Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Fwd: [New post] CURVEBALL: Woman Behind Case for Syria Strike Fired for Lying





Sard posted: " By MACKENZIE WEINGER and KATE BRANNEN | 9/11/13 12:49 PM EDT The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired"

New post on therightplanet.com

CURVEBALL: Woman Behind Case for Syria Strike Fired for Lying

by Sard

By MACKENZIE WEINGER and KATE BRANNEN | 9/11/13 12:49 PM EDT The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having […]

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Sard | September 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p1SHGG-aLV

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Fwd: National Security for Dummies: Syria Exposes D.C.'s Chasm Between War and Politics







 
National Security for Dummies: Syria Exposes D.C.'s Chasm Between War and Politics

Kevin Baron September 10, 2013

The politics of national security in Washington rarely are on display as they have been during the Syria war watch of the past few weeks.

Like a beach town waiting in eerie angst for a hurricane three days away, its a time where seemingly everyone has something to say and none of it makes much difference to what's about to happen.

But talk they will, and talk they have.

"It's going to affect the rest of his agenda, the rest of his year, the rest of his term," Ana Navarro, CNN's Republican strategist, breathlessly proclaimed on Monday. She was speaking about President Obama's flailing attempt for a congressional rubber stamp of approval for military strikes in Syria. Navarro didn't take long to go Full Monty. If Obama can't win the House GOP's backing on this one, she declared that Obama already was a "lame duck."

Welcome to the Washington, where politics and national security are like oil and water, but try to mix they will. The national security crowd thinks they're the smart ones, the serious ones, the ones who talk about nation-state brinksmanship, al Qaeda and Putin, terrorism and global thermonuclear warfare. Most voters, much less Americans, can find the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on a map. The political crowd thinks their opinion matters for everything; they're the popular kids, this is politics and politics trumps everything, especially national security. After all, only 7 percent of voters in last year's presidential elections cared about Afghanistan, but everyone cared about Obamacare. And Herman Cain.

The minute Obama said he wanted Congress to authorize strikes against Syria before he ordered them, the president gave up some control -- of the megaphone, the debate, the parameters of the debate and the metrics of how to determine whether he was going to score a political "win" with the Syria "situation." That's one way to look at it.

Another way to judge it: Obama's decision could affect the course of the Middle East for the next 50 to 100 years, set the baseline for America's chances at retaining global superpower and influencer status from London to Sana'a, and either foment or douse the Clash of Civilizations.

If you got that last reference, you're in the natsec camp.

It's not that one is better than the other. It's just that neither side seems to understand the other. Or maybe they do, they just don't much care for trying to convince the other why they should care. But political media will focus on the political gamesmanship and national security media will focus on the global gamesmanship, and some will focus on the actual matters of politics and war.

The reality is that Commander-in-Chief Obama can do whatever he wants, no matter what the House GOP votes, or the United Nations Security Council votes or the British Parliament votes. Congress decades ago ceded the power to prevent the executive from sending troops into battles, big or small, manned or remote controlled, boots in the air or on the ground.

By forces of time, politics, and circumstance, who knows why the president decided to make a war powers stand on this military action? Perhaps it is because to the hawkish side of the natsec crowd, a missile strike or two was a no-brainer, classic response to a major chemical weapons violation that demanded an American-led military response. At the end of the day, Obama has plenty of choices to justify striking Bashar al Assad's regime in response for gassing civilians and children as rebels inched closer to his doorstep.

Would it be nice, politically, for Obama to have the House GOP's approval? Certainly. Is it required? Certainly not.

There is no political penalty if Obama wins or loses the House GOP's Syria vote. The House GOP already gives Obama no support. What would change now? As for Democrats, nobody in America is going to withhold their vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of Obama's handling of Syria in 2013. Remember Mitt Romney's attempts to gain traction on Obama's hands-off handling of the Iran protests of 2009? On Russia as geopolitical enemy No. 1? On anything foreign policy related that was unrelated to jobs?

The real question is not whether Obama scores victory in Washington or the U.S. scores points in the Middle East. The real question is whether Cold War-era red lines, like violating chemical weapons conventions, mean anything. Obama has but the emergency brake on the war machine, now that Secretary of State John Kerry offered a way out for Syria and Russia pounced on it. But if U.S. troops are ordered to strike, you can bet Americans will rally.

Another serious concern is that the Obama administration lacks any direction or strategy for the entire Middle East. Obama's so-called "lead from behind" approach to the Middle East has caused the foreign policy community in Washington to start acting like antsy backseat kids on a cross-country road trip. Obama's own former Middle East policy chief in the Pentagon-turned reelection campaign advisor, Colin Kahl, wrote on Defense One's first day that Obama needed a Middle East strategy. The sentiment has been echoed by Thomas Pickering, Dennis Ross and Ryan Crocker, among others.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, the House Armed Services Committee had its turn at hearings with Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. It was the third open Syria hearing since Congress returned from recess. It didn't take long for members of Congress to find ways to score their own points.

Just take Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., one of Obama's biggest critics on defense spending, attempting to link Syria to the budget debate. Hagel said the budget is a bigger national security concern than Syria was -- that's a line probably anyone in Washington would say, these days. So Forbes' office, within two hours of the hearing's end, put out a statement with Forbes saying, "Secretary Hagel has confirmed what we have long known: that the Obama administration's reckless cuts to our national defense pose a grave danger to U.S. national security." Gotcha!

Forbes continues: "I find it simply incredible that President Obama can contemplate American involvement in Syria at the very time his defense secretary is acknowledging that the administration's own defense policies are damaging our national security. Whether it is retiring seven Navy cruisers containing double the firepower of the entire British Navy or refusing to provide the Air Force with its minimum requirement for F-22 fighters, President Obama has left a legacy of dangerous military neglect that future presidents and Congresses will be forced to confront."

If you know what he's talking about, you're in the natsec crowd as well. But you could find similar shots in the dark across the spectrum in this town. CNN aired a segment highlighting how the Syria vote may split the Congressional Black Caucus. You know when you've talked a foreign policy issue to death? When you've reached the Congressional Black Caucus.

Still, some national security players are born from the political cloth and did their best to keep the conversation both serious and point-winning for their camps.

"I'm very skeptical that it's a breakthrough," said Tommy Vietor, appearing on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Monday night, as Washington was trying to digest just what Russia and Syria were trying to pull with their offer to hand over Syria's stockpiles. Vietor called the development "better than a military strike" because it would take the chemical weapons out of the country, not just make them harder to use.

"This only happened today because, as the president said, there is a credible military threat on the table," Vietor said.

Point, Obama.



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Fwd: Moriarty They Ain't: Criminally Clumsy Lawbreakers Make Forensics Unnecessary







 

Comment: Be sure to read the last paragraph about the Russian rocket

 

Permanent Address: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=moriarty-they-aint-criminally-clumsy-lawbreakers-make-forensics-unnecessary

See Inside

Moriarty They Ain't: Criminally Clumsy Lawbreakers Make Forensics Unnecessary

Not every lawbreaker qualifies as a criminal mastermind

By Steve Mirsky | Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | 4




In a 2004 episode of South Park, the scamps think of themselves as warriors in an anime fantasy. Within that context, Cartman believes he has the power of invisibility—provided he removes all his clothing. He then tiptoes naked out of his constructed reality and into an auction before a large, shocked audience. His delusion is broken when the auctioneer says to him, "Kid, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

I recently discovered that a similar scene had played out in the real world two years earlier, when a man in Tehran hatched a really bad plan that sent him to the can. Like Cartman, our Iranian friend believed himself to be invisible. He was under the impression that he left no impression because he had paid about $500 to a local sorcerer, who in return provided him with spells to induce invisibility. That's according to the Iranian newspaper Jam-e Jam, which I'm appropriating as my hip-hop name. (The British newspaper Metro that picked up the story describes the charlatan as a "wizard imposter." Pro science tip: in this universe, all wizards are imposters.)

Our gullible friend entered a bank and confidently grabbed money from the customers, who, able to see him clearly, undoubtedly said the Farsi equivalent of "What the hell do you think you're doing?" before knocking him around a little.

I, too, have been convinced I was invisible, often while waiting in a line at an airport or bank, when people blithely walk directly in front of me. But I know that the real invisibility devices scientists have developed are too rudimentary to mask an entire human.

Sure, the Romulans and Klingons had cloaking devices that rendered their ships invisible. Harry Potter had an invisibility cloak that allowed him to vanish. But pretty much the best physicists can do right now is to sweep microwaves around a tiny object instead of letting the waves hit the thing and bounce back. The effect makes the object virtually invisible to any sensory equipment that detects only microwaves. The poor Iranian fellow did not even have one of these gizmos, you know, for moral support.

Such accounts of incompetent criminals have always intrigued me. So when the story of the visible man included a link to another promising example of ineptitude, I naturally pursued the lead. And thus discovered the story of a burglar in Germany who basically gave the local crime scene investigators the day off.

The thief in question, a teenager after a computer, scrupulously left the scene free of fingerprints. He did, however, leave behind one entire fingertip, which he sliced off negotiating with a broken window. The Metro quoted a local law-enforcement official: "We usually find fingerprints at the crime scene, but it's not every day that thieves leave the original there, too."

That original matched a print on record, and police swiftly arrested the young man. Now, a really good lawyer might have gotten him acquitted by arguing that the print on record no longer matched the rather minimalist version that the teenager now possessed. But the kid saved everyone time and effort by confessing when confronted with his former body part, having been both figuratively and literally fingered by the police.

Just a few days before this issue went to press in early July came a wonderful example of something dumb and possibly criminal, in terms of negligence. Turns out that a Russian rocket had its angular velocity sensors installed upside down. (Pro science tip: this is the opposite of good.) The technology news Web site Ars Technica reported that attempts to correct the flight trajectory based on sensor data (it's going down—make it go up!) actually turned the rocket back toward Earth, where it crashed 32 seconds after liftoff. The rocket was carrying satellites for the Russian GPS system, which does qualify as irony. An investigation is under way. Or possibly over way.

 



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Fwd: NSA to Israel: If We Give You Intel on Government Officials, Please Delete It






NSA to Israel: If We Give You Intel on Government Officials, Please Delete It

 

 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/09/nsa-israel-if-we-give-you-intel-government-officials-please-delete-it/69292/

 

Philip Bump 11:17 AM ET

 

According to a memorandum leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden, the United States shares raw intelligence with Israel's intelligence agency - including possible information about Americans. This despite concerns about the trustworthiness of the Israeli agency.

 

The memo, dated two months after President Obama was first inaugurated, outlines the manner in which the National Security Agency will provide Israel with data it collects from its surveillance operations. That intelligence includes some information that is not "minimized" - that is, hasn't necessarily been screened to remove any data collected about Americans. Or, more precisely, "U.S. persons," a term the document describes in detail - in part to establish the guidelines for what Israel can and can't do with the information.

 

The Guardian summarizes what's contained in the sharing.

 

    The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies "pertaining to the protection of US persons", repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights.

 

    But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive "raw Sigint" - signal intelligence. The memorandum says: "Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."

 

Further evidence that the information includes data on Americans is a specific stipulation demanding that Israel delete any data pertaining to American government officials.

 

This is almost certainly intended to establish a legal line in the unlikely event that the NSA accidentally collects and then accidentally shares any such information.

 

But it's made more perplexing given that the Israeli agency - ISNU, or Isreali Sigint National Unit - isn't included in the group of "Five Eyes"

nations, the countries (the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) cleared for much more access to American intelligence than the rest of the world.

According to other documents obtained by The Guardian, the government has frequently had concerns about trust during its relationship with Israel. One excerpt, not offered in full context by the paper, suggests American concerns that the intelligence-sharing relationship has shifted strongly in Israel's favor.

 

    "Balancing the Sigint exchange equally between US and Israeli needs has been a constant challenge," states the report, titled 'History of the US - Israel Sigint Relationship, Post-1992'. "In the last decade, it arguably tilted heavily in favor of Israeli security concerns. 9/11 came, and went, with NSA's only true Third Party [counter-terrorism] relationship being driven almost totally by the needs of the partner."

 

"Nevertheless," the excerpt continues in a screenshot on The Guardian's site, "the survival of the state of Israel is a paramount goal of US Middle East policy."

 



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Fwd: Meet Obama's Shield & Protector








 

[Alan Dershowitz is plainly a remarkable writer. Besides him, I can't think of another scribe who can appear to be "criticizing" Obama at the same time his nose is stuffed way up the president's keister? df]

Newsmax, September 11, 2013

 

Dershowitz to Newsmax: Israelis Have Lost Trust in America

 

By: Paul Scicchitano

 

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax that while he had a "generally positive" reaction to President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday, he believes the Syrian crisis will have a negative effect on U.S. relations with Israel.

 

"I think the Israelis have basically lost trust in the Americans when it comes to Iran," the famed attorney said in an exclusive interview following the president's speech. "I think this increases the likelihood that Israel will have to go to it alone. What it says to the Israelis is that the president can't declare red lines and can't respond to the crossing of red lines."

 

Dershowitz, a Newsmax contributor, urged Congress to pass its own "red line" — not only in the case of Syria's use of chemical weapons, but also with respect to the ongoing Iranian nuclear threat.

 

"If it turns out this is all a fake — and they're just buying time — the president then gets the authority to strike at any time he and the military feel it's essential [in Syria]," Dershowitz explained. "And the same must now be true with Iran. Congress must establish a red line — the Iranians getting close to having nuclear weapons —and the president has to be authorized to decide when — and how — to respond to that red line."

 

He said Congress rarely authorizes military action on its own "when it doesn't directly involve the United States" or in the absence of a clear timeframe to act.

 

"I think a lot of Israelis are today thinking — as many have thought in the past — that they can't outsource the defense of their own people, that they have to make their own decisions, make their own judgments and take their own actions as they did when they destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and various Syrian reactors more recently," Dershowitz asserted.

 

He recalled being invited to the White House to discuss the Iranian threat with the president several months ago in the Oval Office.

 

"I sat in the Oval Office with the president and he looked me in the eye and said 'I don't bluff and when I say Iran will not be able to develop nuclear weapons I mean it,'" Dershowitz explained. "I've known him a long time and he doesn't bluff. He was telling me the truth."

 

Despite Obama's best intentions, the president may have weakened his credibility with not only the Syrians, but also with the Iranians, and Israel with his handling of the Aug. 21 chemical attack on in the suburbs of Damascus.

 

"There's an enormous difference between that and the president actually being able to carry out that promise when he now has made the decision essentially to let Congress share that decision-making with him," according to Dershowitz.

 

"He can't promise to deliver Congress. All he can promise to do is try his best — and that probably is not enough for the Israelis," he said.

 

Israel will most likely be unable to wait as long for a peaceful resolution in Iran without the ability to rely on its U.S. ally.

 

"I think that it would be far better for world peace if the United States did it because the United States can wait longer because it has the ability to penetrate what are impenetrable targets to the Israelis," he said. "It also commits to more diplomacy."

 

Nevertheless, Dershowitz believes that Obama deserves credit for wading into what he described as a "very complex" situation with respect to Syria's civil war.

 

"I challenge anybody to come up with a clear, unequivocal approach if you support either side," Dershowitz said. "You either compromise human rights or you pose the risk for an Islamic take-over of Syria which could have terrible implications for the region, the world."

 

###

 

 


Dan Friedman
NYC

 

 



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Fwd: U.S. Says Palestinians Just Making Stuff Up








Finally figured that out, huh?

 

B

 

 

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/10/u-s-says-palestinians-just-making-stuff-up/


Contentions

U.S. Says Palestinians Just Making Stuff Up

Seth Mandel@SethAMandel 09.10.2013 - 5:25 PM

 

Well aware that Secretary of State John Kerry has a full dance card these days testifying to congressional committees on the case for military action against Syria, the Palestinians have selflessly volunteered to grind the peace negotiations with Israel to a halt so he doesn't miss anything. That's the takeaway from today's New York Times story on the latest snag in the peace process.

The Times headline is "1967 Border Is a Source of Strain in the Israeli-Palestinian Talks," but it quickly becomes apparent that the truth is slightly different. As the Times reports:

Signs of strain emerged Monday around the nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, as a senior Palestinian official said Secretary of State John Kerry had "guaranteed us in writing" that negotiations would start from the 1967 lines, and American officials suggested he was not telling the truth.

Nabil A. Shaath, the Palestinian commissioner for international relations, said the Palestinians had agreed to enter the talks only because of the guarantee. He declined to provide a copy, but when asked if it was signed by Mr. Kerry personally, said: "Absolutely. We wouldn't have done it without this."

The real problem, it seems, is that the Palestinians don't want to start serious negotiations. The background is that the Palestinians supposedly asked for one of three preconditions for negotiations from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: releasing terrorist prisoners, freezing construction in settlements, or starting the talks from the 1967 lines. Netanyahu opted for the prisoner release.

That didn't, in the end, satisfy the Palestinians, who claimed that they had received private assurances that the Obama administration would try to hold Israel to one of the preconditions Netanyahu didn't agree to: a settlement freeze. And now the picture is complete: the Palestinians claim, apparently without proof, that the Obama administration also agreed to enforce the other precondition to which Israel never agreed.

And that lack of proof is problematic for the Palestinians, because the American moderators are growing exasperated with the Palestinians. They told the Times in response that not only are the Palestinians making this up out of whole cloth, but that the Times should know by now not to believe anything out of the Palestinian camp unless they also hear it from Washington:

But American officials denied there was such a document, which would have been a significant gesture to the Palestinians and could have enraged Israel. "We have always said that if you don't hear news about the talks from senior U.S. officials, you can't count on it being reliable," Marie E. Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. "This is a good example."

One of the reasons it's so tempting for those involved in negotiations to leak to the press is that rumors can quickly become facts to those who hear them often enough. Being the first to establish a compelling narrative of any one situation can be to that party's great advantage. And that seems to be what the Palestinians are doing. The Times notes that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas claimed last week that he only resumed negotiations because of an agreement over the 1967 lines, and the PA's top negotiator Saeb Erekat made the same claim in a Ramallah-based newspaper over the weekend.

Of course, all leaks are not created equal. The Palestinians are shaping a narrative designed to negate the talks that have already begun. The Israelis seem to suspect the general doom-and-gloom attitude of the Palestinians is intended to undermine the negotiations from the outset and delegitimize any progress they might make that the Palestinian "street" wouldn't like. Their respective complaints, in fact, are telling:

Israeli leaders complained to Washington in recent days about a series of leaks and downbeat assessments by Palestinians, citing the agreement both sides made from the beginning that only American officials would publicly discuss the diplomatic efforts. Palestinians had previously complained that American envoys were not present during the talks.

The Israelis are upset the Palestinians are simultaneously breaking agreements while insisting Israel be held to agreements that don't exist. The Palestinians are angry they have to be in a room with Israelis. Though Israeli leaders are presumably not thrilled with the fact that Palestinian negotiators appear to be fabricating their latest cause for outrage, they are refusing to comment on it.

Perhaps that's because they don't put much stock in the credibility of the source, Nabil Shaath. As Elliott Abrams notes, this wouldn't be the first time Shaath has made up claims about the American leadership. And of course it wouldn't be the first time the Palestinians concentrated their energy on finding excuses, however suspect, to pocket concessions without making any of their own.



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The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America


The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America
Posted on December 3, 2011
by WashingtonsBlog

Preface: This post does not discuss whether or not 9/11 was a " false flag" operation or an "inside job".  Anything other than a discussion of the negligence of the Bush administration is unnecessary for the purposes of this essay, and is thus beyond the scope of this post.

In case you didn't get the memo, we are currently in a depression. And see this

And given that American citizens can be indefinitely detained or assassinated at the whim of the president, it is pretty clear that we now live in a police state.

This post will demonstrate -- without getting into discussions of an "inside job" one way or the other -- that the failure to hold a real 9/11 investigation is a core cause of our loss of our prosperity and freedom.


The Failure to Investigate 9/11 Has Bankrupted America

Top economists say that endless war bankrupts a nation.

For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz says that the $3-5 trillion spent on the Iraq war alone has been very bad for the American economy. See this, this and this.

The endless wars have also been a main component of America's soaring debt:

TAX CUTS DEBT Chinese Rating Agency Says The US Has Already Def

And huge debts exert a very real drag on the economy.

As shown below, we wouldn't have launched the war against Iraq – or the endless panoply of wars throughout the Middle East and North America – if 9/11 had actually been in investigated.

(Even the 9/11 Commission itself admits that there was criminal obstruction of justice and a whitewash of the investigation. See this, this, this, this, and this. As such, there has never been a real investigation.)


The Police State Was Caused by the Failure to Investigate 9/11

The police state started in 2001.

Specifically, on 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans that ended America's constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.)

On that same day, a national state of emergency was declared … and that state of emergency has continuously been in effect up to today.

It is beyond dispute that 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but – due to the extreme negligence and incompetence or lack of caring of the Bush administration (remember, I'm not getting into any other theories in this post) it wasn't stopped.  Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.

If there had been a real 9/11 investigation, the Bush administration's extreme negligence would have come to light.   And Americans would have learned that terrorism can largely be prevented if the military and intelligence officers are simply allowed to do their job.

As just one example, Dick Cheney was in charge of all counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. See this Department of State announcement; this CNN article; and this essay.

The genius Mr. Cheney apparently scheduled 5 war games for the morning of 9/11. Specifically, on the very morning of September 11th, five war games and terror drills were being conducted by several U.S. defense agencies, purportedly including one "live fly" exercise using real planes. Then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers, admitted to 4 of the war games in congressional testimony -- see transcript here or video here (6 minutes and 12 seconds into the video.

False radar blips were inserted onto air traffic control screens as part of the war game exercises, which may have confused the heck out of the people participating in those exercises (see this December 9, 2001 Toronto Star article; pay-per-view; reprinted here).  Way to let that one slip through, Mr. in-charge-of-all-war-games.

The military -- under the Vice President's command that day -- didn't scramble enough fighter jets, and then scrambled jets far over the Atlantic Ocean, in what Senator Mark Dayton called:

The most gross incompetence and dereliction of responsibility and negligence that I've ever, under those extreme circumstances, witnessed in the public sector.

And the knucklehead personally watched flight 77 for many miles, but – according to Secretary of Transportation Norm Minetta – stopped it from being shot down before it hit the Pentagon (and see this).

Americans would have learned through any real 9/11 investigation that Cheney's negligence and mucking around in what should have been the generals' jobs was partly responsible for allowing 9/11 to happen.

In other words, a real 9/11 investigation would have shown Americans that 9/11 should of, could of, and would have been stopped – and that America can protect itself against future terrorist attacks – simply by playing goalie well in our country.

And Americans -- instead of being scared into immobility -- would have been mad at our government for dropping the ball. And we would have demanded accountability and effective service from our elected officials.  (Indeed, experts have repeatedly demonstrated that fear of terror makes people stupid … and makes them willing to accept a loss of liberty and other abuses they would never otherwise accept.)


The Road Not Taken

Instead, of course, Americans were led to believe that Al Qaeda was going to get us unless we took the fight to the Middle East and North Africa.  The administration pretended that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11 – one of the main justifications for that war.

Had a real 9/11 investigation been conducted before we launched the Iraq war, it would have taken away one of the two main rationales for that war. (The FBI was also instructed to blame the anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda, and high-level government officials pointed towards Iraq as the source of the anthrax, even though there was absolutely no basis for those claims. But that's another story.)

Dan Rather was right when he wrote last week:

We have been so afraid; so hell bent on destroying enemies … both foreign and domestic … we have hurt ourselves and our democracy.

Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser also told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is so overblown that it is "a mythical historical narrative".

And as I noted in 2008:

Former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, a 23-year senior CIA analyst, who "drafted or was involved in many of the government's most senior assessments of the threats facing our country [and who] devoted years to understanding and combating the jihadist threat", writes today in the Washington Post that the neocons have whipped us into an irrational fear of the terrorism. In reality, "Osama bin Laden and his disciples are small men and secondary threats whose shadows are made large by our fears" and our leaders.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The BBC produced a documentary called The Power of Nightmares in 2005 that showed that politicians were greatly exaggerating the terrorist threat for political ends.

And unfortunately, many in government have intentionally whipped up fear in the American public for their own political purposes. For example, FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials "were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power".

And former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection. Fear sells.

And because 9/11 was never really investigated, the government -- instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer -- are doing things which increase the risk of terrorism.

As such, the threats from terrorism form even more of a "justification" for a suspension of our Constitutional rights.

The failure to investigate 9/11 has bankrupted America financially and morally, and has allowed us to stand idly by while our liberty has been destroyed.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/12/the-failure-to-investigate-911-has-bankrupted-america.html

Fwd: Bogus Photo used to show casualties in Syrian Chemical Attack






 

On 9/10/2013 12:31 PM, Beowulf wrote:




It would seem that "Band-Aid Kerry" or "Purple Heart Kerry" a.k.a., the current Secretary of State is at it again – but then, maybe he never quit lying – so "again" may not be accurate.  Apparently Kerry has a thing about baby killers since that seems to be his strong point of alleged concern.  Of course, whenever you hear a democrat say something has to be done "for the children," you better hide your wallet – if you still have it.

 

Supporting evidence the below is true:

 

http://www.voltairenet.org/article180079.html

 

http://www.breitbart.com/Big! -Journalism/2013/09/02/Syria-runs-Iraq-photo-Syria 

 

 

 


Subject: Bogus Photo used to show casualties in Syrian Chemical Attack

 

======================================================

Interesting Piece. 
 

 

Secretary of State John Kerry referenced this photograph when making his yesterday, trying to drive home how awful the Syrian chemical attack was as he tried to convince us why we should go to war.One problem. The picture isn't even from Syria . It's from Iraq in 2003. The photographer, Marco di Lauro, said he nearly "fell off his chair" when he saw it was being used to promote a war in Syria . Does anyone remember Winter Soldier.  Kerry lied then and he is lying now.  Where are the Swift Boaters?

 



 

                                    2003 photo taken in Iraq, 2003

 

 



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Fwd: Political Cartoon - Syria






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Fwd: Pecking Order: Syria, Obama and the Chain of Fools







 

 

[Syria, Russia and Iran are taking Obama for a fool while Obama is taking the rest of us for fools. Can all of them be right? df]


 

Reuters, 9/11/13

 

Syria's chemical weapons; decades to build, years to destroy

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - If Saddam Hussein's Iraq is anything to go by, destroying Syria's massive chemical weapons arsenal will mean checking dozens of far-flung sites in a war zone while the government employs delaying tactics to hide the banned munitions, an expert involved in past U.N. disarmament missions said.

Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons network comprises remote underground bunkers where hundreds of tons of nerve agents are stored, scud missiles and artillery shells, possibly armed with cyanide, and factories deep inside hostile territory used to produce mustard or VX gas, experts believe.

"It's big. He has one of the biggest chemical weapons programs in the region and even in the world," said Dieter Rothbacher, a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq who trained members of the team that just returned from Syria.

"There are calculations that to secure them up to 75,000 ground troops are needed," he said in a Reuters interview. "It took us three years to destroy that stuff under U.N. supervision in Iraq."

First there needs to be an iron-clad agreement, either by Syria joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, but more likely in the form of a U.N. Security Council agreement, in which Damascus relinquishes control of the weapons.

It could be similar to Iraq, where a U.N. Security Council resolution forcing Iraq to declare and destroy its chemical weapons. Certain militaries are already preparing for that scenario, Rothbacher said.

Russia proposed on Monday that Damascus could avoid U.S. military action to punish it for allegedly using chemical weapons in an attack in Damascus last month by agreeing to put its stockpiles under international control.

The Syrian chemical weapons program, set up in the 1970s, reportedly with assistance from Iran and Russia and supplies of raw chemicals from Western companies, was designed to counter Israel.

Its stockpile is believed by Western intelligence to be spread over dozens of sites and includes research and development centers and multiple production sites, some of them underground.

Along with Egypt and Israel, Syria is one of just seven countries that is not a member of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, overseen by the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Even if Syria follows through with the Russian plan drafted this week to let inspectors in, history also shows there is no guarantee of smooth sailing.

CAT-AND-MOUSE TACTICS

Syria's civil war, now in its third year, has already cost 100,000 lives, excluding as many as 1,400 believed to have been killed in the gas attack in Damascus on August 21, and security will be a major concern.

"Cruise missiles were coming in when we were stationed in Baghdad and we were flying out every day for the destruction," said Rothbacher, who now co-owns a weapons training consultancy, Hotzone Solutions.

Inspectors would begin by mapping out suspected locations and visiting them, then assemble chemicals and munitions at a purpose-built destruction facility.

"The Iraqis had moved all their munitions. They moved the bulk (chemicals). They spread it out, which made our work much more difficult," Rothbacher said, describing how Saddam's forces tried to undermine their efforts.

U.S. officials believe Syria has been moving its chemical stocks, which will make it harder to account for them.

Assad spent decades building an arsenal to deter the militarily superior Israel, which reportedly has both conventional and non-conventional weapons.

Elements of the Syrian military and intelligence apparatus consider destroying the chemical weapons a huge sacrifice that will compromise Syria's regional strategic position and possibly weaken them domestically.

Some experts believe the chemical weapons destruction cannot go ahead during war and warned that Assad may apply the delaying tactics used by Saddam to throw off inspectors.

"He knows that the inspectors must have the cooperation of the inspected state and he certainly saw in chapter and verse how Saddam Hussein's Iraq repeatedly did everything to hinder the inspectors," said Amy Smithson, an expert in chemical warfare at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Another priority will be ensuring the weapons don't fall into the hands of militant groups seeking to further destabilize the region.

"It's a tricky business to keep iron-clad control of multiple chemical sites that are located in urban settings that are themselves engulfed in an urban war," Smithson said.

###

 


Dan Friedman
NYC

 

 



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