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And now, the 5th and final installment of Mike Ruppert's Bullshit-Riddled Timeline. Even as I post this, he has already added still more line items (so numbers will not correspond with his latest version). But I'm I'm ending the point-by-point refutation here, as Ruppert's additions grow more inane, silly, and contradictory with each revision.
But I will continue to respond to his more important arguments, as his bowels generate them. Feel free to forward any that you feel warrant a response ...
75. Feb 18, 2002 -- The Financial Times reports that the estimated opium harvest in Afghanistan in the late Spring of 2002 will reach a world record 4500 metric tons.
Uh huh. Despite the well-documented efforts (included in the FT story he cites) of the U.S. to curb the opium growth ? and the fact that the U.S. just exacted a major political upheaval in the country -- Ruppert concludes without any evidence whatsoever that this has been intentional.
76. mid-April, 2002 - World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, at the opening of the World Bank's offices in Kabul, states he has held talks about financing the Trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline. He confirms $100 million in new grants for the interim Afghani government. Wolfensohn also states that a number of companies have already expressed interest in the project. [Source: Alexander's Gas and oil Connections, citing an Agence France-Presse story]
Once again, economic development that is good for Afghans as well as greedy Westerners. In fact, the Pakistanis are driving these develpments more than the U.S.
77. May 13, 2002 -- The BBC reports that Afghanistan is about to close a deal for construction of the $2 billion gas pipeline to run from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India. The story states, "work on the project will start after an agreement is expected to be struck" at a summit scheduled for the end of the month. Unocal will build the pipeline. [Source: BBC, May 13, 2002]
78. May, 2002 - A number of sources report progress on both oil and gas pipelines. Regional sources state that Unocal will re-emerge as a pipeline contender after withdrawing from the CentGas pipeline project in 1998. Unocal denies plans to revive the gas pipeline but curiously neglects to mention whether or not it has any interest in the oil pipeline, which local sources say is moving ahead. [Source: The Dawn Group of Newspapers, May 7, May 17, May 22, 2002]
Both of these stories are nonsense. As David Corn reported, Unocal has stated unequivocally that it has no intention of participating in the pipeline venture. Could they be lying? Well, sure, if they have completely taken leave of their senses. To take part in such a large venture as building a pipeline traversing Afghanistan in complete secrecy would indeed be quite an engineering feat. And keeping their shareholders in the dark would, of course, be entrepreneurial suicide.
79. May 30, 2002 - Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, Turkmenistan's President Niyazov, and Pakistani President Musharraf meet in Islamabad to sign a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project. The three leaders will meet for more talks on the project in October. The Turkmen-Afghan-Pakistani gas pipeline accord has been published and can be viewed at the following website: http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/nts22622.htm. [Source: NewsBase, June 5, 2002]
As I said, "The Parties support the construction of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline, viewing it as vital to the interests of the peoples of the countries of the region, and will coordinate the joint activities necessary for carrying out the supply, transportation and use of Turkmen natural gas."
80. May 16, 2001 -- Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states unequivocally that while President Bush had been warned of possible hijackings, "The president did not -- not -- receive information about the use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers." [Source: CBS News, May 15, 2002]
For a thorough analysis of the "dropped balls" prior to September 11, go here. And here.
81. May 19, 2002 - Former FBI Agent Tyrone Powers, now a professor at Anne Arundel Community College states on radio station KISS 98.7 that he has credible evidence suggesting that the Bush Administration did in fact allow the Sept. 11 attacks to further a hidden agenda. [Source: http://www.indymedia.org - May 20, 2002]
Uh, is there an argument in there anywhere? And as for citing Nazimedia as a source, do we really have to go there?
82. May 31, 2002 - FBI Agent Robert Wright delivers a tearful press conference at the National Press Club describing his lawsuit against the FBI for deliberately curtailing investigations that might have prevented the 9-11 attacks. He uses words like "prevented," "thwarted," "obstructed," "threatened," "intimidated," and "retaliation" to describe the actions of his superiors in blocking his attempts to shut off money flows to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. These are not words of negligence. They are words describing deliberate and malicious actions. [Source: C-SPAN website]
"Curtailing investigations that might have prevented the 9-11 attacks." Yet another lie. Wright has not even alleged that he had any involvement in or knowledge of, investigations into the September 11 hijackers or their financiers. His work centered on Hamas and Hizbollah, and was based in Chicago -- a city with no known connection to the plots.
Wright's accusation should be taken seriously as a critique of how seriously the FBI took the threat of terrorism by Muslim extremists in the U.S., even though they seem, at times, quite petty. He has charged, for example, that the Bureau would not provide him with decent computer equipment -- to which all of his fellow agents can relate, I'm sure. Wright's attempt to link his personal crusade with the failure to prevent the September 11 attacks is extremely melodramatic, in addition to being baseless.
83. June 4, 2002 - Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Butler, who had called President Bush a joke and accused him of allowing the Sept. 11 attacks to happen, is suspended from his post at the Defense Language School in Monterey, Calif. and could face a court martial. [Source: Associated Press, June 4, 2002]
84. June 17, 2002 - Reuters reports that Butler's case has been resolved without the necessity of a court martial. (I guess so. There's enough material here to prove him right. -- MCR) [Reuters, June 17, 2002]
Thankfully, Butler's military career is as good as over, even without a courts martial. That's good enough for me, as he is unfit to lead, but there?s no reason to make a 1st Amendment martyr of him.
Again, Ruppert displays his ignorance of military practices: even if Butler's allegations were "proven right," his actions were still a clear violation of Article 88 of the UCMJ.
85. July 2, 2002 - Motions from Zacarias Moussaoui are unsealed in federal court, indicating that Moussaoui wants to testify before both a grand jury and Congress about the Sept. 11 attacks. Moussaoui claims to have information showing that the U.S. government wanted the attacks to happen. [Source: The Washington Post, July 3, 2002]
86. July 3, 2002 - The first-ever shipment of Russian oil, 200,000 metric tons, arrives in Houston. [Source: The Moscow Times, July 6, 2002]
87. July 6, 2002 - Afghan Vice President Hajji Abdul Qadir is assassinated by Afghan warlords. The New York Times reports that Qadir may have been assassinated by opium warlords upset by Qadir's efforts to reduce the rampant opium farming and processing that has taken place since the U.S. occupation. Qadir had been overseeing a Western-backed eradication program, according to the Times. However, the opium warlords of the region are same ones sponsored, protected, and in some cases released from prison by the CIA and who have been protected by President Bush's special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad. It is reported that the raw opium is being refined near U.S. bases at Kandahar. [Sources: The New York Times, July 8, 2002; Far Eastern Economic Review, April 18, 2002]
As Bill Gertz's work, Breakdown notes, internal -- and unclassified -- CIA reports have long concluded that "all major political factions in Afghanistan are involved in the drug trade to some degree." [Appendix A, p.188]
While one can argue that this is no excuse for not exerting more pressure on those factions, Ruppert's suggestion that this somehow proves complicity in the drug trade is as baseless as any argument he has made.
And that's saying quite a bit.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:13 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, October 07, 2002 ::
A World Class Thumbsucker
Stefan Sharkansky was kind enough to translate the entire Die Zeit story on pre-September 11 intelligence failures and the Israeli "Art Student" spy scandal.
I was going to write a lengthy critique of Die Zeit's reporting, but Bruce Rolston beat me to it, and did a much better job than I would have. So let me just add a few minor details.
The first part of the piece, which centers on the Malaysia meetings and the CIA's failure to warn State, FBI, etc. about al-Midhar and al-Hazmi is not news. In fact, I could find no new angle or significant details in their version of events.
Likewise, the second part, which centers on the alleged Mossad operation that trailed the hijackers, offers no new solid information. Sure, it's conclusions are wildly divergent from those who have obsessed about this case since last fall, but it relies heavily on the same old 61-page draft DEA report that everyone else who has reported on this used. But Die Zeit incorrectly refers to the document as a "final report," and draws conclusions which are in no way supported by it. In fact, apart from that document, the story is entirely unsourced.
But go read Rolston's takedown. He has uncovered some glaring errrors in fact, sources notwithstanding.
UPDATE: Stefan reports that someone using the handle "Citizen Able," who posted a comment in support of the circus freak himself, used an IP address registered to the "Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation." Makes a nice finishing touch to this nonsense, doesn't it?
The gist of the piece, according to the BBC summary, is that the supposed art student spies were trailing the 9/11 hijackers, and actually tried to warn the CIA, who ignored them, as they had no details. I still think there's nothing to this, even though it would a) completely douse Justin Raimondo's obsessive ranting about the treachery of Israel, and b) in no way proves foreknowledge by our own government.
I am interested to see what Die Zeit has actually added to the story, which remains rooted in shaky French reporting and a draft memo by a disgruntled DEA agent. Stay tuned.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:17 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 ::
Another Foreknowledge Myth Down In Flames
Snopes lays to rest the nonsense about FEMA being sent to NYC on Sept. 10, the day before the attacks:
Since 11 September 2001 was a Tuesday, if the Massachusetts task force had really arrived on a Monday night, as Mr. Kenney said, they would have been deployed in New York City the evening before the attacks, a rather curious coincidence seized upon by many conspiracy buffs as "proof" that the federal government had foreknowledge of the terrorists' plans.
The real explanation is, as usual, much simpler and more mundane:
* Tom Kenney simply mixed up his days of the week, saying "Monday" when he meant "Tuesday" and "Tuesday" when he meant "Wednesday." As someone who muddled through quite a few television interviews in the aftermath of September 11, I know how easy it is to become disoriented and confused during live interviews, attempting to hear questions coming to you through an earpiece and respond to the disembodied voice of an interviewer whom you can't see while bright lights are shined in your eyes. A person unused to the experience does well if he manages to get through a three-minute interview without making a whole host of mistakes. That someone who had been working around-the-clock in a crisis situation for two days straight might lose track of the day of the week is quite an understandable human error.
Moreover, a reporter from the Boston Herald tracked down Tom Kenney to verify that he was not in New York City on September 10 ...
A simple mix-up on the days of the week? Nah! It's got to be more convoluted than that!