Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

Blum: USrael and Iran

August 5, 2010

William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, August 5, 2010

If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn’t in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I’m reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.[1]

Continues >>

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Yet Another Bogus ‘Terror’ Plot

May 25, 2009

Robert Dreyfuss | The Nation, May 22, 2009

By the now, it’s maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it’s revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne’er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.

I’ve seen this movie before.

In this case, the alleged perps — Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen — were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they’re not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn’t stop prosecutors from acting as if they’d captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.

“It’s hard to envision a more chilling plot,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as “eager to bring death to Jews.”

Actually, it’s hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for. Here’s the New York Times account:

Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the imam at the mosque where the authorities say the confidential informant first encountered the men, said none of the men were active in the mosque. …

Mr. Cromitie was there last June, and he met a stranger.

He had no way of knowing that the stranger’s path to the mosque began in 2002, when he was arrested on federal charges of identity theft. He was sentenced to five years’ probation, and became a confidential informant for the F.B.I. He began showing up at the mosque in Newburgh around 2007, Mr. Muhammad said.

The stranger’s behavior aroused the imam’s suspicions. He invited other worshipers to meals, and spoke of violence and jihad, so the imam said he steered clear of him.

“There was just something fishy about him,” Mr. Muhammad said. Members “believed he was a government agent.”

Mr. Muhammad said members of his congregation told him the man he believed was the informant offered at least one of them a substantial amount of money to join his “team.”

So a creepy thug buttonholes people at a mosque, foaming at the mouth about violence and jihad? This is law enforcement? Just imagine if someone did this at a local church, or some synagogue. And the imam says the people “believed he was a government agent.”

Preying on these losers, none of whom were apparently actual Muslims, the “confidential informant” orchestrated the acquisition of a disabled Stinger missile to shoot down military planes and cooked up a wild scheme about attacking a Jewish center in the Bronx.

It gets even more pathetic:

The only one of the four suspects who appears to have aroused any suspicion was Payen, a Haitian native who attended the Newburgh mosque. Assistant imam Hamid Rashada said his dishevelment and odd behavior disturbed some members, said the assistant imam, Hamid Rashada.

When Payen appeared in court, defense attorney Marilyn Reader described him as “intellectually challenged” and on medication for schizophrenia. The Associated Press said that when he was asked if he understood the proceedings, Payen replied: “Sort of.”

Despite the pompous statements from Mayor Bloomberg of New York and other politicians, including Representative Peter King, the whole story is bogus. The four losers may have been inclined to violence, and they may have harbored a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. But it seems that the informant whipped up their violent tendencies and their hatred of Jews, cooked up the plot, incited them, arranged their purchase of weapons, and then had them busted. To ensure that it made headlines, the creepy informant claimed to be representing a Pakistani extremist group, Jaish-e Muhammad, a bona fide terrorist organization. He wasn’t, of course.

It is disgusting and outrageous that the FBI is sending provocateurs into mosques.

The headlines reinforce the very fear that Dick Cheney is trying to stir up. The story strengthens the narrative that the “homeland” is under attack. It’s not. As I’ve written repeatedly, since 9/11 not a single American has even been punched in the nose by an angry Muslim, as far as I can tell. Plot after plot — the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge! bombing the New York Subways! taking down the Sears Tower! bombing the Prudential building in Newark! — proved to be utter nonsense.

Raiding Democracy in St. Paul

September 3, 2008

Marjorie Cohn | Infowars, September 2, 2008

In the months leading up to the Republican National Convention, the FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force actively recruited people to infiltrate vegan groups and other leftist organizations and report back about their activities. On May 21, the Minneapolis City Pages ran a recruiting story called “Moles Wanted.” Law enforcement sought to preempt lawful protest against the policies of the Bush administration during the convention.

Search warrant
“So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protestors who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do,” Greenwald wrote on Salon.

Since Friday, local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by “teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.” Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.

“I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns,” said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. “The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint.”

The raids targeted members of “Food Not Bombs,” an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group that provides free vegetarian meals every week in hundreds of cities all over the world. They served meals torescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and to nearly 20 communities in the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina.

Also targeted were members of I-Witness Video, a media watchdog group that monitors the police to protect civil liberties. The group worked with the National Lawyers Guild to gain the dismissal of charges or acquittals of about 400 of the 1,800 who were arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Preemptive policing was used at that time as well. Police infiltrated protest groups in advance of the convention.

Nestor said that no violence or illegality has taken place to justify the arrests. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political,” he said.

Further evidence the political nature of the police action was the boarding up of the Convergence Center, where protestors had gathered, for unspecified code violations. St. Paul City Council member David Thune said, “Normally we only board up buildings that are vacant and ramshackle.” Thune and fellow City Council member Elizabeth Glidden decried “actions that appear excessive and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for those who wish to exercise their first amendment rights.”

“So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protestors who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do,” Greenwald wrote on Salon.

Preventive detention violates the Fourth Amendment, which requires that warrants be supported by probable cause. Protestors were charged with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely-used statute that is so vague, it is probably unconstitutional. Nestor said it “basically criminalizes political advocacy.”

On Sunday, the National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality filed an emergency motion requesting an injunction to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used to document their conduct.

During Monday’s demonstration, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. At least 284 people were arrested, including Amy Goodman, the prominent host of Democracy Now!, as well as the show’s producers, Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. “St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city to be,” Greenwald wrote, “with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations.”

Bruce Nestor said the timing of the arrests was intended to stop protest activity, “to make people fearful of the protests, but also to discourage people from protesting,” he told Amy Goodman. Nevertheless, 10,000 people, many opposed to the Iraq war, turned out to demonstrate on Monday. A legal team from the National Lawyers Guild has been working diligently to protect the constitutional rights of protestors.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She is author of Cowboy Republic. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com

Was 9/11 an Inside Job?

August 17, 2008

By Mark H. Gaffney | Information Clearing House, August 15, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, THE 911 MYSTERY PLANE AND THE VANISHING OF AMERICA, to be released in September 2008.

Regrettably, there is considerable evidence that elements of the Bush administration were complicit in the 9/11 attack, and may even have helped stage it. Let us now examine some of what I regard as the most compelling evidence. However, the following discussion makes no claim to be comprehensive.

We know that within minutes of the “worst terrorist attack” in US history, even before the collapse of WTC-2 at 9:59 am, US officials knew the names of several of the alleged hijackers. CBS reported that a flight attendant on AA Flight 11, Amy Sweeney, had the presence of mind to call her office and reveal the seat numbers of the hijackers who had seized the plane.[1] FBI Director Robert Mueller later said, “This was the first piece of hard evidence.”[2] In his memoirs CIA Director George Tenet emphasizes the importance of the passenger manifests, as does counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke.[3] All of which is very strange because the manifests later released by the airlines do not include the names of any of the alleged hijackers. Nor has this discrepancy ever been explained.

According to MSNBC, the plan to invade Afghanistan and “remove Al Qaeda from the face of he earth” was already sitting on G.W. Bush’s desk on the morning of 9/11 awaiting his signature.[4] The plan, in the form of a presidential directive, had been developed by the CIA and according to Richard Clarke called for “arming the Northern Alliance…to go on the offensive against the Taliban [and] pressing the CIA to…go after bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership.”[5]

A former Pakistani diplomat, Niaz Naik, tells virtually the same story. During a BBC interview, three days after 9/11, Niak claimed that senior American officials had informed him in mid-July 2001 that the US would attack the Taliban “before the snows start falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.”[6] Niak said he received this information in Berlin at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan. He also predicted, correctly, that the US attack would be launched from bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. But how could US officials know in mid-July that American forces would invade Afghanistan in October unless they had foreknowledge of the attack?

Foreknowledge probably also explains why General Richard Myers, the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on 9/11, announced at the first post-9/11 meeting of Bush’s National Security Council, held on video-conference the afternoon of the attack, that “there are forty-two major Taliban bombing targets.”[7] But how did Myers come to have such detailed information about military targets in Afghanistan, so soon after the 9/11 attack? This important detail belies oft-repeated claims that the US military was not prepared to attack Afghanistan, and points to extensive war planning before 9/11. Journalist Steve Coll arrived at a similar conclusion while researching his 2004 book, Ghost Wars, an excellent history of the period leading up to the 9/11 attack. Coll interviewed two Clinton administration officials who informed him that ”the Pentagon had been studying possible targets in the same spring [i.e., 1998] that the CIA had been drawing up its secret plan to raid Tarnack Farm,” located near Kandahar, Afghanistan, where bin Laden had taken up quarters at the invitation of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.[8]

According to Clarke, at the same meeting on the afternoon of 9/11, CIA Director George Tenet informed the president that “Al Qaeda had committed these atrocities.”[9] But, again, how did Tenet know this so soon after the attack, especially given that “security failures” had occurred, unless he had foreknowledge?

Continued . . .

The US Government Is the Real Bioterror Threat

August 10, 2008

Ivan Eland | Antiwar, August 9, 2008

Assuming the federal government has, after almost seven years, finally identified the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks in 2001 – admittedly a generous assumption given that for most of those years, it pursued, hounded, embarrassed, and ruined the career of the wrong man – larger dangers remain. As is normally the case with issues surrounding terrorism, the average citizen will probably be shocked to learn that their government is often a bigger threat than the terrorists. Remember the CIA’s creation of the 9/11 threat by supporting the most radical Islamist groups fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s and then the U.S. government’s provocation of terrorist attacks from those same militants by its non-Islamic military presence in Islamic Persian Gulf countries in the 1990s, which had continued unnecessarily subsequent to the first Gulf War.

Similarly, in the case of bioterrorism, the threat from the government is greater than from foreign groups such as al-Qaeda. Although U.S. intelligence has created fear among the U.S. public by saying that al-Qaeda has made efforts to obtain biological weapons, the capabilities of small terrorist groups to make, handle, weaponize, and disperse biological agents is very limited. Even Aum Shinrikyo, a well-funded Japanese terrorist group that hired Ph.D. scientists, could not successfully carry out a biological weapons attack. (Even their chemical attacks, which are technologically easier to accomplish, were ham-handed and did not result in mass deaths.) The sophisticated weaponization and dispersion of biological agents are difficult for technologically challenged and relatively poor terrorist groups to master; they usually require the resources and technology of governments.

Whether Bruce Ivins, a government bioscientist, is the real culprit in the anthrax attacks or not, it seems that the FBI has traced the perpetrator to the U.S. government’s own research facility, which has plenty of people qualified to carry out such an attack. And apparently some employees would have a motive to do so. The FBI insinuated that Ivins had a motive because his anthrax vaccine research program was in trouble. What better way to get more money for your project that to generate a non-hypothetical threat to combat?

It’s true that the vast majority of people on the government’s payroll working on lethal biological agents would not stoop to perpetrate such a heinous crime. Yet the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks the same year had the effect that Ivins allegedly desired. An avalanche of government funding went into countering the minimal threat from a terrorist group capable of using biological weapons. To capture some of the governmental windfall, many medical and infectious disease programs tried to tie their efforts to battling bioterrorism. It worked.

Before 9/11, only five laboratories existed that were equipped to study the most lethal bioagents – biosafety level 4 labs. Now there are 15 in operation or being built. Combined, there are now 400 biosafety 3 and 4 facilities, which can produce lethal anthrax. In all, nationwide, 14,000 scientists can work on such lethal biological agents, many of whom are researchers at non-governmental universities.

According to experts, security at such facilities is lax; the government merely requires them to have locked doors but no video surveillance. And government background checks of employees would not prevent a person who had homicidal tendencies or a sociopathic personality – allegedly exhibited by Ivins – from working in them. Even if Ivins is not the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks, he made homicidal threats to a therapist a year before the attacks and was allowed to continue to work in a lab with dangerous bioagents for years after he exhibited mental problems. (Not to mention that the FBI seems to have ignored such information for years while erroneously pursuing an innocent suspect.)

Thus, to combat a minimal bioterror threat from ragtag terrorist groups, the government has actually dramatically increased the probability of another bioattack from a trained scientist – whether because of malicious criminal intent, mental illness, or a desire to increase funding for his or her antidote or vaccine program – who could competently carry out such an attack. This counterproductive effect resembles what the government did to remedy coordination problems among security agencies that caused a failure to detect and prevent the 9/11 attacks: its creation of the Department of Homeland Security and reorganization of the intelligence community added more bureaucracy, thus making coordination even more difficult. In short, the anthrax case illustrates few security problems exist that the government doesn’t create or make worse.

FBI was told to blame Anthrax scare on Al Qaeda by White House officials

August 5, 2008

Daily News, Saturday, August 2nd 2008, 6:32 PM

WASHINGTON – In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by Al Qaeda, but investigators ruled that out, the Daily News has learned.

After the Oct. 5, 2001, death from anthrax exposure of Sun photo editor Robert Stevens, Mueller was “beaten up” during President Bush‘s morning intelligence briefings for not producing proof the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide.

“They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” the retired senior FBI official told The News.

On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, “There may be some possible link” to Bin Laden, adding, “I wouldn’t put it past him.” Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden’s henchmen were trained “how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.”

But by then the FBI already knew anthrax spilling out of letters addressed to media outlets and to a U.S. senator was a military strain of the bioweapon. “Very quickly [Fort Detrick, Md., experts] told us this was not something some guy in a cave could come up with,” the ex-FBI official said. “They couldn’t go from box cutters one week to weapons-grade anthrax the next.”jmeek@nydailynews.com


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