Saturday, February 19, 2011

Permanent Biological Contamination of the Gulf Using Synthetic Organisms

Editor's NOTE:

Michael Edward alleges that there is an ongoing continuous leak of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico despite capping of the Macondo Well. He further reports that scientists have artificially created special oil and gas-eating microbes by utilizing techniques of bioremediation in which new genomes have been constructed that is, the creation of synthetic micro-organisms.

The rate of oil and gas (primarily methane) decomposition reported in these new microbes exceed by several orders of magnitude the rates of any known natural bacteria. According to Edward  these new synthetic bacteria have been introduced into the Gulf of Mexico along with the necessary trace elements (Magnesium and Iron primarily) required for the artificially created oil and gas eating microbes to flourish.

Edward has tied the recent bird and fish kills to the bioremediation process now underway in the Gulf of Mexico stating that the effect is essentially an example of the "canary in the coal mine." This issue should be carefully watched for further untoward developments.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Permanent Biological Contamination of the Gulf

01 Feb, 2011

by Michael Edward


While natural genetic parasites, viruses and bacteria are limited by species barriers, the storm of artificial genetics created by synthetic biology engineers – in order to eliminate the flow of crude oil and gasses in the Gulf of Mexico – are actually designed to cross species barriers. This has created new viral and bacterial pathogens never seen before. It is directly responsible for the spreading of drug and antibiotic resistant viral and bacterial outbreaks along the Gulf Coast, a pestilence that I have named The Gulf Blue Plague.


Genetic engineering – synthetic biology – involves designing artificial genes to deliberately cross species barriers by invading their genetic makeup. Simply explained, it improves the direct transfer of genetic material to an unrelated species. This is called Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), or Lateral Gene Transfer (LGT), and is usually accomplished with the conveyance of genes by infectious viruses named bacteriophages, or simply ‘phages’. LGT or HGT is any process in which an organism transfers genetic material (i.e., DNA) to another cell that is not its offspring. It has been used by genetic engineers to make Transgenic Organisms.


Engineered genetic modification creates a transgenic organism by inserting DNA into a host organism, such as bacteria, with the assistance of a virus or a plasmid. The mature host organism will then pass on the DNA which has been artificially inserted into its genome.

Transgenic DNA typically contains genetic material from bacteria, viruses and other genetic parasites. This is the cause behind diseases as well as the antibiotic resistant genes that make infectious diseases untreatable. Horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA has the potential to also create new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases and spread drug and antibiotic resistance genes among pathogens.

Genetic material released from both dead and live cells persevere in all environments. Our entire biosphere is being exposed to all kinds of new gene combinations that did not previously exist in nature and would never have come into being without synthetic gene engineering.


Bacteriophages are a class of viruses that infect bacteria. They are simply a “package” of DNA surrounded by a protein “coat”. This coating has special properties that make it stick to bacterial cell walls. Once attached, they inject their DNA into the bacteria. Viral DNA forces the invaded cell to stop its normal activity and, instead, it will reproduce millions of copies of the whole virus.

When new viruses are produced in the bacteria, a piece of bacterial DNA may become enclosed in the virus coat. The virus will then carry this bacterial DNA to other bacteria where it becomes a part of their chromosome. This is called bacterial transduction and is especially common in water.

Synthetic DNA transfer by a virus causes an uncontrolled increase of genetically engineered genes by microorganisms. These bacteria then spread over wide distances on dust particles and in the oceans. They are ingested by birds that spread them transcontinentally when they migrate. They are also spread by fish and other marine life that also migrate from ocean to ocean. In other words, this eventually causes a worldwide distribution. But the worst part of all this is that effects on the entire earth biosphere is absolutely unknown.


We have a catastrophic biological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This is because the cells of all species, including those of mankind, can and do adopt foreign genetic material from both dead and live cells. According to biology and genetics scientists, this is what we can expect as a result:

1.New cross-species viruses that directly cause diseases.

2.The artificial development of new bacterial diseases.

3.The reactivation of dormant viruses present in all cells.

4.Antibiotic resistant genes in viral and bacterial pathogens.

5.The uncontrolled spread of new genes that have never before existed.


As I was writing this article, I received an e-mail from a news blog owner in Spain. He informed me about an important commentary made by a well know university biologist as a reply to my previous research written in The Perfect Genetic Storm. He felt the professor’s reply was extremely important and wanted me to know “we are spreading this information so there will be an end to this madness” in the Gulf of Mexico.

The following excerpts are translated from the Spanish blog Noticias de Abajo:

Microbiologist Máximo Sandín is the former Biology Department professor at the Independent University of Madrid where he taught on Human Evolution and Ecology.

He has directly commented on the translated article The Perfect Genetic Storm – Synthetic DNA and the Gulf Blue Plague.

Dr. Sandín is the author of We are Virus and Bacteria as well as many other publications.

“I believe that some (rather many) of the activities of the “biotechnology” or “bioengineering” companies are becoming ever more dangerous each day because their practices seem to be completely behind the back of present scientific knowledge.
Their pretensions to change “genes” voluntarily, or to modify or interfere in the natural phenomena, are based on a declining conception that does not genetically consider the ecology. These genetically modified genomes are very unstable due to the way they are obtained. For that reason, the genes are transferred to the modified or transgenic organisms that produce a permanent biological contamination in the ecosystems whose effects are unforeseeable.

On land, communities of associated bacteria and viruses (bacteriophages or “phages”) plentifully exist in the ecosystem for the purification of the fresh water, degradation of toxic substances, waste product recycling, CO2 production, and nitrogen fixation in plants. These communities genetically exchange information by means of plasmids and viruses. The viruses control the bacterial population. For that reason, the altered transgenic genes can cross to other organisms in the ecosystem. This practice has been repeatedly denounced by prestigious and independent scientists, although the mass media does not report this.

The populations of bacterial and viral communities in the oceans are spectacular. It has been determined that there are one million bacteria and ten million viruses per milliliter; however, for some scientists these figures are conservative.

Their functions are of equal importance for the marine ecosystems. They are in the base of the trophic pyramid for the control of microorganism populations, in the degradation of ocean waste, in the photosynthesis and respiration of the ocean, and the CO2 interchange with the atmosphere, including the formation of clouds.

We now have news on the methods to fight against the petroleum flow in the Gulf of Mexico. The suspicions that they have been using bacteria with “synthetic” or genetically modified genomes are very founded if we consider that the megalomaniac Craig Venter is involved.

What is being observed is not so much that the “synthetic microbes” produce “mutations” in the natural microorganisms, because that phenomenon is more of a localized problem. The true problem is that the horizontal transference of these modified genes between marine microorganisms is taking place, and that would be a “permanent biological contamination” of the ocean where the medium and long term effects cannot be predicted; but with complete certainty this will be a serious danger for the marine ecosystem in every area.

I guess I will have to hope, but if these crazy activities go unchecked, we will end up confronting a problem for which we cannot find a solution.”


Ho, M.W. (1998, 1999). Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? The Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business. Gateway, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin; Ho, M.W., Traavik, T., Olsvik, R., Tappeser, B., Howard, V., von Weizsacker, C. and McGavin, G. (1998). Gene Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10, 33-59; 2000a (note 9).

Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War

By: Paul Craig Roberts

February 18, 2011 "Information Clearing House" ---- Obama’s new budget is a continuation of Wall Street’s class war against the poor and middle class. Wall Street wasn’t through with us when the banksters sold their fraudulent derivatives into our pension funds, wrecked Americans’ job prospects and retirement plans, secured a $700 billion bailout at taxpayers’ expense while foreclosing on the homes of millions of Americans, and loaded up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet with several trillion dollars of junk financial paper in exchange for newly created money to shore up the banks’ balance sheets. The effect of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” on inflation, interest rates, and the dollar’s foreign exchange value are yet to hit. When they do, Americans will get a lesson in poverty.

Now the ruling oligarchies have struck again, this time through the federal budget. The U.S. government has a huge military/security budget. It is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon, CIA, and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion federal deficit that the Obama administration forecasts for fiscal year 2012. This massive deficit spending serves only one purpose--the enrichment of the private companies that serve the military/security complex. These companies, along with those on Wall Street, are who elect the U.S. government.

The U.S. has no enemies except those that the U.S. creates by bombing and invading other countries and by overthrowing foreign leaders and installing American puppets in their place.

China does not conduct naval exercises off the California coast, but the U.S. conducts war games in the China Sea off China’s coast. Russia does not mass troops on Europe’s borders, but the U.S. places missiles on Russia’s borders. The U.S. is determined to create as many enemies as possible in order to continue its bleeding of the American population to feed the ravenous military/security complex.

The U.S. government actually spends $56 billion a year, that is, $56,000 million, in order that American air travelers can be porno-scanned and sexually groped so that firms represented by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff can make large profits selling the scanning equipment.

With a perpetual budget deficit driven by the military/security complex’s desire for profits, the real cause of America’s enormous budget deficit is off-limits for discussion. The U.S. Secretary of War-Mongering, Robert Gates, declared: “We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril.” The military brass warns of cutting any of the billions of aid to Israel and Egypt, two functionaries for its Middle East “policy.”

But what are “our” global security responsibilities? Where did they come from? Why would America be at peril if America stopped bombing and invading other countries and interfering in their internal affairs? The perils America faces are all self-created.

The answer to this question used to be that otherwise we would be murdered in our beds by “the worldwide communist conspiracy.” Today the answer is that we will be murdered in our airplanes, train stations, and shopping centers by “Muslim terrorists” and by a newly created imaginary threat--”domestic extremists,” that is, war protesters and environmentalists.

The U.S. military/security complex is capable of creating any number of false flag events in order to make these threats seem real to a public whose intelligence is limited to TV, shopping mall experiences, and football games.

So Americans are stuck with enormous budget deficits that the Federal Reserve must finance by printing new money, money that sooner or later will destroy the purchasing power of the dollar and its role as world reserve currency. When the dollar goes, American power goes.

For the ruling oligarchies, the question is: how to save their power.

Their answer is: make the people pay.

And that is what their latest puppet, President Obama, is doing.

With the U.S. in the worst recession since the Great Depression, a great recession that John Williams and Gerald Celente, along with myself, have said is deepening, the “Obama budget” takes aim at support programs for the poor and out-of-work. The American elites are transforming themselves into idiots as they seek to replicate in America the conditions that have led to the overthrows of similarly corrupt elites in Tunisia and Egypt and mounting challenges to U.S. puppet governments elsewhere.
All we need is a few million more Americans with nothing to lose in order to bring the disturbances in the Middle East home to America.

With the U.S. military bogged down in wars abroad, an American revolution would have the best chance of success.

American politicians have to fund Israel as the money returns in campaign contributions. The U.S. government must fund the Egyptian military if there is to be any hope of turning the next Egyptian government into another American puppet that will serve Israel by continuing the blockade of the Palestinians herded into the Gaza ghetto.

These goals are far more important to the American elite than Pell Grants that enable poor Americans to obtain an education, or clean water, or community block grants, or the low income energy assistance program (cut by the amount that U.S. taxpayers are forced to give to Israel).

There are also $7,700 million of cuts in Medicaid and other health programs over the next five years.

Given the magnitude of the U.S. budget deficit, these sums are a pittance. The cuts will have no effect on U.S. Treasury financing needs. They will put no brakes on the Federal Reserve’s need to print money in order to keep the U.S. government in operation.

These cuts serve one purpose: to further the Republican Party’s myth that America is in economic trouble because of the poor: The poor are shiftless. They won’t work. The only reason unemployment is high is that the poor would rather be on welfare.

A new addition to the welfare myth is that recent middle class college graduates won’t take the jobs offered them, because their parents have too much money, and the kids like living at home without having to do anything. A spoiled generation, they come out of university refusing any job that doesn’t start out as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The reason that engineering graduates do not get job interviews is that they do not want them.

What all this leads to is an assault on “entitlements”, which means Social Security and Medicare. The elites have programmed, through their control of the media, a large part of the population, especially those who think of themselves as conservatives, to conflate “entitlements” with welfare. America is going to hell not because of foreign wars that serve no American purpose, but because people, who have paid 15% of their payroll all their lives for old age pensions and medical care, want “handouts” in their retirement years. Why do these selfish people think that working Americans should be forced through payroll taxes to pay for the pensions and medical care of the retirees? Why didn’t the retirees consume less and prepare for their own retirement?

The elite’s line, and that of their hired spokespersons in “think tanks” and universities, is that America is in trouble because of its retirees.

Too many Americans have been brainwashed to believe that America is in trouble because of its poor and its retirees. America is in trouble because it coerces a dwindling number of taxpayers to support the military/security complex’s enormous profits, American puppet governments abroad, and Israel.

The American elite’s solution for America’s problems is not merely to foreclose on the homes of Americans whose jobs were sent offshore, but to add to the numbers of distressed Americans with nothing to lose, the sick and the dispossessed retirees, and the university graduates who cannot find jobs that have been sent to Chine and India.

Of all the countries in the world, none need a revolution as bad as the United States, a country ruled by a handful of selfish oligarchs who have more income and wealth than can be spent in a lifetime.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More Evidence that Anthrax Attacks Part of 911 Conspiracy

Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 11:31 AM

A panel of prominent scientists is casting new doubt on scientific evidence that was a key part of the FBI's case against Bruce E. Ivins, the deceased Army scientist accused of carrying out the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.

The National Research Council, in a report issued Tuesday (read the 39-page summary), questioned the link between a flask of anthrax bacteria in Ivins's lab at Fort Detrick, Md., and the anthrax-infested letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

The Justice Department has said genetic testing conclusively linked the letters to spores in the flask - labeled RMR-1029 - found at the laboratory, where Ivins was a longtime researcher before committing suicide in 2008. The government closed the case last year after concluding that Ivins had single-handedly prepared and mailed the deadly anthrax spores, an incident that terrorized a nation still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"The scientific link between the letter material and flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary,'' said the $1.1 million report by the council, which was commissioned by the FBI. The document added, however, that the "genetic evidence is consistent with and supports an association between the RMR-1029 flask.''

The report, while praising the FBI's energetic pursuit of emerging science in the investigation, offered another possible explanation for the apparent link between the letters and the Ivins flask and said it "was not rigorously explored.''

The 190-page document by the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences also said the FBI's scientific methods in collecting samples of the strain of anthrax used in the attacks were "not optimal,'' and it said the authors could not verify the government's contention that only Ivins and a select group of scientists possessed the required expertise to prepare the spore-laden letters.

"This shows what we've been saying all along: that it was all supposition based on conjecture based on guesswork, without any proof whatsoever,'' said Paul Kemp, a lawyer who represented Ivins in negotiations with federal prosecutors who were preparing to charge him before his death. Kemp called for congressional hearings into the investigation.

The report makes no judgment about Ivins's guilt or innocence, and federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday stood behind their contention that Ivins was the anthrax killer. They pointed to what they said was overwhelming evidence linking him to the attacks, including e-mails and recorded conversations showing an increasingly agitated Ivins seeking to implicate colleagues while misleading investigators about his ability to make the deadly anthrax powder.

Lab records from Fort Detrick revealed that Ivins uncharacteristically logged dozens of hours late at night just before the anthrax envelopes were sent and that he was inexplicably absent during long stretches when investigators think he drove to New Jersey to mail them.

"The FBI has long maintained that while science played a significant role, it was the totality of the investigative process that determined the outcome of the anthrax case,'' the FBI and Justice Department said in a joint statement. "Although there have been great strides in forensic science over the years, rarely does science alone solve an investigation.''

The statement said the FBI had used science that was "innovative and groundbreaking" and that the report "provides valuable guidance" and "better prepares the FBI to respond to attacks of a similar nature in the future. ''

But the long-anticipated report reignited a debate that has been simmering among some scientists and others who have questioned the strength of the FBI's evidence against Ivins. MORE...

The Shame Of Being An American...

By Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research
February 15, 2011

The United States government has overestimated the amount of shame that it and American citizens can live down. On February 15 “the indispensable people” had to suffer the hypocrisy of the U.S. Secretary of State delivering a speech about America’s commitment to Internet freedom while the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) brought unconstitutional action against Twitter to reveal any connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, the American hero who, in keeping with the U.S. Military Code, exposed U.S. government war crimes and who is being held in punishing conditions not permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The corrupt U.S. government is trying to create a “conspiracy” case against Julian Assange in order to punish him for revealing U.S. government documents that prove beyond every doubt the mendacity of the U.S. government.

This is pretty bad, but it pales in comparison to the implications revealed on February 15 in the British newspaper, The Guardian. The Guardian obtained an interview with “Curveball,” the source for Colin Powell’s speech of total lies to the United Nations about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Colin Powell’s speech created the stage for the illegal American invasion of Iraq. The Guardian describes “Curveball” as “the man who pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence.” As The Guardian puts it, “Curveball” “manufactured a tale of dread.”

U.S. “intelligence” never interviewed “Curveball.” The Americans started a war based on second-hand information given to them by incompetent German intelligence, which fell for “Curveball’s” lies that today German intelligence disbelieves.

As the world now knows, Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Bush/Cheney Regime, of course, knew this, but “Curveball’s” lies were useful to their undeclared agenda. In his interview with The Guardian, “Curveball,” Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, admitted that he made the whole story up. He wanted to do in Saddam Hussein and told whatever fantasy lie he could make up that would serve his purpose.

If the Bush/Cheney Regime had really believed that Saddam Hussein had world-threatening weapons of mass destruction, it would have been a criminal act to concentrate America’s invading force in a small area of Kuwait where a few WMD could have wiped out the entire U.S. invasion force, thus ending the war before it began.

Some Americans are so thoughtless that they would say that Saddam Hussein would never have used the weapons, because we would have done this and that to Iraq, even nuking Baghdad. But why would Saddam Hussein care if he and his regime were already marked for death? Why would a doomed man desist from inflicting an extraordinary defeat on the American Superpower, thus encouraging Arabs everywhere?

Moreover, if Saddam Hussein was unwilling to use his WMD against an invading force, when would he ever use them? It was completely obvious to the U.S. government that no such weapons existed. The weapons inspectors made that completely clear to the Bush/Cheney Regime. There were no Iraqi WMD, and everyone in the U.S. government was apprised of that fact.

Why was there no wonder or comment in the “free” media that the White House accused Iraq of possession of terrible weapons of mass destruction, but nevertheless concentrated its invasion force in such a small area that such weapons could easily have wiped out the invading force?

Does democracy really exist in a land where the media is incompetent and the government is unaccountable and lies through its teeth every time if opens its mouth?

“Curveball” represents a new level of immorality. Rafid al-Janabi shares responsibility for one million dead Iraqis, 4 million displaced Iraqis, a destroyed country, 4,754 dead American troops, 40,000 wounded and maimed American troops, $3 trillion of wasted US resources, every dollar of which is a debt burden to the American population and a threat to the dollar as reserve currency, ten years of propaganda and lies about terrorism and al Qaeda connections, an American "war on terror" that is destroying countless lives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and which has targeted Iran, and which has destroyed the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and the civil liberties that they guarantee. And the piece of lying excrement, Rafid al-Janabi, is proud that he brought Saddam Hussein's downfall at such enormous expense.

Now that Rafid al-Janabi is revealed in The Guardian interview, how safe is he? There are millions of Iraqis capable of exterminating him for their suffering, and tens of thousands of Americans whose lives have been ruined by Rafid al-Janabi’s lies.

Why does the U.S. government pursue Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for telling the truth when “Curveball,” whose lies wiped out huge numbers of people along with America’s reputation, thinks he can start a political party in Iraq?  (Editor's bold emphasis throughout) If the piece of excrement, Rafid al-Janabi, is not killed the minute he appears in Iraq, it will be a miracle.

So we are left to contemplate that a totally incompetent American government has bought enormous instability to its puppet states in the Middle East, because it desperately wanted to believe faulty “intelligence” from Germany that an immoralist provided evidence that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And America is a superpower, an indispensable nation.

What a total joke!

Huffington Post Killed Jesse Ventura’s Piece On 9/11

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

As I noted in an item yesterday, Jesse Ventura has a new book out, co-authored with Dick Russell, called American Conspiracies, which includes an excellent chapter on election fraud and its connection to the likely murder of Mike Connell.

Well, this morning, Jesse had a front-page piece on 9/11 up at HuffPost: a front-page piece that quickly slipped off that front page–and then completely disappeared.

Here’s what you’ll find there now (or will, until they take that down as well)

Jesse Ventura
Author, American Conspiracies
Posted: March 9, 2010 11:00 AM

Editor’s Note: The Huffington Post’s editorial policy, laid out in our blogger guidelines, prohibits the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories — including those about 9/11. As such, we have removed this post.

All that’s up there now are the comments left by 65 of HuffPost’s readers.

It’s worth noting that HuffPost already ran an excerpt from another chapter of American Conspiracies , about the US “war on drugs,” and they had no problem with that subject.

But this one is, as we all know, taboo. Clearly, even to question the official story of 9/11 is to engage in “conspiracy theories” (as if the official story weren’t itself a “conspiracy theory,” and a preposterous one at that). Such is always the response of the US mainstream media (the foreign media tends to be more open-minded)–and it’s also the response of our left/liberal media, as this amazing act of censorship makes clear.

So here is the offending piece. Please read it; and let’s all try to locate the particular points that are so obviously wild and baseless that HuffPost had to kill the whole piece insantly.



by: Jesse Ventura
Huffington Post Censored Article reproduced at:

You didn’t see anything about it in the mainstream media, but two weeks ago at a conference in San Francisco, more than one thousand architects and engineers signed a petition demanding that Congress begin a new investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.

That’s right, these people put their reputations in potential jeopardy – because they don’t buy the government’s version of events. They want to know how 200,000 tons of steel disintegrated and fell to the ground in 11 seconds. They question whether the hijacked planes were responsible – or whether it could have been a controlled demolition from inside that brought down the Twin Towers and Building 7.

Richard Gage, a member of the American Institute of Architects and the founder of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth, put it like this: “The official Federal Emergency Management [Agency] and National Institute of Standards and Technology reports provide insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers’ destruction.” He’s especially disturbed by Building 7, whose 447 stories came down in “pure free-fall acceleration” that afternoon – even though it was never hit by an aircraft.

This is a subject I take up in my new book, American Conspiracies, published this week by Skyhorse. An excerpt follows:

Some people have argued that the twin towers went down, within a half hour of one another, because of the way they were constructed. Well, those 425,000 cubic yards of concrete and 200,000 tons of steel were designed to hold up against a Boeing 707, the largest plane built at the time the towers were completed in 1973. Analysis had shown that a 707 traveling at 600 miles an hour (and those had four engines) would not cause major damage. The twin-engine Boeing 757s that hit on 9/11 were going 440 and 550 miles an hour.

Still, we are told that a molten, highly intense fuel mixture from the planes brought down these two steel-framed skyscrapers. Keep in mind that no other such skyscraper in history had ever been known to collapse completely due to fire damage. So could it actually have been the result of a controlled demolition from inside the buildings? I don’t claim expertise about this, but I did work four years as part of the Navy’s underwater demolition teams, where we were trained to blow things to hell and high water. And my staff talked at some length with a prominent physicist, Steven E. Jones, who says that a “gravity driven collapse” without demolition charges defies the laws of physics. These buildings fell, at nearly the rate of free-fall, straight down into their own footprint, in approximately ten seconds. An object dropped from the roof of the 110-story-tall towers would reach the ground in about 9.2 seconds. Then there’s the fact that steel beams that weighed as much as 200,000 pounds got tossed laterally as far as 500 feet.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started its investigation on August 21, 2002. When their 10,000-page-long report came out three years later, the spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest a controlled demolition. But Steven E. Jones also says that molten metal found underground weeks later is proof that jet fuel couldn’t have been all that was responsible. I visited the site about three weeks after 9/11, with Governor Pataki and my wife Terry. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, but they had to suspend digging that day because they were running into heat pockets of huge temperatures. These fires kept burning for more than three months, the longest-burning structure blaze ever. And this was all due to jet fuel? We’re talking molten metal more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Probably the most conclusive evidence about a controlled demolition is a research paper (two years, nine authors) published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal , in April 2009. In studying dust samples from the site, these scientists found chips of nano-thermite, which is a high-tech incendiary/explosive. Here’s what the paper’s lead author, Dr. Niels Harrit of the University of Copenhagen’s chemistry department, had to say about the explosive that he’s convinced brought down the Twin Towers and the nearby Building 7:

“Thermite itself dates back to 1893. It is a mixture of aluminum and rust-powder, which react to create intense heat. The reaction produces iron, heated to 2500 degrees Centigrade. This can be used to do welding. It can also be used to melt other iron. So in nano-thermite, this powder from 1893 is reduced to tiny particles, perfectly mixed. When these react, the intense heat develops much more quickly. Nano-thermite can be mixed with additives to give off intense heat, or serve as a very effective explosive. It contains more energy than dynamite, and can be used as rocket fuel.” [i]

Richard Gage is one of hundreds of credentialed architects and structural engineers who have put their careers on the line to point out the detailed anomalies and many implications of controlled demolition in the building collapses. As he puts it bluntly: “Once you get to the science, it’s indisputable.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cheney Standown Order on 911 Resurfaces at CPAC

Cheney Confronted on 9/11 Standdown

WeAreChange Confronts Dick Cheney on 9/11 Standdown Order

Aaron Dykes
February 15, 2010

The testimony of Norman Mineta before the 9/11 Commission leaves compelling questions about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s actions on the day of 9/11. Then Transportation Secretary Mineta witnessed Cheney refuse to contradict an apparent standdown order as an aide warned of something incoming at the Pentagon. Cheney has given conflicting reports about what time he entered the PEOC bunker. Mineta later confirmed his suppressed 9/11 Commission testimony and refuted Cheney’s account of arriving later.

During the CPAC conference, confronted Cheney about these questions, which he refused to address.

“Hey Mr. Cheney, what did you do in the underground bunker on 9/11? Dick Cheney we know what you did on 9/11 with the standdown order. Norman Mineta testified against you on the 9/11 Commission report. What happened on 9/11?”

When he was being forced out, founder Luke Rudkowski calmly asked security not to push him; security backed off after asking him, ‘Are you being polite?’

WeAreChangeOklahoma – Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney (CPAC 2011)

Cheney dodged the continuing questions by exiting with his entourage into an elevator. As a woman started repeating “Thank you Mr. Cheney for all you’ve done,” Rudkowski interjected that he was a ‘terrorist.’ Certainly, the use of admittedly elevated terror alerts throughout the Bush administration to stoke the fear card and score political dominion alone is reason to justify this label. The implications of what really happened on 9/11, and in relation to Cheney’s apparent standdown order, is even more compelling. Notably, a change in the standard operating procedure for the chain of command during the event of a hijacked aircraft was changed in June 2001, including subjecting NORAD’s response to DoD approval. (For details follow link above)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3610.01A issued June 1, 2001 on “Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects. (For details follow link above)

The former Vice President’s re-entry into the public limelight, after years of dealing with heart issues, is what appears to be an attempt to re-brand the Bush Administration in time to retain neo-con power in the coming GOP presidential primary field, where tea party politics and candidates like Ron Paul have obviously taken root with conservative voters in the years of the Obama administration. This confrontation occurred during the same CPAC convention where Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll and Dick Cheney was heckled and called a “war-monger” during a pep rally where Donald Rumsfeld was given the “Defender of the Constitution Award.”

From Norman Mineta’s testimony:

“During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President…the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!?

The Globalist Conquest of Egypt & The Middle East is Almost Complete

Webster Griffin Tarpley
February 16, 2011

Obama’s Budget and the Rot of American Capitalism

By Patrick Martin

February 15, 2011 "WSWS" -- On Monday, the Obama administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2012. After committing trillions in federal bailouts to the banks and billionaires, the White House is demanding cuts that will devastate the working class, and particularly its poorest and most vulnerable sections.

The $1.1 trillion in cuts for the next decade proposed by the White House is to be only the starting point for further cuts, as spokesmen for both big business parties acknowledge. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, a Democrat, declared, “We’ve got to do substantially more than $1 trillion worth of deficit reduction in the next decade.” Republican House Speaker John Boehner said, “There’s no limit to the amount we’re willing to cut.”

Democrats and Republicans agree on gargantuan military spending, an uninterrupted flow of funds to the financial aristocracy, and continued tax breaks for corporate America and the wealthy. As a top White House official told the press at a background briefing on the budget, “The debate in Washington is not whether to cut or to spend. We both agree we should cut. The question is how we cut and what we cut.”

The Obama budget projects that the ten-year cumulative deficit will reach a staggering $10.4 trillion. By attempting to wring such vast sums from the hides of the population, the ruling elite is trying to set American society back to conditions not seen for generations.

Programs to be cut include not only those targeted by Obama and the Republicans in the current budget debate—home heating assistance, Pell Grants, WIC, Head Start, etc.—but the much larger entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, which will face cuts later in the budget process.

The social impact will be incalculable. As hundreds of thousands of people face the bitter cold of winter without heat and gas, Obama is proposing halving the grossly inadequate federal assistance that is available. As students graduate with record debt and no job prospects, the administration is proposing significant cuts in government aid. Such gross indifference to social distress is repeated in every sphere.

Significant cuts to Social Security and Medicare—which amount to denying America’s elderly their right to pensions and health care—would have an even broader impact.

Behind the “debate” in Washington and the media over the budget is a massive lie—the claim that the budget deficits are a product of excessive social spending. Obama’s budget director Jacob Lew summed up this grotesque falsification in an op-ed column published in the New York Times February 6, under the headline, “The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us.” Lew claimed that the causes of the projected budget deficits were “decisions to make two large tax cuts without offsetting them and to create a Medicare prescription drug benefit without paying for it, combined with the effects of the recession…”

This list is notable for what it leaves out: the cost of two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, which runs into the trillions; and the bank bailouts, where more trillions in public funds were placed at the disposal of the financial aristocracy, with no questions asked. The military budget by itself accounts for the lion’s share of the ten-year deficit: more than $7 trillion of the projected $10 trillion.

Lew’s more fundamental omission, however, is the grotesque class inequality that pervades American society. The top one percent of the US population owns over one third of the country’s wealth. The greatest wealth, however, is concentrated in an even smaller layer. Indeed, the $1.1 trillion in proposed cuts—which will have a terrible impact on the lives of millions of people—is somewhat less than the combined wealth of only the 400 richest Americans.

The arguments presented by the ruling elite for the cuts are staggeringly hypocritical. As they drown in floods of cash, they insist that no money is available for workers’ most basic needs.

Workers must reject this argument out of hand. They are not responsible for the orgy of swindling and profiteering that produced the 2008 Wall Street crash and pushed the world economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. On the contrary, an essential feature of the speculative binge was that the share of national income received by workers has shrunk to the lowest level in nearly a century.

Underlying the rise of the financial aristocracy—which exercises control over the entire political system—is the failure of the world capitalist system as a whole. In amassing its wealth, this tiny layer of the population, concentrated above all in the United States, has overseen a vast destruction of industry and social infrastructure. The ruling classes of every country now openly proclaim that the maintenance of their system depends upon an unprecedented destruction in the living conditions of the broad masses of the population.

These measures will provoke mass opposition. The revolutionary struggles in Egypt—in which protests and strikes of millions of workers and youth forced the resignation of a US-backed dictator that ruled the country for more than 30 years—point to the forms of struggle that will spread worldwide in the coming period. Mass unemployment, record inequality, and the corruption of the political system are common to Egypt and the United States, and are in fact universal. At the foundation of this system is the principle that economic life must be subordinated to private profit and the maintenance of the wealth of those who control the giant banks and corporations.

The working class can secure its interests only through the overturn of the capitalist system as a whole—that is, the reorganization of economic life to meet social need. In every aspect of its policies and of its social being, the ruling class itself makes the case for socialist revolution.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Israel Looks More and More Like a Fascist Regime

Egypt's Revolution and Israel: "Bad for the Jews"

By Ilan Pappe

Is Arab democracy bad for Israel? (Matthew Cassel)

February 15, 2011 "The Electronic Intifada" -- The view from Israel is that if they indeed succeed, the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are bad, very bad. Educated Arabs -- not all of them dressed as "Islamists," quite a few of them speaking perfect English whose wish for democracy is articulated without resorting to "anti-Western" rhetoric -- are bad for Israel.

Arab armies that do not shoot at these demonstrators are as bad as are many other images that moved and enthused so many people around the world, even in the West. This world reaction is also bad, very bad. It makes the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and its apartheid policies inside the state look like the acts of a typical "Arab" regime.

For a while you could not tell what official Israel thought. In his first ever commonsensical message to his colleagues, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his ministers, generals and politicians not to comment in public on the events in Egypt. For a brief moment one thought that Israel turned from the neighborhood's thug to what it always was: a visitor or permanent resident.

It seems Netanyahu was particularly embarrassed by the unfortunate remarks on the situation uttered publicly by General Aviv Kochavi, the head of Israeli military intelligence. This top Israeli expert on Arab affairs stated confidently two weeks ago in the Knesset that the Mubarak regime is as solid and resilient as ever. But Netanyahu could not keep his mouth shut for that long. And when the boss talked all the others followed. And when they all responded, their commentary made Fox News' commentators look like a bunch of peaceniks and free-loving hippies from the 1960s.

The gist of the Israeli narrative is simple: this is an Iranian-like revolution helped by Al Jazeera and stupidly allowed by US President Barack Obama, who is a new Jimmy Carter, and a stupefied world. Spearheading the Israeli interpretation are the former Israeli ambassadors to Egypt. All their frustration from being locked in an apartment in a Cairean high-rise is now erupting like an unstoppable volcano. Their tirade can be summarized in the words of one of them, Zvi Mazael who told Israeli television's Channel One on 28 January, "this is bad for the Jews; very bad."

In Israel of course when you say "bad for the Jews," you mean the Israelis -- but you also mean that whatever is bad for Israel is bad for the Jews all around the world (despite the evidence to the contrary since the foundation of the state).

But what is really bad for Israel is the comparison. Regardless of how all this would end, it exposes the fallacies and pretense of Israel like never before. Egypt is experiencing a peaceful Intifada with the deadly violence coming from the side of the regime. The army did not shoot at the demonstrators; and even before the departure of Mubarak, already seven days into the protests, the minister of interior who directed his thugs to violently crash the demonstrations had been sacked and will probably be brought to justice.

Yes, this was done in order to win time and try to persuade the demonstrators to go home. But even this scene, by now forgotten, can never happen in Israel. Israel is a place where all the generals who ordered the shootings of Palestinian and Jewish anti-occupation demonstrators now compete for the highest post of Chief of the General Staff.

One of them is Yair Naveh, who gave orders in 2008 to kill Palestinian suspects even if they could be peacefully arrested. He is not going to jail; but the young woman, Anat Kamm, who exposed these orders is now facing nine years in jail for leaking them to Israeli daily Haaretz. Not one Israeli general or politician has or is going to spend one day in jail for ordering the troops to shoot at unarmed demonstrators, innocent civilians, women, old men and children. The light radiating from Egypt and Tunisia is so strong that it also illuminates the darker spaces of the "only democracy in the Middle East."

Nonviolent, democratic (be they religious or not) Arabs are bad for Israel. But maybe these Arabs were there all along, not only in Egypt, but also in Palestine. The insistence of Israeli commentators that the most important issue at stake -- the Israeli peace treaty with Egypt -- is a diversion, and has very little relevance to the powerful impulse that is shaking the Arab world as a whole.

The peace treaties with Israel are the symptoms of moral corruption not the disease itself -- this is why Syrian President Bashar Asad, undoubtedly an anti-Israeli leader, is not immune from this wave of change. No, what is at stake here is the pretense that Israel is a stable, civilized, western island in a rough sea of Islamic barbarism and Arab fanaticism. The "danger" for Israel is that the cartography would be the same but the geography would change. It would still be an island but of barbarism and fanaticism in a sea of newly formed egalitarian and democratic states.

In the eyes of large sections of Western civil society the democratic image of Israel has long ago vanished; but it may now be dimmed and tarnished in the eyes of others who are in power and politics. How important is the old, positive image of Israel for maintaining its special relationship with the United States? Only time will tell.

But one way or another the cry rising from Cairo's Tahrir Square is a warning that fake mythologies of the "only democracy in the Middle East," hardcore Christian fundamentalism (far more sinister and corrupt than that of the Muslim Brotherhood), cynical military-industrial corporate profiteering, neo-conservatism and brutal lobbying will not guarantee the sustainability of the special relationship between Israel and the United States forever.

And even if the special relationship perseveres for a while, it is now based on even shakier foundations. The diametrically-opposed case studies of the so far resilient anti-American regional powers of Iran and Syria, and to some extent Turkey, on the one hand, and the fallen ultimate pro-American tyrants, on the other are indicative: even if it is sustained, American support may not be enough in future to maintain an ethnic and racist "Jewish state" in the heart of a changing Arab world. (Editor: one can only hope)

This could be good news for the Jews, even for the Jews in Israel in the long run. To be surrounded by peoples who cherish freedom, social justice and spirituality and navigating sometimes safely and sometimes roughly between tradition and modernity, nationalism and humanity, aggressive capitalist globalization and daily survival, is not going to be easy.

Yet it has a horizon, and it carries hope of triggering similar changes in Palestine. It can bring a closure to more than a century of Zionist colonization and dispossession, to be replaced by more equitable reconciliation between the Palestinian victims of these criminal policies wherever they are and the Jewish community. This reconciliation would be built on the basis of the Palestinian right of return and on all the other rights the people of Egypt so bravely fought for in the last twenty days.

But trust the Israelis not to miss an opportunity to miss peace. They would cry wolf. They would demand, and receive, more funds from the American taxpayer due to the new "developments." They would interfere clandestinely and destructively to undermine any transition to democracy (remember what force and viciousness characterized their reaction to democratization in Palestinian society?), and they would elevate the Islamophobic campaign to new and unprecedented heights.

But who knows, maybe the American taxpayer would not budge this time. And maybe the European politicians would follow the general sentiment of their public and allow not only Egypt to be dramatically transformed, but also welcome a similar change in Israel and Palestine. In such a scenario the Jews of Israel have a chance to become part of the real Middle East and not an alien and aggressive member of a Middle East which was the figment of the hallucinatory Zionist imagination.  (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. His most recent book is Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel (Pluto Press, 2010).

US Predator Drone Strikes Violate Just War Doctrinal Principles

Editor's NOTE:

Predator Drone remote controlled missile attacks are inherently immoral. Their use violates the Just War Doctrinal Corpus in multiple ways. For example;  a war is always unjust if there is an obvious lack of proportionality either because the "means" employed are grossly unsuited (read overkill here) to the "end" desired and or where the means selected or the risks taken-on by one side are clearly unmatched by the other.

The pilot of a remote controlled Drone capable of directing guided missiles against a presumed enemy faces no bodily harm in carrying out an attack, that is to say has nothing to lose due to his/her remote location. Moreover, there is no way to be confident to a moral degree of certainty that the target is in fact an enemy combatant. In many cases, innocent civilians have been killed or seriously injured. This is foreseeable, quite predictable and therefore immoral.

The United States at a minimum should discontinue the use of Predator Drone offensive attacks on the grounds that they are inherently immoral that is, morally repugnant in principle not to mention likely to create more enemies than could ever be neutralized by their use.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Inside the Killing Machine

President Obama is ordering a record number of Predator strikes. An exclusive interview with a man who approved ‘lethal operations.’

By Tara Mckelvey

February 15, 2011 "Newsweek" - -- It was an ordinary-looking room located in an office building in northern Virginia. The place was filled with computer monitors, keyboards, and maps. Someone sat at a desk with his hand on a joystick. John A. Rizzo, who was serving as the CIA’s acting general counsel, hovered nearby, along with other people from the agency. Together they watched images on a screen that showed a man and his family traveling down a road thousands of miles away. The vehicle slowed down, and the man climbed out.

A moment later, an explosion filled the screen, and the man was dead. “It was very businesslike,” says Rizzo. An aerial drone had killed the man, a high-level terrorism suspect, after he had gotten out of the vehicle, while members of his family were spared. “The agency was very punctilious about this,” Rizzo says. “They tried to minimize collateral damage, especially women and children.”

The broad outlines of the CIA’s operations to kill suspected terrorists have been known to the public for some time—including how the United States kills Qaeda and Taliban militants by drone aircraft in Pakistan. But the formal process of determining who should be hunted down and “blown to bits,” as Rizzo puts it, has not been previously reported. A look at the bureaucracy behind the operations reveals that it is multilayered and methodical, run by a corps of civil servants who carry out their duties in a professional manner. Still, the fact that Rizzo was involved in “murder,” as he sometimes puts it, and that operations are planned in advance in a legalistic fashion, raises questions.

More than a year after leaving the government, Rizzo, a bearded, elegant 63-year-old who wears cuff links and pale yellow ties, discussed his role in the CIA’s “lethal operations” with me over Côtes du Rhone and steak in a Washington restaurant. At times, Rizzo sounded cavalier. “It’s basically a hit list,” he said. Then he pointed a finger at my forehead and pretended to pull a trigger. “The Predator is the weapon of choice, but it could also be someone putting a bullet in your head.”

The number of such killings, carried out mostly by Predators in Pakistan, has increased dramatically during the Obama administration, and these covert actions have become an integral part of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

How CIA staffers determine whether to target someone for lethal operations is a relatively straightforward, and yet largely unknown, story. The president does not review the individual names of people; Rizzo explains that he was the one who signed off. People in Washington talk about a “target list,” as former undersecretary of state Richard Armitage described the process at a recent event in Washington. In truth, there is probably no official CIA roster of those who are slated to die. “I never saw a list,” says a State Department official who has been involved in discussions about lethal operations, speaking without attribution because of the nature of the subject. Officials at the CIA select targets for “neutralization,” he explains. “There were individuals we were searching for, and we thought, it’s better now to neutralize that threat,” he says.

The military and the CIA often pursue the same targets—Osama bin Laden, for example—but handle different regions of the world. Sometimes they team up—or even exchange jobs. When former CIA officer Henry A. Crumpton was in Afghanistan after 9/11, he and Gen. Stanley McChrystal—the former head of Joint Special Operations Command, a secretive military unit—worked closely together, and so did their subordinates. “Some of the people I knew and who worked for me went to work for him—and vice versa,” recalls Crumpton.

Some counterterrorism experts say that President Obama and his advisers favor a more aggressive approach because it seems more practical—that administration officials prefer to eliminate terrorism suspects rather than detain them. “Since the U.S. political and legal situation has made aggressive interrogation a questionable activity anyway, there is less reason to seek to capture rather than kill,” wrote American University’s Kenneth Anderson, author of an essay on the subject that was read widely by Obama White House officials. “And if one intends to kill, the incentive is to do so from a standoff position because it removes potentially messy questions of surrender.”

In defense of a hard-nosed approach, administration officials say the aerial-drone strikes are wiping out al Qaeda militants and reducing the chances of another terrorist attack. They have also been careful to reassure the public that the killings are legal. When NEWSWEEK asked the administration for comment, a U.S. official who declined to be identified addressing such a sensitive subject said: “These CT [counterterrorism] operations are conducted in strict accordance with American law and are governed by legal guidance provided by the Department of Justice.”

Explains Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer, “We’re not in kindergarten on this anymore: we’ve been doing this since 2001, and there’s a well-established protocol.”

A Los Angeles Times article once described John Rizzo as “the most influential career lawyer in CIA history,” and he arguably knows more than anyone else in the government about the legal aspects of the CIA’s targeted killings. But he stumbled into the world of espionage almost by accident. He graduated from George Washington University Law School and was living in D.C. in the 1970s when the Church committee released its report on the CIA’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders. Rizzo sensed an opportunity: “With all that going on, they’d need lawyers.” He got a CIA job soon afterward.

Decades later, as the CIA’s interrogations and lethal operations were ramped up after 9/11, Rizzo found himself at the center of controversy. He was, as he puts it, “up to my eyeballs” in President Bush’s program of enhanced interrogations in the so-called black sites, or secret prisons, located in Afghanistan and in other countries. Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo wrote the infamous “torture memo” of August 2002 because Rizzo had asked for clarification about techniques that could be used on detainees. Rizzo had once hoped to become the CIA’s general counsel, but members of the Senate intelligence committee balked because of the role he played in authorizing the interrogations. Rizzo retired in 2009.

Today, Rizzo can sometimes sound boastful. “How many law professors have signed off on a death warrant?” he asks. He is quick to emphasize that the groundwork was prepared in a judicious manner, and felt it important that he observe the killing of some of the high-level terrorism suspects via live footage shown in CIA offices. “I was concerned that it be done in the cleanest possible way,” he explains.

Clean, but always morally complex. Rizzo would sometimes find himself sitting in his office on the seventh floor of the CIA building with a cable about a terrorism suspect in front of him, and he would wonder how his Irish-Italian parents would feel about his newly assigned duties.

After President Bush authorized the CIA to hunt down al Qaeda fighters in the wake of 9/11, “the attorneys were always involved, but they were very good—very aggressive and helpful, in fact,” says Crumpton. “They would help us understand international law and cross-border issues, and they would interpret specific language of the presidential directive.”

Under another Bush order, signed several years later, a variety of people who worked in terrorist camps could be targeted, and not just named terrorism suspects; at that point, the pool of potential candidates reviewed by CIA lawyers became much larger. Despite the secrecy surrounding these orders, their scope has become clear. “The authority given in these presidential findings is surely the most sweeping and most lethal since the founding of the CIA,” William C. Banks, director of Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, told a House committee.

The hub of activity for the targeted killings is the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, where lawyers—there are roughly 10 of them, says Rizzo—write a cable asserting that an individual poses a grave threat to the United States. The CIA cables are legalistic and carefully argued, often running up to five pages. Michael Scheuer, who used to be in charge of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, describes “a dossier,” or a “two-page document,” along with “an appendix with supporting information, if anybody wanted to read all of it.” The dossier, he says, “would go to the lawyers, and they would decide. They were very picky.” Sometimes, Scheuer says, the hurdles may have been too high. “Very often this caused a missed opportunity. The whole idea that people got shot because someone has a hunch—I only wish that was true. If it were, there would be a lot more bad guys dead.”

Sometimes, as Rizzo recalls, the evidence against an individual would be thin, and high-level lawyers would tell their subordinates, “You guys did not make a case.” “Sometimes the justification would be that the person was thought to be at a meeting,” Rizzo explains. “It was too squishy.” The memo would get kicked back downstairs.

The cables that were “ready for prime time,” as Rizzo puts it, concluded with the following words: “Therefore we request approval for targeting for lethal operation.” There was a space provided for the signature of the general counsel, along with the word “concurred.” Rizzo says he saw about one cable each month, and at any given time there were roughly 30 individuals who were targeted. Many of them ended up dead, but not all: “No. 1 and No. 2 on the hit parade are still out there,” Rizzo says, referring to “you-know-who and [Ayman al-] Zawahiri,” a top Qaeda leader.

As administration critics have pointed out, government officials have to go through a more extensive process in order to obtain permission to wiretap someone in this country than to make someone the target of a lethal operation overseas.

Rizzo seems bitter that he and other CIA officials have been criticized for authorizing harsh interrogations under Bush, and yet there has been little outcry over the faster pace of lethal operations under Obama. (From 2004 to 2008, Bush authorized 42 drone strikes, according to the New America Foundation. The number has more than quadrupled under President Obama—to 180 at last count.)

The detainees, by and large, survived, Rizzo observes; today, high-level terrorism suspects often do not.

And for all the bureaucratic review, it’s not always precise in the real world. In December people took to the streets of Islamabad to protest the strikes and to show support for a Waziristan resident, Karim Khan, whose son and brother were killed in a strike in 2009 and has filed a lawsuit against the U.S., charging a CIA official for their deaths.

Administration officials insist that the targeted killings rest on a solid legal foundation, but many scholars disagree. Georgetown University’s Gary Solis, the author of The Law of Armed Conflict, says people at the CIA who pilot unmanned aerial vehicles are civilians directly engaged in hostilities, an act that makes them “unlawful combatants” and possibly subject to prosecution.

These days, Rizzo is working on a memoir. He does not talk about the morality of what he did—he is not that kind of guy—but lately has been trying to come to terms with the implications of the deadly task he performed, and which others are now performing in that office building in Virginia.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

US Budget Priorities Reflect Power of MIlitary Industrial Complex

Editor's NOTE:

Given that the Obama Administration budget calls for $3.7 trillion in spending and the projected tax revenue is only about $2.1 trillion, the projected 2012 budget deficit is at least $1.6 trillion.  Of note is that the combined US war and intelligence budgets (including the so-called "Black" budgetary items) exceed over $1.0 trillion annually. This represents 2/3's of the projected budget deficit for 2012. The obvious problem is that we are attempting to maintain an empire through armed force when as a nation we are close to being financially bankrupt. The power of the US military currently prevents our collapse. At what price however?  We are caught in a vicious cycle in which ever larger military outlays are required in order to maintain the American empire the cost of which simultaneously drives us deeper into debt. It is totally unsustainable!

As the articles below indicate, at least $500 billion of that $1.0 trillion war/intelligence/security budget could be eliminated without damage to US National Security. The reductions recommended by Secretary Gates and accepted by President Obama are totally inadequate and indicate that there is currently no desire to significantly reduce US military/intelligence/security spending. Instead, President Obama and the Republicans in Congress intend to reduce the budget deficit by punishing those Americans least capable of enduring it that is, the poor, unemployed, underemployed, middle class, union workers, sick, elderly etc. That approach is not only economically unsound, it is patently immoral.

The fact that the elite media cooperate in labeling President Obama a socialist is evidence that it has abandoned rationality for rank sophistry in its loyal service to the "Regime."  Given his actions to date, Barack Obama is behaving like a Republican by preferencing/benefiting the rich and powerful while abandoning the poor and middle class Americans who are largely responsible for his Presidency. This represents an unconscionable betrayal and must be recognized for what it is; a "sell-out" to the not so shadow government forces who now control our Regime.

The only way to save the United States is to radically reduce the size and cost of the ever expanding military/intelligence/security complex aka the "War Department" and its supportive infrastructure which presently consumes over half of all discretionary spending.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Obama budget projects record $1.6 trillion deficit

By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 14, 2011; 4:26 PM

President Obama rolled out a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint Monday that would trim or terminate more than 200 federal programs next year and make key investments in education, transportation and research. The plan is aimed at boosting the nation's economy while reducing record budget deficits.


The Defense Department won the future, or at least the budget

By Ezra Klein
The Washington Post
February 14, 2011; 1:26 PM ET

One of the big lessons of this budget is that if you work in the federal government, you want Defense Secretary Robert Gates on your side when the budget cuts come around.

The military made out quite nicely in the 2012 budget proposal.
The administration is cutting $78 billion from the Defense Department's budget -- known as "security discretionary spending" -- over the next 10 years. That's a bit of a blow, but compare it to the $400 billion they're cutting from domestic discretionary spending -- that's education, income security, food safety, environmental protection, etc. -- over the next 10 years. And keep in mind that the domestic discretionary budget is only half as large as the military's budget. So if there were equal cuts, the military would be losing $800 billion. And you could argue that the politics of that make some sense: Military spending is one of the least popular categories of federal spending.

That's what the Fiscal Commission had wanted to do. "One of the Commission’s guiding principles is that everything must be on the table" they wrote. For that reason, they recommended "equal percentage cuts from both sides."
Nor were they the only ones who thought such cuts possible. The Sustainable Defense Task Force, formed by Barney Frank and Ron Paul (among others) and staffed by a who's who of military policy experts from both sides of the aisle, produced a report (pdf) recommending up to $960 billion in cuts over the next 10 years. These were cuts, the experts said, "that would not compromise the essential security of the United States." Others disagree with that judgment, of course. One of them was Gates, who warned that major cuts in his department would be "catastrophic."

He won. The $78 billion in cuts are the exact $78 billion in cuts Gates recommended. I bet there are more than a few Cabinet secretaries who wish they had that kind of power over the president's recommendations.

It's interesting to think about this in terms of the president's focus on "winning the future." He's been very careful to speak of our challenge as primarily one of bettering ourselves and our country, not fighting our competitors. To win the future, we need to educate our people, rebuild our roads, expand broadband Internet, invest in research and development. And some of those categories are, to be sure, getting a boost in this budget. But only a small one. The R & D budget, for instance, goes up by one percentage point. And many important programs -- like Pell Grants -- are getting shaved down.

If this is a fiscally responsible budget, then cutting $500 billion -- forget $800 billion -- from the Defense Department would've opened room for much more domestic investment. It also could've gone to pay down the debt. As it is, we're pumping that money into sustaining a fighting force that's orders of magnitude larger than anything retained by any other country. The theory implicit in that decision suggests that the fight to win the future might be rather different than the Obama administration is letting on.


The Breakdown: In an Age of Austerity, Can't the US Cut the Military Budget?

Christopher Hayes
The Nation
February 11, 2011

The US maintains the most expansive and expensive military on the planet. More than half of the annual budget goes towards "defense." But in the ongoing debates about the appropriate austerity measures to take, cuts to military spending have been insufficiently prioritized. On this week's edition of The Breakdown, D.C. Editor Chris Hayes and Institute for Policy Studies Research Fellow Miriam Pemberton discuss just how much the US could afford to cut Pentagon spending while maintaining its status as the dominant military force in the world.


Miriam Pemberton on the misleading nature of military spending "cuts" (article to follow below)

Center for American Progress article on reducing military spending  (highly recommended)

Robert Dreyfuss discussing the "civil war" in the GOP over demilitarization

Barney Frank on cutting NATO spending: "It Serves No Strategic Purpose"

The Independent's Robert Fisk discusses the costs of war in the Middle East


Military Spending Cuts: Depends on what the Meaning of 'On the Table' Is

By Miriam Pemberton
Institute for Policy Studies

February 10, 2011

Let's define budget cuts as spending less next year than this year. Nothing else should qualify.

Deficit pressure has put "everything on the table" for cuts, including the Pentagon. Everyone from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to President Barack Obama agrees on this. But what they mean by this is all over the map.

The budget Obama will present to Congress next week will likely begin what the Pentagon is billing as $78 billion in cuts to its budget over five years. In fact these are cuts to their plans for expansion, i.e., slowing a proposed increase is being defined as a cut.

While both Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan pay lip service to the "defense is on the table" mantra, both also exempt the defense budget from their budgetary restraining actions: a five-year discretionary freeze, in Obama's case, and $100 billion in cuts, in Ryan's.

The president’s debt reduction commission proposed real cuts, but these would leave the military budget only 5 percent below where President Reagan jacked it up to militarily defeat the Soviet Union — shortly before its collapse.

Defense Secretary Gates describes even those modest potential cuts as "catastrophic."
Let's define budget cuts as spending less next year than this year. Nothing else should qualify.

Savings aren't just needed because of the nation's massive debt. We also need to address our security deficit. The civilian and uniformed military leadership agrees on a key point: U.S. foreign policy needs to be less dominated by the military. Achieving that goal would entail decreasing the proportion of resources devoted to offense (the military) relative to defense (homeland security) and prevention (non-military foreign engagement). IPS will score this proposed budget's mix of security expenditures, and report the results after Obama releases it.


“Budgets,” Jim Wallis reminds us, “are always moral documents.”

John Nichols
The Nation

Barely a month after demanding that the Constitution be read into the Congressional Record, House Republicans voted against a motion to that would have protected against Patriot Act abuses of privacy rights. Then they voted to extend the act's surveillance authorities. The first test of that morality, explains the theologian who chairs the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum, is how those with the least power, the fewest political connections and the greatest economic challenges fare. “Our budget should not be balanced on the backs of the poor,” says Wallis. “Cuts should not come from the services and programs that people rely on now more than ever. The reality is that we have a lot of wasteful spending in our federal budget, but most of it does not come from things that help the most vulnerable people in our society.”

So how does President Obama’s $3.73 billion budget proposal, which has as its takeaway line a promise to reduce deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, fare on the moral test?

The president’s approach is far less draconian than was proposed last fall by the co-chairs of his deficit commission, who would have had the president consider processes of privatizing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Obama is not proposing to raise the retirement age or to cut the benefits available to those who reach it. At the same time, he proposes new education spending and some needed investments in high-speed rail ($53 billion over the next six years), building a nationwide wireless network ($15.7 billion) and establishing a national infrastructure bank ($50 billion) that would encourage investment in needed projects to create jobs.

All that’s got House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, sputtering about how the president “is abdicating leadership on that point.”

The president counters: “I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending—domestic discretionary spending— to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President.”

But the way to a moral budget is not to try to strike some sort of balance between the Ayn Rand–derived fantasies of Paul Ryan and the reality that millions of American families rely on programs paid for by that “domestic discretionary spending” to survive.
The way to a moral budget is to assure that the most vulnerable Americans are protected. At the very least, it should place more serious demands of the wealthy and Pentagon contractors than on low-income and working-class households. The Progressive Chance Campaign Committee gets to the heart of the matter when it suggests: “Every proposed cut to necessary programs like Pell Grants and heating for low-income seniors needs to be judged in the context of the unnecessary tax cuts for Wall Street millionaires that passed at the end of last year.”

By that measure, the Obama budget—with its emphasis on domestic spending cuts that would would trim or terminate more than 200 federal programs in the coming year—fails some serious moral tests.

Among other things, the president’s proposed budget would:

• Cut $2.5 billion in heating assistance for low-income people.
• Cut $350 million from Community Development Block Grants.
• Save $100 billion over ten years by eliminating Pell Grants for needy students who want to take summer classes in order to finish their degrees sooner while allowing interest on graduate school loans to begin building up while students are still in school, meaning that the costs of getting an education will rise dramatically.
• Undermine an essential environmental initiative by cutting a quarter of the funding for the multi-state Great Lakes clean-up project. This project is especially important to so-called “rust-belt” cities where unaddressed pollution problems invariably poses the most serious health and safety threats to low-income and working-class neighborhoods.

The proposed cuts, coming just weeks after the president worked with Republican Congressional leaders to maintain Bush-era tax cuts for billionaires and to expand estate-tax exemptions for millionaires, drew a rebuke from Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over labor, health and education programs.

Referring to proposed cuts that harm low-income Americans, Harkin said, “There can be pain, but I want to make sure it’s not just on them. I want to make sure there’s Wall Street pain, there’s Pentagon pain, that there’s wealthy pain.”

There will be specific opposition to the $2.5 billion hit Obama proposes for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, a top House Democrat, says the cut would “have a devastating effect on millions of American families.” Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch declared that: “the last thing we should be doing is making it harder for the most vulnerable people in this country to stay warm in the winter.”

But it is perhaps even more unsettling to see a move to slash the far-reaching antipoverty programming that is maintained with the help of Community Development Block Grant funding. “The question is why? Why pick on this program?” asks David Bradley, director of the National Community Action Foundation, who warns: “Once the Obama administration throws a poverty program in the water, it starts a feeding frenzy.”

By doing that, Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, the second-ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said the Obama administration is letting Republicans like Ryan set far too much of the agenda.

“His people aren’t giving us a very wise set of choices. They’re cotton-balling rather than hard-balling,” explained Kaptur, who said of Obama: “He keeps waiting for Congress to save him. He ought to save himself.”

So what is available in the way of wise choices for balancing the budget?

Even conservatives such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul say that it makes sense to look at the military budget. The Obama budget includes recommendations for a set of Department of Defense spending reductions that could reach $78 billion reduction by 2015. That sounds good. But the actual 2012 budget request for the Pentagon is for more than $550 billion—a 5 percent increase over what the Department of Defense spent last year.

As Lawrence Korb, the former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration who now serves as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, notes (writing with CAP’s Laura Conley): “In inflation-adjusted dollars, this figure is higher than at any time during the Bush years or during the Cold War.”

Instead of the spike in Pentagon spending, Jim Wallis argues that, to meet the moral test of budgeting, it’s “time to cut needless military spending. The Pentagon currently takes up more than half of our country’s discretionary spending. This does not include the billions spent on other military related expenditures or most of our spending on homeland security…. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) came up with a plan that they say would leave our country just as safe but save us $960 billion by 2020! Even with these cuts, we would still be by far the world’s most dominant military. When you list the countries in the world by order of their military expenditures, the United States tops the list and spends more than the next 13 countries combined.”

Is The Army Tightening Its Grip On Egypt?

By Robert Fisk

February 14, 2011 "The Independent" - -Two days after millions of Egyptians won their revolution against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, the country's army – led by Mubarak's lifelong friend, General Mohamed el-Tantawi – further consolidated its power over Egypt yesterday, dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution. As they did so, the prime minister appointed by Mubarak, ex-General Ahmed Shafiq, told Egyptians that his first priorities were "peace and security" to prevent "chaos and disorder" – the very slogan uttered so often by the despised ex-president. Plus ça change?

In their desperation to honour the 'military council's' promise of Cairo-back-to-normal, hundreds of Egyptian troops – many unarmed – appeared in Tahrir Square to urge the remaining protesters to leave the encampment they had occupied for 20 days. At first the crowd greeted them as friends, offering them food and water. Military policemen in red berets, again without weapons, emerged to control traffic. But then a young officer began lashing demonstrators with a cane – old habits die hard in young men wearing uniforms – and for a moment there was a miniature replay of the fury visited upon the state security police here on 28 January.

It reflected a growing concern among those who overthrew Mubarak that the fruits of their victory may be gobbled up by an army largely composed of generals who achieved their power and privilege under Mubarak himself. No-one objects to the dissolution of parliament since Mubarak's assembly elections last year – and all other years -- were so transparently fraudulent. But the 'military council' gave no indication of the date for the free and fair elections which Egyptians believed they had been promised. The suspension of the constitution – a document which the millions of demonstrators anyway regarded as a laissez-passer for presidential dictatorship – left most Egyptians unmoved. And the army, having received the fulsome thanks of Israel for promising to honour the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, announced that it would hold power for only six months; no word, though, on whether they could renew their military rule after that date.

But a clear divergence is emerging between the demands of the young men and women who brought down the Mubarak regime and the concessions – if that is what they are – that the army appears willing to grant them. A small rally at the side of Tahrir Square yesterday held up a series of demands which included the suspension of Mubarak's old emergency law and freedom for political prisoners. The army has promised to drop the emergency legislation "at the right opportunity", but as long as it remains in force, it gives the military as much power to ban all protests and demonstrations as Mubarak possessed; which is one reason why those little battles broke out between the army and the people in the square yesterday.

As for the freeing of political prisoners, the military has remained suspiciously silent. Is this because there are prisoners who know too much about the army's involvement in the previous regime? Or because escaped and newly liberated prisoners are returning to Cairo and Alexandria from desert camps with terrible stories of torture and executions by – so they say – military personnel. An Egyptian army officer known to 'The Independent' insisted yesterday that the desert prisons were run by military intelligence units who worked for the interior ministry – not for the ministry of defence.

As for the top echelons of the state security police who ordered their men – and their faithful 'baltagi' plain-clothes thugs -- to attack peaceful demonstrators during the first week of the revolution, they appear to have taken the usual flight to freedom in the Arab Gulf. According to an officer in the Cairo police criminal investigation department whom I spoke to yesterday, all the officers responsible for the violence which left well over 300 Egyptians dead have fled Egypt with their families for the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The criminals who were paid by the cops to beat the protesters have gone to ground – who knows when their services might next be required? – while the middle-ranking police officers wait for justice to take its course against them. If indeed it does.

All this, of course, depends on the size of the archives left behind by the regime and the degree to which the authorities, currently the army, are prepared to make these papers available to a new and reformed judiciary. As for the city police, who hid in their police stations before they were burned down on 28th January, they turned up at the interior ministry in Cairo yesterday to demand better pay. That the police should now become protesters themselves – they are indeed to receive pay rises – was one of the more imperishable moments of post-revolutionary Egypt.

Now, of course, it is Egypt's turn to watch the effects of its own revolution on its neighbours. Scarcely a family in Egypt was unaware yesterday of the third day of protests against the president in Yemen and the police violence which accompanied them. And it is remarkable that just as Arab protesters mimic their successful counterparts in Egypt, the state security apparatus of each Arab regime faithfully follows the failed tactics of Mubarak's thugs (Editor's bold emphasis throughout).

Another irony has dawned on Egyptians. Those Arab dictators which claim to represent their people – Algeria comes to mind, and Libya, and Morocco – have signally failed to represent their people by not congratulating Egypt on its successful democratic revolution. To do so, needless to say, would be to saw off the legs of their own thrones.