Every so often, I find myself pondering why it is that I do what I do. Am I really accomplishing anything? Is anyone even listening out there? Is there a point to this? Can this battle be won? Or is this just an exercise in futility?
It is at those times that something invariably comes along to provide me with the inspiration I need to go on -- to convince me to continue painting those large targets on my back for the FBI/CIA to take aim at. This time, that inspiration came from our beloved leader, George W. Bush.
Just as I was preparing to throw in the towel, I happened upon the text of the speech that Bush delivered to the German Bundestag (http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,721009,00.html). As I read the words that Sir George had spoken, tears began to well up in my eyes, a pronounced lump developed in my throat, and I was gripped by a patriotic fervor that seemingly knows no bounds.
The precise words that Bush uttered, the words that have provided me with newfound inspiration, that have re-ignited in me the burning desire to proceed on my mission, were as follows: "[M]ake no mistake about it, we will and we must confront this conspiracy against our liberty and our lives."
"Damn!" I said to myself. "He's right -- this is no time to give up." I can't speak for anyone else, but when my president calls upon me to confront this conspiracy against our freedoms, then all I can do is act as his humble servant.
Without further ado then, I must put aside my doubts and fears and get back to the task at hand and continue doing what our commander-in-chief has asked us all to do -- assist, in any way that we can, to confront and expose this insidious conspiracy. It is, alas, the patriotic thing to do.
Well, it's official ... the FBI really fucked up this time. It's all their fault. And now everyone is talking about it. Minneapolis agent Coleen Rowley got the ball rolling by sending off what was described as a "whistle-blower" letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/05/28/1022243318700.html.
The letter was variously described as "blistering," "explosive," and "scathing." In fact, it was so explosive that Time Magazine, that long-time renegade voice of the American media, chose to publish it in its entirety -- and post it on their website, just to be sure that no one missed it: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020603/memo.html. In fact, Time seems to have devoted pretty much an entire issue to examining the shortcomings of the FBI: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020603/story.html
Of course, we all know that Ms. Rowley is a sincere whistle-blower, and we know this because she was found shot to death in her car, as whistle-blowers so frequently are. Oh ... wait a minute ... Rowley is actually alive and well. Never mind. I was thinking of Cliff Baxter, the Enron whistle-blower.
What I meant to say was that we know that Rowley is sincere because she is being hailed by all the media whores for her courage and integrity, rather than being, say, made the victim of an unconscionable smear campaign aimed at discrediting and vilifying her. And we all know that if there is anything that the American media knows about and pays tribute to, it is courage and integrity.
And we know that Rowley is one of the good guys because her letter to Mueller chastises the Bureau for not allowing her and her fellow field agents to stand above the law in their pursuit of 'terrorist' suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, as this uncharacteristically honest assessment by talking-head Jonathan Turley points out: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-000038055may30.story
And we also know that Rowley is sincere because her letter states that attempts by her office to investigate prior warnings of a terrorist attack were so thoroughly subverted that field agents joked that some of their superiors back at headquarters must be agents of Osama bin Laden. This of course is a far more credible scenario than, say, bin Laden's organization being littered with FBI/CIA agents, and in fact being largely a creation of U.S. intelligence services.
But the point here is that we now know that it is the FBI, and only the FBI, that is to blame for the failure of the Bush administration to anticipate the attacks. The FBI's Director has admitted as much: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020530/ap_wo_en_ge/us_fbi_reorganizing_4&printer=1. So now we can all slip back into our patriotic stupors as the good people within the Bush regime go about rectifying the situation so that we Americans will never again be left vulnerable to 'terrorist' attacks because of a bureaucratic failure to "connect the dots."
And how, you may ask, is the situation to be rectified? By conducting a completely independent, public investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, including - but certainly not limited to - prior warnings received and ignored by various government agencies? Of course not. What the hell are you thinking?
Well ... then how about by disbanding the fundamentally corrupt organization, which was run for nearly fifty years of its existence by the unabashedly fascistic J. Edgar Hoover, and which has for decades engaged in assassinations, smear campaigns, harassment campaigns, frame-ups and various other sleazy covert operations aimed at stifling dissent in this country? (http://www.derechos.net/paulwolf/cointelpropapers/coinwcar3.htm) Not likely.
Part of the solution lies in, as was mentioned in the last newsletter, bringing in an even more corrupt organization to help 'rebuild' the Bureau -- namely, the CIA. Never mind that this represents a direct and rather flagrant violation of the CIA's charter, which specifically prohibits it from engaging in domestic operations -- unless we're going to pretend that that charter hasn't been violated continuously throughout the CIA's fifty-five-year history.
Another part of the answer lies in "loosening the restrictions" on the Bureau, allowing them to trample ever more freely over our civil liberties and to engage in what is euphemistically termed "proactive policing," which means bringing the full police powers of the state to bear on people who haven't actually committed any crimes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30427-2002May29.html.
I have heard a good many people say, in the months since the September 11 attacks became a pretext for a massive rollback of civil liberties through the Patriot Act and other repressive legislation, that there really is nothing to worry about so long as you aren't breaking the law -- so long as you aren't a 'terrorist.'
Why worry about the wholesale erosion of privacy rights? Why worry about the steady chipping-away of due process rights? Why worry about the rolling back of protections against unreasonable searches and seizures? "I have nothing to hide," they say. "Those things don't concern me."
Those among us harboring such thoughts might want to take note of the fact that the government has now declared that you don't have to be breaking the law to become a target of the state. You might also want to recall that the people in another place, in another time, had those same sort of reassuring thoughts, as this wonderful little parable reminds us: http://www.thirdreich.net/Thought_They_Were_Free_nn4.html.
As for the FBI, the only real debate left, it seems, is how best to reorganize the bureau so as to vastly expand its powers and transform it into the all-powerful, Gestapo-like 'thought police' force it has always wanted to be: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-053002manage.story
There are, of course, a few problems with the mea culpa by the FBI. Despite the Bureau's eagerness to fall on the sword, their story isn't really adding up. For one thing, the failure to act on the numerous warnings was clearly not due to the Bureau being hampered by excessive restraints. That much is obvious even from the limited amount of damaging information that the media has seen fit to publish.
Another problem is that it isn't really the FBI's job to collect and analyze intelligence on foreign 'terrorist' organizations and advise the administration on suspected threats to national security. That would be the CIA's job. That's why they call themselves the Central Intelligence Agency.
And it's also not the FBI's job to defend the country once an actual attack is in progress. It wasn't the FBI that failed completely to take even the most rudimentary of civil air defense measures to stop the attacks during the entire time that the airplanes cum guided missiles remained in the air. That would be the job of the President, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, the FAA, NORAD, and various other secretive government agencies that were all, collectively and inexplicably, asleep at the wheel on September 11, 2001 -- a fact which the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Richard Myers, found difficult to explain (http://emperors-clothes.com/9-11backups/mycon.htm).
But never mind all that. We've now found a suitable scapegoat.
There was, strangely enough, one voice out there in medialand that took note, in a remarkably blunt fashion, of the apparently staged and controlled nature of the 'leaks' detailing 'bureaucratic errors' on the part of the FBI and the obviously planned-in-advance remedy for the 'shocking' revelations: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/25508.html.
The rest of the media though seems quite happy with the exemplary job they have done exposing malfeasance within the lower levels of the administration. They've done their jobs. They've given us our scapegoat. Nothing left to do now but wait to pick up their Pulitzers.
And now that we have our scapegoat, we can just hang everything on them. You say that the French were stymied in their efforts to pass along information that could have helped prevent the September 11 attacks? I say the FBI really bungled that one (http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0222/ridgeway2.php).You say that Italian police had wiretapped conversations of suspected al Queda operatives possibly discussing the impending attacks? (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-052902italy.story) I say the FBI dropped the ball on that one as well.
[The L.A. Times story just cited above, by the way, contains a rather amusing reference to the September 11 hijackers as "an elite group whose operation appears to have been tightly compartmentalized for maximum secrecy." So secretive was the operation that only Italian police, FBI field agents in Phoenix and Minneapolis, Israeli intelligence services, French intelligence services, Jordanian intelligence services, various diplomats and heads of state, and several of the cast-off players on the TV show "Survivor" seem to have known about it.]
You ask: but what about the insider trading that preceded the attacks, and that showed that someone with advance knowledge of the attacks was able to parlay that knowledge into windfall profits on the stock market? OK ... maybe you don't ask that, given that the media have never really even come close to fully airing that story. But if you do ask that question, the answer is, of course, that a 'former' FBI agent did it: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nyfeds292724422may29.story
And of course we can't forget my own personal favorite "the FBI did it" story to emerge this week -- this offering from the Associated Press that is so absurd that one wonders if any lie is too brazen for this administration to utter: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAZYDGBS1D.html. The report begins as follows:
"WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI destroyed evidence gathered in an investigation involving Osama bin Laden's network after its e-mail wiretap system mistakenly captured information to which the agency was not entitled. The FBI software not only picked up the e-mails of its target "but also picked up e-mails on non-covered targets," said a March 2000 memo to agency headquarters in Washington. 'The FBI technical person was apparently so upset that he destroyed all the e-mail take, including the take on' the suspect, the memo said."
That's always been the problem with the FBI and its brethren -- they have the tendency to err on the side of caution. On those .... uhmm ... 'rare' occasions when they overstep their bounds, they are always quick to atone for their sins. That is why it is easy for me to believe that one of the Bureau's scrupulously ethical agents would take such actions.
I also have no problem believing, as the AP report claimed, that: "The technician who deleted the e-mail evidence had no supervision." The FBI, of course, has no chain of command, and most of its agents work unsupervised and pretty much do as they please. So this whole scenario rings entirely true for me.
I can picture the diligent agent, working all alone and unsupervised as he monitored the activities of the most wanted 'terrorist' network on the planet, when he suddenly realized that he had inadvertently violated the civil rights of some anonymous Americans. The agent would naturally have moved immediately to rectify the situation, lest one of his nonexistent supervisors discover his error and publicly censure him, thereby tarnishing the Bureau's sterling image. And in a blind panic, the agent would of course have just deleted everything from his computer. And, as would be expected, no one in the Bureau had the technical know-how to retrieve deleted files.
I believe all of that. I really do. But then again, I also believe that lying about an extramarital affair is the most serious crime ever committed by a sitting president, which is why it was entirely appropriate that Billy Bob Clinton became only the second U.S. president ever to be impeached. Maybe I'm just too trusting -- perhaps a bit gullible.
That is a character trait that I share with our illustrious president. And how do I know this? Because I read the following report in the L.A. Times the other day: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-000037142may26.story. Contained within that report is this rather interesting tidbit of information:
"During a photo op at the Hermitage, Putin described how he had pulled Bush's leg at dinner the previous night. Over a course of Russian caviar, Putin told his guests that after cutting sturgeon open to harvest caviar - their eggs - experts stitch the fish up and return them to the wild. 'I was really trying to tell them that I was telling the truth, [that] that's how we treat the environment,' Putin said. 'This is a state secret: ... There was only one person who wouldn't laugh and said, 'I do believe you, Mr. President.' And that was the president of the United States.'"
Other than that though, The Smirk (which I just decided is the name by which I will hereafter refer to George Bush) performed admirably on his whirlwind European tour, once again confounding his critics by demonstrating that he truly is, to use a phrase coined by The Smirk himself, an "intercontinental" man.
Winning over everyone he met with his down-home, "let's have a Bar-B-Q" country charm - which he presumably acquired through his insular, privileged, Ivy League upbringing - The Smirk demonstrated once again that he is truly a man of the people.
He did this though by scrupulously avoiding having to meet or interact with any actual people. Though his visits were attended by large numbers of well-wishers (OK -- they were actually protesters), those folks were kept at bay with a massive military and police presence. Never has security been so tight for a traveling president. Never has a president shown as much fear of facing the common people that he claims to represent.
But wait a minute here, you say! That's not fair! We're at war! Why, the very future of civilization is threatened! Surely the 'leader of the free world' is justified in taking additional security precautions?!?!
And of course, you are right. It's a new world that we live in. This isn't like the old days, when we faced off with an avowed enemy that possessed a massive nuclear arsenal, an extensive intelligence network, covert operatives around the world, and an enormous standing army with access to state-of-the-art weaponry, including advanced chemical and biological weapons.
No ... now we are facing a threat from a bunch of guys armed with box-cutters, a copy of the Koran, and a few dog-eared copies of flight training manuals. There is clearly no comparison to the threats faced by past presidents. I don't know what I was thinking. Please accept my humblest apologies.
I should probably note here though that The Smirk generally made an ass of himself on his European tour, though this fact was largely glossed over by the media and by The Smirk's cloying counterparts in the countries he visited. The Washington Post though did take note of some of Bush's boorish behavior, at the tail end of an article published on May 27 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A14433-2002May26?language=printer), and more extensively in a report the following day (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18497-2002May27.html).
Included among this week's other disturbing news items was the election of Alvaro Uribe Velez as president of Colombia -- a particularly ominous development: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14363-2002May26.html. Uribe has deep connections to the violent Colombian drug trade and has been an avid supporter of the country's right-wing paramilitary forces -- also known as death squads. Needless to say, Washington couldn't have been happier with the outcome of the election.
Uribe has made it clear that he intends to seek a massive increase in U.S. military aid, which is already flowing freely into the country thanks to the Clinton-initiated "Plan Colombia." Uribe also talks of implementing a plan to create a million-man network of 'civilian' paramilitary groups throughout the country. The stage is clearly being set for a U.S.-funded bloodbath.
Some background information on Uribe and the election that just brought him to power can be found at NarcoNews (http://narconews.com/narcocandidate1.html) and at the WSWS (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/may2002/colo-m25.shtml and http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/may2002/colo-m29.shtml). All are required reading for an understanding of what is in store for Colombia.
On a more positive note, this article from St. Louis Today tells the story of an activist group of veterans working to restore some semblance of a water supply within an Iraq ravaged by war and sanctions: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/news. Unmentioned in the article is the well-documented fact that Iraq's water supply was deliberately targeted, with the full knowledge that doing so would create genocidal conditions: http://www.theprogressive.org/0801issue/nagy0901.html
From the 'miscellaneous news' folder, we have the usual assortment of oddities. Take, for example, this offering from England's The Observer: http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,722395,00.html. The report begins: "American military chiefs are developing plans to use Valium as a potential weapon against enemy forces and to control hostile populations, according to official documents seen by The Observer."
Now that seems kind of odd, doesn't it? Who would have ever thought that the most commonly prescribed drug in America (at least at one time it was) could be used as a weapon to "control hostile populations"?
Here's something else kind of weird: an article entitled "The Future of Mind Control" that comes courtesy of The Economist: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1143583. Yes, that's right, the stodgy old Economist has expressed concern about the future of human mind control. Does that mean that I can now do the same and not be labeled a 'conspiracy theorist'?
Here's something from the Ithaca Journal entitled "Fresh Memories of War": http://www.theithacajournal.com/news/stories/20020525/topstories/380284.html. Included therein is a quote from a participant in Operation Anaconda that goes something like this: "We were told there were no friendly forces. If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them." Now that seems a rather odd way to wage a 'War on Terrorism.'
This rather curious report, from the San Francisco Business Times, reveals that a group of business leaders, including at least one CEO from a corporation occupying several upper floors of the south World Trade Center tower, were attending a charity event sponsored by gazillionaire Warren Buffet when the September 11 attacks took place: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2002/02/04/story3.html.
Now what's really weird about that is that the event was being held at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. Leaving aside the question of why a charity event for businessmen would be held on the grounds of a highly-secure military base, the funny thing is that Offut is also where a certain commander-in-chief went missing for a good portion of that same day.
This exposé, from the people at Americans United For Separation of Church and State, concerns the close ties between the Moonies, Congressional Republicans and members of the 'faith-based' Bush Administration: http://www.au.org/churchstate/cs6013.htm.
The most bizarre news of the week, and of course the most important, was this story from The Scotsman that revealed a chilling new danger faced by our soldiers and allies in Afghanistan: http://www.news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?id=561752002&tid=1
The report begins (and I'm not even making this up): "British marines returning from an operation deep in the Afghan mountains spoke last night of an alarming new threat - being propositioned by swarms of gay local farmers. An Arbroath marine, James Fletcher, said: 'They were more terrifying than the al-Qaeda. One bloke who had painted toenails was offering to paint ours. They go about hand in hand, mincing around the village.' While the marines failed to find any al-Qaeda during the seven-day Operation Condor, they were propositioned by dozens of men in villages the troops were ordered to search."
An unidentified Pentagon spokesman (OK, this part I am making up -- which I strangely feel compelled, in this case, to clarify) was quoted as saying: "Our fighting men are very well trained to deal with a variety of dangers that they could encounter -- including possible attack with chemical or biological warfare agents. But no one ever envisioned that our boys could be faced with swarms of mincing farmers." U.S. officials are said to be concerned that when our troops return from their tours of duty in Afghanistan, Veteran's Administration Hospitals across the country could be deluged with cases of Post Traumatic Pedicure Disorder.
I leave you this week with a challenge -- a bit of detective work that needs to be done. To complete this challenge, you will have to do two things that are rather unpleasant, so this isn't for everyone. First, you will have to purchase a copy of the June 5th edition of The National Enquirer. The best strategy here is to try to play it off as though you are picking up a copy for a senile relative that you are going to visit in the hospital.
Next, you have to turn to pages 34 and 35 and study the never-before-seen crime scene photos of alleged Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. WARNING!! These photos are extremely graphic. Nevertheless, they must be studied in order to play this game, and to understand how thoroughly the facts of the Columbine tragedy have been, and continue to be, covered up.
What we are playing here is essentially a game of "what's wrong with this picture?" The Enquirer cites dubious experts who provide an explanation of the photos that is at odds with the official double-suicide story. What is suggest instead is a scenario whereby Harris killed Klebold before then killing himself.
Klebold's 'suicide' has long been in question due to the nature of his wound, and officials long ago floated the murder/suicide story as an alternative explanation of the deaths of the boys. The Enquirer isn't breaking any new ground here, but rather is attempting to supplant the discredited official story with yet another dubious official story.
There is one minor problem here though. While the photos do indeed cast doubt on the double-suicide story, and The Enquirer's 'experts' acknowledge that Klebold appears to have been murdered, the photos also cast serious doubt on the alternative cover story being floated by The Enquirer.
The challenge here then is to determine what really happened. There are several clues within the photos that can be used to quite easily debunk both the double-suicide and the murder/suicide stories. Reconstructing what actually did happen is more problematic. Any submitted solutions to the mystery will be discussed in upcoming newsletters.Until then ....