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:: Saturday, June 29, 2002 ::

Oops. Slobodan Milosevic's personal spin machine has actually issued a retraction:
In my June 21 column, "Treason is the Reason," I wrote about Sibel Edmonds, a wiretap translator formerly employed by the FBI who has stepped forward with allegations about infiltration of the FBI by a mysterious "Middle Eastern country." Citing "a trusted source," I wrote:

"According to his Justice Department sources, the mysterious "Middle Eastern country" the [Washington] Post couldn't name for reasons of ‘national security’ is indeed Israel."

I am now informed – by this same source – that the country in question may not be Israel.

While the column is not completely invalidated by this backtracking on the part of my source, it is nevertheless important to make clear that there is no solid evidence that Israel is indeed the country referred to in the Washington Post piece. I regret the error, and apologize to my readers.

Cue derisive laughter.

I can think of other things that Raimondo could - and should - retract. Like this passage posted to the Warblogger Watch message board:
*I* am talking about the Israeli SPY story -- the one where literally
hundreds of Israeli "art students" converged on US government facilities. The one that almost got Carl Cameron fired from his job at Fox News. The one you bloggers don't even MENTION. The one that shows how our noble ally stood by and watched as 3,000 people went down in flames: of course, they COULD have alerted us. But they didn't, because they wanted us to SEE HOW IT FEELS to be a victim of Arab terrorism.

Or maybe this one:
What I wrote is that the Israelis almost certainly had foreknowledge of the 9/11 events, although to what extent is hard to gauge at this point. No, did they didn't "blow up the WTC," but they had some idea who was planning to do so -- and so they were complicit. To what extent, we don't know as yet. And why, I might ask, is this so hard to believe?

I mention these statement only because Raimondo had actually emailed me about a week ago, demanding that I retract something that I had written about him. What he objected to is the fact that I had mentioned him in same sentence as two other tinfoil pundits, Mike Ruppert and the soon-to-be (I hope) ex-Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney. I could have also mentioned Raimondo's colleage, Jared Israel, in that cabal.

Yes, it's true. Raimondo took the comparison as an insult. So much so that he sent me emailed me to complain (don't let the photo fool you, kids - behind that sneering, broke-ass Jimmy Dean exterior lies one of the most insecure human beings ever to roam the earth).

I can only wonder when I'll get similar emails from Ruppert and/or McKinney's office taking me to task for comparing those two to Raimondo.

But out of fairness, I will acknowledge that the comparison was not intended to suggest that Raimondo buys into the same idiotic theories that Ruppert and McKinney suggest. His is an entirely different flavor of dementia. But when it comes to his methods, there is simply no daylight between them.

Like Ruppert, Raimondo flagrantly distorts the public record to make his case, and has himself perfected the "selective vacuum-cleaner" approach to research that Normon Solomon used to describe Ruppert. Take his treatment of the 60-page draft DEA report on the so-called Israeli "art student" spies. As Bruce Ralston has shown, Raimondo's interpretation of the document literally parodies itself, attempting to create mass hysteria at the fact that a few of these students had lived mere blocks from "an address" of four of the 9/11 hijackers. A cursory reading of the document shows that this "address" was a Mailbox Rentals store, where perhaps hundreds of other suspicious characters may have "lived." Flit provides other examples of Raimondo's command of forensics.

Raimondo, of course, has failed to even prove that these kids were doing any sort of intelligence work (and as I have pointed out, it is not even probable, as their "surveillance" included scores of private residences and businesses within the same geographic areas as these government facilities - including the home of one professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, who teaches law in Tennessee, not Kentucky).

And yet Raimondo would make the quantum leap to concluding that these early-20's spooks had succeeded where our own intelligence services failed, uncovering the 9/11 plot before it happened.

How is this any more rational than the bullshit purveyed by McKinney and Ruppert?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:46 AM [+] ::
...
:: Monday, June 24, 2002 ::
A flimsy attempt at a snappy rejoinder. A nameless blogger (another one of those valiant dissidents who's afraid of the Treasury agents underneath his bed) has tried his hand at refuting my Ruppert timeline post below. He has his own conspiracy yarns, including a Vince Foster redux, exposing the Cliff Baxter "suicide sham."

In any event, his prodding of my timeline focuses on items 3 and 4, in which Ruppert first claims the Unocal pipeline deal failed because the Taliban's price was too high (in 1997), and that Unocal VP John Maresca testified a year later that the deal would not be feasible unless and until a stable Afghan regime was in place. Predictably, this mystery blogger does not see the incongruity here.
but presumably that doesn't necessarily follow. The 1997 negotiations could have failed over money, and the Unocal Vice President could also have testified before the House that the pipeline would not be built before there was a stable government in Afghanistan.

I suppose you could make this argument if Afghanistan had slid into chaos between 1997 and 1998, but the truth of the matter is that the Taliban continued to consolidate its rule after 1996, and the country was certainly more stable (inasmuch as a country living under the most brutal, Luddite tyranny the world has seen since the Khmer Rouge can be called stable) in 1998 than 1997, when Unocal was supposedly haggling over a price. Prudent entrepreneurs ensure the investment is a secure one before they negotiate a price, not after.

The argument then progresses to Unocal's recent press release stating that it no longer had any interest in building the pipeline, which we are to believe is "a case, I dare say, of protesting too much." Uh-huh. If Unocal had released it out of the blue, but what he doesn't tell you is that it was in response to a report that it was the "lead company" in the pipeline's construction. "Protesting too much" is something corporations sort of have to do from time to time, as they depend of what are called investors who give special slips of paper called money for their stock, based on the decisions the corporation makes.

Moron.

But here's the best part of the missive:
Ruppert's strength isn't in any particlar part of the timeline, but in the sheer quantity of suspicious details.

So you see, it doesn't matter if none of Ruppert's weak assumptions, distortions, logic fallacies, and outright factual errors, hold any water. The fact that he is able to come up with such a wealth of idiotic arguments proves him right!

It should also be noted that this despicable pig also notes (again, in what is apparently his own yarn) the fact that only one flag officer - Lt. Gen. Timothy Maude - died in the attack as proof that there was foreknowledge, snidely remarking, "I guess he didn't get the memo."

Thanks for reminding me why I devote so much time to humiliating you people, Mr. Xymphora. Fucktard.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:27 PM [+] ::
...
:: Sunday, June 23, 2002 ::
Mike Ruppert’s bullshit-riddled timeline (Part 1). NOTE: This is the first in what will be at least a 5-part series refuting Mike Ruppert’s conspiratorial "timeline" point by point. It may grow longer, as Ruppert continues to add more allegations, in lieu of actually providing evidence to support his older ones.

David Corn may not have the space to devote to Ruppert’s entire timeline – which contains most of his purported "evidence" of government foreknowledge of, and complicity in, the 9/11 attacks.

But I do. From the top…

FTW, November 2, 2001 – 1200 PST – On October 31, the French daily Le Figaro dropped a bombshell. While in a Dubai hospital receiving treatment for a chronic kidney infection last July, Osama bin Laden met with a top CIA official - presumably the Chief of Station. The meeting, held in bin Laden’s private suite, took place at the American hospital in Dubai at a time when he was a wanted fugitive for the bombings of two U.S. embassies and this year’s attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Bin Laden was eligible for execution according to a 2000 intelligence finding issued by President Bill Clinton before leaving office in January. Yet on July 14th he was allowed to leave Dubai on a private jet and there were no Navy fighters waiting to force him down.

Now, let’s go back to the October 31 story by Le Figaro – the one that has Osama bin Laden meeting with a CIA officer in Dubai this June.

The story says that, "Throughout his stay in the hospital, Osama Bin Laden received visits from many family members [There goes the story that he’s a black sheep!] and Saudi Arabian Emirate personalities of status. During this time the local representative of the CIA was seen by many people taking the elevator and going to bin Laden’s room.

"Several days later the CIA officer bragged to his friends about having visited the Saudi
millionaire. From authoritative sources, this CIA agent visited CIA headquarters on July 15th, the day after bin Laden’s departure for Quetta…

"According to various Arab diplomatic sources and French intelligence itself, precise
information was communicated to the CIA concerning terrorist attacks aimed at American interests in the world, including its own territory."…

"Extremely bothered, they [American intelligence officers in a meeting with French intelligence officers] requested from their French peers exact details about the Algerian
activists [connected to bin Laden through Dubai banking institutions], without explaining
the exact nature of their inquiry. When asked the question, "What do you fear in the coming days?’ the Americans responded with incomprehensible silence."…

"On further investigation, the FBI discovered certain plans that had been put together between the CIA and its "Islamic friends" over the years. The meeting in Dubai is, so it
would seem, consistent with ‘a certain American policy.’"

Even though Le Figaro reported that it had confirmed with hospital staff that bin Laden
had been there as reported, stories printed on November 1 contained quotes from hospital staff that these reports were untrue. On November 1, as reported by the Ananova press
agency, the CIA flatly denied that any meeting between any CIA personnel and Osama bin Laden at any time.

Who do you believe?

First of all, Le Figaro never "confirmed" anything with Dubai hospital staff, and Ruppert knows this. Bill Weinberg, editor of World War 3 Report called Ruppert on this inaccuracy back in March. The original (French) version actually used the verb affirmer, which Ruppert incorrectly translated to mean "confirm."

Should’ve used Babel Fish, Mikey!

Hence, what Ruppert has here is a single unnamed hospital official to corroborate Le Figaro’s outlandish tale. How about those other "quotes from hospital staff?" According to Agence France Presse, the hospital’s CEO, Bernard Koval "categorically denied" the report. "’Osama bin Laden has never been here. He's never been a patient and he's never been treated here. We have no idea of his medical condition,’ he insisted. ‘This is too small a hospital for someone to be snuck through the backdoor.’" [Luke Phillips, AFP, 31 Oct. 2001]

I believe the CIA. And the officials of the American Hospital in Dubai, who are not affiliated with the U.S. government. That’s two independent sources – both of which were sourced, and used much stronger words than "allegedly" – Ruppert’s mistranslation notwithstanding -- in their version of events.

On with Ruppert’s "timeline," which I will take apart line by line…
1. 1991-1997 – Major U.S. oil companies including ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP, Amoco, Shell and Enron directly invest billions in cash bribing heads of state in Kazakhstan to secure equity rights in the huge oil reserves in these regions. The oil companies further commit to future direct investments in Kazakhstan of $35 billion. Not being willing to pay exorbitant prices to Russia to use Russian pipelines the major oil companies have no way to recoup their investments. ["The Price of Oil," by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, July 9, 2001 – The Asia Times, "The Roving Eye Part I Jan. 26, 2002.]

All of which proves absolutely nothing. Yes, the U.S. consumes a great deal of oil. And yes, Central Asia is a burgeoning source which could well supply us, and the rest of the world, for decades to come. But even if we were to accept Ruppert’s conclusions at face value, this in no way supports any logical nexus between our craving of petroleum and the decision to go to war. And it doesn’t even support, much less prove, Ruppert’s allegation that there was foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

And when we prod a little into the substance of this claim, we find it to be a gross oversimplification, treating the oil industry as a monolithic interest. The reality is that there has never been a consensus among oil companies on the best route for the Central Asian pipeline. Take this analysis from BBC:
On the contrary, very few western politicians or oil companies have taken Afghanistan seriously as a major export route - for the simple reason that few believe Afghanistan will ever achieve the stability needed to ensure a regular and uninterrupted flow of oil and gas.

The West, in contrast, and particularly the US, has put almost all its efforts into developing a major new route from the Caspian through Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Black Sea.

This had the potential advantage (from a western point of view) of bypassing Russia and Iran, and breaking their monopoly of influence in the region - allowing the states of the Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan and possibly Armenia) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) to develop a more balanced, independent foreign policy.

Other insight into the war-for-oil conspiracy theory can be found here and here, both good pieces from Spinsanity that obliterated the theory as put forth by Ted Rall – who does not, to my knowledge, believe that there was any government foreknowledge or complicity in 9/11.

2. January, 1995 – Philippine police investigating a possible attack on the Pope uncover plans for Operation Bojinka, connected to WTC bomber Ramsi Youssef. Parts of the plan call for crashing hijacked airliners into civilian targets. Details of the plan are disclosed in Youssef’s 1997 trial for the 1993 WTC bombing. [Source: AFP, December 7, 2001]

This information would not qualify as what has been termed "actionable intelligence." Unless Ruppert is suggesting that we should have shut down all commercial air traffic from 1997 until… well, until when exactly? This, like many of Ruppert’s other "smoking gun" offers no information about specific dates, or even the specific airports from where such attacks would be launched. Moreover, the revelations included such possible targets as the Eiffel Tower. The notion that we could have provided interminable air defenses for such a large range of targets is ridiculous.
3. December 4, 1997 – Representatives of the Taliban are invited guests to the Texas headquarters of Unocal to negotiate their support for the pipeline. Subsequent reports will indicate that the negotiations failed, allegedly because the Taliban wanted too much money. [Source: The BBC, Dec. 4, 1997]

Nothing more compelling here than his first item. Moreover, this bullet is contradicted by the next…
4. February 12, 1998 – Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca – later to become a Special Ambassador to Afghanistan – testifies before the House that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan the trans-Afghani pipeline needed to monetize the oil will not be built. [Source: Testimony before the House International Relations Committee.]

Which is it, Ruppert? Either Unocal backed out over too much money, or the lack of stability. Put together, these two items seem to confirm that Unocal’s desire for such a pipeline was tepid, at best.
5. 1998 - The CIA ignores warnings from Case Officer Robert Baer that Saudi Arabia was harboring an al-Q’aeda cell led by two known terrorists. A more detailed list of known terrorists is offered to Saudi intelligence in August 2001 and refused. [Source: Financial Times 1/12/01; See No Evil by a book by Robert Baer (release date Feb. 2002)].

Once again, this does not qualify as actionable intelligence. There is no indication that this "warning" contained any information about the 9/11 plots, or that the leads would have lead to any of its participants – not that that would have mattered. Two years would have been plenty of time for al-Qaeda to retool its plans.
6. April, 1999 – Enron with a $3 billion investment to build an electrical generating plant at Dabhol India loses access to plentiful LNG supplies from Qatar to fuel the plant. Its only remaining option to make the investment profitable is a trans-Afghani gas pipeline to be built by Unocal from Turkmenistan that would terminate near the Indian border at the city of Multan. [Source: The Albion Monitor, Feb. 28, 2002.]

Huh? Qatar and India are not adjacent countries. Oil shipments between the two would presumably have been made by sea, which would seem to open up a few more "remaining options." Options like, oh, I don’t know, Oman?
Oman LNG's third major long-term customer, Dabhol Power Co of India, expects to take delivery of its first cargo of Oman's LNG in October 2001. The Dabhol SPA calls for the supply of 1.6 millions tpa over a 20-year period.

The Oman LNG plant has a total capacity of some 6.6 million tpa of LNG. The sales contracts with Kogas, Osaka Gas and Dabhol mean the company has successfully sold the entire output of the plant on a long term basis.[" Business News: Oman joins world's gas exporters with plant inauguration," Gulf News, 15 Oct. 2000]

Not enough? Okay, how about some shipments from UAE?
Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd. (Adgas) is to start gas exports to India from the end of 2001 for a 20-year period, the company's general manager said in an interview released on Tuesday. "We shall start exporting LNG (liquefied natural gas to Dabhol Power Company of India at an annual contractual rate of 480,000 tonnes, for a 20-year period," Rashid Saif al-Jarwan told the company's in-house magazine.[" UAE to start LNG exports to India at end of 2001," Agence France Presse, 26 Dec. 2000]

Neither of these sources carry the esteem of an Albion Monitor, but they are the best I could do.
7. 1998 and 2000 - Former President George H.W. Bush travels to Saudi Arabia on behalf of the privately owned Carlyle Group, the 11th largest defense contractor in the U.S. While there he meets privately with the Saudi royal family and the bin Laden family.[Source: Wall Street Journal, Sept. 27, 2001. See also FTW, Vol. IV, No 7 – "The Best Enemies Money Can Buy," http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/carlyle.html.]

There’s been a lot of talk about the bin Laden family, prefaced on the assumption that the whole "estrangement" story of Usama is a complete lie. Of course, neither Ruppert, Michael Moore, or anyone else alleging the Bush-bin Laden family connection have ever put forth any evidence that UBL still has friendly relations with his pro-Western capitalist family members.
8. March, 2000 - An FBI agent, reportedly angry over a glitch in Carnivore that has somehow mixed innocent non-targeted emails with those belonging to Al Q’aeda, destroys all of the FBI’s Denver-based intercepts of bin Laden’s colleagues in a terrorist investigation. [The Washington Post, May 29, 2002].

It should be noted that these were suspects, not confirmed "bin Laden colleagues," and because of the legal implications of gathering so many private communications from innocent people on whom the FBI did not have warrants, this would have been an understandable reaction. But, as is rapidly becoming the pattern, this is not nearly the whole story
Yesterday, a bureau official disputed the account in the memorandum. He said no information had been lost, because the e-mail had been recovered. The system gathered too much information, the official said, not because it was flawed or experimental, but because the Internet service provider gave agents outdated settings for the tapped computers.

"The technology assistance provided by the I.S.P. is vital to proper configuration," the official said.

As a cop, one would think Ruppert would see the value of protecting the legal integrity of an investigation. Then again, reports of his record with the LAPD are spotty at best. And once again, there is no indication at all that this SNAFU had even a tangential relationship to the 9/11 plotters, or that this information could have given any assistance at all in preventing the attacks.
9. 2000 (est.) - The FBI refuses to disclose the date of an internal memo stating that a middle eastern nation had been trying to purchase a flight simulator. [The L.A. Times, May 30, 2002].

But they did, according to the same report, turn the document over to Congressional investigators – not a wise move, if it’s as damning as Ruppert thinks it is.
10. August, 2000 - Suspected Al Q’aeda operatives wiretapped by Italian police made apparent references to plans for major attacks involving airports, airplanes and the United States according to transcripts obtained by the L.A. Times. The LA Times suggests that the information might not have been passed to U.S. authorities (hard to believe) but it did report that Italian authorities would not comment on the report. The Times also noted that "Italian and US anti-terrorism experts cooperate closely." [The Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2002].

The LAT story also says that the significance of these intercepts wasn’t even realized by Italian authorities until "sometime after Sept. 11."

So far, Ruppert’s conspiracy would require collusion among countless bureaucrats in just about every federal agency except the Tennessee Valley Authority. Now, he’s suggesting complicity by the Italian intelligence service? Ah, why the hell not! The more the merrier!
11. October 24-6, 2000 - Pentagon officials carry out a "detailed" emergency drill based upon the crashing of a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon. [The Mirror, May 24, 2002]

That Ruppert would try to construe this prudent disaster preparation exercise as evidence of foreknowledge of 9/11 would be funny if it weren’t so despicable. The report cited by the Mirror is here. As you can see, it contains no reference at all to hijacked planes, but that this was a generic mass casualty drill to ensure that the Pentagon’s emergency response personnel could coordinate properly with other agencies, such as the Arlington, Va. Fire Department.

Several other scenarios were also part of the exercise, and it may come as a surprise to Ruppert, but the military is known for its continual training exercises, and they do not necessarily suggest that the scenarios practiced are imminent.
12. January, 2001 – The Bush Administration orders the FBI and intelligence agencies to "back off" investigations involving the bin Laden family, including two of Osama bin Laden’s relatives (Abdullah and Omar) who were living in Falls Church, VA – right next to CIA headquarters. This followed previous orders dating back to 1996, frustrating efforts to investigate the bin Laden family. [Source: BBC Newsnight, Correspondent Gregg Palast –Nov 7, 2001].

There’s just one thing missing from Palast’s report: whether these zealous agents who wanted to investigate the bin Laden family had absolutely anything in along the order of probable cause. In fact, there’s no substance to his report at all. In an incestuous lovefest, he quotes fellow conspiracy theorists, as if the fact that these idiots support each other proves a thing.

Other, more reputable accounts concerning the bin Laden family suggest that there has been no shortage of cooperation by the family in bringing Usama to justice. In addition to providing DNA samples to assist in identifying his corpse should he have been killed in the Afghanistan campaign, family members – including his own mother, who still spoke with Usama – have given the U.S. any assistance they could:
The foreign official said the telephone call did not come to light until after Sept. 11 and was uncovered only as investigators for a foreign intelligence agency searched for evidence relevant to the attacks. Details of the conversation were first reported by NBC News today.

Mr. Bin Laden's mother, a member of the Alawite sect in Syria, took the phone call from her son while she was vacationing in Damascus, the capital, where she has met with him in the past, the official said. After she returned home to Saudi Arabia on Sept. 12 and learned of the terrorist attacks in the United States, she and members of her traveling party were interrogated by the police.

"She is not a bad person," the official said, noting that Mr. bin Laden's extended family has been cooperative in the investigations into terrorist acts that he is said to have organized or inspired.

It’s quite probable that the feds have gotten a wealth of useful information from the bin Laden family (though they certainly wouldn’t divulge details, nor should they, for obvious reasons), and that the supervisors of Palast’s nameless agents waved them off to prevent them from upsetting a good relationship by harassing them.
13. Feb 13, 2001 – UPI Terrorism Correspondent Richard Sale – while covering a trial of bin Laden’s Al Q’aeda followers - reports that the National Security Agency has broken bin Laden’s encrypted communications. Even if this indicates that bin Laden changed systems in February it does not mesh with the fact that the government insists that the attacks had been planned for years.

In his own refutation of Ruppert, David Corn argued that Ruppert completely misrepresented Sale’s account, and that the NSA had actually only manipulated some of its bank accounts and blocked certain communications, which would not require breaking their codes. Ruppert’s fervid (yet weak) response rather foolishly overplayed his hand, offering that al-Qaeda’s communications have been protected by "a full suite of tools," which deflates his claim that al-Qaeda communications were an open book to the NSA. Also from Sale’s story:
Coded letters, encryption of calls, verbal ciphers, messengers that elude technical collection, embedding messages in Internet porno films -- all are being used.

Since Bin Laden started to encrypt certain calls in 1995, why would they now be part of a court record? "Codes were broken," US officials said, and Venzke added that you don't use your highest level of secure communications all the time. It's too burdensome, and it exposes it to other types of exploitation."

During an insurgency in Cyprus in the 1950s, the British found the rebels were using female motorcycle riders to carry messages back and forth. Bin Laden is doing the same. But while messengers are fine, their use "is dependent very much on the speed you require," Venzke said: "Communication has to be safe, but it has to be efficient too."

Yet another example of Ruppert’s selective vacuum-cleaner approach" to research. His argument here presumes that 1)the NSA was able to break all al-Qaeda codes, within all its modes of communication, 2)that those modes of communication and encryption stayed the same throughout that that six-year period, and 3)that al-Qaeda never expected the most sophisticated electronic intelligence gathering agency the world has ever seen to ever break its codes, and thus never took any action to change or protect them. These assumptions are, of course, moronic.
14. May 2001 – Secretary of State Colin Powell gives $43 million in aid to the Taliban regime, purportedly to assist hungry farmers who are starving since the destruction of their opium crop in January on orders of the Taliban regime. [Source: The Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2001].

I’ll defer to David Corn on this one:
Purportedly? Was the administration paying off the Taliban for something else? That is what Ruppert is hinting. The newspaper, though, reported that all US funds "are channeled through the United Nations and international agencies," not handed to the Taliban. Unless Ruppert can show that was not the case, this dot has no particular significance.

One should also note the peculiarity of Ruppert alleging the administration’s schmoozing the Taliban as proof that we wanted to eradicate them all along. This generous donation, it should be noted, was given just two months before we were supposedly threatening the Taliban with military force (more on that later).
15. May, 2001 – Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a career covert operative and former Navy Seal, travels to India on a publicized tour while CIA Director George Tenet makes a quiet visit to Pakistan to meet with Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf. Armitage has long and deep Pakistani intelligence connections. It would be reasonable to assume that while in Islamabad, Tenet, in what was described as "an unusually long meeting," also met with his Pakistani counterpart, Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad, head of the ISI. [Source The Indian SAPRA news agency, May 22, 2001.]

"It would be reasonable to assume?" And suppose this meeting between the nefarious intelligence chiefs did take place? Could they possibly have discussed our concerns over nuclear proliferation in the region or Indo-Pakistani relations in general? How about Kashmir? No, it’s obvious to those who possess Ruppert’s special perspicacity that they could only have been discussing the fiendish plot to force al-Qaeda’s hand to commit a vicious atrocity that would give them the pretext to invade Afghanistan. If the rest of the world would just get with the program…
16. June 2001 – German intelligence, the BND, warns the CIA and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists are "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture." [Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 14, 2001.]

Yet another conveniently timed warning. And the source certainly bears scrutiny. Ruppert makes much of the fact that the U.S. government has never denied Allgemeine Zeitung’s account assuming that such a groundbreaking revelation must be true even though no other German publication picked up the story.

It’s also very curious that German intelligence officials would have so much specific information to give the Americans and Israel, yet took no action itself against the al-Qaeda cell operating in Hamburg until after the attacks. If this warning was as specific as FAZ claims, German officials would be guilty of far more egregious negligence (or are they part of the ever-widening conspiracy?) than our own officials.

And again, unless the Germans had offered up the specific individuals from whom they got these warnings, what sort of action could the U.S. have taken? Close our air space to all commercial air traffic for an indeterminate amount of time?

17. July, 2001 – Three American officials: Tom Simmons (former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia), meet with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in Berlin and tell them that the U.S. is planning military strikes against Afghanistan in October. A French book released in November, "Bin Laden - La Verite? Interdite," discloses that Taliban representatives often sat in on the meetings.
British papers confirm that the Pakistani ISI relayed the threats to the Taliban. [Source: The Guardian, September 22, 2001; the BBC, September 18, 2001.The Inter Press Service, Nov 16, 2001]

There he goes with another glaring misuse of the word "confirm," and this time he cannot claim a language barrier as an excuse. A quick perusal of the Guardian story confirms that they confirmed no such thing – they merely echoed the original allegation by former (in fact, all of the participants of these "track two" meetings were former government officials) Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik.

According to the same story, Naik’s version of events are refuted not only by Simon, Coldren, and Inderfurth, but the Russian counterpart as well:
Nikolai Kozyrev, Moscow's former special envoy on Afghanistan and one of the Russians in Berlin, would not confirm the contents of the US conversations, but said: "Maybe they had some discussions in the corridor. I don't exclude such a possibility."

Mr Naik's recollection is that "we had the impression Russians were trying to tell the Americans that the threat of the use of force is sometimes more effective than force itself".

Naik’s allegation that the Russians were an active part in these discussions precludes the possibility that they were "discussions in the corridor" out of earshot of the Russians. And Kozyrev’s refusal to rule out the possibility of outside discussions would indicate that he is not trying to cover for the Americans’ version. But even Naik isn’t quite as confident about his own story as Ruppert is…
Asked whether he could be sure that the Americans were passing ideas from the Bush administration rather than their own views, Mr Naik said yesterday: "What the Americans indicated to us was perhaps based on official instructions. They were very senior people. Even in 'track two' people are very careful about what they say and don't say."

Perhaps? Perhaps?!? And speaking of being "very careful about what they say and don’t say," why would these U.S. emissaries divulge an imminent attack on Afghanistan, including specific details on how it was to be carried out, in the presence of Pakistanis, whose government was at the time being censured by the U.S. for its nuclear proliferation and still had friendly ties to the Taliban government?

But even if we were to accept Naik’s claims in the Daily Wanker story, this in no way supports the war-for–oil theory or the idea that the U.S. government had foreknowledge of the9/11 attacks. While the Brisard and Dasquie account alleges the meetings were over "geostrategic oil interests," the Wanker’s version makes it quite clear that the threats of force purportedly passed to the Taliban were to convince them to hand over bin Laden.

Finally, as Corn notes, this allegation presumes that the 9/11 plots were hatched merely two months before they were carried out. So why does Ruppert’s timeline contain so many items that go as far back as 1998?

That’s all for now. I will further dissect Ruppert’s nonsense once my palette is cleared of the taste of bullshit.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:41 AM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, June 20, 2002 ::
The myth of NORAD's non-response on 9/11. One of the prominent arguments made by Government Foreknowledge/Complicity theorists is that the standing FAA/NORAD procedures for intercepting wayward civilian aircraft were not followed, which means that our air defense system had to have been "stood down" - an act which would have required intervention from the highest levels.

Damian Penny addresses this assertion, also made by one of Canada's own media mental patients, Barry Zwicker, with today's report that this same system failed to intercept a Cessna that violated White House airspace late yesterday. He might also have mentioned the case of Charles Bishop whose own suicidal crash into a Tampa building fialed to elicit a military intercept until 45 minutes after he had taken off without authorization.

Zwicker cites an NBC report - aired just hours after the attacks occurred - which stated that no jets were sortied until after the attack on the Pentagon. This statement is directly contradicted by NORAD, whose website posted the timelines of their response to all four hijackings:
American Airlines Flight 11 ? Boston enroute to Los Angeles
FAA Notification to NEADS 0840*
Fighter Scramble Order (Otis Air National Guard Base, Falmouth, Mass. Two F-15s) 0846**
Fighters Airborne 0852
Airline Impact Time (World Trade Center 1) 0846 (estimated)***
Fighter Time/Distance from Airline Impact Location Aircraft not airborne/153 miles

United Airlines Flight 175 ? Boston enroute to Los Angeles
FAA Notification to NEADS 0843
Fighter Scramble Order (Otis ANGB, Falmouth, Mass.
Same 2 F-15s as Flight 11) 0846
Fighters Airborne 0852
Airline Impact Time (World Trade Center 2) 0902 (estimated)
Fighter Time/Distance from Airline Impact Location approx 8 min****/71 miles

American Flight 77 ?Dulles enroute to Los Angeles
FAA Notification to NEADS 0924
Fighter Scramble Order (Langley AFB, Hampton, Va.
2 F-16s) 0924
Fighters Airborne 0930
Airline Impact Time (Pentagon) 0937(estimated)
Fighter Time/Distance from Airline Impact Location approx 12 min/105 miles

United Flight 93 ? Newark to San Francisco
FAA Notification to NEADS N/A *****
Fighter Scramble Order (Langley F-16s already airborne for AA Flt 77)
Fighters Airborne (Langley F-16 CAP remains in place to protect DC)
Airline Impact Time (Pennsylvania) 1003 (estimated)
Fighter Time/Distance from Airline Impact Location approx 11 min/100 miles
(from DC F-16 CAP)

In response to this, the conspiracy wonks have done one of two things. Some contend that the delay in sortying fighter jets still proves their point, and cite the 1999 intercept of (and I'm being totally serious here) Payne Stewart's fateful flight as a precedent showing how the FAA/NORAD response is supposed to work. Zwicker claims that the "total elapsed time" was a mere 21 minues between the realization that Stewart's lear jet was flying blind after its cabin was depressurized and its crew incapacitated, to the time two F-16s launched from Tydall AFB in Florida intercepted the plane.

Zwicker doesn't cite any source for his timeline, and it is quite different from other reports.

Zwicker's timeline notes that air traffic controllers "called in the military" at 9:38 a.m. EST, which is correct. He further alleges that the two F-16's reached Stewart's plane at 9:54, but according to Larry Guest's April 6, 2000 report, those jets did not even sortie from Tyndall until 10:08 a.m. Zwicker may also be interested to learn that those F-16's later deferred to an Eglin AFB jet, which had already been aloft on a routine training mission. That plane took time for an airborne refueling, then sped north for another 50 minutes before reaching Stewart's plane! Guest sourced his story directly to the air traffic controllers who were handling Stewart's jet, Air Force officials, and Capt. Chris Hamilton, the pilot who intercepted the plane.

Nice try, Zwicker.

Other versions of this flavor of conspiracy theory reject the evidence that NORAD responded before the Pentagon was hit as a "cover story" which is contradicted by initial reports. Reasonable people understand that in a crisis, first reports are often wrong, but to these mental defectives, those initial reports are the Freudian slips that emanate the truth, and anything reported after reflection is part of a cover up.

But let's dissect their evidence anyway. This website (which also alleges that photos of Bosnian death camps were faked) allegesthat it is somehow inconceivable that Dan Rather could make a journalistic error by first reporting that jets were not launched until after the Pentagon was hit, and reporting otherwise two days later.

They also select a rather narrow portion of JCS Chairman Gen. Richard Myers' testimony before the SASC on September 13:
When it became clear what the threat was, we did scramble fighter aircraft, AWACS, radar aircraft and tanker aircraft to begin to establish orbits in case other aircraft showed up in the FAA system that were hijacked.

Here is a longer excerpt of the same testimony:
LEVIN: Was the Defense Department contacted by the FAA or the FBI or any other agency after the first two hijacked aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center, prior to the time that the Pentagon was hit?

MYERS: Sir, I don't know the answer to that question. I can get that for you, for the record.

LEVIN: Thank you. Did the Defense Department take -- or was the Defense Department asked to take action against any specific aircraft?

MYERS: Sir, we were . . .

LEVIN: And did you take action against -- for instance, there has been statements that the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down. Those stories continue to exist.

MYERS: Mr. Chairman, the armed forces did not shoot down any aircraft. When it became clear what the threat was, we did scramble fighter aircraft, AWACS, radar aircraft and tanker aircraft to begin to establish orbits in case other aircraft showed up in the FAA system that were hijacked. But we never actually had to use force.

LEVIN: Was that order that you just described given before or after the Pentagon was struck? Do you know?

MYERS: That order, to the best of my knowledge, was after the Pentagon was struck.(Emphasis mine)

The very premise of this particular theory is that the FAA/NORAD procedures are established and would require intervention to keep the agencies from acting automatically. It is indeed the case that the military uses standard operating procedures to remove the possibility of judgement errors in these situtations, which is why officials far removed from the responding commands might not be familiar with all the details.

Case closed.

UPDATE: Jared Israel also posits the absurd argument that two squadrons based on Andrews Air Force Base -- and attached to the DC Air National Guard should have been scrambled to intercept Flight 77, being much closer to the Pentagon than the fighters that were launched from Langley.

The DC Air National Guard!!! As in, Reservist pilots with civilian day jobs who have to first be recalled to active duty before their "highest state of readiness" even becomes relevant. Jeez, don't they offer a remedial course in military operations for these enterprising conspiracy theorists?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:55 PM [+] ::
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:: Monday, June 17, 2002 ::
Way too much information on the internet about this guy.

An alert reader forwarded links to this Web site, as well as it's companion discussion forum devoted to exposing the crimes and lies of Delmart Vreeland, the small time (albeit quite prolific) con artist and identity thief who has been lauded as a "White Knight" by many in the LaRouche Left.

A lot of the debunking appears to have come from the guy's own half brother (damn!), and the site even links to this rendition of an old Village People standard interspersed with snippets from the air time devoted to his case.

This started out as a quaint little conspiracy theory about a guy with a handwritten note predicting the events of 9/11, but now it's just gotten silly!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:21 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 ::
More TWA 800 stupidity. Denver talk radio gasbag Ken Hamblin offers "another look" at the possibility that the Right's favorite conspiracy theory may yet be true:
When I expressed my view that a shoulder-mounted missile may have been used to destroy TWA 800, the usual would-be ammunition experts telephoned my syndicated talk radio show to insist that no Stinger could have brought down Flight 800 because it couldn't have been effective above 10,000 feet. Radar revealed the aircraft was climbing through 13,000 when it exploded.

Today I know those so-called experts were wrong because, according to the report from President Bush's policymakers, the Russian-made "SA-7s have a range of over 3 miles and can strike an aircraft flying at 13,500 feet. And an American-made Stinger can take out an aircraft flying at 10,000 feet and 5 miles away."

Wow. How has the Jon-Benet Ramsey case gone unsolved for so long with such analytical prowess right under the Boulder DA's nose?

Okay, so we've ascertained that it would not have been impossible for a SAM to reach the airliner from the ground. This, of course, could have been easily verified long before Hamblin's new developments - back in, say, March 1999?

What does Hamblin offer, other than refuting the impossibility of a missile attack? Nothing! He merely rehashes the same old conspiracy drivel, which has been abandoned by all but the most deluded proponents. There has never been a shred of physical evidence offered to support the missile theory, but the loonies continue to harp on the "hundreds of eyewitneses" who claim to have seen a "flash of light" some distance from the plane, just before it exploded.

Those "hundreds" actually made up around a third of the 700 eyewitnesses who had a view of the mishap, and what they saw is not inconsistent with a fuel tank explosion. If you're looking for more than the facile, secondary research cited by these ignorant dullards, you may want to read Deadly Departure, by aviation correspondent Christine Negroni.

The book documents fuel system design flaws of Boeing jets, which were known about for decades, but never remedied. The TWA 800 mishap was, she notes, the 14th fuel tank explosion on an airliner in 35 years.

But despite all this, Hamblin feels that the mere possibility that TWA 800 was hit by a SAM warrants his regurgitation of this stale nonsense. His listeners, and readers, deserve much better.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:49 PM [+] ::
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:: Saturday, June 08, 2002 ::
Whoah, dude, that's heavy!

They walk among us, folks. They walk among us.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:21 PM [+] ::
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The rumble on the Left. The LaRouche Left are going after the non-conspiratorialists like a pack of jackals.

In addition to David Corn's heresy, ZNet's Michael Albert penned his own missive arguing that, yes, the Bush administration is evil, warmongering, and imperialist, but did not have foreknowledge or complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

This has inspired another public stoning by the Nazimedia loonies, in the form of this droning oratory by John McMurtry, philosopher and jurist for the Crimes Against Humanity Tribunal at the Alternative World Summit in Toronto in 1989.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:17 PM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 ::
"Incubating Nonsense Through Silence," or "Why I Started a Second blog." I had often wrestled with the idea of taking on the various 9/11 conspiracy theories that have been circulated via the internet since the very day we were attacked. I've alway s taken seriously the axiom that "there is no such thing as bad publicity," and I still grit my teeth when I read something in the mainstream press that debunks a piece of the nonsense - no matter how exquisite and deserved the drubbing may be.

As a highly-trained media relations killer, I've been taught that generating still more coverage based on some dufus' sloppy reporting is never good, regardless - or perhaps because- of how egregiously inaccurate the original story was. So, I didn't really cheer at the public flogging given to Thierry Meyssan over his idiotic claims. Rather, I thought, why are we giving this asshole the satisfaction of taking him seriously? Worse yet, why devoted coverage too him at all?

But this indignation then gave way to a more rational res ponse. While you certainly don't want to give these stories legs that they wouldn't otherwise have, the record has to be set straight. Conspiracy-mongers like Justin Raimondo, Mike Ruppert, and the rest, interpret inattention as validation. Their stories are replete with references to obscure news stories "that have never been denied or refuted."

This is how the mainstream media contributes to the growth of these stories, from Raimondo's Israeli "art student" intell igence o peratives, or the oft-repeated lie that NORAD ordered it's air defense assets to "stand down" in response to the four hijacked planes. A single news item - often a poorly-covered one, is easily taken out of context - or becomes the context through which other events are inter preted. The stories circulate in the darker corners of the internet, and talk radio, but are not covered in major newspapers or television.

The result is similar to the "Lexis Nexis Effect," or even worse. The lies are indelibly imprinted on the net, and are repeated often enough to give the appearance of generally accepted facts. Even if there are a few stories dedicated to setting the record straight, their presence does not erase the false stories from anyone's memory, as the recent myth about Zacarias Moussaoui definitively illustrates.

What the casual reader of newspapers may not realize is that many of these internet rumors are investigated by legitimate news agencies, contrary to what courageous muckracking publications like Creative Loafing or High Times would have you believe. But when they discover that there's really nothing to the story, they generally do not run stories to affirm that original reporting was inaccurate. They simply drop it, and hope everyone forgets the erroneous story, especially when they were culpable in its dissemination at the outset.

"Oops," and "our bad" are n ot words you're likely to find in any headline. There's an excellent example of this phenomenon at Snopes, regarding another urban legend about Israeli operatives here in the U.S. The incident grew from this story from Knight-Ridder, about suspicious men with Israeli passports roaming around the Prairie Island nuclear plant in Welch, Minnesota.
As the nation again stands on high alert, the FBI is searching for six men stopped by police in the Midwest last weekend bu t released -- even though they possessed photographs and descriptions of a nuclear power plant in Florida and the Trans-Alaska pipeline, a senior law enforcement official said Tuesday . . .

The six men stopped by police were traveling in groups of three in two white sedans, said the senior law enforcement official, who requested anonymity. In addition to the photographs and other suspicious material, they carried "box cutters and other equipment," the official said. They appeared to be from the Middle East and held Israeli passports.

They were let go after the Immigration and Naturalization Service determined the passports were valid and that the men had entered the United States legally, the official said . . .

It could not be learned in what state the six men were stopped or how they aroused suspicion. It was not known if their true identities matched those on the passports, or why the FBI was not releasing their names or descriptions. Investigators think the men almost certainly have changed cars by now and have fled to Canada or elsewhere.

Raimondo, oblivious to what the term "journalism" means, wrote that several other news outlets had picked up the story. What he neglecte d to mention, however, is that they all cited the sae Knight Ridder report as their sole source (as Snopes notes, that single report was the entire basis for the story).

The story, of course, turned out to be complete nonsense, based on nothing more than an unconfirmed "lead." "It was one of the many that washed out into nothing," said Paul McCabe, spokesman for the FBI Minneapolis field office. Fancy that - a source who actually gives his name.

To the disservice of their readership, none of the major n ews organizations (Reuters, London Times, and Ha'aretz, for starters) ever followed up on their original reporting. No closure either confirming or denying the report they fed the ignorant masses - they just left it hanging out there. Without the dedication of Snopes, we might never have known whether there was anything to the story, and that is exactly how charlatans like Raimondo flourish.

There are countless others - stories of 9/11 hijackers having residential listings on military bases, and some eve n turning out to be still living, and so on. Easily explained as mistaken identity cases, yet the news organizations which filed the original reports never followed up. They just whistled through the graveyard, hoping their readers wouldn't remember what they reported the previous day.

There's even a petty criminal awaiting extradition in Canada, who has claimed to be a U.S. Navy intelligence officer with inside information on the 9/11 attacks -- and there are scores of Leftists who actually believe him (!), perhaps because there have been only a couple of stories attempting to debunk his claim.

So, this is why I've started this new page. I think it's important that con artists like Raimondo, Ruppert, and Rense do not get any more attention than they've already stolen from the serious discussions of the war on terrorism. But there have to be more public servants like the good folks at Snopes, and I'm going to do my part in setting the record straight.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:23 PM [+] ::
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