Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CIA: tortured 'mastermind' credible

Though the agency admits that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the "manager" of the 9/11 plot, was unaware of many operational details. I guess he wasn't a hands-on manager.

Obama: torture confessions undermine CIA's 9/11 story


Media ask: Doesn't torture hurt 9/11 story credibility?


Cheney: torture confessions undermine official 9/11 tale


Monday, August 24, 2009

A tortuous path

The bait and switch, if that's what was up, has been aborted: a special prosecutor has been assigned to look into CIA torture activities and the 2004 torture report has been released.

The report was unavailable via the Justice Dept. web page, though Holder's statement regarding it was there. I tried to view a PDF at the Washington Post but the document got lost in my laptop; however I was able to glance at a legible copy at the Washington Independent and my first impression was, boy, there's an awful lot blacked out.

Anyway, at least Obama doesn't come off looking like a typical political trickster. To the good.

But, on the downside: the prosecutor assigned the task was appointed by Mukasey to look into the CIA's erasure of videotapes of interrogations. Mukasey made clear that he fully backed the anything-goes attitude for suspected terrorists and had been an adviser to Giuliani's presidential campaign. So I wonder how much we can really expect from a Mukasey choice.

Everyone keeps trying to change the subject when we mention that the government's shaky tale about 9/11 largely rests on statements made under torture. And, in fact, the peculiar tale woven by the CIA and the FBI for the 9/11 commission is based on the synopses (no tapes, no transcripts) of statements made under torture. On close inspection, this narrative makes very little sense.

So do you suppose this prosecutor will notice that the 9/11 tale is absurd and that traitors are being shielded? Do you suppose he'll bring indictments against intelligence people involved in the mass murders of 9/11? Don't hold your breath.

Torture bait and switch?

A political shuffle on torture?

It had been reported that the Justice Dept. would comply with a court order today and release a suppressed report by the CIA inspector general on interrogation abuses.

But instead the Justice Dept. website leads with Obama's decision to establish an elite interrogation unit to question presumed high-value captives.

From what I am able to discern, that decision had actually been made a while ago. So the leak to the Times just in advance of official confirmation smothers the question of what happened to the torture report.

I expect the Justice Dept. will release the report -- on Labor Day weekend when the public won't be paying attention. Then, by the following Tuesday, the report will be "old news" and perhaps get short shrift.

No doubt the White House is hoping to nix the controversy because it fears a "right-wing" wedge issue that could destabilize the health care initiative.

Holder was also expected to disclose today whether he would assign prosecutors to investigate whether any of the abuses were so bad that prosecution is warranted. Nothing on that either. Maybe that will get kicked back to Labor Day weekend also.

As to the actual decision to name an elite interrogation unit. That shows Obama's way of going after difficult problems. Pretty good. But, the FBI will control the unit. The FBI has been thoroughly dishonest about what happened on 9/11. Still, it has been reported that the White House concedes that the intelligence sector will see a lot of top-level changes in the first year. Hopefully, that includes the FBI.

Now I'm not really playing prophet here concerning what looks like a political switcheroo concerning the torture report and the need for prosecutions. So I won't mind being wrong. We'll see.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A phased plan for the uninsured?

Coverage for the 49 million uninsured? Impossible?

What about this? No direct penalty on a person who doesn't sign up for health insurance. But, when a person shows up at a health care provider with no coverage, he can either pay up front out of pocket or enroll in a government-sponsored insurance program whereby a surcharge is added to his federal payroll tax. If he (or she) has family members who need coverage, the surcharge would be a bit higher. This way coverage costs are reduced by the beneficiaries, and yet, the system is fair because surcharges are pro-rated.

Such an enrollee would later have the option of shifting from this plan to some other private plan.

This idea would mean that the large number who don't choose to sign up right away won't be depleting the Treasury in a big surge. On the other hand, the uninsured -- and greviously underinsured -- would help to pay their way in a manner that will work: a payroll tax surcharge.

If a moderate tax surcharge -- only on those who enroll -- gives people decent coverage, it is unlikely they will complain much.

Curious coincidence: Before David Axelrod sent out a chain email on health care, none of my email with the .gov tail was ending up in the Gmail spam box. But then certain people accused Axelrod of spamming, and, voila, Google's program seems to morph to redirect the White House emails into the no-read box. Also, my spam icon stopped working properly.

Friday, August 21, 2009

CIA report rebuffs Cheney on terror

The CIA's interrogation program was a "modest success" but failed to produce the dramatic results claimed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, a CIA inspector general report indicates.

The interrogations of al Qaeda captives yielded information about the leadership and organization of al Qaeda but produced nothing that thwarted an imminent attack, the report says, according to former CIA chief Michael Hayden.

The report is expected to be released Monday.

Hayden's remarks were reported by Stephen Lee, an internet journalist who attended a National Press Club forum.

In May, Cheney charged that President Obama had classified data that proved that the enhanced interrogations had yielded "enormously valuable" information that had helped thwart terrorist attacks.

A May 2005 Justice Department memorandum says that the CIA believed that the intelligence acquired from enhanced interrogations "has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack on the West since 11 Sept. 2001."

The CIA destroyed the videotapes of the interrogations that it said provided such valuable information.

Note: Every Blogger blog account I open develops some annoying bug. On this one, irritating extra spaces are inserted between paragraphs.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

National Geographic: a Pentagon asset

National Geographic Channel is presenting what we already can see is a counter-attack against 9/11 skeptics.

The special will use "forensic science" to knock down various conspiracy theories. Their experts will also address the question of why so many people don't trust the government and " believe in" conspiracy theories.

It's that question that shows the bias. So we expect to see psychologists explaining how are unconscious minds deceive us, or some such. But, lest we forget, the Pentagon employs batteries of psywar experts with psychology degrees. Though it's true that some people are unduly credulous, still the real reason so many people "believe in" conspiracy (i.e., don't believe the government), is because the system (Pentagon-media establishment) hasn't got a handle on the what to do about the First Amendment and the internet.

NG also will address the question of whether a missile, rather than a jetliner, struck the Pentagon. Here we have a typical propaganda trick. Set up a straw man and knock it down. What of the possibility of 1. a bomb (which is what the FBI initially said was the cause); 2. a small plane, which is what an FBI-released security videotape appears to show?

We know why NG is using the concept of "forensic science" in their counter-attack. To divert attention from the NIST's failure to use basic forensic procedures in its investigation into how the towers collapsed.

We also know that NG's "forensic science" will never properly address the issue of entropy, no doubt the claim being that the topic is too difficult for a general audience. Yet, it is the scientific application of this concept that shows the absurdity of the official claims. (Please see my other blog, krypto99.blogspot.com, for a discussion of this matter, and have an off-the-record conversation with a physicist or two.)

I'd like to pose the question of where the money is coming from to pay for the various Pentagon shills posing as media people. I wonder. And if the National Geographic propagandists didn't receive bribes, then they must be ideologically motivated. We do know that the neocons and their purported enemy, the communists, are two sources of hostility to telling the truth about 9/11.

The Pentagon black budgets are just too big. How is it that the very large media operate pretty much like legs of an octopus with a single brain and that, when it comes to treason, media organizations are fanatically in favor of shielding the true killers?

Yet, those who push the official line should beware. The tide will turn, as it has on significant 9/11-linked issues, such as the rationalizations for the Iraq war and the use of "enhanced interrogations" to elicit a very shaky story from captives that was used by the 9/11 commission. (The commission was never allowed to interview the captives or have access to anything but CIA synopses of what they purportedly said.)

By the way, do you suppose National Geographic will point out that at least three 9/11 commissioners, including both co-chairmen, have cast serious doubt on the commission's narrative of what allegedly happened?

An example of someone who can only be a Pentagon shill is Noah Shachtman, writing in the current issue of Wired magazine. The sub-head gives an accurate appraisal of the tenor of the article: "A strange new Air Force facility creates enough energy to control the ionosphere -- but not the conspiracy theorists."

Schactman, who is obviously well-versed in the subject of the ionosphere-heating HAARP facility in Alaska, manages to concede many of Alaska writer Nick Begich's points while implying that Begich is nevertheless a crank. Schactman goes to great lengths to use vituperative put-downs, such as "tin-foil hat crowd" and "conspiracist," terms commonly used by those running interference for the Pentagon concerning 9/11.

In fact, I would have been much more likely to have respected Shachtman's idea that the HAARP conspiracy theories are overblown had he not been so skilfully dirty.

Among the major worries is that HAARP might be used for weather warfare by altering the path of the jet stream. Many other experiments are being done at HAARP of course. Still, it IS a classified facility.

In fact, the Pentagon has only ever permitted one journalist into HAARP's perimeter.

Guess who?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Frankly, these 'journalists' scare me

Though not that much. I'm accustomed to all their propaganda ploys.

The Times of London had an answer for the post below. It ran a wild-eyed, hand-waving nasty nasty by James Bone titled "Frankly, these conspiracists scare me" associating 9/11 skeptics with irrelevant controversies. Ie., the good ol' smear tactic.
Well, I suppose I can infer that someone is reading this blog and is very worried by the impact. Or, perhaps the acute timing was merely coincidental.
But I like to think that conspirators are running scared and rushed to plug a major breach in their wall of lies.
Plus, I don't necessarily think that Murdoch ordered that story. I think Bone and his editors may find that they are being maneuvered into a Murdochian black hole, where they'll have no power and will eventually be eased out.
Truth in blogging: My piece appeared the morning of Aug. 4 Eastern daylight savings time. The Bone piece appeared the same day -- possibly following my post. At any rate, there is reason to believe that Bone and his editors had access to an earlier version of this post, though, technically, I think, they're not supposed to break certain embargoes. (If you don't know what that means, write to me and I'll try to explain.)

Ha ha.
Just saw Gail Collins' column in the New York Times. Mixing a bit of sci fi with politics, she manages to make sport of Obama criticism. And, she wiggles in black holes and the large hadron collider.
So that convinces me that journalists read my blogs. Take a look at my other blog Kryptograff at http://krypto99.blogspot.com, wherein I mutter that now black holes seem to have made the Times' squelch list.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Neocon icon nixed

Murdoch has ditched his neocon icon, The Weekly Standard, reports the New York Times, which also pointed out that Standard editor Bill Kristol no longer writes for the Times.

Murdoch, working with Kristol and other neocons, established the Standard in the 1990s and from thenceforth it became a bellicose voice for unilateral militarism in the Middle East. In June Murdoch sold it to a businessman with links to Christian conservativism.

Well, as the Times noted, Murdoch is known for bending with the political wind. So the question is: will the nasty-mouthed neocon crews throughout the Murdoch media empire tone down their attack talk? Will Fox News become more moderate? Will the New York Post's editorial pages become less truculent and pander less to the Israel chauvinists of the New York region?

The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages have long been known for an ugly neocon slant, though Murdoch has begun to intersperse other ideological views in those pages. Will we see a change there -- particularly considering that the Journal editor, Robert Thomson, ran the Times of London for Murdoch and while there published a number of exposes that rocked the boat of the neocon elite?

A principle source of vituperative attacks on 9/11 skeptics has been the neocon commentator contingent, much of which is found in the Murdoch press. So the question is, will those attacks subside and will honest reporters be unleashed to do the legwork that seriously needs doing on a number of unresolved 9/11 issues?

Monday, August 3, 2009

How it's done

I can hardly believe I'm seeing a partial return to professional journalism in New York -- under the guidance of an Australian who formerly modernized the Times of London.

Today's Wall Street Journal lead was headed "Deutsch Bank Spy Scandal Widens" and that lead made the difference between me plunking down two bucks for the Journal rather than for the New York Times. It was a decent story, too, showing that the bank's statements in the matter were incomplete.

Several weeks ago the Journal led with a story about a cyberattack on the White House and various banks. Others gave the story ho-hum coverage, which first showed up a day earlier as a minor item reported locally in Washington. But the Journal picked up the ball and ran with it.

Of course, Murdoch's New York Post is also known for independent news judgment, but the paper is far too breezy and slipshod to make the most of its scoops. The Journal, on the other hand, retains a certain level of professionalism that helps it promote strong stories.

Many moons ago, this sort of news judgment was routine in New York but these days news has been degraded by many owners as trivial window-dressing.

Murdoch of course has much to account for in what he doesn't cover. Yet, Thomson in London managed to print some eye-opening material concerning machinations regarding Iraq and other intelligence scandals. Hopefully, we'll start seeing more of that sort of thing in the Journal.