Monday, August 21, 2006

Employer Advises Dumpster-Diving for the Future Unemployed

Isn't this nice of someone most likely with a permanent, well-paying job to suggest to those whose lives he/she is about to disrupt--probably to outsource their jobs to China or India where there are plenty of economic slaves? It is sure nice to see this during a period when our middle class is being destroyed before our very eyes, by politicians and bureaucrats (and some CEOs whose "talent" consists of inheriting wealth or being well-connected) who have never done an honest day's labor in their lives?

The News Bizarre

Aug. 15, 2006, 4:58PM
Employer advises Dumpster-diving for axed workers

Reuters News Service

NEW YORK - Bankrupt Northwest Airlines Corp. advised workers to fish in the trash for things they like or take their dates for a walk in the woods in a move to help workers facing the ax to save money.

The No. 5 U.S. carrier, which has slashed most employees' pay and is looking to cut jobs as it prepares to exit bankruptcy, put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site.

The section, entitled "101 ways to save money," does not feature in new versions of the booklet or the Web site.

Northwest spokesman Roman Blahoski said some employees who received the handbook had taken issue with a couple of the items. "We agree that some of these suggestions and tips ... were a bit insensitive," Blahoski told Reuters.

The four-page booklet, "Preparing for a Financial Setback" contained suggestions such as shopping in thrift stores, taking "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods" and not being "shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

The booklet was part of a 150-page packet to ground workers, such as baggage handlers, whose jobs will likely be cut after their union agreed to allow the airline to outsource some of their work, Blahoski said.

Prepared with the help of an outside company, the booklet encourages employees to manage their money better and prepare for financial emergencies.

"If you have saved some money, pat yourself on the back -- you deserve it," the booklet reads. "Take out only what you need and spend prudently."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Police (State) Brutality in the Emerging New World Order

Give these guys medals of valor!

Protester Shot with Rubber Bullets Shows Police Disconnect, Brutality

Jones Report | August 17, 2006

Watch the video here.

Elizabeth Ritter was shot four times with rubber bullets by police while she was protesting a Free Trade Summit in Miami, August 10.

This horrifying example truly shows the disconnect between police and the citizens they pose as protecting and serving.

These police actually laugh at their victims, in spite of news cameras and hundreds of witnesses of which they were certainly aware. Arrogant and unchecked power now threatens to be the norm for ever-increasing riot police.

They rule with faux violence and real threats (rubber bullets been known to cause death, in certain cases). Here, Ritter was even shot in the face in an archetypal showdown with goons dressed in black 'storm trooper' uniforms, over-armed to handle a peaceful protest.

They shoot at a business woman repeatedly, even after seeing blood drip from her body. Somewhere, behind a disconnected, under-informed and wrongly influenced "peaceful" force, these instruments of terror think they are protecting the populace rather than subjecting them to tyranny, all the more terrifying for being out in the open.

Police demonstrated similar excessive force after the Red Sox's American League Championship Series Victory in October of 2004. Police tried to subdue a 'belligerent' crowd by firing upon them.

Twenty-one year old Emerson University student, Victoria Snelgrove, was killed after she was hit by a rubber bullet in the crowd that was merely celebrating a sporting event.

Police in the Boston case say they did not also beat the woman victim, those that was apparently the case with other fans deemed rowdy.

The crowd was described as out-of-control and reportedly also set a car on fire. However, police have clearly over-reacted when police simply fire into a crowd and irresponsibly shoot the student in the eye, who was otherwise not a particular subject of police control.

The weapons are 'meant to be non-lethal,' just as the police themselves are meant to maintain peace in the society they serve. Yet, it is the police committing the atrocities-- the forces that should be scaled back, not re-inforced and escalated.

Boston mayor Tom Menino sees the need for such violent escalation, however.

"We're going to have to take some drastic measures since people won't act responsibly. I as mayor will take it into my own hands, and probably ban liquor being sold in bars and, once the game starts, bar TV cameras in the bars during the games; try to do everything we can to keep the peace," Menino said.

The point here is that these are not isolated cases, but an unfortunate trend of an emerging police state, taking its first aims at large public gatherings, like sporting events, deemed otherwise difficult to control.

Police are increasingly equiped like armies. They have been unleashed in full riot formation at both Democratic and Republican National Conventions, at Mardi Gras festivals and other large events.

Police fired rubber bullets during Mardi Gras festivities in Austin, Texas in February of 2001. When police determined the largely peaceful crowd to be unruly, they opened fire, shooting University of Texas Economics student Saif Siddiqui in the eye.

"They say that they're supposed to fire the pellets in the legs, not in the face," Isram Siddiqui said. "There was no warning that they were using bullets to dispose the scene if they can't control it, they shouldn't have it."

35 people were arrested that night, including several injuries.

Jason Morgan says he was subdued by police, told to kneel on the ground, after which he was beaten, hit with pepper spray and shocked. Jessica Murray was subsequently struck in the chest when she protested police action against her friend.

Similar actions took place in Seattle in February 2001, where police again used pepper spray and rubber bullets to break up crowds after the bars closed.

This is all demonstrative of unacceptable attacks against largely unarmed, largely peaceful people by police who have over-stepped the bounds of their role in society. They have completely lost touch with their purpose and relationship with society.

In the aftermath and organization purpose of such forces, however, police continue to justify themselves on the grounds of "keeping the peace"-- how far out on a limb will they go?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another Heavy-Hitter Claims 9/11 Was an Inside Job!

Another heavy-hitter claims 9/11 was an inside job.

"My father used to say artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians use them to cover the truth up."
~~Evey Hammond, V For Vendetta

Paul Craig Roberts' articles have appeared on this illustrious Blog before, but it is worth iterating: he was a key advisor to Ronald Reagan and considered a staunch conservative before the neocons took over the Republican Party and gave us the Bush era.

“Gullible Americans have been duped by the 9/11 Hoax... Wise up -- the world is laughing at you."

Who is Paul Craig Roberts?

* Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan (awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for "his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.")
* Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.
* Former editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service
* Held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (1982 –1993)
* Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute from 1993 to 1996
* Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy
* Nationally syndicated columnist for Investor’s Business Daily
* Winner of the 1992 Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism
* Ranked “One of the top seven journalists” by the Forbes Media Guide (1993)
* Author of, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, and Marx’s Theory of Exchange, Alienation and Crisis

Dr. Roberts was educated at the Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S.), the University of Virginia (Ph.D.), the University of California at Berkeley and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.

He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, The Dictionary of International Biography, Outstanding People of the Twentieth Century, and 1000 Leaders of World Influence.

Could anyone in their right mind consider this man a crackpot “conspiracy theorist”?


Gullible Americans

By Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House

I was in China when a July Harris Poll reported that 50 percent of Americans still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when Bush invaded that country, and that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda.

The Chinese leaders and intellectuals with whom I was meeting were incredulous. How could a majority of the population in an allegedly free country with an allegedly free press be so totally misinformed?

The only answer I could give the Chinese is that Americans would have been the perfect population for Mao and the Gang of Four, because Americans believe anything their government tells them.

Americans never check any facts. Who do you know, for example, who has even read the Report of the 9/11 Commission, much less checked the alleged facts reported in that document. I can answer for you. You don’t know anyone who has read the report or checked the facts.

The two co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission Report, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have just released a new book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission. Kean and Hamilton reveal that the commission suppressed the fact that Muslim ire toward the US is due to US support for Israel’s persecution and dispossession of the Palestinians, not to our “freedom and democracy” as Bush propagandistically claims. Kean and Hamilton also reveal that the US military committed perjury and lied about its failure to intercept the hijacked airliners. The commission even debated referring the military’s lies to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Why should we assume that these admissions are the only coverups and lies in the 9/11 Commission Report?

How do you know that 9/11 was a Muslim terrorist plot? How do you know that THREE World Trade Center buildings collapsed because TWO were hit by airliners? You only “know” because the government gave you the explanation of what you saw on TV. (Did you even know that three WTC buildings collapsed?)

I still remember the enlightenment I experienced as a student in Russian Studies when I learned that the Czarist secret police would set off bombs and then blame those whom they wanted to arrest.

When Hitler seized dictatorial power in 1933, he told the Germans that his new powers were made necessary by a communist terrorist attack on the Reichstag. When Hitler started World War II by invading Poland, he told the Germans that Poland had crossed the frontier and attacked Germany.

Governments lie all the time--especially governments staffed by neoconservatives whose intellectual godfather, Leo Strauss, taught them that it is permissible to deceive the public in order to achieve their agenda.

Some readers will write to me to say that they saw a TV documentary or read a magazine article verifying the government’s explanation of 9/11. But, of course, these Americans did not check the facts either--and neither did the people who made the documentary and wrote the magazine article.

Scientists and engineers, such as Clemson University Professor of Engineering Dr. Judy Woods and BYU Professor of Physics Dr. Steven Jones, have raised compelling questions about the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings. The basic problem for the government's account is that the buildings are known to have fallen at freefall speed, a fact that is inconsistent with the government's "pancaking" theory in which debris from above collapsed the floors below. If the buildings actually "pancaked," then each floor below would have offered resistance to the floors above, and the elapsed time would have been much longer. These experts have also calculated that the buildings did not have sufficient gravitational energy to accommodate the government's theory of the collapse. It is certainly a known and non-controversial fact among physicists and engineers that the only way buildings can collapse at freefall speed into their own footprints is by engineered demolition. Explosives are used to remove the support of floors below before the debris from above arrives. Otherwise, resistance is encountered and the time required for fall increases. Engineered demolition also explains the symmetrical collapse of the buildings into their own foot prints. As it is otherwise improbable for every point in floors below to weaken uniformly, "pancaking" would result in asymmetrical collapse as some elements of the floor would give sooner than others.

Scientific evidence is a tough thing for the American public to handle, and the government knows it. The government can rely on people dismissing things that they cannot understand as "conspiracy theory." But if you are inclined to try to make up your own mind, you can find Dr. Jones' and Dr. Woods’ papers, which have been formally presented to their peers at scientific meetings, on line at

Experts have also pointed out that the buildings' massive steel skeletons comprised a massive heat sink that wicked away the heat from the limited, short-lived fires, thus preventing a heat buildup. Experts also point out that the short-lived, scattered, low-intensity fires could barely reach half the melting point of steel even if they burned all day instead of merely an hour.

Don't ask me to tell you what happened on 9/11. All I know is that the official account of the buildings' collapse is improbable.

Now we are being told another improbable tale. Muslim terrorists in London and Pakistan were caught plotting to commit mass murder by smuggling bottles of explosive liquids on board airliners in hand luggage. Baby formula, shampoo and water bottles allegedly contained the tools of suicide bombers.

How do we know about this plot? Well, the police learned it from an “Islamic militant arrested near the Afghan-Pakistan border several weeks ago.” And how did someone so far away know what British-born people in London were plotting?

Do you really believe that Western and Israeli intelligence services, which were too incompetent to prevent the 9/11 attack, can uncover a London plot by capturing a person on the Afghan border in Pakistan? Why would “an Islamic militant” rat on such a plot even if he knew of it?

More probable explanations of the “plot” are readily available. According to the August 11 Wayne Madsen Report, informed sources in the UK report that “the Tony Blair government, under siege by a Labor Party revolt, cleverly cooked up a new ‘terror’ scare to avert the public’s eyes away from Blair’s increasing political woes. British law enforcement, neocon and intelligence operatives in the US, Israel, and Britain, and Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire cooked up the terrorist plot, liberally borrowing from the failed 1995 ‘Oplan Bjinka’ plot by Pakistan- and Philippines-based terrorist Ramzi Ahmad Yousef to crash 11 trans-Pacific airliners bound from Asia to the US.”

There are other plausible explanations. For example, our puppet in Pakistan decided to arrest some people who were a threat to him. With Bush’s commitment to “building democracy in the Middle East,” our puppet can’t arrest his political enemies without cause, so he lays the blame on a plot.

Any testimony against Muslim plotters by “an Islamic militant” is certain to have been bought and paid for.

Or consider this explanation. Under the Nuremberg standard, Bush and Blair are war criminals. Bush is so worried that he will be held accountable that he has sent his attorney general to consult with the Republican Congress to work out legislation to protect Bush retroactively from his violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Tony Blair is in more danger of finding himself in the dock. Britain is signatory to a treaty that, if justice is done, will place Blair before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

What better justification for the two war criminals’ illegal actions than the need to foil dastardly plots by Muslims recruited in sting operations by Western intelligence services? The more Bush and Blair can convince their publics that terrorist danger abounds, the less likely Bush and Blair are ever to be held accountable for their crimes.

But surely, some readers might object, our great moral leaders wouldn’t do something political like that!

They most certainly would. As Joshua Micah Marshall wrote in the July 7 issue of Time magazine, the suspicion is “quite reasonable” that “the Bush Administration orchestrates its terror alerts and arrests to goose the GOP’s poll numbers.”

Joshua Micah Marshall proves his conclusion by examining the barrage of color-coded terror alerts, none of which were real, and, yes, it all fits with political needs.

And don’t forget the plot unearthed in Miami to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Described by Vice President Cheney as a “very real threat,” the plot turned out to be nothing more than a few harmless whackos recruited by an FBI agent sent out to organize a sting.

There was also the “foiled plot” to blow up the Holland Tunnel and flood downtown New York City with sea water. Thinking New Orleans, the FBI invented this plot without realizing that New York City is above sea level. Of course, most Americans didn’t realize it either.

For six years the Bush regime has been able to count on the ignorant and naive American public to believe whatever tale that is told them. American gullibility has yet to fail the Bush regime.

The government has an endless number of conspiracy theories, but only people who question the government’s conspiracies are derided for “having a conspiracy theory.”

The implication is even worse if we assume that the explosive bottle plot is genuine. It means that America and Britain by their own aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by enabling Israel’s war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon, have created such hatred that Muslims, who identify with Bush’s, Blair’s, and Israel’s victims, are plotting retaliation.

But Bush is prepared. He has taught his untutored public that “they hate us for our freedom and democracy.”

Gentle reader, wise up. The entire world is laughing at you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Globalism Gone Mad: the "Cybercrime" Treaty

I do not see how anyone can support this bill and still believe we can maintain U.S. sovereignty. This is just another of those "end runs around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece."

Congress Cuts Outs, Wrecks Cyberprivacy
By Bob Barr
Special to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The most dangerous time of the year for America is right before a congressional recess, and it matters not whether the Republican Party or the Democratic Party is in charge.

Congress is now in its August recess, and at least the damage it can visit on the American people is on hold. Unfortunately, right before it took its latest break, the Senate adopted by voice vote a treaty that will stand as a tribute to Big Government and internationalism - the Cybercrime Treaty.

This treaty, drafted not by U.S. government lawyers possessed of at least a passing familiarity with our Bill of Rights, but by internationalists with the Council of Europe, had been awaiting Senate ratification since 2001. The Bush administration, long enamored of any instrument granting the federal government broader or expanded power to gather information on citizens, for years had been urging Republican Senate leaders - particularly Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) - to bring the document up for a vote.

Thanks largely to opposition by a broad coalition of conservative organizations and other groups focused on privacy issues, however, the treaty languished.

Unfortunately, just last week before senators careened out of town for another recess - and despite having subjected this far-reaching treaty to but a single cursory hearing in June 2004 - Republican leaders succeeded in accomplishing the administration's directive and passed the treaty by voice vote, with virtually no substantive debate. U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) mounted a last-ditch effort to stop or at least slow the cybercrime railroad. But he was unsuccessful due to lack of support from his conservative colleagues, who were eager to give the administration more power or who just didn't care in their rush to leave for vacation.

Now, thanks to the Senate's indifference, any person in this country who uses a computer in a manner that is of interest to a law enforcement agency of another country that has signed the Cybercrime Treaty may find themselves subject to our government collecting information on them and then sharing it with that foreign agency. The list of other nations that have already signed the treaty is not one that inspires confidence the data thus sought will be afforded proper privacy or constitutional protections. The list of signatory countries already includes Albania,Croatia, Ukraine, South Africa and dozens of others.

Why should this treaty, now part of the law of the land, concern the average American citizen?

For starters, its scope. The treaty covers not only crimes commonly considered "cybercrimes," that is, crimes of computers by computers. It covers any activities considered a crime by any signatory country that simply involves the use of a computer somewhere along the line. In other words, if the law enforcement officials in Croatia are investigating activities in their country that they consider criminal - political speech, or possession of a firearm, for example - they can now demand of U.S. law enforcement that it collect and turn over to them information they might demand which they allege involves a U.S. citizen, notwithstanding that U.S. citizen has done nothing deemed a crime under U.S. law. Of course, the U.S. citizen would be unaware his own government was thus snooping on him and sharing the fruits thereof with a foreign government.

Moreover, this latest treaty affords no privacy protections whatsoever for U.S.citizens. It also will force Internet service providers to comply, yet requires neither the U.S. government nor the foreign requesting government to reimburse Internet service providers for costs of such forced cooperation. In addition, if disputes under the treaty arise, the foreign requesting government is empowered to take the issue to the International Court of Justice. Even though the United States has not formally acceded to the court, it would be required pursuant to the terms of the Cybercrime Treaty to be bound by its decisions. Although Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a letter to the Senate offering unqualified support for the treaty, promised the administration would not submit any disputes to the International Court of Justice, such promises are meaningless, because other nations will do so. Such fine points apparently were unfathomable by senators eager to do the administration's bidding.

The bottom line is that a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including many who call themselves "conservative," were far more concerned with getting out of town for junkets than they were interested in protecting the privacy of their constituents and the sovereign interests of this country.

*Former Congressman and U.S. Attorney Bob Barr practices law in Atlanta.

For Added Information

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Latest Terror Threat - Another Exercise in Hegelian Dialectic

Now that we cannot even take tubes of toothpaste in onto airplanes unless they are in checked baggage, it is time to reflect: is this latest supposely barely-thwarted-in-time terrorist threat to blow up planes in route from London to the U.S. yet another exercise in Hegelian dialectic? Is it an effort to terrify the peoples of both England and the U.S., so that they will give up still more of their liberties in the same of an ill-defined security? We ought to consider: in the U.S. at least, there is an election coming up in November. If the Democrats should retake Congress, then even though there are very few antiwar Democrats there is enough partisan sentiment that the Neocons in the Bush II cabal will lose some power. This they do not want. So why not stage new threats that can be blamed on terrorists?

Our real danger is from a massive staged attack on U.S. soil, one that will paralyze the public into giving up on Constitutional government altogether. Then the Bush regime declares martial law, suspends the Constitution, and we are living under a dictatorship. (The attack may also take place on Israeli soil. This would justify what the Neocons have wanted for months: airstrikes on Iran.)

Latest Terror Threat - More Government Foreknowledge
By Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief

This week's cross-Atlantic terror alert has all the markings of an orchestrated incident to maintain public support for the ongoing US-British war on terror. White House spokesman Tony Snow admitted that President Bush had not been awakened by the dramatic news of Britain's air traffic shutdown because "Bush had been getting regular briefings on the developments for days." If they knew so far in advance, why the dramatic shut-down of trans-Atlantic air traffic inconveniencing thousands, as if they intervened just in time?

The British press admitted that it was a Scotland Yard "covert operation" that disrupted the alleged plot. Another newspaper admitted that it was a "pre-planned, intelligence-led operation by the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch and security services." What we always find out later is that the government anti-terrorism forces had covert agents within these groups, monitoring their activities at best, and provoking and instructing them at worst. If the recent Canadian sting operation is any example, we will find that government agent-provocateurs were busy enticing angry Muslims to join the group and giving them training on building lethal devices. That is hardly independent, homegrown terrorism. It's induced, controlled terror for political purposes.

Tony Snow also admitted that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a lengthy teleconference on the matter Sunday and spoke again Wednesday by phone. This was so pre-planned that Blair did not even break off his vacation to attend to the matter.

Meanwhile, the rest of the air traveling public will be subject to a new round of delays and prohibitions. Because this plot supposedly involved carrying explosive liquids aboard and then mixing them into a bomb while in flight, Britain has gone so far as to ban all carry-on luggage. In the US, all containers containing liquids will be banned, which in typical draconian fashion, will include all make-up, shampoo, bottled juice, etc. - just when we thought the TSA was getting rational and starting to allow nail clippers on board again. No such luck.

Today, both governments are releasing more "details." Keep in mind, information about terrorism is always a tightly controlled government secret. We never have any independent information to confirm what government tells us and much of the information given the public about terrorism has been self-serving and self-justifying.

In this case, we find the same relationship between the Pakistani ISI, the CIA and British Intelligence that produced the supposed terror links to al Qaeda in 9/11. The so called master-mind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "used to" work for the ISI, and supposedly is still in custody there since 2003, being interrogated by the CIA, has never been brought to trial. Strange. Now the Pakistanis claimed they found two individuals that were key plotters that led to the others in Britain. How can we trust what these incestuous spy organizations do together after their shady dealings and prior contact with the 9/11 terrorists?

The supposed explosive device this time was a Peroxide-based explosive, which is mildly explosive and can be prepared from acetone, hydrogen Peroxide, and an acid catalyst. This type is claimed by governments to be "widely in use by terrorist groups," though we have no known terrorist events where it has been used, except by one Palestinian terrorist, and then as a detonator only-not as the main charge. This explosive material is usually known by its abbreviation TATP (Tri Acetone Tri Peroxide).

Both Peroxide and Acetone are clear liquids, but acetone (laquer thinner) is easily identifiable by smell and its high rate of evaporation. Experts indicate it is very unstable and highly unlikely to be a stand-alone explosive to take down an airliner. The quantities would have to be large enough to be easily noticed. Thus, even though this is a theoretical threat, banning all cosmetics and lotions is stupid and banning all liquids is unecessary. Only clear liquids need checking. There is cheap test equipment for TATP, and simple ways for TSA employees to quickly check for acetone and peroxide.

Naturally, the President's handlers put him to work fortifying the phony War on Terror. According to the AP, President Bush said Thursday that "a foiled plot to blow up multiple flights between Britain and the United States shows 'this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.'" Of course, Bush also wants it both ways. He claimed, "This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11 ... We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people but obviously we're not completely safe ... It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America."

Homeland Security Chief Chertoff chimed in, "We believe that these arrests (in London) have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted." Thus, naturally, all these new security measures and prohibitions will be implemented upon everyone, even though the alleged group in London were all identifiable as Muslims. "We are prohibiting any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions from being carried on the airplane," a DHS statement said, adding that passengers will have to go back to showing up 2 hours early for flights.

I suppose one thing we can be grateful for is that dark side government agents didn't create another actual terror event to pursue this fear-of-terror agenda. Another in a long line of phony claims to "disrupt terrorism" is far preferable to allowing provoked young Muslims to actually carrying it out-with a lot of help from insiders. But I suspect the timing of this "save" was not aimed so much as bolstering the war on terror as it was aimed at countering the growing public skepticism and anger over US and Israeli warmongering in the Middle East.

According to the latest CNN poll, fully 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the war in Iraqi. And, although the US is a traditional supporter of Israel's eternal war with the Arabs, support for Israel has dropped significantly as it is obvious Israel is engaged in purposeful bombing of civilian areas and infrastructure in Lebanon. That's probably why the President's speech writers had him use "Islamists" as the threat instead of just al Qaeda.

Political Repercussions: This week, Connecticut Democrats turned against Senator Joseph Lieberman, handing a primary victory to anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont. Most other Democrats, being secret globalists like Bush, supported the president on the war. But Lieberman continued to support the president when most other Democrats began mildly criticizing the conduct of the war. One commentator called Lieberman's defeat the "day of reckoning for US warmongering." I wish it were, but the globalists and Neo-cons aren't licked yet.

Hard core Democrats are divided now because they suspect, rightfully, that the majority of their representatives are just as much a part of the Washington establishment as the "moderate" (meaning liberal) Republicans. The margin of victory for Lamont was only 4%, but the establishment took note and has begun a campaign to stop the anti-war trend. First, Lieberman stunned Democrats by refusing to abide by the results. Instead of retiring gracefully, he immediately launched an Independent campaign. Establishment NY Mayor Bloomberg signaled his support. If other establishment sources come on board, you'll know this is not simply a Lieberman ego trip.

Lieberman didn't miss the opportunity to ride this latest terror threat to his advantage. As the New York Times reported yesterday, "Senator Joseph I. Lieberman seized on the terror arrests in Britain today to attack his Democratic rival, Ned Lamont, saying that Mr. Lamont's goals for ending the war in Iraq would constitute a 'victory' for the extremists who are accused of plotting to blow up airliners traveling between Britain and the United States ... If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,' Lieberman told a campaign crowd."

Secondly, the establishment has more war and terror inducements on their agenda to undermine people's resolve to get out of Iraq. Sadly, I don't think we'll ever see peace again in our lifetime.

Copyright 2006 Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief (

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More on the Approach of Martial Law

Right now, I wouldn't shed a tear if the Democrats retake control of Congress this November, because the Bush II Regime is so drunk on power that it needs the loyal opposition--even if that opposition is nothing more than the old-fashioned Democratic socialism as opposed to the overt corporatist fascism of Bush II and his Halliburton-connected cronies. (I would actually prefer to see a Second Party emerge and gain public support, but I'm not holding my breath.)

Of course, if the Democrats do start dragging their feet implementing what King Bush II wants, things could start getting hot in this society not in 2008 when (unless overturned) Real ID goes into effect, but as soon as 2007!

What is Bush Preparing For?

As the congressional elections later in the year could result in the loss of Republican control of Senate and Congress, Bush is making efforts now to push through some very controversial legislation.

Federal Control of the National Guard

The National Governors Association, a bipartisan organization of American governors, has sent a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to protest an upcoming bill that would allow the federal government to usurp state control over the National Guard in "emergencies".

This bill is highly significant because, if passed, it will dramatically decrease the security of the U.S. It will allow the federal government to unilaterally declare an emergency and take military control over America's states.

Below is an excerpt of the NGA's letter:

A provision in section 511 of the House-passed DoD Act would allow the President to federalize the National Guard of the states without the consent of the governor. Specifically, this clause amends Title 10 of the United States Code to give the President the authority to take control of the Guard in case of "a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possessions, or Puerto Rico."


The possibility of the federal government pre-empting the authority of the state or governor in natural and manmade disasters is opposed by the nation's governors.


We urge you to drop this provision that would usurp governor's authority over the National Guard during emergencies."

The Posse Comitatus Act

The Bush administration's push for federal military control was hinted at less than a year ago, mere months after Hurricane Katrina. In October, 2005, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld embarked on a short-lived media campaign against an important American law: the Posse Comitatus Act.

This federal law was passed in 1878, after the American Civil War. Its purpose was to stop federal troops from supervising elections in Confederate states. The law prohibits federally controlled units of the National Guard, and the US military in general, from acting in a local law enforcement capacity.

Bush and Rumsfeld used avian flu as the rationale for their attacks on the law. The attacks were not well received.

According to Bush:

"I'm concerned about what an avian flu outbreak could mean for the United States and the world," he told reporters during a Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday.

"One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move," he said. "So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have."

Classified War Plans For Domestic Takeover

Shortly before the attacks against the Posse Comitatus Act, classified war plans, called CONPLAN 2002, had been revealed that are unlike any in U.S. history. In these plans, the enemy is not foreign, but domestic.

A Washington Post article discusses these plans:

The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement.


But the new plans provide for what several senior officers acknowledged is the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could quickly overwhelm civilian resources.

The rationale for these plans to usurp local authority is not avian flu, but threats of "biological, chemical or nuclear attack".

Dealing With Insurgency and Media

If "taking charge" of the U.S., the Bush administration would have to concern itself with more than just formal authorities. Grass-roots insurgency and media criticism could also prove obstacles.

In the event of grass-roots insurgency, large numbers of insurgents and suspected insurgents would have to be detained. FEMA currently maintains a network of hundreds of camps (here is a video tour of one) that could be used for this purpose. In addition, a $385 million no-bid contract with KBR/Halliburton provides for building, when needed, many more camps. This sizable contract was purportedly awarded to deal with an "emergency influx of immigrants" (a reason borrowed from the Reagan-era Rex 84 program) and the need to "support the rapid development of new programs".

In the realm of media concerns, Bush has issued an executive order to replace the existing Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) with the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The purpose of the EAS is to "ensure that under all conditions the President can communicate with the American people". The order provides for command-and-control of media "through cooperation with the owners and operators of communication facilities" to "maintain, protect, and, if necessary, restore communications facilities and capabilities necessary for the public alert and warning system".

In regards to legality, the Bush government has already established that is can legally detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, and without trial, in "wartime":

The ruling, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, came in the case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago in 2002 and a month later designated an "enemy combatant" by President Bush. ... Padilla has been held without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three years.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps

Clearly the Bush Administration is thinking about martial law, and we remain at most one "emergency" away and possibly less, depending on the "emergency." If the "emergency" is another 9/11 type event--possibly another "inside job"--that will be the catalyst for the Federal Government's simply being done with it. Then those of us who want to remain free had better be prepared either to "hunker down" with our caches of nonperishables and our portable gas-powered stoves or to get out of the country if that's still possible. We've been warned.

Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps

News Analysis/Commentary, Peter Dale Scott,
New America Media, Feb 08, 2006

Editor's Note: A little-known $385 million contract for Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention facilities for "an emergency influx of immigrants" is another step down the Bush administration's road toward martial law, the writer says.

BERKELEY, Calif.--A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities."

The contract -- announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR -- calls for preparing for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when.

To date, some newspapers have worried that open-ended provisions in the contract could lead to cost overruns, such as have occurred with KBR in Iraq. A Homeland Security spokesperson has responded that this is a "contingency contract" and that conceivably no centers might be built. But almost no paper so far has discussed the possibility that detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.

For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

Plans for detention facilities or camps have a long history, going back to fears in the 1970s of a national uprising by black militants. As Alonzo Chardy reported in the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987, an executive order for continuity of government (COG) had been drafted in 1982 by FEMA head Louis Giuffrida. The order called for "suspension of the Constitution" and "declaration of martial law." The martial law portions of the plan were outlined in a memo by Giuffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff.

In 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 188, one of a series of directives that authorized continued planning for COG by a private parallel government.

Two books, James Mann's Rise of the Vulcans and James Bamford's A Pretext for War, have revealed that in the 1980s this parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels, included the then-head of G. D. Searle and Co., Donald Rumsfeld, and then-Congressman from Wyoming Dick Cheney.

After 9/11, new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s. In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security.

Then in April 2002, Defense Dept. officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this "the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946."

The NORTHCOM commander, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced, is responsible for "homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).... He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters."

John Brinkerhoff later commented on PBS that, "The United States itself is now for the first time since the War of 1812 a theater of war. That means that we should apply, in my view, the same kind of command structure in the United States that we apply in other theaters of war."

Then in response to Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, according to the Washington Post, White House senior adviser Karl Rove told the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, that she should explore legal options to impose martial law "or as close as we can get." The White House tried vigorously, but ultimately failed, to compel Gov. Blanco to yield control of the state National Guard.

Also in September, NORTHCOM conducted its highly classified Granite Shadow exercise in Washington. As William Arkin reported in the Washington Post, "Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military's extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control."

It is clear that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about martial law.
Many critics have alleged that FEMA's spectacular failure to respond to Katrina followed from a deliberate White House policy: of paring back FEMA, and instead strengthening the military for responses to disasters.

A multimillion program for detention facilities will greatly increase NORTHCOM's ability to respond to any domestic disorders.

Scott is author of "Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). He is completing a book on "The Road to 9/11." Visit his Web site .

Friday, August 04, 2006

Now THIS Is Scary!

You will read this Associated Press (NOT Conspiracy Planet) report correctly: the Bush Administration wants to be able to detain U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely if authorities suspect (not prove but suspect) connections with terror, a term yet to be defined by anyone in this Administration. It defines "enemy combatants" but so broadly as to refer, in principle, to anyone who opposes this Administration's policies--and who defines "when hostilities cease"?

But this measure, some will retort, is designed to catch Al Qaida members and their contacts in this country. The response is that there is no necessary connection between anything in this bill and Al Qaida. And remember: this bill doesn't require the government to prove the connection between any particular person and Al Qaida. The government's suspicions are sufficient.

Under such suspicions, U.S. citizens have no rights under the Constitution!

And some wonder why we Americanists maintain that neither the Constitution nor any other document nor especially any government gives people rights, but rather secures these rights?

The lack of recognition of this elementary distinction in the legal mainstreaim--and especially its lack of recognition on the part of those in power in this society--is going to transform America into a garrison state! I am wondering how we are going to get through the next two years of this Administration without that happening--and whether, in 2008, King Bush II won't simply be replaced by someone ten times worse (Hillary?).

Randolph Bourne wasn't kidding when he warned us, back in the 1910s, that "war is the health of the State"!

One final point: under the Constitution isn't legislation supposed to originate in Congress, not the Executive branch? Oh, yes, I forgot. This President--or is it King Bush II--once called the Constitution "just a g******ed piece of paper," and uses "signing statements" to authorize which laws or parts of laws originating in Congress he will obey and which he will set aside.

As the movie trailer goes, be afraid! Be very afraid!

Bush submits new terror detainee bill

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer Fri Jul 28, 6:53 PM ET

Original here

WASHINGTON - U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.

A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system was thrown out last month by the Supreme Court.

Administration officials, who declined to comment on the draft, said the proposal was still under discussion and no final decisions had been made.

Senior officials are expected to discuss a final proposal before the
Senate Armed Services Committee next Wednesday.

According to the draft, the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute."

Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda.

"That's the big question ... the definition of who can be detained," said Martin Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University who posted a copy of the bill to a Web blog.

Scott L. Silliman, a retired Air Force Judge Advocate, said the broad definition of enemy combatants is alarming because a U.S. citizen loosely suspected of terror ties would lose access to a civilian court — and all the rights that come with it. Administration officials have said they want to establish a secret court to try enemy combatants that factor in realities of the battlefield and would protect classified information.

The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.

Senior Republican lawmakers have said they were briefed on the general discussions and have some concerns but are awaiting a final proposal before commenting on specifics.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England are expected to discuss the proposal in an open hearing next Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Military lawyers also are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The legislation is the administration's response to a June 29 Supreme Court decision, which concluded the Pentagon could not prosecute military detainees using secret tribunals established soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The court ruled the tribunals were not authorized by law and violated treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions, which established many international laws for warfare.

The landmark court decision countered long-held assertions by the Bush administration that the president did not need permission from Congress to prosecute "enemy combatants" captured in the war on terror and that al Qaeda members were not subject to Geneva Convention protections because of their unconventional status.

"In a time of ongoing armed conflict, it is neither practicable nor appropriate for enemy combatants like al Qaeda terrorists to be tried like American citizens in federal courts or courts-martial," the proposal states.

The draft proposal contends that an existing law — passed by the Senate last year after exhaustive negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz. — that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment should "fully satisfy" the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Sen. John W. Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Friday he expects to take up the detainee legislation in September.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The 'Hourglass Economy'

Let's hear it for globalization! Let's hear it for a controlled labor market, and a controlled labor force (via phony "free trade" measures)--and a system in which federal government employees make 100K a year on the average and the rest of us work for peanuts, when we can find any work at all.

Let's hear it for high taxes, to pay the interest on the skyrocketing national debt! Let's hear it for stagnant wages (declining, in terms of our debauched-dollar based money system). Let's hear it for deceptive accounts of unemployment and inflation (deceptive because of what they exclude from the official calculations).

Let's hear it for a divided America, with some rich, many poor, and a dwindling middle class that is pinwheeling over the cliff! Let's hear it for our Super Elite in the international banking cartel and their Emerging New World Order!

`Hourglass Economy' Divides Americans, Defines U.S. Politics

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg)
-- Evelyn Dawson and Kevin Manning spent most of their working lives in the same town, living on their paychecks. They now find themselves on opposite sides of a widening wealth gap that increasingly defines American politics and the economy.

Dawson, 58, a former government worker [sic.--SY], owns an expanding business in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Manning, 36, supports a wife and three kids on a truck driver's wage, with nothing left for savings or to buy a house. ``I have pretty much always had to live paycheck to paycheck,'' he says.

Dawson was able to kick-start a second career because she had assets and specialized knowledge, two attributes driving a wedge between an upwardly mobile middle class and others trying to manage on meager income growth in less-skilled jobs. Household wealth grew six times faster than wages from 2001 to 2005, the biggest gap of any five-year period in half a century.

``It bothers me,'' former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said in an interview. ``I tell you, I don't know why there hasn't been more discussion and more unhappiness about this because it's become quite distinct. For a long time now, if we believe the statistics, the average working guy does not have an increase in income.''

The divide is reviving protectionism in Congress, awakening a debate on the minimum wage, and making the Federal Reserve more sensitive to the risks of causing a collapse in financial and housing markets.

`Powerful Impact'

``Asset prices have never had such a powerful impact on the economy,'' Joseph Lavorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York, said in an interview. ``Changes in wealth rather than income growth are a main reason why consumer spending and gross domestic product have both been so strong.''

Previously, income grew more or less in step with household wealth. From 1962 to 1966, a period of low inflation and robust economic growth, real private sector wages rose 27.5 percent while real net worth increased 23.6 percent, according to Bloomberg News calculations based on government data. In the five-year period ending in 1996, real net worth gained 15.6 percent while private wages grew 11.3 percent.

More recently, the gap between household net worth and wage growth has widened. From 2001 to 2005, the value of household assets minus liabilities rose 16.6 percent after inflation. Private sector wages rose just 2.7 percent.

Fruits of Success

In some sense, U.S. policy makers are confronted with the results of their own success at reducing trade barriers and keeping inflation low [sic.--SY]. As prices and economies stabilized, interest rates fell and house prices and stocks rose. Meanwhile, the spread of technology and better access to foreign labor suppressed wages for some Americans.

``Asset ownership is now the driving force behind income inequality,'' says Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor and now a professor at the University of California in Berkeley. ``People with education and connections are doing better and better and accumulating extraordinary assets.''

In Roanoke Rapids, Dawson says she and her husband, who worked at a local paper mill, saved their entire working lives, acquiring a house, mutual funds and money in the bank. She started in her 20s with a life insurance policy, and later began putting away $50 a month. ``That was a lot then,'' she says. ``I just grew up and knew you were supposed to save.''

As a storied textile mill was shutting down in her home town in 2003, Dawson was starting a health care consulting business.

While wages are stagnant in the area and unemployment is 6.7 percent [sic.--SY], her firm recently moved into new headquarters she built.

Link to GDP

Dawson's experience illustrates how growth in individual wealth has increasingly become linked to economic expansion. Lavorgna's research finds that, since 1997, increases in household wealth have moved in lock-step with growth in the U.S. gross domestic product 90 percent of the time. Americans have become more inclined to spend as their homes and stock portfolios rise in value.

It hasn't always worked that way. The correlation between household net worth and GDP was only about 20 percent in the decade prior to 1995, according to Lavorgna.

The wealth gap presents Fed officials with new risks. If housing values fall sharply after 17 consecutive interest rate increases, wealth-powered spending may fall off at a time when disposable incomes have grown only about 1.7 percent after inflation over the last year.

Less Dependence on Assets

``It is going to be a problem,'' says Lavorgna, who expects economic growth to slow to an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter. ``Now you are going to depend less on assets and good old traditional wage growth'' at a time when pay is ``moderating.''

The wealth gap helps explain why, after 19 consecutive quarters of economic growth and unemployment at a five-year low, a sizeable minority of Americans don't feel that well off. About half of Americans polled say the economy is doing poorly, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News national poll of 1,478 adults conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1.

Labor economists call it the ``hourglass economy,'' with an educated, asset-owning middle class moving up and families with manual skills and fewer assets being shoved lower.

Wage-Less Recoveries

``Globalization is not win-win [Well, duh!!--SY]. In the last four to five years, countries have had jobless or wage-less recoveries or both,'' Stephen Roach, chief global economist for Morgan Stanley in New York, said in an interview. ``The pressure on the worker in an era of globalization is going to be increasingly an issue for the body politic.''

Manning sees his dream of starting his own truck service business slipping away because his paychecks barely keep up with inflation.

``People are willing to work for less,'' Manning says. ``It is really cutthroat.''

Manning's parents worked at the WestPoint Stevens Inc. textile mill, the site of a unionization movement featured in the 1979 film ``Norma Rae.'' The mill was shuttered in 2003 and his mother lost her job.

After working as a mechanic, Manning became a long-haul truck driver, earning about 28 cents a mile and missing his family after days on the road. Rumbling along U.S. interstates, he did his own market research on citizens band radio, chatting with other truckers under his handle, ``Hubcap.'' He discovered drivers needed a service stop somewhere between New York and Savannah, Georgia. Roanoke Rapids, located right off Highway 95, was an ideal location.

`Saw a Need'

``I always saw a need to work for myself,'' he says during an interview at Ralph's Barbecue in Roanoke Rapids. ``I saw the need for this business.''

The ``biggest obstacle'' he says, is that he doesn't own his home or have savings that he can put up against a bank loan. ``It takes every bit that you make to make ends meet.''

Owning a business, he says, is the way to get beyond that.

``Right now it is just a dream of mine,'' Manning says. ``But I am not going to give up on it.''

Dawson started her business after a 33-year career with the State of North Carolina, during which she rose to director of the Halifax County Department of Social Services, with a budget of $110 million and a staff of nearly 200.


When the state decided to privatize mental health care, she saw an opportunity.

``It just hit me: They have a lot of clients and not many providers,'' she said. ``I said, `I am going to find out more about this.'''

She and a friend started BriteSmilz Family and Community Connections in her remodeled garage in 2003. Her staff of 12 coordinates the work of about 100 consultants who manage about 500 cases, such as helping single mothers get their lives back on track. Her new 6,500-square-foot headquarters opened in July.

Economists say the wealth gap is already influencing policies. Republicans have made a clampdown on illegal immigration a top issue. Democrats want to raise the minimum wage. Five-year-old talks on tariff cuts at the World Trade Organization collapsed last month.

``In terms of trade protectionism, and immigration law, there is a lot of debate in Washington about the right answer,'' says Andrew Tilton, a former Treasury official who is now an economist at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York. ``The answer that is best for the U.S. economy may not be the best for the hardest hit parts of the country that are seeing declining wages.'' [Note the affiliation. Does best for the economy equal best for the Super-Elite?--SY}

To contact the reporters on this story:
Craig Torres in Washington at;
Alexandre Tanzi in Washington

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Third of Americans Suspect 9-11 Government Conspiracy

I'm shocked! We can't have all these conspiracy theorists running around corrupting people's minds over the Internet, now, can we? Can we?

Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy

Scripps Howard News Service

More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.

The national survey of 1,010 adults also found that anger against the federal government is at record levels, with 54 percent saying they "personally are more angry" at the government than they used to be.

Widespread resentment and alienation toward the national government appears to be fueling a growing acceptance of conspiracy theories about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Suspicions that the 9/11 attacks were "an inside job" _ the common phrase used by conspiracy theorists on the Internet _ quickly have become nearly as popular as decades-old conspiracy theories that the federal government was responsible for President John F. Kennedy's assassination and that it has covered up proof of space aliens.

Seventy percent of people who give credence to these theories also say they've become angrier with the federal government than they used to be.

Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them "because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East."

"One out of three sounds high, but that may very well be right," said Lee Hamilton, former vice chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also called the 9/11 commission.) His congressionally appointed investigation concluded that federal officials bungled their attempts to prevent, but did not participate in, the attacks by al Qaeda five years ago.

"A lot of people I've encountered believe the U.S. government was involved," Hamilton said. "Many say the government planned the whole thing. Of course, we don't think the evidence leads that way at all."

The poll also found that 16 percent of Americans speculate that secretly planted explosives, not burning passenger jets, were the real reason the massive twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Conspiracy groups for at least two years have also questioned why the World Trade Center collapsed when fires that heavily damaged similar skyscrapers around the world did not cause such destruction. Sixteen percent said it's "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that "the collapse of the twin towers in New York was aided by explosives secretly planted in the two buildings."

Twelve percent suspect the Pentagon was struck by a military cruise missile in 2001 rather than by an airliner captured by terrorists.

That lower percentage may result from an effort by the conservative Washington-based Judicial Watch advocacy group to debunk the claim. The group filed claims under the Freedom of Information Act and got two fill loops released from Pentagon security cameras.

"Some people claim they can't see anything, but I see a plane hitting the Pentagon at incredibly high speed," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "I see the nose of the plane clearly entering the frame of one video and the tail of the plane entering the Pentagon in the other video."

Many conspiracy Web sites have posted the video loops and report the films are inconclusive or were manipulated by the government.

"Some folks will never be convinced," Fitton said. "But I'm hoping that these videos will dissuade reasonable people from falling into a trap with these conspiracy theories."

University of Florida law professor Mark Fenster, author of the book Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, said the poll's findings reflect public anger at the unpopular Iraq war, realization that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction and growing doubts of the veracity of the Bush administration.

"What has amazed me is not that there are conspiracy theories, but that they didn't seem to be getting any purchase among the American public until the last year or so," Fenster said. "Although the Iraq war was not directly related to the 9/11 attacks, people are now looking back at 9/11 with much more skepticism than they used to."

Conspiracy-believing participants in the poll agree their suspicions are recent.

"I certainly didn't think of conspiracies when 9/11 first happened," said Elaine Tripp, 62, of Tabernacle, N.J. "I don't know if President Bush was aware of the exact time it was going to happen. But he certainly didn't do enough to stop it. Bush was so intent on having his own little war."

Garrett Johnson, 19, of Manassas, Va., said it was "well after the fact" before he started questioning the official explanation of the attacks. "But then people I know started talking about it. And the Internet had a lot to do with this. After reading all of the different articles there, I started to think we weren't being told the truth."

The Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University has tracked the level of resentment people feel toward the federal government since 1995, starting shortly after Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City. Forty-seven percent then said they, personally, feel "more angry at the federal government" than they used to. That percentage dropped to 42 percent in 1997, 34 percent in 1998 and only 12 percent shortly after 9/11 during the groundswell of patriotism and support for the government after the attacks.

But the new survey found that 77 percent say their friends and acquaintances have become angrier with government recently and 54 percent say they, themselves, have become angrier _ both record levels.

The survey also found that people who regularly use the Internet but who do not regularly use so-called "mainstream" media are significantly more likely to believe in 9/11 conspiracies. People who regularly read daily newspapers or listen to radio newscasts were especially unlikely to believe in the conspiracies.

"We know that there are a lot of people now asking questions," said Janice Matthews, executive director of, one of the most sophisticated Internet sites raising doubts about official explanations of the attacks. "We didn't have the Internet after Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin or the Kennedy assassination. But we live in different times now."

Matthews' Web site averaged 4,000 "hits" a day last year, but currently has at least 12,000 visits every 24 hours. The site, according to its online policy statement, is dedicated to showing the public that "elements within the U.S. government must have orchestrated or participated in the execution of the attacks for these to have happened the way in which they did."

Participants in the poll were asked to respond to "several serious accusations that some people have made against the federal government in recent years." Five conspiracy theories were described and participants were asked if each was "very likely, somewhat likely or unlikely."

The level of suspicion of U.S. official involvement in a 9/11 conspiracy was only slightly behind the 40 percent who suspect "officials in the federal government were directly responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy" and the 38 percent who believe "the federal government is withholding proof of the existence of intelligent life from other planets."

The poll found that a majority of young adults give at least some credence to a 9/11 conspiracy compared to less than a fourth of people 65 or older. Members of racial and ethnic minorities, people with only a high school education and Democrats were especially likely to suspect federal involvement in 9/11.

The survey was conducted by telephone from July 6-24 at the Scripps Survey Research Center at the University of Ohio under a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

(Thomas Hargrove is a reporter for Scripps Howard News Service. Guido H. Stempel III is director of the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University.)

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