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US: 9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?

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© Serpents and Doves
In a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. How well has the US government's official account of the event held up over the decade?

Not very well. The chairman, vice chairman, and senior legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books partially disassociating themselves from the commission's report. They said that the Bush administration put obstacles in their path, that information was withheld from them, that President Bush agreed to testify only if he was chaperoned by Vice President Cheney and neither were put under oath, that Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the false testimony for investigation for obstruction of justice.

In their book, the chairman and vice chairman, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote that the 9/11 Commission was "set up to fail." Senior counsel John Farmer, Jr., wrote
that the US government made "a decision not to tell the truth about what happened," and that the NORAD "tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public." Kean said, "We to this day don't know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth."

Most of the questions from the 9/11 families were not answered. Important witnesses were not called. The commission only heard from those who supported the government's account. The commission was a controlled political operation, not an investigation of events and evidence. Its membership consisted of former politicians. No knowledgeable experts were appointed to the commission.

Black Cat

US: Michele Obama Lives It Up! Accused of Spending $10M in Public Money on Her Vacations

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Expensive taste: Michelle Obama, pictured yesterday in Massachusetts, has been accused of spending $10m of public money on vacations.
The Obamas' summer break on Martha's Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.

But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.

White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year.

War Whore

Did Wikileaks just reveal the US blueprint for Libya?

libya NATO
© Unknown
NATO's destruction of Libya
The US administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep "military to military" ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on 24 August reveal.

The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into "AFRICOM," the American military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.

"We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi," Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-CT) said during an August 2009 meeting, which also included Senators John McCain and Susan Collins.

The records confirm that McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, strongly supported US arms sales to Libya and personally pledged to Muammar Gaddafi (also spelled "al-Qadhafi") and his son Muatassim that he would push to get such transfers approved by Congress. McCain also revealed that the United States was training officers in Gaddafi's army.

While the Americans pursued the relationship vigorously, they met with a cautious and sometimes "mercurial" response from the Libyans. In particular, the mistrustful Libyans wanted security guarantees that the Americans appeared reluctant to give.

"We can get [equipment] from Russia or China," Muatassim told the visiting senators, "but we want to get it from you as a symbol of faith from the United States."

In hindsight, given the US support for the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime, it is not difficult to understand why the Libyans wanted these guarantees.

Chess

The Libya Media Hoax: Fabricated Scenes of Jubilation and Euphoria on Green Square

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© Cyaegha-c.livejournal.com/460657.html
Surpassing previous mass media fabrications, both in scale and boldness, yesterday morning's Al Jazeera mise-en-scène will surely go down in history as one of the most cynical hoaxes committed by corporate media since the manipulated pictures of Iraqis topplying Saddam Hussein's statue after the US invasion in 2003.

On the morning of August 22nd 2011, Al Jazeera aired a 'live' report from Green Square in Tripoli,which claimed to show the capture of the Libyan capital by rebel forces. Scenes of jubilation and euphoria enveloped Al Jazeera's reporter Zeina Khodr as she declared: " Liya is in the hands of the opposition''

The images were immediately reproduced throughout the global media complex, with headlines trumpeting the 'end of the Gaddafi regime' and editorials throughout the corporate media world speculating about the post-Gaddafi future of Libya.

Gaddafi's sons were said to have been arrested, and more defections were announced. The Libyan capital was, we were told, now in the hands of the rebel forces. For many, it seemed a fait accompli.

In fact, the Al Jazeera pictures from Green Square were an elaborate and criminal hoax. The report had been prefabricated in a studio in Doha Qatar . This information had been passed onto Libyan intelligence and the Libyan people had already been warned about the qatari psyops a couple of days previously on Rayysse state television.

The Al Jazeera hoax was intended to create the impression that Tripoli had fallen so as:

(1) to break the Libyan resistance by creating panic and chaos in the Libyan captial.

(2) to provide cover for the massacres of civilians that would occur in the days following the declaration of rebel victory.

In other words, the media would provide cover for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are necessary in order to subjugate the Libyan Jamhahirya to Western corporate interests.

2 + 2 = 4

US Wisconsin: Inner-city Catholic School Doors Super Glued Before Gov. Walker Visit Friday

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© TODAY'S TMJ4
Protesters crowded the street outside Messmer Preparatory School in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood as Governor Walker visited the school Friday to read to children.

The protests came just hours after someone vandalized the school ahead of the Governor's visit.

"Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school," said Br. Bob Smith, OFM, the president of Messmer Catholic Schools, about the school on the corner of North Fratney and East Burleigh Streets.

He told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that a woman was walking in front of the school Thursday, asking people to protest.

According to Br. Smith, one protester said " 'Get ready for a riot,' because they were going to disrupt the visit."

War Whore

Libya: British Jets Strike Gaddafi Hometown Bunker

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Tony Blair and Muammar Gaddafi near Sirte in 2004 as they re-established ties
British Tornado jets fired cruise missiles overnight at a headquarters in deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Friday.

"At around midnight, a formation of Tornado GR4s ... fired a salvo of Storm Shadow precision guided missiles against a large headquarters bunker in Sirte," it added in a statement.

The Tornadoes took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk, eastern England, it added.

Editing by Jon Boyle

Bad Guys

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Anyone that has read these pieces for a while knows where I stand on Warren Buffett. Namely I can't stand him. It has nothing to do with the fact that he has so much money. I am not an envious person and moreover I think having wealth anywhere near his is more of a curse than a blessing. The reason I can't stand him is because he is a fraud. While he may have been a great investor at one point, he is more of a great actor than anything else. Here is one of the richest people in the world. He sits there in Nebraska, chuckling, drinking his cherry coke and eating hamburgers in this pathetically obvious attempt to convince the masses he is "just like us." The term wolf in sheep's was invented for guys like this. Like most people out there I don't like bad guys. The trick; however, is that the most dangerous bad guys don't come out and tell you they are bad guys and how they are going to fleece you. What they do is pretend they are the good guys. Pretend that they are on the side of the little guy or working for the "collective good," which is a preposterous statement because there is no such thing. Human desires and notions of what is a good life are as varied as the stars in the sky. Once we start allowing officials or rich people to define "collective good" you can be sure we are finished.

Henry Thoreau
© ZeroHedge
I am currently rereading Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Thoreau has been described as "an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist." In other words, in my mind a true American hero. I was struck by this line as I was reading it the other day:
If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as from that dry and parching wind of African deserts called the simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are suffocated, for fear that I should get some of his good done to me - some of its virus mingled with my blood. No - in this case I would rather suffer evil the natural way. A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much.

Thank you sir.

Eye 1

A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State

eye surveillence
© istock photo/fig
Several weeks ago, a New York Times article by Noam Cohen examined the case of Aaron Swartz, the 24-year-old copyright reform advocate who was arrested in July, after allegedly downloading academic articles that had been placed behind a paywall, thus making them available for free online. Swartz is now being prosecuted by the DOJ with obscene over-zealousness. Despite not profiting (or trying to profit) in any way -- the motive was making academic discourse available to the world for free -- he's charged with "felony counts including wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer" and "could face up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines."

The NYT article explored similarities between Swartz and Bradley Manning, another young activist being severely punished for alleged acts of freeing information without any profit to himself; the article quoted me as follows:
For Glenn Greenwald . . . it also makes sense that a young generation would view the Internet in political terms.

"How information is able to be distributed over the Internet, it is the free speech battle of our times," he said in interview. "It can seem a technical, legalistic movement if you don't think about it that way."

He said that point was illustrated by his experience with WikiLeaks -- and by how the Internet became a battleground as the site was attacked by hackers and as large companies tried to isolate WikiLeaks. Looking at that experience and the Swartz case, he said, "clearly the government knows that this is the prime battle, the front line for political control."
This is the point I emphasize whenever I talk about why topics such as the sprawling Surveillance State and the attempted criminalization of WikiLeaks and whistleblowing are so vital. The free flow of information and communications enabled by new technologies -- as protest movements in the Middle East and a wave of serious leaks over the last year have demonstrated -- is a uniquely potent weapon in challenging entrenched government power and other powerful factions. And that is precisely why those in power -- those devoted to preservation of the prevailing social order -- are so increasingly fixated on seizing control of it and snuffing out its potential for subverting that order: they are well aware of, and are petrified by, its power, and want to ensure that the ability to dictate how it is used, and toward what ends, remains exclusively in their hands.

Arrow Down

Crash!!! Its Raining Drones

drone crash
© Reuters/Parwiz
Afghans inspect a damaged house after a drone crash in Jalalabad, August 21, 2011.
In the same week that a UK industry insider told a drone conference in the US that the UK is preparing to take preliminary steps in plans that will eventually allow drones to fly in UK civil airspace, three drones on operation in Afghanistan and Somali have crashed.

On 16th August, an RQ-7 Shadow drone, which is about 12 feet long and 20 feet across, crashed into a US military cargo plane in East Afghanistan. There were no reports of injuries and the cargo plane made an emergency landing. According to a report in the Washington Post, a US military official commentating on the drone said (with no apparent trace of irony) "We were in complete control up until the collision."

A few days later, an unknown type of drone crashed in the middle of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. A reporter from Associated Press witnessed the wreckage before it was removed by African Union troops. The drone is suspected, but not confirmed, to be operated by the US military.

Finally a third drone crashed in the Naranj Bagh neighbourhood of the provincial capital Jalalabad in Afghanistan on 20th August, damaging two houses. Local media took pictures of the damage (above) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) acknowledged the drone was one of theirs.

Arrow Down

US Surveillance Drone Crashes in Pakistan: Officials

Pakistan drone crash
© AP Photo/Shah Khalid
A Pakistani villager holds a wreckage of a suspected surveillance drone which crashed in the Pakistani border town of Chaman along the Afghanistan border.
An American surveillance drone crashed in southwestern Pakistan on Thursday near a paramilitary base close to the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said.

"It was an American surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle. It crashed on this side of the border," a security official in the area told AFP.

He said the drone had come down - apparently due to a technical fault - some two kilometres inside Pakistani territory in Chaman town in insurgency-hit Baluchistan province, but had caused no damage.