war on terror

Entrapping Innocent Muslims

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A recent New York University School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) report is titled, “Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the ‘Homegrown Threat’ in the United States.”

Post-9/11, Muslims have been ruthlessly targeted. Paid informants have infested mosques and their communities to entrap them. As a result, over 200 were persecuted on bogus terrorism related charges. Despite “tout(ing) these cases as successes in the so-called war against terrorism….former (FBI) agents, local lawmakers,” and many others “have begun questioning the legitimacy and efficacy” of entrapping innocent victims for political advantage.

CHRGJ discussed several high-profile cases, using well-paid informants often performing services in return for reduced charges or sentences they face, a powerful incentive to cooperate.

Nearly always, Washington invents plots foiled in the nick of time, entrapping innocent victims with no intent to commit crimes. America’s media headline them. The public feels safer with no idea they’ve been scammed or that blameless citizens and residents are falsely charged.

In fact, calling Muslims “potential threats” or “homegrown terrorists” violates core constitutional freedoms. Nonetheless, it’s now common law enforcement practice assuming that:

— Muslims are more likely to become terrorists;

— they’re increasingly “radicalized” and compelled to commit violence in the name of Islam; and

— counterterrorism policies should identify and stop them before they act.

In fact, research contradicts these notions. Moreover, relying on them violates fundamental human rights long ago discarded for political and judicial expediency. As a result, Muslims most often face terrorism charges because “they hate us” or other spurious reasons.

Muslim men (and “Muslim looking people) are especially vulnerable. In addition, Muslim culture and religious practices are also cited as indicators of potential terrorism. As a result, they’re maliciously targeted, surveilled, investigated, entrapped, charged, unjustly prosecuted, and convicted.

Notably, a 2007 NYPD report titled, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat” popularized these beliefs, using “thinly sourced, reductionist” notions, claiming:

“the path to terrorism has a fixed trajectory and that each step of the process has specific, identifiable markers,” despite no corroborating evidence. In fact, research suggests the opposite, exposing racist, discriminatory beliefs and practices.

In fact, Washington uses these notions maliciously, targeting innocent Muslims for their faith and ethnicity. Moreover, in February, Senator Joe Lieberman called on the National and Homeland Security Councils to develop “a comprehensive national approach to countering homegrown radicalization to violent Islamist extremism.

In March, Rep. Peter King chaired a racist congressional hearing, duplicitously claiming radicalized Muslims are increasing at an alarming rate, endangering US security. In fact, the only law enforcement witness testifying refuted his accusations.

Most alarming is that Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and Justice Department (DOJ) all embrace racist radicalization notions to entrap innocent victims with “preventive” policing nearly always with no evidence of wrongdoing. Instead of pursuing criminals, they target people for their faith, religious practices, and appearance unjustly, using well-paid informant snitches.

Post-9/11, repressive laws were enacted to facilitate the process, “resulting in the criminalization of a range of behaviors (not) indicative of….intent to commit…violent crime(s).” At the same time, law enforcement powers were recklessly expanded in violation of constitutional rights. As a result, abusive practices proliferated against Muslims, making it the wrong time for them to be here, even native born ones .

Using informants to illegally entrap is especially alarming when no legal limits constrain the targeting of one segment of society. Because of earlier COINTELPRO and other abuses, Attorney General Edward Levi (in 1976) established Guidelines “proceed(ing) from the proposition that Government monitoring of individuals or groups because they hold unpopular or controversial views is intolerable in our society.”

However, they eroded steadily, notably post-9/11, so today virtually anything goes extralegally on the pretext of national security. In 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s Guidelines were profoundly lawless, authorizing informants, surveillance, and other abusive practices in cases involving no suspected criminality.

For example, FBI agents may direct informants to collect names, emails, phone numbers, and other information about devout mosque attendees, based only on their religiosity.

Specifically, intrusive “assessments” may be made in situations with no “information or….allegations indicating” wrongdoing or threat to national security. As a result, groups or meetings infiltrated covertly, attendees questioned casually, and physical surveillance of “homes, offices and individuals” conducted extralegally.

The FBI’s Domestic Investigative Operational Guidelines (DIOGs) are used this way without supervisory approval or constraints on abusive practices. As a result, virtually anything goes, primarily against one segment of society, creating a troubling law enforcement standard common in police states unencumbered by laws.

Moreover, even though the 2003 DOJ Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies bans profiling by race and ethnicity, it implicitly permits doing so for faith and national origin purposes, as well as targeting anyone for national and border security purposes.

The Mukasey Guidelines also permit illegal entrapment and other abusive practices. As a result, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies lawlessly target Muslim communities to identify potential terrorists. In fact, New York city guidelines specifically permit intrusive investigations of “potential terrorist activity before an unlawful act occurs.”

Unconstrained informants are used, subject only to Deputy Commissioner of the Intelligence Division directives. As a result, “NYPD has become a leading advocate for law enforcement based on the flawed radicalization model,” authorizing illegal acts, including “inducement(s)….to engage in crim(inal)” activity to facilitate entrapment.

FBI guidelines also authorize expansive powers, including targeting individuals or groups for their views or religious practices. Critics include former FBI counterterrorism agent (now ACLU Senior Policy Counsel) Mike German, saying “the FBI (is) out of compliance with its (own) guidelines to an extraordinary extent,” by providing few checks on illegal practices, including entrapment.

It occurs when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn’t be committed. However, it doesn’t apply in willing lawlessness instances, government merely aiding, abetting, or facilitating chances to do so.

Specifically, it involves:

— government officials or agents initiating the idea; then

— persuading individuals to discuss, plan or commit actions they otherwise never intended.

To convict, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt no entrapment was used. In fact, it’s common against innocent people, especially Muslims targeted for political or other reasons.

CHRGJ concluded that “types of evidence relied upon by the government in terrorism-related prosecutions are highly prejudicial, and build on the conflation of Muslim religious practice, political opinions critical of US foreign policy, and (alleged) terrorism. The prejudicial nature of relying on such evidence is magnified” by entrapment, claiming defendants’ are predisposed to commit crimes, based on fabricated, secret, or other evidence to prejudice, pressure, and intimidate juries to convict.

Based on empirical research, however, no link exists between religion or political views and a propensity to commit violent acts. Nonetheless, most convictions result from bogusly conflating them as proof of “intent or predisposition.”

As a result, victims are usually defenseless against abusive government practices, including through wrongful conviction civil rights lawsuits right-wing courts rule against or disallow, especially in national security related cases involving alleged terrorism or conspiracy to commit it.

CHRGJ covered several case examples, including David Williams, one of “the Newburgh Four (NY)”, bogusly charged with plotting to blow up a Bronx synagogue and shoot down military aircraft with Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Using an FBI sting, an informant was lawlessly used to entrap them. Despite no plot or crime, they were arrested, charged and convicted.

Another case involved Eljvir, Dristan and Shain Duka, three of the Fort Dix Five, falsely charged and convicted on multiple counts, including planning to attack US soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ, despite no plot, crime or legitimate evidence. Another entrapment sting operation was used.

A third case involved Shahawar Siraj Matin, also entrapped by a police informant in an alleged subway bombing plot despite no crime or intent to commit one.

Another case involves two Bowling Green, KY Iraqis (Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan) beyond the study’s timeline, the Louisville Courier-Journal saying on May 31 they were indicted on terrorism charges.

Specifically, they were charged with “conspiring to kill US soldiers with improvised explosive devices in Iraq,” as well as plans to send Stinger missiles, cash, sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Iraq.

In fact, the alleged plot is as implausible as attacking Fort Dix, downing military aircraft, attacking marines at Quantico, VA, bombing New York landmarks, and other concocted schemes to entrap and convict innocent victims.

A Final Comment

CHRGJ said “practices described in the Report raise serious concerns about the US government’s compliance with its international human rights obligations,” including rights to a fair trial, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, religion, and other rights under US and international law.

Federal, state, and local enforcement agencies systematically violate them to target and convict unjustly, sending innocent victims to prison for being Muslims in America at the wrong time, leaving everyone just as vulnerable.

As a result, it’s “proved impossible for” victims “to gain redress” at a time imperial priorities take precedence. Its ravages are felt abroad and at home, especially by Muslim families.

Wives lose husbands, children their fathers, and wrongfully convicted Muslim men their freedom, some for decades or the rest of their lives to satisfy America’s lust for conquest and domination, no matter the human cost.

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Remote Control Killing Like Sport – unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

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Defence contractor giants like Boeing, Lockeed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and others, as well as smaller rivals compete for growing demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They include remote control operated killer drones, also called unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).

It’s America’s newest sport. From distant command centers, far from target sights, sounds, and smells, operators dismissively ignore human carnage showing up as computer screen blips little different from video game images. The difference, of course, is people die, mostly noncombatants. More on that below.

On March 10, 2010, Der Spiegel writer Marc Pitzke headlined, “How Drone Pilots Wage War,” saying:

They “sit in air-conditioned rooms far away from (America’s wars). They guide their weapons with joysticks and monitors. The remote warriors work with a high degree of precision – at a fraction of the cost of a fighter jet,” but just as deadly.

Operators use computer keyboards and five monitors. One says “I’ve got eight missiles and two bombs on two Predators. Weapons ready.”

The main monitor shows a target’s aerial view “from a considerable height….Three, two, one. Impact,” after pushing a red button. “Excellent job,” the man says after a destructive explosion. The entire mission lasted two minutes “against a faceless enemy” attacked by remote control half a world away.

“The whole thing looks like a computer game,” virtual war “that doesn’t require combatants to get their hands dirty” or perhaps souls compromised for mindlessly slaughtering civilians lawlessly – what America’s media never explain or why Washington wages war.

Each drone system includes four aircraft, a ground station, a satellite link, and launch site maintenance crew, keeping UAVs ready to use round-the-clock on a moment’s notice. Like America’s wars, moreover, drone technology is a growth business, Insitu’s Steven Sliwa saying the industry is well positioned like the aeronautical one during WW II – up-up-and-away for big profits.

America’s Drone Command Centers

Two currently operate, the CIA’s at its Langley, VA headquarters, the Pentagon’s at Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, about 35 miles from Las Vegas.

Look-alikes, they’re sterile, insular, secure computer rooms manned by “combat commuters.” By day, they wage war, then drive home for dinner, relaxation, and family time, dismissive of killing for a living like mafia hit men, except they do it daily on a global scale against nameless, faceless targets.

Working in pairs, a pilot sits at one end of a computer station, a sensor operator at the other, controlling visual surveillance, able to zoom in for closer views, capturing images from drone cameras and satellites.

The Pentagon’s team maintains constant radio contact with its Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) Qatar headquarters and US Kandahar, Afghanistan base where UAVs take off and land.

ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi calls Predator drones “targeted international killings by the state.” On February 8, 2010, she and Law Professor Philip Alston’s London Guardian article headlined, “A killer above the law?” saying:

Sanitized killing on the cheap leaves disturbing issues unanswered, including a program shrouded in secrecy, no accountability, and dubious “no reports” of civilian casualties despite “credible (ones) that hundreds of innocents have died.”

International law, in fact, demands accountability. “When complete secrecy prevails, it is negated. Secrecy also provides incentives to push the margins in problematic ways….Equally discomforting is the ‘PlayStation mentality’ that surrounds drone killings. Young military (recruits, CIA operatives, and private civilian contractor) personnel raised on a diet of video games now kill real people remotely using joysticks.”

Lawless abuses always follow secrecy without accountability, killer drones a perfect example. On July 12, 2009, Greg Grant’s Infowars.com article headlined, “Drones Hardly Even Kill Bad Guys,” saying:

Counterinsurgency advisor David Kilcullen “told lawmakers last week that drone strikes” successfully hit militants 2% of the time. All others are noncombatant civilians. These casualties then “become an extension of war by other means. Tactics that physically defeat elements of the enemy and lose the population lose the war,” besides issues of legality.

In his book “Wired for War,” Peter Singer called drone technology disturbingly “seductive” because it makes combat look “costless.”

Britain’s former Iraq air chief marshal said it was “virtueless war,” requiring no heroics or getting one’s hands dirty.

According to Law Professor Mary Dudziak, “Drones are a technological step that further isolates the American people from military action, undermining political checks on….endless war,” as well as its fallout, including the human cost, and America’s illegal targeted assassination program.

Ramping Up Drone Warfare

In FY 2012, the Air Force plans to double its advanced killer drone fleet, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk class, MQ-9 Reaper, and MQ-1 Predator.

General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers are especially valued, the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long endurance, high surveillance targeting, used by the Air Force, Navy, US Customs and Border Protection, UK Royal Air Force, and Italian Air Force. The CIA prefers smaller, lightweight, less obtrusive drones for killing.

The Pentagon just released its 30-year aircraft procurement plans, projected to be more robotic than ever, budgeted for about $25 billion annually, including doubling its robot fleet by 2021, saying:

“The number of platforms in this category – RQ-4 Global Hawk-class, MQ-9 Reaper, and MQ-1 Predator-class unnammed aircraft systems – will grow from approximately 340 in (FY) 2012 to approximately 650 in FY 2021.”

The Army’s got a Gray Eagle Reaper-like drone. The Marines want a similar one as part of their Group 4 Unmanned Air System program. The Navy’s so-called Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Strike and Surveillance initiative aims to put jet-powered killer drones on carrier decks no later than 2018. Around the same time, the Air Force may start buying jet-powered ones to complement its prop-driven Reaper.

By decade’s end, it hopes to have enough medium and large drones to maintain at least 65 round-the-clock “orbits” compared to now. Combined with other service branches, 100 or more permanently positioned killer drones may launch precision-guided bombs and missiles on targets virtually anywhere.

Moreover, improved sensors like the Air Force’s Gorgon Stare and new foliage-penetrating radars will let new generations of drones do what multiple ones are needed for now.

Given the profit potential, US defense contractors are scrambling for part of a bigger pie, developing new killer drone models, including Boeing’s X-45C, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B and General Atomic’s Avenger. Others will follow to satisfy the Pentagon’s insatiable appetite for remote killing and destruction on a global scale.

If America’s military had a motto, it would be war is good, the more the better. How else can generals get stars?

Remote Control High Altitude Killing

In March 2010, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit:

“demanding that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas. In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and the other basis information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings.”

At issue is using them against civilians, including US citizens abroad after Obama authorized targeting any suspected of terrorist involvement, with or without proof.

The ACLU sued the Defense, State, and Justice Departments after each provided no requested information “nor have they given any reason for withholding documents. The CIA answered the ACLU’s request by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents.” CIA wasn’t sued because the ACLU appealed its non-response to the Agency Release Panel.

UAVs were first used in Vietnam, mainly as reconnaissance platforms. In the 1980s, radar killer drones called Harpy air defense suppression systems were employed. In the Gulf War, unmanned combat air system (UCAS) and X-45 air vehicles were used.

Others were deployed in Bosnia in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. America’s new weapon of choice is now commonplace in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and domestically, including for law enforcement – in fact, virtually anywhere for targeted attacks and/or surveillance globally.

At issue is their legality, given their use outside traditional battlefields for extrajudicial assassinations, a practice US and international laws prohibit. Yet reports confirm Obama’s ramped up use with long-term grander schemes – why the ACLU and other human rights groups express concern.

A December 2009 Social Science Research Network Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper titled, “Unlawful Killing with Combat Drones: A Case Study of Pakistan, 2004 – 2009” said the following:

“First drones launch missiles or drop bombs, the kind of weapons that may only be used lawfully in an armed conflict. Until the spring of 2009, there was no armed conflict (in Pakistan). International law does not recognize the right to kill without warning outside an actual armed conflict. Killing without warning is only tolerated during the hostilities of an armed conflict, and, then, only lawful combatants may lawfully carry” them out.

CIA members “are not lawful combatants and their participation in killing persons – even in an armed conflict – is a crime.” US military forces may be “lawful combatants in Pakistan” only if its government officially requested them. It did not.

Further, beyond targeted individuals, collateral killing is commonplace. “Drones have rarely, if ever, killed just the intended target. By October 2009, the ratio has been up to” 50 civilians for each militant. As a result, drone use violates “the war-fighting principles of distinction, necessity, proportionality and humanity.”

Nonetheless, violations continue daily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Libya, having escalated dramatically in recent years. Along with bombers and helicopter gunships, their use in Afghanistan (and North Waziristan, Pakistan) is so pervasive that anyone in the open or near targeted sites risks death – civilians, including vulnerable women and children for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On March 13, 2010, Der Spiegel headlined, “Drones Are Lynchpin of Obama’s War on Terror,” calling them his weapon of choice. “But the political, military and moral consequences are incalculable.”

One report said in the past two years the Air Force Research Laboratory embarked on a program to “build the ultimate assassination robot (described as) a tiny, armed drone for the US special forces to employ in terminating ‘high-value targets’ ” that most often are noncombatants.

On April 4, 2010, New York Times writers Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah headlined, “Drones Batter Qaeda and Allies Within (North Waziristan) Pakistan,” referring to a “stepped-up campaign….over the past three months (casting) a pall of fear over an area (by) fly(ing) overhead sometimes four at a time, emitting a beelike hum virtually 24 hours a day, observing and tracking targets, then unleashing missiles on their quarry….”

The ferocity of strikes, in fact, got one Pakistani to say, “It seems they really want to kill everyone….,” civilians, of course, most vulnerable. Almost daily, noncombatant casualties are reported, sparking public anger and protests, including over America’s regional presence.

In late April, Obama authorized a major Libyan war escalation, ordering the use of killer drones. At an April 21 press conference, Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright announced the deployment of Predator UAVs, saying:

“What they will bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on….targets now that they have started to dig themselves into defensive positions.”

Also announced was that surveillance drones have flown throughout the conflict. Now Hellfire missile firing ones are being used, supplementing daily terror bombings and low-flying Apache helicopter gunship killing machines hitting anything on the ground that moves.

A recent CBS News poll shows 60% of Americans against the Libyan war, only 30% saying military involvement in North Africa is justified. It represents a sharp drop from March when 70% supported intervention.

World outrage is also growing, including from the Pan Afrikanist Steering Committee of Namibia against The United Nations Resolution 1973 (PSCNAUNR), calling NATO’s Libya war “a desecration of the Afrikan homeland by a set of Europeans.”

Saying it’s an “appalling atrocity,” Western supported “mercenaries” are being used “to kill, maim, destroy local infrastructures, and attack Afrikans….living in fear of their lives within Libya.”

NATO, “under the guise of the UN, deliberately started its bombardment under a hidden agenda for Regime Change” in violation of international law. “It is now crystal clear that the motive behind Resolution 1973 was of a sinister nature, (effectively) representing a Declaration of War” against a nonbelligerent state.

June 12 on the Progressive Radio News Hour, Cynthia McKinney reported from Tripoli, saying hospitals, schools, residential houses, and other non-military sites have been bombed, causing numerous civilian casualties. NATO and America’s media duplicitously deny it.

However, other independent sources confirm strikes on commercial airports, seaports, power generating facilities, and other sites unrelated to military necessity, terrorizing, killing, and injuring Libyan civilians by intensified attacks.

A Final Comment

As president, Obama intensified US belligerence in multiple theaters, defying international and constitutional law. He may, in fact, have a new target in mind, what a June 10 White House press release suggests, saying:

“The United States strongly condemns the Syrian government’s outrageous use of violence…particularly in the northwestern region. There must be an immediate end to the brutality and violence. We regret the loss of life and extend our condolences to all those who have suffered.”

The double standard gross hypocrisy requires no comment, especially in light of the Washington, Israel, Saudi, and Lebanon’s March 14 Alliance project to destabilize Assad’s government, including by inciting and supporting armed militants for regime change.

So far, Russia and China have blocked a proposed Security Council resolution condemning Syrian violence, fearing passage perhaps means more war. It’s America’s favored strategy against regimes it doesn’t control.

Notably, three rogues senators (John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham) openly support regime change, saying in a joint statement:

“By following the path of (Gaddafi) and deploying military forces to crush peaceful demonstrations, al-Assad and those loyal to him have lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria. We urge President Obama to state unequivocally (that it’s) time for (him) to go,” stopping short of calling for war they may join with others in demanding it.

Despite waging multiple imperial wars, Obama, in fact, may oblige them, heading America perilously closer to all out general war, especially to distract growing millions from their economic misery at home.

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The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled…

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist – The greatest trick America ever pulled to convince people Osama Bin Laden was alive and killed in Abbottabad (Pakistan).  Have we been tricked?

New Bin Laden Tapes Appear Fake Like Earlier Ones

On May 2, AP writer Matt Apuzzo headlined, “US Official: New bin Laden tape, recorded shortly before death, expected to surface soon,” saying:

“US intelligence officials believe (he) made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon….A new recording (would) provide a final word from beyond the grave….”

On May 7, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller headlined, “Videos From Bin Laden’s Hide-Out Released,” saying:

On May 7, the administration “released five videos recovered from” his alleged hideout, showing him “threatening the United States, condemning capitalism and at some points flubbing his lines and missing a cue.”

Videos were released “without sound (allegedly) to avoid disseminating terrorist messages….The intelligence official who briefed reporters….took pains to point out that bin Laden….had dyed his white beard black,” suggesting vanity or a desire to look younger.

Unmentioned were earlier tapes, including a posthumous December 27, 2001 video showing his beard clearly gray and another in 2004 the same, unlike a 2007 one showing it black. Forensic evidence proved the latter two crude audio and video fakes. More on them below.

Moreover, it’s unclear whether Islamic law or teachings prohibit dying hair black. An Islam Question & Answer site says:

“Dyeing hair with pure black dye is haram (punishable) because the Prophet….said: “Avoid black,” as well as “the threat of punishment reported with regard to this matter. This ruling applies to both men and women.”

However, if black dye “is mixed with another colour, so that it is no longer black, there is nothing wrong with it.”

A more detailed statement can be accessed through the following link:

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/476

True or false, other observers believe bin Laden never dyed his hair or beard, a notion in their minds as absurd.

New and Older Videos

The most reported newly released tape shows him wrapped in a blanket in a dilapidated looking room, watching himself on what appears to be a small old TV placed on a broken desk.

Yet he allegedly was housed in a million dollar compound, unlikely to be poorly heated and furnished, as well as shabby-looking, requiring him to sit on the floor with a blanket for warmth. At the least, the image in his alleged surroundings is incongruous, suggesting a recording made elsewhere, not at a luxury Abbottabad, Pakistan estate.

Moreover, there it shows his beard white, not black in other newly released videos, another inconsistency. In fact, he looks much younger than in 2001, suggesting images from the 1990s. Nonetheless, Bumiller cited an intelligence official saying bin Laden “was intensely interested in the image he presented to his supporters,” without saying why beard color mattered.

What does matter is a visibly older looking man in 2001, not the more youthful bin Laden in four of the five newly released videos.

Apparently, Obama officials still can’t get their story straight, acting much like Max Sennett’s “Keystone Kops” and characters in the film and book by the same name titled, “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

An earlier article discussed the staged bin Laden killing hokum, accessed through the following link:

https://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/staged-bin-laden-killing-hokum/

It addressed a scenario sounding more like bad fiction than allegedly eliminating “Enemy Number One” with no photos, videos or body of a dead bin Laden, as well as no independent proof and shifting stories. They’re still not right, putting a lie to the entire account about a man who died earlier in mid-December 2001 of natural causes.

A decade ago, bin Ladin was very ill from kidney failure, diabetes, and by some accounts hepatitis C affecting his liver, requiring hospitalization in Pakistan and Dubai. Moreover, objective and testimonial evidence corroborated his mid-December 2001 death. An earlier article explained, accessed through the following link:

https://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death/

It also discussed past strategically released videos. Two examples are noteworthy – on September 7, 2007 and October 29, 2004. Digital image forensics expert Neal Krawetz analyzed both films, concluding they were crude fakes full of low quality visual and audio splices.

Moreover, bin Laden’s beard was gray in the earlier video, black in the later one, and he was dressed in the same white hat, shirt and yellow sweater. In addition, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical. Krawetz said “if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden’s face is the same (unaged).” Only his beard color changed.

Notably also, bin Laden’s December 2001 “confession” video admitting responsibility for 9/11 was fake. In February 2006, Duke University bin Laden expert Professor Bruce Lawrence exposed it, calling it a bad hoax.

Citing US intelligence informants, he said everyone knows it’s fabricated. He also compared an overweight bin Laden impostor to authentic images showing him much thinner. In fact, the difference between the real and fake bin Laden is obvious, but was falsely used for years as his admission for an inside job crime.

Earlier, post-9/11, in three Al Jazeera interviews, he claimed no knowledge or responsibility for the event.

However, on May 3, 2011, Al Jazeera misreported him admitting “responsibility for planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington,” an irresponsible lie with no corroborating evidence and their own 2001 interviews.

In addition, a May 25, 2010 Jeff Stein Washington Post article headlined, “CIA unit’s wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay” said:

It considered making fake videos, and:

“(t)he agency actually (made one) purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from ‘some of us darker-skinned employees,’ ” he said.

The Pentagon took over the project, saying “(t)hey had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg at the army’s special warfare center.”

Alleged DNA Evidence Confirming Bin Laden’s Identity

On May 7, Michael Ruppert’s article headlined, “Osama and the Ghosts of September 11: ‘Proof that Obama is Lying,’ ” saying:

A noted molecular biologist and DNA expert told him the following on condition of anonymity:

He “built a lucrative career in human genetics. (He ran) one of the world’s largest and most productive DNA genotyping facilities, (and is now) helping to build the global market for clinical whole human genome sequencing for the world’s largest human genome sequencing facility.”

He also worked with the best in his and other fields, saying:

“I know DNA. And, one thing I know about DNA is that you cannot, repeat CANNOT: take a tissue sample from a shot-in-the noggin-dead-guy in a north central Pakistan special forces op, extract the DNA, prepare the DNA for assay, test the DNA, curate the raw DNA sequence data, assemble the reads or QC the genotype, compare the tested DNA to a reference, and make a positive identity determination….all in 12 hours – let alone transport the tissue samples all the places they’d need to have gone in order to get this done.”

“Any way you slice it, the real work would require days,” and no nearby aircraft carrier or other ship is outfitted with a profession lab and experts on board to do it.

He concluded saying they may or may not have gotten bin Laden, but there’s no DNA proof confirming it before they allegedly dumped him at sea. In other words, they lied, one of many beginning with Obama’s May day announcement.

A Final Comment

This and previous articles highlight a shameless Washington effort to compound one lie with others, endorsed by major media reports and pundits going along with what they should expose and denounce.

Instead, ad nauseam accounts continue, contributing to war on terror fear mongering that’s changed America dramatically post-9/11 disturbingly. It suggests worse yet to come, including perhaps more war besides others now raging, while popular needs go begging.

Despite poll data showing opposition, they continue because people focus more on bread and circuses than activism, the only way to achieve constructive change. It’s high time opinions became anger enough to significantly make a difference. It better because the alternative is too dire to imagine.

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Staged Bin Laden Killing Hokum

As reported, it sounded more like bad fiction than eliminating “Enemy Number One,” especially with no visuals, corpse, independent proof, and shifting official accounts.

In Hollywood, it’s called rewrite. In politics, it’s lying, a Washington bipartisan specialty, notably on issues mattering most.

Also at issue is conducting lawless operations for any purpose. More on that below.

Previous article discussed the staged May Day hokum, accessed through the following link:

Click here – > https://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death/

They addressed the alleged killing of a dead man, an administration and media spread lie. David Ray Griffin’s important book titled, “Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” provided convincing objective and testimonial evidence of his mid-December 2001 death, of natural causes, not a commando hit squad getting their man.

Issues and Answers

After years of using bin Laden simultaneously as a CIA asset and “Enemy Number One,” why the shift now? Aside from eliminating the alleged top terror threat, major events like this are always strategically timed for political reasons.

At least several stand out now, including:

(1) Boosting Obama’s sagging image. It worked according to a New York Times poll showing an approval bump from 46% in April to an early May 57%, even though the euphoria will soon fade in hard times.

(2) Diverting attention from eroding domestic needs, notably growing angst over a deepening Main Street depression.

(3) Hyping fear for intensified, not less, imperial war, and perhaps preparing the ground for a major false flag attack to advance America’s grand scheme for unchallengeable global dominance.

On May 4, Webster Tarpley told Press TV that balkanizing Pakistan is planned to use it “as an energy corridor between Iran and China or between India and Europe.” Afghanistan is insufficient, he said.

“The Pakistan corridor could be created and the goal of US policy (is) to take the Afghan war and export it to Pakistan and to promote the division along the well-known lines of Punjabis, Baluchestan, (Abdolmalek) Rigi supported by NATO and so forth, and then, of course, Pashtunistan, which is the epicenter of all this.”

He also suspects something greater, using bin Laden’s alleged killing as “the equivalent of the Sarajevo assassination of June 22, 1914.” Weeks later, WW I began. Tarpley wonders if general war is coming, involving regional and major powers.

“I think the world situation is much more dangerous (now) than most people” imagine, he said.

Ahead, he also sees a new manufactured top enemy, perhaps named after staged revenge attacks in America and/or Europe. Not from Al Queda, he believes, but from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), whether or not it will work.

Perhaps a dirty bomb will be used as pretext to seize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. If so, he sees a good chance of events “leading towards a general war between the two countries, and in the middle of that we have to remember that the supply line for the invaders in Afghanistan goes from Karachi across Pakistani territory for (nearly) 1,000 miles.”

Imagine the consequences of disrupting it, besides drawing in other nations, possibly including China and Russia. No one knows for sure what’s coming, but reckless plans produce unpredictable consequences.

Shifting Official Stories

On May 2, after Sunday’s staged event, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said Navy Seals killed bin Laden in a firefight. “Whether or not he got off any rounds, I frankly don’t know,” he said.

On May 1, New York Times writers Peter Baker, Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti headlined, “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says,” saying:

“When American operatives converged on (his compound, he) ‘resisted the assault force’ and was killed in the middle of an intense gun battle, a senior administration official said, but details were still sketchy early Monday morning.”

In 24 hours, things changed, White House press secretary Jay Carney saying bin Laden was shot in the head unarmed. Other first reported details also changed, putting a lie to the entire account, including Brennan explaining that commandos had orders to capture him alive if he didn’t resist, saying:

“If we had the opportunity to take bin Laden alive, if he didn’t present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that.”

On May 4, Times writers Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti headlined, “Account Tells of One-Sided Battle in Bin Laden Raid,” saying:

The revised account “suggested that the raid, though chaotic and bloody, was extremely one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy Seal members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting bin Laden.”

In fact, US commandos took no fire. Initially saying otherwise compounded the big lie about what really happened and why extrajudicially.

On May 3, CIA director Leon Panetta repeated the deception, telling Public Broadcasting:

“There were some firefights that were going on as these guys were making their way up the staircase of that compound.”

On May 4, Washington Post writers Anne Kornblut and Felicia Sonmez headlined, “White House goes silent on bin Laden raid,” saying:

Obama “ruled out publicly releasing (bin Laden) photographs….(giving) no new details about the raid (after earlier) fitful attempts to craft a riveting narrative,” now completely discredited.

He also “contradict(ed Panetta’s) assertion Tuesday that the photos would eventually be made public….” Moreover, “the White House found itself struggling to (explain what happened,) and having to justify the legal basis for it.”

Gerald Celente’s Assessment

In a May 4 commentary, Trends Research Institute founder Gerald Celente quoted Obama, saying “justice has been done….The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden.” At time same time, Hillary Clinton warned about terror not “stop(ping) with the death of bin Laden, (so) we must redouble our efforts.”

If it’s safer, asked Celente, why double down? “These were but two of the contradictions coming out of the White House” after the raid with “many (other) discrepancies (to) follow.”

Moreover, “absent from America’s non-stop exultation and self-congratulation,” as well as cheerleading media coverage, “was any discussion of the practical consequences” going forward. With or without bin Laden or others targeted, it:

— won’t win the losing Iraq and Afghan wars;

— lower unemployment;

— stop Western nations from economic decline;

— revive housing or other real estate;

— “solve the debt and deficit crises;

— lower oil and food prices; (or)

— reverse” devastating radiation spreading from Fukushima.

It also won’t end America’s permanent war agenda or curb a domestic one on working households, unionism, public education, human and civil rights, and vital benefits, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on the chopping block for elimination.

According to Celente, “the restored, rebuilt, new and improved terror bandwagon rolls again….and it will keep rolling until Election Day 2012.” Moreover, they’ll keep fear alive and they’ll blame everyone but themselves.

Legal Implications

Commenting on German television, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said:

The May 1 assault “was quite clearly a violation of international law. The operation could also have incalculable consequences in the Arab world in light of all the unrest.”

He’s right, of course, despite Attorney General Eric Holder saying:

The action was “lawful, legitimate and appropriate in every way….I’m proud of what they did. And I really want to emphasize that what they did was entirely lawful and consistent with our values.”

In other words, according to him, Obama, other administration officials, Washington groupthink, and editorial writers and pundits, acting lawlessly is lawful.

On June 27, 2010, in their Harvard National Security Journal article headlined, “Law and Policy of Targeted Killing,” Harvard Law Professors Gabriella Blum and Philip Heymann said:

“The right of a government to use deadly force against (anyone) is constrained by both domestic criminal law and international human rights norms that seek to protect the individual’s right to life and liberty….Guilt must be proved in a court of law, with (charged) individuals (given) the protections of due process guarantees.”

“Killing an individual without trial is allowed only” in self-defense or need to save other lives. “In almost any other case, it would be clearly unlawful, tantamount to extrajudicial execution or murder.”

In other words, sending US commandos against anyone, especially in another country’s sovereign territory, violates US and international law. Guilt or innocence of any crime deprives no one of due process and judicial fairness, afforded Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.

Targets otherwise are judged guilty by accusation, not arrested, tried, Mirandized, or afforded justice. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat, America’s “rules of engagement” morality.

On May 3, Der Spiegel writer Thomas Darnstadt headlined, “Was Bin Laden’s Killing Legal?” quoting University of Cologne Law Professor Claus Kress saying:

Achieving justice for any crime isn’t “achieved through summary executions, but through a punishment that is meted out at the end of a trial.” Doing it commando style guns blazing can also cause tragic and inevitable escalations of injustice, he added.

On May 28, 2010, Philip Alston published his UN Human Rights Council “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,” expressing great concern that Washington “seems oblivious” to the implications of using drone attacks against people “labeled as terrorists, (and for) assert(ing) an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe,” adding:

“But this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions.”

“The most prolific user of targeted killing today is the United States” in gross violation of international law. (This) expansive and open-ended interpretation of the right to self-defense goes a long way towards destroying the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in the UN Charter. If invoked by other states, in pursuit of those they deem to be terrorists and to have attacked them, it would cause chaos.”

It would also render international law null and void. No nation for any reason can be judge, jury and executioner, with no allowed exceptions.

Consider also that in 1996, Obama opposed the death penalty, and in his book titled, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream,” he said it “does little to deter crime.”

As a Senate and presidential candidate, however, he changed to accommodate public opinion, simultaneously calling death penalty justice so flawed that a national moratorium should be declared. In February 2008, he also said “no one in this country is above the law.”

As president, however, he authorized torture, illegal wars, mass killings and targeted assassinations. As a result, he violates it daily abroad and at home, unaccountable to the law he once taught at the University of Chicago Law School. Perhaps a refresher course or two might help.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Bin Laden’s Death

Winston Churchill rightly explained that “(a) lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” He said it perhaps before television. For sure before 24-hour cable TV and modern technology instantly communicating globally.

It applies to Obama’s latest lie, announced at 11:35PM EDT on bin Laden, saying:

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Highlighting 9/11, he painstakingly discussed everything but the truth. America’s media repeated it. Celebratory crowds in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at “ground zero” cheered it past midnight, mindlessly believing a lie. More on that below.

On May 1, New York Times writers Peter Baker, Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti headlined, “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama says: continuing:

Calling him “the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world,” Obama announced his death Sunday night, declaring “justice has been done.”

Cheerleading, not reporting, Baker, Cooper and Mazzetti called his “demise….a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.”

New Year’s eve arrived early in America, celebrating a lie, the “bewildered herd” again seduced by presidential deception.

A USA Today editorial headlined, “At last, bin Laden is dead,” saying:

“Could there be any more satisfying words to hear?”

The Boston Globe highlighted “a moment of unity” after nearly a decade of war, calling Obama’s announcement a “vindication of a manhunt spanning presidential administrations, and involving numerous agencies and countless intelligence officers.”

AP quoted Bill Clinton saying:

“I congratulate the president, the national security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks.”

House speaker John Boehner (R. OH) said it was “great news…”

House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi called it “historic.”

Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid “reaffirm(ed) our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed (9/11 victims) and thousands of others across the globe.”

Expect lots more cheerleading ahead, led by major media reports doing what they do best, providing sanitized, managed news, not truth.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Post-9/11, bin Laden became “Enemy Number One,” the nation’s top “security threat.” In fact, if he hadn’t existed, he’d have been invented for political advantage.

In March 1985, after Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 166 to arm Afghan Mujahideen fighters, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) recruited bin Laden to fight Soviet Afghan forces as a CIA asset. He likely remained one until his death, while simultaneously called “Enemy Number One,” using him advantageously both ways.

David Ray Griffin wrote seminal books on 9/11, including “The New Pearl Harbor,” “The 9/11 Commission Report,” “9/11 and American Empire,” “9/11 Contradictions,” “Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7,” and “Osama Bin Laden: Dead of Alive?”

It was also the title of his October 9, 2009 Global Research article, covering two types of evidence:

(1) Objective evidence that he’s dead:

After December 13, 2001, his regularly intercepted messages stopped.

On December 26, 2001, according to “a leading Pakistani newspaper” story, a prominent Taliban official said he attended his funeral.

Bin Laden, in fact, was very ill with kidney disease. In September 2001, CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that he was admitted to a Rawalpindi, Pakistan hospital on September 10, 2001, and France’s Le Figaro said:

“Dubai….was the backdrop of a secret meeting between Osama bin Laden and the local CIA agent in July (2001). A partner of the administration of the American Hospital….claims that (bin Laden) stayed (there) between the 4th and 14th of July (and) received visits from many members of his family as well as prominent Saudis and Emiratis. (During the same period), the local CIA agent, known to many in Dubai, was seen taking (the hospital’s) main elevator (to) bin Laden’s room.”

Why not if he was a valued asset.

In July 2002, “CNN reported that (his) bodyguards had been captured in February of that year, adding: ‘Sources believe that if the bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the most wanted man in the world is dead.”

Finally, despite Washington offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or killing, no one came forward.

(2) Testimonial evidence of his death:

In 2002, influential “people in a position to know” that he died included:

— Pakistan President Musharraf;

— FBI counterterrorism head Dale Watson;

— Oliver North saying, “I’m certain that Osama is dead….and so are all the other guys I stay in touch with;”

— Afghanistan President Karzai;

— Israeli intelligence saying supposed bin Laden messages were fake; and

— Pakistan’s ISI “confirm(ing) the death of….Osama bin Laden (and) attribut(ing) the reasons behind Washington’s hiding (the truth) to the desire of (America’s hawks) to use the issue of al Qaeda and international terrorism to invade Iraq.”

Other evidence includes former CIA case officer Robert Baer telling National Public Radio (NPR): “Of course he’s dead.”

Then in March 2009, “former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla published an essay in the American Spectator entitled ‘Osama bin Elvis,’ ” saying:

“Seven years after (bin Laden’s) last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence of Elvis’s presence among us than for his.”

Griffin also explained fake messages and videos, saying today’s advanced technology can fool experts, but not all of them.

For years, bin Laden tapes surfaced at strategically-timed moments. Consider one on Friday, September 7, 2007 ahead the sixth 9/11 anniversary. Hector Factor’s Neal Krawetz, a digital image forensics expert, said it was full of low quality visual and audio splices, a likely fake.

Striking also was bin Laden’s beard that was gray in recent images. In this one, it was black. In addition, he was dressed in a white hat and shirt, as well as a yellow sweater, the same attire as on an October 29, 2004 video. Moreover, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical.

Krawetz noted that “if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden’s face is the same (unaged).” Only his beard was darker, and the picture contrast was adjusted. Most important are the edits showing obvious splices, at least six video ones in all. Even more audio ones were used that appeared to be words and phrases spliced together, making Krawetz suspect a vocal imitator was used.

A Final Comment

Clear evidence showed bin Laden died years ago, likely in December 2001. However, reporting it was concealed to pursue America’s “war on terror.”

As a result, “Enemy Number One” was used to stoke fear as pretext for imperial wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, perhaps others now planned, and numerous proxy ones in Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine, Central Africa, Colombia, and elsewhere.

Griffin wrote his bin Laden book, hoping to shorten America’s wars. He also wished to expose “fake bin Laden tapes (used as) one part of an extensive propaganda operation….furthering the militarization of America and its foreign policy” while popular needs go begging.

Obama’s latest lie left America’s imperial agenda unchanged. In fact, his announcement likely bolsters public support for what’s clearly become unpopular, saying:

“(T)hink back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” urging people to show it again despite how militarism harms their security, well-being and futures by draining funds badly needed for domestic needs.

Instead, expect increasing amounts used for corporate handouts and wars, Obama as uncaring about human needs as extremist Republicans. He’s also an inveterate liar.

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TARIQ ALI: “Obama’s Afghan-Pak Syndrome”

Few days ago I wrote a post about ‘The denial of democracy to the Arab World’ and I was impressed with Tariq Ali’s explanation of what role USA and UK play in the current uprising in Libya and mainly in the Middle East.  If you haven’t seen it yet then click here to see the interview.

Tariq Ali impressed me with his straight forward talk which happens to be both accurate, knowledgeable and well informed, something which I find to be increasingly rare occurrence by commentators who address the public about global affairs.  Soon after my first post about Tariq Ali’s interview I received an email from a reader who pointed me to another talk by Tariq Ali on “Obama’s Afghan-Pak Syndrome” – after watching this talk I was once again over-impressed by Tariq Ali, so impressed that I decided to share this here with you.

The reason why I find this talk interesting and believe to be ‘a must’ watch is because, Afghanistan seems to be a strategic battle ground for all great empires.  It is here where we have seen great world dominant nations like Russia fall and where in history military conquests have collapsed – instead of learning from history we find our countries involved in a war in the same geographic location where no military has succeeded.

Tariq Ali is author of more than 20 books, including history, politics, and fiction. His most recent books are Protocols of the Elders of Sodom (2009) and The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (2008). He is a regular contributor to The Guardian, New Left Review, and the London Review of Books.

British-Pakistani writer, journalist, and historian Tariq Ali spoke at Hampshire College on November 17 for the the Twelfth Annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture. The annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture honors the teaching, scholarship, and activism of the late Eqbal Ahmad, who was a longtime Hampshire College professor.