Saturday, August 13, 2005
The American people have been seriously misled about the origins of the al Qaeda movement blamed for the 9/11 attacks, just as they have been seriously misled about the reasons for America’s invasion of Iraq.
The truth is that for at least two decades the United States has engaged in energetic covert programs to secure U.S. control over the Persian Gulf, and also to open up Central Asia for development by U.S. oil companies. Americans were eager to gain access to the petroleum reserves of the Caspian Basin, which at that time were still estimated to be “the largest known reserves of unexploited fuel in the planet.”
To this end, time after time, U.S. covert operations in the region have used so-called “Arab Afghan” warriors as assets, the jihadis whom we loosely link with the name and leadership of al Qaeda. In country after country these “Arab Afghans” have been involved in trafficking Afghan heroin.
America’s sponsorship of drug-trafficking Muslim warriors, including those now in Al Qaeda, dates back to the Afghan War of 1979-89, sponsored in part by the CIA’s links to the drug-laundering Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). It was part of CIA Director Casey’s strategy for launching covert operations over and above those approved and financed by a Democratic-controlled Congress.
The most conspicuous example of this alliance with drug-traffickers in the 1980s was the Contra support operation. Here again foreign money and drug profits filled the gap after Congress denied funds through the so-called Boland amendments; in this case government funds were used to lie about the Contras to the American people. This was followed by a massive cover-up, in which a dubious role was played by then-Congressman Lee Hamilton, later of the 9/11 Commission.
The lying continues. The 9/11 Commission Report assures Americans that “Bin Ladin and his comrades had their own sources of support and training, and they received little or no assistance from the United States.” This misleading statement fails to consider that:
1) Al Qaeda elements received considerable indirect U.S. Government assistance, first in Afghanistan until 1992, and thereafter in other countries such as Azerbaijan (1992-95). Before 1992, for example, the Afghan leader Jallaladin Haqqani organized and hosted the Arab Afghan volunteers known later as al Qaeda; and Haqqani “received bags of money each month from the [CIA] station in Islamabad.” The Arab Afghans were also trained in urban terrorism, including car bombings, by Pakistani ISI operatives who were in turn trained by the CIA. ...
Editor & Publisher, Aug. 11:
by Greg Mitchell
In an article in the September issue of Vanity Fair (not yet online), Michael Wolff, in probing the Plame/CIA leak scandal, rips those in the news media - principally Time magazine and The New York Times - who knew that Karl Rove was one of the leakers but refused to expose what would have been "one of the biggest stories of the Bush years." Not only that, "they helped cover it up." You might say, he adds, they "became part of a conspiracy."
If they had burned this unworthy source and exposed his "crime," he adds, it would have been "of such consequences that it might, reasonably, have presaged the defeat of the president, might have even - to be slightly melodramatic - altered the course of the war in Iraq." In doing so they showed they owed their greatest allegiance to the source, not their readers.
And their source was no Deep Throat, not someone with dirt on the government - the source "was the government."
So in the end, he concludes, "the greatest news organizations in the land had a story about a potential crime that reached as close as you can get to the president himself and they punted, they swallowed it, they self-dealt." And why did they do it? Well, "a source is a source who, unrevealed, will continue to be a source."
Even after the news first emerged last month that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the media still waited days to even ask the White House press secretary about it. It was a story, "in full view, the media just ignored."
The title of the Wolff article is "All Roads Lead to Rove." ...
David Margolis, a lawyer at the Justice Department for 40 years, was named Friday to oversee a special prosecutor's investigation of who in the Bush administration disclosed the name of an undercover CIA officer.
Margolis, whose title is associate deputy attorney general, is taking the place of Deputy Attorney General James Comey, whose last day of work was Friday. Comey will be Lockheed Martin's new general counsel.
Comey made the designation of Margolis. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has stepped aside from the probe because he was White House counsel when Valerie Plame's name was leaked in 2003 and he has testified to the grand jury investigating the unauthorized disclosure.
Comey gave broad discretion to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago when he was appointed to investigate the leak in December 2003. Margolis is not expected to alter Fitzgerald's mandate in what are likely to be the final months of his investigation. The grand jury ends its term in October.
No one has been charged in the Plame case. However, it's known that Karl Rove, a top aide to President Bush, and Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, discussed Plame with reporters before her name was first published by columnist Robert Novak in July 2003.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been jailed since July 6 for refusing to tell prosecutors to whom she talked about Plame. ...
Big profits from exercising options on Engineered Support Systems Inc.'s stock propelled Michael F. Shanahan Sr. to the top of the executive pay ranks last year in St. Louis.
He also out-earned top-paid executives at some of the nation's largest defense contractors, including Boeing Co., Raytheon Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Shanahan's $40 million in pay included nearly $37 million in profit from exercising 1.07 million options on the stock of Engineered Support, a defense contractor based in Cool Valley. Shanahan also earned a $1.5 million bonus in addition to his $1.25 million salary in the fiscal year that ended on Halloween.
Shanahan co-founded the company in 1982 and helped it become one of the nation's fastest-growing companies last year. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have stimulated the military's demand for the company's generators, tank trailers and armor-plating kits as troops wear out gear up to five times faster than normal. Acquisitions have been a big factor in boosting revenue to an estimated $1 billion in the current fiscal year.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
by Douglas Jehl
More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.
In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.
The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies. That protection does not extend to visa holders, but Mr. Weldon and the former intelligence official said it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before Sept. 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.
A former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, Al Felzenberg, confirmed that members of its staff, including Philip Zelikow, the executive director, were told about the program on an overseas trip in October 2003 that included stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Mr. Felzenberg said the briefers did not mention Mr. Atta's name.
The report produced by the commission last year does not mention the episode.
Mr. Weldon first spoke publicly about the episode in June, in a little-noticed speech on the House floor and in an interview with The Times-Herald in Norristown, Pa. The matter resurfaced on Monday in a report by GSN: Government Security News, which is published every two weeks and covers domestic-security issues. The GSN report was based on accounts provided by Mr. Weldon and the same former intelligence official, who was interviewed on Monday by The New York Times in Mr. Weldon's office.
In a telephone interview from his home in Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon said he was basing his assertions on similar ones by at least three other former intelligence officers with direct knowledge of the project, and said that some had first called the episode to his attention shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. ...