Monday, August 28, 2006

The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11

This is a few years old but I stumbled into it yesterday and thought I would share. This posting is not an endorsement make of it what you will but dig for the truth.

The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11

I posted an earlier version of this last week at Democratic Underground. I've added a number of more entries, and links for all.

Happy coincidenting!

That governments have permitted terrorist acts against their own people, and have even themselves been perpetrators in order to find strategic advantage is quite likely true, but this is the United States we're talking about.

That intelligence agencies, financiers, terrorists and narco-criminals have a long history together is well established, but the Nugan Hand Bank, BCCI, Banco Ambrosiano, the P2 Lodge, the CIA/Mafia anti-Castro/Kennedy alliance, Iran/Contra and the rest were a long time ago, so there’s no need to rehash all that. That was then, this is now!

That Jonathan Bush’s Riggs Bank has been found guilty of laundering terrorist funds and fined a US-record $25 million must embarrass his nephew George, but it's still no justification for leaping to paranoid conclusions.

That George Bush's brother Marvin sat on the board of the Kuwaiti-owned company which provided electronic security to the World Trade Centre, Dulles Airport and United Airlines means nothing more than you must admit those Bush boys have done alright for themselves.

That George Bush found success as a businessman only after the investment of Osama’s brother Salem and reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mahfouz is just one of those things - one of those crazy things.

That Osama bin Laden is known to have been an asset of US foreign policy in no way implies he still is.

That al Qaeda was active in the Balkan conflict, fighting on the same side as the US as recently as 1999, while the US protected its cells, is merely one of history's little aberrations.

The claims of Michael Springman, State Department veteran of the Jeddah visa bureau, that the CIA ran the office and issued visas to al Qaeda members so they could receive training in the United States, sound like the sour grapes of someone who was fired for making such wild accusations.

That one of George Bush's first acts as President, in January 2001, was to end the two-year deployment of attack submarines which were positioned within striking distance of al Qaeda's Afghanistan camps, even as the group's guilt for the Cole bombing was established, proves that a transition from one administration to the next is never an easy task.

That so many influential figures in and close to the Bush White House had expressed, just a year before the attacks, the need for a "new Pearl Harbor" before their militarist ambitions could be fulfilled, demonstrates nothing more than the accidental virtue of being in the right place at the right time.

That the company PTECH, founded by a Saudi financier placed on America’s Terrorist Watch List in October 2001, had access to the FAA’s entire computer system for two years before the 9/11 attack, means he must not have been such a threat after all.

That whistleblower Indira Singh was told to keep her mouth shut and forget what she learned when she took her concerns about PTECH to her employers and federal authorities, suggests she lacked the big picture. And that the Chief Auditor for JP Morgan Chase told Singh repeatedly, as she answered questions about who supplied her with what information, that "that person should be killed," suggests he should take an anger management seminar.

That on May 8, 2001, Dick Cheney took upon himself the job of co-ordinating a response to domestic terror attacks even as he was crafting the administration’s energy policy which bore implications for America's military, circumventing the established infrastructure and ignoring the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman report, merely shows the VP to be someone who finds it hard to delegate.

That the standing order which covered the shooting down of hijacked aircraft was altered on June 1, 2001, taking discretion away from field commanders and placing it solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, is simply poor planning and unfortunate timing. Fortunately the error has been corrected, as the order was rescinded shortly after 9/11.

That in the weeks before 9/11, FBI agent Colleen Rowley found her investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui so perversely thwarted that her colleagues joked that bin Laden had a mole at the FBI, proves the stress-relieving virtue of humour in the workplace.

That Dave Frasca of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit received a promotion after quashing multiple, urgent requests for investigations into al Qaeda assets training at flight schools in the summer of 2001 does appear on the surface odd, but undoubtedly there's a good reason for it, quite possibly classified.

That FBI informant Randy Glass, working an undercover sting, was told by Pakistani intelligence operatives that the World Trade Center towers were coming down, and that his repeated warnings which continued until weeks before the attacks, including the mention of planes used as weapons, were ignored by federal authorities, is simply one of the many "What Ifs" of that tragic day.

That over the summer of 2001 Washington received many urgent, senior-level warnings from foreign intelligence agencies and governments - including those of Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Afghanistan and others - of impending terror attacks using hijacked aircraft and did nothing, demonstrates the pressing need for a new Intelligence Czar.

That John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial aircraft in July 2001 on account of security considerations had nothing to do with warnings regarding September 11, because he said so to the 9/11 Commission.

That former lead counsel for the House David Schippers says he’d taken to John Ashcroft’s office specific warnings he’d learned from FBI agents in New York of an impending attack – even naming the proposed dates, names of the hijackers and the targets – and that the investigations had been stymied and the agents threatened, proves nothing but David Schipper’s pathetic need for attention.

That Garth Nicolson received two warnings from contacts in the intelligence community and one from a North African head of state, which included specific site, date and source of the attacks, and passed the information to the Defense Department and the National Security Council to evidently no effect, clearly amounts to nothing, since virtually nobody has ever heard of him.

That in the months prior to September 11, self-described US intelligence operative Delmart Vreeland sought, from a Toronto jail cell, to get US and Canadian authorities to heed his warning of his accidental discovery of impending catastrophic attacks is worthless, since Vreeland was a dubious character, notwithstanding the fact that many of his claims have since been proven true.

That FBI Special Investigator Robert Wright claims that agents assigned to intelligence operations actually protect terrorists from investigation and prosecution, that the FBI shut down his probe into terrorist training camps, and that he was removed from a money-laundering case that had a direct link to terrorism, sounds like yet more sour grapes from a disgruntled employee.

That George Bush had plans to invade Afghanistan on his desk before 9/11 demonstrates only the value of being prepared.

The suggestion that securing a pipeline across Afghanistan figured into the White House’s calculations is as ludicrous as the assertion that oil played a part in determining war in Iraq.

That Afghanistan is once again the world’s principal heroin producer is an unfortunate reality, but to claim the CIA is still actively involved in the narcotics trade is to presume bad faith on the part of the agency.

Mahmood Ahmed, chief of Pakistan’s ISI, must not have authorized an al Qaeda payment of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta days before the attacks, and was not meeting with senior Washington officials over the week of 9/11, because I didn’t read anything about him in the official report.

That Porter Goss met with Ahmed the morning of September 11 in his capacity as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has no bearing whatsoever upon his recent selection by the White House to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

That Goss's congressional seat encompasses the 9/11 hijackers' Florida base of operation, including their flight schools, is precisely the kind of meaningless factoid a conspiracy theorist would bring up.

It's true that George HW Bush and Dick Cheney spent the evening of September 10 alone in the Oval Office, but what's wrong with old colleagues catching up? And it's true that George HW Bush and Shafig bin Laden, Osama's brother, spent the morning of September 11 together at a board meeting of the Carlyle Group, but the bin Ladens are a big family.

That FEMA arrived in New York on Sept 10 to prepare for a scheduled biowarfare drill, and had a triage centre ready to go that was larger and better equipped than the one that was lost in the collapse of WTC 7, was a lucky twist of fate.

Newsweek’s report that senior Pentagon officials cancelled flights on Sept 10 for the following day on account of security concerns is only newsworthy because of what happened the following morning.

That George Bush's telephone logs for September 11 do not exist should surprise no one, given the confusion of the day.

That Mohamed Atta attended the International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base, that Abdulaziz Alomari attended Brooks Air Force Base Aerospace Medical School, that Saeed Alghamdi attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey merely shows it is a small world, after all.

That Lt Col Steve Butler, Vice Chancellor for student affairs of the Defense Language Institute during Alghamdi's terms, was disciplined, removed from his post and threatened with court martial when he wrote "Bush knew of the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. What is...contemptible is the President of the United States not telling the American people what he knows for political gain," is the least that should have happened for such disrespect shown his Commander in Chief.

That Mohammed Atta dressed like a Mafioso, had a stripper girlfriend, smuggled drugs, was already a licensed pilot when he entered the US, enjoyed pork chops, drank to excess and did cocaine, was closer to Europeans than Arabs in Florida, and included the names of defence contractors on his email list, proves how dangerous the radical fundamentalist Muslim can be.

That 43 lbs of heroin was found on board the Lear Jet owned by Wally Hilliard, the owner of Atta’s flight school, just three weeks after Atta enrolled – the biggest seizure ever in Central Florida – was just bad luck. That Hilliard was not charged shows how specious the claims for conspiracy truly are.

That Hilliard’s plane had made 30-round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers who always paid cash, that the plane had been supplied by a pair of drug smugglers who had also outfitted CIA drug runner Barry Seal, and that 9/11 commissioner Richard ben-Veniste had been Seal’s attorney before Seal’s murder, shows nothing but the lengths to which conspiracists will go to draw sinister conclusions.

Reports of insider trading on 9/11 are false, because the SEC investigated and found only respectable investors who will remain nameless involved, and no terrorists, so the windfall profit-taking was merely, as ever, coincidental.

That heightened security for the World Trade Centre was lifted immediately prior to the attacks illustrates that it always happens when you least expect it.

That Hani Hanjour, the pilot of Flight 77, was so incompetent he could not fly a Cessna in August, but in September managed to fly a 767 at excessive speed into a spiraling, 270-degree descent and a level impact of the first floor of the Pentagon, on the only side that was virtually empty and had been hardened to withstand a terrorist attack, merely demonstrates that people can do almost anything once they set their minds to it.

That none of the flight data recorders were said to be recoverable even though they were located in the tail sections, and that until 9/11, no solid-state recorder in a catastrophic crash had been unrecoverable, shows how there's a first time for everything.

That Mohammed Atta left a uniform, a will, a Koran, his driver's license and a "how to fly planes" video in his rental car at the airport means he had other things on his mind.

The mention of Israelis with links to military-intelligence having been arrested on Sept 11 videotaping and celebrating the attacks, of an Israeli espionage ring surveiling DEA and defense installations and trailing the hijackers, and of a warning of impending attacks delivered to the Israeli company Odigo two hours before the first plane hit, does not deserve a response. That the stories also appeared in publications such as Ha'aretz and Forward is a sad display of self-hatred among certain elements of the Israeli media.

That multiple military wargames and simulations were underway the morning of 9/11 – one simulating the crash of a plane into a building; another, a live-fly simulation of multiple hijackings – and took many interceptors away from the eastern seaboard and confused field commanders as to which was a real hijacked aircraft and which was a hoax, was a bizarre coincidence, but no less a coincidence.

That the National Military Command Center ops director asked a rookie substitute to stand his watch at 8:30 am on Sept. 11 is nothing more than bad timing.

That a recording made Sept 11 of air traffic controllers’ describing what they had witnessed, was destroyed by an FAA official who crushed it in his hand, cut the tape into little pieces and dropped them in different trash cans around the building, is something no doubt that overzealous official wishes he could undo.

That the FBI knew precisely which Florida flight schools to descend upon hours after the attacks should make every American feel safer knowing their federal agents are on the ball.

That a former flight school executive believes the hijackers were "double agents," and says about Atta and associates, "Early on I gleaned that these guys had government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose," and was visited by the FBI just four hours after the attacks to intimidate him into silence, proves he's an unreliable witness, for the simple reason there is no conspiracy.

That Jeb Bush was on board an aircraft that removed flight school records to Washington in the middle of the night on Sept 12th demonstrates how seriously the governor takes the issue of national security.

To insinuate evil motive from the mercy flights of bin Laden family members and Saudi royals after 9/11 shows the sickness of the conspiratorial mindset.

Le Figaro’s report in October 2001, known to have originated with French intelligence, that the CIA met Osama bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, proves again the perfidy of the French.

That the tape in which bin Laden claims responsibility for the attacks was released by the State Department after having been found providentially by US forces in Afghanistan, and depicts a fattened Osama with a broader face and a flatter nose, proves Osama, and Osama alone, masterminded 9/11.

That at the battle of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was surrounded on three sides, Special Forces received no order to advance and capture him and were forced to stand and watch as two Russian-made helicopters flew into the area where bin Laden was believed hiding, loaded up passengers and returned to Pakistan, demonstrates how confusing the modern battlefield can be.

That upon returning to Fort Bragg from Tora Bora, the same Special Operations troops who had been stood down from capturing bin Laden, suffered a unusual spree of murder/suicides, is nothing more than a series of senseless tragedies.

Reports that bin Laden is currently receiving periodic dialysis treatment in a Pakistani medical hospital are simply too incredible to be true.

That the White House went on Cipro September 11 shows the foresightedness of America’s emergency response.

That the anthrax was mailed to perceived liberal media and the Democratic leadership demonstrates only the perversity of the terrorist psyche.

That the anthrax attacks appeared to silence opponents of the Patriot Act shows only that appearances can be deceiving.

That the Ames-strain anthrax was found to have originated at Fort Detrick, and was beyond the capability of all but a few labs to refine, underscores the importance of allowing the investigation to continue without the distraction of absurd conspiracy theories.

That Republican guru Grover Norquist has been found to have aided financiers and supporters of Islamic terror to gain access to the Bush White House, and is a founder of the Islamic Institute, which the Treasury Department believes to be a source of funding for al Qaeda, suggests Norquist is at worst, naive, and at best, needs a wider circle of friends.

That the Department of Justice consistently chooses to see accused 9/11 plotters go free rather than permit the courtroom testimony of al Qaeda leaders in American custody looks bad, but only because we don't have all the facts.

That the White House balked at any inquiry into the events of 9/11, then starved it of funds and stonewalled it, was unfortunate, but since the commission didn't find for conspiracy it's all a non issue anyway.

That the 9/11 commission's executive director and "gatekeeper," Philip Zelikow, was so closely involved in the events under investigation that he testified before the the commission as part of the inquiry, shows only an apparent conflict of interest.

That commission chair Thomas Kean is, like George Bush, a Texas oil executive who had business dealings with reputed al Qaeda financier Khalid bin Mafouz, suggests Texas is smaller than they say it is.

That co-chair Lee Hamilton has a history as a Bush family "fixer," including clearing Bush Sr of the claims arising from the 1980 "October Surprise", is of no concern, since only conspiracists believe there was such a thing as an October Surprise.

That FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds accuses the agency of intentionally fudging specific pre-9/11 warnings and harboring a foreign espionage ring in its translation department, and claims she witnessed evidence of the semi-official infrastructure of money-laundering and narcotics trade behind the attacks, is of no account, since John Ashcroft has gagged her with the rare invocation of "State Secrets Privilege," and retroactively classified her public testimony. For the sake of national security, let us speak no more of her.

That, when commenting on Edmond's case, Daniel Ellsberg remarked that Ashcroft could go to prison for his part in a cover-up, suggests Ellsberg is giving comfort to the terrorists, and could, if he doesn't wise up, find himself declared an enemy combatant.

I could go on. And on and on. But I trust you get the point. Which is simply this: there are no secrets, an American government would never accept civilian casualties for geostrategic gain, and conspiracies are for the weak-minded and gullible.

The Allman Brothers Band

I've been a loyal fan since the early 70's. Beginnings was a favorite of mine - you could drop the second album on top of the first album for continuous play instead of flipping album sides. Hey I was a kid. I have seen these guys together and on their own. I have seen them in small bars in Wildwood NJ with a hundred people and in huge stadiums and hockey arenas. I prefer the sheds (ampitheaters). Last Wednesday night in Virginia Beach I was again blown away. The previous year it seemed like the crowd was restless, the venue wasn't that full and the band's heart wasn't into it - so this year I was hedging my bets. I've been to a lot of shows in my day and well a wednesday night... Finally as the date got closer I checked on tickets and got great seats right in front of the sound engineers. I have to say I am thrilled I went to the show - as far as those instant live discs - those people who stood in line have got a great show. As a heads up those instant live shows aren't available for sale except at the venue. Perhaps this winter the ABB web site will offer the whole tour. If they do I'm buying the show - yee ha! I'm not even going to try and describe the show, the setting, the vibe (joyous) and the crowd was enormous much bigger than last years - which is great I'm already looking forward to next years show! Suffice to say this band exceeded all of my expectations. Here's the set list:
1. Jessica
2. Statesboro Blues
3. Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
4. The Same Thing
5. Trouble No More
6. Old Before My Time
7. Woman Across The River
8. Instrumental Illness
9. Wasted Words
10. Good Morning Little School Girl
11. Leave My Blues at Home
12. Revival

Encore
13. Southbound

with Danny Louis, keyboards


The Allman Brothers Band Members

· Gregg Allman

· Butch Trucks

· Jaimoe

· Marc Quinones

· Oteil Burbridge

· Derek Trucks

· Warren Haynes





Now let's talk about the show - for starters they open with Jessica and Statesboro Blues - Jessica and Statesboro Blues - come on THOSE are usually the CLOSERS and ENCORE. Jessica is stretched out I mean I was expecting a straight read for the band to limber up. Nope they flexed their muscles right away. Half way through Derek just starts ripping - these guys are in mid show form ON THE FIRST SONG - without so much as a nod they charge into Stateboro Blues - this time a straight read - which of course I love. If this is what these guys are doing at the start of the show we are in for a GREAT night!

I want to comment on the interplay not between Warren and Derek but Derek and Oteil Burbridge - these two guys are having fun - I mean flat out fun- a lot is written about Warren and Derek and I'm not diminishing that in anyway - no way, but Oteil and Derek were a force to be reckoned with. Marc Quinones - this guy gets over looked but not tonight Marc was featured for a nice session during a rythym break and he did not dissapoint. So the young guns were fired up. Back to the show - Don't Keep Me Wonderin' was faithful to the original recording and I just was in pig heaven at this point - when Warren and Derek got together on Same Thing it was a twin guitar tour de force. I really liked how they were dimming the lights between songs and taking their time in selecting the next song - there was some real excitment going on and the crowd was still standing from the opening note!

I figure at this point I'm going to hear some new tunes - nope - Trouble No More - again faithful to the original recording right down to the tone - these guys have the talent to do this and it was GRAND. Okay apparently I'm going through this song for song - I promise to wrap this up but I have to say Gregg's singing on Old Before My Time brought a hush to the crowd - and we finally all sat down - what a glorious song! It's so heartfelt and true it gets me everytime - even now thinking about it - Gregg doesn't get enough credit as a song writter! Anyway, I'm in full on stunned mode - we were feeling it - lots of dancing and air guitar, pumped fists and plenty of loud applause. Woman Across the River was all funked up and instrumental illness was the break the drums played through as the players went on and off the stage.

Wasted Words was by the book and fantastic - it's so good hearing them nail it the way they recorded it originally and that they pay respect and have the musicianship to be able to reproduce that classic Allman Brothers sound - knowing full well that they have plenty of room to stretch out on other tunes, their new ones and longer ones written to stretch out on. It was the perfect mix - they really nailed it- in a big way. So then they do Good Morning Little School Girl into a worked up Leave My Blues at Home. Either I'm getting old or they shifted up a half an octave on Leave My Blues at Home. It had a counter cadence to how I remember hearing the song off the album and it gave the song a nice subtle lift - so they didn't give all the old songs a straight read - just a few of the chestnuts. Revival and Southbound closed the show.

Just a word about synchronicity - as we were headed out the door - the venue is twenty minutes away - my wife ask's what tunes will we listen to on the way over - I had given it no thought - home from work headed out the door quickly - so I just grabbed Brothers and Sisters off the shelf - loved that we heard three songs off of it - could have sworn I heard spoonful and come and go blues but the official set list doesn't have them listed.

All in all a great show the Allman Brothers Band is strong right now catch them if you can they are hittin' the note!

Paul

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Enough Pollution Not Enough Oil

The link above shows a pretty clear cut map of the worlds oil reserves. We are wasting tax dollars to drill in the Gulf or along our coasts. The politics behind the new drilling efforts are just more corporate welfare. We have less than 2% of the worlds remaining supplies. Oil is dirty it pollutes the land, air and sea and thus people. That's right all that pollution is trapped in our bodies. It's time to clean our bodies out of this toxic waste by eliminating it from our diet. We need clean energy sources. It's time for raised fuel efficiency in cars, wind and solar power. Let's make our capital investments in new sources of clean energy and get away from investing in failed, zero return oil drilling and the dirty energy it produces. Maintaining the status quo is costing lives, growing terrorist and creating war. I want to thank my new friends at environmental action for the maps!

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Jerry

Jerry Garcia was not just a guitar player but a man who stayed true to his vision. What was happening on that stage and in that audience was a daily and nightly experiment with collective consciousness. Jerry was a beautiful and soulful singer he poured his heart into the songs he sang and played. He assumed the identity of the song and was able to convey it as a first person narrative. This was true of the songs he wrote and the traditional songs he played both acoustic and electric. I'm sure he stumbled around drinking burgundy wine (Wharf Rat) and spent the night in Utah in a cave up in the hills (Friend of the Devil) more than once, and he really owned those songs. Jerry and Pig Pen also get credit for turning a whole pop generation raised on the Mama's and the Papa's and the Beatles onto Traditional folk music, blues and bluegrass. Their band blistered through a lot of those songs as half of their stage shows were cover tunes of historical gems. Just pulling on the string of “I Know You Rider” revealed a world of historical gems, landscapes, and universal truths stated simply and clearly. Jerry and Ron (Pig Pen) always tried to shed light on the classics that they discovered and shared them gleefully with us as often as they could. Jerry continued to carry that banner that he and Ron helped raise.

I still miss Jerry and the remaining band, and bands are just not the same. It just goes to show you what a committed extraordinary man, musician and friend he was to all who knew him or went to his shows. He had a passion for music, music history and a passion for sharing that knowledge. He had a sheer delight in discovering nuances and experimentation with the medium of both sound, and the visual arts.

Jerry was a good guy and we all miss his smile and laugh and seeing him have a good time on stage. This is the high holy week for us August 1 through August 9th. Say what you want about dead heads but we aren't killing anybody in the name of our patron saint or forcing our beliefs and attitudes on anyone. A lesson the whole world should learn and right now!

Weirdly enough - ten full years after his death Jerry finally visited me in a short brief dream I had before waking. This was just two nights ago. In the dream I was in my small comfortable room where most of Journey Home got finalized in Somers Point, NJ writing passionately but calmly at my typewriter feeling that fulfillment you get when you find the right words easily. When I completed my thought and got up perfectly, calmly refreshed (the ahh of enlightenment I suppose) and walked into the next room Jerry and a young Native American friend were sitting there watching me. All that was said was by me, "I didn't notice you guys come in," and Jerry smiled and nodded at me, looked over at the Native American and did the same as we all just smiled and nodded at each other. The Native American not so much nodding as Jerry but the smile and eye gleam were there and with me too as I looked back and forth nodding at them. It was a moment of understanding, of creativity and the magic in the process. Then I awoke and immediately but slowly realized – and said out loud surprised and delighted “hey that was Jerry” - big beard, smile and all. It didn't hit me until I woke up. With my dreams always being so real it was a fun moment. Thanks Jerry I’ve got that stupid going to see a show grin on my face. Boy have I missed that!

Paul

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