The 9/11 Warren Commission
Commissioners and staff director should have been investigated, not in charge of investigation
Former NJ Governor Thomas Kean is on the board of Amerada Hess petroleum company, which had business dealings with Saudi interests
Thomas H. Kean, Chair
Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair
Max Cleland (replaced when he started asking questions)
Fred F. Fielding
Jamie S. Gorelick
John F. Lehman
Timothy J. Roemer
James R. Thompson
Official "investigation" expelled Senator Cleland, the only Commissioner who asked uncomfortable questions
'As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11 than it has ever admitted.'"
-- Senator Max Cleland, member of the official National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Against the United States
quoted in the New York Times, October 27, 2003
"If this decision stands, I, as a member of the commission, cannot look any American in the eye, especially family members of victims, and say the commission had full access. This investigation is now compromised."
-- Max Cleland
Former Senator and member of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States refering to White House policies regarding the sharing of presidential briefings with the commission http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/11/275652.shtml
New job takes Cleland off
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Former Sen. Max Cleland, a Democrat, has been nominated by President Bush to serve on the board of the Export-Import Bank.
As a result he will have to leave the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The statutes governing the panel, formally known as The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, bar anyone who holds a federal job like being on the Ex-Im Board.
Cleland has been one of the more outspoken members of the commission, accusing the administration of delaying access to vital documents in an effort to run out the clock on its investigation. The panel, which started work at the beginning of the year, must submit its report by a congressionally mandated deadline of May 27, 2004.
Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg told United Press International that Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle will nominate Cleland's replacement.
[Did Senator Cleland quit because of "an offer he couldn't refuse" or from disgust with the blatant cover-up perpetrated by the Commission?]
Senator Cleland's replacement with Senator Bob Kerrey shows that the
one commissioner who dared to nibble around the edge of the scandal was
replaced by a PNAC supporting war mongering war
criminal (Kerrey participated in massacres of civilians in Vietnam).
It's the "9/11 Warren Commission" (the "Warren Commission" was the official investigation and cover-up of the coup d'etat against President Kennedy in Dallas).
Any genuine investigation would make public:
- Cheney's energy task force documents (what did they say about Peak Oil, pretexts for invading the middle east, etc.)
- all of the foreign "warnings" of 9/11 (whether genuine or part of an intelligence "legend" is something we may never know)
- the radar tapes and tapes of air traffic controllers in the FAA, military and all other agencies with access to this information, with a "chain of custody" to prove thtat this information had not been altered in any way
- full details on the CIA / National Reconnaissance "war games" underway on 9/11 simulating a plane-into-building scenario and the NORAD / Air Force war games that were also underway that morning that confused some air traffic controllers for crucial minutes, thinking it was the exercise and not an attack. Who gave the orders to conduct these "war games" at the exact same time that 9/11 happened?
Family Steering Committee
victims' relatives watchdogging the Commission, their website has the best collection of "unanswered questions"
The Final Fraud
9/11 Commission closes its doors to the public; Cover-Up Complete
By Michael Kane
The 9/11 "Warren Commission"
(the "Warren Commission" was the official inquiry that covered up the coup d'etat against President Kennedy)
THE 9/11 COVER-UP COMMISSION: Corrupting Conflicts and Connections
9/11 Commission: The official coverup guide
The Kean Commission came to New York the second week of May for a two-day set of hearings at The New School University. As hundreds of Sept. 11th family members, reporters and curious New Yorkers lined up for airport-style security checks, they received copies of a new 24-page booklet published by NY 9/11 Truth, with help from 911Truth.org.
"Scamming America: The Official 9/11 Cover-up" is named after a quote by former Sen. Max Cleland, who resigned from the commission last November with the words, "Bush is scamming America."
Cleland attacked his own commission after the other members cut a deal to accept highly limited access to CIA reports to the White House that may indicate advance knowledge of the attacks on the part of the Bush administration. "This is a scam," Cleland said. "It's disgusting. America is being cheated."
"As each day goes by," Cleland said, "we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11 than it has ever admitted.... Let's chase this rabbit into the ground. They had a plan to go to war and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war."
The new booklet features articles about the Kean Commission's breathtaking conflicts of interest and complete failure to ask any of the questions about September 11 that really matter.
Philip Zelikow with his co-author Condi Rice
(they wrote a book together before 9/11)
here is the mandate for the official investigation, such as it is; this part seems broad enough
In General.--The functions of the Commission are to--
(1) conduct an investigation that--
(A) investigates relevant facts and circumstances
relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,
including any relevant legislation, Executive order,
regulation, plan, policy, practice, or procedure; and
(B) may include relevant facts and circumstances
(i) intelligence agencies;
(ii) law enforcement agencies;
(iv) immigration, nonimmigrant visas, and
(v) the flow of assets to terrorist
(vi) commercial aviation;
(vii) the role of congressional oversight and
resource allocation; and
(viii) other areas of the public and private
sectors determined relevant by the Commission for
THIS IS HOW THEY MAKE SURE THAT ANY IDEALIST OR ACCIDENTAL MEMBER CAN BE PUBLICALLY BROWBEATEN FOR "EXCEEDING THE MANDATE" IF THEY GO OFF ON A TANGENT TOWARD THE TRUTH
the commission is limited to:
(2) ascertain, evaluate, and report on the evidence
developed by all relevant governmental agencies regarding the
facts and circumstances surrounding the attacks;
(3) build upon the investigations of other entities, and
avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings,
THIS IS HOW THEY KEEP THEIR FINGERS OUT OF ANY REAL INQUIRY
§604 (b) Relationship to Intelligence Committees' Inquiry.--When
investigating facts and circumstances relating to the intelligence
community, the Commission shall--
(1) first review the information compiled by, and the
findings, conclusions, and recommendations of, the Joint
(2) after that review pursue any appropriate area of inquiry
if the Commission determines that--
(A) the Joint Inquiry had not investigated that
(B) the Joint Inquiry's investigation of that area
had not been complete; or
(C) new information not reviewed by the Joint
Inquiry had become available with respect to that area.
conclusions, and recommendations of--
THIS IS WHERE THEY MAKE SURE THAT NO RENEGADE HAS ANY POWER DO ANYTHING. WHY DO THEY NEED A SUPERMAJORITY TO ISSUE A STINKING SUBPOENA
§605 (2) Subpoenas.--
(i) In general.--A subpoena may be issued
under this subsection only--
(I) by the agreement of the chairman
and the vice chairman; or
(II) by the affirmative vote of 6
members of the Commission.
(a) Consultation in Preparation.--(1) The Director of Central
Intelligence shall ensure that any report, review, study, or plan
required to be prepared or conducted by a provision of this Act,
including a provision of the classified Schedule of Authorizations
referred to in section 102(a) or the classified annex to this Act, that
involves the intelligence or intelligence-related activities of the
Department of Defense or the Department of Energy is prepared or
conducted in consultation with the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary
of Energy, as appropriate.
PUT IT TO BED QUICKLY. tag it , bag it and sell it to the american people
(b) Final <> Report.--Not later than 18 months
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit
to the President and Congress a final report containing such findings,
conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures as have been
agreed to by a majority of Commission members.
(1) In general.--The Commission, and all the authorities of
this title, shall terminate 60 days after the date on which the
final report is submitted under subsection (b).
(2) Administrative activities before termination.--The
Commission may use the 60-day period referred to in paragraph
(1) for the purpose of concluding its activities, including
providing testimony to committees of Congress concerning its
reports and disseminating the final report.the way the commissioners were appointed is also in this law
Initial thoughts on the 9/11 report
from Nic in New York:
On the insider trading, the alibi:
>A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10.
Ah. "No conceivable ties to al-Qaeda" equated with "no advance knowledge."
The assumption is that foreknowledge could come only through an al-Qaeda connection.
No mention of stories from London, Frankfurt, Tokyo et al. or of trades in anything other than UAL and AAR put options (WTC tenants, reinvestors).
What about the uncollected $2.5 million? Who was the "small airline" responsible for the puts purchased in London?
Al Qaeda has been alleged to have used a variety of illegitimate means, particularly drug trafficking and conflict diamonds, to finance itself. While the drug trade was a source of income for the Taliban, it did not serve the same purpose for al Qaeda,and there is no reliable evidence that Bin Ladin was involved in or made his money through drug trafficking.128 Similarly, we have seen no persuasive evidence that al Qaeda funded itself by trading in African conflict diamonds.129 There also have been claims that al Qaeda financed itself through manipulation of the stock market based on its advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Exhaustive investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, and other agencies have uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions.130 Highly publicized allegations of insider trading in advance of 9/11 generally rest on reports of unusual pre-9/11 trading activity in companies whose stock plummeted after the attacks. Some unusual trading did in fact occur,but each such trade proved to have an innocuous explanation. For example,the volume of put options- investments that pay off only when a stock drops in price-surged in the parent companies of United Airlines on September 6 and American Airlines on September 10-highly suspicious trading on its face. Yet, further investigation has revealed that the trading had no connection with 9/11. A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10. Similarly, much of the seemingly suspicious trading in American on September 10 was traced to a specific U.S.-based options trading newsletter, faxed to its subscribers on Sunday, September 9, which recommended these trades. These examples typify the evidence examined by the investigation. The SEC and the FBI, aided by other agencies and the securities industry, devoted enormous resources to investigating this issue,including securing the cooperation of many foreign governments. These investigators have found that the apparently suspicious consistently proved innocuous.
Joseph Cella interview (Sept. 16, 2003; May 7,2004; May 10-11,2004); FBI briefing (Aug.15,2003);SEC memo,Division of Enforcement to SEC Chair and Commissioners," Pre-September 11, 2001 Trading Review,"May 15,2002; Ken Breen interview (Apr.23,2004);Ed G.interview (Feb.3,2004).
Record of Bush Administration's Obstruction of Investigation of 911
Military Notification and Response. Boston Center did not follow the protocol in seeking military assistance through the prescribed chain of command. In addition to notifications within the FAA, Boston Center took the initiative, at 8:34, to contact the military through the FAA's Cape Cod facility. The center also tried to contact a former alert site in Atlantic City, unaware it had been phased out. At 8:37:52, Boston Center reached NEADS. This was the first notification received by the military-at any level-that American 11 had been hijacked:115
FAA: Hi. Boston Center TMU [Traffic Management Unit],we have a problem here.We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there,help us out.
NEADS: Is this real-world or exercise?
FAA: No, this is not an exercise,not a test.116
NEADS ordered to battle stations the two F-15 alert aircraft at Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth,Massachusetts,153 miles away from New York City. The air defense of America began with this call.117
footnote 116: On 9/11, NORAD was scheduled to conduct a military exercise, Vigilant Guardian,which postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union.We investigated whether military preparations for the large-scale exercise compromised the military's response to the real-world terrorist attack on 9/11. According to General Eberhart,"it took about 30 seconds" to make the adjustment to the real-world situation. Ralph Eberhart testimony, June 17, 2004. We found that the response was,if anything, expedited by the increased number of staff at the sectors and at NORAD because of the scheduled exercise.See Robert Marr interview (Jan.23, 2004).
Note: The Northern Guardian exercise, also underway on 9/11 (and not mentioned in the Commission report, was the Cold War scenario exercise - a wargame that included deploying some of the fighters on alert to northern Canada and Alaska, which ensured that those fighters would not be able to defend the East Coast. Vigilant Guardian did not apparently involve the Cold War style scenario of Northern Guardian.
(note: Hicks has shifted from pointing out that some of the 9/11 claims are false toward a position of promoting some of the worst nonsense claims. It's hard to find a rational and sincere explanation for publishing a book admitting the "no plane" stuff is false and then going on to promote events with its adherents.)
Vol 17 - Issue 33 - August 18-24, 2004
Who needs Henry Kissinger, after all?
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT
BY THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES
W.W. NORTON, 516 PAGES, $10
reviewed by SANDER HICKS
IN THE RECENT documentary Outfoxed, media critic Robert McChesney suggests right-leaning news outlets like Fox News are worse than the Stalinist-era propaganda. At least in Soviet Russia, he says, people knew they were getting the official party line.
The problem of the 9/11 Commission Report is similar. Instead of being printed by the government that wrote it, the Report is published by the employee-owned, independent press W. W. Norton & Co. The writing style goes out of its way to appear informal, with occasional references to Hollywood films or rhetoric about the importance of civil liberties. Norton's first printing of 500,000 has already been snapped up, leaving bookstores nation-wide out of it, in more ways than one.
The only way to explain the best-seller status of this dry, stiff and cynical book is to understand the 9/11 disaster as a national trauma so intense that the co-dependent American family is still reaching for anything that will assure it. The Saudi-Pakistani-Bush Family-CIA connections aren't as incestuous as they seem, right? Everybody in the government did everything in their power to stop it, didn't they? Surely they couldn't have known about 9/11 and allowed it to happen to justify their agenda, right?
The Report may be the most literary work ever authored by a group of 10. "Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States" is the opener. It's that undergraduate formula: Start with the weather. The Report then moves on to tell a selective conspiracy theory. The authors' motto: Do what Kissinger would have done. Protect the White House. This Commission is as determined as the kooks who shouted objections and were tackled by cops at their hearings.
While the Report pays lip service to the value of the "investigative journalists and watchdog organizations" who initiate government inquiries, the Commission refused to call any 9/11 watchdogs or investigative journalists to testify. Instead, they brought in fellow bureaucrats, politicians, spies and policy wonks who provided a parade of mind-blowingly dull chatter.
The 10 D.C. insiders that make up the Commission did their best not to look at any of the strange anomalies that abound around 9/11. On page 20, for example, the Commission reports that an air defense controller at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) reacted to the hijackings by asking, "Is this real-world, or exercise?" The terrorists somehow knew to strike on the morning that NORAD, NEADS and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preoccupied with three different air defense drills (operations named things like "Vigilant Guardian," etc.) Although victim family member Mindy Kleinberg brought up this coincidence to them on the first day of hearings, the Commission only mentioned it as an afterthought, buried in the notes section in the back of the book.
Regarding the background of Osama bin Laden, the Commission dives head-on into the history of the terrorist ringleader's training as a mujahedeen by the CIA: They deny it.
Bin Laden was the CIA's point man in Afghanistan in the 80s; he ran the Maktab al-Khidamar. The MAK was the "primary conduit," according to MSNBC, for cash, weapons and CIA intelligence to flow through Pakistan's mini-CIA, the ISI. Three weeks after 9/11, the CIA's Bill Harlowe tried to spin that the CIA never had "any relationship whatsoever" with Bin Laden. And the 9/11 Commission shows its cards by trying to repeat the claim: Bin Laden received "little or no assistance from the United States" in Afghanistan. It's no surprise then to learn that a Commission panelist, Democrat Richard Ben-Veniste, was also once the attorney for CIA drug-runner Barry Seal, or that Democratic panelist Jamie Gorelick is on the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel.
Although the Bush Administration fought long and hard against its release, the Report publishes an edited version of the famous August 6, 2001 presidential intelligence briefing. Here we learn the "FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Laden-related." Seventy different investigations? Then let's hear about them. But the Report doesn't go there, let alone discuss FBI whistle-blowers who tried to investigate Bin Laden-related terrorists but were smacked down. On page 247, we meet Minneapolis terrorist-to-be Zacarias Moussaoui, but not Time Person of the Year Coleen Rowley, the FBI whistle-blower who couldn't get a warrant from headquarters on him.
Terrorist financing is covered, with a guileless, "We don't know exactly where the money came from" manner. There is no mention of FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, who tracked down and seized $1.4 million of Bin Laden-related funds before 9/11. His higher-ups fought him every step of the way. After the carnage of 9/11, Wright understandably broke down and, through tears, apologized on C-SPAN to 9/11 victims' families. "[The FBI] allowed 9/11 to happen," he told the world. "FBI management intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed my investigations into Middle Eastern terrorist financing."
Both Rowley and Wright point to the FBI's David Frasca, the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist unit chief. After 9/11, Frasca was promoted to #3 in charge of Domestic Terrorism. Frasca is not mentioned in this Report.
Of the many theories about 9/11, some of the best questions involve the mysterious Mohamed Atta, subject of the research of investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker. For two years, Hopsicker tracked Atta's final moves in Florida, including his cocaine and alcohol binges with temporary girlfriend, Amanda Keller, at the time a pink-haired stripper. The flight school that Atta happened to "choose," Huffman Aviation in Venice, also enjoys a sanitized version of its history. Flight-school president Rudi Dekkers has a long criminal history, while owner Wally Hilliard has ties to GOP Bush family friend Myron DuBain, Reverend Jerry Falwell and Clinton financier Truman Arnold. None of this makes its way into the report. Perhaps because Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste is featured in Hopsicker's 2001 book, Barry and the Boys regarding the CIA's Iran/Contra pilot Barry Seal.
So, 9/11 Commission, let's get this straight: If you're one of the best 9/11 investigative journalists, and you risk your own life, getting death threats in Florida for two years of rubbing elbows with some extremely creepy characters, should all of your research be disqualified just because you found people who call Clinton's friend Richard Ben-Veniste a "mob lawyer" in your last book? The Commission's answer is yes.
The Commission can't ignore the Saudi/Pak/CIA menage-à-trois that has been going on since the Afghan civil war. It's just that the most interesting details on this have been reported by the international press, and as a rule, the Commission ignores stories not picked up by the U.S. media. So, the fact that Pakistani ISI director General Ahmed wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta on September 10 is not covered. The Times of India and Agence France-Presse reported it, and General Ahmed was forced to step down because of it. Stateside, these facts languish unused. Instead, it's pointed out that General Ahmed happened to be in D.C. meeting with Porter Goss and Sen. Bob Graham on the morning of 9/11. The Commission does cover how Deputy Sec. of State Dick Armitage (who holds a major decoration from the Pakistani army) used this to force Pakistan to help with the invasion of Afghanistan.
To their credit, the subjects that the Commission does cover are well researched. For instance, their toughest critics, the "9/11 Truth Movement" folks, believe that 9/11 must have been the product of a military stand-down. Earlier in 2001, 67 jets going off course were handled by established protocols, so why couldn't fighter jets be scrambled on 9/11? The Report points out the crucial difference that morning: The terrorist pilots turned their transponders off and the planes were harder to find. The lack of fighter jets on the morning of 9/11 could be explained, technically, by this report. But the Commission indicts itself for laziness by ignoring other anomalies on 9/11.
The Report climaxes in a grand paean to war-without-end. The enemy is dehumanized and depoliticized. You can't "bargain" or "negotiate" with terrorists. There is "no common ground," they can "only be destroyed or isolated." In other words, don't ask yourself how your enemy was created, or what the enemy believes in its heart about its justification. Don't look at Bin Laden's own statements about the U.S.'s backing of Israel, and don't consider the motivating effect when Arab youth in the poorest countries on Earth watch Palestinian houses bulldozed on Al Jazeera.
The 9/11 Commission Report has joined the Warren Report as one of the greatest cover-ups of all time. Even if they did just happen to have been caught off guard on 9/11, high-level personnel at the FBI, CIA and the Department of Justice should have been indicted for incompetence. If some knew about it, they should be indicted for their failure to stop it. Instead, they are all thanked in the preface.
Volume 17, Issue 34
The Kean - Osama Connection
THOMAS KEAN, THE CHAIR OF THE 9/11 OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION, IS
A BUSINESS PARTNER OF OSAMA'S BROTHER IN LAW.
There. That's a soundbite that few will forget.
Fortune magazine published an articletitled "Five Degrees of Osama" that discussed this connection of Kean.
Henry Kissinger, Shrub's first appointee as Commission Chair had conflicts of interest were much easier to explain.
The "xymphora" blog seems to have been the first with this story. Globalresearch.ca covered it early, too.
Fortune withdrew this claim under pressure from Mr. Mahfouz, who denies the allegations.
Five Degrees of Osama
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
By Nicholas Stein
In December, President Bush named Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, chairman of an independent commission examining... Continue
Full article is 199 words long
Five Degrees of Osama
FORTUNE Wednesday, January 22, 2003 By Nicholas Stein
In December, President Bush named Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, chairman of an independent commission examining the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But FORTUNE has learned that Kean appears to have a bizarre link to the very terror network he's investigating--al Qaeda.
Here's how the dots connect: Kean is a director of petroleum giant Amerada Hess, which in 1998 formed a joint venture--known as Delta Hess--with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabian company, to develop oil fields in Azerbaijan. One of Delta's backers is Khalid bin Mahfouz, a shadowy Saudi patriarch married to one of Osama bin Laden's sisters. Mahfouz, who is suspected of funding charities linked to al Qaeda, is even named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by families of Sept. 11 victims. True, Hess is hardly the only company to cross paths with Mahfouz: He has shown up in dealings with, among others, ultra-secretive investment firm Carlyle Group and BCCI, the lender toppled by fraud in 1992.
Kean, who was unavailable for comment, may not have been aware of the Mahfouz connection. But Hess spokesman Carl Tursi did reveal another interesting coincidence: Three weeks before Kean's appointment, Hess severed its ties with Delta.
New Chairman of 9/11 Commission had business ties with Osama's
Brother in Law
by Michel Chossudovsky
globalresearch.ca, 27 december 2002
Unknown to most, UNOCAL's partner in the Cent-Gas trans-Afghan pipeline consortium, the Saudi Company Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans which allegedly have ties to bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.
According to a 1998 Senate testimony of former CIA director James Woolsey, powerful financier Khalid bin Mahfouz’ younger sister is married to Osama bin Laden,. (US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal News Service, 3 Sept. 1998, See also Wayne Madsen, Questionable Ties, In These Times,12 Nov. 2001 )
Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funnelled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.(See Tom Flocco, Scoop.co.nz 28 Aug. 2002)
Now, "by sheer coincidence", former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the man chosen by President Bush to lead the 9/11 commission also has business ties with bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi.
Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation , which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans).
Delta-Hess "was established in 1998 for the development and exploration of oil fields in the Caspian region...In Azerbaijan Delta Hess is involved in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli PSA (2.72%) and the Garabaghli-Kursangi PSA (20%). It is also an equity holder in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline":
"An air of mystery hangs over Delta- Hess, which... is registered in the Cayman Islands. Hess is in no hurry to reveal the terms of the alliance, which it says are subject to confidentiality clauses. 'There's no reason why this should be public information,' a Hess spokesman says." (Energy Compass, 15 Nov. 2002)
Coincidentally, the former Governor of New Jersey is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, together with another prominent member of the board of directors of Amerada Hess, former Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady:
In other words, Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia --which is a partner in the Hess-Delta Alliance--is in part controlled by Khalid bin Mafhouz, Osama's brother in law.
And former Governor Thomas Kean not only sits on the board of directors of a company which has business dealings with Khalid bin Mahfouz, he also heads the 9/11 Commission, which has a mandate to investigate Khalid's brother in law, Osama bin Laden.
Dr. Kissinger had a conflict of interest and resigned! The vice chairman of the Commission, former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, resigned for the same reason. (See Xymphora, 19 Dec 2002 )
Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother in law and alleged financier of "Enemy No. 1" would also be considered a bona fide "conflict of interest", particularly when your mandate --as part of the 9/11 Commission's work-- is to investigate "Enemy No. 1".
And the corporate media applauds. Without acknowledging his Saudi business connections, Thomas Kean is heralded as "a man of extraordinary integrity, decency and intellect." In the words of the Baltimore Sun: "he lacks obvious conflicts of interest" (26 Dec.2002). To which I respond: "how more obvious can you get"!
It is also worth mentioning that Thomas Kean also sits as co-chairman of the Homeland Security Project (HSP) under the auspices of the Century Foundation. In this capacity, Kean has played a key role in the draft recommendations of the Century Foundation, which laid the groundwork of the Office of Homeland Security legislation.
The Saudi Connection
Thomas Kean, described as a "moderate Republican" is not alone in this Saudi business relationship.
Extensively documented, other prominent members of the Republican party including the Bush family have had business dealings with the bin Laden family. (See George W. Bush Financial Scams: CRG selection of articles)
Moreover, it would appear that Delta officials (involved in the UNOCAL trans-Afghan pipeline consortium) played a key role in negotiations with the Taliban. In turn, Enron, the infamous energy giant — whose former CEO, Ken Lay, had close connections to the Bush family — had been contracted in a cozy relationship to undertake feasibility studies for the Unocal-Delta consortium. Enron Corporation had also been entrusted --in liaison with Delta-- with pipeline negotiations with the Taliban government
Carefully documented by Wayne Madsen, George W. Bush also had dealings with Osama's brother in law Khalid bin Mafhouz, when he was in the Texas oil business. Both George W. Bush and Khalid bin-Mahfouz were implicated in the Bank of Commerce International (BCCI) scandal:
"Other links between Bush and Mahfouz can be found through investments in the Carlyle Group, an American investment firm managed by a board on which former president George Bush himself sat. The younger [George W.] Bush personally held shares in one of the components of the Carlyle group, the Caterair company, between 1990-94. And Carlyle today ranks as a leading contributor to Bush’s electoral campaign. On Carlyle’s advisory board is found the name of Sami Baarma, director of the Pakistani financial establishment Prime Commercial Bank that is based in Lahore and owned by Mahfouz. (See Maggie Mulvihill, Jonathan Wells and Jack Meyers: Slick deals; the White House connection; Saudi ‘agents' close Bush Friends, Boston Herald, 11 December 2001).
In the wake of 9/11
In the wake of 9/11, Khalid bin Mahfouz (Osama's brother in law) was carefully exempted from the Treasury investigations (another "sheer coincidence") which led to the freezing of the financial assets of some 150 Saudi businesses, charities and individuals:
"The US Treasury has frozen the assets of 150 Saudi individuals, companies and charities suspected of financing terrorism. It has named Blessed Relief, a Saudi "charity" as a front organisation providing funds to Osama bin Laden. "Saudi businessmen have been transferring millions of dollars to Bin Laden through Blessed Relief," the agency said.
One rich Saudi patriarch under suspicion is Khaled bin Mahfouz, owner of the National Commercial Bank, banker to the Saudi royal family,
US and British authorities have also investigated Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi, another billionaire Saudi, for possible financial ties to Bin Laden. Al -Amoudi, who oversees a vast network of companies involved in construction, mining, banking and oil, has also denied any involvement with Bin Laden. His Washington lawyers said he "was unalterably opposed to terrorism and had no knowledge of any money transfers by Saudi businesses to Bin Laden.
Both Al-Amoudi and Bin Mahfouz have been left untouched by the US Treasury Department. The case against them, let alone against the government itself, is unproven. But the post-September 11 spotlight on Saudi Arabia has brought into sharp focus the fundamental question facing the country's rulers." (Scotland on Sunday, 11 August 2002)
The 9/11 Victims Families Law Suit
According to one press report, Thomas Kean --in contrast to Dr. Henry Kissinger-- was selected to head the 9/11 Commission because he was "close to the families of the 9/11 victims, an important credential to the White House, which was coming under increasing criticism from those families" (Scripps Howard News Service, 17 December 2002)
Yet in a cruel irony, the $1 trillion lawsuit filed last August by the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks , lists two of Thomas Kean's business partners in the Hess-Delta joint-venture, among the accused: Khalid Bin Mahfouz (Osama's brother in law), and Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi. Both individuals have been tagged in the lawsuit as alleged "financiers" of Al Qaeda. Now, how will Thomas Kean deal with that in the context of the 9/11 Commission?
Mystery Surrounding the 1998 Embassy Bombings
Former CIA director James Woolsey's testimony confirms that the Sudan pharmaceutical company bombed in 1998 on the orders of President Clinton was owned by Salah Idris, a business associate and protegé of Khalid bin Mahfouz, The bombing was in retribution for the alleged Al Qaeda African Embassy bombings.
The Mahfouz conglomerate, which owns the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, the National Commercial Bank, was preparing to pump money into the trans-Afghan pipeline deal. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, 2002, Chapter VI) Delta-Hess was also set up in 1998 to explore and develop oil and gas resources in the Caspian Sea basin.
Now why would the Clinton administration order the bombing of a factory which was controlled by a business crony of Unocal Corporation and Amerada-Hess?
Copyright Michel Chossudovsky CRG 2002. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
The URL of this article is:
Kean Insight: Bush, bin Laden, BCCI and the 9/11 Commission
by CHRIS FLOYD
January 31, 2003
When George W. Bush's first choice to head an "independent" probe into the Sept. 11 attacks--suspected war criminal Henry Kissinger--went down like a bad pretzel, he quickly plucked another warm body from the stagnant pool of Establishment worthies who are periodically called upon to roll out the whitewash when the big boys screw up.
Kissinger's replacement, retired New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, was a "safe pair of hands," we were assured by the professional assurers in the mainstream media. The fact that he'd been out of public life for years--and that he hadn't collaborated in the deaths of tens of thousands of Cambodians, Chileans and East Timorese--certainly made him less controversial than his predecessor, although to be fair, Kissinger's expertise in mass murder surely would have given the panel some unique insights into the terrorist atrocity.
But now it seems that Kean might possess some unique insights of his own. Fortune Magazine reports this week that both Kean and Bush share an unusually well-placed business partner: one Khalid bin Mahfouz -- perhaps better known as "Osama bin Laden's bagman" or even "Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law."
Kean, like so many worthies, followed the revolving door out of public service into lucrative sweetheart deals and well-wadded sinecures on corporate boards. One of these, of course, is an oil company--pretty much a requirement for White House work these days. (Or as the sign says on the Oval Office door: "If your rigs ain't rockin', don't come a-knockin'!") Kean is a director of Amerada Hess, an oil giant married up to Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil in a venture to pump black gold in Azerbaijan. (The partnership is incorporated in a secretive offshore "tax haven," natch. You can't expect a worthy like Kean to pay taxes like some grubby wage slave.)
One of Delta's biggest backers is the aforesaid Mahfouz, a Saudi wheeler-dealer who has bankrolled some of most dubious players on the world scene: Abu Nidal, Manuel Noreiga, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. Mahfouz was also a front for the bin Laden family, funneling their vast wealth through American cut-outs in a bid to gain power and influence in the United States.
One of those cut-outs was Mahfouz factotum James Bath, a partner in George W.'s early oil venture, Arbusto. Bath has admitted serving as a pass-through for secret Saudi money. Years later, when Bush's maladroit business skills were about to sink another of his companies, Harken Energy, the firm was saved by a $25 million investment from a Swiss bank--a subsidiary of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BBCI), partly owned by the beneficent Mahfouz.
What was BCCI? Only "one of the largest criminal enterprises in history," according to the U.S. Senate. What did BCCI do? "It engaged in pandemic bribery of officials in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas," says journalist Christopher Bryon, who first exposed the operation. "It laundered money on a global scale, intimidated witnesses and law officers, engaged in extortion and blackmail. It supplied the financing for illegal arms trafficking and global terrorism. It financed and facilitated income tax evasion, smuggling and prostitution." Sort of an early version of the Bush Regime, then.
BCCI's bipartisan corruption first permeated the Carter Administration, then came to full flower in the Reagan-Bush years. The CIA uncovered the bank's criminal activities in 1981--no great feat, considering how many of its own foreign "associates" were involved, including the head of Saudi intelligence, Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of King Faisal. But instead of stopping the drug-runners and terrorists, the agency decided to join them, using BCCI's secret channels to finance "black ops" all over the world.
When a few prosecutors finally began targeting BCCI's operations in the late Eighties, President George Herbert Walker Bush boldly moved in with a federal probe directed by Justice Department investigator Robert Mueller. The U.S. Senate later found that the probe had been unaccountably "botched"--witnesses went missing, CIA records got "lost," all sorts of bad luck. Lower-ranking prosecutors told of heavy pressure from on high to "lay off." Most of the big BCCI players went unpunished or, like Mahfouz, got off with wrist-slap fines and sanctions. Mueller, of course, wound up as head of the FBI, appointed to the post in July 2001--by George W. Bush.
In the late 1990s, U.S. authorities identified Mahfouz as a major financier of his brother-in-law's extracurricular activities. He denied it, but the spooked Saudis put him on ice, charging him with, of all things, bank fraud. He's now under "house arrest"--or rather, "palatial mansion arrest"--but still wheeling and dealing with Kean and Delta and other worthies. Indeed, one of Mahfouz's hirelings--the director of a Pakistani bank he owns--sits on the advisory board of our old friend the Carlyle Group, cheek by jowl with the firm's most celebrated shill: George Herbert Walker Bush.
Somehow we doubt that worthy Kean will poke very hard at the nexus of intersections between his own business partner, Mahfouz, and the bin Ladens, the Bushes, the Saudi royals, Saddam, the CIA and BCCI. We've only scratched the surface here, but even this cursory glance makes the current world crisis look less like some grand geopolitical "clash of civilizations" and more like a nasty falling out among thieves, with rival mafias--who sometimes collude, sometimes collide--now duking it out for turf, cloaking their murderous criminality with pious rhetoric about freedom, security, jihad and God.
Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: email@example.com
The Thomas Kean conflict story ... has made it to Fortune. Here is the interesting part:
"Kean, who was unavailable for comment, may not have been aware of the Mahfouz connection. But Hess spokesman Carl Tursi did reveal another interesting coincidence: Three weeks before Kean's appointment, Hess severed its ties with Delta."
This raises some issues: 1. Henry Kissinger was appointed chairman of the commission on November 27, and resigned on December 13. Kean was appointed chairman on December 16. It appears that the connection between Hess and Delta may have been severed in anticipation of Kean being appointed a member of Kissinger's commission, as it would have occurred almost exactly at the time of Kissinger's appointment (the alternative is that this is just another big coincidence). If it did occur in anticipation of Kean serving on the commission - and it would make sense for Bush, struggling to find someone in a hurry, to elevate someone to the chairmanship who had already been selected to be a member of the commission - this indicates that Kean felt that this relationship with bin Mahfouz/al-Amoudi would cause trouble.
2. If the connection to Delta was severed on behalf of Kean, isn't this just another example of the cozy crony capitalism that we've seen too much of, where the interests of the corporation and its shareholders take a back seat to the personal interests of the directors? Of course, the directors could just argue that making Kean happy would make Bush happy, a happiness that could only benefit the corporation in the long run.
3. What does "Hess severed its ties with Delta" mean? It is not clear what the actual corporate structure of the Hess/Delta joint venture was. Did Hess sell its interest to Delta? Did Delta sell its interest to Hess? Did one or the other sell to a third party? Is Hess still involved in the project? Is it possible that Hess made some contractual arrangement, perhaps in the form of an option, whereby it will be able to buy back into the project after this embarrassing incident with Kean's chairmanship is over? I find it amazing that Hess would enter into this much discussed project, the oil exploitation joint venture agreement of which was called "the contract of the century", part of one of the great hydrocarbon developments of our time (particularly the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli development, which is in itself the reason for building the BTC pipeline), and simply walk away from it (see the history of the development here; Hess bought Ramco's interest and then combined its interests in the project, in a still mysterious way, with the interest of Delta to form the joint venture). I note that an Azerbaijan directory of businesses in Baku still has a web page for the Delta Hess Alliance (see also here at 13). Hess's website still shows its 2.72% interest in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields, which may indicate that it is Delta that has left the project. On the other hand, Hess's News Release dated January 30, 2003 stated: "In the fourth quarter, the Corporation also recorded a gain from the sale of an interest in two small producing properties in Azerbaijan."
4. Even severing the ties with Delta won't help Kean's conflict problem as a director of Amerada Hess. If he is chairman of the 9-11 investigation commisssion, his commission will still have an obligation to examine sources of financing for the terrorism, which will lead directly to an examination of bin Mahfouz and al-Amoudi. Since Kean still owes a duty to Hess, and Hess was doing business with Delta, Kean's proper investigation will be likely to breach his duties to Hess. The fact that Hess has terminated its relationship with Delta doesn't change the fact that Hess was doing business with Delta at a time that Delta was owned by people who may have been financing terrorism. Whatever the strict legal position, the public relations aspects of a proper investigation of bin Mahfouz and al-Almoudi should deeply trouble Kean.
5. These is also the small matter of the trillion dollar law suit of the families of the victims of 9-11 against a number of parties, including bin Mahfouz and al-Amoudi. Obtaining a large judgment against bin Mahfouz probably isn't worth very much, as I imagine collecting on it would be impossible. Plaintiff lawyers tend to look for deep-pocketed domestic defendants. Some enterprising lawyer might see in the Delta/Hess joint venture a method by which someone like bin Mahfouz might attempt to launder money that would be use to fund terrorism (the joint venture existed well before September 11, 2001). Any partner of bin Mahfouz might be seen, particularly by one of these notoriously stupid American juries, to be engaged in enabling bin Mahfouz to launder terrorist funds. There would probably be a number of corporate veils to pierce, but the thousands of bodies under the WTC make corporate veil piercing quite easy. I don't know why a completely reputable publicly traded company like Hess would take the risk of doing business with someone with the reputation of bin Mahfouz or al-Amoudi (and why did George Bush do business with bin Mahfouz?). I'm not even going to mention the possibly problematic area of the effect of various amendments in the laws of the United States contained in the USA PATRIOT Act, some of which deal with forfeiture of property and the criminal act of providing material support to terrorists, and which might apply to actions taken in the United States after the act was passed.
6. Severing the ties with Delta also won't help Kean's conflict problem as the chairman of the commission. Justice has to be seen to be done. How are the relatives of the deceased of 9-11 going to be able to trust an investigation by the chairman of the commission of the owners of a former business partner of a company of which the chairman is a director, especially if it is only a former business partner due to the fact that the business relationship was severed in anticipation of the fact that the chairman would be a member of the commission doing the investigation? It is difficult to imagine how anyone could be in more of a conflict of interest situation.
7. Fortune says that "Kean . . . may not have been aware of the Mahfouz connection . . . ." Even in these days of amazingly lax standards of corporate governance, I find it impossible to believe this.There is absolutely no reason to doubt the integrity of either Amerada Hess or Thomas Kean (though I have to say I doubt the business sense of dealing with a company owned by people involved in something like BCCI and who have been accused of funding terrorism). This whole mess is caused by the unfortunate connection between Hess and Delta. Part of the problem could be dealt with by the termination of the relationship with Delta. The other part of the problem can only be dealt with by the resignation of Thomas Kean as chairman of the commission.
From winter 2002 / 2003
Shrub's appointment of "Doctor" Henry Kissinger to lead the "Warren Commission" style investigation of the 9/11 attacks is beyond parody, but it is funny, in a demented sort of way. The announcement seemed conveniently timed for Thanksgiving Day, when what is euphemistically called "news" is not as much of a focus for the country. It doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that Kissinger and friends will determine that the attacks probably happened because the CIA, FBI, and the other alphabet agencies needed more surveillance powers and a larger budget, which the Congress will then rubber stamp. Of course, the actual budgets of the so-called intelligence agencies is a state secret (a violation of the Constitution's requirements for open government) so we will have to trust them that they really do need more money, even though their budgets are not accountable to anyone. The commission probably won't discuss in public the Air Force's curious reluctance to scramble fighter planes to prevent the disaster, the prior warnings from numerous countries, insider trading on affected companies the week before the attack, and other evidence that makes "incompetence" an unlikely explanation.
It is not a good thing that Kissinger left the Commission shortly after being appointed, since his replacement - former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean - has even more blatant conflicts of interest than Henry the K, but they have largely been ignored by the media (and few people know anything about him - something that is not the case for the famous mad bomber of Vietnam).
Terrorism commission caves in to White House over 9/11 documents
By Patrick Martin
24 November 2003
The independent commission charged with investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington has backed down in the face of White House intransigence and agreed to let the Bush administration determine what information it will turn over to the panel.
An agreement reached November 13 between the White House and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States provides very limited access to the Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs), the daily summaries of all US intelligence reporting that are the most important documents being withheld from the commission.
Daschle PNACkles "commission incredible"
By David Kubiak
Saturday, Dec 20, 2003
December 17th: 9/11 Commission Chairman Kean fires off a news blip claiming the September 11 attacks were "preventable," some officials had "simply failed", and "major revelations" are due next month. Titillating stuff, without question, but Kean was already backing off the next day, "clarifying" that "We have no evidence that anybody high in the Clinton or Bush administrations did anything wrong," i.e., only mid-level heads may be required to roll.
While the "preventable" crackle fades away on the news ticker, I would commend your attention to a graver 9/11 story that never made the crawl bar but directly affects the credibility of this inquiry as a whole.
December 9th, two days after the 52nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the National 9/11 Commission itself was hit without warning by Tom Daschle's bombshell appointment of Iraq hawk Bob Kerrey to replace Max Cleland.
Kean's bully outbursts notwithstanding, the Independent 9/11 Commission is in trouble. A majority of members have been tarnished with conflict of interest allegations for their ties to airlines, oil firms, and the Bush/Cheney crowd. The commission is also under fire for not requiring witnesses to testify under oath and for allowing administration "minders" to chaperone its private deposition interviews. The Administration is not cooperating, the media is missing in action, and the Commission's clock is running out. With two-thirds of its mandated life already passed, it is still awaiting access to critical documents from the FAA, NORAD and the White House.
To make matters far worse, it's also lost Max Cleland, one of the few commissioners untainted by conflicts of interest and certainly the most outspoken with regard to the facts. By June of this year Cleland was already railing loudly against the Administration for "slow-walking" cooperation, insisting on "minders", and routing the Commission's information through a "political coordinator" in Ashcroft's Justice Department Many victim family groups disappointed by the Commission's compromises, vacuous hearings, and delays were stating privately that Cleland was one of the only commissioners they could trust.
Then on July 11th, Tom Daschle suddenly and inexplicably nominated Cleland for one of the Democrat controlled board seats in the Export-Import Bank. The nomination required a presidential OK, but if approved would expel Cleland from the 9/11 Commission since no commissioner could simultaneously hold a federal post. So Daschle had knowingly put the fate of the Administration's harshest 9/11 critic into the hands of the Bush team itself.
Cleland for his part refused to shut up, "As each day goes by we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11th than it has ever admitted." (NY Times 10/26/03) He was also the only member to speak out against the Commission leaders' deal allowing the White House to severely limit and censure access to requested Bush briefing documents. As Cleland raged to Wolf Blitzer on CNN (11/13/03), ""This is a scam, it's disgusting. America is being cheated... We shouldn't be making deals. If somebody wants to deal, we issue subpoenas. That's the deal."
That may have been Cleland's idea of the deal, but it was also apparently the last straw. Nine days later Bush confirmed Cleland's Ex-Im Bank appointment and purged him from the Commission for good.
The ball then returned Daschle's court as he alone had the authority to appoint Cleland's successor. The Family Steering Committee, which monitors the Commission's proceedings on behalf of many victim family groups, lobbied hard for another commissioner they could believe in -- someone who would be as fearless, focused and candid as Cleland, and help allay their increasing qualms. Their three recommendations included former Sen. Gary Hart, who had co-chaired the prophetic Hart-Rudman Commission on national security and terrorism; Eleanor Hill, a trusted commission staffer and former Pentagon Inspector General; and 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser, co- chair of September 11th Advocates. Breitweiser was in fact the family groups' favorite as she was not only "one of them," she had also been a driving force behind the 9/11 Commission's creation when Congress's joint intelligence investigation proved futile and Daschle meekly heeded Cheney's warning not to launch any inquiries of his own.
Daschle could not be pushed around by just anyone however. He fearlessly defied all victim group requests and New York editorials recommending a family member for the post, as well as thousands of faxes and emails begging him to choose Kristen above all. Daschle not only spurned these appeals, he flabbergasted everyone by appointing New School University's controversial president, Bob Kerrey, to the post.
Daschle's press office stressed all the Cleland/Kerrey parallels - both men were outspoken former senators, red-state Democrats, and decorated amputee Vietnam vets. What the press releases neglected to note was that, unlike Cleland, Kerrey was also an ultra-hawk, a strategic ally of Bush's neocon handlers, and an alleged war criminal to boot.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, JUST RUN
Some who heard the news were disconcerted because of the unresolved war crime charges against Kerry for his command of a Navy Seals special ops unit in Vietnam. In the late '90s investigative journalist Gregory Vistica found Vietnamese and military witnesses who claimed Kerrey ordered the slaughter of 21 unarmed women and children in a raid on the tiny hamlet of Thanh Phong in February of 1969. Kerrey went on to lose a leg in a later skirmish, win the Medal of Honor, and enjoy a meteoric political career. Pressed by Vistica's revelations, Kerrey finally acknowledged the massacre in 2001, denying he started it, but admitting he didn't try to stop it either. Whatever the truth of that night, many more were alarmed by the fact that he concealed the bloody episode for three decades while exploiting his "war hero" status to realize his political goals (which were lofty, including a hard driving Presidential bid in '92).
One mainstream review of Vistica's expose, "The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey," noted that "Kerrey did his best to control the story and even to quash it by offering Vistica a job on several occasions. He also changed his story repeatedly: 'After the many talks I'd had with Kerrey over two- plus years, I came to see that he regarded the truth as fluid--something that could be modified, mixed, or diverted to suit his needs at the moment.'"
Reasonable doubt 1): how can someone who has shown so few misgivings about cover-ups or fluidic deceit for so long suddenly become a principled champion of concrete truth and full disclosure overnight?
After serving one term in Nebraska's governor's mansion and nearly two in the Senate, Kerrey summed up his national security vision in a famous 1999 speech that urged more of everything martial: more intrusive intelligence, more sweeping surveillance, more billions (by far) for the Pentagon, and a more damn-the-costs-tests-&-treaties--full-speed-ahead! approach to Star Wars.
Reasonable doubt 2): if these were indeed your policy objectives, sir, what about the post-9/11 world is not to like?
PNAC: THE LITTLE RAD POLICY ENGINE THAT COULD
If Kerrey's gung ho '99 overtures seem to chorus the militant anthems of the Project for a New American Century, you have a good ear. PNAC, you may recall, presents itself as an ultra-patriotic think tank and the strategy Vatican of neo-conservatism. PNAC members and alumni like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, Abrams, et al. now dominate White House decision-making and are the guiding force behind our current global adventurist spree.
For the last five years PNAC members have openly advocated total US military and economic domination of land, space, and cyberspace to secure global hegemony and economic supremacy, all of which would speedily deliver -- drum roll -- "the New American Century!"
PNAC has been the clearest voice promoting US control of the oil rich Middle East states; the loudest boosting military spending, full spectrum dominance, and space war tech; and the most wistful (in 2000) publicly lamenting that all its grand designs would take forever to realize without "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor."
It's becoming clear that we the people should pay heed to what these guys pray for, since they always seem to get their wish. One real concern, as readers of Robert Stinnett's densely documented "Day of Deceit" (Free Press, 1999) may recall, is that the "old" Pearl Harbor was not exactly a grim godsend or even a surprise attack. Stinnett reprints the Navy intercepts and internal memos that prove FDR knew it was coming and deftly used the ensuing outrage against Japan to ship troops off to Europe. (At least until our troops took Baghdad, this ranked as the greatest political bank shot of our age.) FDR's foreknowledge has in fact long been known to serious students of the era, and the PNAC fellowship, if nothing else, is a historically literate crew.
Whatever this administration's foreknowledge of 9/11 (and god knows they were warned eleven times), the issue with Kerrey is his ex post facto collusion with the PNAC crowd to pump the 9/11 terror to sell the conquest of Iraq.
Indeed to many 9/11 victim families in the Peaceful Tomorrows and Not in Our Name camp, Kerrey's most disturbing employment was his zealous membership in the PNAC-dominated Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Better known in peace & justice circles as the Committee to Bomb Iraq, the CLI was a White House-anointed "advocacy group" founded in November 2002 to bolster faltering poll support for PNAC's long planned Iraq war. Its mission according to its own website at the time: "The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq will engage in educational and advocacy efforts to mobilize U.S. and international support for policies aimed at ending the aggression of Saddam Hussein… [which] poses a clear and present danger to its neighbors, to the United States, and to free peoples throughout the world."
Although Saddam's "clear and present danger" remained ominously unspecified, PNAC board fixture and CLI executive director Randy Scheunemann saw a more immediate threat arising here at home: "There's going to be a huge need in the post- election vacuum to make sure that what happened in August [when support for unilateral Iraq intervention fell to 27% in the polls] doesn't happen in November and December... Capitol Hill offices have been getting a lot of calls against [attacking Iraq] and not many for."
With public support tanking and Iraq war prep well underway, a huge PR campaign was called for and the CLI delivered. Chorusing White House canards about WMDs, mushroom clouds, UN futility, and Iraq/Al Qaeda collusion, CLI members and friends launched a media offensive that deluged news shows, op-ed pages, and high profile podia for three months. By March, deception prevailed, angst was restored, a majority believed Saddam had backed 9/11, and nearly 60% were ready for us to take him on alone.
By any PR standard the campaign was audacious and a great success. Poli- sci and propaganda buffs will no doubt study its techniques for many years. But beyond its skillful mendacity, the nature of CLI's membership teaches important lessons as well.
GAMES OF MONOPOLY, WAR AND PNACKLE
Remember Mussolini's maxim that fascism should rightly be called corporatism because it merges corporate interests with state power? Well, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq is sort of an American microcosm of Benito's corporate-martial dream, a corporatist hologram of our military-industrial complex writ small. Consider the strategic fusion.
You want military? Check recent CV entries for CLI Prez Scheunemann (Rumsfeld's Iraq policy consultant), or Richard Perle (Assistant Secretary of Defense & Chairman, Defense Policy Board), or Frank Gaffney (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense) or James Woolsey (CIA chief) or arch-hawks like General Wayne Downing (Deputy National Security advisor & Iraq National Congress lobbyist) and General Buster Glosson (Chief of Gulf War I bombing campaign)
You want industrial? CLI chairman Bruce P. Jackson was a top seed in defense industry games throughout the Nineties and weapons giant Lockheed Martin's VP for Strategy and Planning right up to 2002 when he took the CLI post. Chairman of the CLI Board was George Schultz, a patriarch of Bechtel, which would go on to "win" more than $600 million in uncontested Iraqi infrastructure contracts. And let's not forget the indefatigable General Barry McCaffrey, notorious Gulf War I field commander, who now represents Raytheon Aerospace, Integrated Defense Technologies, and Veritas Capital, a growing Carlyle Group wannabe.
You want a complex? Consider the swarming CLI / PNAC nexus: not just CLI insiders like PNAC co-founder Robert Kagain, PNAC chairman William Kristol, PNAC's executive director Gary Schmitt, PNAC director Scheunemann, and PNAC's "Prince of Darkness" Richard Perle, but also the Committee's compulsory conclaves with PNAC progenitors Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Just how much more PNACkled can one little group get?
These linkages are critical because they tie Kerrey directly into the heart of a crowd now being charged in various quarters with 9/11 foreknowledge, passive abetment and thus treason and murder. Indeed respected former cabinet ministers in both Britain and Germany have argued in print this year that 9/11 was "allowed to happen" as a great enabler for PNAC's imperial campaigns. In the US, Ellen Mariani, an elderly 9/11 widow, recently filed a civil RICO (Racketeering, Influence, and Corrupt Organization) Act complaint against Bush and such key PNAC puppeteers as Cheney and Rumsfeld, presenting forty pages of evidence that they "knowingly let 9/11 happen for their personal and political gain." The gains enumerated include not only fear-induced poll bloat and 2002 congressional victories, but also the huge windfall profits realized by defendant-related firms in the destruction/reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq. (For example, Cheney's 433,000 Halliburton stock options alone have now appreciated to $26 million plus.)
Until these accusations are fully explored and adjudicated, Kerrey's close strategic cooperation with these defendants in hyping their agenda makes him a prime "person of interest" in both the evidential and auxiliary sense.
WHO YA GONNA CALL? A TRUST-BUSTER?
So to sum up our reasonable doubts: Is a man who has: a) shown no personal aversion to grave cover-ups and duplicity; b) noisily promoted the militarist policies that 9/11 delivered; and c) collaborated with alleged accomplices in, and obvious beneficiaries of, the 9/11 attacks, really the best candidate we can find for a 9/11 sleuth?
Who knows what Daschle was thinking when he sacrificed Cleland, ignored victim family pleas, and conjured up Kerrey (or for that matter what possessed him earlier to spike his own 9/11 probe, back the Iraq war, and cheerfully sign off on the Patriotic Act)?
What we do know is Kerrey's own view of his job, which was published the same day as Kean's "preventable" claim. "The commission should not be a vehicle to bash President Bush, in Kerrey's view. The commission will have to do its work 'respectfully - but forcefully,' he said, so as 'not to embarrass the president.'" (NY Villager, 12/17/03)
We also know that whomever the commission might eventually finger for "failure" or "incompetence", the crucial question of winking foreknowledge has yet to be raised, and without Cleland's brave holler the victims' answer-hungry kin will have a much lonelier row to hoe.
W. David Kubiak is director of Big Medicine, a research and education institute studying the corporate takeover of our country, culture and consciousness. His email is bigmed(at)nancho.net.
The 9/11 "investigation"- sometimes priorities dictate
By Kerry Tomasi Online Journal Contributing Writer
"My father's no different than any other powerful man. Like a senator or president."
"You know how naïve you sound? Senators and presidents don't have men killed".
"Oh. Who's being naïve, Kay?"
-- Michael Corleone in "The Godfather".
December 6, 2003-Suppose you were a detective assigned to investigate a rather brutal murder, one in which the victim had been tortured for several days prior to being killed.
At the scene of the crime you get what appears to be a lucky break-the suspect's wallet seems to have been 'carelessly' dropped. It contains his name, address, and phone number, and is someone you recognize as having connections to an organized crime family.
Problem is, you also find your name and address in there, as well as those of your children, grandchildren, and all of your nieces and nephews.
The message is quite clear, and your priorities dictate. You pocket the wallet, and any other evidence you happen upon, and the crime goes unsolved.
Now suppose you were a congressman assigned to investigate the 911 terrorist attacks. As you begin, it becomes apparent that certain members of the US government had conspired to allow the attacks to occur. In fact, it's just lying there, slightly below the surface, right out in the open. You immediately realize you're dealing with the kind of people who would-at the very least, and simply to further a political agenda-look the other way while 3,000 civilians were murdered.
And if that wasn't troubling enough, you then get a 'friendly' visit from someone you've never met before, inquiring into how well your daughter is doing at that overseas university in Dorm Room 305, and if your nephew made it into that prestigious preschool at 735 S. 4th Street in Atlanta.
You might even get a little note in the mail-laced with a powdery substance-just to help you sort things out in your head. The message is quite clear, and your priorities dictate. When the "investigation" is complete, no governmental complicity in the crime is revealed.
As Henry Kissinger once theorized (as related in Paul Krugman's book "The Great Unraveling"), when a revolutionary power seeks to overthrow an existing and stable system, it begins first by refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of that system, or it's rules. Those living within the system do not realize this, and therefore reject the notion that anyone would, for instance, disobey 'the rules' so blatantly and permit the murder of 3,000
people purely for political gain; even though such an action (or inaction) would hand the conspirators the cover to achieve virtually everything they could have ever dreamed of politically.
Anyone who tries to suggest that they would actually do such a thing, or attempts to find out if they did, is derided as an alarmist and unpatriotic by those within the existing system, and given subtle, or not so subtle, 'encouragement' by the conspirators to 'pocket the wallet.' Thus, the revolutionary power is able to proceed unencumbered, without fear of oversight or challenge.
Could this be where we are in this country right now? Does anything else make sense?
What else would justify the silence and/or acquiescence of certain 'in-the-know' members of our society to the flagrant economic, environmental, and societal devastation going on today? Why are the Democrats, the media (those not controlled by the 'revolutionary power'), the intelligence community, and even traditional conservatives, so cowed by this movement? Why won't they investigate, or at least speak up?
It can't simply be that they're worried about losing their jobs, or want a big tax cut that bad. Not with so much at stake. There has to be something
more sinister in play here. Something most of us thought could never happen in this country. Not on this scale anyway.
I know this all sounds somewhat cynical and a bit paranoid. That's probably because I am quite cynical and a bit paranoid these days. I've been paying attention-I can't help but be. But that doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong. And if I am right, we are truly in a dreadfully serious situation.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI)-Former Sen. Max Cleland, a Democrat, has been nominated by President Bush to serve on the board of the Export-Import Bank. As a result he will have to leave the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The statutes governing the panel, formally known as The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, bar anyone who holds a federal job like being on the Ex-Im Board.
Cleland has been one of the more outspoken members of the commission, accusing the administration of delaying access to vital documents in an effort to run out the clock on its investigation. My best wishes to Mr. Cleland, and all of his family members.
Sometimes priorities dictate.
It will surprise no one that the official biographies listed on the official website of the commission do not mention any of the seedy information on this page ... not because this website is wrong, but because the official effort is merely part of the cover-up, a truncated effort forced upon the administration they only supported because several forces, including some of the 911 families, embarrassed the administration to the point that they had to have an inquiry. However, this investigation has very little money, is structurally compromised, and has flagrant conflicts of interest by most of its members that should be front page news in every newspaper in the country.
Family members demand answers from 9/11 commission
By Jeremy Johnson
9 April 2003 www.wsws.org/articles/2003/apr2003/hear-a09.shtml
The commission’s hearings received scant media attention, drowned out by the celebratory coverage of the ongoing slaughter in Iraq. Despite the wealth of unanswered questions about September 11 and the raw emotions of those who survived or lost loved ones in the attacks, there is no desire by any of the major media organizations to independently probe these issues.
The Kean commission’s determination to leave these questions untouched is one more indication that the political establishment has much to hide from the American public about these tragic events.
New York Times
March 31, 2003
Undercutting the 9/11 Inquiry
It's hard to believe that everything related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will not get the most thorough public scrutiny possible. But the federal investigative committee so reluctantly supported by the White House now seems in danger of being undermined. As the first hearings open in Manhattan today, committee members are chagrined to be going hat in hand to Congress for adequate financing. White House assurances led them to believe needed funds would be included in the supplemental war budget sent to the Capitol last week. But the commission's $11 million request was not there.
Reasonable people might wonder if the White House, having failed in its initial attempt to have Henry Kissinger steer the investigation, may be resorting to budgetary starvation as a tactic to hobble any politically fearless inquiry. The committee's mandate includes scrutiny of intelligence failures and eight other government areas.
The White House vows that in coming budget initiatives there will be no shortchanging of the nation's duty to face the facts of the tragedy. As things now stand, $3 million budgeted as start-up funding could run out this summer. An estimated $14 million is needed for the task of finding out precisely how the attackers were able to pull off their plot in which nearly 3,000 people died.
This seems a bargain given the importance of the mission. By comparison, the inquiry into the shuttle disaster's loss of seven lives may cost an estimated $40 million, and the inquiry into the Whitewater controversy ate up more than $30 million.
The nation demands an unflinching 9/11 search. A forthright Congress could easily shake the money loose from the Capitol leadership. Everyone claims to have homeland security as a top priority, but anything less than a robust inquiry will amount to a fresh assault on domestic safety. Tim Roemer, a former congressman and a commission member now buttonholing old colleagues for the missing money, makes the case best: "Facing the facts won't kill us. Not getting them might."
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
March 22, 2003
Bush Uses War to Bury Probe of 9/11
By CHRIS FLOYD
Long before Genghis W. Bush and his Boardroom Horde launched their campaign of rapine against the clapped-out Iraqi regime, there was a little incident involving hijacked planes, famous buildings and the mass slaughter of innocent people on American soil that caused a good deal of commotion at the time. You might remember; it happened on September 11 a couple of years back.
True, Genghis does mention it occasionally, as part of his successful bamboozling of the shell-shocked American people into blaming Iraq for the atrocity, which was of course financed and carried out by faithful followers of the extremist variant of Islam propagated worldwide by the Bush Family's longtime pals and patrons, the Saudi royals. The attacks were also facilitated at least in part (and perhaps--let's be charitable--indirectly) by extremist elements in the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, longtime ally of the Bush family firm, the CIA. The connections between these Bush cronies and the Taliban, al Qaeda and the killers of journalist Daniel Pearl are extensively documented in the public record.
Of course, the American public is told nothing of this record. Their own history--even the recent horror that exploded live on their TV screens that fateful September morning--is being falsified and obliterated by the Bush Regime and its cowed, corrupted and ignorant enablers in the media. Dazzled by the glitzy video-game graphics of the wardrumming TV networks, and battered by a ceaseless barrage of lies from their leaders--even from the sainted Colin Powell, whose much-ballyhooed "case for the prosecution" at the UN has since been revealed as a farrago of fake documents, doctored tapes and plagiarised schoolwork--a full 45 percent of Americans now believe the transparent lie that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks. Yet in the first months after the assault--before the Bush fog machine went to work--only 3 percent of the public believed this lunatic conspiracy theory, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
This week we saw how the national amnesia induced by the Bush blizzard of bull is serving another useful purpose for the unelected junta: obscuring its hugger-mugger strangulation of the "Independent Commission" appointed to investigate the September 11 attacks.
Of course, Genghis long resisted any outside probe into the catastrophic failure of his beloved secret services to thwart the plotters--not to mention the Horde's strangely tepid response to the attack itself. Even after severe public pressure forced Bush to convene an independent panel, he tried to sandbag the proceedings by appointing accused war criminal and self-proclaimed master of the public lie, Henry Kissinger, as chairman. But Hank exited the scene rather than submit to disclosure rules that would have revealed the extent of his role as bagman for the Saudis and other interested parties.
Finally, a less controversial bagman for Saudi interests, Thomas Keane--an oil business partner of Osama bin Laden's financier and brother-in-law, Saudi magnate Khalid bin Mahfouz--was appointed to head the panel. At last it seemed the commission's Establishment worthies could actually get down to work. But one should never underestimate--or even misunderestimate--the ingenuity of professional liars like the Bush boys. For they quietly found another way to nobble the commission: subjecting the panel members--who were picked, remember, because of their reputations for impeachable probity and public service--to months-long security checks before allowing them access to the secret documents at the heart of the probe, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
Most commissioners already have security clearance from their previous government service, but the Horde has decided to put many of them--those not directly appointed by Bush, apparently--through the glacially-paced FBI background checks yet again. How long will this take? Coy FBI officials will say only that the usual length for such checks is 10 months. But here's the beauty part: the panel is required to deliver its report to Congress in just 14 months--leaving only enough time for the kind of rush-rush, hush-hush whitewash the Horde has always wanted.
Of course, America's carefully cultivated amnesia also covers the entire background history of the Bush rampage in Iraq. Few folks back in the Homeland realize that Bush's planned mass murder of Iraqi children--half the population targeted by his "Shock and Awe" missiles is under age 15--is simply a falling out among thieves, old comrades in crime. Yes, just like Daddy Bush's old punching bag, Panama's Manuel Noreiga, and even the Islamic Pimpernel himself, Osama, Saddam is a son of the CIA, as historian Roger Morris detailed in the New York Times this week.
In 1963, the CIA helped Saddam and his Baathist Party take power in a brutal coup. Operating from secret bases in Kuwait (where Daddy Bush was drilling for oil with his business partners, the Kuwaiti royals), the Agency directed Baath rebels as they laid some serious "regime chance" on an Iraqi strongman who'd gotten a bit uppity by seeking advanced weaponry and challenging Western hegemony over the region. After winning power, Saddam and his fellow CIA proxies launched a blood-Baath, systematically murdering hundreds of people from lists helpfully supplied by American agents. Five years later, the CIA gave Saddam and his family another boost, helping their faction oust rivals in an internal power struggle. And still later, that future CIA boss, now translated to Oval glory, would turn out to be the most lavish and fawning of Saddam's many American sugar daddies--long after the "Hitler of our day" had "gassed his own people."
No, these dark forces--these secret agencies, these corrupt political families, who gorge themselves on plunder and proxy murder--have never been "liberators." They are not liberators now.
Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some two weeks ago or so much of the 'thinking' world was stunned to hear that President Bush had appointed Henry Kissinger as Chairman of the 'independent' commission of inquiry into the 911 attacks on the US. It is well known in political and academic circles that Kissinger is a past master of secrecy and deception, even if the impression of him held by a sometimes poorly informed general public is commonly an honourable one.
The Bush administration had long delayed agreeing to legislation on the 911 inquiry until it could be sure of finding a chairman whom it could rely upon not to dig too deep. But now Kissinger has himself suddenly resigned, throwing the Bush 911 cover-up strategy into disarray - at least for the moment.
Right from the minute he was appointed to lead the Commission, fierce public pressure built up on Kissinger to declare his conflicts of interest, and in particular to disclose the clients of his private consulting firm 'Kissinger Associates'.
Rather than concede to this Kissinger has now decided to resign his post, despite the major embarrassment this causes to both himself and the White House. Such has been the brazen arrogance of the Bush administration since 911 that clearly neither Kissinger nor the White House had anticipated the intense public pressure that would arise for the disclosure of his business associations.
Given the highly damaging nature of the resignation it is difficult not to conclude that such disclosure must have had the potential to lead to even worse, and therefore immense, embarrassment. And indeed this seems more than likely. In particular disclosure would almost certainly have placed further public attention on Kissinger's role as an adviser to US oil company Unocal and its relationship with the Taliban in Afghanistan (more details below).
But this would not have simply been a personal embarrassment to Kissinger. The Unocal trail leads directly to Enron and then on towards Vice President Dick Cheney.
Former federal war crimes prosecutor John Loftus already claims knowledge of paperwork confirming secret dealings between Enron and the Taliban. According to Loftus an al-Qaeda document on this subject was discovered in 1998 by FBI counter-terrorism chief, John O'Neil, following the US embassy bombings in Africa.
The real dynamite, however, is that Loftus also claims that Cheney instructed the FBI in January 2001 to back-off investigations of al-Qaeda in order to protect Enron's interest in the development of a gas pipeline through Afghanistan. That pipeline was originally due to be built by Unocal, with no less than Henry Kissinger himself hired by them to advise on the project.
O'Neil resigned from the FBI in the summer of 2001 in protest at the attempts by the Bush administration to obstruct him in his pursuit of al-Qaeda - and the rest, as they say, is history. Or not quite.
Although O'Neil took a job at the World Trade Centre following his resignation and was killed in the attacks on 911, Loftus says that fellow FBI agent Robert Wright has compiled his own findings on the Enron block. Wright has, however, been prevented by his superiors from publishing them.
Nonetheless Wright told the press earlier this year about other aspects of FBI efforts to stifle terrorist investigations. The FBI continues to illegally refuse the release of his 500 page manuscript, 'Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission', that he submitted for prepublication review in October 2001. In fact, the FBI has even refused to turn the manuscript over to Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Commitee, charged with investigating the FBI’s intelligence failures. Wright has now launched a lawsuit against the FBI.
So with a variety of time bombs apparently ticking away in the background, and with Kissinger no longer in a position to neutralise them on behalf of the White House, what is the Bush administration now going to do about the 911 Commission? It's too late to stop the inquiry because it's already on the statute books. The legislation was finally signed by Bush in November once Kissinger had been secured for the job. Now Kissinger is suddenly gone and so too is the Commission's vice chairman.
Is Bush's luck in fact starting to run out, or will Cheney be able to retrieve the situation for him?
The replacement that has already been secured for the Vice Chair of the Commission - Lee Hamilton - is a Democrat previously accused of participating in inquiry cover-ups of alleged wrongdoings by Bush's father during the Reagan era (ominously the official records of previous Presidents have now been subjected to an Executive Order by Bush junior restricting public access to them).
The earlier Bush related inquiries in which Hamilton was involved concern the 'October Surprise' and 'Iran-Contra' scandals. And Cheney was in there too - according to the reporter who broke parts of the Iran-Contra story through Newsweek and Associated Press. In a more recent analysis entitled 'Covering Up Iran-Contra' (Consortium News, 5 November 2000 ) he comments on Hamilton's and Cheney's role in that investigation as follows:
"A senior committee source said one of Cheney’s top priorities was to block Democrats from deposing Vice President Bush about his Iran-contra knowledge....... Despite surrendering to Cheney’s demands time and again, Hamilton failed, in the end, to get a single House Republican to sign the final report. Only three moderate Republicans on the Senate side – Warren Rudman, William Cohen and Paul Trible – agreed to sign the report, after extracting more concessions. Cheney and the other Republicans submitted a minority report that denied that any significant wrongdoing had occurred.... The watered-down Iran-contra majority report essentially let Vice President Bush off the hook. Bush’s political career was saved..... [and in] 1989, Cheney became Bush’s defense secretary."
In the case of the 'October Surprise' hearings, one senior White House correspondent pointed out at the time that "Hamilton held a press conference to clear Bush before the investigation into the deal between the Reagan-Bush candidates for presidential office and the Iranians, had even started."
Despite his Democrat background Hamilton's closeness to the Bush Administration is clear. A PTI newswire 21 December 2000 states: "According to Republican sources, former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton’s nomination as either Ambassador to the UN or as CIA director is also being considered (by the new Bush Administration)". Hamilton also holds Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency awards.
The key issue now for the 911 commission is who will be appointed to replace Kissinger, and will Kissinger, Cheney and Bush themselves be subpoenaed to give evidence?
On the face of it things may not be too hopeful. According to an ABC News news report before the Kissinger resignation "President Bush does not envision testifying before an independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks .... The bill being signed by Bush, in most cases, requires six of 10 panel members to approve subpoenas, meaning at least one GOP [i.e Republican] panelist would have to side with Democrats to compel Bush's testimony. The White House withheld its support of the bill until it could ensure subpoena powers were limited."
How this situation is justified when President Clinton was forced into giving evidence on the Lewinsky saga - a matter of infinitely trivial importance by comparison - is beyond imagination. A dozing or pathetically servile American press has yet to forcefully raise this simple point.
However, a week (or a fortnight in this case) is a long time in politics, especially as the anti-war movement in the US now seems to be growing fast. Nonetheless there is a danger that the Kissinger 911 fiasco could cause panic to set in at the White House, making the media diversion that would be caused by a war with Iraq (not to mention the likely ensuing chaos in the Middle East) an even more appealing option for the lunatic Bush team.
Or are the wheels about to come off their wagon before they get the chance? Events can overtake even the most cunning, and much may be yet in store.
As John Loftus neatly puts it: "... the information provided by European intelligence sources prior to 9/11 was so extensive, that it is no longer possible for either CIA or the FBI to assert a defense of incompetence... If Congress ever combines its Enron investigation with 9/11, Cheney’s whole house of cards will collapse."
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Kean's conflict is at the very heart of what his commission is supposed to investigate. The commission is to examine whether the attacks could have been avoided and is to recommend steps to prevent future attacks. The reason the issue has become politicized - the reason why Bush was forced by public pressure by the families of the victims of September 11 to establish such a commission - is that there remains a lingering suspicion that the Bush Administration was somehow at fault for not stopping the terrorism. There are three levels of suspicion:
1. The idea that the Bush Administration was behind the terrorist attacks, or at least that part of the U. S. military or intelligence apparatus close to the military industrial complex and members of the Bush Administration planned the terrorism to satisfy various goals. This makes a lot of sense, but is too conspiratorial for most Americans.
2. The idea that the Bush Administration ignored the massive amounts of specific warnings of the attacks and arranged for the remarkably slow NORAD response in order to allow the terrorism to occur, again to satisfy various goals. This makes even more sense, and given the unbelievable sluggishness of NORAD seems to me to be practically a certainty, but is still too conspiratorial for most Americans.
3. The idea that business ties of various members of the Bush Administration, particularly to the Bush family itself, led to improper restrictions in the investigations being conducted by U. S. counterterrorism agencies on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, restrictions which allowed the terrorism to occur. This in my mind is an absolute certainty, and is so suspicious that it appears to lie behind the concerns of the families of the victims.We have to go back to John O'Neill, the the director of counterterrorism for the FBI's New York office, and the FBI's leading expert on bin Laden. He was a driven man, and was determined to catch bin Laden and stop his organization, but was thwarted by what he felt was political interference by the U. S. government. He was so frustrated at not being allowed to do his job that he quit in disgust, and took a job as head of security for the World Trade Center, only to die on his second day of work, probably when he heroically went back into one of the towers to try to save people. O'Neill felt that the answers to the terrorism question lay in Saudi Arabia, and in particular, in the relationship between U. S. corporate oil interests and the Saudi elites which were financing the terrorism. The U. S. policy of treating the terrorist threat as subordinate to corporate interests goes back at least to the Clinton Administration, but became even more exaggerated under Bush, possibly because Bush and his family had personal business connections with the Saudi elites, including the financiers of al-Qaeda (not to mention the amazing fact that Bush's father's company, Carlyle, had as an investor the bin Laden family itself - to quote myself: "it is as if during the Second World War the main American military supplier was partly owned by Roosevelt's father and partly owned by Hitler's brother"). O'Neill's problems peaked when his investigation of the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen was acrimoniously thwarted by the U. S. ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine. O'Neill's exit from the FBI seems to have been hastened by some odd charges involving a missing briefcase, an issue which supposedly led to his understanding that he would no longer be considered for promotion. We have seen a number of examples where FBI agents attempted to investigate suspicious incidents, but were mysterously thwarted by the FBI bureaucracy (e. g., the Phoenix memorandum on Arabs attending U.S. flight schools, the story of FBI informant Aukai Collins, the failure to obtain a FISA warrant against Moussaoui - the man who heads the FBI's National Security Law Unit, the unit that blocked the Minneapolis agents from pursuing their suspicions about Moussaoui, recently received a reward for "exceptional performance", which carried with it a cash bonus of 20 to 35 percent of his salary and a framed certificate signed by the President!). All of these incidents, together with O'Neill's concerns, have to lead one to wonder whether corporate interests interfered with a proper investigation of al-Qaeda, an investigation which would have prevented 9-11. Kean's conflict fits squarely into this problem: he is a director of a U. S. oil corporation which is in partnership with a company owned by a family in the Saudi elites which is very closely associated with Khalid bin Mahfouz, a man who probably financed President Bush's oil business, a man closely associated with the debacle of BCCI, and a man who has been alleged to be a financier of al-Qaeda. Kean is supposed to investigate whether U. S. corporate oil interests, and in particular business interests and connections of the President of the United States, had any adverse effect on the proper counterterrorism investigations of the U. S. government, when Kean has much the same sort of corporate crony connections to exactly the same man.
posted 2:45 AMSaturday, December 28, 2002
I was afraid that the conflict of interest of the new chairman of Bush's 9-11 whitewash commission, Thomas Kean, was going to go completely unnoticed, but Michel Chossudovsky, who writes excellent stuff which reminds me of the work of Peter Dale Scott (no higher praise is possible), has written a good article on the subject. I have a few comments: 1. The family ties between Khalid bin Mahfouz and Osama bin Laden are still somewhat murky. I have seen reference to both bin Mahfouz being married to bin Laden's sister and bin Laden being married to bin Mahfouz's sister (I also recollect a letter to the editor of the National Post by a lawyer for bin Mahfouz denying at least one of these connections). In any event, it seems to me to be more important that bin Mahfouz may be linked to Islamic charities that have financed al-Qaeda. It's not that we know that bin Mahfouz is so linked - Kean's problem is that part of his mandate as chairman could lead him to uncover this connection, meaning that he would be forced to reveal a connection between al-Qaeda and a partner of a corporation of which he is a director.
2. Kean's conflict problem is actually two conflict problems. As chairman of the commission, he will presumably have to swear some sort of oath to uphold the truth, an oath which he won't be able to swear because of Amerada Hess's connections, through the Delta Hess Alliance, to possible financiers of al-Qaeda. On the other hand, as a director of Amerada Hess, he also has a fiduciary duty to Amerada Hess and probably its shareholders, a duty which would preclude him putting himself in a position where his oath as chairman of the commission would force him to damage the corporate interests of Amerada Hess. This damage would occur if the commission were to discover that bin Mahfouz is a financier of al-Qaeda, a discovery which would presumably mean, due to U. S. anti-terrorism laws, that Amerada Hess would no longer be able to participate in the potentially very lucrative Delta Hess Alliance. Kean breaches his duty as a director of Amerada Hess just by putting himself in a position where information disadvantageous to Amerada Hess might be found, even if such information is only inadvertantly stumbled upon by a commission researcher (researchers are the most dangerous people, as they have the tendency to go looking for truths they're not supposed to find). In other words, he breaches his duty to Amerada Hess simply by assuming a duty to the commission which could force him to reveal truths about bin Mahfouz. Kean is putting himself in the position of looking for a gas leak with a lighted match.
3. He might try to remove his conflict problem by resigning as a director of Amerada Hess, but that wouldn't stop his fiduciary duty to the corporation for acts taken while he was a director, nor would it erase his memory of whatever he happens to know about bin Mahfouz due to his position as a director. I suppose Amerada Hess might try to waive any duty Kean has to them, but the shareholders would probably have something to say about that.
4. It sounds horrible, but it is not out of the question that Bush picked Kean because Kean was so completely conflicted in this matter that he would act to cover up the potentially extremely embarrassing connections between the Bush family and the bin Mahfouz and bin Laden families.
5. The sweet, sweet irony of all this is that Kean's conflict problems may actually be worse than
Monday, December 23, 2002
The United States, in an announced change in policy, is planning to set up eight to ten bases in Afghanistan in the next six months "in hopes of boosting reconstruction efforts and regional security". "In addition, the new bases will try 'to dampen regional tensions' and to project the power of the central government in Kabul into the provinces, Joe Collins, deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations, said at a Pentagon briefing." Collins said that this reconfiguration would not increase the size of the U. S. military presence in Afghanistan, which currently stands at about 9,000 troops. However, another official said the U. S. presence could increase if the Army Corps of Engineers is "tapped for a major construction project", which he said is being contemplated. A major construction project? Now, what could that possibly be? Well, (insane) Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, fresh from an assassination attempt, has announced a summit to be held on December 26-27 between himself, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and American stooge Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, to discuss the building of a gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. This is the infamous gas pipeline that crazed conspiracy theorists claimed was the real reason for the American attack on Afghanistan, especially given that Afghanistan seemed to have nothing to do with September 11, and since the Americans have been noticeably unsuccessful at capturing al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan or controlling the country. If a pipeline is to be built, bases will be needed to protect the contruction workers and the built pipeline. Attacks on workers, the pipeline, and these bases will keep the local warlords entertained for years, and may even lead to the vietnamization of Afghanistan for the American military. Of course, paying for these bases is in effect a direct subsidy from the American taxpayers to the oily friends of the Bush Administration who will benefit from the construction business and from the gas in the pipeline.
911 Commission - Forgedda Boudit
By Jim Rarey
A cruel sham is being perpetrated on the American public and especially on the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. One of the expectations of the public is that the Commission established to investigate the attacks will find out what the government (in particular intelligence agencies) knew prior to the attacks. However, both the restrictions on the Commission and the composition of its members are designed to prevent just that.
The Commission was established by the 2003 Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 4628) to (1) conduct an investigation, (2) identify, review and evaluate lessons learned, and (3) issue a report to the President and Congress containing findings, conclusions and recommendations.
While the first part of Section 604 of the Act defining the Commission's functions appears to give it a broad mandate of areas for investigation (including intelligence agencies), a following provision limits its inquiry into the 'intelligence community' to areas not covered by the 'Joint Inquiry' of Congressional Intelligence Committees unless there is new information not reviewed by the congressional investigation.
Commission members and staff will be required to have appropriate security clearances before they are given access to classified information. This probably means that any final report to the public will be 'sanitized' of classified information, as is the report of the congressional 'Joint Inquiry.' In other words, any meaningful information the Commission might find (despite the restrictions on it) will not be made public. Committee staff members are considered government employees and are subject to severe penalties for leaking classified information.
Some public hearings may be held but obviously will not deal with classified information. Each agency furnishing information to the Commission establishes its own classifications. The Commission can issue subpoenas for information or compelling testimony but only if at least six of the ten members approve or both the chairman and vice chairman approve.
If a subpoena is ignored, a U.S. District Court can issue an order to comply and if still ignored, cite the person or persons for contempt. Alternatively, by majority vote the commission can issue a non-binding request to a U.S. Attorney to bring the matter before a grand jury. U.S. Attorneys report to the Attorney General, or a subordinate, in the Department of Justice.
The Commission is required to issue its final report eighteen months after the authorizing legislation went into effect.
If the limited scope of the commission is not enough, the membership of the commission virtually guarantees that nothing meaningful will emerge. In this writers opinion there are three general categories of persons who should have been excluded from the commission. The first is anyone who is a member of an organization that advocates abdicating U.S. sovereignty in favor of governance by a regional or world body. The premier organization pushing that concept for the last eight decades is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Members of the CFR hold a significant number of high-level government positions.
A second category would be anyone who has had involvement with the 'intelligence community.' This would include members of congress who have been on intelligence committees as well as some private sector members of advisory boards. The rationale is that those persons likely have either been co-opted or have become inured to accepting assertions of intelligence agencies at face value.
The third criterion, which would mostly apply to government officials and members of congress, is anyone who participated in a cover-up of illegal activity related to organizations or groups involved in terrorism or the related activities of drug distribution and money laundering.
Then let's begin with the chairman of the commission Thomas Kean, former New Jersey Governor and President of Drew University. When Kean was appointed to replace severely conflicted Henry Kissinger, he asserted his only constituency was the students at Drew.
Well, it turns out that is not exactly true. Kean sits on the Board of Directors of Amerada Hess, one of the world's leading independent oil and gas companies. The company is coupled with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabia company in a joint venture called Delta-Hess. Delta-Hess in turn is a partner in Azerbaijan with a consortium developing Caspian Sea oil resources.
Delta Oil is owned by the two Saudi families of Khalid bin Mahfouz and Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi. Both are alleged to be major financial backers of Osama bin Laden and have been named in a lawsuit by families and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bin Mahfouz is Osama's brother-in-law. His sister married bin Laden.
Delta-Hess owns 20% of the Azerbaijan consortium. SOCOL, the state owned Oil Company has 50% and Frontera owns the remaining 30%.
Frontera is headed by Bill White who was Deputy Secretary of Energy in the first Clinton administration and the architect of Azerbaijans first Caspian Sea offshore gas and oil consortium. Familiar names among its Board of Directors and advisors include Lloyd Bentsen, former Senator and Treasury Secretary and John Deutch, former Director of the CIA.
Kean also is co-chairman of Homeland Security Project, which had significant input into the drafting of the Office of Homeland Security legislation.
The long-time member of the CFR also forgot to mention his role as general partner in Quad Ventures LLC. Quad is a limited partnership operating in the $815 billion education industry whose partners include; Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch Community Development, Wells Fargo bank and insurance giants Prudential Financial and Wachovia. Top officials in most of those companies are also CFR members. Both Citigroup and Morgan Chase are deeply involved in the Enron scandal. Citigroup received a slap on the wrist when found to have laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money which some suspect helped fund terrorism.
Commission vice chairman and former congressman Lee Hamilton was appointed to replace former senate majority leader George Mitchell (CFR), who like Kissinger declined to disclose potential conflicts of interest and resigned. Hamilton, a CFR member since at least 1988, was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Select Intelligence Committee.
In 1987, House Speaker Jim Wright (who later resigned in disgrace) appointed Hamilton to chair a committee investigating the Iran/Contra affair. When a question was raised about CIA/Contra drug smuggling, the response was release by Hamilton of a cursory review that concluded there was no truth to the charges. The CIA recently released a report (that received almost no publicity) admitting the drug connection.
Considered one of the fifty most powerful women in the country, CFR member Jamie Gorelick is currently vice-chair of the giant mortgage lender and insurer Fannie Mae. From March 1994 until she joined Fannie Mae in May 1997 she was Deputy Attorney General, the number two spot in Janet Renos Department of Justice.
In May 1995, the Intelligence Community Law Enforcement Policy Board was established to meet quarterly and discuss mutual concerns of the Attorney General and Director of Central Intelligence. The board was co-chaired by Gorelick and DCI George Tenet. Other members included all of the law enforcement agencies, the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research and the Defense Department General Counsel.
This is the same time frame (spring of 1995) in which the Philippine government apprised the FBI, CIA and State Department of Project Bojinka an Islamic terrorist plot which included hijacking commercial airlines planes and flying them into the Pentagon, World Trade Center towers and, several other buildings.
The BCCI scandal involved a number of powerful individuals. Clark Clifford and Robert Altman were the top two officers in First American, the new name given Financial General Bankshares when it was taken over by BCCI (known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals International in the corridors of Washington) with the help of the Jackson Stephens/Lippo Worthen Bank and the Rose Law Firm.
First American is said to have been using the notorious PROMIS software.
When BCCI and First American were exposed, the legal defense team for Clifford and Altman attracted a bevy of well-known names including Robert Fiske (later the first 'independent counsel' investigating Whitewater and Vince Foster's 'suicide'), Robert Bennett (later attorney for Bill Clinton), and Jamie Gorelick.
In a somewhat related case in 1978, Financial General Bankshares sued BCCI, two Jackson Stephens' companies (one was Systematics) and a number of individuals. Two of the attorneys representing Systematics in the controversy over PROMIS software were Webster Hubbell and Hillary Rodham.
In 1998, while at Fannie Mae, Gorelick served on Clintons Central Intelligence National Security Advisory Panel as well as the President's Review of Intelligence.
Ben-Veniste is a high-visibility Washington attorney and Democrat power broker. He was Democrat counsel to the Senate Whitewater investigation where he blocked inquiries about Webster Hubbell's hiring by the Lippo group and others administered by Truman Arnold.
According to investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker, Ben-Veniste then turned around and defended Arnold (the man he was supposed to be investigating) before Ken Starr's Whitewater grand jury, for which he was roundly criticized.
Hopsicker also reveals that Arnold had furnished a $2 million airplane to his friend Wally Hilliard for $1. Hilliard, Hopsicker says, owned the Flight school in Venice, Florida where four of the Islamic terrorist pilots were trained that flew the suicide missions on 9/11.
Another of Ben-Venistes clients was Barry Seal, the drug running CIA asset of Iran/Contra and Mena, Arkansas notoriety. In fact, Hopsicker relates Ben-Veniste told the Wall Street Journal, "I did my part by launching him (Seal) into the arms of Vice President Bush who embraced him as an undercover operative."
Fielding is another one who has been around the centers of power for a while on the Republican side. In the Nixon administration he was a deputy counsel working under John Dean. In the Watergate scandal he helped his boss (Dean) handle Howard Hunt's safe full of documents. They wore rubber gloves so as not to leave fingerprints. Fielding was not one of the twenty or so Nixon associates (including John Dean) that went to jail over their involvement.
Later Fielding served as White House Counsel to President Reagan. More recently he was at least partly responsible for getting George W. Bush's political mentor Karl Rove in hot water over failure to divest his stock in Intel Corporation valued at over $100,000.
Fielding advised Rove, who was planning to divest all of his stock, to hold onto it until a 'government certificate of divestiture' could be obtained. The certificate would have allowed deferral of capital gains taxes on stock sold. .
While he still held the stock, Rove met with Intel executives and Vice President Chaney at which a proposed merger with a Dutch company was discussed. This was a breech of administration ethics rules.
Fielding served on the Bush transition team in early 2001. According to Clay Johnson, Director of Presidential Personnel and Deputy Chief of Staff, the Vice President asked Fred Fielding, who had been President Reagan's counsel, to come in and he volunteered to--as soon as we had a Cabinet Secretary-to-be, he would sit down with that person and they'd have a nice little chat for an hour or two. And then Fred would tell us whether he was confident that there were no clearance problems or not. If there was something that he thought might be problematic, he would explore it further, and maybe they had to go get some information, whatever. Johnson said the process now takes sixty days.
Jim Thompson was the longest serving governor in Illinois history completing four terms in office leaving in 1991. He is currently chairman of the large Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn. While he was governor, sensational charges were leveled against him and the law firm by Chicago author and investigator Sherman Skolnick.
Skolnick claimed that the First National Bank of Chicago had loaned (Communist) China billions of dollars to be repaid in gold. When China defaulted on the gold payments, according to Skolnick, the CIA and bank arranged for massive amounts of high purity heroin to be smuggled into the U.S. in lieu of the gold payments. Skolnick alleged shipments came in through Joliet, just south of Chicago, and were supervised by Thompson and the Winston and Strawn law firm. As with most claims of CIA involvement in illegal drugs, nothing came of the allegations.
Thompson got caught in the middle of a messy political battle between outgoing Governor George Ryan and Attorney General Jim Ryan, both Republicans. Ryan was running against Democrat Rod Blagojevich, the victor and incoming governor. At the same time AG Ryan was suing Governor George Ryan over the pardoning of death row inmates.
George Ryan hired former governor Jim Thompson to defend against the lawsuit.
Blagojevich had railed in his campaign against the 26 years of Republican corruption and mismanagement. That included 12 of the years when Thompson was governor. To the astonishment of practically everyone, Blagojevich appointed Thompson to lead his transition team.
John Lehman is an investment banker who has served in a number of government positions including as Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987 under President Reagan. His first government job was as special counsel and senior staff member to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council in the Nixon administration.
Lehman currently serves on several boards of directors including those of Ball Corporation, as chairman of OAO Technology Solutions, Inc. and his own J.F. Lehman & Company. He is a former chairman of Sperry Marine and investment banker with Paine Webber. Lehman served 25 years as a naval aviator in the selected reserves.
Slade Gorton is a former senator from the State of Washington. After he lost his reelection bid in 2000, he joined the Seattle Law firm of Preston, Gates & Ellis, which specializes in environmental issues.
If jury selection rules were being used, Gorton would probably be dismissed from consideration for the commission for cause. Two days after the 9/11 attacks he told a public-television audience there was nothing government intelligence officials could have done to thwart the attack, according to the Seattle Times. The Times quotes Gorton as saying, I doubt we can expect to get too much inside information no matter what we do.
Gorton served two years on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says that experience and his personal friendship with Trent Lott were responsible for his appointment by Lott.
Tim Roemer is a moderate Democrat congressman (at least compared to the Democrat leadership) who is retiring from Congress at the end of this year. He was one of the prime movers in the House championing creation of the Independent Commission. He is credited with bringing the organization representing survivors and families of victims of the 9/11 attacks into the mix of support for the commission. Roemer is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Max Cleland is a one-term Senator from Georgia who lost his reelection bid this year in a close contest. He is a triple amputee from wounds received in Vietnam.
At the age of 28, Cleland was the youngest person and first Vietnam veteran elected to the Georgia State Senate. In 1977, he became the youngest ever head of the Veterans' Administration when appointed by President Jimmy Carter.
In 1982 Cleland became the youngest person elected as Georgia Secretary of State. He resigned that position in 1996 to run for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. He was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in 1997.
Barring (intentional) leaks, we will have to wait another 17 months to see what the product of the commission will be. By that time the publics attention will undoubtedly be focused on other things.
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"Ben-Veniste reportedly proved helpful in steering the Committee away from the rocky shoals of Clinton's possible involvement in the drug smuggling through Mena into the calmer waters of Presidential blow-jobs."
-- Barry and the Boys, p. 330