive skeptic, I dare you to watch it! I double dog dare you!!

As an aside, Mike Malloy has publicly stated on his show that he belives 9/11 was an inside job. You can hear his rants M-F at 10:00pm on Air America. No, I don't work for the station.

Details! Details! Details! 19.Feb.2006 00:52

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

Stick with the physical evidence that directly contradicts the official story, stick with the countless coincidences one must believe to accept the official story, stick with the official ommission of facts, the official destruction of evidence, the official obstruction of justice, follow the motive and who benefits, and it leads you straight to the White House. Come on people, act like detectives. I cannot believe you waste your time debating with idiots who obviously have their heads in the sand. They are the enemy. If you think there will ever be a real investigation, or that the truth will prevail, then you better understand something else: the only way its going to happen is by force. Long live the people!

beating a dead horse 19.Feb.2006 04:38


Counterpunch is irrelevant when it comes to 9-11 information.